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

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Review: The State is Out of Date – We Can Do It Better

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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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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

Review (Guest): Final Judgment – The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy

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Michael Collins Piper

By Herbert L Calhoun on March 10, 2003

As one who has read over 200 books on the JFK Assassination, and engaged in research both as an individual and as part of various teams, I can say without fear of contradiction that Piper’s book is now the definitive work on the JFK Assassination. “Final Judgement” is the most thorough, most honest, most penetrating, most factual, and most analytically complete and systematic of all that I have read so far.

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Mar 24

Review (Guest): The Yankee and Cowboy War

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Carl Oglesby

This is the first of several high-level political analyses motivated by a need to better understand the politics that led to both the JFK assassination and the Nixon Watergate Affair. It deploys as the primary theoretical model, C. Wright Mills “Theory of the Power Elite” and the framework in Carroll Quigleys book “Tragedy and Hope.”

With these tools, Carl Oglesby posits an interesting thesis: that JFKs assassination, instead of being a random act by a lone nut was in fact a carefully planned and professional executed ongoing coup d’ etat a la Americaine, a not so silent coup by the same forces responsible for the murders of JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X and possibly the demise and eventual destruction of the billionaire Howard Hughes.

What all of these events had in common was that they were links in a chain designed to replace one set of power elite (members of the old moneyed “peace promoting” Eastern Yankee Establishment) with another (the Nuevo Riche and newly arrived, “progress through war” Western Cowboys). Thus it is argued here that the events connecting Dallas, Memphis, Watergate and the demise of the Hughes empire, are but threads in a common fabric, growing and evolving directly out of the systematic corruption of American politics and out of contemporary political realities.

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Mar 24

Review (Guest): Deep Politics and the Death of JFK

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Peter Dale Scott

Along with Carl Oglesby’s The Yankee [and] Cowboy War and Michael Piper Collins’ Final Judgment, this is the best book ever written on the JFK Assassination. It may also be the best book ever written on the way the American political process ACTUALLY works. It is certainly the most honest one.

Deep Politics should be required reading for undergraduates in all American college and university Political Science courses. If for no reason other than that, in the course of getting at the bottom of the assassination of JFK, Professor Scott did not hesitate to expand the context of American political life to those unacceptable areas that lay just beneath the American consciousness and at the bottom of the American political undercurrents.

Once one is guided through his process of expanding the context of understanding (or actually “over-understanding”) the machinations of the American Political process (its corruption, deceptions, cover-ups, and other pretexts for explaining away its immorality), then the details of the assassination itself, are almost a foregone conclusions – little more than a logical afterthought.

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Mar 24

Review: How America Was Lost – From 9/11 to the Police/Warfare State

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Paul Craig Roberts

5.0 out of 5 stars Most Credible Consistent Truth-Teller I Read…., February 21, 2014

I have been following Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of Treasury in the Reagan Administration, for years. Originally he specialized in economic commentary, and I was much taken with his hard-hitting critical commentary and particularly his illumination of the false statistics being released by the Bush and Obama Administrations with respect to unemployment and other major measuring rods of our Nation’s health. He was the commentator that introduced me to shadowstats.com, which documents 22.4% unemployment at a time when the Obama Administration claims 7.5% more or less — never mind lies that are 300% removed from reality.

Paul Craig Roberts is non-partisan in his critical commentary. I consider him a patriot with a brain, a capable author, and a voice much needed within all political circles, and most particularly within the Republican Party which is now at war with itself as the real common-sense conservatives recognize that the GOP has been hijacked by Zionists, Evangelicals, and other nut-cases who are all about personal privilege (including pedophilia) and personal profit and both personal and institutional power while disregarding the Constitution and betraying the Republic.

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Feb 21

Review: The People’s Advocate – The Life and Legal History of America’s Most Fearless Public Interest Lawyer [Danny Sheehan]

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Danny Sheehan

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Stars on Substance, Revolutionary Illumination, February 20, 2014

This is a book for smart people who care about the Constitution, the Republic, and America the Beautiful — the America of good people with big hearts and strong souls who do the best they can while trapped amidst a complex of corrupt systems that now include most labor unions, most non-profits, and most religions — all the safety nets are gone. It is not an easy read but it could be the most important book you could read right now, as we prepare for the 2014-2020 civil war between the 99% and the 1%. For a sense of where I see Danny Sheehan in modern US history, see my review of Arsonist: The Most Dangerous Man in America. Danny Sheehan’s is to the second American revolution as James Otis was to the Founding Fathers. The 1% and their political bi-opoly (the best of the servant class in the eyes of the 1%) are the target for a massive apolitical cross-cultural uprising rooted in natural law, social justice, and common sense.

