Review (Guest): All the Presidents’ Bankers – The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power

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Nomi Prins

Essential reading on the deep, dark history of crony capitalism in America

By John Butler on March 29, 2014

Nomi Prins has done it again. With All the Presidents’ Bankers, she shows in exhaustive detail how Wall Street has captured the US political and regulatory process: Left, Right, Up, Down, Sideways. Indeed, as she demonstrates convincingly in the book, the entire left-right paradigm of modern US politics is completely irrelevant to a proper understanding of what really goes on in the long, dark tunnels of power linking Wall Street in New York with K Street in Washington, and their deleterious impact on what some still purport to call ‘democracy’.

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Aug 13

Review (Guest): The Utopia of Rules – on Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

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David Gaeber

A Fresh Take on Bureaucracy

By Peter Richardson on March 19, 2015

What intense pleasure this book gave me, despite the dull topic: bureaucracy. Anthropologist David Graeber is perhaps best known for Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2011), which became required reading for the Occupy Wall Street movement. In that book, Graeber showed that the standard explanation for the origins of money, rehearsed in dozens of economics textbooks, was a fairy tale.

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Mar 23

Review: Unstoppable – The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State

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Ralph Nader

4.0 out of 5 stars Valentine for the Real Conservatives — Bland and Not Transformative, March 9, 2015

Positive up front: reading a book by another person is like getting a few hours of their time to yourself, so any book by Ralph Nader is a substantive value to anyone interested in ethics and governance. However, this is not the transformative book I was hoping for, and I even have to wonder if all the great minds providing blurbs even read the book. For the long critique of this book, which I totally embrace, see Herbert Calhoun’s 3-star review, This is Both an Accurate and a Useful Treatise, But …?, October 25, 2014. I’d like to see it voted up, Mr. Calhoun, whom I have had the privilege of meeting at Amphoras in Vienna, is one of the most intelligent and broadly read individuals I have ever encountered.

Second positive up front: in terms of inspiring generations of independent thinkers some of whom have become thought leaders in their own right, Ralph Nader is special. Jim Turner — co-author with Lawrence Chickering of Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life and Theresa Amato, whose own book Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny contributed to my radicalization, stand out.

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Mar 12

Review (Guest): Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public

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Steven M. Drucker

A meticulously documented account of corporate influence overriding sound science at the U.S. FDA

By n brown on March 7, 2015

Author Steven Druker raises an interesting parallel between computer systems and genetic manipulation. While computer systems – especially those that are life-dependent and life-sustaining – are carefully tested and retested to make sure that no “glitch” or “bug” could cause catastrophic harm, alterations to the far more complex genetic code of plants are made without similar precautions. These novel plants are grown, harvested, and consumed with little or no independent testing.

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Mar 10