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No place affords a more striking conviction
of the vanity of human hopes
than a public library.

Samuel Johnson,
March 23, 1751,
the Rambler

 

Amazon Lemmings Effect

In no way one can blindly rely on Amazon ratings (or any similar ratings). Amazon rating while providing interesting information often are subject to so called "Lemming Effect" when people rate highly a book that is mediocre at best (just look on reviews of JavaScript: The Definitive Guide or Learning Perl. In this case several good reviews incite conformists to say a couple of nice words about the book that they probably own but that they either never read or they lack the ability to compare books on the subject due to some other factor.

Bad books from a respectable publisher or a known author sometimes
have many excellent reviews on Amazon (Lemmings effect )

At the same time many really good books (for example Learning Korn Shell) are underrated on Amazon with a lot of reviews that belong to the category described above, only with minus sign.

You also need to understand that the value of the book depends on the level of the reader and only really brilliant books (for example TAOCP) can bypass this vast diversity of experiences of the readers.

Evaluating a book before buying

If you are still thinking about buying a book, do yourself a favor, when you're at the book store look in the index or table of contents of this book and then browse the book and read at least one, important for you, chapter before spending any money.  If you still have the same level of understanding as before the reading and the chapter does not contain interesting ideas or badly written then probably this is not the book you are shooting for. Then take another book and keep doing this until you find one that really excels in explaining this important for you concept. 

If you cannot browse the book yourself in a bookstore, then you should try to grade the book indirectly using other sources (this is less reliable but at least helps to avoid blunders):

Books with titles that includes the word Bible are often pretty weak and belong to the "make money fast" category . No respectable author would consider himself to be a God :-) Every time I see a book named  "XXX Bible" (Unix Bible, Java Bible, Javascript Bible, etc). I think that such name is misleading as for the level of complexity and weirdness of the subject and from marketing standpoint it might be better to replace this title with a title  "XXX Kamasutra." :-)

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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Old News ;-)

[Nov 17, 2018] Ann Rand vs Aldous Huxley

Nov 17, 2018 | www.unz.com

Che Guava , says: November 15, 2018 at 5:15 pm GMT

@Durruti Excuse me Durutti,

I will give my own impressions of Rosenbaum. Have only read 'Atlas Shrugged', hovers between boring and evil.

The only things that are really interesting about it are

the retro-future details,

and the realrstic portrayal of Hank's wife.

Then again, the latter, if compared with Rosenbdum (Ayn Randy) IRL, much the same.

judging which is worse is difficult.

Personaly? I prefer Homer.

[Nov 17, 2018] Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power?

Nov 17, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Joseph A. Domino

4.0 out of 5 stars America's Last Sprint: Race to the Bottom August 4, 2015 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase It's interesting how polarizing this book is, the negative comments of people decrying the author as anti-American. It seems he is simply describing the collapse of one society and what America might learn from it. In America, this end or collapse is not near; it's in progress. The middle class is being systematically dismantled. Orlov writes, "It is not allowable to refer to America as a chronically depressed country, an increasingly lower-class and impoverished country that fails to take care of its citizens and often abuses them."

Even with rudimentary understanding of history, we know that a democracy cannot be sustained without a strong, vibrant middle class. To those who deny this is a problem, you lived through 2008. You should have learned enough that it could happen again and on a much greater scale.

Orlov provides an insightful perspective, including an insider's view as having spent time there, on Russia and the comparisons are instructive and often verge into gallows humor: boondoggles are good. Americans are actually smart in their voter apathy (an original idea I've not heard expressed before, but in a twisted way makes sense). "Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power?" According to Orlov, In Russia, during the Soviet era, smart people did their best to ignore the Communists, either through praise or criticism.

In the latter sections, Orlov almost cheerily outlines possible means of surviving the collapse based on skills and opportunities.

Also recommended in this genre: Morris Berman's trilogy, "The Twilight of American Culture," "Dark Ages America," and "Why America Failed."

This is all for the open-minded and not those desperately clinging to the myth of American Exceptionalism. If the Russians were resilient and adept at dealing with shortages and bureaucracy, we soft overstuffed consumers, besotted with junk food and i-pads and bottomless debt might do well to listen.

[Nov 16, 2018] Oil, Power, and War A Dark History by Matthieu Auzanneau

Notable quotes:
"... Finally, unlike Yergin and other historians of the oil industry, Auzanneau frames his tale of petroleum as a life cycle, with germination followed by spring, summer, and autumn. There is a beginning and a flourishing, but there is also an end. This framing is extremely helpful, given the fact that the world is no longer in the spring or summer of the oil era. We take petroleum for granted, but it's time to start imagining a world, and daily life, without it. ..."
Nov 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Similarly, the real story of oil is of fortunes lost, betrayal, war, espionage, and intrigue. In the end, inevitably, the story of oil is a story of depletion. Petroleum is a nonrenewable resource, a precious substance that took tens of millions of years to form and that is gone in a comparative instant as we extract and burn it. For many decades, oil-hungry explorers, using ever-improving technology', have been searching for ever-deteriorating prospects as the low- hanging fin its of planet Earth's primordial oil bounty gradually dwindle. Oil wells have been shut in, oil fields exhausted, and oil companies bankrupted by the simple, inexorable reality of depletion.

It is impossible to understand the political and economic history of the past 150 years without taking account of a central character in the drama -- oil, the magical wealth-generating substance, a product of ancient sunlight and tens of millions of years of slow geological processes, whose tragic fate is to be dug up and combusted once and for all. leaving renewed poverty in its wake. With Oil, Power, and War, Matthieu Auzanneau has produced what I believe is the new definitive work on oil and its historic significance, supplanting even Daniel Yergin's renowned The Prize, for reasons I'll describe below.

The importance of oil's role in shaping the modern world cannot be overstated. Prior to the advent of fossil fuels, firewood was humanity's main fuel. But forests could be cut to the last tree (many were), and wood was bulky. Coal offered some economic advantages over wood. But it was oil -- liquid and therefore easier to transport; more energy-dense; and simpler to store -- that turbocharged the modern industrial age following the development of the first commercial wells around the year 1860.

John D. Rockefeller's cutthroat, monopolist business model shaped the early industry, which was devoted mostly to the production of kerosene for lamp oil (gasoline was then considered a waste product and often discarded into streams or rivers). But roughly forty years later, when Henry Ford developed the automobile assembly line, demand for black gold was suddenly as explosive as gasoline itself.

Speaking of explosions, the role of petroleum in the two World Wars and the armament industry' in general deserves not just a footnote in history books but serious and detailed treatment such as it receives in this worthy volume. Herein we learn how Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany literally ran out of gas while the Allies rode to victory in planes, ships, and tanks burning refined US crude. Berlin could be cut off from supplies in Baku or North Africa, and Tokyo's tanker route from Borneo could be blockaded -- but no one could interrupt the American war machine's access to Texas tea.

In the pages that follow, we learn about the origin of the decades-long US alliance with Saudi Arabia, the development of OPEC, the triumph of the petrodollar, and the reasons for both the Algerian independence movement and the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Auzanneau traces the postwar growth of the global economy and the development of consumerism, globalization, and car culture. He recounts how the population explosion and the Green Revolution in agriculture reshaped demographics and politics globally -- and explains why both depended on petroleum. We learn why Nixon cut the US dollar's tether to the gold standard just a year after US oil production started to decline, and how the American economy began to rely increasingly on debt. The story of oil takes ever more fascinating turns -- with the fall of the Soviet Union after its oil production hit a snag; with soaring petroleum prices in 2008 coinciding with the onset of the global financial crisis; and with wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen erupting as global conventional oil output flatlined.

As I alluded to above, comparisons will inevitably be drawn between Oil, Power, and War and Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer-winning "The Prize", published in 1990. It may be helpful therefore to point out four of the most significant ways this work differs from Yergin's celebrated tour de force.

The most obvious difference between the two books is simply one of time frame. The Prize's narrative stops in the 1980s, while Oil, Power, and War also covers the following critical decades, which encompass the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the first Gulf War, 9/11, the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the global financial crisis of 2008. and major shifts within the petroleum industry as it relies ever less on conventional crude and ever more on unconventional resources such as bitumen (Canada's oil sands), tight oil (also called shale oil), and deepwater oil.

Finally, unlike Yergin and other historians of the oil industry, Auzanneau frames his tale of petroleum as a life cycle, with germination followed by spring, summer, and autumn. There is a beginning and a flourishing, but there is also an end. This framing is extremely helpful, given the fact that the world is no longer in the spring or summer of the oil era. We take petroleum for granted, but it's time to start imagining a world, and daily life, without it.

Taken together, these distinctions indeed make Oil, Power, and War the definitive work on the history of oil -- no small achievement, but a judgment well earned.

Over the past decade, worrisome signs of global oil depletion have been obscured by the unabashed enthusiasm of energy analysts regarding growing production in the United States from low-porosity source rocks. Termed "light tight oil," this new resource has been unleashed through application of the technologies of hydrofracturing (tracking) and horizontal drilling.

US liquid fuels production has now surpassed its previous peak in 1970, and well-regarded agencies such as the Energy Information Administration are forecasting continued tight oil abundance through mid-century.

Auzanneau titles his discussion of this phenomenon (in chapter 30), "Nonconventional Petroleum to the Rescue?" -- and frames it as a question for good reason: Skeptics of tight oil hyperoptimism point out that most production so far has been unprofitable. The industry has managed to stay in the game only due to low interest rates (most companies are heavily in debt) and investor hype. Since source rocks lack permeability, individual oil wells deplete very quickly -- with production in each well declining on the order of 70 percent to 90 percent in the first three years. That means that relentless, expensive drilling is needed in order to release the oil that's there. Thus the tight oil industry can be profitable only if oil prices are very high -- high enough, perhaps, to hobble the economy -- and if drilling is concentrated in the small core areas within each of the productive regions. But these "sweet spots" are being exhausted rapidly. Further, with tight oil the energy returned on the energy invested in drilling and completion is far less than was the case with American petroleum in its heyday.

It takes energy to fell a tree, drill an oil well, or manufacture a solar panel. We depend on the energy payback from those activities to run society. In the miraculous years of the late twentieth century, oil delivered an averaged 50:1 energy payback. It was this, more than anything else, that made rapid economic growth possible, especially for the nations that were home to the world's largest oil reserves and extraction companies. As the world relies ever less on conventional oil and ever more on tight oil, bitumen, and deepwater oil, the overall energy payback of the oil industry is declining rapidly. And this erosion of energy return is reflected in higher overall levels of debt in the oil industry and lower overall financial profitability.

Meanwhile the industry is spending ever less on exploration -- for two reasons. First, there is less money available for that purpose, due to declining financial profitability; second, there seems comparatively little oil left to be found: Recent years have seen new oil discoveries dwindle to the lowest level since the 1940s. The world is not about to run out of oil. But the industry that drove society in the twentieth century to the heights of human economic and technological progress is failing in the twenty-first century.

Today some analysts speak of "peak oil demand." The assumption behind the phrase is that electric cars will soon reduce our need for oil, even as abundance of supply is assured by fracking. But the world is still highly dependent on crude oil. We have installed increasing numbers of solar panels and wind turbines, but the transition to renewable is going far too slowly either to avert catastrophic climate change or to fully replace petroleum before depletion forces an economic crisis. While we may soon see more electric cars on the road, trucking, shipping, and aviation will be much harder to electrify. We haven't really learned yet how to make the industrial world work without oil. The simple reality is that the best days of the oil business, and the oil-fueled industrial way of life, are behind us. And we are not ready for what comes next.

[Nov 15, 2018] Russians as a new collective Emmanuel Goldshein in the USA neoliberal propaganda

"Emmanuel Goldstein is a fictional character in George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. He is the principal enemy of the state according to the Party of the totalitarian Oceania. He is depicted as the head of a mysterious (and possibly fictitious) dissident organization called "The Brotherhood" and as having written the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. He is only seen and heard on telescreen, and he may be a fabrication of the Ministry of Truth, the State's propaganda department." (from Wikipedia)
Nov 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

Crawfurdmuir , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:12 am GMT

Yet Orwell wrote the following words in The Road to Wigan Pier :

"there is the horrible -- the really disquieting -- prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."

And:

"The ordinary man may not flinch from a dictatorship of the proletariat, if you offer it tactfully; offer him a dictatorship of the prigs, and he gets ready to fight."

In the first of these excerpts, we see a perfect delineation of today's "Cultural Marxism," and in the second, a perfect explanation of the support for Donald Trump. The "deplorables" are those who resent and fight the dictatorship of the prigs. I'm somewhat surprised that no one has written a history of the rise and advance of political correctness in American public life and entitled it "The Dictatorship of the Prigs." I hope someone does.

advancedatheist , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:45 am GMT
Brave New World has had a funny way of growing more interesting with age. Lenina Crowne, the vacuous Future Woman, has leaped out of the pages of Huxley's novel and into our real lives. Just give Lenina some tattoos and piercings, dye her hair an unnatural color and put a smart phone on her fashionable Malthusian belt, and she would fit right into our world.
animalogic , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:16 am GMT
I think the author a little unfair to Huxley when he criticises him for no sense of social "Class". The issue here is that class, in BNW, has been hard wired into each grouping (ie deltas etc). Genetic engineering has predetermined all class AND individual desires & interests. The sophistications of language, mind control etc in Orwell are thus unnecessary & superseded.
SporadicMyrmidon , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:28 am GMT
Straight-up prolefeed:

https://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2018/10/blind-items-revealed-5_22.html

The distinction between the inner party, outer party and proles does seem to be absolutely crucial to Orwell (at least in 1984) and is often neglected by people debating Orwell vs Huxley. Still, I tend to agree with those dissidents who have observed that there really is no inner party. It is outer party buffoons all the way up.

RW , says: November 15, 2018 at 10:06 am GMT
George Orwell also beat his coolies "in moments of rage" as he put it in his autobiography. He had first-hand experience as a repressive British colonial police officer in Burma, 1922-1927. He knew the autocratic mindset well, because he had lived it.
Ronald Thomas West , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 11:31 am GMT
" Trump is the only non-establishment candidate to get elected President since Andrew Jackson and therefore almost the exact opposite of the idea of top-down tyranny"

That was good for a laugh. What's the difference between governed from the top by liberal slime career opportunist and governed from the top by the moron womanizer opportunist comparable to the governor played by Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles? The difference is top down slime versus top down idiocy.

There is a misapprehension at the core of this article; Huxley wrote from a liberal 'anything goes' perspective of morality, comparable to today's 'it's all about me' MTV generation. A deeper understanding of Huxley's profound distaste and preoccupation with this is afforded in his novel 'Point, Counter Point.' Orwell, on the other hand, aptly projects a future social conservatism that is better compared to the extremes of a cloistered and tightly policed ultra religious right.

It's not a matter of who was more 'right.' They are describing separate trajectories of human social phenomena we see playing out today. The two were peering down different avenues into the future.

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/10/09/liberals/

^ 'the apes will rise'

Anonymous [295] Disclaimer , says: November 15, 2018 at 12:12 pm GMT

But, despite this, this debate exists not only on the Dissident Right but further afield. Believe it or not, even Left-wingers and Liberals debate this question, as if they too are under the heel of the oppressor's jackboot.

Some left-wingers are. Think of poor Julian Assange!

'All of a sudden, as many commentators have pointed out, there were almost daily echoes of Orwell in the news The most obvious connection to Orwell was the new president's repeated insistence that even his most pointless and transparent lies were in fact true, and then his adviser Kellyanne Conway's explanation that these statements were not really falsehoods but, rather, "alternative facts."'

The counter to this is that Trump is the only non-establishment candidate to get elected President since Andrew Jackson and therefore almost the exact opposite of the idea of top-down tyranny.

Exactly. In 1984, 'Big Brother' actually controlled the media; Trump clearly doesn't, so he is not Big Brother. He is Emmanuel Goldstein: a leader of the resistance but alas, probably not real.

Idahoan , says: November 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
Oh dear no, big mistake -- it's Two Minutes Hate, not three as stated here. Orwell is superior by far, since he was serious and more humane in his understanding of the effects of totalitarianism on human psychology. But as a Morrissey song puts it, "I know you love one person, so why can't you love two?"
Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 2:11 pm GMT
@George F. Held Goldstein isn't Orwell's hero. There is nothing in the book to show that Goldstein even exists. All he could be is a propaganda construct (as I believe ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is in real life). And Goldstein's Jewishness, apart from his name, is non-existent. When I read 1984 for the first time (in 1986, as it happens), I didn't realise that he was even meant to be a Jew.

Lots of Jews are against the racist apartheid colonial settler zionazi pseudostate in Occupied Palestine and its financial backers in New York, but we wouldn't want to disturb you with facts, would we now.

Durruti , says: November 15, 2018 at 2:23 pm GMT
Yes:

Orwell, who finished his 1984 shortly after the liquidation of Palestine in 1947, [1st printing was 1950], never saw the Elephant (Zionist Elephant). No one is perfect. Orwell, who during WW II, was an employee for Churchill's Government, and labored in Churchill's Propaganda Department (different official title), loyally reflected (most of) that propaganda.

Few visionaries in 1947, understood or opposed the imperialist Oligarchs (financial banking power), who supported the establishment of a so-called Jewish Nation – in someone else's Nation. (The Balfour Declaration was issued during WW I and the liquidation of one of the Peoples of the Middle East was in the planning stages). The Palestinians became the – final victims of World War II.

The Palestinian General Strike (for independence) of 1936 , followed by an insurrection was brutally suppressed by King George (the British Empire Oligarchs – who had long (at least since 1815), become the Minions of the Zionist Bankers.

After WW II, Orwell, chose to ignore the crimes against the Palestinians, and possibly, to get his books published/circulated. Who controls Hollywood-and the Mainstream Media?

For this anarchist, Orwell remains a visionary, a courageous soldier who served in army of the POUM (Partido Obrero Unida Marxista -Trotskyist), and was wounded while defending the same Spanish Republic as Durruti's Anarchists. Orwell's wife served as a Nurse in Spain.
Recommend Orwell's fine book, His HISTORY, " Homage to Catalonia ."

Orwell had courage.
We American Citizen Patriots must display the same courage – as we Restore Our Republic.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Homage-to-Catalonia

jilles dykstra , says: November 15, 2018 at 3:07 pm GMT
@Justsaying " In fact, control by proxy seems to have generated a two-tiered control phenomenon where the leaders are the puppets of puppeteers of a Zionist entity. "
Indeed my idea: Morgenthau Wilson, Baruch FDR, Bilderberg conferences, Soros Brussels, Merkel, with whom exactly I do know, but it does not matter, Macron Rothschild, Tony Blair Murdoch.
The catholic countries resist: Poland, Hungary, etc., maybe S Germany and Austria in this respect also can be seen as catholic.
Trump, put your money where your mouth is, Soros, the Koch brothers, they did, but money seeems to have failed in the last USA elections.
Must have been a shock, Solsjenytsyn writes that each jewish community in tsarist Russia always had money for bribes.
jilles dykstra , says: November 15, 2018 at 3:14 pm GMT
@Durruti Palestine and the Balfour declaration was a bit more complicated, the British saw an opportunity to keep France, that had Syria and Lebanon, away from Egypt.
Mandate of course was just a fig leaf for colonialism.
jilles dykstra , says: November 15, 2018 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Ronald Thomas West " What's the difference between governed from the top "
Possibly what is the theory of prof Laslo Maracs, UVA univrsity Amsterdam, that eight years Obama have driven China and Russia so together that Khazakstan now is the economic centre of the world, and that the present USA president understand this.
Khazakstan has the land port for trains to and from St Petersburg Peking.
Four days travel.
Do not hope this railway will have the same effect as the Berlin Bagdad: WWI.
Bard of Bumperstickers , says: November 15, 2018 at 4:36 pm GMT
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist This isn't a top-ten contest. The reality we find ourselves in seems to consist largely of billion-shades-of-grey continuums, not black-and-white absolutes. Full-frontal assault (Orwell's state brutality) generally stimulates defensive action. Tangential, obtuse assault (Huxley's anaesthetising hedonia) doesn't alert the defensive posture, the immune response. Tipping points, inflection points, exist, but stealthy wolves in sheeps' clothing, are more effective. The Venus fly trap, the carrion flower, convince prey to approach trustingly. Brave New World's disguised depredation – the nanny/welfare state, etc. – paves the way for Orwell's naked totalitarianism. It's the friendly inmate offering the scared, lonely new prisoner a Snicker's bar and a smoke.
AnonFromTN , says: November 15, 2018 at 4:44 pm GMT
Why limit Orwell to "1984"? His "Animal Farm" is a great work, too. Although much shorter, it captured the essence of all totalitarian societies even better. "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" expresses the "democratic" rule of the 1% better than anything.
Truth , says: November 15, 2018 at 4:49 pm GMT
Sail-Dog's favorite movie, Idiocracy is pretty good prescient too; especially the part about president Camacho, who, by the way, and rather incredibly, most of you voted for two years ago.
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: November 15, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
Orwell is new and improved Huxley that's all folks.
George F. Held , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist Consider these excerpts:
1.All the rest had by that time been exposed as traitors and counter-revolutionaries. Goldstein had fled and was hiding no one knew where, and of the others, a few had simply disappeared, while the majority had been executed after spectacular public trials at which they made confession of their crimes. Among the last survivors were three men named Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford. It must have been in 1965 that these three had been arrested.

2. 'It is called wine,' said O'Brien with a faint smile. 'You will have read about it in books, no doubt. Not much of it gets to the Outer Party, I am afraid.' His face grew solemn again, and he raised his glass: 'I think it is fitting that we should begin by drinking a health. To our Leader: To Emmanuel Goldstein.'
Winston took up his glass with a certain eagerness. Wine was a thing he had read and dreamed about. . . . The truth was that after years of gin-drinking he could barely taste it. He set down the empty glass.
'Then there is such a person as Goldstein?' he said.
'Yes, there is such a person, and he is alive. Where, I do not know.'
'And the conspiracy -- the organization? Is it real? It is not simply an invention of the Thought Police?'
'No, it is real. The Brotherhood, we call it. You will never learn much more about the Brotherhood than that it exists and that you belong to it. I will come back to that presently.'

Whether Goldstein exists is an issue raised in the novel itself, but that he (obviously Jewish like another member of the Brotherhood, Aaronson) is presented sympathetically as a libertarian enemy of the oppressive government is certain. Orwell's novel presents Jews sympathetically as liberators of themselves and others.
And that presentation is historically false: Jews throughout history are the oppressors, not the oppressed.

Che Guava , says: November 15, 2018 at 5:31 pm GMT
Truly, for movies, the remake of 1984 and Terry Gilliam's Brazil were near-contemporary.

The lattter, except for the boring American woman truck driver, is vastly superior.

anarchyst , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:08 pm GMT
It is interesting to note that today's voice activated computer interfaces (Alexa, etc.) are equivalent to Orwell's "telescreens" that monitor all activity within a household. Add to that, the present push to implement "chipping"–the implantation of microchips into humans, ostensibly for "convenience" and identification that cannot be lost–the "mark of the beast" in biblical parlance.
The sad part is that much of the population is openly embracing these technologies instead of being wary (and aware) that these are monitoring technologies which will lead to no good.
ia , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Che Guava The woman truck driver was the protagonist's love object and inspired what little plot exists. He was supposed to save her, or so he thought. Everything else was window-dressing (albeit quite imaginative), possibly the product of his growing insanity
Rev. Spooner , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:58 pm GMT
"One of the frequent comparisons that comes up in the Dissident Right is who was more correct or prescient, Orwell or Huxley".
This is the first lie by this author trying to co-opt both these writers for his agenda.
Orwell was an anti-imperialist and thats evident if you read 'Down and out in Paris or London' or the 'Road to Wigan Pier'.
Burgess' politics and views can readily be known by reading 'Clockwork Orange' or 'The brave New World'.
The world today is topsy turvy and what was the left then is now the right but both were anti fascists.
If the comment posted is wrong , it's because the first paragraph was blatantly misleading and stopped me from going any further.
Anne , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:58 pm GMT
One thing that most people in America leave out of consideration is the reality and power of secret societies. Recently Freemasonry celebrated its 300th anniversary with a big bash in England. In Europe, the Catholics are aware of its power and effectiveness. Democracy is a total illusion anyway; oligarchs always rule.
ia , says: November 15, 2018 at 7:48 pm GMT
Another good one was Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. It also has Alexa-type screens that allow the viewer to participate, feel like a "star" and acquire instant fame. Firemen start fires instead of putting them out. Books (good books anyway) cause people to discover and share another more meaningful world. Ergo, old books must be rooted out and destroyed. The war on whiteness and patriarchy in today's parlance.
JLK , says: November 15, 2018 at 7:50 pm GMT
Nineteen Eighty-Four should be required reading in high schools. One of the most creative and prophetic novels of all time. EN LEAVES, etc. But because of its socio-political themes, BNW became part of high school canon. In contrast, 1984 maybe Orwell's greatest work. It's like Anthony Burgess often said A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is the least of his works, but it's his most famous novel because it was made into a classic movie and dealt with relevant social themes of crime and psychology.

Still, even though 1984 has stuff about control of the populace through drugs and pornography, the vision of BNW is closer to our world in this sense. We live in a world of plenty than scarcity. So, whereas vice is allowed by the state in 1984 as an outlet for a bored and tired public, vice is at the center of life in BNW. The world of 1984 allows some kind of vice but is nevertheless essentially a puritanical, spartan, and moralistic state. Also, vice, even if legal and state-sanctioned, is to be enjoyed behind closed doors. In contrast, the world of BNW has vice of sex and drugs all over the place. Indeed, it is so pervasive that it's not even regarded as vice but the New Virtue. And in this, our world is like BNW. Gambling was once a vice but now a virtue. We are told it is fun, it offers reparations to Indians, and creates jobs. And Las Vegas is like Disneyland for the entire family. Disney Corp has turned into a Brothel, but it's still promoted as Family Entertainment. Trashy celebs who indulge in hedonism and market excessive behavior are held up as role models. Whether it's Hillary with Miley Cyrus or Trump with Kanye, it seems Vice is the new Virtue. (I finally heard a Kanye album on youtube, and it began with a song along the lines of 'suck my dic*'.)

Orwell was insightful about the power of language, but he thought that the totalitarian state would simplify language to create conformity of mind. Such as 'doubleplusgood'. It would be increasingly anti-intellectual and anti-poetic. But the PC manipulation of language works the other way. It keeps on creating fancy, pseudo-intellectual, or faux-sophisticated terms for what is total rot. So many people are fooled because they go to college and are fed fancy jargon as substitute for thought.

Btw, as the 84 in 1984 was the reverse of 48, the year in which the book was written, many literary critics have said the book was not about the future but the present, esp. Stalinist Russia(though some elements were taken from Nazi Germany and even UK). As such, it was a testament and a warning than a prophecy. Besides, Orwell had pretty much laid out the logic of totalitarianism in ANIMAL FARM. Perhaps, the most distressing thing about 1984 is that the hero embodies the very logic that led to the Repressive System in the first place. When asked if he would commit any act of terror and violence to destroy the System, Winston Smith answers yes. It's an indication that the System was long ago created by people just like him, idealists who felt they were so right that they could do ANYTHING to create a just order. But the result was totalitarianism.

One area where the current order is like 1984. The hysterical screaming mobs and their endless minutes of hate. It's like Rule by PMS.

Anon [425] Disclaimer , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 8:21 pm GMT
@Anne One thing that most people in America leave out of consideration is the reality and power of secret societies.

One reason why BNW and 1984 fail as future-visions is they assume that the West will remain white. Both are about white tyranny, white systems, white everything. So, the tyranny is ideological, systemic, philosophical, and etc. It's about the rulers and the ruled. It's about systems and its minions. Same with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. As ugly as its future vision is, at least UK is still white in the novel and movie. But look at London today. It's turning Third World. And white droogs and gangs are getting their ass whupped by black thugs.

Something happened in the West after WWII. Jews gained supreme power and eventually aided homos to be their main allies. And Negroes gained supreme status as idols of song, sports, and sex. This has complicated matters. The group-personalities of Jews and whites are different. Jews are more aware and anxious; whites are more earnest and trusting. There is a huge difference between Chinese elites manipulating Chinese masses AND Jewish elites manipulating non-Jewish masses. Chinese elites think in terms of power. Jewish elites think in terms of power over the Other. There is bound to be far less trust in the latter case, therefore more need to twist logic in so many ways.
As for Negroes, their attitudes are very different from that of whites. In some ways, blacks are the single most destructive force against order and civilization. Look at Detroit and Baltimore. Haiti and Africa. And yet, the rulers of the Current Order elevate blackness as the holiest icon of spiritual magic and coolest idol of mass thrills. This lead to the madonna-ization of white women. Whore-ship as worship. It leads to cucky-wuckeriness among white men. But if whites submit to blackness, their civilization will fall.
But because Jewish power needs to suppress white pride and power with 'white guilt'(over what was done to Negro slaves) and white thrill(for blacks in sports, song, and dance), it promotes blackness. So, on the one hand, Jewish Power is invested in maintaining the Order in which they have so much. But in order for Jews to remain on top, whites must be instilled with guilt and robbed of pride. And blackness is the most potent weapon in this. But in promoting blackness, the West will be junglized. The future of France looks dire with all those blacks coming to kick white male butt and hump white women. And when it all falls apart, Jews will lose out too, at least in Europe. US might be spared from total black destruction with brown-ization. Browns may not have stellar talent but they not crazy like the Negroes.

1984 and BNW are about people lording over others. There isn't much in the way of minority power. But today's world is about Minority Rule, especially that of Jews and Homos. And it's about minorities of blacks in the West taking the mantle of Manhood and Pride from white guys who are cucky-wucked.

Now, the thing about BNW is that its vision has been fulfilled yet. While one can argue that Stalinism pretty much achieved the full extent of Orwellianism, humanity has yet to see the rise of clones and bio-engineering. So, to fully appreciate Huxley, it might take a 100 to 200 yrs. Maybe women will stop giving birth. Maybe the idea of 'mother' will seem funny. Maybe future beings will be cloned. And maybe different castes will be produced to do different jobs. That way, there will be happiness. Today, people are still born naturally, and each person wants to be 'equal'. But what if certain people are bio-engineered to be submissive and happy to do menial work?

Also, mass cloning may be the only way a nation like Japan can sustain itself as they are not breeding anymore.

ploni almoni , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:23 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra To be feared is better than to be popular.
Tyrion 2 , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:36 pm GMT
@Rev. Spooner

The world today is topsy turvy and what was the left then is now the right but both were anti fascists.

Orwell doesn't seem anything at all like the anti-fascists we see today I'd say my politics hover around where Orwell's were but I get called a Nazi not infrequently.

Truly "war is (now) peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength."

Tyrion 2 , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:38 pm GMT
@Rev. Spooner If he has read Rand, he should know what these mean. They are Philosophy 101 words and wrote all about them.
nsa , says: November 15, 2018 at 9:09 pm GMT
Most forget that the three great rats (snitches) of the 20th century were Eric Blair aka Orwell (his famous list of Stalinist media simps), Ron Reagan (Commie Hollywoodites) , and Tim Leary (Weathmen who broke him out of jail). Blair never imagined 99% of the population would willingly invite a telescreen into their homes, and even pay a monthly fee to be dumbed down and manipulated. He visualized the screen correctly to be just an advanced means of propaganda and enslavement. Maybe it is time for an updated version of 1984. Call it 2024. Big Jew (giant orange bloated comb over head on screen) could replace Big Brother, and say Spencer UnzSailer could replace the mythical Goldstein. Dershowitz could replace O'Brien and torment the hapless Winston Anglin and his tatted blowup doll, Julia.
c matt , says: November 15, 2018 at 9:14 pm GMT
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist [re Palestine] Lots of Jews are against it, and lots of Jews are for it.

Lesson: It is a Jewish question which we need not bother ourselves about, one way or the other. Therefore, no rules for or against BDS, no influence from AIPAC, no aid to Israel or Palestine, etc. etc. In other words, let's learn from our Jewish friends for once, and play a game of "let's you and him fight."

c matt , says: November 15, 2018 at 9:30 pm GMT
If prognostication is the goal, Camp of the Saints has them both beat.
Johnny Walker Read , says: November 15, 2018 at 10:05 pm GMT
@JLK It used to be. It was required reading in my sophomore English Lit. class. I have re-read it 2 times since and it rings truer every time.
Anon [425] Disclaimer , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 10:22 pm GMT
@ia Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

1984 for juniors.

Anon [425] Disclaimer , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 10:25 pm GMT
@George F. Held The problem with Orwell is that he makes Jews the oppressed, not the oppressors.

Well, Stalin did win over Trotsky.

ChuckOrloski , says: November 15, 2018 at 10:31 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova Ilyana Rozumova wisely said: 'Orwell is new and improved Huxley that's all folks."

Agreed, Ilyana!

Plus George Orwell's "1984″ arrived on-the-dark scene without carrying the dark Aleister Crowley "baggage."

Anon [425] Disclaimer , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 11:05 pm GMT
@Tyrion 2 Orwell doesn't seem anything at all like the anti-fascists we see today I'd say my politics hover around where Orwell's were but I get called a Nazi not infrequently.

Oddly enough, what we have in the West is actually repression by sacro-ethno-corporatism.

Jews are disproportionately immensely powerful. So, there is an ethnic angle to the current power.
But if Jews were merely rich and powerful, they could be critiqued and challenged like Wasps still are. But they are untouchable because of the sacro-element. As the Children of Shoah, opposition to Jewish Power is 'antisemitic' or 'nazi'.

Also, Globo-Shlomo-Homo Power owes to capitalism, not socialism or communism. Now, corporate tyranny can't be as total as statist tyranny. Even with all the deplatforming and etc, the current power can't do to dissidents what Stalin, Mao, and Hitler did. Still, considering that a handful corporations dominate so much and that so many Americans are either apathetic or rabid-with-PC, the current tyranny is formidable. After all, one doesn't need to control EVERYTHING to keep the power. One only needs control of elite institutions, flow of information, main narratives & icons/idols, and majority support(as US has a winner-takes-all political system). As all such are concentrated in few institutions and industries, the elites own pretty much everything.
With their power of media and academia, Jews have persuaded enough whites that it's virtuous to be anti-white. And with mass-immigration-invasion, the combined votes of white cucks and non-white hordes tip the majority toward the Globo-Shlomo-Homo Party. Unless there is total collapse, this system can go on for a long long time.

Also, corporate power pretty much determines state power since most politicians are whores of donors. And most people who serve in the Deep State were raised from cradle to idolize certain figures and symbols as sacrosanct. As toadies and servants of the Power, they've absorbed these lessons uncritically, and they are afraid to raise their kids with truly critical mindset because asking Big Questions will derail their chance of entering the corridors of privilege. Those in the Deep State bureaucracies are not necessarily corrupt. They may be hardworking and committed to their service to the state, but they are essentially flunkies since they never questioned the central shibboleths that govern today's PC. I don't think people like James Comey are corrupt in the conventional sense. They probably sincerely believe they are committed to the proper functioning of the state. But lacking in imagination and audacity to question beyond the Dominant Narrative and Dogma, they can only be lackeys no matter how smart or credentialed they are.

US and Israel are both essentially fascist states, but the differences is Israel is an organic-fascist state whereas the US is an gangster-fascist state. If not for Israel's Occupation of West Bank and bad behavior to its neighbors, its form of fascist-democratic nationalism would be sound. It is a majority Jewish nation where the Jewish elites have an organic bond with the majority of the people. Also, Jews have a ancestral and spiritual bond with the territory, the Holy Land. Also, there is a balance of capitalism and socialism, and the main theme is the preservation and defense of the homeland for Jews. So, identity/inheritance is served by ideology, not the other way around. As such, Israel is a pretty good model for other nations(though it could treat Palestinians somewhat better; but then, Arabs IN Israel have it pretty good.) Israel need not be a gangster-fascist state because there is natural, historical, and cultural bond between the rulers and the ruled.

But in the US, there is no such bond between the Jewish elites and the masses of goyim. That being the case, it is most unnatural for the US to be Jewish-dominated. It's one thing for Jews to be successful and disproportionately represented in US institutions and industries due to higher IQ and achievement. But the idea of the Jewish elites serving as the Dominant Ruling Elites in a nation where they are only 2% is ridiculous. It's like Turkey has successful minority communities of Greeks, Armenians, and some Jews, but clearly the Turks are in control. But in the US, Jews have the top power, and furthermore, Jews want to keep the power and make all Americans suck up to Jewish power. But this can only work via gangster-fascism since there is no organic bond between Jews and non-Jews. If Jewish elites in Israel think and act in terms of "What can we do to empower all of us Jews as one united people?", Jewish elites in the think in terms of "What can we do to bribe, browbeat, threaten, silence, blacklist, and/or brainwash the goy masses to make them do our bidding?" One if borne of love and trust, the other of contempt and fear.
Whatever problems exist in Israel, I'm guessing there is genuine love between Jewish elites and Jewish masses. But there is a lot of hatred, fear, and anxiety among Jewish elites when it comes to the goyim. The result is outrageous policy like hoodwinking white Christian soldiers to smash 'terrorist muzzie' nations and then bringing over Muslims and embracing them as 'refugees' against 'white supremacist bigots'.

Another problem with globo-shlomo-homo(and-afro) world order is that it's leading to Mono-everything. It's leading to mono-financial rule by Wall Street. As Wall Street is so dominant, it is effectively taking over all financial markets. And as the US military is so dominant, the world is ending up with Mono-Militarism. The US continues to encircle China, Russia, and Iran. And it's leading to Mono-Manhood. Prior to mass-migration-invasion, Europe was all white. So, even though white men tend to lose to blacks in world competition, every white nation had its white local-national hero. Its manhood was defined and represented by its own men. The world had poly-manhood, or plurality of manhood. Even if white men lost to blacks in world competition, they were the dominant men in their own nations. But with Negroes entering every white nation, the result is Mono-Manhood(that of the Negro) in every white nation. This is now spreading to Japan as well, as Japanese women now travel around the world to fill up their wombs with black babies. And of there is Mono-Media. The world communicates through English, but most English media are dominated by Jews. European nations may censor American Media, but it's never the mainstream media. It's always alternative media, and these censorship is done at the pressure of globalist Jewish groups. Jewish globalists pressure Europe to allow ONLY mainstream US media while banning much of alternative media that dares speak truth to power about Jewish power and race-ism(aka race realism).

S , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:12 pm GMT
Why does the one have to be 'superior' to the other as they both make a lot of sense?

Why not a combination of both?

How about a society that controls people with a velvet glove by allowing for and promoting every Brave New Worldish (often fatuous) personal pleasure while simultaneously, should a person get out of line from the state's dictates, maintaining in the background the iron fist of a full blown Orwellian police state?

The present society, though not there yet, is not that far away from that now.

Regarding 1984 I've always thought the Michael Radford film version starring Richard Burton, John Hurt, and the luscious Suzanna Hamilton, filmed in an around London from April – June, 1984, the exact time and setting of Orwell's novel, to have been outstanding.

Agent76 , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:17 pm GMT
9/23/1975 Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony

Tom Charles Huston testified before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, commonly known as the Church Committee, on the 43-page plan he presented to the President Nixon and others on ways to collect information about anti-war and "radical" groups, including burglary, electronic surveillance, and opening of mail.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee

Documentary: On Company Business [1980] FULL

Rare award winning CIA documentary, On Company Business painfully restored from VHS.

S , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:33 pm GMT
@JLK

Nineteen Eighty-Four should be required reading in high schools.

It has been in many high schools, though I could see how in the future it might be banned as 'hate literature' as it strikes too close to home.

Kirt , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:41 pm GMT
In my estimation, That Hideous Strength, the final novel of the science fiction trilogy of C. S. Lewis, is the best and most prescient dystopian novel written – largely because it is so much more than just a dystopian novel. It combines great characters, imaginative fantasy from modern to medieval, and is a truly creepy horror story as well – with a hilarious happy ending which illustrates God's very own sense of humor.
Agent76 , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:55 pm GMT
Jun 7, 2013 George Orwell 1984 Newspeak

"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words "

[Nov 15, 2018] Why Orwell is Superior to Huxley by Colin Liddell

Notable quotes:
"... Huxley's main insight, namely that control can be maintained more effectively through "entertainment, distraction, and superficial pleasure rather than through overt modes of policing and strict control over food supplies" is not actually absent in 1984 . ..."
"... In fact, exactly these kind of methods are used to control the Proles, on whom pornography is pushed and prostitution allowed. In fact porn is such an important means of social control that the IngSoc authorities even have a pornography section called "PornSec," which mass produces porn for the Proles. ..."
"... One of the LOL moments in Michael Radford's film version is when Mr. Charrington, the agent of the thought police who poses as a kindly pawnbroker to rent a room to Winston and Julia for their sexual trysts, informs them on their arrest that their surveillance film will be 'repurposed' as porn. ..."
"... But while 1984 includes almost everything that Brave New World contains in terms of controlling people through sex, drugs, and distractions, it also includes much, much more, especially regarding how censorship and language are used to control people and how tyranny is internalised. The chapter from which the above quote comes, shows how Winston, a formerly autonomous agent, has come to accept the power of the system so much that he no longer needs policing. ..."
"... But most brilliant of all is Orwell's prescient description of how language is changed through banning certain words and the expression of certain ideas or observations deemed "thought crime," to say nothing of the constant rewriting of history. The activities of Big Tech and their deplatforming of all who use words, phrases, and ideas not in the latest edition of their "Newspeak" dictionary, have radically changed the way that people communicate and what they talk about in a comparatively short period of time. ..."
"... Orwell's insights into how language can be manipulated into a tool of control shows his much deeper understanding of human psychology than that evident in Huxley's novel. The same can be said about Orwell's treatment of emotions, which is another aspect of his novel that rings particularly true today. ..."
"... Colin Liddell is one of the founders of the Alt-Right, which he now disavows, and currently blogs at Affirmative Right . He recently published a book "Interviews and Obituaries," available on Amazon . ..."
Nov 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

One of the frequent comparisons that comes up in the Dissident Right is who was more correct or prescient, Orwell or Huxley.

In fact, as the only truly oppressed intellectual group, the Dissident Right are the only ones in a position to offer a valid opinion on this, as no other group of intellectuals suffers deplatforming, doxxing, and dismissal from jobs as much as we do. In the present day, it is only the Dissident Right that exists in the 'tyrannical space' explored in those two dystopian classics.

But, despite this, this debate exists not only on the Dissident Right but further afield. Believe it or not, even Left-wingers and Liberals debate this question, as if they too are under the heel of the oppressor's jackboot. In fact, they feel so oppressed that some of them are even driven to discuss it in the pages of the New York Times at the despotically high rate of pay which that no doubt involves.

