Review: Shadow Government — Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Tom Engelbardt

5.0 out of 5 stars Responsible and Compelling — Avoids Some of the Darkest Facts, October 16, 2014

A more timely relevant book for US citizens could not be imagined, at least by me. By the sheerest coincidence, I have also recently read two books that in my view form a tri-fecta of perspective that could help launch an abolishment of the present government of the USA, a two-party tyranny in service to the legalized crime families of Wall Street.

Micah Sifry: The Big Disconnect: Why The Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet)
Darrell West: Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust

I won’t repeat my summary reviews of those two books, here I will only say that while Tom Engelhardt is ably laying out the criminal insanity of what we have now in the way of a secret government that has become a “lockdown state” toxic to all forms of life everywhere, Micah has documented why the progressive and activist civil movements are dead in the water without a clue, and Darrell has documented how there are at least 25 billionaires out there who want to get it right but have no one to work with.

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Oct 16

Review: The Fourth Revolution – The Global Race to Reinvent the State

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

4.0 out of 5 stars Trying to Do the Wrong Thing Righter — It’s Not the State, Stupid!, June 2, 2014

I am reading Why Government Fails So Often: And How It Can Do Better, a gift from a former naval officer who shares my outrage over the US Government being 50% waste across the board. This book looks interesting but insufficient. As most of us now know, government is one of eight major action and information tribes (the other seven are academic, civil society including labor and religion, commerce especially small business, law enforcement, media, military, and non-governmental/non-profit organizations (NGO).

Trying to fix the state in isolation is a classic example of what Buckminster Fuller said we should never do (don’t try to fix a dysfunctional system, instead create a new system that displaces it) and what Russell Ackoff would label another attempt to do the wrong thing righter, instead of doing the right thing.

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Jun 2

Review: The State is Out of Date – We Can Do It Better

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Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Gregory Sams

4.0 out of 5 stars Double-Spaced Essay of Value, April 30, 2014

This is an excellent double-spaced essay without notes or index, on how the state is a pathological encumberance on society, enabling all manner of waste in large part because it is incapable of dealing with the nuances of complexity. I quite agree with the author’s central premise, that 90% of what the state does and how it does it is antithetical to the peace and prosperity of society at large.

The book was first published in 1998, see the excellent comment from the author below as to its provenance and intent. My belief that this is new work, encouraged by slick mis-representative marketing including a new YouTube and no mention anywhere that this is a reprint that is 16 years old, is in error. I hold the author blameless, this was a publisher too distant from crowd ethics.

Among the best features of the book are numerous quotes from others collected by the author, and many examples from him time in the 1970’s through early 1990’s dealing with health food and natural cures.

The author’s major failing is in assuming that government is anything other than an organized crime family (the Nordic, BENELUX, and Singapore governments excepted). For the longest time I could not understand the US tax code and its purpose. One day, after considering the Tobin Tax and the efficacy of having a single Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax that included currency and stock transactions, I realize that the US tax code is actually a blackmail scheme. It’s purpose is not to raise revenue — witness the one trillion a year the US borrows in the name of future generations — it’s purpose is to blackmain businesses into paying for tax exemptions and loopholes, the point being that the money extorted by blackmail goes to the political campaign funds, not to the public.

I have a number of margin notations, and find much to agree with in this book, I am so dismayed with the false presentation of this book by the publisher as “new” that I am ending my review here. Watch any of the YouTube offerings to get the gist free.

A vastly more trenchant actually new book one with real homework, notes, and up to date references, is Peter Linebaugh’s Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (Spectre). A related book that complements both is William Easterly’s The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, the next book that I will be reading and reviewing.

For those that would like to explore many of the themes that the author raises in his personal essay, I offer the four following lists of lists of book reviews — over 400 books sorted into over 40 categories — each easily found online with links back to all Amazon pages embedded.

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Positive Future-Oriented)

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Negative Status-Quo)

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Corruption 2.0

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Democracy Lost & Found

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability (2010)

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Apr 30

Review: Who Rules America (2013)

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Amazon Page

G. William Domhoff

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Stars for Early Warning on 1%, Holistic Analytics, and Clear Attention to Weakness of the 99%, April 19, 2014

This book was central to my education in Political Science (more political than science, more passive aggressive than normative). In light of all that we know now, the book MUST be considered both a 6 Star classic (in my top 10%, I read non-fiction in 98 categories), and highly relevant today.

It distresses me that there are no good reviews visible right now, this is partly because Amazon has destroyed really great reviews from past editions in order to make way for new generations of young reviewers, most of whom do not get pointed toward this book by their college professors, if they are lucky enough to even go to college.

Here is the 6th edition of the book where useful reviews are to be found:

Who Rules America? Challenges to Corporate and Class Dominance

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

I am posting an image from the author that shows how the social, corporate, and “hired hand” elite (for the latter, think tanks and politicians) intersect, with the 1% shown in the center (I added that bit).

Democracy is hard. Responsibility in democracy cannot be delegated or integrity is lost. When I and the author speak of integrity we are talking about accountability, the assurance of diversity in all councils, feedback loops, and the recognition of true costs of any decision. When the public delegates its responsibility for self-government, democracy is quickly lost. For other books that support this one, which can be considered “the original” in modern history (Toqueville’s Democracy in America (Penguin Classics) is THE original), see my easily found list of my Amazon reviews on this topic and its anti-thesis corruption, by searching for:

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Democracy Lost & Found

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Corruption 2.0

For anyone wanting more than is available from Inside the Book, or seeking a summary of the book, there is no better summary available than that provided by the author himself on a very powerful web site of his own, search online for:

The Class-Domination Theory of Power by G. William Domhoff

For myself, this book is both a celebration of what Politica Science can offer (see also the books listed below within my ten link limit), and also an indictment of the discipline of Political Science. I am in the process of thinking about how to change the discipline to answer these three WHAT IF questions:

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Apr 19