Review: Death of a King – The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year

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Tavis Smiley

5.0 out of 5 stars OK to Challenge Racism and Poverty — NOT OK to challenge militarism and the national security state, September 12, 2014

The publisher has done a rotten job of summarizing this book. Here, paraphrasing the author as he just spoke on the John Stewart show, is the bottom line:

The minute that Dr. King turned against militarism and denounced the USA as the greatest purveyor of violence upon the world, he was first marginalized and then assassinated. “The System” was fine with Dr. King focusing on racism, and even poverty, but it would not tolerate for one moment his questioning the military-industrial complex and the national security state.

The author — whom I found to be very inspiring, coherent, and concise — a brilliant articulator of the key points in the book — goes on to have a conversation with Jon Stewart about how the USA simply cannot handle truth-tellers in relation to “big money” matters such as elective wars (racism and poverty being “little money” matters, and deliberately so).

Dr. King was ultimately assassinated by a US Army sniper on detail to the FBI and under the personal direction of J. Edgar Hoover. The story is told in An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King and has also been documented and validated in a judgment by a federal court awarding the King family the single dollar in damages they requested.

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Sep 12

Review: Air Power in UN Operations – Wings for Peace

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Walter Dorn (editor) et al

5.0 out of 5 stars Pioneering Practical Work on Future of Aviation — Not Just UN — in Peace and War, August 29, 2014

This book — I disclose that my chapter is one of two concluding chapters — is one of the most practical, comprehensive, and perhaps — we all hope — inspirational books to be published on aviation applications for peace and war in recent memory. Since Look Inside the Book is not available, I will first list the parts and chapters, and then summarize my appreciation for this pioneering endeavor.

PART I THE UN’S FIRST “AIR FORCE”
01 Planning, Organizing, and Commanding Air Operations in the Congo, 1960
02 Peacekeepers in Combat: Fighter Jets and Bombers in the Congo, 1961-1963
03 A Fine Line: Use of Force, the Cold War, and Canada’s Air Support for the UN Organization in the Congo

PART II AIRLIFT: LIFELINE FOR UN MISSIONS
04 Above the Rooftop of the World: Canadian Air Operations in Kashmir and Along the India-Pakistan Border
05 Humanitarian Relief in Haiti, 2010: Honing the Partnership between the US Air Force and the UN
06 Flying Humanitarians: The UN Humanitarian Air Service

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Aug 29

Review: Constructing Cassandra – Reframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947-2001

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Milo Jones and Philippe Silberzahn

5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, Recommended for Students, August 20, 2014

I found this book, a gift, to be charming and useful. It should certainly be used as a textbook at the national intelligence university and other mainstream schools. I consider this book a hybrid, one that integrates an outsider application of a social constructivist perspective, with an appreciation for selected insider sources who were ostracized at the time but ultimately proven correct when the agency they sought to serve was proven wrong.

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Aug 20

Review: 11 Days in May by J.D. Messinger

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J. D. Messinger

I bought this book at the suggestion of Miriam Knight, and found it engrossing. This is not a conversation between the author and God, but rather between the author’s mind (from the World of Form) and the author as a soul (straddling into the World of Light).

There are multiple bottom lines, I will list just four that jump out at me from my notes:

01 Finding your authentic self — and hence finding sustainable happiness and positive effect — must be rooted in a deep critical appreciation of how false our current world is, particularly its materialistic and reductionist nature, the false assumptions about scarcity, valuation. This sets the stage for personal liberation.

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Aug 19

Review: Economic Direct Democracy – A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being

Categories: 5 Star,Economics
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John C. Boik

5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced Comprehensive Proposals Any Group Can Implement, August 3, 2014

I have been thinking recently about various emergent alternative forms of capitalism, including Ethical, Collaborative, Conscious, Inclusive, and Redemptive Capitalism, and found this book as I was working on an article about Open Source Everything and Democratic Collaborative Capitalism.

First off, this is a totally up to date book. Although it is made clear in the front matter that this is an expanded updated edition of the 2012 book, Creating Sustainable Societies: The Rebirth of Democracy and Local Economies I really do want to emphasize this book’s currency up to and including Spring 2014 events and references.

Having looked over a number of other treatments for how to migrate away from predatory financial capitalism with its emphasis on value-extraction and short term financial profit to the exclusion of all other considerations, I find the Mars-family endorsed concept of Mutality to be the most satisfying in terms of over-all philosophy and practice, with a strong kudos to PriceWaterhouseCoopers UK and the Said Business School at Oxford for being well ahead of the pack in their thoughtfulness. Search online for < Brewery Mutuality > to get right to 46-page PDF of very high value.