In both the Left and the Dissident Right, the consensus is that Huxley is far superior to Orwell, although, according to the New York Times article just alluded to, Orwell has caught up a lot since the election of Donald Trump. Have a look at this laughable, "I'm literally shaking" prose from New York Times writer Charles McGrath :

And yet [Huxley's] novel much more accurately evokes the country we live in now, especially in its depiction of a culture preoccupied with sex and mindless pop entertainment, than does Orwell's more ominous book, which seems to be imagining someplace like North Korea. Or it did until Donald Trump was inaugurated.

All of a sudden, as many commentators have pointed out, there were almost daily echoes of Orwell in the news The most obvious connection to Orwell was the new president's repeated insistence that even his most pointless and transparent lies were in fact true, and then his adviser Kellyanne Conway's explanation that these statements were not really falsehoods but, rather, "alternative facts." As any reader of "1984" knows, this is exactly Big Brother's standard of truth: The facts are whatever the leader says they are.

those endless wars in "1984," during which the enemy keeps changing -- now Eurasia, now Eastasia -- no longer seem as far-fetched as they once did, and neither do the book's organized hate rallies, in which the citizenry works itself into a frenzy against nameless foreigners.

The counter to this is that Trump is the only non-establishment candidate to get elected President since Andrew Jackson and therefore almost the exact opposite of the idea of top-down tyranny.

But to return to the notion that Huxley is superior to Orwell, both on the Left and the Dissident Right, this is based on a common view that Huxley presents a much more subtle, nuanced, and sophisticated view of soft tyranny more in keeping with the appearance of our own age. Here's McGrath summarizing this viewpoint, which could just as easily have come out of the mouth of an Alt-Righter, Alt-Liter, or Affirmative Righter:

Orwell didn't really have much feel for the future, which to his mind was just another version of the present. His imagined London is merely a drabber, more joyless version of the city, still recovering from the Blitz, where he was living in the mid-1940s, just before beginning the novel. The main technological advancement there is the two-way telescreen, essentially an electronic peephole.

Huxley, on the other hand, writing almost two decades earlier than Orwell (his former Eton pupil, as it happened), foresaw a world that included space travel; private helicopters; genetically engineered test tube babies; enhanced birth control; an immensely popular drug that appears to combine the best features of Valium and Ecstasy; hormone-laced chewing gum that seems to work the way Viagra does; a full sensory entertainment system that outdoes IMAX; and maybe even breast implants. (The book is a little unclear on this point, but in "Brave New World" the highest compliment you can pay a woman is to call her "pneumatic.")

Huxley was not entirely serious about this. He began "Brave New World" as a parody of H.G. Wells, whose writing he detested, and it remained a book that means to be as playful as it is prophetic. And yet his novel much more accurately evokes the country we live in now, especially in its depiction of a culture preoccupied with sex and mindless pop entertainment, than does Orwell's more ominous book, which seems to be imagining someplace like North Korea.

It is easy to see why some might see Huxley as more relevant to the reality around us than Orwell, because basically "Big Brother," in the guise of the Soviet Union, lost the Cold War, or so it seems.

But while initially convincing, the case for Huxley's superiority can be dismantled.

Most importantly, Huxley's main insight, namely that control can be maintained more effectively through "entertainment, distraction, and superficial pleasure rather than through overt modes of policing and strict control over food supplies" is not actually absent in 1984 .

In fact, exactly these kind of methods are used to control the Proles, on whom pornography is pushed and prostitution allowed. In fact porn is such an important means of social control that the IngSoc authorities even have a pornography section called "PornSec," which mass produces porn for the Proles.

One of the LOL moments in Michael Radford's film version is when Mr. Charrington, the agent of the thought police who poses as a kindly pawnbroker to rent a room to Winston and Julia for their sexual trysts, informs them on their arrest that their surveillance film will be 'repurposed' as porn.

In fact, Orwell's view of sex as a means of control is much more dialectical and sophisticated than Huxley's, as the latter was, as mentioned above, essentially writing a parody of the naive "free love" notions of H.G.Wells.

While sex is used as a means to weaken the Proles, 'anti-Sex' is used to strengthen the hive-mind of Party members. Indeed, we see today how the most hysterical elements of the Left -- and to a certain degree the Dissident Right -- are the most undersexed.

Also addictive substances are not absent from Orwell's dystopian vision. While Brave New World only has soma, 1984 has Victory Gin, Victory Wine, Victory Beer, Victory Coffee, and Victory Tobacco -- all highly addictive substances that affect people's moods and reconcile them to unpleasant realities. Winston himself is something of a cigarette junkie and gin fiend, as we see in this quote from the final chapter:

The Chestnut Tree was almost empty. A ray of sunlight slanting through a window fell on dusty table-tops. It was the lonely hour of fifteen. A tinny music trickled from the telescreens.

Winston sat in his usual corner, gazing into an empty glass. Now and again he glanced up at a vast face which eyed him from the opposite wall. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said. Unbidden, a waiter came and filled his glass up with Victory Gin, shaking into it a few drops from another bottle with a quill through the cork. It was saccharine flavoured with cloves, the speciality of the cafe

In these days he could never fix his mind on any one subject for more than a few moments at a time. He picked up his glass and drained it at a gulp.

But while 1984 includes almost everything that Brave New World contains in terms of controlling people through sex, drugs, and distractions, it also includes much, much more, especially regarding how censorship and language are used to control people and how tyranny is internalised. The chapter from which the above quote comes, shows how Winston, a formerly autonomous agent, has come to accept the power of the system so much that he no longer needs policing.

But most brilliant of all is Orwell's prescient description of how language is changed through banning certain words and the expression of certain ideas or observations deemed "thought crime," to say nothing of the constant rewriting of history. The activities of Big Tech and their deplatforming of all who use words, phrases, and ideas not in the latest edition of their "Newspeak" dictionary, have radically changed the way that people communicate and what they talk about in a comparatively short period of time.

Orwell's insights into how language can be manipulated into a tool of control shows his much deeper understanding of human psychology than that evident in Huxley's novel. The same can be said about Orwell's treatment of emotions, which is another aspect of his novel that rings particularly true today.

In 1984 hate figures, like Emmanuel Goldstein, and fake enemies, like Eastasia and Eurasia, are used to unite, mobilise, and control certain groups. Orwell was well aware of the group-psychological dynamics of the tribe projected to the largest scale of a totalitarian empire. The concept of "three minutes hate" has so much resonance with our own age, where triggered Twitter-borne hordes of SJWs and others slosh around the news cycle like emotional zombies, railing against Trump or George Soros.

In Huxley's book, there are different classes but this is not a source of conflict. Indeed they are so clearly defined -- in fact biologically so -- that there is no conflict between them, as each class carries out its predetermined role like harmonious orbit of Aristotlean spheres.

In short, Brave New World sees man as he likes to see himself -- a rational actor, controlling his world and taking his pleasures. It is essentially the vision of a well-heeled member of the British upper classes.

Orwell's book, by contrast, sees man as the tribal primitive, forced to live on a scale of social organisation far beyond his natural capacity, and thereby distorted into a mad and cruel creature. It is essentially the vision of a not-so-well-heeled member of the British middle classes in daily contact with the working class. But is all the richer and more profound for it.

Colin Liddell is one of the founders of the Alt-Right, which he now disavows, and currently blogs at Affirmative Right . He recently published a book "Interviews and Obituaries," available on Amazon .

[Nov 14, 2018] Is Orwell overrated and Huxley undertated?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Orwell grew up in a time of increasing scale, Managerialism, and atomization. His thinking narrates the moral discourse shaped by that anti-social environment and its effects (mass wars) but dresses it up in an emancipatory narrative. One is immediately struck by his lack of foresight in predicting how power would operate as the 20th century wore on (Foucault and and Huxley are a lot closer the truth), and his inability to grapple with the essence of power and its moral and conceptual implications as a whole. ..."
"... Orwell proceeds to demand by implication we view the ancestral efforts which secured our position in the present day as illegitimate, since they conformed to emergent anthropological patterns of conflict and conquest instead of categorical laws plucked out of thin air by self-styled 'enlightened' big-brains during the 18th century. ..."
"... Had we actually lived by these 'standards', those of us left would be a marginalized set of tribes pushed to the far north of Europe, regularly getting shafted by whatever Magian civilization moved in. As a matter of fact, that's happening right now as these self-critical ideas have installed themselves within our cultural substrate. ..."
"... But if you have a decline and you have a desire to assert yourself to arrest the decline, and you have to apologize to yourself about even having the idea of assertion to arrest decline, you're not going to get anywhere, are you? ..."
Nov 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Lord Lemur , 7 hours ago

Orwell's intellect is overrated, and his aphorisms have become thought-ending cliches. Look at the string of assumptions in quote above. Do individuals really 'choose' to 'sink' their consciousness into a greater body? What makes far more sense is that at the 'core' of I there is a 'we', which is conditioned by prior forms of particularity - religion, ethnicity, language, race, and culture. This is the basis of a harmonious common good, and a meaningful lifeworld.

Orwell grew up in a time of increasing scale, Managerialism, and atomization. His thinking narrates the moral discourse shaped by that anti-social environment and its effects (mass wars) but dresses it up in an emancipatory narrative. One is immediately struck by his lack of foresight in predicting how power would operate as the 20th century wore on (Foucault and and Huxley are a lot closer the truth), and his inability to grapple with the essence of power and its moral and conceptual implications as a whole.

In reality, power is a moral imperative, and its acquisition and application the inaugural raison d'ętre of the state and the concomitant society. Hence, the cogito subject at the heart of Orwell's evaluative presuppositions is itself a product of prior systems of power, upstream from personal judgment and value sets.

Orwell proceeds to demand by implication we view the ancestral efforts which secured our position in the present day as illegitimate, since they conformed to emergent anthropological patterns of conflict and conquest instead of categorical laws plucked out of thin air by self-styled 'enlightened' big-brains during the 18th century.

Had we actually lived by these 'standards', those of us left would be a marginalized set of tribes pushed to the far north of Europe, regularly getting shafted by whatever Magian civilization moved in. As a matter of fact, that's happening right now as these self-critical ideas have installed themselves within our cultural substrate.

These pious set of mere assertions are deployed by the ruling globalist cabal to justify the replacement of Western founding stocks. Yet they are so ingrained among our senior cohort, when their *own people actually under attack* seek to affirm themselves without contradiction in *response*, they are viewed as the root menace. But if you have a decline and you have a desire to assert yourself to arrest the decline, and you have to apologize to yourself about even having the idea of assertion to arrest decline, you're not going to get anywhere, are you?

Those who feel uncomfortable about this should have worked harder to prevent the erosion of the historic American nation, and if there is nothing they could have done against the DC Behemoth, abstain from opposing the instinctive response of the cultural immune system.

Pat Lang Mod -> Lord Lemur , 7 hours ago

I beg you pardon, O neocon scion of the WASP elite. and what did you ever do for the "historic America?"
Lord Lemur -> Pat Lang , 7 hours ago
I'm not American, but i'm 5th generation in an Anglo-setter nation. The implication here is that i'm an ungrateful you whipper-snapper who just doesn't grasp the sacrifices and horrors of the 20th century. Exactly when does my generation get the moral cachet entitling us to input directions into the civilizational compass? Arguments predicated on commitment to a cause haven no inherent validity. I'm certainly not disparaging or denying here, but you're putting us in a position where our ambit of choice is circumscribed by the ideology that justified post-War US hegemony (for which people from my community were still dying until very recently in Afghanistan).
Pat Lang Mod -> Lord Lemur , 6 hours ago
I have long thought that NATO should have been abolished after the fall of the USSR. Go your own way. I am not concerned with you foreigners in Europe or anywhere else. I am concerned with the state of mind of my own people who should wise up and forget about Europe except as a trading partner and a tourist destination.
Lord Lemur -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
Well, I would love to do that Col., but unfortunately Western civilization as a whole goes the way of Washington, New York, Brussels, and maybe Paris and Moscow. What happens to weaker power centres without the strong ones? What has happened Tibet, that's what.

Thinking in terms of elites tied to specific nations is no longer a good model to conceive of politics. Formal institutions like NATO are an expression of that. We have to address transnational networks of soft power that bind together and enculturate the ruling class. I have more in common with a Trump voter from flyover country and he with me than either of us with our respective 'national' elites.

Pat Lang Mod -> Lord Lemur , 5 hours ago
Blah Blah. At least you did not tell me about your hero grandpa.
JJackson , 13 hours ago
An important distinction, thank you for forcing us to consider the difference.

The two are not always easy to distinguish and a 'My country right or wrong' mindset seems to be dangerously on the rise. I was considering the use of the national flag on homes in the US and UK. It surprised me how common it seemed in the States and assumed it was a show of Patriotic fervor when I see it in the UK it sends a shiver down my spine as (with the exception of major international sporting events) I interpret it as extreme Nationalism often associated with racist or Neo-Nazi sympathies. Conflation of the two seems much the same as that of Anti-Israeli, Anti-Zionist and Anti-Semitic again three very distinct mindsets.

Degringolade , 13 hours ago
... Look, mostly this whole patriotism/nationalism word game is just sadly funny. You are a patriot if you think like me. You are a nationalist if you don't. Patriotism is good, nationalism is bad. If I am a patriot, I am good, if you are a nationalist, you must be bad.

I think that the wisdom of Humpty Dumpty when speaking to Alice fits here:

"When I use a word..it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is which is to be master -- that's all."

[Nov 07, 2018] The Populist Moment A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America by Lawrence Goodwyn

Nov 07, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Gary Moreau, Author TOP 500 REVIEWER 5.0 out of 5 stars Why the poor still lose March 13, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Populism. The word is used a lot today by political journalists in reference to both President Trump supporters and the Brexit movement. And, historically speaking, it is generally used inaccurately, a fact that I, too, was unaware of until I read another reader's review of a separate title. That reviewer recommended this book, written by Duke professor of history, Lawrence Goodwyn, and published in 1979.

While the title refers to the book as 'short', it is a very thorough review of the populist political movement that rose out of the National Farmers Alliance, which went under a series of different names and platforms that ultimately had everything to do with the coinage of silver and relatively little to do with the original populist reforms.

What is most fascinating to me is not the acquisition of historical accuracy regarding the populist label as it is the revelation of the degree to which the 1896 presidential election, between Republican William McKinley and Democrat (and presumed populist) William Jennings Bryant, ultimately cast the shape of American economics and politics that survives yet today. While that election appeared to turn on gold (McKinley) versus silver (Bryant), the outcome would ultimately define no less than what it means to be an American in the 21st Century.

It all began with the American Civil War, not surprisingly. And, more specifically, who was going to pay the enormous debt incurred to fight it. And that, ultimately, came down to the question of currency. The creation of a hard currency, which is ultimately the position that won out, protected the bankers and other owners of corporate capital, but at the expense of laborers and farmers.

The hard currency ultimately exaggerated the worst abuses of the crop lien system then prevalent in the South, forcing farmers (land-owners and tenants alike) into a cycle of increasing debt and falling commodity prices that they could not escape. It is, in many ways, the same inescapable cycle that entraps the urban and rural poor today.

But that's where the populist analogy ends, as the populist agrarian movement pursued a political agenda that would be the antithesis of Trump's MAGA agenda of today. It was, in fact, the antitheses of both the modern conservative and progressive agendas, both of which only appear to offer a real distinction and choice.

Both agendas presume the economic supremacy of capital and the political supremacy of the corporate and banking classes that control it. Among other things, it is the supremacy of capital that has fueled the rapid and unbridled consolidation of both industry and agriculture in the US, permanently planting the corporation at the top of the political food chain. (In 1870, the average US factory had only 8 workers.)

Before the Civil War, about 80% of all free white men owned property. By 1890, however, the richest 9% of all Americans (still white men) owned three-fourths of all wealth and within a decade one in eight Americans were living in abject poverty. With the exception of a historically brief period following World War II, in which unions managed to give laborers a political voice, now lost, it is a trend that continues to this day.

What was most amazing to me, in reading this book, was how little things have really changed. Our political parties are built on regional alliances far more than differences of ideological substance. Both accept the supremacy of corporate consolidation and the benefit of economies of scale, even though there is little actual evidence to support the premise. Consolidation has done nothing quite so effectively as it has promoted political, social, and financial inequality. (Republicans and Democrats both blamed the farmers themselves for their economic plight in the 1890s, much as politicians frequently blame the poor themselves for their plight today.)

The solutions proposed by the populists of the National Agrarian Federation were decidedly collective in nature and built from the success of the cooperative movement that had provided some relief from corporate anarchy. It called for the abolition of private banks, a new dynamic currency, the nationalization of the railroads, and the formation of government cooperatives to handle crop financing, insurance, and post-harvest handling and storage. It was, in other words, quite the ideological opposite of Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-regulatory, pro-corporate agenda.

The author makes two other important contributions to the current political dialogue. The first is to refute the illusion promoted by both political parties that American history is a timeline of uninterrupted progress and advancement. It is, more than we care to admit, a history of exploitation and the dominance of minority interests under the guise of personal and economic freedom that, for most, does not exist.

And because it is a myth that is almost universally accepted, the author notes, real political reform in the US is virtually impossible to achieve, in short because we refuse to see the world the way it really is. We have, as a result, neither the confidence nor the persistence to force the owners of capital, which control the political agenda, to give up the advantages they have enshrined into American politics and business.

In short, this is a fascinating book that everyone should have the courage to read. You may not agree with the author's conclusions, and there will surely be other historians who will take exception with his interpretation. Each of us, however, should have a commitment to defend that which we believe in the face of inconvenient facts, including those presented in this book.

Martin S. Harris Jr. 5.0 out of 5 stars required reading for understanding of today's "Populism" October 4, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Most likely (amateur historian opinion) the single best account of the Populist phenomenon I have ever read. If I have to find fault somewhere, It would be the absence of much coverage of earlier Populist themes in American politics, particularly as seen in the Jeffersonian sovereign-yeoman theme and in the Jacksonian anti-big-banking theme.

SK Figler 5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Big Banks and Corporations---the beginning in America April 28, 2012 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Usually histories of economics put me to sleep. But Lawrence Goodwyn's "The Populist Movement" is an enthralling gem that will give you numerous "Aha!" moments as it shows how and why populist movements, particularly that of the post-Civil War era (with its inception in Texas), began, grew, and failed in competing with big banks and business. There are many surprises to someone like me, who is not an economist but has been led (or pushed) to care about it from what has happened in and to America these past 30 years. Goodwyn shows clearly why the small farmers of southern and Plains America were driven to do something about the crushing control of big banks, growing commercial interests, and Wall Street. Ultimately, they failed because all power and control was in the hands of men like Gould and Morgan and the other Robber Barons. There is, however, a lesson to be taken from "The Populist Movement," that knowing and anticipating what massive blockages stand in the way of economic and political change can help people work around them. No one who reads Goodwyn's book can claim, "Well, I just didn't know."

[Nov 06, 2018] US-British Threats Against Russia Have a Long History by T.J. Coles – Matthew Alford

Notable quotes:
"... Union Jackboot: What Your Media and Professors Don't Tell You About British Foreign Policy ..."
"... There seems to be a consensus that we need a strong military because Russia is on the rise. What do you think about that rationale? ..."
"... What about military threats? ..."
"... So we've extended NATO to pretty much the Russian border? But there's a hard border there. Everyone knows we're never going to attack Russia, both for reasons of morality and self-preservation. So maybe this situation is safer than you imply. ..."
"... Brexit White Paper ..."
"... T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several books. ..."
"... Matthew Alford teaches at Bath University in the UK and has also written several books. Their latest is ..."
"... The Rise and Fall of the British Empire ..."
"... Bolshevism and Imperial Sedition ..."
"... Power without Responsibility ..."
"... Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot ..."
"... Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community ..."
"... Vision for 2020 ..."
"... Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present, and Future ..."
"... The New Atlanticist ..."
"... The United Kingdom's relations with Russia ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

In their new book Union Jackboot: What Your Media and Professors Don't Tell You About British Foreign Policy (Até Books), doctors T.J. Coles and Matthew Alford debate the rationale of Anglo-American policy towards Russia.

Alford: There seems to be a consensus that we need a strong military because Russia is on the rise. What do you think about that rationale?

Coles: There's no consensus, except among European and American elites. Europe and America are not the world.

There are a lot of issues to consider with regards to Russia. Is it a threat? If so to whom? What kind of threat is Russia? So let's consider these questions carefully. As far as the British establishment is concerned, Russia is an ideological threat because it is a major power with a substantial population. It's also self-reliant where oil and gas is concerned, unlike Britain. So there's lots of potential for Russian political ideology to undermine Britain's status. In fact, there are European Council on Foreign Relations papers saying that Putin's Russia presents an "ideological alternative" to the EU. [i] And that's dangerous.

Britain, or more accurately its policymaking elites, have considered Russia a significant enemy for over a century. Under the Tsar, the so-called Great Game was a battle for strategic resources, trading routes, and so on. The historian Lawrence James calls this period the first Cold War, which went "hot" with the Crimean War (1853-56). [ii] Britain had a mixed relationship with the Tsars because, on the one hand, theirs' were repressive regimes and Britain tended to favour repressive regimes, hence their brief alliance with Russia's enemy, the Ottomans. On the other hand, Russia was a strategic threat to Britain's imperial interests, and thus the Crimean War (1853-56).

When the Bolsheviks took over Russia, beginning 1917, the relationship became much less ambiguous – Russians, and especially Bolsheviks, were clearly the enemy. Their ideology posed a threat internally. So Winston Churchill, who began as a Liberal and became a Conservative, considered the Labour Party, which was formed in 1900, as basically a front for Bolsheviks. [iii] That shows the level of paranoia among elites. The Labour Party, at least at the beginning, was a genuine, working man's political organisation – women couldn't vote then, remember. So by associating this progressive, grassroots party representing the working classes as an ideological ally or even puppet of the brutal Bolshevik regime, the Tories had an excuse to undermine the power of organised, working people. So you had the Zinoviev letter in 1924, which we now know was a literal conspiracy between the secret services and elements of the Tory party to fabricate a link between Labour and Moscow. And it famously cost Labour the general election, since the right-wing, privately-owned media ran with the story as though it was real. It's an early example of fake news. [iv]

That's the ideological threat that Russia has posed, historically. But where there's a threat, there's an opportunity. The British elites exploited the "threat" then and as they do today by associating organised labour with evil Bolshevism and, in doing so, alienate the lower classes from their own political interests. Suddenly, we've all got to be scared of Russia, just like in 1917. And let's not forget that Britain used chemical weapons – M-Devices, which induced vomiting – against the Bolsheviks. Chemical weapons were "the right medicine for the Bolshevist," in Churchill's words. This was in 1919, as part of the Allied invasion of Russia in support of the White Army. [v]

So if we're talking about the historical balance of forces and cause and effect, Britain not Russia initiated the use of chemical weapons against others. But this history is typically inverted to say that Russia poses a threat to the West, hence all the talk about Novichok, the Skripals, and Dawn Sturgess, the civilian who supposedly came into contact with Novichok and died in hospital a few days later.

The next question: What sort of threat is Russia? According to the US Army War College, since the collapse of the Soviet Union and since pro-US, pro-"free market" President Boris Yeltsin resigned in 1999, Russia has pursued so-called economic nationalism. And the US doesn't like this because markets suddenly get closed and taxes are raised against US corporations. [vi] That's the real threat. But you can't tell the public that: that we hate Russia because they aren't doing what we say. If you look through the military documents, you can find almost nothing about security threats against the US in terms of Russian expansion, except in the sense that "security" means operational freedom. You can find references to Russia's nuclear weapons, though, which are described as defensive, designed "to counter US forces and weapons systems." [vii] Try finding that on the BBC. I should mention that even "defensive" nukes can be launched accidentally.

The real goal with regards to Russia is maintaining US economic hegemony and the culture of open "free markets" that goes with it, while at the same time being protectionist in real life. (US protectionism didn't start under Trump, by the way.) Liberal media like the New York Times run sarcastic articles about Russian state oil and gas being a front for Putin and his cronies. And yes, that may be true. But what threat is Russia to the US if it has a corrupt government? The threat is closing its markets to the US. The US is committed to what its military calls Full Spectrum Dominance. So the world needs to be run in a US-led neoliberal order, in the words of the US military, "to protect US interests and investment." [viii] But this cannot be done if you have "economic nationalism," like China had until the "reforms" of the '70s and '80s, and still has today to some extent. Russia and China aren't military threats. The global population on the whole knows this, even though the domestic US and British media say the opposite.

Alford: What about military threats?

Coles: The best sources you can get are the US military records. Straight from the horse's mouth. The military plans for war and defence. They have contingencies for when political situations change. So they know what they're talking about. There's a massive divide between reality, as understood from the military records, and media and political rhetoric. Assessments by the US Army War College, for instance, said years ago that any moves by NATO to support a Western-backed government in Ukraine would provoke Russia into annexing Crimea. They don't talk about Russia spontaneously invading Ukraine and annexing it, which is the image we get from the media. The documents talk about Russia reacting to NATO provocation. [ix]

If you look at a map, you see Russia surrounded by hostile NATO forces. The media don't discuss this dangerous and provocative situation, except the occasional mention of, say, US-British-Polish war-gaming on the border with Russia. When they do mention it, they say it's for "containment," the containment of Russia. But to contain something, the given thing has to be expanding. But the US military – like the annual threat assessments to Congress – say that Russia's not expanding, except when provoked. So at the moment as part of its NATO mission, the UK is training Polish and Ukrainian armed forces, has deployed troops in Poland and Estonia, and is conducting military exercises with them. [x]

Imagine if Scotland ceded from the UK and the Russians were on our border conducting military exercises, supposedly to deter a British invasion of Scotland. That's what we're doing in Ukraine. Britain's moves are extremely dangerous. In the 1980s, the UK as part of NATO conducted the exercise, Operation Able Archer, which envisaged troop build-ups between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. Now-declassified records show that the Russians briefly mistook this exercise for a real-world scenario. That could have escalated into nuclear war. This is very serious. [xi]

But the biggest player is the USA. It's using the threat of force and a global architecture of hi-tech militarism to shape a neoliberal order. Britain is slavishly following its lead. I doubt that Britain would position forces near Russia were it not for the USA. Successive US administrations have or are building a missile system in Europe and Turkey. They say it's to deter Iran from firing Scud missiles at Europe. But it's pointed at Russia. It's a radar system based in Romania and Turkey, with a battery of Patriot missiles based in Poland. The stationing of missiles there provoked Russia into moving its mobile nuclear weapons up to the border in its Kaliningrad exclave, as it warned it would do in 2008. [xii] Try to find any coverage of that in the media, except for a few articles in the print media here or there. If Western media were interested in survival, there would be regular headlines: "NATO provoking Russia."

But the situation in Ukraine is really the tipping point. Consider the equivalent. Imagine if Russia was conducting military exercises with Canada or Mexico, and building bases there. How would the US react? It would be considered an extreme threat, a violation of the UN Charter, which prohibits threats against sovereign states.

Alford: So we've extended NATO to pretty much the Russian border? But there's a hard border there. Everyone knows we're never going to attack Russia, both for reasons of morality and self-preservation. So maybe this situation is safer than you imply.

Coles: There's no morality involved. States are abstract, amorphous entities comprised of dominant minorities and subjugated majorities who are conditioned to believe that they are relatively free and prosperous. The elites of those states act both in their self-interests – career, peer-pressure, kickbacks, and so on – and in the interests of their class, which is of course tied to international relations because their class thrives on profiting from resource exploitation. So you can't talk about morality in this context. Only individuals can behave morally. The state is made up of individuals, of course, but they're acting against the interests of the majority. As we speak, they are acting immorally – or at least amorally – but creating the geopolitical conditions that imperil each and every one of us.

As for invasion, we're not going to invade Russia. This isn't 1918. Russia has nuclear weapons and can deter an invasion. But that's not the point. Do we want to de-escalate an already tense geopolitical situation or make it worse to the point where an accident happens? So while it's not about invading Russia directly, the issue is about attacking what are called Russia's "national interests." Russia's "national interests" are the same as the elites' of the UK. National interest doesn't mean the interests of the public. It means the interests of the policymaking establishment and the corporations. For example, the Theresa May government sacrificed its own credibility to ensure that its Brexit White Paper (2018) appeased both the interests of the food and manufacturing industries that want a soft Brexit – easy trade with the EU – and the financial services sector which wants a hard Brexit – freedom from EU regulation. Everyone else be damned. That's the "national interest."

So for its real "national interest," Russia wants to keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence because its oil and gas to Europe pass through Ukraine. About 80% of Russia's export economy is in the oil and gas sector. It's already had serious political tensions with Ukraine, which on several occasions hasn't paid its energy bills, so Russia has cut supplies. If Europe can bump Ukraine into its own sphere of influence it has more leverage over Russia. This is practically admitted in Parliamentary discussions by Foreign Office ministers, and so forth. [xiii] Again, omitted by the media. Also, remember that plenty of ethnic Russians live in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Russia has a naval base in Crimea. That's not to excuse its illegal action in annexing Ukraine, it's to highlight the realpolitik missing in the media's coverage of the situation.

T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several books.

Matthew Alford teaches at Bath University in the UK and has also written several books. Their latest is Union Jackboot (Até Books).

SOURCES

[i] Mark Leonard and Nicu Popescu (2007) 'A Power Audit of EU-Russia Relations' European Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Paper, p. 1 http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR-02_A_POWER_AUDIT_OF_EU-RUSSIA_RELATIONS.pdf .

[ii] 'Anglo-Russian relations were severely strained; what was in effect a cold war lasted from the late 1820s to the beginning of the next century'. The Crimean War seems to have set a precedent for today. James writes:

[It] was an imperial war, the only one fought by Britain against a European power during the nineteenth century, although some would have regarded Russia as essentially an Asiatic power. No territory was at stake; the war was undertaken solely to guarantee British naval supremacy in the Mediterranean and, indirectly, to forestall any threat to India which might have followed Russia replacing Britain as the dominant power in the Middle East.

Lawrence James (1997) The Rise and Fall of the British Empire London: Abacus, pp. 180-82.

[iii] Churchill said in 1920:

All these strikes and rumours of strikes and threats of strikes and loss and suffering caused by them; all this talk of revolution and "direct action" have deeply offended most of the British people. There is a growing feeling that a considerable section of organized Labour is trying to tyrannize over the whole public and to bully them into submission, not by argument, not by recognized political measures, but by brute force

But if we can do little for Russia [under the Bolsheviks], we can do much for Britain. We do not want any of these experiments here

Whether it is the Irish murder gang or the Egyptian vengeance society, or the seditious extremists in India, or the arch-traitors we have at home, they will feel the weight of the British arm.

Winston Churchill (1920) Bolshevism and Imperial Sedition . Speech to United Wards Club. London: The International Churchill Society https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1915-1929-nadir-and-recovery/bolshevism-and-imperial-sedition/ .

[iv] The fake letter says:

A settlement of relations between the two countries [UK and Russia] will assist in the revolutionising of the international and British proletariat, [and] make it possible for us to extend and develop the propaganda and ideas of Leninism in England and the colonies.

It also says that 'British workmen' have 'inclinations to compromise' and that rapprochement will eventually lead to domestic '[a]rmed warfare'. It was leaked by the services to the Conservative party and then to the media. Richard Norton-Taylor (1999) 'Zinoviev letter was dirty trick by MI6' Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/politics/1999/feb/04/uk.politicalnews6 and Louise Jury (1999) 'Official Zinoviev letter was forged' Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/official-zinoviev-letter-was-forged-1068600.html . For media coverage at the time, see James Curran and Jean Seaton (1997) Power without Responsibility London: Routledge, p. 52.

[v] Paul F. Walker (2017) 'A Century of Chemical Warfare: Building a World Free of Chemical Weapons' Conference: One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences pp. 379-400 and Giles Milton (2013) Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot London: Hodder, eBook.

[vi] 'The Russian Federation has shown repeatedly that common values play almost no role in its consideration of its trading partners', meaning the US and EU. 'It often builds relationships with countries that most openly thwart Western values of free markets and democracy', notably Iran and Venezuela. 'In this regard, the Russian Federation behaves like "Russia Incorporated." It uses its re-nationalized industries to further its wealth and influence, the latter often at the expense of the EU and the U.S.'. Colonel Richard J. Anderson (2008) 'A History of President Putin's Campaign to Re-Nationalize Industry and the Implications for Russian Reform and Foreign Policy' Senior Service College, US Army War College, Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 52.

[vii] Daniel R. Coats (2017) Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Washington, DC: Office of the Director of

National Intelligence, pp. 18-19 https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testimonies/SSCI%20Unclassified%20SFR%20-%20Final.pdf .

[viii] US Space Command (1997) Vision for 2020 Colorado: Peterson Air Force Base https://ia802705.us.archive.org/10/items/pdfy-j6U3MFw1cGmC-yob/U.S.%20Space%20Command%20Vision%20For%202020.pdf .

[ix] The document also says: 'a replay of the West-sponsored coup against pro-Russian elites could result in a split, or indeed multiple splits, of the failed Ukraine, which would open a door for NATO intervention'.Pavel K. Baev (2011) 'Russia's security relations with the United States: Futures planned and unplanned' in Stephen J. Blank (ed.) Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present, and Future Strategic Studies Institute Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 170, www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1087.pdf.

[x] Forces Network (2016) 'British troops to deploy to Poland' https://www.forces.net/news/tri-service/british-troops-deploy-poland .

[xi] For example, Nate Jones, Thomas Blanton and Christian F. Ostermann (2016) 'Able Archer 83: The Secret History' Nuclear Proliferation International History Project Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/able-archer-83-the-secret-history .

[xii] It was reported in the ultra-right, neo-con press at the time that:

[Russian] President Dmitri Medvedev announced in his first state-of-the-nation address plans to deploy the short-range SS-26 ("Iskander") missiles in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad if the U.S. goes ahead with its European Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Medvedev told parliament that the deployment would "neutralize" U.S. plans for a missile defense shield based in Poland and the Czech Republic [now in Romania), which the U.S. claims as vital in defending against missile attacks from 'rogue states' such as Iran.

Neil Leslie (2008) 'The Kaliningrad Missile Crisis' The New Atlanticist , available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/the-kaliningrad-missile-crisis.

[xiii] For example, a Parliamentary inquiry into British-Russian relations says of the newly-imposed US-British ally in Ukraine:

President Poroshenko's Government is more openly committed to economic reform and anti-corruption than any previous Ukrainian Administration. The reform agenda has made considerable progress and has enjoyed some successes including police reform, liberalisation of the energy market and the launch of an online platform for government procurement

The annexation of Crimea also resulted in a ban on importing products from Crimea, on investing in or providing services linked to tourism and on exporting certain goods for use in the transport, telecoms and energy sectors.

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (2017) The United Kingdom's relations with Russia Seventh report of session 2016-17, HC 120 London: Stationary Office, pp. 28, 31 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/120/120.pdf

[Nov 05, 2018] Neoliberalism's Demons On the Political Theology of Late Capital

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

By both its supporters and detractors, neoliberalism is usually considered an economic policy agenda. Neoliberalism's Demons argues that it is much more than that: a complete worldview, neoliberalism presents the competitive marketplace as the model for true human flourishing. And it has enjoyed great success: from the struggle for "global competitiveness" on the world stage down to our individual practices of self-branding and social networking, neoliberalism has transformed every aspect of our shared social life. The book explores the sources of neoliberalism's remarkable success and the roots of its current decline. Neoliberalism's appeal is its promise of freedom in the form of unfettered free choice. But that freedom is a trap: we have just enough freedom to be accountable for our failings, but not enough to create genuine change. If we choose rightly, we ratify our own exploitation. And if we choose wrongly, we are consigned to the outer darkness -- and then demonized as the cause of social ills. By tracing the political and theological roots of the neoliberal concept of freedom, Adam Kotsko offers a fresh perspective, one that emphasizes the dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality. More than that, he accounts for the rise of right-wing populism, arguing that, far from breaking with the neoliberal model, it actually doubles down on neoliberalism's most destructive features.

skeptic

This book tried to integrate the results of previous research of neoliberalism by such scholars as David Harvey, Philip Mirowski, and Wendy Brown into a more coherent framework. He has some brilliant insights about neoliberalism as secular religion scattered within the book. For example "I have claimed that the political-theological root of neoliberalism is freedom and have characterized its vision of freedom as hollow." His theological notion of "neoliberalism demons" ( the dark forces unleashed by neoliberalism) also represents a very valuable insight as neoliberalism explicitly violates Christian morality postulates ("greed is good").

"Liberal democracy under neoliberalism represents a forced choice between two fundamentally similar options, betraying its promise to provide a mechanism for rational and self-reflective human agency. The market similarly mobilizes free choice only to subdue and subvert it, "responsibilizing" every individual for the outcomes of the system while radically foreclosing any form of collective responsibility for the shape of society. And any attempt to exercise human judgment and free choice over social institutions and outcomes is rejected as a step down the slippery' slope to totalitarianism. To choose in any strong sense is always necessarily to choose wrongly, to fall into sin."
In the introduction, he correctly states that the academic workforce is now deeply affected by neoliberalization.
Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must, therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day.

The author explains his use of the term "theology" instead of "ideology in such a way: " theology' has always been about much more than God. Even the simplest theological systems have a lot to say about the world we live in, how it came to be the way it is, and how it should be. Those ideals are neither true nor false in an empirical sense, nor is it fair to say that believers accept them blindly. "

He justifies the use of this term in the following way:

Here the term theology is likely to present the primary difficulty, as it seems to presuppose some reference to God. Familiarity with political theology as it has conventionally been practiced would reinforce that association. Schmitt's Political Theology and Kantorowicz's The King's Two Bodies both focused on the parallels between God and the earthly ruler,3 and much subsequent work in the field has concentrated on the theological roots of political concepts of state sovereignty'. Hence the reader may justly ask whether I am claiming that neoliberalism presupposes a concept of God.

The short answer is no. I am not arguing, for example, that neoliberalism "worships" the invisible hand, the market, money, wealthy entrepreneurs, or any other supposed "false idol," nor indeed that it is somehow secretly "religious" in the sense of being fanatical and unreasoning. Such claims presuppose a strong distinction between the religious and the secular, a distinction that proved foundational for the self-legitimation of the modern secular order but that has now devolved into a stale cliché. As I will discuss in the chapters that follow, one of the things that most appeals to me about political theology as a discipline is the way that it rejects the religious/secular binary.

The author correctly point s out that "Neoliberalism likes to hide", Like Philip Mirowski he views neoliberalism as a reaction on the USSR socialism which in my view integrates much of Trotskyism. Replacing the slogan "Proletarians of all countries, unite!", with the slogan "financial elites of all countries unite."

While most authors consider that neoliberalism became the dominant political force with the election of Reagan, the author argues that it happened under Nixon: " Nixon's decision in 1971 to go off the gold standard, which broke with the Bretton Woods settlement that had governed international finance throughout the postwar era and inadvertently cleared the space for the fluctuating exchange rates that proved so central to the rise of contemporary finance capitalism. "

He contrasts approaches of Harvey, Mirowski and Brown pointing out that real origin of neoliberalism and Trotskyism style "thought collective" – intellectual vanguard that drives everybody else, often using deception to final victory of neoliberalism.

It is this group that Mirowski highlights with his notion of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. One could walk away from Harvey's account viewing the major figures of neoliberalism as dispensable figureheads for impersonal political and economic forces. By contrast, the most compact possible summary of Mirowski s book would be: "It's people! Neoliberalism is made out of people!" In this reading, there was nothing inevitable about neoliberalism's rise, which depended on the vision and organization of particular nameable individuals.

Brown portrays neoliberalism as an attempt to extinguish the political -- here represented by the liberal democratic tradition of popular sovereignty and self-rule -- and consign humanity to a purely economic existence. In the end Brown calls us to take up a strange kind of metapolitical struggle against the economic enemy, in defense of politics as such. Meanwhile, Jodi Dean, who agrees that neoliberalism has a depoliticizing tendency, argues that this depoliticization actually depends on the notion of democracy and that appeals to democracy against neoliberalism arc therefore doomed in advance.9

He also points out neoliberalism tendency to create markets using the power of the state:

"Obamacare effectively created a market in individual health insurance plans, an area where the market was previously so dysfunctional as to be essentially nonexistent. The example of Obamacare also highlights the peculiar nature of neoliberal freedom. One of its most controversial provisions was a mandate that all Americans must have health insurance coverage. From a purely libertarian perspective, this is an impermissible infringement on economic freedom -- surely if i am free to make my own economic decisions, I am also free to choose not to purchase health insurance. Yet the mandate fits perfectly with the overall ethos of neoliberalism.

Overall, then, in neoliberalism an account of human nature where economic competition is the highest value leads to a political theory where the prime duty of the state is to enable, and indeed mandate, such competition, and the result is a world wherein individuals, firms, and states are all continually constrained to express themselves via economic competition. This means that neoliberalism tends to create a world in which neoliberalism is "true." A more coherent and self-reinforcing political theology can scarcely be imagined -- but that, I will argue, is precisely what any attempt to create an alternative to neoliberalism must do.

He points out on weaknesses of Marxist analysts and by Harvey's own "recognition of the fact that classes have been profoundly changed during the process of neo-liberalization" -- meaning that the beneficiaries cannot have planned the neoliberal push in any straightforward way. More than that, an economic-reductionist account ignores the decisive role of the state in the development of the neoliberal order: "To believe that 'financial markets' one fine day eluded the grasp of politics is nothing but a fairy tale. It was states, and global economic organizations, in close collusion with private actors, that fashioned rules conducive to the expansion of market finance."'' In other words, neoliberalism is an example where, contrary to Marxism, political forces directly transform economic structures.

He also points out that Polanyi views on the subject supports this thesis:

Polanyi famously characterized the interplay between market forces and society as a "double movement": when market relations threaten to undermine the basic foundations of social reproduction, society (most often represented by state institutions) intervenes to prevent or at least delay the trend set in motion by the market. Compared with Aristotle's distribution of categories between the political and economic realms, Polanyi's account is itself a "great transformation" on the conceptual level. Where Aristotle distinguished state and household and placed both legitimate economic management and unrestrained accumulation in the latter, Polanyi's "society" combines the household and the state, leaving only out-of-control acquisition in the purely economic realm. And in this schema, the society represents the spontaneous and natural, while the economic force of the market is what is constructed and deliberate.

The legacy of Polanyi should already be familiar to us in the many analyses of neoliberalism that see the state, nationalism, and other similar forces as extrinsic "leftovers" that precede or exceed neoliberal logic. Normally such interpretations first point out the supposed irony or hypocrisy that neoliberalism comes to require these exogenous elements for its functioning while claiming that those same "leftover" institutions can be sites of resistance. Hence, for instance, one often hears that the left needs to restore confidence in state power over against the market, that socialism can only be viable if a given country isolates itself from the forces of the global market, or in Wendy Brown's more abstract terms, that the left must reclaim the political to combat the hegemony of the economic.

He makes an important point that "neoliberalism does not simply destroy some preexisting entity known as "the family," but creates its own version of the family, one that fits its political-economic agenda, just as Fordism created the white suburban nuclear family that underwrote its political-economic goals."

