Review: Transforming the Dream – Ecologism and the Shaping of an Alternative American Vision

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Charles Bednar

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Synthesis, Starting Point for Anyone Who Wishes to Think Holistically, July 4, 2015

The author taught me most of what I retain in the way of political science fundamentals during our time together at Muhlenberg College, where he was former Chair of the Department of Political Science and an Associate Dean. We had not kept in touch since I left Muhlenberg in 1974, but in 2014 I reached out to him and bought this book immediately upon learning of its existence.

Published in 2003 by the State University of New York Press, this book was evidently not marketed at all, and little noted. That is a sad commentary on our times, because I find that the author has distilled multiple literatures into one coherent presentation, augmented by an original model that tells a vital story beyond Ecological Economics into Ecological Political Economy (in essence, politics), into Ecological Ethics and Ecological Pedagogy, two topics rarely covered by others.

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Jul 5

Review: Digital Humanitarians – How Big Data is Changing the Face of the Humanitarian Response

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Patrick Meier

5.0 out of 5 stars World-Changing Book Documenting Intersection of Humans, Technology, and Policy-Ethics, February 2, 2015

This is a hugely important work, one that responds to the critical needs outlined by Micah Sifry in The Big Disconnect: Why The Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet) and others such as myself writing these past 25 years on the need to reform the pathologically dysfunctional US secret intelligence community that is in constant betrayal of the public trust.

Digital Humanitarians are BURYING the secret world. For all the bru-ha-ha over NSA’s mass surveillance and the $100 billion a year we spend doing largely technical spying (yet only processing 1% of what we waste money on in collection), there are two huge facts that this book, FOR THE FIRST TIME, documents:

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Feb 2

Review: Collaborative Commonwealth

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Robert A. Needham

4.0 out of 5 stars Buy the Kindle not the Print — Thoughts Worth Considering, December 23, 2014

Enough substance to warrant my finishing the book and writing a summary review.

I accepted this book from a publicist because of my strong interest in “third way” economics. I like the concept of Collaborative Commonwealth very much, an alternative concept is one put forth by Michel Bauwens and others as Open Cooperativism. The two concepts are not as similar as one might think.

What I like most about the book is its very clever use of the water analogy (drops become streams become rivers feed lakes and oceans); its starkly interesting positioning of collaborative commonwealth as being in the sweet spot between the extremes of predatory capitalism and unbridled socialism, and its combination of clear patriotism including a defense of all of the Constitutional Amendments with an equally clear indictment of the US Government as the “gang in possesion” looting the Commonwealth and helping the banksters — including the private bank known as the Federal Reserve — squeeze the last drop of blood out of We the Economic Slaves.

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Dec 23

Review: The New Story – Storytelling as a Pathway to Peace

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Inger Lise Oelrich

5.0 out of 5 stars Addresses a Major Vacuum in Our Approach to Any Challenge, 16 Dec 2014

This is a hugely important book that I hope will become popular in the USA, and translated into other languages. I learned of its existence while attending a Findhorn Foundation event in Scotland, “The New Story Summit.” At one point there was a discussion of how United Nations “peacekeepers” are sent in to keep the peace but do so at the point of a gun, without any training in human interaction or the fundamentals of story-telling, narrative weaving, listening, observing, and all the other human “arts.” This one story impressed me greatly.

Having now read the book, I want to emphasize my enchantment by confessing that I am a Naked Truth kind of person, the diametric opposite of the Story Teller. As with UN peacekeepers, I have been badly trained, equipped, and organized for a world in which conversation and story-telling are alternatives to confrontation and violence.

Although the author and the book focus on the role of story-telling in relation to peace-making, I would emphasize its value in creating common prosperity at well — in creating the means of self-governance with respect for the limits of nature and the importance of doing no harm.

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Dec 17