Review: The Media Ecosystem — What Ecology Can Teach Us About Responsible Media Practice

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Antonio Lopez

5.0 out of 5 stars A unique and timely integrative overview with many original insights, August 22, 2013

I received this book as a gift, and am glad that I did as I normally would not have noticed it, bought it, or reviewed it. I hope my review will inspire others to buy the book, and if not, provide a summary of some of the highlights that I consider quite timely, original, and useful.

This is a manifesto of sorts, on CRITICAL INFORMATION, or stated another way, on public decision-support needs and the urgency of restoring both integrity (tell the truth) and holistic soundness (report on everything, and on the cause and effect cost and consequences of everything in relation to everything). Of course modern media fails this test, and the author should be credited with providing a manifesto and high-level handbook of how we might proceed.

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Aug 22

Review (Guest): Trust Me, I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator

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Ryan Holiday

5.0 out of 5 stars How To Become an Alpha Predator of the Media July 19, 2012

By John Robb

Ryan has written two EXPLOSIVE books in one package. It’s VERY easy to read. It’s something you can digest in an afternoon.

Better yet: Ryan, unlike many others, has the credentials to write it. He is the mastermind behind much of the explosive success of American Apparel and Tucker Max. You can’t find anyone with more insider cred than that (he’s also a long time Global Guerrillas reader!).

The first book rips back the covers on our corrupt media system.

He shows how sites like Gawker, Huffington Post, Drudge, Brietbart, eHow (Demand Media), Daily Kos, Business Insider, and many others have ushered in the return of Yellow Journalism. We now live in an age where the news is manufactured and often based on brazen falsities. Why? Money. To generate a fraction of a cent per page view. Worse, these sites now drive the news we see in our increasingly bankrupt traditional media (CNN, ABC…). Where will the return of Yellow Journalism lead us? Who knows, but I can assure you it isn’t a good place.

The (more important) second book is an instruction manual on how to become an Alpha Predator of the media world.

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Jul 20

Review (Guest): The Open Source Everything Manifesto – Transparency, Truth & Trust

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Robert David Steele

5.0 out of 5 stars PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN!,June 24, 2012

B. Tweed DeLions “B.T.”

If there’s a single Founding Father of the Open Source movement, Robert D. Steele is it. Everyone else has been playing catchup. And if you don’t know what the Open Source revolution is, you need to read this book. You don’t even need to know why! You need to buy it, read it, and then you’ll *know* why. No other book on Open Source can open your eyes the way this one can. That’s because there’s no potential use of Open Source intelligence that Steele hasn’t anticipated. Collective Intelligence is coming! It’s an unstoppable force. And it will change everything. So if you like to know about things like that in advance, you need to buy this book.

The information age that was created by personal computers was just a kiddie car with a squeaky horn. By comparison, the open source revolution is a freight train. Its potential to change your world is orders of magnitude greater. This is not hyperbole. In fact superlatives can’t begin to express the ground-shaking potential of this next wave of human evolution.

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Jun 24

Review: The Information Diet – A Case for Conscious Consumption

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Clay Johnson

5.0 out of 5 stars Gift Book, Gift Idea, Gift Economy, Get a Grip,February 18, 2012

I received a copy of this book as a gift, and gladly so since the top review at this time is unfairly dismissive while also confessing that the reviewer only read the first third of the book (but evidently not the preface (first page) that states plainly (first sentence, actually), “The things we know about food have a lot to teach us about how to have a healthy relationship with information.”

Having just reviewed The Telescreen: An Empirical Study of the Destruction and Despiritualization of Consciousness, and so many other books here at Amazon, I easily connect the point in last night’s reading: that food, medicine, education, and the media are all “co-conspirators” in dumbing down a human population whose brains started out as enormous pools of potential creativity, to this book. The information — and the food and the medicine and the tabloid garbage we are ingesting — is killing us.

What the first reviewer completely misses is that this is the first manifesto, beyond The Age of Missing Information, to actually focus on how out of control our relationship is to the world of information. As a lifetime professional in these matters I can state clearly that not only are governments substituting ideology for intelligence and corruption for integrity, but so are all the other communities of information (academia, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government / non-profit. We live in a totally corrupt world where — right now — banking families (Rothschild et al) own the banks and the banks own the two-party tyrannies (or the outright dictators) that own government, and they own the the corporations, with the 99% being expendable fodder for 1% theft from the commonwealth. This book is a cry from the heart, and an eloquent one at that.

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Feb 18

Review (Guest): Democracy Incorporated – Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

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Sheldon S. Wolin

Editorial Review:

Of the many books I’ve read or skimmed in the past seven years that attempted to get inside the social and political debacles of the present, none has had the chilling clarity and historical discernment of Sheldon S. Wolin’s Democracy Incorporated. Building on his fifty years as a political theorist and proponent of radical democracy, Wolin here extends his concern with the extinguishing of the political and its replacement by fraudulent simulations of democratic process. — Jonathan Crary, Artforum

4.0 out of 5 stars Managed Democracy, Superpower, and alas, even, “Inverted Totalitarianism”, June 17, 2008

ByJohn P. Jones III (Albuquerque, NM, USA) – See all my reviews  (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)

This is a seminal work which “tells it like it is” concerning the current power arrangements in the American political system, as well as the political leadership’s aspirations towards global empire. Prof. Wolin sets the tone of his work on page 1, with the juxtaposition of the imagery of Adolph Hitler landing in a small plane at the 1934 rally at Nuremberg, as shown in Leni Reifenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will,” and George Bush landing on the aircraft carrier “Abraham Lincoln” in 2003. Certainly one of the dominant themes of the book is comparing the operating power structure in the United States with various totalitarian regimes of the past: Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Prof Wolin emphasizes the differences between these totalitarian powers, and the softer concentration of power in the United States, which he dubs “inverted totalitarianism.”