Following Wendy Brown he views victimization of poor as an immanent feature of neoliberalism:

"The psychic life of neoliberalism, as so memorably characterized by Mark Fisher in Capitalist Realism, is shot through with anxiety and shame. We have to be in a constant state of high alert, always "hustling" for opportunities and connections, always planning for every contingency (including the inherently unpredictable vagaries of health and longevity). This dynamic of "responsibilization," as Wendy Brown calls it, requires us to fritter away our life with worry and paperwork and supplication, "pitching"ourselves over and over again, building our "personal brand" -- all for ever-lowering wages or a smattering of piece-work, which barely covers increasingly exorbitant rent, much less student loan payments."

He also points out that under neoliberalism "Under normative neoliberalism "neoclassical economics becomes a soft constitution for government or 'governance' in its devolved forms" the point that Philip Mirowski completely misses.

While correctly pointing out that neoliberalism is in decline and its ideology collapsed after 2008 (" Neoliberalism has lost its aura of inevitability"), it is unclear which forces will dismantle neoliberalism. And when it will be sent to the dustbin of the history. The chapter of the book devoted to "After Neoliberalism" theme is much weaker than the chapters devoted to its analysis.

For example, the author thinks that Trump election signifies a new stage of neoliberalism which he calls "punitive neoliberalism." I would call Trumpism instead "national neoliberalism" with all associated historical allusions.

[Nov 05, 2018] A superb new book on the duty of resistance

Notable quotes:
"... A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil ..."
"... The Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

by Chris Bertram on October 31, 2018 Candice Delmas, A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Political obligation has always been a somewhat unsatisfactory topic in political philosophy, as has, relatedly, civil disobedience. The "standard view" of civil disobedience, to be found in Rawls, presupposes that we live in a nearly just society in which some serious violations of the basic liberties yet occur and conceives of civil disobedience as a deliberate act of public lawbreaking, nonviolent in character, which aims to communicate a sense of grave wrong to our fellow citizens. To demonstrate their fidelity to law, civil disobedients are willing to accept the consequences of their actions and to take their punishment. When Rawls first wrote about civil disobedience, in 1964, parts of the US were openly and flagrantly engaged in the violent subordination of their black population, so it was quite a stretch for him to think of that society as "nearly just". But perhaps its injustice impinged less obviously on a white professor at an elite university in Massachusetts than it did on poor blacks in the deep South.

The problems with the standard account hardly stop there. Civil disobedience thus conceived is awfully narrow. In truth, the range of actions which amount to resistance to the state and to unjust societies is extremely broad, running from ordinary political opposition, through civil disobedience to disobedience that is rather uncivil, through sabotage, hacktivism, leaking, whistle-blowing, carrying out Samaritan assistance in defiance of laws that prohibit it, striking, occupation, violent resistance, violent revolution, and, ultimately, terrorism. For the non-ideal world in which we actually live and where we are nowhere close to a "nearly just" society, we need a better theory, one which tells us whether Black Lives Matter activists are justified or whether antifa can punch Richard Spencer. Moreover, we need a theory that tells us not only what we may do but also what we are obliged to do: when is standing by in the face of injustice simply not morally permissible.

Step forward Candice Delmas with her superb and challenging book The Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil (Oxford University Press). Delmas points out the manifold shortcomings of the standard account and how it is often derived from taking the particular tactics of the civil rights movement and turning pragmatic choices into moral principles. Lots of acts of resistance against unjust societies, in order to be effective, far from being communicative, need to be covert. Non-violence may be an effective strategy, but sometimes those resisting state injustice have a right to defend themselves. [click to continue ]


Hidari 10.31.18 at 3:41 pm (no link)

Strangely enough, the link I was looking at immediately before I clicked on the OP, was this:

https://www.thecanary.co/opinion/2018/10/30/our-time-is-up-weve-got-nothing-left-but-rebellion/

It would be interesting to see a philosopher's view on whether or not civil disobedience was necessary, and to what extent, to prevent actions that will lead to the end of our species.

Ebenezer Scrooge 10.31.18 at 4:52 pm (no link)
Two points:
As far as the Nazi-punching goes, it is important to remember that we hung Julius Streicher for nothing but speech acts.
I have no idea who Candice Delmas is, but "Delmas" is a French name. The French have a very different attitude toward civil disobedience than we do.
Moz of Yarramulla 10.31.18 at 11:23 pm (no link)

civil disobedience as a deliberate act of public lawbreaking, nonviolent in character, which aims to communicate a sense of grave wrong to our fellow citizens.

I think that's a pretty narrow view of civil disobedience even if you just count the actions of the protesters. Often NVDA is aimed at or merely accepts that a violent response is inevitable. The resistance at Parihaka, for example, was in no doubt that the response would be military and probably lethal. And Animal Liberation are often classified as terrorists by the US and UK governments while murderers against abortion are not.

Which is to say that the definition of "nonviolent" is itself an area of conflict, with some taking the Buddhist extremist position that any harm or even inconvenience to any living thing makes an action violent, and others saying that anything short of genocide can be nonviolent (and then there are the "intention is all" clowns). Likewise terrorism, most obviously of late the Afghani mujahideen when they transitioned from being revolutionaries to terrorists when the invader changed.

In Australia we have the actual government taking the view that any action taken by a worker or protester that inconveniences a company is a criminal act and the criminal must both compensate the company (including consequential damages) as well as facing jail time. tasmania and NSW and of course the anti-union laws . The penalties suggest they're considered crimes of violence, as does the rhetoric.

Moz of Yarramulla 11.01.18 at 12:13 am (no link)
Jeff@11

one should never legitimize any means toward social change that you would not object to seeing used by your mortal enemies.

Are you using an unusual definition of "mortal enemy" here? Viz, other than "enemy that wants to kill you"? Even US law has theoretical prohibitions on expressing that intention.

It's especially odd since we're right now in the middle of a great deal of bad-faith use of protest techniques by mortal enemies. "free speech" used to protect Nazi rallies, "academic freedom" to defend anti-science activists, "non-violent protest" used to describe violent attacks, "freedom of religion" used to excuse terrorism, the list goes on.

In Australia we have a 'proud boys' leader coming to Australia who has somehow managed to pass the character test imposed by our government. He's the leader of a gang that requires an arrest for violence as a condition of membership and regularly says his goal is to incite others to commit murder. It seems odd that our immigration minister has found those things to be not disqualifying while deporting someone for merely associating with a vaguely similar gang , but we live in weird times.

J-D 11.01.18 at 12:50 am ( 18 )
Ebenezer Scrooge

As far as the Nazi-punching goes, it is important to remember that we hung Julius Streicher for nothing but speech acts.

I do remember that*, but it's not clear to me why you think it's important to remember it in this context. If somebody who had fatally punched a Nazi speaker were prosecuted for murder, I doubt that 'he was a Nazi speaker' would be accepted as a defence on the basis of the Streicher precedent.

*Strictly speaking, I don't remember it as something that 'we' did: I wasn't born at the time, and it's not clear to me who you mean by 'we'. (Streicher himself probably would have said that it was the Jews, or possibly the Jews and the Bolsheviks, who were hanging him, but I don't suppose that would be your view.) However, I'm aware of the events you're referring to, which is the real point.

engels 11.01.18 at 12:51 am ( 19 )
Rawls presupposes that we live in a nearly just society in which some serious violations of the basic liberties yet occur For the non-ideal world in which we actually live and where we are nowhere close to a "nearly just" society, we need a better theory
Brandon Watson 11.01.18 at 12:02 pm (no link)
People need to stop spreading this misinterpretation about Rawls on civil disobedience, which I've seen several places in the past few years. Rawls focuses on the case of a nearly just society not because he thinks it's the only case in which you can engage in civil disobedience but because he thinks it's the only case in which there are difficulties with justifying it. He states this very clearly in A Theory of Justice : in cases where the society is not nearly just, there are no difficulties in justifying civil disobedience or even sometimes armed resistance. His natural duty account is not put forward as a general theory of civil disobedience but to argue that civil disobedience can admit of justification even in the case in which it is hardest to justify.

I'm not a fan of Rawls myself, but I don't know how he could possibly have been more clear on this, since he makes all these points explicitly.

LFC 11.02.18 at 12:45 am (no link)
J-D @18

The Nuremberg tribunal was set up and staffed by the U.S., Britain, USSR, and France; so whether Ebenezer's "we" was intended to refer to the four countries collectively or just to the U.S., it's clear who hanged Streicher et al., and the tone of your comment on this point is rather odd.

anon 11.02.18 at 4:23 pm (no link)
Resisting by protesting is OK.

However, here in the USA, actual legislation creating laws is done by our elected representatives.

So if you're an Amaerican and really want Social Change and aren't just posturing or 'virtue signaling' make sure you vote in the upcoming election.

I'm afraid too many will think that their individual vote won't 'matter' or the polls show it isn't needed or some other excuse to justify not voting. Please do not be that person.

Don Berinati 11.02.18 at 5:06 pm (no link)
Recently re-reading '1968' by Kurlansky and he repeatedly made this point about protests – that to be effective they had to get on television (major networks, not like our youtube, I think, so it would be seen by the masses in order to sway them) and to do that the acts had to be outlandish because they were competing for network time. This increasingly led to violent acts, which almost always worked in getting on the news, but flew in the face of King's and others peaceful methods.
So, maybe punching out a Nazi is the way to change people's minds or at least get them to think about stuff.

[Nov 05, 2018] The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins And Everyone Who Wants To Be One eBook by David Both

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Elegance is one of those things that can be difficult to define. I know it when I see it, but putting what I see into a terse definition is a challenge. Using the Linux diet
command, Wordnet provides one definition of elegance as, "a quality of neatness and ingenious simplicity in the solution of a problem (especially in science or mathematics); 'the simplicity and elegance of his invention.'"

In the context of this book, I think that elegance is a state of beauty and simplicity in the design and working of both hardware and software. When a design is elegant,
software and hardware work better and are more efficient. The user is aided by simple, efficient, and understandable tools.

Creating elegance in a technological environment is hard. It is also necessary. Elegant solutions produce elegant results and are easy to maintain and fix. Elegance does not happen by accident; you must work for it.

The quality of simplicity is a large part of technical elegance. So large, in fact that it deserves a chapter of its own, Chapter 18, "Find the Simplicity," but we do not ignore it here. This chapter discusses what it means for hardware and software to be elegant.

Hardware Elegance

Yes, hardware can be elegant -- even beautiful, pleasing to the eye. Hardware that is well designed is more reliable as well. Elegant hardware solutions improve reliability'.

[Nov 05, 2018] Understanding the Past

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

I find it both fun and informative to learn about the history' of Unix and Linux. Earlier in this book, I have referred to two books in particular that I have found helpful in my understating of Linux and its philosophy'.

Linux and the Unix Philosophy 1 by' Mike Ganearz has been particularly' interesting in terms of the philosophy'. The second book, The Art of Unix Programming - by' Eric S. Raymond, provides fascinating insider historical perspective on Unix and Linux programming and history'. This second book is also available in its entirety' at no charge on the Internet. 3

I recommend reading both of these books if you have not already. They' provide a historical and philosophical basis for much of what I have written in this book.

The SysAdmin Context

Context is important and this tenet, "Always use shell scripts," should be considered in the context of our jobs as SysAdmins.

The SysAdmin's job differs significantly from those of developers and testers. In addition to resolving both hardware and software problems, we manage the day-to-day operation of the systems under our care. We monitor those systems for potential problems and make all possible efforts to prevent those problems before they impact our users. We install updates and perform full release level upgrades to the operating system. We resolve problems caused by our users.

SysAdmins develop code to do all of those tilings and more; then we test that code; and then we support that code in a production environment.

Many of us also manage and maintain the networks to which our systems are connected. In other cases we tell the network guys where the problems are located and how to fix them because we find and diagnose them first.

We SysAdmins have been devops far longer than that term has been around. In fact, the SysAdmin job is more like dev-test-ops-net than just devops. Our knowledge and daily task lists cover all of those areas of expertise.

In this context the requirements for creating shell scripts are complex, interrelated, and many times contradictory'. Let's look at some of the typical factors SysAdmins must consider when writing shell scripts.

[Nov 05, 2018] How neoliberals destroyed University education and then a large part of the US middle class and the US postwar social order by Edward Qualtrough

Notable quotes:
"... Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day. ..."
"... Whereas classical liberalism insisted that capitalism had to be allowed free rein within its sphere, under neoliberalism capitalism no longer has a set sphere. We are always "on the clock," always accruing (or squandering) various forms of financial and social capital. ..."
Aug 24, 2016 | www.amazon.com

From: Amazon.com Neoliberalism's Demons On the Political Theology of Late Capital (9781503607125) Adam Kotsko Books

Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day.

... ... ...

On a more personal level it reflects my upbringing in the suburbs of Flint, Michigan, a city that has been utterly devastated by the transition to neoliberalism. As I lived through the slow-motion disaster of the gradual withdrawal of the auto industry, I often heard Henry Ford s dictum that a company could make more money if the workers were paid enough to be customers as well, a principle that the major US automakers were inexplicably abandoning. Hence I find it [Fordism -- NNB] to be an elegant way of capturing the postwar model's promise of creating broadly shared prosperity by retooling capitalism to produce a consumer society characterized by a growing middle class -- and of emphasizing the fact that that promise was ultimately broken.

By the mid-1970s, the postwar Fordist order had begun to breakdown to varying degrees in the major Western countries. While many powerful groups advocated a response to the crisis that would strengthen the welfare state, the agenda that wound up carrying the day was neoliberalism, which was most forcefully implemented in the United Kingdom by Margaret Thatcher and in the United States by Ronald Reagan. And although this transformation was begun by the conservative part)', in both countries the left-of-centcr or (in American usage) "liberal"party wound up embracing neoliberal tenets under Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, ostensibly for the purpose of directing them toward progressive ends.

With the context of current debates within the US Democratic Party, this means that Clinton acolytes are correct to claim that "neoliberalism" just is liberalism but only to the extent that, in the contemporary United States, the term liberalism is little more than a word for whatever the policy agenda of the Democratic Party happens to be at any given time. Though politicians of all stripes at times used libertarian rhetoric to sell their policies, the most clear-eyed advocates of neoliberalism realized that there could be no simple question of a "return" to the laissez-faire model.

Rather than simply getting the state "out of the way," they both deployed and transformed state power, including the institutions of the welfare state, to reshape society in accordance with market models. In some cases creating markets where none had previously existed, as in the privatization of education and other public services. In others it took the form of a more general spread of a competitive market ethos into ever more areas of life -- so that we are encouraged to think of our reputation as a "brand," for instance, or our social contacts as fodder for "networking." Whereas classical liberalism insisted that capitalism had to be allowed free rein within its sphere, under neoliberalism capitalism no longer has a set sphere. We are always "on the clock," always accruing (or squandering) various forms of financial and social capital.

[Nov 05, 2018] Management theories for CIOs The Peter Principle and Parkinson's Law

Notable quotes:
"... José Ortega y Gasset. ..."
"... "Works expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." ..."
"... "The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum of money involved." ..."
"... Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, ..."
"... "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law." ..."
"... "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." ..."
"... "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong - at the worst possible moment." ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | cio.co.uk

From the semi-serious to the confusingly ironic, the business world is not short of pseudo-scientific principles, laws and management theories concerning how organisations and their leaders should and should not behave. CIO UK takes a look at some sincere, irreverent and leftfield management concepts that are relevant to CIOs and all business leaders.

The Peter Principle

A concept formulated by Laurence J Peter in 1969, the Peter Principle runs that in a hierarchical structure, employees are promoted to their highest level of incompetence at which point they are no longer able to fulfil an effective role for their organisation.

In the Peter Principle people are promoted when they excel, but this process falls down when they are unlikely to gain further promotion or be demoted with the logical end point, according to Peter, where "every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties" and that "work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence".

To counter the Peter Principle leaders could seek the advice of Spanish liberal philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. While he died 14 years before the Peter Principle was published, Ortega had been in exile in Argentina during the Spanish Civil War and prompted by his observations in South America had quipped: "All public employees should be demoted to their immediately lower level, as they have been promoted until turning incompetent."

Parkinson's Law

Cyril Northcote Parkinson's eponymous law, derived from his extensive experience in the British Civil Service, states that: "Works expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."

The first sentence of a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955, Parkinson's Law is familiar with CIOs, IT teams, journalists, students, and every other occupation that can learn from Parkinson's mocking of pubic administration in the UK. The corollary law most applicable to CIOs runs that "data expands to fill the space available for storage", while Parkinson's broader work about the self-satisfying uncontrolled growth of bureaucratic apparatus is as relevant for the scaling startup as it is to the large corporate.

Related Parkinson's Law of Triviality

Flirting with the ground between flippancy and seriousness, Parkinson argued that boards and members of an organisation give disproportional weight to trivial issues and those that are easiest to grasp for non-experts. In his words: "The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum of money involved."

Parkinson's anecdote is of a fictional finance committee's three-item agenda to cover a Ł10 million contract discussing the components of a new nuclear reactor, a proposal to build a new Ł350 bicycle shed, and finally which coffee and biscuits should be supplied at future committee meetings. While the first item on the agenda is far too complex and ironed out in two and a half minutes, 45 minutes is spent discussing bike sheds, and debates about the Ł21 refreshment provisions are so drawn out that the committee runs over its two-hour time allocation with a note to provide further information about coffee and biscuits to be continued at the next meeting.

The Dilbert Principle

Referring to a 1990s theory by popular Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams, the Dilbert Principle runs that companies tend to promote their least competent employees to management roles to curb the amount of damage they are capable of doing to the organisation.

Unlike the Peter Principle , which is positive in its aims by rewarding competence, the Dilbert Principle assumes people are moved to quasi-senior supervisory positions in a structure where they are less likely to have an effect on productive output of the company which is performed by those lower down the ladder.

Hofstadter's Law

Coined by Douglas Hofstadter in his 1979 book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Hofstadter's Law states: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."

Particularly relevant to CIOs and business leaders overseeing large projects and transformation programmes, Hofstadter's Law suggests that even appreciating your own subjective pessimism in your projected timelines, they are still worth re-evaluating.

Related Murphy's Law

"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

An old adage and without basis in any scientific laws or management principles, Murphy's Law is always worth bearing in mind for CIOs or when undertaking thorough scenario planning for adverse situations. It's also perhaps worth bearing in mind the corollary principle Finagle's Law , which states: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong - at the worst possible moment."

Lindy Effect

Concerning the life expectancy of non-perishable things, the Lindy Effect is as relevant to CIOs procuring new technologies or maintaining legacy infrastructure as it is to the those buying homes, used cars, a fountain pen or mobile phone.

Harder to define than other principles and laws, the Lindy Effect suggests that mortality rate decreases with time, unlike in nature and in human beings where - after childhood - mortality rate increases with time. Ergo, every day of server uptime implies a longer remaining life expectancy.

A corollary effect related to the Lindy Effect which is a good explanation is the Copernican Principle , which states that the future life expectancy is equal to the current age, i.e. that barring any addition evidence on the contrary, something must be halfway through its life span.

The Lindy Effect and the idea that older things are more robust has specific relevance to CIOs beyond servers and IT infrastructure with its association with source code, where newer code will in general have lower probability of remaining within a year and an increased likelihood of causing problems compared to code written a long time ago, and in project management where the lifecycle of a project grows and its scope changes, an Agile methodology can be used to mitigate project risks and fix mistakes.

The Jevons Paradox

Wikipedia offers the best economic description of the Jevons Paradox or Jevons effect, in which a technological progress increases efficiency with which a resource is used, but the rate of consumption of that resource subsequently rises because of increasing demand.

Think email, think Slack, instant messaging, printing, how easy it is to create Excel reports, coffee-making, conference calls, network and internet speeds, the list is endless. If you suspect demand in these has increased along with technological advancement negating the positive impact of said efficiency gains in the first instance, sounds like the paradox first described by William Stanley Jevons in 1865 when observing coal consumption following the introduction of the Watt steam engine.

Ninety-Ninety Rule

A light-hearted quip bespoke to computer programming and software development, the Ninety-Ninety Rule states that: "The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time." See also, Hofstadter's Law .

Related to this is the Pareto Principle , or the 80-20 Rule, and how it relates to software, with supporting anecdotes that "20% of the code has 80% of the errors" or in load testing that it is common practice to estimate that 80% of the traffic occurs during 20% of the time.

Pygmalion Effect and Golem Effect

Named after the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he carved, and relevant to managers across industry and seniority, the Pygmalion Effect runs that higher expectations lead to an increased performance.

Counter to the Pygmalion Effect is the Golem effect , whereby low expectations result in a decrease in performance.

Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger Effect , named after two psychologists from Cornell University, states that incompetent people are significantly less able to recognise their own lack of skill, the extent of their inadequacy, and even to gauge the skill of others. Furthermore, they are only able to acknowledge their own incompetence after they have been exposed to training in that skill.

At a loss to find a better visual representation of the Dunning-Kruger Effect , here is Simon Wardley's graph with Knowledge and Expertise axes - a warning as to why self-professed experts are the worst people to listen to on a given subject.

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See also this picture of AOL "Digital Prophet" David Shing and web developer Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

[Nov 05, 2018] Putt's Law

Nov 05, 2018 | davewentzel.com

... ... ...

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand. --Putt's Law

If you are in IT and are not familiar with Archibald Putt, I suggest you stop reading this blog post, RIGHT NOW, and go buy the book Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat. How to Win in the Information Age . Putt's Law , for short, is a combination of Dilbert and The Mythical Man-Month . It shows you exactly how managers of technologists think, how they got to where they are, and how they stay there. Just like Dilbert, you'll initially laugh, then you'll cry, because you'll realize just how true Putt's Law really is. But, unlike Dilbert, whose technologist-fans tend to have a revulsion for management, Putt tries to show the technologist how to become one of the despised. Now granted, not all of us technologists have a desire to be management, it is still useful to "know one's enemy."

Two amazing facts:

  1. Archibald Putt is a pseudonym and his true identity has yet to be revealed. A true "Deep Throat" for us IT guys.
  2. Putt's Law was written back in 1981. It amazes me how the Old IT Classics (Putt's Law, Mythical Man-Month, anything by Knuth) are even more relevant today than ever.

Every technical hierarchy, in time, develops a competence inversion. --Putt's Corollary

Putt's Corollary says that in a corporate technocracy, the more technically competent people will remain in charge of the technology, whereas the less competent will be promoted to management. That sounds a lot like The Peter Principle (another timeless classic written in 1969).

People rise to their level of incompetence. --Dave's Summary of the Peter Principle

I can tell you that managers have the least information about technical issues and they should be the last people making technical decisions. Period. I've often heard that managers are used as the arbiters of technical debates. Bad idea. Arbiters should always be the [[benevolent dictators]] (the most admired/revered technologist you have). The exception is when your manager is also your benevolent dictator, which is rare. Few humans have the capability, or time, for both.

I see more and more hit-and-run managers where I work. They feel as though they are the technical decision-makers. They attend technical meetings they were not invited to. Then they ask pointless, irrelevant questions that suck the energy out of the team. Then they want status updates hourly. Eventually after they have totally derailed the process they move along to some other, sexier problem with more management visibility.

I really admire managers who follow the MBWA ( management by walking around ) principle. This management philosophy is very simple...the best managers are those who leave their offices and observe. By observing they learn what the challenges are for their teams and how to help them better.

So, what I am looking for in a manager

  1. He knows he is the least qualified person to make a technical decision.
  2. He is a facilitator. He knows how to help his technologists succeed.
  3. MBWA

[Nov 05, 2018] Why the Peter Principle Works

Notable quotes:
"... The Corner Office ..."
Aug 15, 2011 | www.cbsnews.com
Why The Peter Principle Works Everyone's heard of the Peter Principle - that employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence - a concept that walks that all-too-fine line between humor and reality.

We've all seen it in action more times than we'd like. Ironically, some percentage of you will almost certainly be promoted to a position where you're no longer effective. For some of you, that's already happened. Sobering thought.

Well, here's the thing. Not only is the Peter Principle alive and well in corporate America, but contrary to popular wisdom, it's actually necessary for a healthy capitalist system. That's right, you heard it here, folks, incompetence is a good thing. Here's why.

Robert Browning once said, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp." It's a powerful statement that means you should seek to improve your situation, strive to go above and beyond. Not only is that an embodiment of capitalism, but it also leads directly to the Peter Principle because, well, how do you know when to quit?

Now, most of us don't perpetually reach for the stars, but until there's clear evidence that we're not doing ourselves or anyone else any good, we're bound to keep right on reaching. After all, objectivity is notoriously difficult when opportunities for a better life are staring you right in the face.

I mean, who turns down promotions? Who doesn't strive to reach that next rung on the ladder? When you get an email from an executive recruiter about a VP or CEO job, are you likely to respond, "Sorry, I think that may be beyond my competency" when you've got to send two kids to college and you may actually want to retire someday?

Wasn't America founded by people who wanted a better life for themselves and their children? God knows, there were plenty of indications that they shouldn't take the plunge and, if they did, wouldn't succeed. That's called a challenge and, well, do you ever really know if you've reached too far until after the fact?

Perhaps the most interesting embodiment of all this is the way people feel about CEOs. Some think pretty much anyone can do a CEO's job for a fraction of the compensation. Seriously, you hear that sort of thing a lot, especially these days with class warfare being the rage and all.

One The Corner Office reader asked straight out in an email: "Would you agree that, in most cases, the company could fire the CEO and hire someone young, smart, and hungry at 1/10 the salary/perks/bonuses who would achieve the same performance?"

Sure, it's easy: you just set the direction, hire a bunch of really smart executives, then get out of the way and let them do their jobs. Once in a blue moon you swoop in, deal with a problem, then return to your ivory tower. Simple.

Well, not exactly.

You see, I sort of grew up at Texas Instruments in the 80s when the company was nearly run into the ground by Mark Shepherd and J. Fred Bucy - two CEOs who never should have gotten that far in their careers.

But the company's board, in its wisdom, promoted Jerry Junkins and, after his untimely death, Tom Engibous , to the CEO post. Not only were those guys competent, they revived the company and transformed it into what it is today.

I've seen what a strong CEO can do for a company, its customers, its shareholders, and its employees. I've also seen the destruction the Peter Principle can bring to those same stakeholders. But, even now, after 30 years of corporate and consulting experience, the one thing I've never seen is a CEO or executive with an easy job.

That's because there's no such thing. And to think you can eliminate incompetency from the executive ranks when it exists at every organizational level is, to be blunt, childlike or Utopian thinking. It's silly and trite. It doesn't even make sense.

It's not as if TI's board knew ahead of time that Shepherd and Bucy weren't the right guys for the job. They'd both had long, successful careers at the company. But the board did right the ship in time. And that's the mark of a healthy system at work.

The other day I read a truly fantastic story in Fortune about the rise and fall of Jeffrey Kindler as CEO of troubled pharmaceutical giant Pfizer . I remember when he suddenly stepped down amidst all sorts of rumor and conjecture about the underlying causes of the shocking news.

What really happened is the guy had a fabulous career as a litigator, climbed the corporate ladder to general ounsel of McDonald's and then Pfizer, had some limited success in operations, and once he was promoted to CEO, flamed out. Not because he was incompetent - he wasn't. And certainly not because he was a dysfunctional, antagonistic, micromanaging control freak - he was.

He failed because it was a really tough job and he was in over his head. It happens. It happens a lot. After all, this wasn't just some everyday company that's simple to run. This was Pfizer - a pharmaceutical giant with its top products going generic and a dried-up drug pipeline in need of a major overhaul.

The guy couldn't handle it. And when executives with issues get in over their heads, their issues become their undoing. It comes as no surprise that folks at McDonald's were surprised at the way he flamed out at Pfizer. That was a whole different ballgame.

Now, I bet those same people who think a CEO's job is a piece of cake will have a similar response to the Kindler situation at Pfizer. Why take the job if he knew he couldn't handle it? The board should have canned him before it got to that point. Why didn't the guy's executives speak up sooner?

Because, just like at TI, nobody knows ahead of time if people are going to be effective on the next rung of the ladder. Every situation is unique and there are no questions or test that will foretell the future. I mean, it's not as if King Solomon comes along and writes who the right guy for the job is on the wall.

The Peter Principle works because, in a capitalist system, there are top performers, abysmal failures, and everything in between. Expecting anything different when people must reach for the stars to achieve growth and success so our children have a better life than ours isn't how it works in the real world.

The Peter Principle works because it's the yin to Browning's yang, the natural outcome of striving to better our lives. Want to know how to bring down a free market capitalist system? Don't take the promotion because you're afraid to fail.

[Nov 05, 2018] Putt's Law, Peter Principle, Dilbert Principle of Incompetence Parkinson's Law

Nov 05, 2018 | asmilingassasin.blogspot.com

Putt's Law, Peter Principle, Dilbert Principle of Incompetence & Parkinson's Law

June 10, 2015 Putt's Law, Peter Principle, Dilbert Principle of Incompetence & Parkinson's Law I am a big fan of Scott Adams & Dilbert Comic Series. I realize that these laws and principles - the Putt's law, Peter Principle, the Dilbert Principle, and Parkinson's Law - aren't necessarily founded in reality. It's easy to look at a manager's closed doors and wonder he or she does all day, if anything. But having said that and having come to realize the difficulty and scope of what management entails. It's hard work and requires a certain skill-set that I'm only beginning to develop. One should therefore look at these principles and laws with an acknowledgment that they most likely developed from the employee's perspective, not the manager's. Take with a pinch of salt!
Source: Google Images
The Putt's law: · Putt's Law: " Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand. " · Putt's Corollary: " Every technical hierarchy, in time, develops a competence inversion. " with incompetence being "flushed out of the lower levels" of a technocratic hierarchy, ensuring that technically competent people remain directly in charge of the actual technology while those without technical competence move into management. The Peter Principle: The Peter Principle states that " in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." In other words, employees who perform their roles with competence are promoted into successively higher levels until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent. There they remain. For example, let's say you are a brilliant programmer. You spend your days coding with amazing efficiency and prowess. After a couple of years, you're promoted to lead programmer, and then promoted to team manager. You may have no interest in managing other programmers, but it's the reward for your competence. There you sit -- you have risen to a level of incompetence. Your technical skills lie dormant while you fill your day with one-on-one meetings, department strategy meetings, planning meetings, budgets, and reports. The Dilbert Principle The principle states that companies tend to promote the most incompetent employees to management as a form of damage control . The principle argues that leaders, specifically those in middle management, are in reality the ones that have little effect on productivity. In order to limit the harm caused by incompetent employees who are actually not doing the work, companies make them leaders. The Dilbert Principle assumes that "the majority of real, productive work in a company is done by people lower in the power ladder." Those in management don't actually do anything to move forward the work. How it happens? The Incompetent Leader Stereotype often hits new leaders, specifically those who have no prior experience in a particular field. Often times, leaders who have been transferred from other departments are viewed as mere figureheads, rather than actual leaders who have knowledge of the work situation. Failure to prove technical capability can also lead to a leader being branded incompetent. Why it's bad? Being a victim of the incompetent leader stereotype is bad. Firstly, no one takes you seriously. Your ability to insert input into projects is hampered when your followers actively disregard anything you say as fluff. This is especially true if you are in middle management, where your power as a leader is limited. Secondly, your chances of rising ranks are curtailed. If viewed as an incompetent leader by your followers, your superiors are unlikely to entrust you with further projects which have more impact. How to get over it Know when to concede. As a leader, no one expects you to be competent in every area; though basic knowledge of every section you are leading is necessary. Readily admitting incompetency in certain areas will take out the impact out of it when others paint you as incompetent. Prove competency somewhere. Quickly establish yourself as having some purpose in the workplace, rather than being a mere picture of tokenism. This can be done by personally involving yourself in certain projects. Parkinson's Law Parkinson's Law states that " work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion ." Although this law has application with procrastination, storage capacity, and resource usage, Parkinson focuses his law on Corporate lethargy. Parkinson says that lethargy swell for two reasons: (1) "A manager wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals" and (2) "Managers make work for each other." In other words, a team size may swell not because the workload increases, but because they have the capacity and resources that allow for an increased workload even if the workload does not in fact increase. People without any work find ways to increase the amount of "work" and therefore add to the size of their lethargy. My Analysis I know none of these principles or laws gives much credit to management. The wrong person fills the wrong role, the role exists only to minimize damage control, or the role swells unnecessarily simply because it can. I find the whole topic of management somewhat fascinating, not because I think these theories apply to my own managers. These management theories are however relevant. Software coders looking to leverage coding talent for their projects often find themselves in management roles, without a strong understanding of how to manage people. Most of the time, these coders fail to engage. The project leaders are usually brilliant at their technical job but don't excel at management.
However the key principle to follow should be this: put individuals to work in their core competencies . It makes little sense to take your most brilliant engineer and have him or her manage people and budgets. Likewise, it makes no sense to take a shrewd consultant, one who can negotiate projects and requirements down to the minutest detail, and put that individual into a role involving creative design and content generation. However, to implement this model, you have to allow for reward without a dramatic change in job responsibilities or skills.

[Nov 05, 2018] The Limits of Neoliberalism (Theory, Culture Society) by William Davies

Notable quotes:
"... In this book, I provide a somewhat cumbersome definition of neoliberalism and a pithier one, both of which inform the argument running throughout this book. The cumbersome one is as follows: 'the elevation of marked-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms'. ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

In this book, I provide a somewhat cumbersome definition of neoliberalism and a pithier one, both of which inform the argument running throughout this book. The cumbersome one is as follows: 'the elevation of marked-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms'.

What this intends to capture is that, while neoliberal states have extended and liberated markets in certain areas (for instance, via privatisation and anti-union legislation), the neoliberal era has been marked just as much by the reform of non-market institutions, so as to render them market-like or business-like. Consider how competition is deliberately injected into socialised healthcare systems or universities. Alternatively, how protection of the environment is pursued by calculating a proxy price for natural public goods, in the expectation that businesses will then value them appropriately (Fourcade, 2011). It is economic calculation that spreads into all walks of life under neoliberalism, and not markets as such. This in turn provides the pithier version: neoliberalism is 'the disenchantment of politics by economics'.

The crisis of neoliberalism has reversed this ordering. 2008 was an implosion of technical capabilities on the part of banks and financial regulators, which was largely unaccompanied by any major political or civic eruption, at least until the consequences were felt in terms of public sector cuts that accelerated after 2010, especially in Southern Europe. The economic crisis was spookily isolated from any accompanying political crisis, at least in the beginning. The eruptions of 2016 therefore represented the long-awaited politicization and publicisation of a crisis that, until then, had been largely dealt with by the same cadre of experts whose errors had caused it in the first place.

Faced with these largely unexpected events and the threat of more, politicians and media pundits have declared that we now need to listen to those people 'left behind by globalization'. Following the Brexit referendum, in her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May made a vow to the less prosperous members of society, 'we will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we'll think not of the powerful, but you.' This awakening to the demands and voices of marginalized demographics may represent a new recognition that economic policy cannot be wholly geared around the pursuit of 'national competitiveness' in the 'global race', a pursuit that in practice meant seeking to prioritise the interests of financial services and mobile capital. It signals mainstream political acceptance that inequality cannot keep rising forever. But it is still rooted in a somewhat economistic vision of politics, as if those people 'left behind by globalisation' simply want more material wealth and opportunity', plus fewer immigrants competing for jobs. What this doesn't do is engage with the distinctive political and cultural sociology of events such as Brexit and Trump, which are fuelled by a spirit of rage, punishment and self-punishment, and not simply by a desire to get a slightly larger slice of the pie.

This is where, 1 think, we need to pay close attention to a key dimension of neoliberalism, which 1 focus on at length in this book, namely competition. One of my central arguments here is that neoliberalism is not simply reducible to 'market fundamentalism', even if there are areas (such as financial markets) where markets have manifestly attained greater reach and power since the mid1970s. Instead, the neoliberal state takes the principle of competition and the ethos of competitiveness (which historically have been found in and around markets), and seeks to reorganise society around them. Quite how competition and competitiveness are defined and politically instituted is a matter for historical and theoretical exploration, which is partly what The Limits of Neoliberalism seeks to do. But at the bare minimum, organising social relations in terms of 'competition' means that individuals, organisations, cities, regions and nations are to be tested in terms of their capacity to out-do each other. Not only that, but the tests must be considered fair in some way, if the resulting inequalities are to be recognised as legitimate. When applied to individuals, this ideology is often known as 'meritocracy''.

The appeal of this as a political template for society is that, according to its advocates, it involves the discovery of brilliant ideas, more efficient business models, naturally talented individuals, new urban visions, successful national strategies, potent entrepreneurs and so on. Even if this is correct (and the work of Thomas Piketty on how wealth begets wealth is enough to cast considerable doubt on it) there is a major defect: it consigns the majority of people, places, businesses and institutions to the status of'losers'. The normative and existential conventions of a neoliberal society stipulate that success and prowess are things that are earned through desire, effort and innate ability, so long as social and economic institutions are designed in such a way as to facilitate this. But the corollary of this is that failure and weakness are also earned: when individuals and communities fail to succeed, this is a reflection of inadequate talent or energy on their part.

This has been critically noted in how 'dependency' and 'welfare' have become matters of shame since the conservative political ascendency of the 1980s. But this is just one example of how a culture of obligatory competitiveness exerts a damaging moral psychology, not only in how people look down on others, but in how they look down on themselves. A culture which valorises 'winning' and 'competitiveness' above all else provides few sources of security or comfort, even to those doing reasonably well. Everyone could be doing better, and if they're not, they have themselves to blame. The vision of society as a competitive game also suggests that anyone could very quickly be doing worse.

Under these neoliberal conditions, remorse becomes directed inwards, producing the depressive psychological effect (or what Freud termed 'melancholia') whereby people search inside themselves for the source of their own unhappiness and imperfect lives (Davies, 2015). Viewed from within the cultural logic of neoliberalism, uncompetitive regions, individuals or communities are not just 'left behind by globalisation', but are discovered to be inferior in comparison to their rivals, just like the contestants ejected from a talent show. Rising household indebtedness compounds this process for those living in financial precarity, by forcing individuals to pay for their own past errors, illness or sheer bad luck (Davies, Montgomerie & Wallin, 2015).

In order to understand political upheavals such as Brexit, we need to perform some sociological interpretation. We need to consider that our socio-economic pathologies do not simply consist in the fact that opportunity and wealth are hoarded by certain industries (such as finance) or locales (such as London) or individuals (such as the children of the wealthy), although all of these things are true. We need also to reflect on the cultural and psychological implications of how this hoarding has been represented and justified over the past four decades, namely that it reflects something about the underlying moral worth of different populations and individuals.

One psychological effect of this is authoritarian attitudes towards social deviance: Brexit and Trump supporters both have an above-average tendency to support the death penalty, combined with a belief that political authorities are too weak to enforce justice (Kaufman, 2016). However, it is also clear that psychological and physical pain have become far more widespread in neoliberal societies than has been noticed by most people. Statistical studies have shown how societies such as Britain and the United States have become afflicted by often inexplicable rising mortality rates amongst the white working class, connected partly to rising suicide rates, alcohol and drug abuse (Dorling, 2016). The Washington Post identified close geographic correlations between this trend and support for Donald Trump (Guo, 2016). In sum, a moral-economic system aimed at identifying and empowering the most competitive people, institutions and places has become targeted, rationally or otherwise, by the vast number of people, institutions and places that have suffered not only the pain of defeat but the punishment of defeat for far too long.

NEOLIBERALISM: DEAD OR ALIVE?

The question inevitably arises, is thus thing called 'neoliberalism' now over? And if not, when might it be and how would we know? In the UK, the prospect of Brexit combined with the political priority of reducing immigration means that the efficient movement of capital (together with that of labour) is being consciously impeded in a way that would have been unthinkable during the 1990s and early 2000s. 1'he re-emergence of national borders as obstacles to the flow of goods, finance, services and above all people, represents at least an interruption in the vision of globalisation that accompanied the heyday of neoliberal policy making between 1989-2008. If events such as Brexit signal the first step towards greater national mercantilism and protectionism, then we may be witnessing far more profound transformations in our model of political economy, the consequences of which could become very ugly.

Before we reach that point, it is already possible to identify a reorientation of national economic policy making away from some core tenets of neoliberal doctrine. One of the main case studies of this book is antitrust law and policy, which has been a preoccupation for neoliberal intellectuals, reformers and lawyers ever since the 1930s. The rise of the Chicago School view of competition (which effectively granted far greater legal rights to monopolists, while also being tougher on cartels) in the American legal establishment from the 1970s onwards, later repeated in the European Commission, meant that market commitments to neoliberal policy goals is still less than likely. Free trade areas such as NAETA, policies designed to attract and please mobile capital, the search for global hegemony surrounding international markets (as opposed to naked, mercantilist self-interest) may then continue for a few more years. But the collapse of legitimacy or popularity of these agendas will not be reversed.

Meanwhile, the inability of the Republican Party to defend these policies any longer signals the ultimate divorce between the political and economic wings of neoliberalism: the conservative coalition that came into being as Keynesianism declined post-1968, and which got Ronald Reagan to power, no longer functions in its role of rationalising and de-politicising economic policy making. If neoliberalism is the 'disenchantment of politics by economics', then economics is no longer performing its role in rationalising public life. Politics is being re-enchanted, by images of nationhood, of cultural tradition, of'friends' against enemies, ot race ana religion, une ot me many political miscalculations mat lea to Brexit was to under-estimate how many UK citizens would vote for the first time in their lives, enthralled by the sudden sovereign power that they had been granted in the polling booth, which was entirely unlike the ritual of representative democracy with a first-past-the-post voting system that renders most votes irrelevant. The intoxication of popular power and of demagoguery is being experienced in visceral ways for the first time since 1968, or possibly longer. Wendy Brown argues that neoliberalism is a 'political rationality'' that was born in direct response to Fascism during the 1930s and '40s (Brown, 2015). While it would be an exaggeration to say that the end of neoliberalism represents the re-birth of Fascism, clearly there were a number of existential dimensions of'the political' that the neoliberals were right to fear, and which we should now fear once more.

While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that 2016 is a historic turning point indeed as I've argued here, possibly the second 'book-mark' in the crisis of neoliberalism we need also to recognise how the seeds of this recent political rupture were sown over time. Indeed, we can learn a lot about policy paradigms from the way they' go into decline, for they always contain, tolerate and even celebrate the very activities that later overwhelm or undermine them. Clearly, the 2008 financial crisis was triggered by activities in the banking sector that were not fundamentally different from those which had been viewed as laudable for the previous 20 years. Equally, as we witness the return of mercantilism, protectionism, nationalism and charismatic populism, we need to remember the extent to which neoliberalism accommodated some of this, up to a point.

