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Books

Books
How Obama Failed
Branko Marcetic: Review of A Crisis Wasted (Rosetta Books, 2019) by Reed Hundt. ... he’s written a book witheringly critical of not just the Obama administration’s handling of the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath, but of the Democratic establishment’s response to it — an insider’s step-by-step account of all the mistakes, false assumptions, and timidities that, over Obama’s eight years, helped deliver the electorate into the hands of Trump. ... Obama’s outsourcing of his administration’s transition process to Clintonites, combined with his lack of commitment to a progressive political vision, hemmed him in ... But he faults the cool, calm, collected Obama for not using the bully pulpit more aggressively to sell the public and Congress on his agenda ... What we might consider Obama’s most admirable personal qualities — his preternatural calm, his even temper — ended up being his greatest weaknesses in the field of politics... Visit Website ]
May 23, 2019, 3:03pm

Books
Big Tech and the Rise of Surveillance Capitalism
Mark Kernan: Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. by Shoshana Zuboff ... The very thing that was suppose to set us free and serve us, as internet creator Tim Berners Lee had hoped, has now evolved as Lee said “into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.” ... The capture & commodification of our data, the predatory construction of user profiles and surveillance is in the DNA of surveillance capitalism. ... once we searched Google, now Google (and the rest) searches us ... even when you turn off tracking, Facebook still tracks you. Likewise, it follows you across the internet via code implanted in your browser ... Big Tech’s business model isn’t compatible with our rights, human values and even our democracies... Visit Website ]
May 6, 2019, 1:29pm

Books
The CIA Takeover of America in the 1960s is the Story of Our Times
Edward Curtin: A Quasi-Review of A Lie Too Big To Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Lisa Pease ‘We’re all puppets,’ the suspect [Sirhan Sirhan] replied, with more truth than he could have understood at that moment. ... ... The assassination of the top four leaders of the political left in the five year period – President John Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 – represented nothing less than a slow-motion coup on the political scene. ... Anyone who has looked closely and honestly at the evidence has realized that more than one person was involved in Robert Kennedy’s death. So why can’t reporters see this? Why can’t the media explain this? Because the media and the government are two sides of the same coin, and those who challenge the government’s version of history, as numerous reporters have found out, all too often lose status and sometimes whole careers... Visit Website ]
Apr 3, 2019, 4:18pm

Books
Cold War in the Land of Oil
Ron Jacobs: Ever since oil became the defining energy source for wartime militaries during World War Two, the world’s politically and economically dominant nations have done their best to control those nations where oil is located. ... By placing the nations of Iran and Saudi Arabia at the center of his book Cold War in the Islamic World, author Dilip Hiro provides the reader with a perspective rarely found in most texts regarding the Middle East. ... It is a history not just of two nations and their governments, but of those two nations’ power over their neighbors—friends and enemies. ... While Hiro’s history of Iran is one of coups and revolutionary upheaval, his history of Saudi Arabia is more or less a narrative of palace intrigue... Visit Website ]
Mar 30, 2019, 11:41am

Books
Emily Post’s Great-Great-Granddaughter Explains the Proper Way to Get High
Jackie Flynn Mogensen: Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of American etiquette legend Emily Post, wrote a book to help even a cannabis novice navigate the social environment of legal weed. The book, Higher Etiquette: A Guide to the World of Cannabis, from Dispensaries to Dinner Parties ... “It’s safe to say that cannabis culture is baked in etiquette, has been for a long time” ... 1. First of all, it’s “cannabis,” not “marijuana.” ... “[Marijuana] doesn’t have the kindest history” ... reefer madness, during which authorities used anti-immigrant sentiment to cultivate fear of cannabis throughout the country... Visit Website ]
Mar 29, 2019, 4:34pm