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Oct 7

Review (Guest): Fixing America – Breaking the Stranglehold of Corporate Rule, Big Media, and the Religious Right

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John Buchanan

5.0 out of 5 stars Gets to the very crux of our nation’s ills.,September 27, 2009

John Buchanan understands the true spirit of our nation and puts his finger smack on all the ways we’ve strayed away from that spirit. This is the first social studies volume every high school kid should read. This book is so right on it hurts. Get this book; read it; then go out there and save your nation — these United States — from those greedy insiders who have high jacked it for their own evil gains.

Phi Beta Iota:  The Occupy movement in the USA that has emerged in Sep-Oct 2011 is a manifestation of the ideas in this book, and the urgent needs identified but not assimilated in 2005 and earlier.

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Oct 4

Review: Among the Truthers — A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground

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Jonathan Kay

3.0 out of 5 starsShallow, Scribbler Who Ignored the Books and DVDs, May 23, 2011

I came to this page asking myself if three stars would be too hard on this author and what has proven to be a disturbing amount of garbage. The other reviews kept me at three, I was toying with two stars.

When I received the book, and then again today, my first impressions of the author are hugely negative: glib, arrogant, smug, condescending. This guy has crawled out from under some Canadian rock where he led a very sheltered life–either that or he is an “agent of influence” funded by CSIS and the CIA to undermine the 9/11 Truth Movement just as it is gaining even more traction in the aftermath of the Wall Street looting of the American and global economies. [Cf. GRIFTOPIA and the DVD "Inside Job"]
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May 23

Reference: The Pentagon Labyrinth

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The Pentagon Labyrinth

It is my pleasure to announce the publication of The Pentagon Labyrinth: 10 Short Essays to Help You Through It. This is a short pamphlet of less than 150 pages and is available at no cost in E-Book PDF format, as well as in hard copy from links on this page as well as here and here.  Included in the menu below are download links for a wide variety of supplemental/supporting information (much previously unavailable on the web) describing how notions of combat effectiveness relate to the basic building blocks of people, ideas, and hardware/technology; the nature of strategy; and the dysfunctional character of the Pentagon’s decision making procedures and the supporting role of its  accounting shambles.

Chuck Spinney
The Blaster

This pamphlet aims to help both newcomers and seasoned observers learn how to grapple with the problems of national defense.  Intended for readers who are frustrated with the superficial nature of the debate on national security, this handbook takes advantage of the insights of ten unique professionals, each with decades of experience in the armed services, the Pentagon bureaucracy, Congress, the intelligence community, military history, journalism and other disciplines.  The short but provocative essays will help you to:

  • identify the decay – moral, mental and physical – in America’s defenses,
  • understand the various “tribes” that run bureaucratic life in the Pentagon,
  • appreciate what too many defense journalists are not doing, but should,
  • conduct first rate national security oversight instead of second rate theater,
  • separate careerists from ethical professionals in senior military and civilian ranks,
  • learn to critique strategies, distinguishing the useful from the agenda-driven,
  • recognize the pervasive influence of money in defense decision-making,
  • unravel the budget games the Pentagon and Congress love to play,
  • understand how to sort good weapons from bad – and avoid high cost failures, and
  • reform the failed defense procurement system without changing a single law.

The handbook ends with lists of contacts, readings and Web sites carefully selected to facilitate further understanding of the above, and more.

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Mar 10

Review (Guest): Program or be Programmed–Ten Commands for a Digital Age

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Douglas Rushkoff

Table of Contents

I. TIME  Do Not Be “Always On”
II. PLACE  Live in Person
III. CHOICE  You May Always Choose “None of the Above”
IV. COMPLEXITY  You Are Never Completely Right
V. SCALE  One Size Does Not Fit All
VI. IDENTITY  Be Yourself
VII. SOCIAL  Do Not Sell Your Friends
VIII. FACT  Tell the Truth
IX. OPENNESS Share, Don’t Steal
X. PURPOSE Program or Be Programmed

5.0 out of 5 stars Re-Humanizing Our Future

December 29, 2010

Brent Finnegan (Harrisonburg, VA, US) – See all my reviews

I haven’t read Rushkoff’s other books (although I might go back and read Life Inc: How Corporatism Conquered the World, and How We Can Take It Back).

Program or be Programmed is a quick read. I read it on the Kindle my wife got me for Christmas. The irony of reading a book about the pitfalls and possibilities of technology we don’t fully understand on a device I don’t fully understand was not lost on me.

I would describe this as an “Internet philosophy book” that might fit on the bookshelf somewhere between Neal Stephenson’s In the Beginning…was the Command Line and Jeff Jarvis’ What Would Google Do? But I found Program to be even more thoughtful and succinct than those books.

Quote from the book: “Instead of learning about our technology, we opt for a world in which our technology learns about us.”

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Feb 9

Review (DVD): The Most Dangerous Man in America–Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Relevant Today and Always

December 7, 2010

I completely missed the release of this film in July, and stumbled on it while picking movies for a sick son.

It opens with Henry Kissinger, since demonstrated to be a war criminal, calling Daniel Elsberg the most dangerous man in America, and lamenting the release of secret documents (that ultimately proved government perfidy). Fast forward to WikiLeaks as a sequel to the 935 documented lies led by Dick Cheney.

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Dec 7