Danny Sheehan

Danny Sheehan

The book cannot be fully appreciated without first understanding that the author has been a major player in every fundamental Constitutional case having to do with public agency — the sovereignty of the public versus the assumption by the “government” that it has inherent powers once reserved for kings, and that the citizens “donate” (abdicate) their powers once they “elect” said government. I highly recommend Wikipedia’s biography on Daniel Sheehan (attorney). This — or the timeline below — is what should have opened the book in the first place. I take the trouble to do this because the value of this book lies with the next generation, the generation now in college and graduate school (or unemployed and unOccupied), not in the generation that rose with Danny and failed to beat down New York money, Texas energy, and the Nazi hydra combined with elite embrace of drugs, money laundering, and pedophilia, among other high crimes against the Republic.

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Feb 20

Review (Guest): The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man

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Luke Harding

4.0 out of 5 stars Ed Snowden and the American tribal fear meme, February 19, 2014

 

This is a story about what one American saw atop the tip of an iceberg called the “American national security state.” In the end, Ed Snowden, a 29-year old, $200,00/year High School dropout turned Computer Systems Administrator for Dell, and then Booz Allen Hamilton, both of which were under contract with the NSA, is little more than a proxy for the rest of us: the “paying customer” zombies and drones for the American “national security state.”

As he tried to “ride out” his tenure astride this violently bucking institutional Orwellian Frankenstein, Snowden quickly realized that he was losing ground to this secret self-fashioned protector of America’s deepest values. In our life time, the NSA had joined a long string of other self-justifying, self-certifying, security institutions, like the CIA, the FBI, Swat Teams, the DEA, even local police intelligence units, especially in America’s inner cities. In our lifetime, these institutions have acquired immense and unwarranted powers, often even unauthorized, unconstitutional and unearned and even criminal influence over our democratic institutions. Today, as this evolving behemoth huffs and puffs and bucks wildly out-of-control, Snowden decided he had no choice but to “jump ship,” taking with him a treasure trove of all that lay below the national security waterline.

What exactly is it that Ed Snowden saw that frightened him out of his wits and out of his $200k job and into the hands of a most curious savior of last resort: Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the ex-Communist ex-superpower that, since it was forced to commit suicide as an empire, has now become a capitalist Wild West frontier, a land full of out-of-control oligarchs, which is exactly where Ed Snowden’s favorite political hero, Ron Paul would like to take America — if he is ever elected president, that is.

As he now sits ensconced somewhere in Russia, one thought above all else must have occurred to Mr. Snowden: Is this some kind of sick joke? That me, a freedom-loving American, who willingly exercised my civic duty as a free-thinking defender of American values and the U.S. Constitution, conveying crimes being committed against that very Constitution, is now forced to run, hide and seek refuge in a failed ex-Communist state?

That Snowden’s reality is true in a nation that is still living on moral credit, and that takes much more credit for being democratic than it deserves or its historical record can substantiate, is almost as embarrassing an irony and contradiction as seeing the U.S. being “in hock up to the hilt” to Reagan’s other Axis-of-evil: the last standing Communist Police State, “Red China.” And lest we conveniently forget, said “Red China,” is the same state that less than three decades ago, we were referring to mockingly and derisively as being backwards? Now, that they are in bed with our capitalist oligarchs (the Red Chinese “Job Creators,” par excellence) rather incongruously, China has now become the world’s leading capitalist country, holding 60% of our debt, while the U.S. slides noisily, defiantly, but nevertheless persistently and decidedly, backwards. There is an embedded poetic logic to this irony that Snowden’s Ron Paul-Ayn Rand Libertarian sensibilities seems to have missed?

This book rather inarticulately unravels the story of exactly what it is that Ed Snowden saw; why he was so alarmed; and why he had no choice but to expose what he saw to the American public and then had to run. It tells how in the ultimate act of patriotic suicide, Snowden had to respectfully sue for the mercy of the “Obama Courts.” However, since he knew that with the “Obama Justice Department,” a fair trial was already off the table, he had no choice but to “punt early” by “going on the lam,” and seeking protection and a haven elsewhere.

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Feb 19

Review: American Nations – A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

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Colin Woodard

5.0 out of 5 stars Nine Nations Was a Snap-Shot — This Is Deep History & Ends Thoughtfully, February 16, 2014

I bought this book prepared to dislike it, having given a rave review to Joel Garreau’s The Nine Nations of North America. Let me settle that one immediately. I loved this book. As the author himself points out early on, Garreau’s book was a snap-shot, this book is a deep history. I was also quite taken, at the end of the book, with the author’s acknowledgements that begin with Garreau and go on to others such as Wilbur Zelinsky’s The Cultural Geography of The United States: A Revised Edition and Raymond Gastil’s Cultural regions of the United States.

Although I would have liked some illustrations and maps in relation to each section of the book — there is only one map for the entire book — I found the book riveting, and would like to see it become a standard text for multi-disciplinary education across history, political science, sociology, and cultural studies.

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Feb 16