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

Review: The Accidental Admiral – A Sailor Takes Command at NATO

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James Stavridis

5.0 out of 5 stars In Ike’s mold — a future Secretary of Defense or State or both if we are lucky…, December 11, 2014

This is three books in one, and none of them do justice to the author, who is easily considered by my naval officer colleagues to be a person of most extraordinary intellect and absolute integrity — he is considered a “five star” flag in every possible respect, and there are many of us whom he has mentored or who run with those he has mentored, who hope he will one day be Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State or both. I discussed this book with CAPT Scott Philpott, USN (Ret), among those selected by the author as an innovator, and this point cannot be overstated: to the extent the Services have toxic leadership that must be retired, those mentored by Admiral Stavridis and a few other leaders (General Tony Zinni, for example) are the vanguard for a new generation of leaders who are agile, clear, daring, frugal, and above all, able to bring to bear intelligence with integrity.

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Dec 11