Books
The Right Book at the Right Time: Ron Ridenour’s Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert
Randy Shields: Chronicling US crimes and obstructions against peace for over 100 years, this Tsar Bomba of a book ranges over the 1918 US invasion of Russia, US capitalism’s neverending collaborations with fascists and takfiris, the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK’s assassination, Soviet involvement in Afghanistan and the momentous year 2001 when Vladimir Putin offered to align Russia’s foreign policy with the US only to get repaid by the US serving notice that it would withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, setting off a new arms race. ... Russia and the US are contrasted in their foreign policies and dealings with each other. ... The chief takeaway is that Soviet and Russian leaders from Stalin to Khrushchev to Brezhnev to Gorbachev to Putin were/are a whole lot more cautious, practical and less ideological than their US counterparts... Visit Website ]
Mar 22, 2019, 11:41am

Books
The Hidden Billionaires
Meagan Day: Review of Billionaires and Stealth Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2018) by Benjamin I. Page, Jason Seawright, and Matthew J. Lacombe. ... Billionaires are aliens, financially speaking. They may breathe the same air as us, they may be mortal (though they’re working on that), but they have different faculties and powers than we do. Their money gives them access to dimensions that are not accessible or even perceptible to mere humans. ... They try hard to influence public policy. They make large financial contributions to political parties, candidates, and policy-focused causes. They hold political fundraisers and bundle others’ contributions. They establish, join, or lead policy-advocacy organizations. ... — “stealth politics.” ... The country’s richest individuals devote massive amounts of money to the cause of privatizing and cutting government programs and slashing taxes on corporations and the rich, against the wishes of the majority of Americans... Visit Website ]
Mar 15, 2019, 4:43pm

Books
A Lakota Historian on What Climate Organizers Can Learn From Two Centuries of Indigenous Resistance
Alleen Brown: Nick Estes - “Our History Is the Future,” traces Indigenous resistance from the Lakota people’s attempt to deny Lewis and Clark passage down the Missouri River in 1804, to the Red Power movement’s demands for treaty enforcement in the 1960s, to today’s Indigenous-led fights against fossil fuel projects. ... we’re Indigenous because of the land we sit atop, and the land we protect, and the territories we protect, and that means that we will always be in the way of development. There’s no neutral stance that Indigenous people can take. ... The interesting thing about the way the Green New Deal has been framed is that it’s a “pragmatic” environmental policy. There are elements that are missing from the Green New Deal that should be fought for. The deal omits a clear commitment to keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and it needs to reject carbon-pricing schemes... Visit Website ]
Mar 8, 2019, 12:16pm

Books
Guano Imperialism: Hidden Stories From The Greater United States
Bill Berkowitz: Even a cursory look at the history of United States Imperialism brings the realization that invasions, annexations, betrayal, initiating coups, and colonial usurpation built a U.S. empire. However, most of us are unfamiliar with the scope of this history. That’s the value of Daniel Immerwahr’s path-breaking new book, How To Hide An Empire: A History of the Greater United States (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019). ... “The history of the Greater United States … can be told in three acts. The first is westward expansion: the pushing west of national borders and the displacement of Native Americans. … The second act takes place off the continent ... [with] the United States annexing new territory overseas.” ... From 1989 to 1900, the U.S. “absorbed the bulk of Spain’s overseas empire,” including the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam, “and annexed the non-Spanish lands of Hawai’i, Wake Island, and American Samoa.” It followed this up by buying the U.S. Virgin Islands.... Visit Website ]
Mar 5, 2019, 10:32am

Books
Working Class Heroes
Eric Walberg: Review of Dan Kovalik’s book- The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World (2018) ... Yes, the US is the big interferer in others’ elections, as Kovalik documents. But as counsel of the Union of Steelworkers and lawyer for beleaguered workers in Colombia, Kovalik gave his listeners insight into the little known role the US trade union movement plays — its betrayal of trade unionists abroad. ... Kovalik recounted how the trade union movement has been working hand-in-glove with the CIA since the launching of the Cold War in the late 1940s. “People joke it’s really the AFL-CIA.”... Visit Website ]
Feb 23, 2019, 12:28pm