The second major case study in this book, in addition to anti-trust policy, is of strategies for 'national competitiveness'. The executive branch of government has traditionally been viewed as a problem from the perspective of economic liberalism, seeing as powerful politicians will instinctively seek to privilege their own territories vis-a-vis others. This is the threat of mercantilism, which can spin into resolutely anti-liberal policies such as trade tariffs and the subsidisation of indigenous industries and 'national champions'. These forms of mercantilism may now be returning, however, the logic of neoliberalism was never quite as antipathetic to them as orthodox market liberals might have been. Instead, I suggest in Chapter 4, rather than simply seek to thwart or transcend nationalist politics, neoliberalism seizes and reimagines the nation as one competitive actor amongst many, in a global contest for 'competitiveness', as evaluated by business gurus such as Michael Porter and think tanks such as the World Economic Eorum. To be sure, these gurus and think tanks have never been anything but hostile to protectionism; but nevertheless, they have encouraged a form of mild nationalism as the basis for strategic thinking in economic policy. As David Harvey has argued, 'the neoliberal state needs nationalism of a certain sort to survive': it draws on aspects of executive power and nationalist sentiment, in order to steer economic activity towards certain types of competitive strategies, culture and behaviours and away from others (Harvey, 2005: 85).

There is therefore a deep-lying tension within the politics of neoliberalism between a 'liberal' logic, which seeks to transcend geography, culture and political difference, and a more contingent, 'violent' logic that seeks to draw on the energies of nationhood and combat, in the hope of diverting them towards competitive, entrepreneurial production. These two logics are in conflict with each other, but the story I tell in this book is of how the latter gradually won out over the long history of neoliberal thought and policy making. Where the neoliberal intellectuals of the 1930s had a deep commitment to liberal ideals, which they believed the market could protect, the rise of the post-war Chicago School of economics and the co-option of neoliberal ideas by business lobbies and conservatives, meant that (what 1 term) the 'liberal spirit' was gradually lost. There is thus a continuity at work here, in the way that the crisis of neoliberalism has played out.

Written in 2012-13, the book suggests that neoliberalism has now entered a 'contingent' state, in which various failures of economic rationality are dealt with through incorporating an ever broader range of cultural and political resources. The rise of behavioural economics, for example, represents an attempt to preserve a form of market rationality in the face of crisis, by incorporating expertise provided by psychologists and neuroscientists. A form of 'neo-communitarianism' emerges, which takes seriously the role of relationships, environmental conditioning and empathy in the construction of independent, responsible subjects. This remains an economistic logic, inasmuch as it prepares people to live efficient, productive, competitive lives. But by bringing culture, community and contingency within the bounds of neoliberal rationality, one might see things like behavioural economics or 'social neuroscience' and so on as early symptoms of a genuinely post-liberal politics. Once governments (and publics) no longer view economics as the best test of optimal policies, then opportunities for post-liberal experimentation expand rapidly, with unpredictable and potentially frightening consequences. It was telling that, when the British Home Secretary, Amber Kudd, suggested in October 2016 that companies be compelled to publicly list their foreign workers, she defended this policy as a 'nudge'.

The Limits of Neoliberalism is a piece of interpretive sociology. It starts from the recognition that neoliberalism rests on claims to legitimacy, which it is possible to imagine as valid, even for critics of this system. Inspired by Luc Boltanski, the book assumes that political-economic systems typically need to offer certain limited forms of hope, excitement and fairness in order to survive, and cannot operate via domination and exploitation alone. For similar reasons, we might soon find that we miss some of the normative and political dimensions of neoliberalism, for example the internationalism that the IiU was founded to promote and the cosmopolitanism that competitive markets sometimes inculcate. There may be some elements of neoliberalism that critics and activists need to grasp, refashion and defend, rather than to simply denounce: this book's Afterword offers some ideas of what this might mean. But if the book is to be read in a truly post-neoliberal world, 1 hope that in its Interpretive aspirations, it helps to explain what was internally and normalively coherent about the political economy known as 'neoliberalism', but also why the system really had no account of its own preconditions or how to preserve them adequately. The attempt to reduce all of human life to economic calculation runs up against limits. A political rationality that fails to recognise politics as a distinctive sphere of human existence was always going to be dumbfounded, once that sphere took on its own extra-economic life. As Bob Dylan sang to Mr Jones, so one might now say to neoliberal intellectuals or technocrats: 'something is happening here, but you don't know what it is'.

... ... ...

Most analyses of neoliberalism have focused on its commitment to 'free markets, deregulation and trade. I shan't discuss the validity of these portrayals here, although some have undoubtedly exaggerated the similarities between 'classical' nineteenth-century liberalism and twentieth-century neoliberalism. The topic addressed here is a different one the character of neoliberal authority, on what basis does the neoliberal state demand the right to be obeyed, if not on substantive political grounds? To a large extent, it is on the basis of particular economic claims and rationalities, constructed and propagated by economic experts. The state does not necessarily (or at least, not always) cede power to markets, but comes to justify its decisions, policies and rules in terms that are commensurable with the logic of markets. Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms (Davies, 2013: 37). The authority of the neoliberal state is heavily dependent on the authority of economics (and economists) to dictate legitimate courses of action. Understanding that authority and its present crisis requires us to look at economics, economic policy experts and advisors as critical components of state institutions.

Since the banking crisis of 2007-09, public denunciations of 'inequality' have increased markedly. These draw on a diverse range of moral, critical, theoretical, methodological and empirical resources. Marxist analyses have highlighted growing inequalities as a symptom of class conflict, which neoliberal policies have greatly exacerbated (Harvey, 2011; Therborn, 2012). Statistical analyses have highlighted correlations between different spheres of inequality', demonstrating how economic inequality influences social and psychological wellbeing (Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009). Data showing extreme concentrations of wealth have led political scientists to examine the US political system, as a tool through which inequality is actively increased (Hacker & Pierson, 2010). Emergent social movements, such as Occupy, draw a political dividing line between the '99%' and the '1%' who exploit them. Political leaders and public intellectuals have adopted the language of'fairness' in their efforts to justify and criticize the various policy interventions which influence the distribution of economic goods (e.g. Hutton, 2010).

It is important to recognize that these critiques have two quite separate targets, although the distinction is often blurred. Firstly, there is inequality that exists within reasonably delineated and separate spheres of society. This means that there are multiple inequalities, with multiple, potentially incommensurable measures. The inequality that occurs within the market sphere is separate from the inequality that occurs within the cultural sphere, which is separate from the inequality' that occurs within the political sphere, and so on. Each sphere can either unwelcome politically, or impractical (Davies, 2013). Hayek's support for the welfare state, Simons' commitment to the nationalization of key industries, the ordo-liberal enthusiasm for the 'social market' demonstrate that the early neoliberals were offering a justification for what Walzer terms 'monopoly' (separate inequalities in separate spheres) and not 'dominance' (the power of one sphere over all others).

As the next chapter explores, it was Coasian economics (in tandem with the Chicago School) that altered this profoundly. The objective perspective of the economist implicitly working for a university or state regulator would provide the common standard against which activity could be judged. Of course economics does not replace the price system, indeed economics is very often entangled with the price system (Callon, 1998; Caliskan, 2010), but the a priori equality of competitors becomes presumed, as a matter of economic methodology, which stipulates that all agents are endowed with equal psychological capacities of calculation. It is because this assumption is maintained when evaluating all institutions and actions that it massively broadens the terrain of legitimate competition, and opens up vast, new possibilities for legitimate inequality and legitimate restraint. Walzerian dominance is sanctioned, and not simply monopoly. The Coasian vision of fair competition rests on an entirely unrealistic premise, namely that individuals share a common capacity' to calculate and negotiate, rendering intervention by public authorities typically unnecessary: the social reality of lawyers' fees is alone enough to undermine this fantasy. Yet in one sense, this is a mode of economic critique that is imbued with the 'liberal spirit' described earlier. It seeks to evaluate the efficiency of activities, on the basis of the assumed equal rationality of all, and the neutrality of the empirical observer.

Like Coase, Schumpeter facilitates a great expansion of the space and time in which the competitive process takes place. Various 'social' and 'cultural' resources become drawn into the domain of competition, with the goal being to define the rules that all others must play by. Monopoly is undoubtedly the goal of competitiveness. But unlike Coase's economics, Schumpeter's makes no methodological assumption regarding the common rationality' of all actors. Instead, it makes a romantic assumption regarding the inventive power of some actors (entrepreneurs), and the restrictive routines of most others. Any objective judgements regarding valid or invalid actions will be rooted in static methodologies or rules. Entrepreneurs have no rules, and respect no restraint. They seek no authority or validation for what they do, but are driven by a pure desire to dominate. In this sense their own immanent authority comes with a 'violent threat', which is endorsed by the neoliberal state as Chapter 4 discusses.

These theories of competition are not 'ideological' and nor are they secretive. They are not ideological because they do not seek to disguise how reality is actually constituted or to distract people from their objective conditions. They have contributed to the construction and constitution of economic reality, inasmuch as they provide objective and acceptable reports on what is going on, that succeed in coordinating various actors. Moreover, they are sometimes performative, not least because of how they inform and format modes of policy, regulation and governance. Inequality has not arisen by accident or due to the chaos of capitalism or 'globalization'. Theories and methodologies, which validate certain types of dominating and monopolistic activity, have provided the conventions within which large numbers of academics, business people and policy makers have operated. They make a shared world possible in the first place. But nor are any of these theories secret either. They have been published in peer-reviewed journals, spread via policy papers and universities. Without shared, public rationalities and methodologies, neoliberalism would have remained a private conspiracy. Inequality can be denounced by critics of neoliberalism, but it cannot be argued that in an era that privileges not only market competition but competitiveness in general inequality is not publicly acceptable.

These theories of competition are not 'ideological' and nor are they secretive. They are not ideological because they do not seek to disguise how reality is actually constituted or to distract people from their objective conditions. They have contributed to the construction and constitution of economic reality, inasmuch as they provide objective and acceptable reports on what is going on, that succeed in coordinating various actors. Moreover, they are sometimes performative, not least because of how they inform and format modes of policy, regulation and governance. Inequality has not arisen by accident or due to the chaos of capitalism or 'globalization'. Theories and methodologies, which validate certain types of dominating and monopolistic activity, have provided the conventions within which large numbers of academics, business people and policy makers have operated. They make a shared world possible in the first place. But nor are any of these theories secret either. They have been published in peer-reviewed journals, spread via policy papers and universities. Without shared, public rationalities and methodologies, neoliberalism would have remained a private conspiracy. Inequality can be denounced by critics of neoliberalism, but it cannot be argued that in an era that privileges not only market competition but competitiveness in general inequality is not publicly acceptable.

The contingent neoliberalism that we currently live with is in a literal sense unjustified. It is propagated without the forms of justification (be they moral or empirical) that either the early neoliberals or the technical practitioners of neoliberal policy had employed, in order to produce a reality that 'holds together', as pragmatist sociologists like to say. The economized social and political reality now only just about 'holds together', because it is constantly propped up, bailed out, nudged, monitored, adjusted, data-mincd, and altered by those responsible for rescuing it. It does not survive as a consensual reality: economic judgements regarding 'what is going on' are no longer 'objective' or 'neutral', to the extent that they once were. The justice of inequality can no longer be explained with reference to a competition or to competitiveness, let alone to a market. Thus, power may be exercised along the very same tramlines that it was during the golden neoliberal years of the 1990s and early millennium, and the same experts, policies and agencies may continue to speak to the same public audiences. But the sudden reappearance of those two unruly uneconomic actors, the Hobbesian sovereign state and the psychological unconscious, suggests that that the project of disenchanting politics by economics has reached its limit. And yet crisis and critique have been strategically deferred or accommodated. What resources are there available for this to change, and to what extent are these distinguishable from neoliberalism's own critical capacities?

... ... ...

Neoliberalism, as this book has sought to demonstrate, is replete with its own internal modes of criticism, judgement, measurement and evaluation, which enable actors to reach agreements about what is going on. These are especially provided by certain traditions of economics and business strategy, which privilege competitive processes, on the basis that those processes are uniquely able to preserve an element of uncertainty in social and economic life. The role of the expert be it in the state, the think tank or university within this programme is to produce quantitative facts about the current state of competitive reality, such that actors, firms or whole nations can be judged, compared and ranked. For Hayek and many of the early neoliberals, markets would do this job instead of expert authorities, with prices the only facts that were entirely necessary. But increasingly, under the influence of the later Chicago School and business strategists, the 'winners' and the 'losers' were to be judged through the evaluations of economics (and associated techniques and measures), rather than of markets as such. Certain forms of authority are therefore necessary for this game' to be playable. Economized law is used to test the validity of certain forms of competitive conduct; audits derived from business strategy are used to test and enthuse the entrepreneurial energies of rival communities. But the neoliberal programme initially operated such that these forms of authority could be exercised in a primarily technical sense, without metaphysical appeals to the common good, individual autonomy or the sovereignty of the state that employed them. As the previous chapter argued, various crises (primarily, but not exclusively, the 2007-09 financial crisis) have exposed neoliberalism's tacit dependence on both executive sovereignty and on certain moral-psychological equipment on the part of individuals. A close reading of neoliberal texts and policies would have exposed this anyway. In which case, the recent 'discovery' that neoliberalism depends on and justifies power inequalities, and not markets as such, may be superficial in nature. Witnessing the exceptional measures that states have taken to rescue the status quo simply confirms the state-centric nature of neolibcralism, as an anti-political mode of politics. As Zizek argued in relation to the Wikileaks' exposures of 2011, 'the real disturbance was at the level of appearances: we can no longer pretend we don't know what everyone knows we know' (Zizek, 2011b). Most dramatically, neoliberalism now appears naked and shorn of any pretence to liberalism, that is, it no longer operates with manifest a priori principles of equivalence, against which all contestants should be judged. Chapter 2 identified the 'liberal spirit' of neoliberalism with a Rawlsian assumption that contestants are formally equal before they enter the economic 'game'. Within the Kantian or 'deontological' tradition of liberalism, this is the critical issue, and it played a part in internal debates within the early neoliberal movement. For those such as the ordoliberals, who feared the rationalizing potential of capitalist monopoly, the task was to build an economy around such an a priori liberal logic. Ensuring some equality of access to the economic game', via the active regulation of large firms and 'equality of opportunity' for individuals, is how neoliberalism's liberalism has most commonly been presented politically. As Chapter 3 discussed, the American tradition of neoliberalism as manifest in Chicago Law and Economics abandoned this sort of normative liberalism, in favour of a Benthamite utilitarianism, in which efficiency claims trumped formal arguments. The philosophical and normative elements of neoliberalism have, in truth, been in decline since the 1950s.

The 'liberal spirit' of neoliberalism was kept faintly alive by the authority that was bestowed upon methodologies, audits and measures of efficiency analysis. The liberal a priori just about survived in the purported neutrality of economic method (of various forms), to judge all contestants equally, even while the empirical results of these judgements have increasingly benefited alreadydominant competitors. This notion relied on a fundamental epistemological inconsistency of neoliberalism, between the Hayekian argument that there can be no stable or objective scientific perspective on economic activity, and the more positivist argument that economics offers a final and definitive judgement. American neoliberalism broadens the 'arena' in which competition is understood to take place, beyond definable markets, and beyond the sphere of the 'economy', enabling cultural, social and political resources to be legitimately dragged into the economic 'game', and a clustering of various forms of advantage in the same hands. Monopoly, in Walter's terms, becomes translated into dominance.

The loss of neoliberalisms pretence to liberalism transforms the type of authority that can be claimed by and on behalf of power, be it business, financial or state power. It means the abandonment of the globalizing, universalizing, transcendental branch of neoliberalism, in which certain economic techniques and measures (including, but not only, prices) would provide a common framework through which all human difference could be mediated and represented. Instead, cultural and national difference potentially leading to conflict now animates neoliberalism, but without a commonly recognized principle against which to convert this into competitive inequality. What I have characterized as the 'violent threat' of neoliberalism has come to the fore, whereby authority in economic decision making is increasingly predicated upon the claim that 'we' must beat 'them'. This fracturing of universalism, in favour of political and cultural particularism, may be a symptom of how capitalist crises often play out (Gamble, 2009). One reason why neoliberalism has survived as well as it has since 2007 is that it has always managed to operate within two rhetorical registers simultaneously, satisfying both the demand for liberal universalism and that for political particularism, so when the former falls apart, a neoliberal discourse of competitive nationalism and the authority of executive decision is already present and available.

One lesson to be taken from neoliberalism, for political movements which seek to challenge it, is that both individual agency and collective institutions need to be criticized and invented simultaneously. Political reform does not have to build on any 'natural' account of human beings, but can also invent new visions of individual agency. The design and transformation of institutions, such as markets, regulators and firms, do not need to take place separately from this project, but in tandem and in dialogue with it. A productive focus of critical economic enquiry would be those institutions which neolibcral thought has tended to be entirely silent on. These are the institutions and mechanisms of capitalism which coerce and coordinate individuals, thereby removing choices from economic situations. The era of applied neoliberal policy making has recently started to appear as one of rampant 'financialisation' (Krippner, 2012). So it is therefore peculiar how little attention is paid within neoliberal discourse to institutions of credit and equity, other than that they should be priced and distributed via markets. Likewise, the rising power of corporations has been sanctioned by theories that actually say very little about firms, management, work or organization, but focus all their attention on the incentives and choices confronting a few 'agents' and 'leaders' at the very top. Despite having permeated our cultural lives with visions of competition, and also permeated political institutions with certain economic rationalities, the dominant discourse of neoliberalism actually contains very little which represents the day-to-day lives and experiences of those who live with it. This represents a major empirical and analytical shortcoming of the economic theories that are at work in governing us, and ultimately a serious vulnerability.

A further lesson to be taken from neoliberalism, for the purposes of a critique of neoliberalism, is that restrictive economic practices need to be strategically and inventively targeted and replaced. In the 1930s and 1940s, 'restrictive economic practices' would have implied planning, labour organization and socialism. Today our economic freedoms are restricted in very different ways, which strike at the individual in an intimate way, rather than at individuals collectively. In the twenty-first century, the experience of being an employee or a consumer or a debtor is often one of being ensnared, not one of exercising any choice or strategy. Amidst all of the uncertainty of dynamic capitalism, this sense of being trapped into certain relations seems eminently certain. Releasing individuals from these constraints is a constructive project, as much as a critical one: this is what the example of the early neoliberals demonstrates.

Lawyers willing to rewrite the rules of exchange, employment and finance (as, for instance the ordo-liberals redrafted the rules of the market) could be one of the great forces for social progress, if they were ever to mobilize in a concerted w'ay. A form of collective entrepreneurship, which like individual entrepreneurs saw' economic nonnativity as fluid and changeable, could produce new forms of political economy, with alternative valuation systems.

The reorganization of state, society, institutions and individuals in terms of competitive dynamics and rules, succeeded to the extent that it did because it offered both a vision of the collective and a vision of individual agency simultaneously. It can appear impermeable to critique or political transformation, if only challenged on one of these terms. For instance, if a different vision of collective organization is proposed, the neoliberal rejoinder is that this must involve abandoning individual 'choice' or freedom. Or if a different vision of the individual is proposed, the neoliberal rejoinder is that this is unrealistic given the competitive global context. Dispensing with competition, as the template for all politics and political metaphysics, is therefore only possible if theory proceeds anew, with a political-economic idea of individual agency and collective organization, at the same time. What this might allow is a different basis from which to speak of human beings as paradoxically the same yet different. The problem of politics is that individuals are both private, isolated actors, with tastes and choices, and part of a collectivity, with rules and authorities. An alternative answer to this riddle needs to be identified, other than simply more competition and more competitiveness, in which isolated actors take no responsibility for the collective, and the collective is immune to the protestations of those isolated actors.

[Nov 05, 2018] Globalists The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chosen by Pankaj Mishra as one of the Best Books of the Summer

Neoliberals hate the state. Or do they? In the first intellectual history of neoliberal globalism, Quinn Slobodian follows a group of thinkers from the ashes of the Habsburg Empire to the creation of the World Trade Organization to show that neoliberalism emerged less to shrink government and abolish regulations than to redeploy them at a global level.

Slobodian begins in Austria in the 1920s. Empires were dissolving and nationalism, socialism, and democratic self-determination threatened the stability of the global capitalist system. In response, Austrian intellectuals called for a new way of organizing the world. But they and their successors in academia and government, from such famous economists as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises to influential but lesser-known figures such as Wilhelm Röpke and Michael Heilperin, did not propose a regime of laissez-faire. Rather they used states and global institutions―the League of Nations, the European Court of Justice, the World Trade Organization, and international investment law―to insulate the markets against sovereign states, political change, and turbulent democratic demands for greater equality and social justice.

Far from discarding the regulatory state, neoliberals wanted to harness it to their grand project of protecting capitalism on a global scale. It was a project, Slobodian shows, that changed the world, but that was also undermined time and again by the inequality, relentless change, and social injustice that accompanied it.

One half of a decent book May 14, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This is a rather interesting look at the political and economic ideas of a circle of important economists, including Hayek and von Mises, over the course of the last century. He shows rather convincingly that conventional narratives concerning their idea are wrong. That they didn't believe in a weak state, didn't believe in the laissez-faire capitalism or believe in the power of the market. That they saw mass democracy as a threat to vested economic interests.

The core beliefs of these people was in a world where money, labor and products could flow across borders without any limit. Their vision was to remove these subjects (tariffs, immigration and controls on the movement of money) from the control of the democracy-based nation-state and instead vesting them in international organizations. International organizations which were by their nature undemocratic and beyond the influence of democracy. That rather than rejecting government power, what they rejected was national government power. They wanted weak national governments but at the same time strong undemocratic international organizations which would gain the powers taken from the state.

The other thing that characterized many of these people was a rather general rejection of economics. While some of them are (at least in theory) economists, they rejected the basic ideas of economic analysis and economic policy. The economy, to them, was a mystical thing beyond any human understanding or ability to influence in a positive way. Their only real belief was in "bigness". The larger the market for labor and goods, the more economically prosperous everyone would become. A unregulated "global" market with specialization across borders and free migration of labor being the ultimate system.

The author shows how, over a period extending from the 1920s to the 1990s, these ideas evolved from marginal academic ideas to being dominant ideas internationally. Ideas that are reflected today in the structure of the European Union, the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the policies of most national governments. These ideas, which the author calls "neoliberalism", have today become almost assumptions beyond challenge. And even more strangely, the dominating ideas of the political left in most of the west.

The author makes the point, though in a weak way, that the "fathers" of neoliberalism saw themselves as "restoring" a lost golden age. That golden age being (roughly) the age of the original industrial revolution (the second half of the 1800s). And to the extent that they have been successful they have done that. But at the same time, they have brought back all the political and economic questions of that era as well.

In reading it, I started to wonder about the differences between modern neoliberalism and the liberal political movement during the industrial revolution. I really began to wonder about the actual motives of "reform" liberals in that era. Were they genuinely interested in reforms during that era or were all the reforms just cynical politics designed to enhance business power at the expense of other vested interests. Was, in particular, the liberal interest in political reform and franchise expansion a genuine move toward political democracy or simply a temporary ploy to increase their political power. If one assumes that the true principles of classic liberalism were always free trade, free migration of labor and removing the power to governments to impact business, perhaps its collapse around the time of the first world war is easier to understand.

He also makes a good point about the EEC and the organizations that came before the EU. Those organizations were as much about protecting trade between Europe and former European colonial possessions as they were anything to do with trade within Europe.

To me at least, the analysis of the author was rather original. In particular, he did an excellent job of showing how the ideas of Hayek and von Mises have been distorted and misunderstood in the mainstream. He was able to show what their ideas were and how they relate to contemporary problems of government and democracy.

But there are some strong negatives in the book. The author offers up a complete virtue signaling chapter to prove how the neoliberals are racists. He brings up things, like the John Birch Society, that have nothing to do with the book. He unleashes a whole lot of venom directed at American conservatives and republicans mostly set against a 1960s backdrop. He does all this in a bad purpose: to claim that the Kennedy Administration was somehow a continuation of the new deal rather than a step toward neoliberalism. His blindness and modern political partisanship extended backward into history does substantial damage to his argument in the book. He also spends an inordinate amount of time on the political issues of South Africa which also adds nothing to the argument of the book. His whole chapter on racism is an elaborate strawman all held together by Ropke. He also spends a large amount of time grinding some sort of Ax with regard to the National Review and William F. Buckley.

He keeps resorting to the simple formula of finding something racist said or written by Ropke....and then inferring that anyone who quoted or had anything to do with Ropke shared his ideas and was also a racist. The whole point of the exercise seems to be to avoid any analysis of how the democratic party (and the political left) drifted over the decades from the politics of the New Deal to neoliberal Clintonism.

Then after that, he diverts further off the path by spending many pages on the greatness of the "global south", the G77 and the New International Economic Order (NIEO) promoted by the UN in the 1970s. And whatever many faults of neoliberalism, Quinn Slobodian ends up standing for a worse set of ideas: International Price controls, economic "reparations", nationalization, international trade subsidies and a five-year plan for the world (socialist style economic planning at a global level). In attaching himself to these particular ideas, he kills his own book. The premise of the book and his argument was very strong at first. But by around p. 220, its become a throwback political tract in favor of the garbage economic and political ideas of the so-called third world circa 1974 complete with 70's style extensive quotations from "Senegalese jurists"

Once the political agenda comes out, he just can't help himself. He opens the conclusion to the book taking another cheap shot for no clear reason at William F. Buckley. He spends alot of time on the Seattle anti-WTO protests from the 1990s. But he has NOTHING to say about BIll Clinton or Tony Blair or EU expansion or Obama or even the 2008 economic crisis for that matter. Inexplicably for a book written in 2018, the content of the book seems to end in the year 2000.

I'm giving it three stars for the first 150 pages which was decent work. The second half rates zero stars.

Though it could have been far better if he had written his history of neoliberalism in the context of the counter-narrative of Keynesian economics and its decline. It would have been better yet if the author had the courage to talk about the transformation of the parties of the left and their complicity in the rise of neoliberalism. The author also tends to waste lots of pages repeating himself or worse telling you what he is going to say next. One would have expected a better standard of editing by the Harvard Press.

[Nov 05, 2018] Neoliberalism's Demons On the Political Theology of Late Capital by Adam Kotsko Books

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Skeptic:

This book tried to integrate the results of previous research of neoliberalism by such scholars as David Harvey, Philip Mirowski, and Wendy Brown into a more coherent framework. He has some brilliant insights about neoliberalism scattered within the book. For example "I have claimed that the political-theological root of neoliberalism is freedom and have characterized its vision of freedom as hollow." His notion of "neoliberalism demons"(dark forces unleashed by neoliberalism) is also very valuable insight:

"Liberal democracy under neoliberalism represents a forced choice between two fundamentally similar options, betraying its promise to provide a mechanism for rational and self-reflective human agency. The market similarly mobilizes free choice only to subdue and subvert it, "responsibilizing" every individual for the outcomes of the system while radically foreclosing any form of collective responsibility for the shape of society. And any attempt to exercise human judgment and free choice over social institutions and outcomes is rejected as a step down the slippery' slope to totalitarianism. To choose in any strong sense is always necessarily to choose wrongly, to fall into sin."
In the introduction, he correctly states that the academic workforce is now deeply affected by neoliberalization.
Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must, therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day.
The author explains his use of the term "theology" instead of "ideology in such a way: " theology' has always been about much more than God. Even the simplest theological systems have a lot to say about the world we live in, how it came to be the way it is, and how it should be. Those ideals are neither true nor false in an empirical sense, nor is it fair to say that believers accept them blindly. "

He justifies the use of this term in the following way:

Here the term theology is likely to present the primary difficulty, as it seems to presuppose some reference to God. Familiarity with political theology as it has conventionally been practiced would reinforce that association. Schmitt's Political Theology and Kantorowicz's The King's Two Bodies both focused on the parallels between God and the earthly ruler,3 and much subsequent work in the field has concentrated on the theological roots of political concepts of state sovereignty'. Hence the reader may justly ask whether I am claiming that neoliberalism presupposes a concept of God.

The short answer is no. I am not arguing, for example, that neoliberalism "worships" the invisible hand, the market, money, wealthy entrepreneurs, or any other supposed "false idol," nor indeed that it is somehow secretly "religious" in the sense of being fanatical and unreasoning. Such claims presuppose a strong distinction between the religious and the secular, a distinction that proved foundational for the self-legitimation of the modern secular order but that has now devolved into a stale cliché. As I will discuss in the chapters that follow, one of the things that most appeals to me about political theology as a discipline is the way that it rejects the religious/secular binary.

The author correctly point s out that "Neoliberalism likes to hide." Like Philip Mirowski he views neoliberalism as a reaction on the USSR socialism which in my view integrates much of Trotskyism. Replacing the slogan "Proletarians of all countries, unite!", with the slogan "financial elites of all countries unite."

While most authors consider that neoliberalism became the dominant political force with the election of Reagan, the author argues that it happened under Nixon: " Nixon's decision in 1971 to go off the gold standard, which broke with the Bretton Woods settlement that had governed international finance throughout the postwar era and inadvertently cleared the space for the fluctuating exchange rates that proved so central to the rise of contemporary finance capitalism. "

He contrasts approaches of Harvey, Mirovsky and Brown pointing out that real origin of neoliberalism and Trotskyism style "thought collective" – intellectual vanguard that drives everybody else, often using deception to final victory of neoliberalism.

It is this group that Mirowski highlights with his notion of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. One could walk away from Harvey's account viewing the major figures of neoliberalism as dispensable figureheads for impersonal political and economic forces. By contrast, the most compact possible summary of Mirowski s book would be: "It's people! Neoliberalism is made out of people!" In this reading, there was nothing inevitable about neoliberalism's rise, which depended on the vision and organization of particular nameable individuals.

Brown portrays neoliberalism as an attempt to extinguish the political -- here represented by the liberal democratic tradition of popular sovereignty and self-rule -- and consign humanity to a purely economic existence. In the end Brown calls us to take up a strange kind of metapolitical struggle against the economic enemy, in defense of politics as such. Meanwhile, Jodi Dean, who agrees that neoliberalism has a depoliticizing tendency, argues that this depoliticization actually depends on the notion of democracy and that appeals to democracy against neoliberalism arc therefore doomed in advance.9


He also points out neoliberalism tendency to create markets using the power of the state:
"Obamacare effectively created a market in individual health insurance plans, an area where the market was previously so dysfunctional as to be essentially nonexistent. The example of Obamacare also highlights the peculiar nature of neoliberal freedom. One of its most controversial provisions was a mandate that all Americans must have health insurance coverage. From a purely libertarian perspective, this is an impermissible infringement on economic freedom -- surely if i am free to make my own economic decisions, I am also free to choose not to purchase health insurance. Yet the mandate fits perfectly with the overall ethos of neoliberalism.

Overall, then, in neoliberalism an account of human nature where economic competition is the highest value leads to a political theory where the prime duty of the state is to enable, and indeed mandate, such competition, and the result is a world wherein individuals, firms, and states are all continually constrained to express themselves via economic competition. This means that neoliberalism tends to create a world in which neoliberalism is "true." A more coherent and self-reinforcing political theology can scarcely be imagined -- but that, I will argue, is precisely what any attempt to create an alternative to neoliberalism must do.

He points out on weaknesses of Marxist analysts and by Harvey's own "recognition of the fact that classes have been profoundly changed during the process of neo-liberalization" -- meaning that the beneficiaries cannot have planned the neoliberal push in any straightforward way. More than that, an economic-reductionist account ignores the decisive role of the state in the development of the neoliberal order: "To believe that 'financial markets' one fine day eluded the grasp of politics is nothing but a fairy tale. It was states, and global economic organizations, in close collusion with private actors, that fashioned rules conducive to the expansion of market finance."'' In other words, neoliberalism is an example where, contrary to Marxism, political forces directly transform economic structures.

He also points out that Polanyi views on the subject supports this thesis.

Polanyi famously characterized the interplay between market forces and society as a "double movement": when market relations threaten to undermine the basic foundations of social reproduction, society (most often represented by state institutions) intervenes to prevent or at least delay the trend set in motion by the market. Compared with Aristotle's distribution of categories between the political and economic realms, Polanyi's account is itself a "great transformation" on the conceptual level. Where Aristotle distinguished state and household and placed both legitimate economic management and unrestrained accumulation in the latter, Polanyi's "society" combines the household and the state, leaving only out-of-control acquisition in the purely economic realm. And in this schema, the society represents the spontaneous and natural, while the economic force of the market is what is constructed and deliberate.

The legacy of Polanyi should already be familiar to us in the many analyses of neoliberalism that see the state, nationalism, and other similar forces as extrinsic "leftovers" that precede or exceed neoliberal logic. Normally such interpretations first point out the supposed irony or hypocrisy that neoliberalism comes to require these exogenous elements for its functioning while claiming that those same "leftover" institutions can be sites of resistance. Hence, for instance, one often hears that the left needs to restore confidence in state power over against the market, that socialism can only be viable if a given country isolates itself from the forces of the global market, or in Wendy Brown's more abstract terms, that the left must reclaim the political to combat the hegemony of the economic.

He makes an important point that "neoliberalism does not simply destroy some preexisting entity known as "the family," but creates its own version of the family, one that fits its political-economic agenda, just as Fordism created the white suburban nuclear family that underwrote its political-economic goals."

Following Wendy Brown he views victimization of poor as an immanent feature of neoliberalism:

"The psychic life of neoliberalism, as so memorably characterized by Mark Fisher in Capitalist Realism, is shot through with anxiety and shame. We have to be in a constant state of high alert, always "hustling" for opportunities and connections, always planning for every contingency (including the inherently unpredictable vagaries of health and longevity). This dynamic of "responsibilization," as Wendy Brown calls it, requires us to fritter away our life with worry and paperwork and supplication, "pitching"ourselves over and over again, building our "personal brand" -- all for ever-lowering wages or a smattering of piece-work, which barely covers increasingly exorbitant rent, much less student loan payments."
He also points out that under neoliberalism "Under normative neoliberalism "neoclassical economics becomes a soft constitution for government or 'governance' in its devolved forms" the point that Philip Mirovski completely misses.

While correctly pointing out that neoliberalism is in decline (" Neoliberalism has lost its aura of inevitability"), and will eventually be sent to the dustbin of the history the part of the book devoted to "After Neoliberalism" theme is much weaker than the part devoted to its analysis.

He thinks that Trump election signifies a new stage of neoliberalism which he calls "punitive neoliberalism." I would call Trumpism instead "national neoliberalism" with all associated historical allusions.

[Nov 04, 2018] Archibald Putt The Unknown Technocrat Returns - IEEE Spectrum

Nov 04, 2018 | spectrum.ieee.org

While similar things can, and do, occur in large technical hierarchies, incompetent technical people experience a social pressure from their more competent colleagues that causes them to seek security within the ranks of management. In technical hierarchies, there is always the possibility that incompetence will be rewarded by promotion.

Other Putt laws we love include the law of failure: "Innovative organizations abhor little failures but reward big ones." And the first law of invention: "An innovated success is as good as a successful innovation."

Now Putt has revised and updated his short, smart book, to be released in a new edition by Wiley-IEEE Press ( http://www.wiley.com/ieee ) at the end of this month. There have been murmurings that Putt's identity, the subject of much rumormongering, will be revealed after the book comes out, but we think that's unlikely. How much more interesting it is to have an anonymous chronicler wandering the halls of the tech industry, codifying its unstated, sometimes bizarre, and yet remarkably consistent rules of behavior.

This is management writing the way it ought to be. Think Dilbert , but with a very big brain. Read it and weep. Or laugh, depending on your current job situation.

[Nov 04, 2018] Two Minutes on Hiring by Eric Samuelson

Notable quotes:
"... Eric Samuelson is the creator of the Confident Hiring System™. Working with Dave Anderson of Learn to Lead, he provides the Anderson Profiles and related services to clients in the automotive retail industry as well as a variety of other businesses. ..."
Nov 04, 2018 | www.andersonprofiles.com

In 1981, an author in the Research and Development field, writing under the pseudonym Archibald Putt, penned this famous quote, now known as Putt's Law:

"Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand."

Have you ever hired someone without knowing for sure if they can do the job? Have you promoted a good salesperson to management only to realize you made a dire mistake? The qualities needed to succeed in a technical field are quite different than for a leader.

The legendary immigrant engineer Charles Steinmetz worked at General Electric in the early 1900s. He made phenomenal advancements in the field of electric motors. His work was instrumental to the growth of the electric power industry. With a goal of rewarding him, GE promoted him to a management position, but he failed miserably. Realizing their error, and not wanting to offend this genius, GE's leadership retitled him as a Chief Engineer, with no supervisory duties, and let him go back to his research.

Avoid the double disaster of losing a good worker by promoting him to management failure. By using the unique Anderson Position Overlay system, you can avoid future regret by comparing your candidate's qualities to the requirements of the position before saying "Welcome Aboard".

Eric Samuelson is the creator of the Confident Hiring System™. Working with Dave Anderson of Learn to Lead, he provides the Anderson Profiles and related services to clients in the automotive retail industry as well as a variety of other businesses.

[Nov 04, 2018] Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat

Nov 04, 2018 | en.wikipedia.org

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Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat
Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat cover.jpg
Author Archibald Putt (pseudonym)
Illustrator Dennis Driscoll
Country United States
Language English
Genre Industrial Management
Publisher Wiley-IEEE Press
Publication date 28 April 2006
Media type Print ( hardcover )
Pages 171 pages
ISBN 0-471-71422-4
OCLC 68710099
Dewey Decimal 658.22
LC Class HD31 .P855 2006

Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat is a book, credited to the pseudonym Archibald Putt, published in 1981. An updated edition, subtitled How to Win in the Information Age , was published by Wiley-IEEE Press in 2006. The book is based upon a series of articles published in Research/Development Magazine in 1976 and 1977.

It proposes Putt's Law and Putt's Corollary [1] which are principles of negative selection similar to The Dilbert principle by Scott Adams proposed in the 1990s. Putt's law is sometimes grouped together with the Peter principle , Parkinson's Law and Stephen Potter 's Gamesmanship series as "P-literature". [2]

Contents Putt's Law [ edit ]

The book proposes Putt's Law and Putt's Corollary

See also [ edit ] References [ edit ]
  1. Jump up ^ Archibald Putt. Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat: How to Win in the Information Age , Wiley-IEEE Press (2006), ISBN 0-471-71422-4 . Preface.
  2. Jump up ^ John Walker (October 1981). "Review of Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat " . New Scientist : 52.
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b Archibald Putt. Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat: How to Win in the Information Age , Wiley-IEEE Press (2006), ISBN 0-471-71422-4 . page 7.
External links [ edit ]

[Nov 03, 2018] Neoliberal Measurement Mania

Highly recommended!
Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand. -- Archibald Putt
Neoliberal PHBs like talk about KJLOCs, error counts, tickets closed and other types of numerical measurements designed so that they can be used by lower-level PHBs to report fake results to higher level PHBs. These attempts to quantify 'the quality' and volume of work performed by software developers and sysadmins completely miss the point. For software is can lead to code bloat.
The number of tickets taken and resolved in a specified time period probably the most ignorant way to measure performance of sysadmins. For sysadmin you can invent creative creating way of generating and resolving tickets. And spend time accomplishing fake task, instead of thinking about real problem that datacenter face. Using Primitive measurement strategies devalue the work being performed by Sysadmins and programmers. They focus on the wrong things. They create the boundaries that are supposed to contain us in a manner that is comprehensible to the PHB who knows nothing about real problems we face.
Notable quotes:
"... Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand. ..."
Nov 03, 2018 | www.rako.com

In an advanced research or development project, success or failure is largely determined when the goals or objectives are set and before a manager is chosen. While a hard-working and diligent manager can increase the chances of success, the outcome of the project is most strongly affected by preexisting but unknown technological factors over which the project manager has no control. The success or failure of the project should not, therefore, be used as the sole measure or even the primary measure of the manager's competence.

Putt's Law Is promulgated

Without an adequate competence criterion for technical managers, there is no way to determine when a person has reached his level of incompetence. Thus a clever and ambitious individual may be promoted from one level of incompetence to another. He will ultimately perform incompetently in the highest level of the hierarchy just as he did in numerous lower levels. The lack of an adequate competence criterion combined with the frequent practice of creative incompetence in technical hierarchies results in a competence inversion, with the most competent people remaining near the bottom while persons of lesser talent rise to the top. It also provides the basis for Putt's Law, which can be stated in an intuitive and nonmathematical form as follows:

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.

As in any other hierarchy, the majority of persons in technology neither understand nor manage much of anything. This, however, does not create an exception to Putt's Law, because such persons clearly do not dominate the hierarchy. While this was not previously stated as a basic law, it is clear that the success of every technocrat depends on his ability to deal with and benefit from the consequences of Putt's Law.

[Nov 03, 2018] The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins And Everyone Who Wants To Be One David Both 9781484237298 Amazon.com Books

See also his Working with data streams on the Linux command line Opensource.com
Nov 02, 2018 | www.amazon.com

kievite, November 2, 2018 4.0 out of 5 stars

Some valuble tips. Can serve as fuel for your own thoughts.

This book is most interesting probably for people who can definitely do well without it – seasoned sysadmins and educators.

Please ignore the word "philosophy" in the title. Most sysadmins do not want to deal with "philosophy";-). And this book does not rise to the level of philosophy in any case. It is just collection of valuable (and not so valuable) tips from the author career as a sysadmin of a small lab, thinly dispersed in 500 pages. Each chapter can serve as a fuel for your own thoughts. The author instincts on sysadmin related issues are mostly right: he is suspicious about systemd and another perversion in modern Linuxes, he argues for simplicity in software, and he warns us about PHBs problem in IT departments. In some cases, I disagreed with the author, or view his treatment of the topic as somewhat superficial, but still, his points created the kind of "virtual discussion" that has a value of its own. And maybe it is the set of topics that the author discusses is the main value of the book.

I would classify this book as "tips" book when the author shares his approach to this or that problem (sometimes IMHO wrong, but still interesting ;-), distinct from the more numerous and often boring, but much better-selling class of "how to" books. The latter explains in gory details how to deal with a particular complex Unix/Linux subsystem, or a particular role (for example system administrator of Linux servers). But in many cases, the right solution is to avoid those subsystems or software packages like the plague and use something simpler. Recently, avoiding Linux flavors with systemd also can qualify as a solution ;-)

This book is different. It is mostly about how to approach some typical system tasks, which arise on the level of a small lab (that the lab is small is clear from the coverage of backups). The author advances an important idea of experimentation as a way of solving the problem and optimizing your existing setup and work habits. As well a very overview of good practices of using some essential sysadmin tools such as screen and sudo. In the last chapter, the author even briefly mentions (just mentions) a very important social problem -- the problem micromanagers. The latter is real cancer in Unix departments of large corporations (and not only in Unix departments)

All chapters contain "webliography" at the end adding to the value of the book. While Kindle version of the book is badly formatted (and I subtracted one star for that), the references in Kindle version are clickable, and I would recommend reading some them along with reading the book, including the author articles at opensource.com For example, among others, the author references a rare and underappreciated, but a very important book "Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat: How to Win in the Information Age by Archibald Putt (2006-04-28)". From which famous Putt's Law "Technology is dominated by two types of people, those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand," and Putt's Corollary: "Every technical hierarchy, in time, develop a competence inversion" were originated. This reference alone is probably worth half-price of the book for sysadmins, who never heard about Putt's Law.

