Review (Guest): The Empire of Necessity – Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World

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Greg Grandin

5.0 out of 5 stars The complexity of the moral landscape during America’s founding generation, March 2, 2014

Herbert L Calhoun “paulocal”

The reader is unlikely to find a book that better contextualizes or sharpens the focus of the moral issues confronting America’s founding generation than this book. Using the metaphor of “empires of necessity,” the author shows how America’s westward expansion made it the advance-guard of the world, beating a path through the wilderness. But America has never acknowledged that it was enslaved peoples who were in fact beating that path called Manifest Destiny: cutting down forests, turning the wilderness into plantations and into marketable real estate, and picking cotton and cutting the sugar cane that drew more and more territory into a thriving atlantic economy. Slavery alone was the issue at the top of the world’s agenda throughout the era of the founding of America. The evils of slavery and the slave trade was the constant refrain of sermons each Sunday from Connecticut to Montevideo; and from Seville to London.

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Review (Guest): Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam

cover kill anything that movesNick Turse

5 of 5 stars. I was there, he is right on some things. By George James Kalergis on September 8, 2013

There is some evidence for his proposition. He greatly overstates the incidence of rape and deliberate murder of civilians however. He makes it sound as if this was a routine/daily occurrence. In my year there in combat, I did not see one incident such as this.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my experience in Vietnam as a result of reading this book. It has some elements of truth to it, especially concerning the inflated body counts and influence from the chain of command for bodies. However, from my experience he has looked for (and found) many individual instances of abuse of civilians in that war and made it seem that was much more of a regular occurrence than it was.He doesn’t point out the danger we were in from women and children who would set booby traps or shoot at us. It was a nightmare scenario and I’m sure many soldiers lost their lives because they were not cautious enough with women and children. Continue reading

Review (Guest): Goliath – Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

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Max Blumenthal

5.0 out of 5 stars When tribalism trumps democracy, January 10, 2014

Herbert L. Calhoun

In the Middle East, another war of biblical proportions is taking place. It is the war between Judaism and democracy. This book tells us that the most famous outcome in the bible, the tale of David slaying Goliath, is now being reversed. This time around, David (Israeli democracy), loses, and loses badly to the Middle East’s new conservative run, nuclear-armed Goliath of Israeli neocolonialism, tribalism and racism.

Whatever else this book does, it forces us to face straight up, one of our worse hidden fears about that besieged little middle eastern nation: Right before our eyes, little brother Israel, has become the 21st Century’s first full-bred racist and fascist state. But how is it that in our life time, the collective guilt and heart-felt dreams for a Jewish homeland come true — one free of the evils of the kind of racism and anti-Semitism imposed on European Jewry by Adolph Hitler, has now been turned completely on its head?

This author tells us that it is happening because Israeli’s demographic and racist fears about neighboring Arabs has metastasized into wanton crimes and embarrassing politically motivated violence against the Palestinians and other Arabs under Israel’s occupation. The Israeli predilection for violence, coupled with justifications rooted in visceral racial fears, is systematically turning Israel into a modern-day race-based dystopia.

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Review: Theodore and Woodrow – How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom

PRINTABLE DOC: (4 Pages): Review Theodore and Woodrow

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Andrew P. Napolitano

4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Op-Ed Book, Missing the Eye Candy, October 31, 2013

I broke with the Republican Party over Iran-Contra and belatedly, the one trillion a year that Reagan started shamelessly borrowing to fund the dual welfare system — a dysfunctional military-espionage-industrial complex for the right, and a dysfunctional regulatory myopic and equally toxic individual welfare system for the left, all while ignoring banking and corporate predation. Fox News broke with me when I said, on live Fox, that the Global War on Terror was a fraud. Fox may be getting smarter, certainly this book causes me to reconsider where the right might be. I like the book very much. Although an Op-Ed book that lacks the eye candy (the Constitution as an appendix, and charts showing the specifics of Roosevelt’s and Wilson’s violations, maps of global and domestic depravities carried out in the public name and at the public’s expense), this is a superb primer, a superb eye-opener, not just for the normal American with little time to read, but also, absolutely, for those like myself who read a great deal but may not have been well grounded in the areas where Judge Napolitano has spent hard time in the trenches.

I notice immediately that among his many books are two that resonate with everything that I and others do at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog (“The truth at any cost lowers all other costs”):

Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws
Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History

This book is a measured and hence valuable overview of thirteen unconstitutional turns in our last century and a half. I thought, with all the other excellent reviews already up, that the best contribution I could make is single out the one where I learned the most, and then offer an additional recommended reading in each of eight other areas where the author has sharpened my understanding and heightened my patriotic anger.

EYE OPENER: I never gave much thought to the 17th amendment that took states’ right away by taking away the role of the Senators as representatives of the State, instead turning them into the standard mob mouthpieces of the two-party tyranny. Now I am in Afghanistan, where a federal system has made corruption the central fact of life, destroyed the diversity and integrity of the provinces, and set the stage for another civil war when the US limps out. The older I get and the more I learn, the more I treasure grass-roots diversity down to municipal and county rights — NO from the bottom must trump “because I say so” from the top. I am adding reversal of 17th Amendment to my “to do” list at We the People Reform Coalition, joining my view that secession is the right of every state, and nullification in the public interest is the OBLIGATION of every Governor and state legislature.

Now here are eight of the thirteen chapters, each a lesson plan on its own, my only contribution here is to add a short blurb and one recommended additional reading for each of these chapters (I have reviewed each, my reviews are summary in nature for those who do not have the time or do not wish to purchase the books).

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