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Aug 6

Review (Guest): The Global War for Internet Governance

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Laura DeNardis

5.0 out of 5 stars A Guide to the “Technologically Concealed” in Internet Governance, January 21, 2014

By Francesca Musiani

The final draft of Laura DeNardis’s most recent book, officially released on January 1st, 2014, had most likely been finalized before Edward Snowden’s recent revelations about the pervasive surveillance implemented by the U. S. National Security Agency entered the media spotlight, which explains the absence of direct references to the controversy throughout the 300-page volume. Yet, because of the Snowden revelations and a number of other issues addressed thoroughly in this extremely important book – from WikiLeaks to the SOPA and PIPA bill projects – the exploration of Internet governance (IG) issues through a “global war” lens has never been more relevant than it is today. Information and communication technologies, the Internet first and foremost, are increasingly mobilized to serve broader economic, political and military aims, ranging from the theft of strategic data to the hijacking of industrial systems. The rise of techniques, devices and infrastructures destined to digital espionage, data collection and aggregation, tracking and surveillance is highlighted not only by the recent Snowden revelations, but also by the construction and the organization of a dedicated, increasingly widespread and lucrative market.

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Aug 5

Review: Beautiful Trouble – A Toolbox for Revolution

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Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell et al

5.0 out of 5 stars Common Sense Of, By, For the Community, July 23, 2014

I bought this book at Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) in NYC, just concluded, along with another not listed at Amazon that I want to mention, Micah L. Sifry’s “The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet).

This book, at 138 pages in pocket size (3/5ths of a normal pocketbook), is an utter gem. At a minimum it forces reflection. Produced by a team of people and organizations, this is a community resources in every sense of the word.

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Jul 24

Review: 935 Lies – The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity

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Charles Lewis

5.0 out of 5 stars Title Short-Changes Value — This is One of the Most Important Books of Our Time, July 12, 2014

I’m not thrilled with the title because it implies to the browser that the book is about the 935 now-documented lies that led to the war in Iraq, and that is not the case — those lies are simply one of many evidentiary cases spanned a much broader spectrum. As the author himself outlines early on, the book is about a retrospective review of the struggle for truth from the lies that led to Viet-Nam to date (less 9/11); a concurrent review of the corruption and diminuition of commercial journalism; and finally, the future of the truth.

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Jul 12

Review (Guest): Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis – Parasitic Finance Capital

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Ismael Hossein-azdeh

5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Hossein-zadeh, Ismael. 2014. Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis: Parasitic Finance Capital., May 16, 2014

By Isaac Christiansen

Ismael Hossein-zadeh has done a masterful job in explaining the causes of the 2007-08 financial collapse and in identifying what must be done in response. He sets out in Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis to first demonstrate the origins of the crisis and the subsequent transfer of “tens of trillions” of dollars from the vast majority of society into the coffers of the financial speculators through the imposition of austerity cuts on the many for the benefit of the few; and secondly to examine potential societal responses to avoid the repetition of such crises in the future. To do this, he begins by examining the two most prominent explanations for the crisis: the neoliberal explanation, which claimed it was due to irrational market actors and/or intrusive government policies that interfered with the self-correcting market mechanism; and the Keynesian explanation, which explained the crisis as the result of excessive deregulation, “inappropriate” public policy and supply side strategies. The author skillfully exposes the weaknesses of both and offers a compelling and well grounded alternative explanation, as indicated in the book’s title.

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Jun 16

Review: Analytics in a Big Data World – The Essential Guide to Data Science and Its Applications

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Bart Baesens

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Overview of Analytic Applications — Focused on Consumer, Contains Math, May 22, 2014

Bottom line up front: a superb book and a truly great overview that is easily understandable to me except for the fraction of the book that is math.

Right away I like the structure of the book in relation to analytics. Use Amazon’s Inside the Book feature to see that structure. I also appreciate the clarity and integrity demonstrated by the author in touching on major obstacles to big data analytics, among which are past biases in policy and collection and the absence of critical values needed to test NEW hypotheses. The author is brutal in a low key manner (which is to say, very professional) in evaluating the different types of data streams and the problems with each of them. Getting the raw data is a challenge — cleaning that data is a greater challenge — making sense of swiss cheese data with a host of underlying intellectual cancers is the greatest challenge of all.

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May 27