Books
Of Stress and Inequality
Nick Licata: Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s “The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Well-Being” is a follow-up to their 2009 best-seller “The Spirit Level.” That book reviewed several hundred studies expounding on their book’s subtitle: “Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger,” and came to the breakthrough finding that “inequality affects the vast majority of the population, not only the poor minority.” ... The data also supported their contention that closing the wealth gap between the highest- and lowest-income citizens reduced the cost and impact of health and social problems, such as violence and drug abuse, for an entire society. ... “depression, psychotic symptoms, schizophrenia and narcissistic traits are all significantly more common in unequal societies.” ... Visit Website ]
Feb 19, 2019, 12:27pm

Books
Black History Month: Gloria Hayes Richardson led a movement
Denise Oliver Velez: “A first-class citizen does not beg for freedom. A first-class citizen does not plead to the white power structure to give him something the whites have no power to give or take away. Human rights are human rights, not white rights.” ...—Gloria Richardson, leader of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee ... I have never forgotten the first time I saw a photograph of a black woman dismissively pushing a National Guard soldier’s bayonet out of her face ... Historian Joseph R. Fitzgerald is the author of her biography, titled The Struggle Is Eternal: Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation... Richardson led civil rights battles in her hometown of Cambridge, Maryland for years, pushing for desegregation but also for economic equality... Visit Website ]
Feb 10, 2019, 4:14pm

Books
“A Fundamentally Illegitimate Choice”: Shoshana Zuboff on the Age of Surveillance Capitalism
Sam Biddle: An unavoidable takeaway of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” is, essentially, that everything is even worse than you thought. ... You’re not technically the product, she explains over the course of several hundred tense pages, because you’re something even more degrading: an input for the real product, predictions about your future sold to the highest bidder so that this future can be altered. ... “At its core, surveillance capitalism is parasitic and self-referential. It revives Karl Marx’s old image of capitalism as a vampire that feeds on labor, but with an unexpected turn. Instead of labor, surveillance capitalism feeds on every aspect of every human’s experience.”... Visit Website ]
Feb 2, 2019, 11:46am

Books
Long Live the Armed Struggle!
Paul Haeder: Women Politicals in America: Jailed Dissenters from Mother Jones to Lynne Stewart. by Linda G. Ford. ... Jailers who willingly neglect the health of prisoners. Prison medical experts denying basic life saving treatment. Massive censorship of prisoners’ reading and writing. Male nurses ramming fingers up a political’s anus and vagina. Locked in High Security Units in what Silvia Baraldini called “a living tomb . . . a white sepulcher.” She was part of the May 19th Communist group and Black Liberation Army. She was charged with BLA robberies – however, she was in Zimbabwe when one of them took place. ... What happened to Standing Rock water protector Red Fawn Fallis is what has happened to many women political dissenters who go up against Big Government/Corporate power. After she was viciously tackled by several police officers (caught on video), she was brought up on serious charges of harming those who harmed her...
Jan 17, 2019, 4:09pm

Books
Top 10 Basic Income Articles of 2018 by Scott Santens
(8) "The Great Equalizer: What Dolly Parton and a Tennessee Wildfire Can Teach About Universal Basic Income" by Daniela Perdomo for In The Mesh ... In late 2016, a forest fire in Tennessee burned down about 1,000 homes, and in response Dolly Parton came to the rescue of the newly homeless victims with $1,000 per month for five months followed by an additional (and entirely unexpected) $5,000 check in the sixth month for a grand total of $10,000. ... Basically, basic income increased resiliency to disaster by helping everyone get back on their feet faster by providing people with what they needed most - cash to self-determine their own priorities. ... “It was very rare, I can almost get a tear. I just — to talk about it is one thing, but when it happens to you...,” ... the Gatlinburg community has changed: “People are helping people who weren’t helping before. You can’t buy that.” ... Visit Website ]
Jan 17, 2019, 10:32am


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