Seasoned sysadmins can probably just skim Part I-III (IMHO those chapters are somewhat simplistic. ) For example, you can skip Introduction to author's Linux philosophy, his views on contribution to open source, and similar chapters that contain trivial information ). I would start reading the book from Part IV (Becoming Zen ), which consist of almost a dozen interesting topics. Each of them is covered very briefly (which is a drawback). But they can serve as starters for your own thought process and own research. The selection of topics is very good and IMHO constitutes the main value of the book.

For example, the author raises a very important issue in his chapter 20: Document Everything, but unfortunately, this chapter is too brief, and he does not address the most important thing: sysadmin should work on some way to organize your personal knowledge. For example as a private website. Maintenances of such a private knowledgebase is a crucial instrument of any Linux sysadmin worth his/her salary and part of daily tasks worth probably 10% of sysadmin time. The quote "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it" has a very menacing meaning in sysadmin world.

Linux (as of monstrous RHEL 7 with systemd, network manager and other perversions, which raised the complexity of the OS at least twice) became a way to complex for a human brain. It is impossible to remember all the important details and lessons learned from Internet browsing, your SNAFU and important tickets. Unless converted into documentation, most of such valuable knowledge disappears say in six months or so. And the idea of using corporate helpdesk as a knowledge database is in most cases a joke.

The negative part of the book is that the author spreads himself too thin and try to cover too much ground. That means that treatment of most topics became superficial. Also provided examples of shell scripts is more of a classic shell style, not Bash 4.x type of code. That helps portability (if you need it) but does not allow to understand new features of bash 4.x. Bash is available now on most Unixes, such as Solaris and HP-UX and that solves portability issues in a different, and more productive, way. Portability was killed by systemd anyway unless you want to write wrappers for systemctl related functions ;-)

For an example of author writing, please search for his recent (Oct 30, 2018) article "Working with data streams on the Linux command line" That might give you a better idea of what to expect.

In my view, the book contains enough wisdom to pay $32 for it (Kindle edition price), especially if you can do it at company expense. The books is also valuable for educators. Again, the most interesting part is part IV:

Part IV: Becoming Zen 325

Chapter 17: Strive for Elegance 327

  • Hardware Elegance 327
  • ThePC8 328
  • Motherboards 328
  • Computers 329
  • Data Centers 329
  • Power and Grounding 330
  • Software Elegance 331
  • Fixing My Web Site 336
  • Removing Crutt 338
  • Old or Unused Programs 338
  • Old Code In Scripts 342
  • Old Files 343
  • A Final Word 350

Chapter 18: Find the Simplicity 353

  • Complexity in Numbers 353
  • Simplicity In Basics 355
  • The Never-Ending Process of Simplification 356
  • Simple Programs Do One Thing 356
  • Simple Programs Are Small 359
  • Simplicity and the Philosophy 361
  • Simplifying My Own Programs 361
  • Simplifying Others' Programs 362
  • Uncommented Code 362
  • Hardware 367
  • Linux and Hardware 368
  • The Quandary. 369
  • The Last Word

... ... ...

Chapter 20: Document Everything 381

  • The Red Baron 382
  • My Documentation Philosophy 383
  • The Help Option 383
  • Comment Code Liberally 384
  • My Code Documentation Process 387
  • Man Pages 388
  • Systems Documentation 388
  • System Documentation Template 389
  • Document Existing Code 392
  • Keep Docs Updated 393
  • File Compatibility 393
  • A Few Thoughts 394

Chapter 21: Back Up Everything - Frequently 395

  • Data Loss 395
  • Backups to the Rescue 397
  • The Problem 397
  • Recovery 404
  • Doing It My Way 405
  • Backup Options 405
  • Off-Site Backups 413
  • Disaster Recovery Services 414
  • Other Options 415
  • What About the "Frequently" Part? 415
  • Summary 415

... ... ...

Chapter 26: Reality Bytes 485

  • People 485
  • The Micromanager 486
  • More Is Less 487
  • Tech Support Terror 488
  • You Should Do It My Way 489
  • It's OK to Say No 490
  • The Scientific Method 490
  • Understanding the Past 491
  • Final Thoughts 492

[Nov 03, 2018] Crashed How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World Adam Tooze 9780670024933 Amazon.com Books

Nov 03, 2018 | www.amazon.com

"An intelligent explanation of the mechanisms that produced the crisis and the response to it...One of the great strengths of Tooze's book is to demonstrate the deeply intertwined nature of the European and American financial systems." -- The New York Times Book Review

wsmrer 5.0 out of 5 stars 2008 Neoliberalism crashes the state rushes back-- just in time August 10, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

"Whereas since the 1970s the incessant mantra of the spokespeople of the financial industry had been free markets and light touch regulation, what they were now demanding was the mobilization of all of the resources of the state to save society's financial infrastructure from a threat of systemic implosion, a threat they likened to a military emergency." (Loc. 3172-3174)

Adam Tooze takes the well know Financial Crisis of 2007-08 through its full history of international ramifications and brings it up to the present with the question of whether the large organizations, structures and processes on the one hand; decision, debate, argument and action on the other that managed to fall into place in that crisis period in this and many other countries will develop if needed again. "The political in "political economy" demands to be taken seriously." (Loc. 11694). That he does.

Tooze is an Economic Historian and Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World is a wonderfully rich enquiry into causes and effects of the Financial Crisis and how the failing of poorly managed greed motivated practices of a few financial institutions, and their subprime mortgagees, tumbled economies in the developed and developing world, causing events that matched the Great Depression's dislocation and could have matched its duration, springing from world wide money markets "interlocking matrix" of corporate balance sheets -- bank to bank."

A warning he is not kind to existing political beings, the Republican Party in particular " to judge by the record of the last ten years, it is incapable of legislating or cooperating effectively in government." (Loc.11704)
His criticism is, in fairness, based on technical management grounds, and he does find fault as well with the inner core of the Obama advisors and their primary concerns for the financial sectors well being, rather than nationwide happenings where homes and incomes disappeared.

This reviewer's favorite (not mentioned by Tooze) is the early 2009 comment of Larry Sumners when Christina D. Romer, the chairwoman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers and leading authority on the Great Depression saw a need for $1.8 trillion stimulus package, "What have you been smoking?"
Sumners, Geithner, and Orszag, who favored transferring $700 billion to the banks to offset possible bank failures and such -- became policy. Tooze mentions that by 2012 Sumners was concerned by the slowness of the U.S. economy's recovery taking, as it did, 8 years to reach 2008 levels of employment.

Can an Economic History be an exciting read? Tooze gives us over 700 pages of just that, but much will be familiar as reported news and may be skimmed, and some of the Fed's expanded international roles very dense in content. His strength is the knowledge of what could have happened, had solutions not been found, and how agreements were reached out of public sight.
" the world economy is not run by medium-sized entrepreneurs but by a few thousand massive corporations, with interlocking shareholdings controlled by a tiny group of asset managers. (Loc.418-419).
Add wily politicians and hard driven bankers EU Ukraine and China you have an adventure.

Corporate control is not new -- rich descriptions of its inner connections are.
Adam Tooze does this well a reference work for years to come.
5 stars

David Shulman 5.0 out of 5 stars The World in Crisis August 22, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Columbia history professor Adam Tooze, an authority on the inter-war years, has offered up an authoritative history of the financial crises and their aftermath that have beset the world since 2008. He integrates economics, the plumbing of the interbank financial system and the politics of the major players in how and why the financial crisis of 2008 developed and the course of the very uneven recovery that followed. I must note that Tooze has some very clear biases in that he views the history through a social democratic prism and is very critical of the congressional Republican caucus and the go slow policies of the European Central Bank under Trichet. To him the banks got bailed out while millions of people suffered as collateral damage from a crisis that was largely made by the financial system. His view may very well be correct, but many readers might differ. Simply put, to save the economy policy makers had to stop the bleeding.

He starts off with the hot topic of 2005; the need for fiscal consolidation in the United States. Aside from a few dissidents, most economists saw the need for the U.S. to close its fiscal deficit and did not see the structural crisis that was developing underneath them. Although he does mention Hyman Minsky a few times in the book, he leaves out Minsky's most important insight that "stability leads to instability" as market participants are lulled into a false sense of security. It therefore was against the backdrop of the "great moderation" that the crisis began. And it was the seemingly calm environment that lulled all too many regulators to sleep.

The underbelly of the financial system was and still is in many respects is the wholesale funding system where too many banks are largely funded in repo and commercial paper markets. This mismatch was exacerbated by the use of asset-backed commercial paper to fund long term mortgage securities. It was problems in that market that triggered the crisis in August 2007.

The crisis explodes when Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy in September 2008. In Tooze's view the decision to let Lehman fail was political, not economic. After that the gates of hell are opened causing the Bush Administration and the Federal Reserve to ask for $750 billion dollar TARP bailout of the major banks. It was in the Congressional fight over this appropriation where Tooze believes the split in the Republican Party between the business conservative and social populist wing hardens. We are living with that through this day. The TARP program passes with Democratic votes. Tooze also notes that there was great continuity between the Bush and early Obama policies with respect to the banks and auto bailout. Recall that in late 2008 and early 2009 nationalization of the banks was on the table. Tooze also correctly notes that the major beneficiary of the TARP program was Citicorp, the most exposed U.S. bank to the wholesale funding system.

Concurrent with TARP the Bernanke Fed embarks on its first quantitative easing program where it buys up not only treasuries, but mortgage backed securities as well. It was with the latter Europe's banks were bailed out. Half of the first QE went to bail out Europe's troubled banks. When combined the dollar swap lines with QE, Europe's central banks essentially became branches of the Fed. Now here is a problem. Where in the Federal Reserve Act does it say that the Fed is the central bank to the world? To some it maybe a stretch.

Tooze applauds Obama's stimulus policy but rightly says it was too small. There should have been more infrastructure in it. To my view there could have been more infrastructure if only Obama was willing to deal with the Republicans by offering to waive environmental reviews and prevailing wage rules. He never tried for fear of offending his labor and environmental constituencies. Tooze also gives great credit to China with it all out monetary and fiscal policies. That triggered a revival in the energy and natural resource economies of Australia and Brazil thereby helping global recovery.

He then turns to the slow responses in Europe and the political wrangling over the tragedy that was to befall Greece. It came down to the power of Angela Merkel and her unwillingness to have the frugal German taxpayer subsidize the profligate Greeks. As they say "all politics is local". The logjam in Europe doesn't really break until Mario Draghi makes an off-the-cuff remark at a London speech in July 2012 by saying the ECB will do "whatever it takes" to engender European recovery.

As a byproduct of bailing out the banks and failing to directly help the average citizen a rash of populism, mostly of the rightwing variety, breaks out all over leading to Brexit, Orban in Hungary, a stronger rightwing in Germany and, of course, Donald Trump. But to me it wasn't only banking policy that created this. The huge surge in immigration into Europe has a lot more to do with it. Tooze under-rates this factor. He also under-rates the risk of having a monetary policy that is too easy and too long. The same type of Minsky risk discussed earlier is now present in the global economy: witness Turkey, for example. Thus it is too early to tell whether or not the all-out monetary policy of the past decade will be judged a success from the vantage point of 2030.

Adam Tooze has written an important book and I view it as must read for a serious lay reader to get a better understanding of the economic and political policies of the past decade.

[Nov 02, 2018] The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins And Everyone Who Wants To Be One David Both 9781484237298 Amazon.com Books

See also his Working with data streams on the Linux command line Opensource.com
Nov 02, 2018 | www.amazon.com

This book is most interesting probably for people who can definitely do well without it – seasoned sysadmins and educators.

Please ignore the word "philosophy" in the title. Most sysadmins do not want to deal with "philosophy";-). And this book does not rise to the level of philosophy in any case. It is just collection of valuable (and not so valuable) tips from the author career as a sysadmin of a small lab, thinly dispersed in 500 pages. Each chapter can serve as a fuel for your own thoughts. In many cases, I disagreed with the author, but still, his points created the kind of "virtual discussion" that has a value of its own.

I would classify this book as "tips" book when the author shares his approach to this or that problem (often IMHO wrong, but still interesting;-), distinct from the more numerous and often boring, but much better-selling class of "how to" books. The latter explains in gory details how to deal with a particular Unix/Linux subsystem or a particular role (for example system administrator of Linux servers). But in many cases, the right solution is to avoid those subsystems or software packages like plague, and use something simpler ;-)

This book is different. It is mostly about tips on how to approach this or that typical system task, which arises of the level of a small research lab (that is clear from his coverage of backups). As well a very brief overview of good practices of using some tools. In the last chapter, the author even briefly mentions (just mentions) a very important social problem -- the problem micromanagers. The latter is real cancer in Unix departments of large corporations (and not only in Unix departments ;-)

All chapters contain "webliography" at the end adding to the value of the book. While Kindle version of the book is formatted (and I subtracted one start for that), they are clickable.

The books provide authors views (not always right, but still interesting) on why this or that particular feature should be used and how it can be combined with other. Seasoned sysadmins can probably skip Part I-III (IMHO those chapters are simplistic ( for example you can skip Introduction to the Linux philosophy, contribution to open source, and similar weak chapters ) and start with Part IV ( Becoming Zen ) , which consist of almost a dozen interesting topics. They are covered very briefly, just to serve as a starter for your own thought process. But the selection of topics is very good.

He raises a very important issue in his chapter 20: Document Everything, but unfortunately, this chapter is too brief and does not address the way to organize your personal "knowledgebase" which now should be a crucial instrument of any Linux sysadmin worth his/her salary. Linux (as of monstrous RHEL 7 with systemd and other perversions, which raised the complexity of the OS at least twice) became a way to complex for your brain to remember all the important details and lessons learned from Internet browsing, your SNAFU and important tickets.

The negative part of the book is that the author spreads himself too thin and try to cover too much ground. That means that treatment of some topics became superficial. Also provided examples of shell scripts is more of a classic shell style, not Bash 4.x type of code. That helps portability (if you need it) but does not allow to understand new features of bash 4.x. Bash is available now on most Unixes, such as Solaris and HP-UX and that solves portability issues in a different, and more productive, way. Portability was killed by systemd anyway unless you want to write wrappers for systemctl related functions ;-)

For an example of author writing, please search for his recent (Oct 30, 2018) article "Working with data streams on the Linux command line" That might give you a better idea of what to expect.

In my view, the book contains enough wisdom to pay $32 for it (Kindle edition price). Especially for educators.

Full contst is at The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins And Everyone Who Wants To Be One

Again, the most interesting part is part IV:

Part IV: Becoming Zen 325

Chapter 17: Strive for Elegance 327

Chapter 18: Find the Simplicity 353

... ... ...

Chapter 20: Document Everything 381

Chapter 21: Back Up Everything - Frequently 395

... ... ...

Chapter 26: Reality Bytes 485

[Nov 01, 2018] The 2018 Globie Crashed by Joseph Joyce

Notable quotes:
"... Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World ..."
"... Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History ..."
"... Global Inequality ..."
"... Currency Power: Understanding Monetary Rivalry ..."
"... The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned–and Have Still to Learn–from the Financial Crisis ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

Each year I choose a book to be the Globalization Book of the Year, i.e., the "Globie". The prize is strictly honorific and does not come with a check. But I do like to single out books that are particularly insightful about some aspect of globalization. Previous winners are listed at the bottom.

This year's choice is Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World by Adam Tooze of Yale University . Tooze, an historian, traces the events leading up to the crisis and the subsequent ten years. He points out in the introduction that this account is different from one he may have written several years ago. At that time Barak Obama had won re-election in 2012 on the basis of a slow but steady recovery in the U.S. Europe was further behind, but the emerging markets were growing rapidly, due to the demand for their commodities from a steadily-growing China as well as capital inflows searching for higher returns than those available in the advanced economies.

But the economic recovery has brought new challenges, which have swept aside established politicians and parties. Obama was succeeded by Donald Trump, who promised to restore America to some form of past greatness. His policy agenda includes trade disputes with a broad range of countries, and he is particularly eager to impose trade tariffs on China. The current meltdown in stock prices follows a rise in interest rates normal at this stage of the business cycle but also is based on fears of the consequences of the trade measures.

Europe has its own discontents. In the United Kingdom, voters have approved leaving the European Union. The European Commission has expressed its disapproval of the Italian government's fiscal plans. Several east European governments have voiced opposition to the governance norms of the West European nations. Angela Merkel's decision to step down as head of her party leaves Europe without its most respected leader.

All these events are outcomes of the crisis, which Tooze emphasizes was a trans-Atlantic event. European banks had purchased held large amounts of U.S. mortgage-backed securities that they financed with borrowed dollars. When liquidity in the markets disappeared, the European banks faced the challenge of financing their obligations. Tooze explains how the Federal Reserve supported the European banks using swap lines with the European Central Bank and other central banks, as well as including the domestic subsidiaries of the foreign banks in their liquidity support operations in the U.S. As a result, Tooze claims:

"What happened in the fall of 2008 was not the relativization of the dollar, but the reverse, a dramatic reassertion of the pivotal role of America's central bank. Far from withering away, the Fed's response gave an entirely new dimension to the global dollar" (Tooze, p. 219)

The focused policies of U.S. policymakers stood in sharp contrast to those of their European counterparts. Ireland and Spain had to deal with their own banking crises following the collapse of their housing bubbles, and Portugal suffered from anemic growth. But Greece's sovereign debt posed the largest challenge, and exposed the fault line in the Eurozone between those who believed that such crises required a national response and those who looked for a broader European resolution. As a result, Greece lurched from one lending program to another. The IMF was treated as a junior partner by the European governments that sought to evade facing the consequences of Greek insolvency, and the Fund's reputation suffered new blows due to its involvement with the various rescue operations.The ECB only demonstrated a firm commitment to its stabilizing role in July 2012, when its President Mario Draghi announced that "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro."

China followed another route. The government there engaged in a surge of stimulus spending combined with expansionary monetary policies. The result was continued growth that allowed the Chinese government to demonstrate its leadership capabilities at a time when the U.S. was abandoning its obligations. But the ensuing credit boom was accompanied by a rise in private (mainly corporate) lending that has left China with a total debt to GDP ratio of over 250%, a level usually followed by some form of financial collapse. Chinese officials are well aware of the domestic challenge they face at the same time as their dispute with the U.S. intensifies.

Tooze demonstrates that the crisis has let loose a range of responses that continue to play out. He ends the book by pointing to a similarity of recent events and those of 1914. He raises several questions: "How does a great moderation end? How do huge risks build up that are little understood and barely controllable? How do great tectonic shifts in the global world order unload in sudden earthquakes?" Ten years after a truly global crisis, we are still seeking answers to these questions.

Previous Globie Winners:

[Oct 28, 2018] America The Farewell Tour Chris Hedges

The sad and shocking obituary for American Neoliberalism. Might not be slightly excaggerated account. Qnd neoliberalism will probably stay with the USA for long time, at least a the next decade or two until real end of "cheap oil",
Oct 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chris Hedges's profound and provocative examination of America in crisis is "an exceedingly provocative book, certain to arouse controversy, but offering a point of view that needs to be heard" ( Booklist ), about how bitter hopelessness and malaise have resulted in a culture of sadism and hate.

America, says Pulitzer Prize­–winning reporter Chris Hedges, is convulsed by an array of pathologies that have arisen out of profound hopelessness, a bitter despair, and a civil society that has ceased to function. The opioid crisis; the retreat into gambling to cope with economic distress; the pornification of culture; the rise of magical thinking; the celebration of sadism, hate, and plagues of suicides are the physical manifestations of a society that is being ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. As our society unravels, we also face global upheaval caused by catastrophic climate change. All these ills presage a frightening reconfiguration of the nation and the planet.

Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power. In his "forceful and direct" ( Publishers Weekly ) America: The Farewell Tour , Hedges argues that neither political party, now captured by corporate power, addresses the systemic problem. Until our corporate coup d'état is reversed these diseases will grow and ravage the country. "With a trademark blend of sharply observed detail, Hedges writes a requiem for the American dream" ( Kirkus Reviews ) and seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time.

September 5, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Washington is fiddling but it is the capitalist collective that is setting the fires

Throughout history, all great civilizations have ultimately decayed. And America will not be an exception, according to former journalist and war correspondent, Chris Hedges. And while Hedges doesn't offer a date, he maintains we are in the final throes of implosion -- and it won't be pretty.

The book is thoroughly researched and the author knows his history. And despite some of the reviews it is not so much a political treatise as it is an exploration of the American underbelly -- drugs, suicide, sadism, hate, gambling, etc. And it's pretty dark; although he supports the picture he paints with ample statistics and first person accounts.

There is politics, but the politics provides the context for the decay. And it's not as one-dimensional as other reviewers seemed to perceive. Yes, he is no fan of Trump or the Republican leadership. But he is no fan of the Democratic shift to identity politics, or antifa, either.

One reviewer thought he was undermining Christianity but I didn't get that. He does not support "prosperity gospel" theology, but I didn't see any attempt to undermine fundamental religious doctrine. He is, after all, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and an ordained Presbyterian minister.

He puts the bulk of the blame for the current state of decay, in fact, where few other writers do -- squarely on the back of capitalist America and the super-companies who now dominate nearly every industry. The social and political division we are now witnessing, in other words, has been orchestrated by the capital class; the class of investors, banks, and hedge fund managers who don't create value so much as they transfer it to themselves from others with less power. And I think he's spot on right.

We have seen a complete merger of corporate and political America. Politicians on both sides of the aisle serve at the pleasure of the capitalist elite because they need their money to stay in power. Corporations enjoy all the rights of citizenship save voting, but who needs to actually cast a ballot when you can buy the election.

And what the corpocracy, as I call it, is doing with all that power is continuing to reshuffle the deck of economic opportunity to insure that wealth and income continue to polarize. It's a process they undertake in the name of tax cuts for the middle class (which aren't), deregulation (which hurts society as a whole), and the outright transfer of wealth and property (including millions of acres of taxpayer-owned land) from taxpayers to shareholders (the 1%).

I know because I was part of it. As a former CEO and member of four corporate boards I had a front row seat from the 1970s on. The simplest analogy is that the gamblers rose up and took control of the casinos and the government had their backs in a kind of quid pro quo, all having to do with money.

They made it stick because they turned corporate management into the ultimate capitalists. The people who used to manage companies and employees are now laser focused on managing the companies' stock price and enhancing their own wealth. Corporate executives, in a word, became capitalists, not businessmen and women, giving the foxes unfettered control of the hen house.

They got to that position through a combination of greed -- both corporate management's and that of shareholder activists -- but were enabled and empowered by Washington. Beginning in the 1970s the Justice Department antitrust division, the Labor Department, the EPA, and other institutions assigned the responsibility to avoid the concentration of power that Adam Smith warned us about, and to protect labor and the environment, were all gutted and stripped of power.

They blamed it on globalism, but that was the result, not the cause. Gone are the days of any corporate sense of responsibility to the employees, the collective good, or the communities in which they operate and whose many services they enjoy. It is the corporate and financial elite, and they are now one and the same, who have defined the "me" world in which we now live.

And the process continues: "The ruling corporate kleptocrats are political arsonists. They are carting cans of gasoline into government agencies, the courts, the White House, and Congress to burn down any structure or program that promotes the common good." And he's right. And Trump is carrying those cans.

Ironically, Trump's base, who have been most marginalized by the corpocracy, are the ones who put him there to continue the gutting. But Hedges has an explanation for that. "In short, when you are marginalized and rejected by society, life often has little meaning. There arises a yearning among the disempowered to become as omnipotent as the gods. The impossibility of omnipotence leads to its dark alternative -- destroying like the gods." (Reference to Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death.)

The economic history and understanding of economic theory here is rich and detailed. Capitalism, as Marx and others pointed out, creates great wealth in the beginning but is doomed to failure due to its inability to continue to find sources of growth and to manage inequities in wealth creation. And you don't have to be a socialist to see that this is true. Capitalism must be managed. And our government is currently making no attempt to do so. It is, in fact, dynamiting the institutions responsible for doing so.

All told, this is a very good book. If you don't like reading about underbellies (I found the chapter devoted to sadism personally unsettling, being the father of two daughters.) you will find some of it pretty dark. Having said that, however, the writing is very good and Hedges never wallows in the darkness. He's clearly not selling the underbelly; he's trying to give it definition.

I did think that some of the chapters might have been broken down into different sub-chapters and there is a lack of continuity in some places. All told, however, I do recommend the book. There is no denying the fundamental thesis.

The problem is, however, we're all blaming it on the proverbial 'other guy.' Perhaps this book will help us to understand the real culprit -- the capitalist collective. "The merging of the self with the capitalist collective has robbed us of our agency, creativity, capacity for self-reflection, and moral autonomy." True, indeed.

September 15, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition
Find Hedges on YouTube For a Quicker Summary of His Book

The man is clearly brilliant and I agree with most of his conclusions, but I found the book very tough to get through, which was a huge disappointment. Instead, I found several long YouTube videos where Mr Hedges succinctly describes his theories and how the US got where it is.

[Oct 16, 2018] How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley

From the book How Fascism Works The Politics of Us and Them Jason Stanley Amazon.com Hardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Random House (September 4, 2018)
Fascism is always eclectic and its doctrine is composed of several sometimes contradicting each other ideas. "Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." (Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." )
Some ideas are "sound bite only" and never are implemented and are present only to attract sheeple (looks National Socialist Program ). he program championed the right to employment , and called for the institution of profit sharing , confiscation of war profits , prosecution of usurers and profiteers, nationalization of trusts , communalization of department stores, extension of the old-age pension system, creation of a national education program of all classes, prohibition of child labor , and an end to the dominance of investment capital "
There is also "bait and switch" element in any fascism movement. Original fascism was strongly anti-capitalist, militaristic and "national greatness and purity" movement ("Make Germany great again"). It was directed against financial oligarchy and anti-semantic element in it was strong partially because it associated Jews with bankers and financial industry in general. In a way "Jews" were codeword for investment bankers.
For example " Arbeit Macht Frei " can be viewed as a neoliberal slogan. Then does not mean that neoliberalism. with its cult of productivity, is equal to fascism, but that neoliberal doctrine does encompass elements of the fascist doctrine including strong state, "law and order" mentality and relentless propaganda.
The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it lost its meaning. The Nazi Party (NSDAP) originated as a working-class political party . This is not true about Trump whom many assume of having fascist leanings. His pro white working class rhetoric was a fig leaf used for duration or elections. After that he rules as a typical Republican president favoring big business. And as a typical neocon in foreign policy.
From this point of view Trump can't be viewed even as pro-fascist leader because first of all he does not have his own political movement, ideology and political program. And the second he does not strive for implementing uniparty state and abolishing the elections which is essential for fascism political platform, as fascist despise corrupt democracy and have a cult of strong leader.
All he can be called is neo-fascist s his some of his views do encompass ideas taken from fascist ideology (including "law and order"; which also is a cornerstone element of Republican ideology) as well as idealization and mystification of the US past. But with Bannon gone he also can't even pretend that he represents some coherent political movement like "economic nationalism" -- kind of enhanced mercantilism.
Of course, that does not mean that previous fascist leaders were bound by the fascism political program, but at least they had one. Historian Karl Dietrich Bracher writes that, "To [Hitler, the program] was little more than an effective, persuasive propaganda weapon for mobilizing and manipulating the masses. Once it had brought him to power, it became pure decoration: 'unalterable', yet unrealized in its demands for nationalization and expropriation, for land reform and 'breaking the shackles of finance capital'. Yet it nonetheless fulfilled its role as backdrop and pseudo-theory, against which the future dictator could unfold his rhetorical and dramatic talents."
Notable quotes:
"... Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago. ..."
"... Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics. ..."
"... In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence. ..."
"... fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. ..."
"... The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle. ..."
Oct 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chapter 1: The Mythic Past

It's in the name of tradition that the anti-Semites base their "point of view." It's in the name of tradition, the long, historical past and the blood ties with Pascal and Descartes, that the Jews are told, you will never belong here.

-- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)

It is only natural to begin this book where fascist politics invariably claims to discover its genesis: in the past. Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago.

Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics.

In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence.

These myths are generally based on fantasies of a nonexistent past uniformity, which survives in the traditions of the small towns and countrysides that remain relatively unpolluted by the liberal decadence of the cities. This uniformity -- linguistic, religious, geographical, or ­ethnic -- ​can be perfectly ordinary in some nationalist movements, but fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. For example, in the fascist imagination, the past invariably involves traditional, patriarchal gender roles. The fascist mythic past has a particular structure, which supports its authoritarian, hierarchical ideology. That past societies were rarely as patriarchal -- or indeed as glorious -- as fascist ideology represents them as being is beside the point. This imagined history provides proof to support the imposition of hierarchy in the present, and it dictates how contemporary society should look and behave.

In a 1922 speech at the Fascist Congress in Naples, Benito Mussolini declared:

We have created our myth. The myth is a faith, a passion. It is not necessary for it to be a reality. . . . Our myth is the nation, our myth is the greatness of the nation! And to this myth, this greatness, which we want to translate into a total reality, we subordinate everything.

The patriarchal family is one ideal that fascist politicians intend to create in society -- or return to, as they claim. The patriarchal family is always represented as a central part of the nation's traditions, diminished, even recently, by the advent of liberalism and cosmopolitanism. But why is patriarchy so strategically central to fascist politics?

In a fascist society, the leader of the nation is analogous to the father in the traditional patriarchal family. The leader is the father of his nation, and his strength and power are the source of his legal authority, just as the strength and power of the father of the family in patri­archy are supposed to be the source of his ultimate moral authority over his children and wife. The leader provides for his nation, just as in the traditional family the father is the provider. The patriarchal father's authority derives from his strength, and strength is the chief authoritarian value. By representing the nation's past as one with a patriarchal family structure, fascist politics connects nostalgia to a central organizing hierarchal authoritarian structure, one that finds its purest representation in these norms.

Gregor Strasser was the National Socialist -- Nazi -- Reich propaganda chief in the 1920s, before the post was taken over by Joseph Goebbels. According to Strasser, "for a man, military service is the most profound and valuable form of participation -- for the woman it is motherhood!" Paula Siber, the acting head of the Association of German Women, in a 1933 document meant to reflect official National Socialist state policy on women, declares that "to be a woman means to be a mother, means affirming with the whole conscious force of one's soul the value of being a mother and making it a law of life . . . ​the highest calling of the National Socialist woman is not just to bear children, but consciously and out of total devotion to her role and duty as mother to raise children for her people." Richard Grunberger, a British historian of National Socialism, sums up "the kernel of Nazi thinking on the women's question" as "a dogma of inequality between the sexes as immutable as that between the races." The historian Charu Gupta, in her 1991 article "Politics of Gender: Women in Nazi Germany," goes as far as to argue that "oppression of women in Nazi Germany in fact furnishes the most extreme case of anti-feminism in the 20th century."

Here, Mussolini makes clear that the fascist mythic past is intentionally mythical. The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle.

With the creation of a mythic past, fascist politics creates a link between nostalgia and the realization of fascist ideals. German fascists also clearly and explicitly appreciated this point about the strategic use of a mythological past. The leading Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, editor of the prominent Nazi newspaper the Völkischer Beobachter, writes in 1924, "the understanding of and the respect for our own mythological past and our own history will form the first condition for more firmly anchoring the coming generation in the soil of Europe's original homeland." The fascist mythic past exists to aid in changing the present.

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; More about Jason Stanley

5.0 out of 5 stars

July 17, 2018 Format: Hardcover Vine

Highly readable

w.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R36R5FWIWTP6F0/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0525511830">

By Joel E. Mitchell on September 13, 2018
Massive Partisan Bias

This could have been such a helpful, insightful book. The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it has started to lose its meaning. I hoped that this book would provide a historical perspective on fascism by examining actual fascist governments and drawing some parallels to the more egregious / worrisome trends in US & European politics. The chapter titles in the table of contents were promising:

- The Mythic Past
- Propaganda
- Anti-Intellectual
- Unreality
- Hierarchy
- Victimhood
- Law & Order
- Sexual Anxiety
- Sodom & Gomorrah
- Arbeit Macht Frei

Ironically (given the book's subtitle) the author used his book divisively: to laud his left-wing political views and demonize virtually all distinctively right-wing views. He uses the term "liberal democracy" inconsistently throughout, disengenuously equivocating between the meaning of "representative democracy as opposed to autocratic or oligarchic government" (which most readers would agree is a good thing) and "American left-wing political views" (which he treats as equally self-evidently superior if you are a right-thinking person). Virtually all American right-wing political views are presented in straw-man form, defined in such a way that they fit his definition of fascist politics.

I was expecting there to be a pretty heavy smear-job on President Trump and his cronies (much of it richly deserved...the man's demagoguery and autocratic tendencies are frightening), but for this to turn into "let's find a way to define virtually everything the Republicans are and do as fascist politics" was massively disappointing. The absurdly biased portrayal of all things conservative and constant hymns of praise to all things and all people left-wing buried some good historical research and valid parallels under an avalanche of partisanism.

If you want a more historical, less partisan view of the rise of fascist politics, I would highly recommend Darkness Over Germany by E. Amy Buller (Review Here). It was written during World War II (based on interviews with Germans before WWII), so you will have to draw your own contemporary parallels...but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

[Oct 08, 2018] Red Hat RHCSA-RHCE 7 Cert Guide Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (EX200 and EX300) (Certification Guide) Sander van Vugt

Oct 08, 2018 | www.amazon.com
5.0 out of 5 stars

By kievite on October 8, 2018

This is a better primary book for self-study then Michael Jang and Alessandro Orsaria

This book is a better primary book for self-study then Michael Jang and Alessandro Orsaria's book. The material is more logically organized and explained and is easier to follow. The author provides a few valuable tips, which I did not find in any other book.

RHEL 7 looks like a different flavor of Linux, not a continuation of RHEL 6 in many respects, and first of all due to addition of systemd and replacement of many previously used daemons (NTP daemon, firewall daemon, etc) as well as inclusion into the exam new topics such as built-in virtualization capabilities.

That means that the amount of material in RHEL 7 exam is much larger than in RHEL 6 exam and different topics are stressed (systemd, virtual machines, more complex networking staff including setting up kickstart, etc.). Michael Jang book is an adaptation of RHEL 6 book. This book is written for RHEL 7 from the ground up, and this is an important advantage.

As for which book to use, either-or is a naïve approach. You need to use both, especially, if the exam is paid from your own pocket, as a failure will cost you $400. Just don't take the failure too seriously -- the table is stacked against self-study folk like you -- and the second time you will do much better.

I just recommend you to use this one as the primary book. You should use Jang book too, as some information in it is missing in this book but, for example, I like better how such an important topic as how to recover root password is explained in this book.

I like his recommendation to use CentOS instead od RHEL for the preparation for the exam. This is a reasonable approach although there are some low-cost RHEL subscriptions as well. Using a plain vanilla RHEL without subscription makes the installation of software difficult as you do not have access to repositories. This is an important plus of this book.

I also noticed the attention to details that can be acquired only by actually working of RHEL for years, not just writing books -- for example the author mentions -A and -B options in grep, while Jang does not. Unfortunately, the differences between grep and egrep and when you need to use egrep (or grep -E) are not explained well in both books.

There are some reviews which concentrate on typos (yes, for example, the option -E typeset as -e in some examples) but this is a pretty naïve criteria to judge the book on such a complex topic. Of course, there will be multiple typos, but fixing them is a part of training and they do not diminish the value of the book, as those readers who can't fix are not ready to take the exam anyway. And if the person who supposedly passed RHEL 6 exam complains about such trivial staff, there is something fishy if his/her approach to the topic.

Generally breaking the configuration and then fixing it should be an important part of training and this book at least gives some hints of how to deal with booting problems (which are multiplied in RHEL 7 due to systemd craziness)

More important is an implicit level of the author who writes the book. A4nd my impression is that the level of Sander van Vugt is higher.

Red Hat exam stresses many Red Hat specific topics and as such taking it plunges you into priorities of Red Hat that were unknown to you. You can expect that some of those priorities/topics are peripheral to that you are doing at your job, and you will be taken by surprise the first time you take the exam, even if you deligently stidied the book and did all exercises. In this sense, it is better to pay for exam twice then to attend more expensive "Fast track" course, if you are paying money from your own pocket.

There are a lot of posts on the Internet about how easy is to pass this exam -- I do not trust them. While all materials are entry level and the resulting qualification is also entry level the mere amount of material is overwhelming and presents substantial difficulties even for people who administer RHEL and/or CentOS/Oracle Linux/Academic linux for many years.

[Sep 21, 2018] Bannon comes off surprisingly well in this book. I suspect he is a source for much of the info.

Sep 21, 2018 | www.amazon.com

3.0 out of 5 stars

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Fear: Trump in the White House

w.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R26ONK8S0HS7J2/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B075RV48W3">

By Jason on September 19, 2018
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

First, let me say I voted for Trump as a "Disrupter" and to that end he has exceeded expectations.

The book starts out great through the first 5 or 6 chapters, but then becomes a bit convoluted. The bottom line of the book and reality is that Trump is surrounded by apprentice scoundrels, and that he is the boss scoundrel.

He demands loyalty but gives none. As a Former Marine I would not follow him into battle; I would never have the opportunity because he and his sons would never go into harm's way.

The best of the book was the hinted forthcoming bombshells, that never exploded. Woodward dropped the ball on this one, and as an author myself, it's nice to see even the big boys, Simon & Schuster, have editing issues.

Jay Fitzpatrick author of "The Patsy".

[Sep 16, 2018] Essentially, this book is just Michael Wolfe or Omarosa's stories, only drier and with more footnotes

Notable quotes:
"... Rather than being a revelatory, shocking look behind the curtain of an administration run by the single dumbest man to ever hold his office, the book just confirms the stories we've already heard, mixing in additional commentary from people in or close to the White House, mostly former employees who clearly still agree with Trump's agenda, even if they could no longer stand the man himself. ..."
"... Woodward presents anecdotes from these individuals--people like Sen. Lindsay Graham, a renown proponent of endless wars in the Middle East, and Steve Bannon, former Chief Strategist, an out-and-proud xenophobe and fascist--without commentary or context, which has the odd effect of presenting these people only in contrast and comparison to Trump himself. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Edward Novak on September 15, 2018

A frustratingly neutral collection of accounts from morally questionable people.

Trump is really, really bad at being President. This isn't news to anyone who has been following the leaks, rumors, announcements, policies, and tweets coming out of the White House for the last nineteen months.

Rather than being a revelatory, shocking look behind the curtain of an administration run by the single dumbest man to ever hold his office, the book just confirms the stories we've already heard, mixing in additional commentary from people in or close to the White House, mostly former employees who clearly still agree with Trump's agenda, even if they could no longer stand the man himself.

Woodward presents anecdotes from these individuals--people like Sen. Lindsay Graham, a renown proponent of endless wars in the Middle East, and Steve Bannon, former Chief Strategist, an out-and-proud xenophobe and fascist--without commentary or context, which has the odd effect of presenting these people only in contrast and comparison to Trump himself.

One unfamiliar with Bannon, for example, could come away from the book thinking that he was a fairly reasonable person (rather than a racist, white nationalist) because he is only ever shown as a foil to the ongoing circus of incompetence that is the Trump administration.

This is Woodward's style, of course; he presents himself as an almost entirely neutral presence, merely transcribing the things he learned, but when discussing such dangerous and reprehensible people, a paragraph here and there dedicated to reminding readers what, exactly, these people claim to believe would have been appreciated additional context.

Essentially, this book is just Michael Wolfe or Omarosa's stories, only drier and with more footnotes.

[Sep 14, 2018] The book Journalists for Hire How the CIA Buys the News Dr. Udo Ulfkotte was "privished"

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Anyone who claims there are no conspiracies, that there are no behind-the-scenes efforts by powerful people to suppress information that would expose their efforts at global domination, is full of crap. ..."
"... How many CIA-paid journalists do you have on staff at the Washington Post? ..."
"... The author who was a deputy editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine and worked there for 17 years turns whistleblower and spills the beans on the corruption of German media by US lobby agencies which have CIA backing. ..."
"... The news is always given a pro American slant and journalists can look forward to rewards for their efforts. Should they not collude then their career is over. Corrupted German journalists are named and shamed. The EU is also revealed to be equally corrupt . ..."
"... German journalists assigned to EU reporting have to sign a document stating that they will never write anything negative about the EU. The level of manipulation by the EU is also frightening. ..."
"... This situation reeks of Stasi or Asian plutocratic realms. We want our freedom back! What are you people (including colluding Amazon) trying to cover up? Shame on you! ..."
"... The collussion of corporate media and Western intelligence is a taboo subject one must surmise. It suggests that our power structure realizes it has a rather fragile hold on the popular mind when the CIA morphs into the former KGB to simply suppress and disappear unacceptable reporting. ..."
"... I would suggest that the absolute silence by MSM about this book and its censorship validates the authors contentions that much of MSM reporting is right out of the Western intelligence agencies and has nothing whatsoever to do with reality on the ground. ..."
Sep 14, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Steven Yates 5.0 out of 5 stars August 7, 2017 Format: Hardcover

This book was "privished"

No, I haven't read the book, because it is priced completely out of my reach. I am giving it five stars anyway because of what I've read *about* it, as I've followed its author's saga -- the blackout by German media of the original German edition Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) for a couple of years now, raids by German police on the author's house, his noting how he feared for his life, and his finally being found dead on January 13 of this year "from a heart attack" (he was only 56, and because it is possible to kill someone in ways that look like a heart attack, some people believe he was murdered).

The fate of a whistleblower against one of the world's most powerful organizations in a controlled society being passed off as a democracy?

Two things are abundantly clear:

(1) The English translation of this book has been "privished." There are a couple of good recent discussions of what it means to "privish" a book, but Amazon will not allow me to link to them. So let's just say: the purpose of "privishing" is make a book with an unwanted message disappear without a trace by limiting information about it, destroying its marketability by printing too few copies, and refusing reprint rights, so that the copies available are too expensive for readers of ordinary means (which is nearly all of us).

(2) Anyone who claims there are no conspiracies, that there are no behind-the-scenes efforts by powerful people to suppress information that would expose their efforts at global domination, is full of crap.

XXX, September 30, 2017 Format: Paperback
Sell this book so we can buy it!

Amazon, you are a tool of the State. This book is available in English at a market competitive price. Why do you refuse to make it available to your customers?

How many CIA-paid journalists do you have on staff at the Washington Post? To the reviewer who asked how much money the author will see from the exhorbotant price of the book, he won't see any because he is dead.

He died of hearth issues shortly after the publication of the book. He did have a history of heart ailments so I am not implying a sinister act. You can find an good interview with him on YouTube if they haven't removed it.

XXX, November 11, 2017 Format: Paperback
Dynamite

Have read this book in German but as far as I know it is no longer available in bookshops in Germany either. The author who was a deputy editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine and worked there for 17 years turns whistleblower and spills the beans on the corruption of German media by US lobby agencies which have CIA backing.

The news is always given a pro American slant and journalists can look forward to rewards for their efforts. Should they not collude then their career is over. Corrupted German journalists are named and shamed. The EU is also revealed to be equally corrupt .

German journalists assigned to EU reporting have to sign a document stating that they will never write anything negative about the EU. The level of manipulation by the EU is also frightening. The author himself was part of the set up and even received a prestigious reward for his pro America efforts but eventually became disgusted by the system and his collusion in it.

I pre ordered the book last year in English on Amazon as my son wanted to read it but I kept receiving emails from Amazon changing publication dates and eventually they informed me that they were unable to access the book. There is no doubt that the book is dynamite and has been suppressed because of this.

XXX, July 31, 2017 Format: Hardcover
Tyranny in America Writ Large In A Super-Large Price

Somebody has set the price of this book -- available in English though it is -- so high as to make it unavailable. I wonder, if some rich or extremely extravagant person were to bye this book at the $1300 price it's offered at, would the author ever see a dime of that?

This situation reeks of Stasi or Asian plutocratic realms. We want our freedom back! What are you people (including colluding Amazon) trying to cover up? Shame on you!

XXX, August 16, 2017 Format: Paperback
Second book I've wanted that's been banned

Second book I've wanted that's been banned by Amazon. Shame on you, Mr. Bezos. Unfortunately for you, more people are waking up to this. The cracks are starting to show.

bossaboy on November 19, 2017
The suppression of the English language version of this book is censorship of the most Orwellian kind.

I have been awaiting the English version of this book for several years now, watching with interest while the publishing date was delayed multiple times. As a best seller in Germany one had to wonder why it would take years to translate the book to English unless there were forces working against publication. Well, low and behold it is finally set to publish in May 2017 when it again doesn't and finally disappears from sight. The obvious suppression of this book is censorship of the press and of course speaks volumes about Western "freedom of the press" as a fantasy.

The collussion of corporate media and Western intelligence is a taboo subject one must surmise. It suggests that our power structure realizes it has a rather fragile hold on the popular mind when the CIA morphs into the former KGB to simply suppress and disappear unacceptable reporting.

I would suggest that the absolute silence by MSM about this book and its censorship validates the authors contentions that much of MSM reporting is right out of the Western intelligence agencies and has nothing whatsoever to do with reality on the ground.

Somewhere in the great beyond Orwell is smiling and thinking "I told you so."

[Sep 12, 2018] Fear Trump in the White House

What is interesting that the first eight reviews were all written by neocons.
The book looks like an implicit promotion of Pence. Which is probably not what Dems want ;-).
Notable quotes:
"... I fell in love with Woodward's writing with "All the President's Men." It inspired me to work in journalism. But Woodward has lost his touch. His "reporting" feels second-hand and arm's length. Each Chapter in his Source Notes leads with this disclaimer: "The information in the chapter comes primarily from multiple deep background interviews and firsthand sources." We have no way of knowing what firsthand sources even means – an article he read in the New York Times whose author he's friends with? ..."
"... The review mentions biography of Mike Pence, "The Shadow President ..." by Michael D'Antonio and Peter Eisner . For former Harvard alumni this is an extremely naive review, that is completely devoid of understanding of political forces that are shaping the country and first of all the crisis of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Mike Pence, the "Shadow President" and Trump's hand picked successor, will from many indications become president in the months following the November 6 election. ..."
Sep 12, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Betsy Lee, September 12, 2018

Not much of a book

I went into this book thinking that it would confirm all of my deepest fears about Trump and give me more reasons to dislike him. At the end of the book, I had the distinct impression that Trump's presidency is not as bad as it is often portrayed.

Some of Trump's ideas are not so bad -- for example, the book spends a lot of time on Afghanistan. Trump has for a long time believed the war was a mistake, that there is no way to "win," and that it is a perpetual loss of our country's treasures.

The book spends a lot of time showing how Trump fought the "swamp" to come up with a strategy to get out -- and failed.

Of course, many other stories in the book confirmed my belief that he is a disaster for a president.

The book jumps around in time and topic a lot, making it difficult to follow. Kind of like Trump himself.

Melanie Gilbert, September 12, 2018

Deep Fear

My Kindle book loaded at 12:30 Tuesday morning , and I stayed up until 6:30 a.m. reading this fascinating and alarming story. The scariest part of this massive tome is the sheer hubris of everyone in President Trump's orbit including the author, famed Watergate reporter, Bob Woodward. They all think they are more presidential than the actual president, and that sense of entitlement and arrogance drives this tell-all narrative.

Even though I agree that Trump is mentally unfit to be Commander-in-Chief – and Woodward cites many troubling incidents that point to a memory-impaired leader – it feels as if Woodward operated under the theory of selection bias, finding sources who would confirm his thesis. I don't know what's scarier, a president who is off the rails, or a staff that helps keep him there while they are busy running the country the way they see fit (except when the crazy uncle escapes his handlers and spouts off on Twitter.)

Woodward, a veteran reporter, and the man (with Carl Bernstein) who broke the Nixon-era Watergate crime with a source the known only as "Deep Throat" falls for and magnifies their conceit. The real story isn't Trump, it's his unelected and unconstitutional enablers (senior staff, family, media, lobbyists, rogue governments) who act like they are running a shadow government (surreptitiously taking papers off his desk, screening his briefing materials.) Woodward's story will feed Trump's main argument that there's a Deep State at work in this country.

I fell in love with Woodward's writing with "All the President's Men." It inspired me to work in journalism. But Woodward has lost his touch. His "reporting" feels second-hand and arm's length. Each Chapter in his Source Notes leads with this disclaimer: "The information in the chapter comes primarily from multiple deep background interviews and firsthand sources." We have no way of knowing what firsthand sources even means – an article he read in the New York Times whose author he's friends with?

This book is beneath Woodward's skill and reputation. You can basically retrieve the same message in "Unhinged" a much briefer and far more readable format - though no less disturbing account - of working in the Trump White House.

gerald t. slevin on September 11, 2018

NOTES: The review mentions biography of Mike Pence, "The Shadow President ..." by Michael D'Antonio and Peter Eisner . For former Harvard alumni this is an extremely naive review, that is completely devoid of understanding of political forces that are shaping the country and first of all the crisis of neoliberalism.

Donald Trump's Demotion & Mike Pence's Promotion! When and How?

Bob Woodward has done it again. "Fear" is a remarkable and important book, especially because it is so current and revealing and is vouched for by this very credible reporter. Woodward's book confirms in much greater detail many earlier and less credible reports, plus many others --- establishing clearly that Donald Trump is not fit to be the US president --- politically, intellectually, psychologically or morally. Moreover, his erratic behavior is a threat to US national security, as Woodward's book and recent TV interviews make very clear. Of course, most of the media attention on this book has been and will continue to be on Woodward's many shocking scoops. The most important question, however, that the book raises, for me at least, is "When and how will Trump's reckless rule be retired?"

Mike Pence, the "Shadow President" and Trump's hand picked successor, will from many indications become president in the months following the November 6 election. That seems to be a high probability, even without Special Counsel Robert Mueller's likely devastating report on the Russian conspiracy to influence illegally the 2016 presidential elections and the related cover up obstructing Mueller's investigation of this conspiracy . The only unknown now is when and how Trump goes--- by the impeachment process or by simple resignation like Nixon did.

We can expect Pence will then give Trump a full pardon, after Trump fully pardons some family members and close associates. Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort need not hold their breath waiting for a pardon. Trump, some of his family members and close associates will, of course, still be at risk of state law prosecutions, expecially in NY.

Trump has long used fear to exercise power over others. Fear, as Machiavelli strongly recommended five centuries ago to a corrupt pope's nephew, is preferable to and more effective than kindness. Paradoxically, Trump's own deep personal fear of failure still drives him desperately--- any means are justified to reach Trump's top goals of personal profit and glory forever. Any means is OK, including even orphaning innocent infants at the Mexican border, while other immigrants are welcomed to work temporarily at Mar-a-Lago. Woodward's book just reinforces these observations many have already made.

It is amazing to me that many of the so-called "adults in the room" cannot see that Trump is misbehaving as he always did. He cannot be changed, certainly not now and not by the many handlers selected seemingly because Trump can dominate them. That said, Trump still has more than two years remaining on his term!

I have strong reactions to Woodward's many disturbing disclosures, as (1) a former Harvard Law assistant to Archibald Cox (prior to his being the unforgettable Watergate Prosecutor and nailing Nixon), (2) a former high school chum of Rudy Guiliani (now an unimpressive key Trump advisor), (3) a former law firm colleague of Bob Khuzami (now the impressive head of NYC federal investigations of Trump criminal matters) and (4) a father and grandfather.

... ... ...

At 75 years old, Woodward clearly had a purpose in this voluntary and prodigious effort to research and write this book--- to flush out the true Donald Trump and show the danger he poses for US national security. Woodward, a Navy veteran like John McCain before him, is also a patriot. To paraphrase Trump, Woodward shows vividly that Trump's behavior is "very sad and really disgusting".

The media will have a field day with some of the troubling Trump episodes Woodward reports. Many persons cited in the book will challenge some of his reports. To be expected and perhaps understandable, given Trump's fiery temper about those he thinks are in any way disloyal to him. The facts will nevertheless prevail, as they have mostly for Woodward's earlier books about the many presidents who immediately preceded Trump.

More important, however, than specific episodes, is what the confluence of these troubling episodes clearly shows --- Trump is clearly unfit to be president! The longer he remains, the greater the risk in our nuclear age for the US, and the world as well. It is well to recall the near catastrophe last January when a Hawaiian technician pressed the wrong button indicating a non-existent "imminent" North Korean missile attack, following Trump's reckless rhetoric about the real North Korean threat. This must have sent a real chill down the spines of the leaders of all nuclear nations, and many others as well.

Will Trump then finish his first term? Very doubtful, it appears.

If the Democrats win a House majority in less than two months, prompt impeachment proceedings and numerous House investigations of Trump and his corrupt cronies appear to be inevitable. That dooms Trump.

Even if the Democrats remain the minority, impeachment is still likely to occur in my view as Mueller's efforts continue --- they cannot be stopped now. They will continue even if Mueller is fired as they continued after Nixon fired Archibald Cox. Moreover, there is a reasonable prospect that one or more of Trump's children and/or in-laws could soon be indicted.

Trump will after November be an increasingly unnecessary liability for Republicans, the GOP. Only 32% of voters currently polled even think Trump is honest. He has already done what the GOP and its billionaire backers like the Kochs and Devoses most wanted --- a major tax cut for the wealthiest, reckless deregulation, insuring a right wing judiciary majority, reducing drastically Federal revenues needed to fund the social safety net, et al.

Moreover, it seems unlikely that Trump will be able to handle the steadily growing pressure he faces. He may even elect to resign as Nixon did. Pence can finish up to the cheers of the Kochs, Devoses, et al.

For a fuller picture of what to expect from Pence when Trump "retires", please see the new comprehensive, readable and detailed biography of Mike Pence, "The Shadow President ..." by Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, Michael D'Antonio, and by his co-author, Peter Eisner. This book's findings dovetail nicely with the findings in "Fear".

Unlike Woodward, D'Antonio even got, for his recent excellent Trump biography, hours of direct interviews of Trump before the 2016 elections, until Trump abruptly ended the interviews apparently concerned that D'Antonio was writing a truthful book based on facts, not on Trump's limitless lies and specious spin. We now know from this important book on Pence why it is very unlikely that Pence will ever be able to clean up Donald Trump's mess. We also can understand much better why Trump recently predicted that stock markets would crash if he were to be impeached. Not too great an endorsement of his successor, Pence, by a reckless and incompetent boss who has now witnessed up close for almost two years the non-stop cheerleading of the "Shadow President", Mike Pence.

Pence successfully strived during the last two years behind the scenes, with Trump's apparent blessings, to advance his repressive and regressive fundamentalist Christian remaking of American society, including through administration and judicial right-wing appointments and adoption of fundamentalist social policies, like curtailing legal abortions and even limiting contraception access. Significantly, these policies mostly benefit in the end the already "uberrich" top 0.01% of Americans at the expense of the 99.99 % less fortunate--- how Christian is that?

Trump's and Pence's unfair tax cuts and excessive deregulation can readily be fixed by Democrats when they regain power. But Trump and Pence have already changed the Federal judiciary with their many right wing judges appointed for life. That is not so easily fixed.

This is scary stuff for a religiously diverse nation with constitutional safeguards of religious freedom that were extremely important for good reason to our Founding Fathers. They rejected a theocracy as well as a monarchy !

By providing a brisk and insightful history of Pence's personal and political journey, we are able with this book to see behind Pence's perpetual smile and smooth style. It is not a very pretty picture.

All, even Trump supporters, should read this book to understand better the threat Pence poses even for Trump. After the midterm elections, the "uberrich" will know they can fulfill all their remaining political and economic dreams through Pence, without having to put up any longer with Trump's erratic and at times almost bizarre policies and behavior. By mid-November, Trump will need Pence more than Pence will need Trump.

It is not surprising the Omarosa recently observed on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" show that she thinks one of Pence's staff was the author of the unprecedented and anonymous New York times Op Ed column that further undercuts Trump and re-inforces some of Woodward's revelations. As to be expected, Pence offers to swear under oath that HE did not write the Op Ed column, which denial leaves room that one of his staffers wrote it, no?

"Fear" and "The Shadow Presidency" raise a very ironic possibility in my mind. If Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, after the midterm elections in November, indicates that Trump and Pence were both implicated in Russian election conspiracy and/or in the subsequent cover-up, both of them could be removed from office or worse by a Congress forced by public outrage to act on Mueller's report. Even Nixon's base abandoned him once the true facts were widely known.

Pence often played a key role in the 2016 campaign, as well as during the two years since. Who knows what he said and did in secret? Who knows if Pence was recorded by Amarosa, an evangelical pastor, or Michael Cohen, a "tell all" third rate lawyer or someone else at the White House, including possibly Trump himself. I suspect that by now, Mueller knows!

If that happens, Nancy Pelosi could succeed after next January to the presidency as Speaker of the House, third in line after the President and Vice President. So much then for the great Trump/Pence strategy.

The Pence book makes very clear why Pence is to be feared, perhaps even more than Trump. The "god" of Trump is Trump --- in that sense, he is obvious and usually predictable. Pence's "god" is much darker and more dangerous, as well as unpredictable, as this book has confirmed for me. It may be that a needy and greedy Trump is a safer bet than a surreptitious and smiling religious zealot, Pence.

Pence legitimated Trump with the important and united fundamentalist voter base, who voted by over 80% to elect Trump! Trump also won 52% of Catholics' votes, while only 46% of the national vote. Who will legitimate Pence? This book suggests "good" fundamentalists should now vote against Pence if they ever find their Christian moorings again!

Pence appears determined to advance a repressive and regressive fundamentalist evangelical theocracy, even though most Americans, including most Christians, have no interest in a theocracy, Christian or otherwise. Our Founding Fathers were well aware of the brutal post-Reformation religious wars that some of their not too distant relatives had fled Europe to avoid.

Interestingly, Pence was a Catholic altar boy and Trump attended for two years a Jesuit college, Fordham. And the current four male Supreme Court conservative Catholic Justices and the newly nominated likely to be Justice, Brett Kavanagh, were also raised Catholic. Four of these five also went to Catholic schools --- Clarence Thomas to Jesuit Holy Cross College, Neil Gorsuch and Kavanagh to Jesuit Georgetown Prep and John Roberts to La Lumiere School. Samuel Alito was raised in a traditional Italian American Catholic family environment.

.... .... ...

[Aug 08, 2018] Zone23 is sort of a cross between 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World, but with better, much funnier, dialogue. It also introduces the corporate-state-hybrid as a menacing enemy.

Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

BillDakota , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 6:28 am GMT

Zone 23 was one of the best novels I've ever read. I'm a big reader, and Zone 23 stands out as one of the better fiction books in my lifetime. It is sort of a cross between 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World, but with better, much funnier, dialogue. It also introduces the corporate-state-hybrid as a menacing enemy.

[Aug 08, 2018] Bill Clinton's Rules of Engagement on the already identified Enemies of the People

Notable quotes:
"... please recall Bill Clinton's rules of engagement as applied to the Serbs in 1999, wherein he decided that the political leaders, bureaucratic support structure, media infrastructure and intellectual underpinnings of his enemies' war effort were legitimate targets of war. ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [207] Disclaimer , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 7:08 am GMT

After observing Skynet's coordinated attack on Alex Jone's Infowars yesterday, we can hardly wait to implement Bill Clinton's Rules of Engagement on the already identified Enemies of the People, and eagerly await the God-Emperor's word.

Second, please recall Bill Clinton's rules of engagement as applied to the Serbs in 1999, wherein he decided that the political leaders, bureaucratic support structure, media infrastructure and intellectual underpinnings of his enemies' war effort were legitimate targets of war.

No one else may have been paying attention to the unintended consequences of that, but many folks on our side of the present divide were. Food for thought. A reminder about the shape of the battlefield (legal and otherwise) and Bill Clinton's Rules of Engagement.

http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2010/03/man-bites-dog-dogs-get-pissed-off.html

[Aug 07, 2018] Ministries of Nineteen Eighty-Four

Aug 07, 2018 | en.wikipedia.org

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search "Ministry of Love" redirects here. For other uses, see Ministry of Love (disambiguation) .

The Ministries of Love , Peace , Plenty , and Truth are ministries in George Orwell 's futuristic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four , set in Oceania . [1] Despite the name, no actual "ministers" are mentioned in the book, and all public attention is focused on the idealized figurehead Big Brother .

The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink .

--   Part II, Chapter IX
Contents Ministry of Love [ edit ]

The Ministry of Love ( Newspeak : Miniluv ) serves as Oceania's interior ministry . It enforces loyalty to Big Brother through fear, buttressed through a massive apparatus of security and repression, as well as systematic brainwashing . The Ministry of Love building has no windows and is surrounded by barbed wire entanglements, steel doors, hidden machine-gun nests , and guards armed with "jointed truncheons ". Referred to as "the place where there is no darkness", its interior lights are never turned off. It is arguably the most powerful ministry, controlling the will of the population. The Thought Police are a part of Miniluv.

The Ministry of Love, like the other ministries, is misnamed, since it is largely responsible for the practice and infliction of misery, fear, suffering and torture . In a sense, however, the name is apt, since its ultimate purpose is to instill love of Big Brother -- the only form of love permitted in Oceania -- in the minds of thoughtcriminals as part of the process of reverting them to orthodox thought. This is typical of the language of Newspeak , in which words and names frequently contain both an idea and its opposite; the orthodox party member is nonetheless able to resolve these contradictions through the disciplined use of doublethink .

Room 101 [ edit ] "Room 101" redirects here. For other uses, see Room 101 (disambiguation) .

Room 101 , introduced in the climax of the novel, is the basement torture chamber in the Ministry of Love, in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare , fear or phobia , with the object of breaking down their resistance.

You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.

--   O'Brien , Part III, Chapter V

Such is the purported omniscience of the state in the society of Nineteen Eighty-Four that even a citizen's nightmares are known to the Party. The nightmare, and therefore the threatened punishment, of the protagonist Winston Smith is to be attacked by rats . This is manifested in Room 101 by confronting Smith with a wire cage that contains two large rats. The front of the cage is shaped so that it can fit over a person's face. A trap-door is then opened, allowing the rats to devour the victim's face. This cage is fitted over Smith's face, but he saves himself by begging the authorities to let his lover, Julia , suffer this torture instead of him. The threatened torture, and what Winston does to escape it, breaks his last promise to himself and to Julia: never to betray her. The book suggests that Julia is likewise subjected to her own worst fear (although it is not revealed what that fear is), and when she and Winston later meet in a park, he notices a scar on her forehead. The intent of threatening Winston with the rats was to force him into betraying the only person he loved and therefore to break his spirit.

Orwell named Room 101 after a conference room at Broadcasting House where he used to sit through tedious meetings. [2] When the original room 101 at the BBC was due to be demolished, a plaster cast of it was made by artist Rachel Whiteread and displayed in the cast courts of the Victoria and Albert Museum from November 2003 until June 2004. [3] [4]

Ministry of Peace [ edit ]

The Ministry of Peace ( Newspeak : Minipax ) serves as the war ministry of Oceania's government, and is in charge of the armed forces , mostly the navy and army . The Ministry of Peace may be the most vital organ of Oceania, seeing as the nation is supposedly at an ongoing genocidal war with either Eurasia or Eastasia and requires the right amount of force not to win the war, but keep it in a state of equilibrium.

As explained in Emmanuel Goldstein 's book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism , the Ministry of Peace revolves around the principle of perpetual war . Perpetual war uses up all surplus resources, keeping most citizens in lives of constant hardship – and thus preventing them from learning enough to comprehend the true nature of their society. Perpetual warfare also "helps preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs." Since that means the balance of the country rests in the war, the Ministry of Peace is in charge of fighting the war (mostly centered around Africa and India), but making sure to never tip the scales, in case the war should become one-sided. Oceanic telescreens usually broadcast news reports about how Oceania is continually winning every battle it fights, though these reports have little to no credibility.

As with all the other Nineteen Eighty-Four ministries, the Ministry of Peace is named the exact opposite of what it does, since the Ministry of Peace is in charge of maintaining a state of war. The meaning of peace has been equated with the meaning of war in the slogan of the party, "War is Peace". Like the names of other ministries, it also has a literal application. Perpetual war is what keeps the "peace" (the status quo) in Oceania and the balance of power in the world.

Ministry of Plenty [ edit ]

The Ministry of Plenty ( Newspeak : Miniplenty ) is in control of Oceania's planned economy . It oversees rationing of food , supplies , and goods . As told in Goldstein's book, the economy of Oceania is very important, and it's necessary to have the public continually create useless and synthetic supplies or weapons for use in the war, while they have no access to the means of production . This is the central theme of Oceania's idea that a poor, ignorant populace is easier to rule over than a wealthy, well-informed one. Telescreens often make reports on how Big Brother has been able to increase economic production, even when production has actually gone down (see § Ministry of Truth ).

The Ministry hands out statistics which are "nonsense". When Winston is adjusting some Ministry of Plenty's figures, he explains this:

But actually, he thought as he readjusted the Ministry of Plenty's figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

Like the other ministries, the Ministry of Plenty seems to be entirely misnamed, since it is, in fact, responsible for maintaining a state of perpetual poverty , scarcity and financial shortages. However, the name is also apt, because, along with the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Plenty's other purpose is to convince the populace that they are living in a state of perpetual prosperity. Orwell made a similar reference to the Ministry of Plenty in his allegorical work Animal Farm when, in the midst of a blight upon the farm, Napoleon the pig orders the silo to be filled with sand, then to place a thin sprinkling of grain on top, which fools human visitors into being dazzled about Napoleon's boasting of the farm's superior economy.

A department of the Ministry of Plenty is charged with organizing state lotteries . These are very popular among the proles, who buy tickets and hope to win the big prizes – a completely vain hope as the big prizes are in fact not awarded at all, the Ministry of Truth participating in the scam and publishing every week the names of non-existent big winners.

In the Michael Radford film adaptation , the ministry is renamed the Ministry of Production, or MiniProd.

Ministry of Truth [ edit ] Senate House, London , where Orwell's wife worked at the Ministry of Information , was his model for the Ministry of Truth

The Ministry of Truth ( Newspeak : Minitrue ) is the ministry of propaganda . As with the other ministries in the novel, the name Ministry of Truth is a misnomer because in reality it serves the opposite: it is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events.

As well as administering truth, the ministry spreads a new language amongst the populace called Newspeak , in which, for example, "truth" is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants. In keeping with the concept of doublethink, the ministry is thus aptly named in that it creates/manufactures "truth" in the Newspeak sense of the word. The book describes the doctoring of historical records to show a government-approved version of events.

Description [ edit ]

Winston Smith , the main character of Nineteen Eighty-Four , works at the Ministry of Truth. [5] It is an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete rising 300 metres (980 ft) into the air, containing over 3000 rooms above ground. On the outside wall are the three slogans of the Party: "WAR IS PEACE," "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY," "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH." There is also a large part underground, probably containing huge incinerators where documents are destroyed after they are put down memory holes . For his description, Orwell was inspired by the Senate House at the University of London . [6]

Role in information [ edit ]

The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history to change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth correct the record to make it accurate. This is the "how" of the Ministry of Truth's existence. Within the novel, Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence, the "why", is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the Party must seem eternally right and strong.

Minitrue plays a role as the news media by changing history, and changing the words in articles about events current and past, so that Big Brother and his government are always seen in a good light and can never do any wrong. The content is more propaganda than actual news.

Departments [ edit ]

The following are the sections or departments of the ministry mentioned in the text:

Cultural impact [ edit ]

The novel's popularity has resulted in the term "Room 101" being used to represent a place where unpleasant things are done.

In fiction [ edit ]

In The Ricky Gervais Show , Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant play a game called "Room 102", based on the concept of "Room 101", in which Karl Pilkington has to decide what things he dislikes enough to put in Room 102. This would result, according to their game, in these things being erased from existence. [ citation needed ]

The name "Ministry of Peace", and shorthand "Minipax", appear in the US science fiction TV series Babylon 5 . The Ministry of Peace first appears in the episode " In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum ". It is a sinister organisation, created to instill loyalty to the government of Earth and root out dissent; one of its senior staff is a "Mr Welles". In its role it more closely resembles the novel's § Ministry of Love (which is responsible for the Thought Police and the interrogation of dissidents) than it does the Ministry of Peace depicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four . [ citation needed ]

In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier , set in Britain after the fall of the Big Brother government , the Ministry of Love is actually MI5 and its physical location is given as the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross , noted by a young spy named Jimmy (a thinly veiled James Bond ). [ citation needed ]

In the 2011 Doctor Who episode " The God Complex ", The Doctor and his companions find themselves in a hotel full of their own personal Room 101s, each with their greatest fear in it. [8]

One sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Sound involved the hapless residents of room 102, the telescreen repair centre, who could not ignore the things happening in the next room. [ citation needed ]

In the 2002 game The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind there is a floating rock known as "The Ministry of Truth".

References [ edit ]
  1. Jump up ^ Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four . Secker and Warburg. ISBN 0-452-28423-6 .
  2. Jump up ^ "The Real Room 101" . BBC. Archived from the original on 5 January 2007.
    Meyers, Jeffery. Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation . W.W.Norton. 2000. ISBN 0-393-32263-7 , p. 214.
  3. Jump up ^ "BBC Broadcasting House – Public Art Programme 2002–2008" . Archived from the original on 2009-05-19 . Retrieved 2009-05-18 .
  4. Jump up ^ Brooks, Richard (23 March 2003). "Orwell's room 101 to be work of art" . The Sunday Times . London . Retrieved 2009-05-18 .
  5. Jump up ^ "Literature Network, George Orwell, 1984, Summary Pt. 1 Chp. 4" . Retrieved 2008-08-27 .
  6. Jump up ^ Stansky, Peter (1994). London's Burning . Stanford: Stanford University Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 0-8047-2340-0 .
    Tames, Richard (2006). London . Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. p. 126. ISBN 0-19-530953-7 .
    Humphreys, Rob (2003). The Rough Guide to London . Rough Guides Limited. p. 146. ISBN 1-84353-093-7 .
    "Orwell Today, Ministry of Truth" . Retrieved 2008-08-27 .
  7. Jump up ^ Byrnes, Sholto; Tonkin, Boyd (18 June 2004). "Anna Funder: Inside the real Room 101" . The Independent . London . Retrieved 2008-02-02 . (Profile of Funder and her book, Stasiland )
  8. Jump up ^ Risely, Matt (18 September 2011). "Doctor Who: "The God Complex" Review" . IGN . Retrieved 31 March 2012 .

[Aug 07, 2018] Ministry of Plenty

Aug 07, 2018 | en.wikipedia.org

The Ministry of Plenty ( Newspeak : Miniplenty ) is in control of Oceania's planned economy . It oversees rationing of food , supplies , and goods . As told in Goldstein's book, the economy of Oceania is very important, and it's necessary to have the public continually create useless and synthetic supplies or weapons for use in the war, while they have no access to the means of production . This is the central theme of Oceania's idea that a poor, ignorant populace is easier to rule over than a wealthy, well-informed one. Telescreens often make reports on how Big Brother has been able to increase economic production, even when production has actually gone down (see § Ministry of Truth ).

The Ministry hands out statistics which are "nonsense". When Winston is adjusting some Ministry of Plenty's figures, he explains this:

But actually, he thought as he readjusted the Ministry of Plenty's figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

Like the other ministries, the Ministry of Plenty seems to be entirely misnamed, since it is, in fact, responsible for maintaining a state of perpetual poverty , scarcity and financial shortages. However, the name is also apt, because, along with the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Plenty's other purpose is to convince the populace that they are living in a state of perpetual prosperity. Orwell made a similar reference to the Ministry of Plenty in his allegorical work Animal Farm when, in the midst of a blight upon the farm, Napoleon the pig orders the silo to be filled with sand, then to place a thin sprinkling of grain on top, which fools human visitors into being dazzled about Napoleon's boasting of the farm's superior economy.

A department of the Ministry of Plenty is charged with organizing state lotteries . These are very popular among the proles, who buy tickets and hope to win the big prizes – a completely vain hope as the big prizes are in fact not awarded at all, the Ministry of Truth participating in the scam and publishing every week the names of non-existent big winners.

In the Michael Radford film adaptation , the ministry is renamed the Ministry of Production, or MiniProd.

[Aug 02, 2018] This is a large book, embracing a vast amount of research. Conclusion is that accommodation with Putin will be very difficult

Events in Ukraine after EuroMaidan are notoriously difficult to understand.
The book is fairly recent and as such might be a useful introduction for a Western reader who is interested in Ukrainian event, but the material should be taken with a grain of salt. The author is way too simplistic and his views on geopolitical problems are incorrect. The idea that " Putin's Munich speech as a declaration of war" is nonsense. Also most of the readers probably know State Department talking points and can recognize them in the text.
. In some areas the author is clearly incompetent as the quote "In 2016, France blocked 24,000 cyber attacks targeting its military. Ukraine experienced 24, 000 cyber attacks in only the last two months of 2016" suggests.
The author views of Russia are typical of the US-based Ukrainian diaspora. As it is pretty much radicalized, it can be argued that it brings to Ukraine more harm then good. In short his views on Russia can be defined as cocktail of a 40% proof Russophobia with pure Neoconservatism. So while author analysis of "Post-Maydan" Ukrainian elite has its value, his view on Russia should probably be discarded.
For those who also bough McFaul book it is interesting to see correlation in views as well as differences (especially McFaul laments from page 429 to the end of the book) . McFaul was the co-architect of the 2011-2012 color revolution in Russia; and as an Ambassador became ostracized by Russian and later removed by Obama. For his role in "White color revolution of 2012" McFaul was put on the travel ban list by Russians and is not allowed to travel to the country. Both represent neoconservative stance on the events, but there are some subtle and rather interesting differences ;-)
Some Amazon reviews as one reproduced below are actually as valuable as the book itself and can serve as a valuable addition.
Aug 02, 2018 | www.amazon.com
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham H. Seibert TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 17, 2017
This is a large book, embracing a vast amount of research. Conclusion is that accommodation with Putin will be very difficult.

This is a large book, embracing a vast amount of research. Kuzio provides the conclusion to the book as the conclusion to his introduction. It is somber, but realistic:

"There cannot be a conclusion to the book because the Donbas is an unresolved conflict that is on-going. There will be no closure of the Ukraine-Russia crisis as long as Putin is Russian president which will be as long as he remains alive. To fully implement the Minsk-2 Accords would mean jettisoning the DNR-LNR which Putin will not do and therefore, a political resolution to the Donbas conflict is difficult to envisage."

Having lived in Kyiv for ten years, I was witness to the latter chapters of the drama that Kuzio describes. His account jibes with what I witnessed, and provides a coherent explanation of the events as they unfolded. The animus against Yanukovych was universal. His blatant theft was visible to all. Every merchant I dealt with lived in fear of his tax police. We saw, or more often read accounts about, the depredations of the titushki on a daily basis.

One of my key questions in 2014 was whether it might have been better to endure Yanukovych for another couple of years, until the elections. The Ukrainian people answered for me -- they had had enough. It wasn't exactly a coup, because the opposition was not well organized and because Yanukovych fled before he could be overthrown. But the will of the people was clear. He had to go. Kuzio makes a strong case that if it had not happened then, Yanukovych might have had time to secure his dictatorship in such a way that he could not be dislodged through democratic means.

Kuzio provides the most thorough and accurate description of the language situation I have ever read. A fact he often repeats is that a majority of the soldiers fighting against the Russians are themselves Russian speakers. Putin's claim that he is protecting a persecuted linguistic minority is absolute nonsense. Kuzio makes the very useful analogy between the use of English in Ireland and that of Russian in Ukraine. It is a matter of history and convenience.

Ukrainian is not a dialect of Russian. They are very distinct languages. Speaking Spanish, I was able to learn Portuguese quite easily. Speaking Russian has not enabled me to master Ukrainian. They have different alphabets and even different grammars. As a resident of Kyiv for 10 years I have not been forced to, and almost not been in a position to speak Ukrainian. Everybody I interact with is exactly as Kuzio describes – ardently Ukrainian, but nevertheless Russian speaking.

A question Kuzio does not raise is the utility of a language. For better or worse, Russian is a world language. There is a significant body of scientific literature, fiction and poetry written in Russian. It is, or was until recently, the lingua franca of the former USSR.

A lot of information about Kuzio himself is packed in the brief lead into his chapter entitled Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism: "Ukraine is in the hands of homosexuals and Jewish oligarchs. Aleksandr Dugin"

Russian philosopher Dugin is one of Kuzio's major bête noire's. Kuzio's book makes it clear that Dugin is as much of an activist as he is a philosopher. Dugin seems to have a hand in most things anti-Ukrainian. As a philosopher he is nothing – his book The Fourth Political Theory is the subject of the most savage pan I have ever written. Nonetheless, he is taken seriously by the resurgent Russian nationalists and Putin himself.

Dugin's claim that Ukraine is in the hands of homosexuals is absurd. Homosexuals are tolerated here, but they are discrete. Most Ukrainians, though they have no love whatsoever for Russia, are largely in sympathy with Russia's stand against the flaunting of homosexuality. The college-educated twentysomethings whom I know seem unaware that they even know homosexuals, though it appears to this San Franciscan that some people in our circles must be gay.

The claim that Ukraine is in the hand of Jewish oligarchs is quite another matter. Kuzio gives quite rational explanations for anti-Ukrainian, anti-Belarusian and anti-Russian sentiment, a great deal of which he manifests himself. He somehow looks at anti-Semitism as a phenomenon that is beyond explanation. I would contend that it should be regarded just as the other anti- concepts. Especially in the former USSR, where the Jews were regarded as a separate people in the same way as Ukrainians.

He writes about the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Fraud or hoax might be a better word. Internet sources name the author as a certain Russian Professor S. Nilus writing in 1901. The attractiveness of the fraud is that it coincides quite neatly with widely held opinions about the Jews, many of which have some substance.

Going to substance, Kuzio mentions some of the major Jewish oligarchs, Kolomoisky and Taruta, and some of the Jewish participants and Ukrainian politics: Yatsenyuk and Groisman. He discounts the notion that President Poroshenko's father, born Valtzman, was Jewish. I had never heard this account questioned. Other prominent Jews in Ukrainian politics/oligarchy who come immediately to mind include Feldman and Rabinowitz. It is not that there is anything wrong with Jews occupying dominant positions, but "simple Ivan" is not so stupid as to fail to notice them. It is also widely perceived that the Jewish oligarchs are no better or worse than the others, in that they put their personal interests ahead of that of the people who elected them. Poroshenko has been a major disappointment. Kuzio writes of Kolomoisky's support of the volunteer battalions in Donbas. True – but it was totally in line with his business interests.

The fact that six of the seven billionaires to emerge after the collapse of the USSR were Jewish belies Kuzio's claims that they were radically disadvantaged in the USSR. More balanced accounts of Soviet Judaism have been written by Robert Wistrich , Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Yuri Slezkine .

Even a paranoid has enemies. American Jewish neocons, especially Victoria Nuland and husband Robert Kagan, actively involved in Ukrainian politics, were strongly anti-Russian. Though Kuzio is absolutely correct that the animus of the Ukrainian people for Yanukovych was more than enough to power the Maidan uprising, it is also probably true that the CIA was covertly abetting the protesters.

Kuzio's history of the Donbas and Crimea provides a very useful background to the conflict. After the Welsh engineer John Hughes discovered coal around Donetsk in the 1880s there was a rush to exploit it. The sparse population of Ukrainian farmers was not interested in working the mines. The Russians brought in men from all over the Empire. A large number were criminals who earned early release by promising to work there. Others were simply soldiers of fortune.

Mining is dirty, dangerous and very masculine work. Kuzio reports that the history of the Donbas always mirrored the miners themselves. Politically, it sat in the middle between the Russians and the Ukrainians, respecting neither very much and casting its lot with whoever appeared at the moment to be most generous to them, more often Moscow than Kyiv.

Kuzio relates that Lenin included the Donbas within the Ukrainian SSR as a built-in fifth column, as a lever to control all of Ukraine. It remained after independence in 1991. The Donbas' unique culture and clannishness protected its politicians from probing inquiries into their dark pasts, such as Yanukovych' two prison terms. They would overlook his depredations and send him to Kyiv with the idea that "he's a crook, but he's our crook."

Crimea's history is even more convoluted, but the bottom line is that it has always been Russian speaking and did not identify greatly with Ukraine.

Kuzio reports, seemingly approvingly, that fellow author Alexander Motyl believes that Ukraine would be better off without these insubordinate, intransigent ingrates.

In the end, Kuzio sums the origins of the crisis up very well, "The roots of the Ukraine-Russia crisis do not lie in EU and NATO enlargement and democracy promotion, as left-wing scholars and realists would have us believe, but in two factors. The first is Russia's and specifically Putin's unwillingness to accept Ukrainians are a separate people and Ukraine is an independent state with a sovereign right to determine its geopolitical alliances. The second is Yanukovych and the Donetsk clan's penchant for the monopolization of power, state capture, corporate raiding of the state and willingness to accommodate practically every demand made by Moscow that culminated in treason on a grand scale. This was coupled with a shift to Sovietophile and Ukrainophobic nationality policies and return to Soviet style treatment of political opponents. Taken together, these policies made popular protests inevitable in the 2015 elections but they came a year earlier after Yanukovych bowed to Russian pressure to back away from the EU Association Agreement. These protests, in turn, became violent and nationalistic in response to the Party of Regions and KPU's destruction of Ukraine's democracy through the passing of draconian legislation, the president's refusal to compromise and his use of vigilantes and police spetsnaz for political repression, torture, and murders of protestors."

The question facing Ukraine at the moment is how to resolve the war in Donbas and how to prevent Russia from making further incursions. Kuzio shares some very useful insights in this regard.

Even in 2014, Russia simply did not have the resources to conquer Ukraine even if it had had the desire. Kuzio repeatedly makes the point that the Russian doctrine of hybrid war depends on a sympathetic or at least indifferent local populace. Even in the Donbass the Russians have not been welcomed by a majority.

Time and again, Putin proves himself too smart by half. In his desire to maintain deniability, he employed Chechens, Don Cossacks and "political tourists," thugs from all over Russia to infiltrate the Donbass as separatists. Criminals are simply not suited for either civil administration or organized warfare. After three months it was clear to Putin that he had to use Russian troops and administrators, pushing the separatists aside. Not mentioned in the book is the fact that a great many of the separatist leaders died mysteriously. Although Russia attempted to frame Ukraine for "Motorola's" death, it appears to have been done by Russian agents. Russia's trecherous duplicity neither won the war for them no fooled anybody for very long.

Russia has thus had several handicaps in capturing and holding even the small, Russophone and previously Russophile enclaves in Lugansk and Donetsk. The LPR and DPR would not survive without ongoing Russian support. They have not won the hearts and minds of the people.

This calls to mind Custine's Penguin Classics Letters From Russia on the fact that Russian duplicity and deceit made it impossible for them ever to subvert the West. Alexandr Zinoviev summed it up exquisitely in his satirical Homo Sovieticus :

"Even though the West seems chaotic, frivolous and defenseless, all the same Moscow will never achieve worldwide supremacy. Moscow can defend itself against any opponent. Moscow can deliver a knockout blow on the west. Moscow has the wherewithal to mess up the whole planet. But it has no chance of becoming the ruler of the world. To rule the world one must have at one's disposal a sufficiently great nation. That nation must feel itself to be a nation of rulers. And when it comes to it, one that can rule in reality. In the Soviet Union the Russians are the only people who might be suited to that role. They are the foundation and the bulwark of the Empire. But they don't possess the qualities of a ruling nation. And in the Soviet empire their situation is more like that of being a colony for all the other peoples in it."

This is the bottom line, something for the warmongers in Washington to keep in mind. Ukraine and NATO cannot defeat Russia on its own doorstep, but Russia can certainly defeat itself. For NATO to arm Ukraine, as the west did Georgia, or continue to crowd it as they are doing in the Baltics, is counterproductive. It would be quite possible, but also quite stupid for Russia to roll over its neighbors. The adventure in Ukraine has already been expensive, and holding Crimea and Donbas will only become more so. Conversely, for the west to arm countries against the Russians, as the US did in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Nicaragua, proved quite deadly for these supposed friends. Ukraine and the west should wait Putin out just as they waited out the USSR.

I have a couple of quibbles with the book. Kuzio uses the word "Fascist" to characterize various Russian nationalist groups that support Putin and attack Ukrainians. Fascism died with Hitler, 72 years ago. There should be a better term. This is especially true as Putin terms Ukrainians as "Fascists." The word is inappropriate, old and clichéd.

Kuzio goes on to paint the rising nationalist movements in Europe as Fascist, or extreme right wing. He excoriates Marine le Pen for taking Putin's money. There is a strong case to be made that anti-democrats, supported by mainstream parties, have seized the European Parliament and strongly suppressed free speech, open debate and the ability of such nationalists to find funding. Their national banks are prejudicially closed to Farage, Wilders, Orban, le Pen and the others. Kuzio should be more accommodating to the nationalists. Ukraine may soon find itself forced to work with them. Moreover, they have many good points. Generation Identity provides a succinct summary. It is a book of the millennial generation, the nationalists' strongest base, outlining their case against their elders, the boomers.

Ukraine is a conservative country. It is not wise to push the west's liberal agendas with regard to immigration, homosexuality, feminism and civil rights for the Roma and at the same time steel Ukraine for its fight against Russia. Even joining the battle against corruption smells of hypocrisy, as evidence of political corruption emerges all over the west. It is better to recognize the simple facts, as Kuzio does, and have a bit of faith. Ukraine managed against stiffer odds in 2014. It will survive.

[Aug 02, 2018] The Crisis of Neoliberalism by Gérard Duménil & Dominique Levy

Notable quotes:
"... According to Dumenil and Levy the historical tendencies of capitalism are radically mediated by politics and social class configurations (i.e. alliances). They argue capitalistic development, since 1880s, has gone through four primary stages and corresponding crises. They emphasize these developments are not historically necessary, but contingent on politics and social class configurations. Moreover, their analysis is particular to the capitalistic development in the United States and Western Europe, they are able to generalize or internationalize their analysis because of the U.S. global hegemony (although they certainly accept there are modes of resisting this hegemony (e.g. Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China, etc.)). ..."
"... The current crisis was not caused by falling rates of profits, but by financial innovation, credit overextension, and the particular social class alliances facilitating these activities. There is no single cause of the crisis, but broader social political mechanisms at work and in the process of transformation. ..."
"... The basic story goes like this: following the Great Depression of 1930 a strong social political alliance emerged between the management class and "popular classes" (this popular class includes blue and white collar workers, including quasi-management, clerical, and professional, which cannot be reduced to the traditional "working-class"). In the 1970s there was a severe profitability crisis, the legislative and institutional response to this crisis caused a fracture between management and popular classes, and a re-alliance between management and capitalist classes (which includes ownership and financial classes). ..."
"... Most important according to Dumenil and Levy is that these historical transformations manifested a "divorce" between ownership/finance and the domestic economy and its actual production process ..."
"... Dumenil and Levy maintain the current system, especially the "divorce" between the ownership/financial and the domestic economy, is not economically sustainable. Hence is also not political sustainable. Thus, they suggest several political possibilities that could manifest. However, they advocate an alliance between the "popular classes" and management (reminiscent of the New Deal/Fair Deal alliances). Nonetheless, it does not yet appear management has the political incentives to agree to forge such an alliance. ..."
Feb 04, 2013 | www.amazon.com

Hans G. Despain 5.0 out of 5 stars

Unique and Stimulating Account of the Great Financial Recession of 2008

This book can be highly recommended as a book on the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, and a book of politics, political economy, class analysis, sociology, and history. Very impressive accomplishment.

The strength of this book on the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 is that Dumenil and Levy place the crisis in a larger historical perspective. They maintain it is a mistake to isolate it merely in the context of the financial innovation and deregulation occurring from the late 1990s. Instead, capitalism has particular historical tendencies and specific class relations.

This is a very impressive volume published by Harvard University Press. It offers a play by play of the Great Financial Recession of 2008, beginning from 2000 in chapters 12 - 17, the political response and the continued stagnation in domestic economies and instability within the international economic order in chapters 18 - 20, along with very interesting historical policy observations and recommendations for this current crisis in chapters 21 - 25. Nonetheless the real power of this book occurs in its historical analysis of capitalist development since 1970s described in great detail in chapters 1 - 11.

According to Dumenil and Levy the historical tendencies of capitalism are radically mediated by politics and social class configurations (i.e. alliances). They argue capitalistic development, since 1880s, has gone through four primary stages and corresponding crises. They emphasize these developments are not historically necessary, but contingent on politics and social class configurations. Moreover, their analysis is particular to the capitalistic development in the United States and Western Europe, they are able to generalize or internationalize their analysis because of the U.S. global hegemony (although they certainly accept there are modes of resisting this hegemony (e.g. Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China, etc.)).

Dumenil and Levy have demonstrated in previous work the tendency of the rate of profit to fall in capitalistic economies. However, because politics and social class alliances can change, so can the profitability. The current crisis was not caused by falling rates of profits, but by financial innovation, credit overextension, and the particular social class alliances facilitating these activities. There is no single cause of the crisis, but broader social political mechanisms at work and in the process of transformation.

The basic story goes like this: following the Great Depression of 1930 a strong social political alliance emerged between the management class and "popular classes" (this popular class includes blue and white collar workers, including quasi-management, clerical, and professional, which cannot be reduced to the traditional "working-class"). In the 1970s there was a severe profitability crisis, the legislative and institutional response to this crisis caused a fracture between management and popular classes, and a re-alliance between management and capitalist classes (which includes ownership and financial classes).

Once the alliance between capitalist classes and management had been forged in late 1970s and 1980s, profitability returned and financial incentives and financial innovation reconfigured personal incentives and corporate motivations. Most important according to Dumenil and Levy is that these historical transformations manifested a "divorce" between ownership/finance and the domestic economy and its actual production process. The political system did nothing to reconcile this disconnect, indeed expedited the divorce via deregulation and financial innovation, what the economic literature calls "financialization" (although, to repeat in several countries the response was radically different and in specific opposition to U.S. hegemony and the neo-liberalism which the U.S. Treasury, IMF, World Bank, and WTO exported to the rest of the world).

This is a very tightly and elegantly argued book. It has a huge advantage over other books on the Great Financial Crisis of neoliberalism in that it places the crisis in both an historical and socio-political perspective. Further they provide the political implications, or what is to be done.

Dumenil and Levy maintain the current system, especially the "divorce" between the ownership/financial and the domestic economy, is not economically sustainable. Hence is also not political sustainable. Thus, they suggest several political possibilities that could manifest. However, they advocate an alliance between the "popular classes" and management (reminiscent of the New Deal/Fair Deal alliances). Nonetheless, it does not yet appear management has the political incentives to agree to forge such an alliance.

This book will have a hard time finding its audience. Mainstream audiences will charge Dumenil and Levy with being overly Marxist, while Marxists will complain they deviate too far from classical Marxism. Nonetheless this is political economy at its best. This book deserves a wide audience and Dumenil and Levy deserve credit for the construction of a unique and stimulating account of the Great Financial Recession of 2008.

[Jul 28, 2018] From Cold War to Hot Peace An American Ambassador in Putin's Russia

In 1990 McFaul an NDI guy. That tells us a lot about this Cold War warrior... And now we know the he was connected to Bill Browder...
McFaul was a regular, semi-talented imperial diplomat sent to Russia after dissolution of the USSR. Like "Harvard mafia" of Yletsin advisers he probably contributed to conversion of Russia into oligarchic republic. Which probably was a plan. Now with revelations about Browder the question arise how much of this activity was coordinated via intelligence agencies such as MI6.
He was sent to Russia during Medvedev providence (who was a weak President, kind of reincarnation of Yletsin; kind of side effect of Putin overreliance of close circle of Sanct Petersburg friends and lack of succession mechanism in Russia) to foment a color revolution in Russia (so called White revolution of 2011-2012). And due to Medvedev tenure Putin actually has chances to lose elections of 2012.
But the USA overplayed its hand pushing "White revolution" in 2011-2012. It shook Russian establishment (and some semi-efficient measures to block further attempt to stage color revolutions were taken). They were close to "regime change" but eventually failed. The USA will have another chance when Putin eventually leaves but with events in Ukraine neoliberal fifth column in Russia was considerably weaned. So the changes are that a nationalist will come to power next.
After this failure a very strong backlash followed, that definitely harmed the US relations with Russia. McFaul tenure from 2013 to 2014 was just unnecessary suffering after the defeat. He should be recalled in early 2013 or even earlier. Nobody in Putin government would make any concessions to the guy who dared to invite opposition leaders to the US embassy acting as Roman proconsul, not as a diplomat. And diplomacy is about obtaining concessions. BTW Russians suffered this indignity quite stoically, because after economic rape of 1990th Russia was still very weak. McFaul clams that he suffered from harassment are probably exaggerated. but the attitude to him of Russian "street" and "intelligencia" definitely changed for worse after his attempt of regime change. And after election of Putin he was partially ostracized.
Now he had written a book were he claims that he wanted to improve relations between the USA and Russia ;-)
There is clear lack on independent thinking from this Professor. He mostly repeat standard State Department talking points. This is not interesting and you can read them for free elsewhere. I wonder how many month it will take for the book to reach this propaganda piece its true price -- $1.
The way McFaul treats election of Trump is just a repeating of State Department talking point. This is probably the most disappointing part of the book, as he due to his tenure as Ambassador in Russia should have more in-depth view. For a Professor of a prestigious US university to regurgitate undigested propaganda is both simplistic and naive. For this part you might better off reading Michael Wolf book. While also a pulp fiction, it is just $1(used) and the first three chapters were written and more entertaining ;-)
In any case pages 430 till the end of the book are a real embarrassment. This not an analyses of events. This is a blatant propaganda.
In reality Trump election was about the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. when the neoliberal establishment failed to put in power his beloved candidate it became clear that there are cracks in the neoliberal facade and after financial crisis on 2008 neoliberalism was unable to recover. It is now a discredited ideology, kind of "Naked Emperor", much like Bolshevism became after WWII. If this analogy is correct, neoliberalism can last probably only another three-four decades, or even less. Much depends whether the "end of cheap oil" happens. That might be the last nail in neoliberal globalization coffin. In this sense neo-McCarthyism campaign lauched after Trump victory is just a clumsy attempt to patch the cracks by uniting the country using Russia as a scapegoat.
Notable quotes:
"... At the concluding dinner that night, Russians and Americans together toasted our cooperation and success. In the midst of our celebration, Sechin, Putins deputy, made a jarring confession. As we congratulated each other on a successful conference, he revealed to me that he too had worked in intelligence, just like his boss. He spoke Portuguese, just like I did, and had worked in southern Africa, just like I had. Although I am sure that I had met dozens of Soviet intelligence officers by then, none of them had admitted it. I wondered if he was telling me this information, especially about our shared experiences in Lusophonc Africa, to suggest that he believed that I also was an intelligence officer, a CIA agent. ..."
"... Alter Yeltsins reelection, many Americans believed that the project of building Russian democracy was over, and that the United States was now free to pursue other foreign policy interests. First up was NATO expansion, which President Clinton had delayed until after the Russian presidential election... ..."
"... When asked by Joe Scarborough on MSNBCs Morning Joe about the killing of journalists and opposition leaders in Russia, Trump countered, "Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe." 1 -' When given the chance to correct the record a year later on Bill O'Reillys television show on Fox, a very friendly venue. President-elect Trump instead doubled down. "We have a lot of killers... you think our country' is so innocent?" 1 ' ..."
"... To the Kremlin, Trump seemed to represent another ideological ally in this transnational movement against globalism, [neo]liberalism, and multilateralism. ..."
"... (A Russian television series called Sleepers, in which the United States is plotting to overthrow the Russian government, began airing in the fall of 2017. In the show, the U.S. ambassador is blond; his name is Michael. They haven't forgotten about me yet!) ..."
"... geminif4ucorsair on July 10, 2018 ..."
"... There were important achievement during the "reset" period, most notably the New START treaty, Russian support for sanction on Iran, and Russia cooperation with NATO on Afghanistan, and expanded trade and investment (most of which now is in the dust-bin). ..."
Jul 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com

As the chief liaison with our Russian partners, I was in charge of making sure everything ran smoothly.

It was while planning these seminars that I first met Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, then the deputy mayor in Leningrad in charge of international contacts. I was an international contact, and one who must have intrigued a KGB officer. Our NDI delegation had come to meet Anatoly Sobchak, the new mayor of Leningrad, soon to be renamed St. Petersburg. Sobchak, a law professor turned politician, was one of the truly inspirational leaders of Russia's surging democratic movement at the time. Emphatically pro-Western, pro-European, and pro-American, he radiated hope about the possibilities of a democratic Russia and closer relations between our two countries. At that meeting, I stepped in to translate, and aside from mixing up "Abkhazia" as "Oklahoma," helped communicate our proposal for a conference that would bring city council members from Los Angeles and New York to the Russian city to share their experiences about formulating a city budget in a democratic, transparent way.

Sobchak embraced our proposal, our ideas, and us. We were ideological allies. We loved the guy. The following year, NDI gave Sobchak the W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award, given to an individual to honor his or her commitment to democracy and human rights. Putin made much less of an impression on me than his boss. He was careful, unenthusiastic, diminutive -- an apparatchik. I could not tell from this meeting or our subsequent encounters with him if he supported or detested NDI's work.

He said little, but promised that his team would organize an orderly, successful workshop -- and delivered. He handed me off to his trusted deputy, Igor Sechin, who ran the logistics to perfection...

... ... ...

At the concluding dinner that night, Russians and Americans together toasted our cooperation and success. In the midst of our celebration, Sechin, Putins deputy, made a jarring confession. As we congratulated each other on a successful conference, he revealed to me that he too had worked in intelligence, just like his boss. He spoke Portuguese, just like I did, and had worked in southern Africa, just like I had. Although I am sure that I had met dozens of Soviet intelligence officers by then, none of them had admitted it. I wondered if he was telling me this information, especially about our shared experiences in Lusophonc Africa, to suggest that he believed that I also was an intelligence officer, a CIA agent. Or was he just trying to be friendly? I finally concluded that it didn't really matter, since we were all on the same side now.

... ... ...

Alter Yeltsins reelection, many Americans believed that the project of building Russian democracy was over, and that the United States was now free to pursue other foreign policy interests. First up was NATO expansion, which President Clinton had delayed until after the Russian presidential election...

... ... ...

... television network in Russia, Mikhail Leontiev warned his viewers that I was neither a Russia expert nor a traditional diplomat, but a professional revolutionary whose assignment was to finance and organize Russia's political opposition as it plotted to overthrow the Russian government; to finish Russia's Unfinished Revolution, the title of one of my books written a decade earlier. This portrayal of my mission to Moscow would haunt me for the rest of my days as ambassador.

A few months later, in May 2012,1 accompanied my former boss at the White House, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, to his meeting with President elect Putin. This was the first meeting between a senior Obama official and Putin since Putins reelection in March 2012. We met at Novo-Ogaryovo, Putins country estate, the same place where Obama had enjoyed a cordial, construc tive, three-hour breakfast with the then prime minister four years earlier. Putin listened politely to Tom's arguments for continued cooperation. At some point in their dialogue, however, he turned away from Tom to stare intensely at me with his steely blue eyes and stern scowl to accuse me of purposely seeking to ruin U.S.-Russia relations. Putin seemed genuinely angry with me; I was genuinely alarmed. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end and sweat covered my brow as I endured this tongue-lashing from one of the most powerful people in the world.

... ... ...

Less man a year into the Trump presidency, the Putin-Trump "bromance" had faded. Trump did not deliver on his more audacious pro-Russia campaign promises, such as lifting sanctions, looking into recognizing Crimea as a part of Russia, or withdrawing support for NATO. He may well have wanted to do these things, but his own foreign policy team, the U.S. Congress, and American public opinion were united against him.

... ... ...

Most shockingly, Trump assigned moral equivalency to the United States and Russia. When asked by Joe Scarborough on MSNBCs Morning Joe about the killing of journalists and opposition leaders in Russia, Trump countered, "Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe." 1 -' When given the chance to correct the record a year later on Bill O'Reillys television show on Fox, a very friendly venue. President-elect Trump instead doubled down. "We have a lot of killers... you think our country' is so innocent?" 1 '

... ... ...

In audition to supporting pro-Kremlin policies, Trumps ideological orientation overlapped with many Putin ideas. For years, Putin railed against the liberal world order, and what he called decadent Western cultural trends.

Trump did the same. Putin chastised American interventionism and hegemony. So too did Trump. Putin and his government had cultivated xenophobic, nationalist, conservative allies throughout Europe, including Marine Le Pen in France, Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom, and Viktor Orban in Hungary.1''

To the Kremlin, Trump seemed to represent another ideological ally in this transnational movement against globalism, [neo]liberalism, and multilateralism. Self-proclaimed populist, nationalist ideologues on Trumps team, such as Steve Bannon, perceived even deeper philosophical connections to like-minded Russian thinkers.17 Alleged defenders of the white, Christian world against Islam and China worked in or hovered around both the Kremlin and the Trump campaign."

Putin also despised Clinton...

... ... ...

... Putin repeated, "We have never meddled in the domestic affairs and never will." ... When confronted about Russian interference in the American presidential election, Putin responded, "The United States, everywhere, all over the world, is actively interfering in electoral campaigns in other countries,"6' as if to justify Russian intervention in the American election. In another interview, Putin defensively countered, "When ... we are told: 'Do not meddle in our affairs. Mind your own business. This is how we do things, 'we feel like saying: 'Well then, do not meddle in our affairs."'

... ... ...

Irrespective of who was in the White House, Putin in 2016 was no longer seeking to join our Western clubs...

... ... ...

(A Russian television series called Sleepers, in which the United States is plotting to overthrow the Russian government, began airing in the fall of 2017. In the show, the U.S. ambassador is blond; his name is Michael. They haven't forgotten about me yet!)

geminif4ucorsair on July 10, 2018
Outstanding, first-person account of Obama's "reset" effort toward better relations with Russia, only partially successful.

Author McFaul served as President Obama's Russian policy advisor (2009-12), and then as U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2012-14). He had long been a democracy advocate, based on an academic background at Stanford. During these early years, he lived in Moscow as a Fulbright scholar, linked with the National Democratic Institute in the '90s, a period of extensive transition in Russia, following Yeltsin's meeting with Ukraine and Belarus that resulted in the Belovezhakaya Accord - the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The period was marked by efforts of democratic forces to change Russia, a period in which Russian voters within and closest to cities supported the new liberal parties - while traditional communist strongholds in rural areas in central Russia stayed true to form and back the Communist and Agrarian Parties." (p. 35)"

McFaul covers the changing developments under Yeltsin's "partial revolution", with good insight to Yeltsin's thinking, outside political forces (including the KGB and Putin), including a discussion of Yeltsin's decision to nominate Putin as his successor. Yeltsin certainly had other democratic-oriented options other than Putin, including Boris Nemtsov. Unfortunately for First Deputy Prime Minister Nemtsov, the 1998 Asian and Russian economic crisis did great damage to Nemtsov's economic reforms, while challenging the oligarchs and tackling corruption in the country, brought his time to a close under Yeltsin.

The economic crisis also set in motion a Russian counter-reaction to rising prices and other economic woes, setting in motion a new wave of Russian attraction for authoritarian governance. In the wake of this, McFaul notes, "If Russia's faltering democracy gave way,... Russia would once again become our competitor and eventually even enemy. Of course, the United States and Russia would always have some competing interests around the world. But a democratic Russia - strong or weak - was a more likely partner of the United States than an autocratic Russia - whether strong or weak." (p.62). We have been seeing the impact of this from the earliest days of the Obama Administration.

Obama began what was known as a "reset" of relations with Moscow, and McFaul was point man for this effort to improve relations, advance democratic principles, etc. in Russia. Throughout later chapters, McFaul documents the growing Putin hostility toward the U.S. as an evolutionary event, rooted in the premiers background in the KGB, his witnessing the fall of the Soviet Union, the destruction of pro-Moscow regimes in the Middle East, the "Color" revolutions in the Ukraine and Georgia, and Putin's personality traits that perceive as insults and arrogance - a form his paranoia - toward Russia, by the West.

There were important achievement during the "reset" period, most notably the New START treaty, Russian support for sanction on Iran, and Russia cooperation with NATO on Afghanistan, and expanded trade and investment (most of which now is in the dust-bin). McFaul presents a strong argument that "individual leaders" shape events: thus, as long as Putin remains as head of the Russian government, hostility to the U.S. and Europe will continue.

[Jul 27, 2018] Ukraine over the Edge Russia, the West and the New Cold War by Gordon M. Hahn

Notable quotes:
"... an essential warning against a continuation of the frivolous and dangerous policies of regime change adopted by the West after the end of the Cold War ..."
"... The result is both a sophisticated, multilevel analysis of how and why Ukraine emerged as the key hotspot in East-West relations, and an indispensable guide for those wishing to understand the origins of the New Cold War. ..."
"... Gordon M. Hahn challenges simplistic and often misleading narratives by the media and politicians and provides a corroboration that the Maidan massacre was a false flag mass killing ..."
"... They show Maidan's quasi-revolution was driven by international geopolitics, supporting counterposed Western and Russian "civilizationist" beliefs, and deep divisions within Ukrainian society itself, not a wellspring of widespread aspiration to Western-style democracy. ..."
Jul 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Review "Ukraine's 2013-2014 revolution, its civil war, and Russia's annexation of the Crimea have been succeeded by newer crises, but political analyst Hahn uses detailed reportage and geopolitical theory to argue for their long-term significance, presenting Ukraine as a troubling turning point in Russo-American relations and a case study of how democratization efforts can go awry...with Russia atop American headlines to an extent not seen since the end of the Cold War, [this book] will be a strong addition to global studies collections" -- Booklist

"It was not only Ukraine that went over the edge in 2014, but the whole European security system disintegrated, while a 'new cold war' chills relations between the great powers. In this masterful study, Gordon Hahn examines how Ukraine's internal divisions combined with external lines of fragmentation to create an explosive mix, which in turn intensified domestic conflicts. The result is an internationalized civil conflict, with catastrophic consequences for Ukraine and the world. Hahn is one of the few scholars with the knowledge and discernment to make sense of it all. His impressively well-researched and well-written book is essential reading."--Richard Sakwa, University of Kent

"This impressively researched and strongly argued book is an essential corrective to the myths that have been generated concerning the crisis in Ukraine, and an essential warning against a continuation of the frivolous and dangerous policies of regime change adopted by the West after the end of the Cold War ." --Anatol Lieven, Professor, Georgetown University in Qatar and author of Ukraine and Russia, A Fraternal Rivalry

Ukraine Over the Edge is a rigorous analysis of the cultural, historical, and intellectual origins of the Ukrainian crisis. While stressing that blame for the latest phase of this crisis is shared all around, Hahn traces its domestic origins to the militancy of the opposition to president Yanukovych, and its international origins to NATO expansion, which he regards as militarized democracy-promotion. The result is both a sophisticated, multilevel analysis of how and why Ukraine emerged as the key hotspot in East-West relations, and an indispensable guide for those wishing to understand the origins of the New Cold War. "--Nicolai N. Petro, Silvia-Chandley Professor of Peace Studies and Nonviolence, University of Rhode Island

" Ukraine Over the Edge is a very useful contribution to understanding origins and key developments of the crisis in this important European and post-Soviet country. Gordon M. Hahn challenges simplistic and often misleading narratives by the media and politicians and provides a corroboration that the Maidan massacre was a false flag mass killing ." --Ivan Katchanovski, University of Ottawa About the Author Gordon M. Hahn is an advisory board member at Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, and at the American Institute of Geostrategy (AIGEO), Los Angeles; a contributing expert for Russia Direct, and a senior researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), San Jose, California. He lives in Mountain View, California.

Preface

As I read, listened and watched Western sources on the events surrounding the mass demonstrations on central square in Kiev during winter 2013-2014, a sense of deja vu became undeniable. Having studied the nature of terrorism in Russia's North Caucasus, the causes and course of the August 2008 Georgian-Russian war, and other events involving Russia, I had seen a pattern of misrepresentation of these events by most Western, especially American, media, academia and government sources. There was a clear sense that this pattern was being repeated with regard to the events on the Maidan. Hence, I decided to investigate matters for myself and have come to a distinctly different conclusion regarding them than that imparted to the Western public.

Two years after the Maidan "revolution of dignity," it was already clear that the Western-backed overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was not entirely a revolution and was ultimately in vain regardless of how one conceptualizes the events surrounding the fall-winter 2013-2014 demonstrations and violence on Kiev's Maidan. The movement was based initially on middle class opposition to corruption and soft authoritarianism and support for European integration. Ultimately, the nascent pro-democratic revolution was hijacked by neofascist elements that infiltrated the Maidan protests, overthrew the government, and then were themselves superseded by several key oligarchs, who always have thrived under the post-Soviet ancient regime. Thus, corruption and criminality have increased rather than decreased, European integration has stalled, and authoritarianism is not just in the corridors of power but on the streets under the yoke of roaming bands of neofascist groups seeking to foment a second, truly "national revolution."

Despite the all-too-numerous adepts of democratization and democratic transition, this is not the first, nor is it likely to be the last time when the West has misunderstood processes it has hoped for, encouraged, and often funded and helped to organize. The "Arab Spring" is only the most recent set of cases in point. Predictably, that spring's various revolutions became an Islamist winter spread across parts of the Middle East and North Africa, except in Egypt -- where a counterrevolution returned the status quo ante.

Similarly, in 1991 the adepts of democratic transitions or "transitology" got it wrong. Few post-Soviet states became democracies because the "democratic revolution" that overthrew the reformist late Soviet regime of Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika was assumed to be a "revolution from below" led by societal opposition forces bent on living in a democracy. This was true in the Baltic republics, but in most cases the elements of democratic revolution from below were subsumed by a mix of less civil state bureaucrat-led revolutions from above and nationalist-led revolutions from below. In Russia, the revolution was largely one led from above by the Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian state apparatus against the partially reformed but crumbling central Soviet state and regime. In Central Asia and elsewhere, there was simply a change of signboards, rebranding for still very authoritarian regimes. The partial exception is Kyrgyzstan's tulip revolutions and counterrevolutions, which also had strong elements from above. Thus, it is no surprise that both Ukraine's 2004 Orange revolution, as 1 noted at the time, and the 2013-2014 Maidan "revolution of dignity," as I predicted, proved to be something less than the democratic revolutions "transitologists" hailed.

In addition to elements of revolution from below, the Maidan revolt also has elements of revolution from above led by some state officials and state-tied oligarchs. Moreover, the revolution from below was under considerable influence from national chauvinist, ultranationalist, and neofascist groups. The Maidan ultranationalist-oligarchic regime now has little popular support and few accomplishments in democratization, and is little different from the previous, except for a marked increase in western Ukrainian neofascism (both in the corridors of power and on the streets) and a near catastrophic economy. Revolutions are indeed unwieldy things, not very manageable once unleashed.

The international geopolitical consequences have been even more deleterious. A deepening Russian-Western confrontation over Ukraine risks recreating a bipolar "world split apart," with Russia more inclined than ever to forge alliances with regimes opposed to American and Western power.

This book is dedicated to clarifying these events and their consequences, something that is imperative given the misleading government and media characterizations of them. This study is based on Western, Ukrainian and Russian sources, including media reports, reliable primary and secondary Internet sources, and official documents of governments and international organizations.

They show Maidan's quasi-revolution was driven by international geopolitics, supporting counterposed Western and Russian "civilizationist" beliefs, and deep divisions within Ukrainian society itself, not a wellspring of widespread aspiration to Western-style democracy.

[Jul 27, 2018] The story Browder refuses to tell is far more interesting than the one he wrote for the book

Not one review mentions possible close tied of Brower and MI6. Not a single review compare his book with Netrasov story or Alex Krainer's book
Jul 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com
1.0 out of 5 stars

By J. Koerner on January 9, 2018

The story Browder refuses to tell is far more interesting than the one he wrote for the book.

I found the book quite easy to put down: I got tired of all the chapters about how he made so much money following the fall of the Soviet Union. But Norman Pearlstine's statement that "Browder's business saga meshes well with the story of corruption and murder in Vladimir Putin's Russia" is more true than he realizes. With the release of Glenn Simpson's 20 hours of testimony before three Senate committees we now know that there is a great deal of information Browder failed to disclose. I'll let Simpson tell it:

He was willing to, you know, hand stuff off to the DOJ anonymously in the beginning and cause them to launch a court case against somebody, but he wasn't interesting in speaking under oath about, you know, why he did that ... All of this -- his determined effort to avoid testifying under oath, including running away from subpoenas and changing -- frequently changing lawyers and making lurid allegations against us, including that, you know, he thought we were KGB assassins in the parking lot of Aspen, Colorado when we served the subpoena, all raised questions
in my mind about why he was so determined to not have to answer questions under oath about things that happened in Russia.

I'll add that, you know, I've done a lot of Russia reporting over the years. I originally met William Browder back when I was a journalist at the Wall Street Journal when I was doing stories about corruption in Russia. I think the first time I met him he lectured me about -- I was working on a story about Vladimir Putin corruption and he lectured me about how have Vladimir Putin was not corrupt and how he was the best thing that ever
happened to Russia.

But returning to the detailed discussion of my work, we investigated William Browder's business practices in Russia, we began to understand maybe what it was he didn't want to talk about, and as we looked at that we then began to look at his decision to surrender his American citizenship in 1998. At that point somewhere in there the Panama papers came out and we discovered that he had incorporated shell companies offshore in the mid 1990s, in 1995 I believe it was in the British Virgin Islands, and that at some point his hedge fund's shares had been transferred to this offshore company. This offshore company was managed -- several of his offshore companies were managed by the Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca, which is known now for setting up offshore companies for drug kingpins, narcos, kleptos, you name it. They were servicing every bad guy around. And I'm familiar with them from other money laundering and corruption and tax evasion investigations that I've done.I'll note parenthetically that William Browder talks a lot about the Panama papers and the Russians who are in the Panama papers without ever mentioning that he's in the Panama papers.

Now, I choose to believe Simpson, who not only chose to submit to 20 hours of Senate committee but then demand that it be made public, and not Browder, who fled from Simpson in the parking lot of an Aspen resort, later claiming he thought Simpson was KBG.

By Decorum on December 13, 2017
Heed the titular warning! Stay well away!

This is not a book to be set aside lightly... in the words of Dorothy Parker. It has been many years since I have read a book this bad. And many more since I finished one this bad. In recent years I have been more able to simply give up on bad books, ignoring the sunk cost fallacy that previously drove me to soldier on - perhaps it's an increasing awareness of the value of time, but nowadays I will bail out when it is clear I've made a big mistake. But this one was recommended by a friend whose taste I had no reason to doubt so I kept on, chapter after gruelling chapter, hoping for some epiphany or quality uptick. Let me save you from the same mistake.

One service this book does render, though, is to remind you, if you need it, that writing is hard. You may be the world's most fabulous person (well, second most fabulous - the author of this book is pretty clear about who occupies the top spot) but it don't make you a good writer, see. So the first important thing to know is that Bill Browder cannot write. He strings together cliches, name drops, humble brags (and regular brags too) but he can't write. No matter; perhaps the content can make up for it? I'm sure there are plenty of books where the content redeems the awful style, such as... well, I'm sure there are plenty. But the second thing to know going in is that the story is a pretty tedious, linear tale of BB's triumphs in the world of finance and then, as he calls it, "human rights". The problem, I think, is that the tone of the book is very smug and, despite the occasional and obviously cynical self-deprecation, deeply self-satisfied. The author has a real tin ear for his tone, I think, and it's well illustrated by a very early part of the story. He arrives in Poland in his first job, charged with the assessment and, hopefully, revival of a failing bus company. He expresses his deep sorrow and pity for the poor, poor workers and wonders what he can do to help. Meanwhile, he comes across a class of stocks in Poland that seem to him to be ridiculously underpriced. Aha! thinks the naive reader - I know where this is going: he will get the bus company to invest in these stocks ad save the day. But no! It turns out that these narratives shall not meet: he buys the stocks himself and makes out like a bandit, and he recommends that the bus company be shut down, throwing all the workers on the street. He is very, very sorry about the latter, of course, but, on the other hand, he has discovered his true calling as a value investor! Gaudeamus!

The author seems to have absolutely no appreciation of his role as a functionary in a very particular social system and it makes all of his carefully laid out social conscience ring hollow and renders his thoroughly documented tears crocodilian.

By EBaiz on February 15, 2018
two wrongs dont make a right

Both sides of this story are doing horrible things and the writer thinks what he did was correct!
This is a story where the writer only criticizes the horrible things the russian goverment did to him and how some oligarchs steal tax money (as everywhere but blatantly) but fails to realize that what he did, purchasing people-owned companies at fractions of a penny on the dollar and knowing it, while taking advantage of the imperfect systems put in place for the distribution of those companies' wealth to the people of that country, as he perfectly describes in this book, is also wrong in the first place. He fails to understand he actually hurt the people of that country when he bought shares at a "steal" price as he writes, he thinks he is doing the right thing because of his wall street mentality, no rules, prey on whomever gives an opportunity. Sad, but it's the world we live in today

By NYNYGuy on May 30, 2016
Greedy Hedgie's Delusions of Ritousness

Browder's story seems like a complete scam. First, he personally profited to the tune of $2 BN off the backs of the Russian people, taking advantage of inequities in the voucher system used with the dissolution of the USSR. He never mentions how much he personally made, as that would have cast too much reality on the sheer vanity, self-aggrandizement, and sanctimonious rubbish that is the rest of the story. More pointedly, he does not speak to how his money provided access to the highest levels of government, John McCain, and greased the wheels of the European legal system. Take for example, his ability to miraculously get two Interpol Red Notices removed within days of their placement. The Magnitsky case was terrible but he clearly uses it as a sanctimonious shield to get public sympathy and protection. I could go on but the bottom line is do not waste your time or money. Browder is one of the bad guys- at best a delusional narcissist, or more likely a greedy scam artist, pulling the wool over everyone's eyes.

By Critical Rationalist on July 18, 2015
What a greedy narcissist. Sheesh.

After finishing Masha Gessen's "Man Without a Face" (insightful) Karen Dawisha's "Putin's Kleptocracy" (a mind-boggling, devastating indictment of Putin and his cronies), and David Hoffman's "Billion Dollar Spy" (reads like a thriller novel), I was hoping that Bill Browder's book would provide some additional depth and an interesting perspective on the thoroughly corrupt workings of post-Soviet Russia. It does not.

Like Browder, I went to Russia numerous times -- but didn't have an office there as he did -- during the 90s and did a number of deals there. Unlike Browder, I speak the language and know Russian business and legal culture quite well. (I'm an average American, born and raised in Ohio, where I still live, but I do have a Russian wife, whom I met on one of my trips there in the 1990s.)

Browder is an extremely unsympathetic figure: Although he doesn't admit to it in the book, he was blinded by greed and arrogance to the point where he viewed his marriage and his son as of only trivial importance compared to his mission in life to get rich. He went to Russia to get something for nothing, thinking he was being shrewd. His utter ignorance of Russian business and Russian culture permeate the book -- his condescending attitude is similar to that of a British governor-general back in 1940s Iran, when the British role was limited to exploiting Iran by grabbing its oil for a pittance while speaking contemptuously of the locals. Browder contemptuously describes Russian attempts to reign him in: "Russians will gladly -- gleefully even -- sacrifice their own success to screw their neighbor." Yet he is oblivious to the fact that he himself, without any second thoughts, sacrificed his own family for the prospect of making just one more deal, just one more deal, and then just one more deal. American citizenship too was just another expendable in his all-consuming quest for riches.

Russia in the 1990s was a sea of corruption, intrigue, mafia protection rackets, turf battles, economic chaos, incompetence, and power grabs. Browder injected himself into it, completely ignorant of what he was getting into, determined to take advantage. He got burned.

"Red Notice" doesn't provide any perspective or depth; it isn't even particularly interesting. Browder's narcisssm and self-justifications permate the book, making it extremely unpleasant to read.

By AlanH on September 26, 2017
Russophobe Shill

The author is, inter alia, wanted in Russia for tax fraud and so, obviously, will say everything he can that is negative about Russia. His background and backers are also very suspicious, to my mind anyway.

I found the book to be nothing but hype. This was confirmed when I read Alex Krainer's "The Killing of William Browder: Deconstructing Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception." This excellent book - with factual content and well referenced - tears Browder to shreds. As he deserves to be.

But the sheeple will continue to want to believe this fiction - it suits the current american meme.

By Sorin Strugariu on October 29, 2017
I recommend to turn off the TV ( tel-a-vision or the-lies-on-vision ...

The ' truth ' and the brainwashed herd of the sheeple. The death of the Anglo-American-Zionist Empire. For those who think for themselves and cares for the others, here in the USA ( former United States of America, now United Slaves of America ) and all-over the World, for those of you in the research of ' whatreallyhappened ', I recommend to turn off the TV ( tel-a-vision or the-lies-on-vision ) and read...R E A D INDEPENDENT books and watch INDEPENDENT documentaries ! Books like ' The Killing of William Browder: Deconstructing Bill Browder's Dangerous Deceptions ' - NOT for sale on 'amazon.com' - WHY ???!!!...Documentaries like ' The Magnitsky act: Behind the Scenes ', produced by filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov ( a fierce critic of President Putin ).

By Maria S Plaksina on June 6, 2015
Crook got his chances in Russia ----- HE IS A LIER!!!!

Complete Rubbish! Not only he concealed a lot of facts - he fabricated a lot of them. The book is complete fiction, Why he doesnt mention that Magnitsky helped Hermitage create schemes to avoid taxes, crate shell-companies to buy stocks of Gazprom (foreigners can not buy Gazprom stocks), created shell companies in Cyprus and Kalmikia to pay joke taxes, hired disabled people to again lower taxes? etc He is a joke

Mr. Browder went to Russian in the early 90s to make quick cash - he did it by buying stocks from uneducated russians (similar to other russian oligarchs). Story of another greedy individual who wanted to become a billionaire fast - once he had to pay the price he become outraged by injustice of the system... XOXOXOXOXOX next time when you, Mr Browder, go to another developing country with the intention to rob the system be prepared to take the responsibility and do not whine about it like a little girl. A crook got upset that he didnt make as much money as he wanted and got kicked out from the country - what a joke.

BTW - the youtube video with Mr. Browder running away from the officer who served him subpoena is hilarious. If Mr Browder is so ethical and clean why he doesn't want to testify in court?

By max2015 on March 8, 2015
20% what readers want, the rest is poop!

This book came highly recommended to me by someone in the hedge fund industry. I was surprised at how bad it was. I was looking into insight as to how Bill Browder, who once ran the largest Russian hedge fund, made his fortune, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead the book was a very self serving book which I would identify as 20% self aggrandizement, self serving, 20% discussion of the arbitrage trades that made him rich, 60% discussion of the Sergie Magnitsky Act which he worked to pass. The book is full of contradictions including Browder's moral position and his self righteousness. It makes you wonder if anyone thought about this book in context of the 2008 financial markets collapse or did any research on Browder when reading it. Also, why does Browder today actively evade subpoenas to testify about what happened in American court as shown in Youtube videos?

The book is full of villains on both sides. Browder is the grandson of the former head of the US communist party. He gave up his US citizenship to become a British citizen in 1997. He worked for the criminal Robert Maxwell who had misappropriated corporate pension funds to live a flamboyant lifestyle, then he went to work with Edmond Safra as a partner in Hermitage Capital. Not only these global speculators but the book includes Mossad and a host of Russian oligarchs (all financed by Fred Goodwin's Royal Bank of Scotland). Browder's arbitrage was that Russian companies were severely undervalued because no other investors trusted Russian corporations and Russian rule of law. Whereas most other investors thought Russian companies were 100% un-investable, Browder figured many of them were only 50% un-investable and he invested in that 50% that was investable. After that arbitrage went away, he decided to start investigating Russian corporations for inside dealing and his activist strategy paid off but made many enemies. He was warned by numerous other investors that his life and others would be in danger for this. Everyone he works with leaves wreckage behind until he does the same. When one of his lawyers who gets less than 1% of coverage in the first half of the book dies in a Russian prison, he goes all out to try to get revenge on the Russians who he claims made tax fraud on the Russian government and him by seizing control of companies he owned. Many questions arise from the book some of which I list below.

(1) Browder's hedge fund is domiciled in Guernsey and Cayman Islands, notorious tax evasion locales, yet the premise of the second half of the book is to get revenge on corrupt Russian officials for stealing Russian tax money (his hundreds of millions of dollars)
(2) Browder is drawn to evil people and shady characters (Maxwell, oligarch companies, mossad, etc) like moths to a flame. Is it force of habit for him to fall into bad situations with them? Is it the US government's role to spend taxpayer money on exacting revenge for him on the crooked crowd he deals with? His friends are spoken with in great superlatives, his enemies despised. It is easy to imagine if you were a friend and became an enemy he would label you with epithets thus immediately.
(3) Browder becomes a British citizen (but a hedge fund deci or centi millionaire) yet he easily gets access to John McCain, Joe Lieberman and other US elected officials to get the Magnitsky act passed. Ultimately the Magnitsky act passes and Russia responds by banning all US adoptions of Russian children. For all you childless women looking to adopt Russian babies, thank the egotist Browder for your inability to do so going forward. Were you screwed in the 2008 financial markets collapse? The system may not work for you but it works for a global speculator who wants vengeance.
(4) But its worse. Browder goes to war with the Oligarchs who were funded by Royal Bank of Scotland and who defaulted on their loans from RBS. The UK citizens had to bail out RBS. Browder tries to utilize the British government to exact vengeance on the very same Oligarchs the British government is bailing out in some ways.
(5) Browder is the great example of the speculative hedge fund trader of the 90's and 00's run amok. He is a speculator, he was warned about the risks, he jumps headlong into them and knows Russia does not have American or British rule of law. But he expects the US and Britain to jump to his aid for his recklessness and bail him out like the other crooks of the 2008 vintage. EVEN THOUGH HE IS A BRITISH CITIZEN.
(6) Lookup the Wall Street Journal articles or Youtube videos about how the cowardly Browder runs away from being served by a subpoena and has constantly sought to avoid subpoena's from the Russians who are countersuing him in US and British court. If he is for rule of law, why not work his way through the legal systems. Seems like there is another side to the story.

By Jeremy J. Glover on August 19, 2015
Crack Cocaine Seller

Hey, guys and gals, the man is a shark. An investment banker. He'd sell his own grandmother if he thought he's make a profit. And now he's trying to profit by selling his own story, all teary-eyed about his lawyer and his quest for "justice." Barf. He wants to expose Kremlin corruption, happily forgetting Wall St. corruption that he hoped would make HIM millions. He only saw the light when other folks made millions and he got arrested. Kinda like any low-life Baltimore drug pusher. Please don't buy his line of crack cocaine.

By Jeremiah Gelles MD on August 18, 2017
The Kettle is Black

This is a thrilling page-turner of financial and political intrigue. The problem is that it is much like the pot calling the kettle black. Just about everything of which Browder accuses the Russian kleptocrats is equaled or excelled by the US robber barons and the agencies of violence wielded by the US government. Browder also digresses from time to time into the history of the USSR about which he knows nothing except the propaganda that we have been fed, most of which originates, ironically enough, from the very oligarchs he so justifiably criticizes.

By J. wilson on June 23, 2018
Paean to self

Very interesting to hear an insider's experience of Russia privatization and the politics of the 90's and early 2000s. I enjoyed that part.
That said, I found Browder spent a lot of time tooting his own horn and virtue signaling . He seemed quite impressed with himself and spends much of the book detailing why you should be too.
I never thought Putin was a good guy.
I never thought neocon/ deep state John McCain was a good guy. ( Browder does).
I don't think Browder made his gazillions by being a good guy. A lot of ordinary Russians got ripped off . Browder and a lot of others got rich.

By A.I. 8706 on May 18, 2015
The narrator ruins the narrative

This is a fairly interesting, if pretty unsurprising, story of high-level graft and corruption in Russia. Yes, Putin and the Russian government are rife with corruption, and the rules are subject to change on a whim. That should be obvious to anyone who paid any attention to Russia's preparation for the Sochi Olympics. I'm even inclined to take Browder's story about the torture and eventual death of Sergei Magnitsky (who he describes as a tax lawyer, but was actually an accountant) at face value.

But where Browder really grates is with his remarkable lack of self-awareness and out-of-touch declarations. At one point, for instance, in the run-up to the 1996 elections, in which there was a chance that the Communist candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, would win the presidency and potentially re-nationalize state companies, Browder said that he could deal with food shortages, hyperinflation, or any number of terrible conditions, but what he couldn't stomach was re-nationalization of industry. So, according to this guy, people starving and their savings evaporating into thin air is tolerable, but the worst thing imaginable is him losing his gains from fleecing Russian peasants. Solid guy, Browder.

For some background-- when the USSR fell, Russia embarked on a program of "voucher privatization" where every citizen received vouchers that they could use to bid on the shares of previously state-owned enterprises. Since Russia has incredible resource wealth, these were quite valuable. Unfortunately, in a country with no history of any kind of capital markets, the overwhelming majority of people had no clue what use they could get out of stock ownership. Immediately after they were issued, you could buy a voucher for a bottle of cheap vodka. And the people who became the oligarchs, as well as western vultures like Browder, did just that. Eventually, these shares sold at incredibly low valuations, and investors made a killing. But what Browder doesn't mention is that these absurdly low valuations almost certainly came about, in large part, from the fact that investors hate uncertainty. The possibility that a Zyuganov would come to power and re-nationalize state-owned enterprises was a real possibility, so plenty of investors stayed on the sidelines. Not Browder-- he jumped in, and when (surprise!) the Russian government behaved like the Russian government is wont to do, he acted like he was the victim of the world's worst injustice. Sure, what happened was in some way unfair. So was all the vultures jumping in to take advantage of peasants. Browder had no problem ripping off Russian peasants while extolling himself as a "great capitalist," but, when the Russian government took him in, he complained about the big bad Russians. It was extremely tiresome.

There were other places where his tone was equally annoying. He spent time talking about how "sexy" his second wife was/is, how she's "not like those other Russian girls that are just after money," and how many other people wanted to date her and how awesome he was because she chose him. Sergei Magnitsky's death is a sad story from a sad place. It's too bad the person to tell it is such a wildly out of touch hypocrite.

By Patricia5115 on March 22, 2015
A Self-Congratulatory Book with a Mission

The book was fun to read, like a Marvel comic book. Truly Bill Browder is, according to Bill Browder, a brilliant man willing to take daring risks where he sees an opportunity for personal gain. And I have to agree with him. With his inherited genetic intelligence, and some of the best education money can buy, he made himself enormously rich profiting from financial transactions that produced nothing of real value. I found this book to be quite self-congratulatory, written with no embarrassment for taking advantage of a whole population.
As Browder writes, "I found that to transition from communism to capitalism, the Russian government had decided to give away most of the state's property to the people. The government was going about this in a number of ways, but the most interesting was something called voucher privatization. The government granted one privatization certificate to every Russian citizen---roughly 150 million people in total -- and taken together these were exchangeable for 30 % of nearly all Russian companies." "The market price of the vouchers equaled 3 billion this meant that the valuation of the entire Russian economy was only 10 billion! That was one-sixth the value of Wal-Mart!" "Russia had 24% of the word's natural gas, 9% of the world's oil, and produced 6.6 % of the world's steel, among many other things. Yet this incredible trove of resources [owned by ordinary Russian citizens] was trading for a mere 10 billion! Even more astonishing was that there were no restrictions on who could purchase these vouchers. I could buy them, anyone could buy them." He recounts, "The Russian people had no idea what to do with the vouchers when they received them for free from the state and, in most cases, were happy to trade them for a $7 bottle of vodka or a few slabs of pork." Mr. Browder took advantage of their ignorance and brought millions of vouchers from the Russian people for a pittance of their true value. This is something to brag about? It is not laudable to buy something for a pittance of its real worth, from owners who have no idea of its true value. It is reprehensible. It was disturbing to me to see no introspection on the rightness or wrongness of beating someone out of his or her money.
Mr. Browder describes in his Sidanco deal the feeling he has when an opportunity for ungodly gains presents itself, "I had that tingling, greedy tension in my gut, similar to when I saw my $2,000 Polish investment multiply by nearly ten times, or when I unearthed the Russian voucher scheme."
Greed is not a virtue, Mr. Browder. It is a vice.

Reviewer Ian Kaplan wrote:
The second half of the book is about how Putin's gang tried to crush Hermitage Capital and everyone associated with it."

And, I would add, how Browder's gang is trying to crush Putin.
It makes me think that a large part of Mr. Browder's dogged determination in pushing the Maginsky Act through Congress, and signed into law, was not so much a humanitarian turn of the leaf for him, but a strategy to enlist the whole backing of the United States into his personal war with Putin, who put him out of a lucrative business in Russia.

By william schaffer on March 21, 2018
Confirmation that Russia is a very bad place.

I was familiar with Hermitage and Browder so it was not "news" to me. I feel Browder makes himself look good when in reality he was a jerk.
I don't wish him well!
Bill Schaffer

By exurbanite on February 25, 2018
Skepticism Advisable

Bill Browder is a shrewd fellow, at least up to a point. He saw an opportunity to make money after the collapse of Communism in Russia. He moved to Moscow, started a hedge fund, and succeeded in a big way. He made piles of money in essentially the same way the Russian oligarchy made it, by purchasing formerly state owned assets at hugely discounted rates.

It all worked beautifully for a while, but clever as he was Browder didn't realize he was living in a fool's paradise. Rather than remaining cool and quiet while making money, he publicly accused certain local enterprises of corruption. He did this, rather naively, in a country notoriously resentful of foreign interference in its affairs. Furthermore, there are indications that he himself was not above involvement in dodgy dealings, including fudging on taxes and sneaking funds into tax havens.

Not surprisingly, Browder, away on a trip, was barred from reentering Russia. Authorities raided his Moscow offices, confiscating files and computers. Although Browder managed to get his staff out of Russia, a man named Sergei Magnitsky whom Browder calls his lawyer, though he was apparently only an auditor, chose not to leave. This was a grave error, as poor Magnitsky became the foil for Russian displeasure with Browder. He was jailed, beaten, denied medical treatment, and died in prison. Meanwhile, a couple of thugs attached to the KGB, Russia's secret police, extorted large sums of money from Browder via a complex fraud, presumably accomplished with the tacit consent of establishment superiors.

Browder used Magnitsky's death to launch a major and eventually successful lobbying campaign for a U.S. law which came to be known as the Magnitsky Act. The law imposing sanctions on Russian officials responsible for Magnitsky's death. The Russians retaliated by placing Browder on the Interpol wanted list and later sentencing him in absentia to nine years in prison for tax fraud.

"Red Notice" is written in the fashionably breezy and colloquial style seemingly favored by many professional ghost writers. Not surprisingly, it portrays Browder as a skilled and principled financier who, prompted by the Magnitsky tragedy, turns himself into a towering figure in the world of human rights.

There are odd omissions in descriptions of Browder's family life. Divorce from his first wife is mentioned only in passing; although much ado is made over his meeting his glamorous Russian second wife, she fades entirely from later portions of the manuscript. "Red Notice" is a work of considerable interest. However, given the many controversies that hover over Browder's life and reputation, I believe it wise to view its contents with a generous degree of skepticism.

By El Briano on February 15, 2015
Hero with Somewhat Tarnished Halo

Other reviewers have accurately summarized the book, and justly praised Browder's commitment and courage in seeking a measure of justice for the brutal treatment, leading to death, of Sergei Magnitsky. My comment will focus on a disquieting subtext babout browder's activities in setting up and running his hedge fund.

Browder's rise to prominence with his Hermitage Fund followed the classic MBA playbook: find and exploit undervaluation. Fair enough in a financial world of transparency and disclosure where "consenting adults" can presumably fend for themselves. But this was not exactly the environment in Russia in the early 1990s. In its attempted transition from communism to some form of capitalism, the Russian government granted "privatization certificates" to the people - one certificate per citizen, about 150 million in total. Browder found that these certificates, in the aggregate, were exchangeable for about a 30 percent interest in newly privatized Russian companies.

In theory, this should have been a promising financial arrangement for the impoverished Russian people, particularly given the country's wealth of natural resources and the p[otential of its energy sector. But after decades of communism, capitalism was a largely unknown concept in day-to-day practice. Controlling interests were diverted to a well-connected oligarchical minority, who saw the companies more as ATMs rather than what we in the West would call modern corporations with appropriate disclosure and governance standards. Companies were valued at a tiny fraction of comparable Western entities, and the Russian stock market, such as it was, had little volume and virtually no transparency.

Browder had the insight to realize that the participation certificates were ludicrously undervalued in relation to the potential net worth of Russian companies. By purchasing large numbers of these certificates from the essentially clueless Russian citizenry for the functional equivalent of pennies on the dollar in relation to underlying value, Browder was able to position his Hermitage Fund to get in on the ground floor of a stock market that was virtually certain to rise dramatically as the potential of the Russian economy came to be understood in the Western world.

Depending on one's perspective, this is either an instance of brilliant, if amoral, take-the-world-as-it-is MBA-ism, or a classic example of a city slicker fleecing the rubes in a manner that would be much more difficult to pull off in a more sophisticated financial environment. I lean toward the latter position, and surely am not the only one dazed by the irony of Browder, grandson of a one-time head of the U.S. Communist Party, so unapologetically exploiting the ignorance of the Russian populace for capitalist gain.

Browder deserves all the kudos he's received for his work on the Magnitsky matter. But his Hermitage Fund (and its progeny and imitators) helped give visibility (though not transparency) and liquidity, as well as an aura of respectability, to the previously "undernourished" Russian stock market. Browder's investors did well, as did numbers of average Russians (though not necessarily those who sold the participation certificates). Principal beneficiaries, however, were the oligarchs and the well-connected favored few, the value of whose controlling interests soared greatly. In part, Browder was an enabler of the system he came (rightly) to despise and fight against.

By Scott Shorey on July 31, 2015
Whitewash Job

It seems Browder is trying to whitewash his own reputation and the part he played in the disasterous privitazation of Russian businesses after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was an active and avid participant in buying up shares of companies for pennies on the dollar which helped to impoverish Russians for a generation. In addition his part in the death of Sergei Magnitsky was shameful. Yes Browder and Magnitsky uncoverd massive fraud but ultimately Browder decided that the money was more important than his "friend's" life. Passige of the Magnitsky Law slightly punished the perpetrators but he didn't need to die and Browder should be ashamed of himself as well.

[Jul 27, 2018] Grand Deception The Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act and Anti-Russian Sanctions Alex Krainer 9780692131954 Amazo

Jul 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com
Product details
0 out of 5 stars Jareth Copus on July 19, 2018
A must read, regardless of political party of choice. A book that could save America, literaly

Well written, stringently researched and truly shines a light on the dark dealings of Bill Browder. Seamlessly disects the chapters of Bill browders book red notice bit by bit. Everyone should read this book.

[Jul 23, 2018] Doublethink and Newspeak Do We Have a Choice by Greg Guma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is." ..."
"... Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility. ..."
"... Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form. ..."
"... As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division. ..."
"... In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes. ..."
"... Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution. ..."
"... Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. ..."
"... This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change . ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca
Region: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights

More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.

The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.

Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.

Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.

The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.

In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.

Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.

In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."

Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.

Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.

Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.

As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.

In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.

Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.

In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.

So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?

It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.

Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.

Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.

... ... ...

Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.

This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .

[Jul 23, 2018] The Prophecy of Orwell's 1984. Totalitarian Control and the Entertainment Culture that Takes Over by Edward Curtin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There is a vast literature analyzing the political prophecy of George Orwell 's Nineteen Eighty-Four . Big Brother, double-speak, telescreens, crimestop, etc. – all applied to our current political situation. The language has become part of our popular lexicon, and as such, has become clichéd through overuse. Blithe, habitual use of language robs it of its power to crack open the safe that hides the realities of life. ..."
"... There is no doubt that Orwell wrote a brilliant political warning about the methods of totalitarian control. But hidden at the heart of the book is another lesson lost on most readers and commentators. Rats, torture, and Newspeak resonate with people fixated on political repression, which is a major concern, of course. But so too is privacy and sexual passion in a country of group-think and group-do, where "Big Brother" poisons you in the crib and the entertainment culture then takes over to desexualize intimacy by selling it as another public commodity. ..."
"... The United States is a pornographic society. By pornographic I do not just mean the omnipresent selling of exploitative sex through all media to titillate a voyeuristic public living in the unreality of screen "life" and screen sex through television, movies, and online obsessions. I mean a commodified consciousness, where everyone and everything is part of a prostitution ring in the deepest sense of pornography's meaning – for sale, bought. ..."
"... As this happens, words and language become corrupted by the same forces that Orwell called Big Brother, whose job is total propaganda and social control. Just as physical reality now mimics screen reality and thus becomes chimerical, language, through which human beings uncover and articulate the truth of being, becomes more and more abstract. People don't die; they "pass on" or "pass away." Dying, like real sex, is too physical. Wars of aggression don't exist; they are "overseas contingency operations." Killing people with drones isn't killing; it's "neutralizing them." There are a "ton" of examples, but I am sure "you guys" don't need me to list any more. ..."
"... This destruction of language has been going on for a long time, but it's worth noting that from Hemingway's WW I through Orwell's WW II up until today's endless U.S. wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, etc., there has been the parallel development of screen and media culture, beginning with silent movies through television and onto the total electronic media environment we now inhabit – the surround sound and image bubble of literal abstractions that inhabit us, mentally and physically. In such a society, to feel what you really feel and not what, in Hemingway's words, "you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel" has become extremely difficult. ..."
"... But understanding the history of public relations, advertising, propaganda, the CIA, the national security apparatus, technology, etc., makes it clear that such hope is baseless. For the propaganda in this country has penetrated far deeper than anyone can imagine, and it has primarily done this through advanced technology and the religion of technique – machines as pure abstractions – that has poisoned not just our minds, but the deepest wellsprings of the body's truths and the erotic imagination that links us in love to all life on earth. ..."
"... Orwell makes it very clear that language is the key to mind control, as he delineates how Newspeak works. I think he is right. And mind control also means the control of our bodies, Eros, our sex, our physical connections to all living beings and nature. Today the U.S. is reaching the point where "Oldspeak" – Standard English – has been replaced by Newspeak, and just "fragments of the literature of the past" survive here and there. ..."
Jul 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The Sexual Passion of Orwell's Winston Smith

"Christianity gave Eros poison to drink; he did not die of it, certainly, but degenerated to Vice." – Frederick Nietzsche , Beyond Good and Evil

"Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen." – D. H. Lawrence , Lady Chatterley's Lover

"The so-called consumer society and the politics of corporate capitalism have created a second nature of man which ties him libidinally and aggressively to the commodity form. The need for possessing, consuming, handling and constantly renewing gadgets, devices, instruments, engines, offered to and imposed upon the people, for using these wares even at the danger of one's own destruction, has become a 'biological' need." – Herbert Marcuse , One Dimensional Man

There is a vast literature analyzing the political prophecy of George Orwell 's Nineteen Eighty-Four . Big Brother, double-speak, telescreens, crimestop, etc. – all applied to our current political situation. The language has become part of our popular lexicon, and as such, has become clichéd through overuse. Blithe, habitual use of language robs it of its power to crack open the safe that hides the realities of life.

There is no doubt that Orwell wrote a brilliant political warning about the methods of totalitarian control. But hidden at the heart of the book is another lesson lost on most readers and commentators. Rats, torture, and Newspeak resonate with people fixated on political repression, which is a major concern, of course. But so too is privacy and sexual passion in a country of group-think and group-do, where "Big Brother" poisons you in the crib and the entertainment culture then takes over to desexualize intimacy by selling it as another public commodity.

The United States is a pornographic society. By pornographic I do not just mean the omnipresent selling of exploitative sex through all media to titillate a voyeuristic public living in the unreality of screen "life" and screen sex through television, movies, and online obsessions. I mean a commodified consciousness, where everyone and everything is part of a prostitution ring in the deepest sense of pornography's meaning – for sale, bought.

And consumed by getting, spending, and selling. Flicked into the net of Big Brother, whose job is make sure everything fundamentally human and physical is debased and mediated, people become consumers of the unreal and direct experience is discouraged. The natural world becomes an object to be conquered and used. Animals are produced in chemical factories to be slaughtered by the billions only to appear bloodless under plastic wrap in supermarket coolers. The human body disappears into hypnotic spectral images. One's sex becomes one's gender as the words are transmogrified and as one looks in the mirror of the looking-glass self and wonders how to identify the one looking back.

Streaming life from Netflix or Facebook becomes life the movie. The brilliant perverseness of the mediated reality of a screen society – what Guy Debord calls The Society of the Spectacle – is that as it distances people from fundamental reality, it promotes that reality through its screen fantasies. "Get away from it all and restore yourself at our spa in the rugged mountains where you can hike in pristine woods after yoga and a breakfast of locally sourced eggs and artisanally crafted bread." Such garbage would be funny if it weren't so effective. Debord writes,

The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images .Where the real world changes into simple images, the simple images become real beings and effective motivations of hypnotic behavior.

Thus sex with robots and marrying yourself are not aberrations but logical extensions of a society where solipsism meets machine in the America dream.

As this happens, words and language become corrupted by the same forces that Orwell called Big Brother, whose job is total propaganda and social control. Just as physical reality now mimics screen reality and thus becomes chimerical, language, through which human beings uncover and articulate the truth of being, becomes more and more abstract. People don't die; they "pass on" or "pass away." Dying, like real sex, is too physical. Wars of aggression don't exist; they are "overseas contingency operations." Killing people with drones isn't killing; it's "neutralizing them." There are a "ton" of examples, but I am sure "you guys" don't need me to list any more.

Orwell called Big Brother's language Newspeak, and Hemingway preceded him when he so famously wrote in disgust In a Farewell to Arms ,

"I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice, and the expression in vain. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene "

This destruction of language has been going on for a long time, but it's worth noting that from Hemingway's WW I through Orwell's WW II up until today's endless U.S. wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, etc., there has been the parallel development of screen and media culture, beginning with silent movies through television and onto the total electronic media environment we now inhabit – the surround sound and image bubble of literal abstractions that inhabit us, mentally and physically. In such a society, to feel what you really feel and not what, in Hemingway's words, "you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel" has become extremely difficult.

... ... ...

But as we learn in 1984 and should learn in the U.S.A. today , "seemed" is the key word. Their triumph was temporary. For sexual passion reveals truths that need to be confirmed in the mind. In itself, sexual liberation can be easily manipulated, as it has been so effectively in the United States. "Repressive de-sublimation" Herbert Marcuse called it fifty years ago. You allow people to act out their sexual fantasies in commodified ways that can be controlled by the rulers, all the while ruling their minds and potential political rebelliousness. Sex becomes part of the service economy where people service each other while serving their masters. Use pseudo-sex to sell them a way of life that traps them in an increasingly totalitarian social order that only seems free. This has been accomplished primarily through screen culture and the concomitant confusion of sexual identity. Perhaps you have noticed that over the past twenty-five years of growing social and political confusion, we have witnessed an exponential growth in "the electronic life," the use of psychotropic drugs, and sexual disorientation. This is no accident. Wars have become as constant as Eros – the god of love, life, joy, and motion – has been divorced from sex as a stimulus and response release of tension in a "stressed" society. Rollo May, the great American psychologist, grasped this:

Indeed, we have set sex over against eros, used sex precisely to avoid the anxiety-creating involvements of eros We are in flight from eros and use sex as the vehicle for the flight Eros [which includes, but is not limited to, passionate sex] is the center of vitality of a culture – its heart and soul. And when release of tension takes the place of creative eros, the downfall of the civilization is assured.

Because Julia and Winston cannot permanently escape Oceania, but can only tryst, they succumb to Big Brother's mind control and betray each other. Their sexual affair can't save them. It is a moment of beauty and freedom in an impossible situation. Of course the hermetically sealed world of 1984 is not the United States. Orwell created a society in which escape was impossible. It is, after all, an admonitory novel – not the real world. Things are more subtle here; we still have some wiggle room – some – although the underlying truth is the same: the U.S. oligarchy, like "The Party," "seeks power entirely for its own sake" and "are not interested in the good of others," all rhetoric to the contrary. Our problem is that too many believe the rhetoric, and those who say they don't really do at the deepest level. Fly the flag and play the national anthem and their hearts are aflutter with hope. Recycle old bromides about the next election when your political enemies will be swept out of office and excitement builds as though you had met the love of your life and all was well with the world.

But understanding the history of public relations, advertising, propaganda, the CIA, the national security apparatus, technology, etc., makes it clear that such hope is baseless. For the propaganda in this country has penetrated far deeper than anyone can imagine, and it has primarily done this through advanced technology and the religion of technique – machines as pure abstractions – that has poisoned not just our minds, but the deepest wellsprings of the body's truths and the erotic imagination that links us in love to all life on earth.

In "Defence of Poetry," Percy Bysshe Shelley writes:

The great secret of morals is love; or a going out of our nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own. A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasure of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.

We are now faced with the question: Can we escape the forces of propaganda and mind control that run so very deep into American life? If so, how? Let's imagine a way out.

Orwell makes it very clear that language is the key to mind control, as he delineates how Newspeak works. I think he is right. And mind control also means the control of our bodies, Eros, our sex, our physical connections to all living beings and nature. Today the U.S. is reaching the point where "Oldspeak" – Standard English – has been replaced by Newspeak, and just "fragments of the literature of the past" survive here and there.

This is true for the schooled and unschooled. In fact, those more trapped by the instrumental logic, disembodied data, and word games of the power elite are those who have gone through the most schooling, the indoctrination offered by the so-called "elite" universities. I suspect that more working-class and poor people still retain some sense of the old language and the fundamental meaning of words, since it is with their sweat and blood that they "earn their living." Many of the highly schooled are children of the power elite or those groomed to serve them, who are invited to join in living the life of power and privilege if they swallow their consciences and deaden their imaginations to the suffering their "life-styles" and ideological choices inflict on the rest of the world. In this world of The New York Times , Harvard, The New Yorker , Martha's Vineyard, The Washington Post , Wall St., Goldman Sachs, the boardrooms of the ruling corporations, all the corporate media, etc., language has become debased beyond recognition. Here, as Orwell said of Newspeak, "a heretical thought should be literally unthinkable, at least as far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express." The intelligently orthodox, he adds, must master the art of "doublethink" wherein they hold two contradictory ideas in their minds simultaneously, while accepting both of them. This is the key trick of logic and language that allows the power elites and their lackeys in the U.S. today to master the art of self-deception and feel good about themselves as they plunder the world. In this "Party" world, the demonization, degradation, and killing of others is an abstraction; their lives are spectral. Orwell describes doublethink this way:

To tell deliberate lives while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink . For by using the word one admits one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

... ... ...

*

Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely; he is a frequent contributor to Global Research. He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/ .

[Jul 21, 2018] Amazon.com Customer reviews A Higher Loyalty Truth, Lies, and Leadership

Comey is loyal to the Empire, not to the country.
Jul 21, 2018 | www.amazon.com

g scott whidden on June 18, 2018

Truth or fiction?

Insightful but who do you believe?? James does make many good points but without confirmation from another or two people, i.m just wondering who is telling the truth. Still something fishy here and I think both parties are full of BS and probably James as well. But only time will tell when historians can weed through all the smoke and mirrors

Mojo on June 8, 2018
Interesting insight into muddy American morales

This is an interesting read. In years gone I wouldn't have been interested but the current political climate in the US is such that I felt it worth a read. The polarity in the system and its players appears beyond what I'd expected and while there appears to be corruption in most systems, it's amazing the Americans have been able to present an appearance of decency and leadership this long. I guess the vail is down now and the current administration is showing just how broken and morally bankrupt the place is and has been for a long time.

Louis S. Menyhert on June 20, 2018
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, the desire for power corrupts the very fabric of humanity

I think the title says it all, Comey has only one true loyalty and that is to himself. I enjoyed this book. It was insightful trip through the mind of a psychopath. His deviations from procedure, his lies, half truths and lawyerisms litter the book and highlight the forces that have corrupted this nation and agencies we rely on.

Its clear that Comey did not act independently but with the tacit guidance and approval of those above him. He makes no admission of guilt about his demonstrated lies, but rathers blames others. His self inflated ego is too commonplace to those who have worked in Washington DC among various political agencies and dens where politicians and their allies lurk. The book betrays no empathy for those he shamelessly prosecuted. The book is laden with attempts at manipulation through lies, half truths, and gross distortions.

On one hand I highly recommend this book because it is sure to become the "textbook" on psychopaths and their characteristics.

On the other hand this book serves as a cautionary warning about ambition run wild, corruption at the highest levels of government, the abuse of power. No author could pen such a novel. As an exhibit it ranks with 1984 as a warning of what evil men do in the name of "a higher good."

lakrow on June 28, 2018
A higher loyalty to himself

A higher loyalty? To himself, I would assume.

This is a lying, childish, self-serving, narcissistic, money grab from a partisan author who can't even keep his story straight. His interviews contradict his book and this book is probably illegal in that it talks about an ongoing sham "investigation" that isn't even an investigation, it's an investigation to find something to investigate.

Vegasdtr on May 6, 2018
Didn't like this book

I went into this book with an open mind after seeing Mr Comey on alot of the morning shows. I didn't like the way he seemed to be trying to be "holier than thou" regardless of which political he was answering to. It did, in the other hand, explain what he was thinking on some of his decisions on some of the moves he made during the election season. But truly it just read like he was making a lot of excuses and sour grapes. I didn't enjoy this book at all. I had to force myself to finish it. I just didn't think it was very well written.

GLENN MCBRIDE on May 16, 2018
There is no moral high ground in this book as much as its author would like to claim that he is on it

If you read the "Author's Note" on the first page of this book, it will tell you all you need to know about this smug arrogant self righteous man. It reads, "WHO AM I TO TELL others what ethical leadership is?" If you read the book, you may come to the same conclusion as I did. There is no moral high ground in this book as much as its author would like to claim that he is on it. You could read that first sentence and be done with it and you would get as much out of the book without reading more.

Joel Spring on May 15, 2018
Bitter Former Employee

Just a book filled with Hatred of a former employee. The people who defend this guy are the same people who accused him of violating the Hatch Act when he announced a few days prior to the election that the FBI was reopening the Clinton email investigation. I must admit I was touched at nearly drawn to tears when he details the lost of his newborn son. However that does not change the fact that Comey is a liar. James Comey:'I don't leak.'(In a memo that he leaked.)

Vivian Wallace Allen on May 20, 2018
Self-serving Drivel

This book is second only to What Happened by Hillary Clinton in self-serving drivel. It started out interesting enough with Cindy's work history, but once he got to the subject of his (supposed) interactions with President Trump, it was downhill from there. It will be interesting to see what he has to say now in light of the FBI's possible spying on the Trump campaign. I'm just glad I read it in Overdrive and didn't waste my own money.

Gary on May 15, 2018
How about loyalty to the USA

A higher loyalty would be to the country - not the ego of a sad individual that hates the president. Love him or hate him the president is leading the country in a direction that shows promise. The electorate can throw him out after 4 years, just like it rejected the previous 8 years. In the meantime all Americans should be praying for the president's success and the success of the country. That's loyalty......

grayce tripodi on April 18, 2018
Don't waste your money, Jim wants go for sainthood

Comey is extremely bright, and knows how ( or thinks he does) how to convince his readers he is one step down from sainthood. I am not that naieve. He could have done away with the first ten chapters, where he was born and what he wore growing up was irrelevant.

I knew what he was doing. It annoyed me. He is absolutely blameless in everything.

Having dinner with Donald ALONE four times, making sure he made a EXTENDIVE note of it and gave it to another " means nothing. The head of the FBI does NOT meet with the president alone. Saying he did not know what to do each time insults my intelligence.

He is sport on correct what he wrote " in my opinion " about Trump, but, everyone knew all this and it was on the last 4 chapters.

Jim wanted to tell his story, simple as that. Don't waste your money, I did there is not one thing that you do not already know, if you know politicks .

I am NOT A TRUMP VOTER. I am a R

Sharon Barger on June 25, 2018
Excuses, excuses

I really liked the first part of this book, learning about Comey and his background. At some point though, he started to rationalize and justify his actions and seemed to get on a high horse about defending the reputation of the FBI no matter what. I disagree with the premise that the honor of the FBI is more important than truth and integrity.

Comey explains that he did the things he did for the greater good of the FBI. Look where we are now. By his actions alone, Trump won the election and is now daily attacking the FBI and the DOJ. Is this the outcome Comey really wanted? And where is he beloved FBI's reputation now?

Comey is an excellent writer. No errors or mistakes and a very readable book. He has a sense of humor, but is a little full of himself. When he got into the rationalization of his actions, I couldn't take it anymore and stopped reading.

James Biggerstaff MD on May 24, 2018
Sanctimonious egotist

A sanctimonious, self aggrandizing story of an egotist . I'm glad I read it but I wouldn't advise anyone else to waste their money.

Carol on May 25, 2018
DON'T BUY COMEY'S BOOK: BORING

I really didn't enjoy this book very much. Only the last two chapters were addressed to the problems with Trump. The rest of the book was rather boring, mainly talking about how his career progressed, etc. If I had known what this book contained I would never have bought it. Comey's many TV interviews were misleading in what the majority of the content was. I do not recommend this book at all.

[Jul 18, 2018] Fascism A Warning by Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright is a well known neocon who was instrumental in organizing the invasion of Yugoslavia
Notable quotes:
"... Every reader will conclude that his or her political enemies fit the bill. ..."
"... And, unfortunately, I fear, she, in one fell swoop of prose, both fuels the fires of division while exiling the book to practical irrelevance. In the end, she will likely only energize both political extremes, and, I suspect, the reader ratings of this book will ultimately reflect that. ..."
"... She notes, for starters, that the Fascist epithet may be appropriate for the US today for reasons having more to do with economics than populism. The Fascist Party of Italy, which gave rise to general use of the term, was the ultimate merger of the corporate and political states. And that is, in fact, what has happened here in the US. ..."
"... The incorporation accelerated greatly during the dot-com 90s when young entrepreneurs were preaching disruption and libertarianism. It is ironic, indeed, that tech's "democratic" perspective has now produced among the biggest and most powerful corporations the world has ever known. And they pulled it off, actually, while the anti-trust regulators in both Republican and Democratic administrations stood by and watched. ..."
"... To me what we have today is not so much analogous to the Fascist or Nazi parties of the mid-20th Century as it is the power of the church in Medieval Europe. The kings and queens of Washington may wear the crowns, but it is the corporate "popes" of Wall Street and Silicon Valley that are really calling the shots. ..."
"... Neither party has defined an agenda that addresses the issues that originally brought Trump to power. And until that happens I believe Albright's Fascist warning will remain valid. ..."
Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com
Gary Moreau, Author TOP 500 REVIEWER 4.0 out of 5 stars | Verified Purchase
Oh how I wanted to rate this book a 6

This is a timely book by a brilliant person who had a front row seat to the tragedy that was Europe in the Mid-20th Century. There is little doubt that the world is starting to look fearfully like it did at the beginning of those dark hours, starting with the tyranny of Hitler and Mussolini and culminating in the Cold War and the gulags of the Soviet Union.

Figuratively speaking, this is really three books. The first will be the most divisive and may, in fact, quite unfortunately, relegate the book to practical irrelevance. The second book is extremely insightful and informative. And the third book, honestly, is pure gold and vintage Madeline Albright.

The first book begins with a contradiction. Albright openly acknowledges that Fascism has become a meaningless epithet, hurled, as it is, by opposing politicians of every stripe and at parents merely attempting to limit the cell phone usage of their children. She goes on to defend the titular use of the term, however, by clarifying her use of the term: "To my mind, a Fascist is someone who identifies strongly with and claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use whatever means are necessary -- including violence -- to achieve his or her goals."

At that point, however, she hasn't really narrowed the list of politicians who qualify for the pejorative label at all. Every reader will conclude that his or her political enemies fit the bill. She seals the fate of this portion of the book, however, when she asks, on page 4 of the book, " why, this far into the twenty-first century, are we once again talking about Fascism?" And answers, "One reason, frankly, is Donald Trump. If we think of Fascism as a wound from the past that had almost healed, putting Trump in the White House was like ripping off the bandage and picking at the scab." And she goes on to make thinly veiled comparisons between Trump, Mussolini, and Joseph McCarthy.

And, unfortunately, I fear, she, in one fell swoop of prose, both fuels the fires of division while exiling the book to practical irrelevance. In the end, she will likely only energize both political extremes, and, I suspect, the reader ratings of this book will ultimately reflect that.

That is most unfortunate because without those opening pages this would be a truly terrific book. It chronicles both relevant history and the recent past to a degree that few other people on the planet could.

The second part of the book is devoted to an analysis of recent political events in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Venezuela, the Philippines, Russia, North Korea, and, of course, the United States. All, to varying degrees, she maintains, are showing signs of a slide toward Fascism and the decline of post-war liberal democracy. It is an informative analysis and unless you are a political junkie, you will learn a lot.

In the third part of the book she truly hits her stride. She notes, for starters, that the Fascist epithet may be appropriate for the US today for reasons having more to do with economics than populism. The Fascist Party of Italy, which gave rise to general use of the term, was the ultimate merger of the corporate and political states. And that is, in fact, what has happened here in the US.

The incorporation of America has been going on since the conservative movement of the 1980s, however, and while Trump is carrying the corporate water at the moment, he can hardly be blamed for allowing Wall Street and Silicon Valley to take control of Washington.

The incorporation accelerated greatly during the dot-com 90s when young entrepreneurs were preaching disruption and libertarianism. It is ironic, indeed, that tech's "democratic" perspective has now produced among the biggest and most powerful corporations the world has ever known. And they pulled it off, actually, while the anti-trust regulators in both Republican and Democratic administrations stood by and watched.

To me what we have today is not so much analogous to the Fascist or Nazi parties of the mid-20th Century as it is the power of the church in Medieval Europe. The kings and queens of Washington may wear the crowns, but it is the corporate "popes" of Wall Street and Silicon Valley that are really calling the shots.

Which is why both parties, I think, should be fearful of whatever happens in the mid-term elections. Be careful what you wish for. Neither party has defined an agenda that addresses the issues that originally brought Trump to power. And until that happens I believe Albright's Fascist warning will remain valid.

In the final chapters of the book Albright notes that putting American interests first invites Russia, China, and others to do the same. And it is here that she lowers her partisan guard (we all have one) and calls for unity through the recognition of our common humanity and the rejection of extremism that favors one group over another.

It is here that she also seems to soften her position on ideals of post-war democratic liberalism and focuses more on compassion, integrity, and fairness. I think of it as defining a new standard of shared obligation and responsibility that includes those countries and those people that aren't rushing to implement an Electoral College and to copy our form of bare-knuckle individualism, but those are my words, not hers.

In the end she notes that spend her time on issues like: "purging excess money from politics, improving civic education, defending journalistic independence, adjusting to the changing nature of the workplace, enhancing inter-religious dialogue, and putting a saddle on the bucking bronco we call the Internet." It's a perfect ending to what is a very good book by an inspiring individual.

I do recommend reading it.

[Jul 18, 2018] Bad Blood Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com

An Amazon Best Book of May 2018: In Bad Blood , the Wall Street Journal 's John Carreyrou takes us through the step-by-step history of Theranos, a Silicon Valley startup that became almost mythical, in no small part due to its young, charismatic founder Elizabeth Holmes. In fact, Theranos was mythical for a different reason, because the technological promise it was founded upon -- that vital health information could be gleaned from a small drop of blood using handheld devices -- was a lie. Carreyrou tracks the experiences of former employees to craft the fascinating story of a company run under a strict code of secrecy, a place where leadership was constantly throwing up smoke screens and making promises that it could not keep. Meanwhile, investors kept pouring in money, turning Elizabeth Holmes into a temporary billionaire.

As companies like Walgreens and Safeway strike deals with Theranos, and as even the army tries to get in on the Theranos promise (there's a brief cameo by James "Mad Dog" Mattis), the plot thickens and the proverbial noose grows tighter.

Although I knew how the story ended, I found myself reading this book compulsively. – Chris Schluep

[Jul 18, 2018] Grand Deception The Truth About Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act and Anti-Russian Sanctions by Alex Krainer

Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com

In 2015, Bill Browder published Red Notice - purportedly a true story about his experience in Russia between 1996 and 2005. Upon closer scrutiny however, his story doesn't add up and demonstrably fails to stand up in a court of law. Nonetheless, on the dubious strength of that story, Browder has been able to lobby the U.S. Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act in 2012 which needlessly damaged the relations between the U.S. and Russia. Where he failed in courts of law, however, his campaign of relentless demonization of Russia and of Vladimir Putin has been successful in the court of public opinion in the West. As humanity finds itself on the precipice of yet another great war, what we need are bridges of mutual understanding and constructive engagement, not demonization. This book's modest hope is to contribute to the construction of those bridges.

"I consider [this] book as a must read for any person trying to understand modern Russia and where the new Cold War with Russia came from. ... Krainer offers us the truth and truly shows us how deep the rabbit hole goes. ... Get the book, read it, and then give it to your friends. This is one of the most important books to have come out in the recent years (and an excellent read too!)." --The Saker

"True to form, Alex brings to life the shenanigans and the deception of those who have gone out of their way to stay in the shadows, in this gripping true-life-detective non-fiction thriller." --Daniel Estulin, author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group

"Krainer's book is an indispensable contribution to understanding the connection between the looting of Russia during the disastrous shock therapy of the Yeltsin years, and the dangerous anti-Russian provocations of today. His insight into the duplicitous role of Bill Browder provides compelling evidence of how unscrupulous greed can lead to much larger crimes." --Harley Schlanger, Schiller Institute

A commodities trader and hedge fund manager by day, Alex Krainer took up writing in an effort to uncover the truth about the pressing social, economic and political issues of the day, and share it broadly with the public. He was born in Croatia, one of the republics of former Yugoslavia, to a Croatian father and a Serbian mother. As a young man in the 1990s he lived through the downfall of the 'Communist Bloc' and served in the Croatian Army during the war in that country. Having observed first-hand the events that led to the destructive and tragic wars in former Yugoslavia, he believes that truth is the single most important requirement needed to preserve peace. This book represents Alex's personal endeavor to contribute an important element of truth toward a peaceful resolution of the dangerous yet needless new Cold War between the United States and Russia so that the relations between these two great nations may develop in the spirit of friendship, mutual cooperation and widespread prosperity.

You can visit Alex's blog at thenakedhedgie.com and the website for this book at thirdalliance.ch.

[Jul 18, 2018] The Killing of William Browder Deconstructing Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception by Alex Krainer

The book is delisted. You can read it at https://dxczjjuegupb.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/TheKilli free pdf download 218 pages
Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com

David Gortner on April 27, 2018

Russia may be in much better shape economically now than during the 1990s and immediately ...

The book does make a compelling case against much of Browder's version of events in Russia over the years from the fall of the USSR through most of Putin's time as leader of Russia. But there is nothing about democracy in Russia since Putin came to power. How is democracy left out of the equation? Russia may be in much better shape economically now than during the 1990s and immediately afterward but there is no appearance of anything like democracy. We have seen nothing in the leadership of Russia; only Putin since 2000 (alternating with Medvedev). Read more

Darth Nerd on August 31, 2017

Very import to look behind the scenes of the demonization of Russia!

I agree with the reviews posted prior to mine. I only want to add that I feel it is extremely important that Browder's tale, which is based on his word only, be countered. It amazes me how many have swallowed Browder's (and his backers) bait. Alex Krainer shows that there is probably a hook hidden by the bait. The demonization of Putin and Russia seems to me very, very dangerous, and as best I can tell it's completely unfounded. This book shows that it is not only unfounded, it contradicts various facts.

I bought this book because of the news that Browder was blocking distribution and screening of Andrei Nekrasov"s documentary "The Magnitsky Act. Behind the Scenes".

This made me very suspicious that Browder has something to hide. If Nekrasov's documentary is untruthful I feel it would be much better to let it be distributed and then counter it with evidence than with legal bullying and other means to prevent it's distribution.

This book strongly reinforced my suspicions.

Avery on September 16, 2017
Needs a read

This book starts off slow, but the more you read, the more you will realize the menacing extent of Browder's deception. Krainer describes how Browder built a web of deception and lies in order to paint Russia as an evil place and America's enemy. Browder's book preys on America's wounded sense of global supremacy and casts the US as a victim in a country where we served as predators. Anyone who read Browder's book should read this one for sure.

Dostoyevsky on October 25, 2017
Things are not what they seem to be in the USA

A highly intelligent, frank and entertaining take-down of one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the US public and the world - The Magnitsky Act.

The Bill Browder of the title, who has positioned himself both as victim and champion of the downtrodden is revealed as anything but that.
The picture painted of a vulture/hedge fund manager who took advantage of the lawlessness of the Yeltsin years to steal from the poorest of the poor of a broken USSR is chilling.

Browder's carefully cultivated and paid for image in the West (he was planning a movie about himself with the Weinstein brothers) is so at odds with the reality exposed here as to make up a kind of horror story effect out of Bram Stoker. Yet the way Alex Krainer tells it is both compelling and convincing. The thing is, no one else has looked at Browder's story critically. It was accepted as fact, with no corroboration of any sort, by a gullible, and probably complicit, US political establishment.

An even more terrifying question raised by the very existence of this book is: What was the interest of the US Senate and Congress in unquestionably believing this 'scheister,' Bill Browder, and using his outlandish and unsubstantiated claims to restart the Cold War and bring us to the brink of nuclear confrontation?

Get the book while you can. As with a documentary about him by Nekrasov, called 'The Magnitsky Act - Behind the Scenes,' Browder has armies of lawyers trying to squelch any information coming out about him and the events he fabricated. Understandably, since the story he told is so shabby and full of holes that any light cast on it at all begins to crumble the fabric of it.

Mark Boberg on October 23, 2017
Every Concerned American Should read this, then make up his or her own mind!

An interesting alternative view of Russia, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and Bill Browder. Something every concerned American should read and consider, and then make up his or her own mind. Also some really good background on events in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent rise and popularity of Pres. Putin.

His explanation of the Deflationary Gap in the Appendix helped to clarify several related ideas that I have picked up or thought of in the past,but never put together clearly the way Mr.Krainer does.

Roman on August 22, 2017
Riveting Expose of one of the Century's Big Hoaxes.

Alex Krainer's second book, "Killing of William Browder: Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception" is a meticulously scrupulous research of a fascinating tale whose protagonist has all the traits of a fiendish movie villain. Needless to point out, in the cacophonic pandemonium of relentless anti-Russian propaganda that permeates both political and mass-media scene in the West throughout 2017, Bill Browder, by trade a vulture investor, is depicted as akin to a holy warrior against the Devil himself, the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

In our increasingly insane world a fascinating tale of William Browder's role in pushing the Magnitsky Act, that was passed in the U.S. Senate in order "to punish those suspected of being involved in the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky," might have eluded you. The Magnitsky Act that has passed the Congress on 3rd of January, 2012 resulted in blacklisting of five Russian nationals on 9th of January, 2017 and elevated Bill Browder, at least in his own eyes, to the status of a global human rights activist.

Enters "Killing of William Browder: Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception" and shatters that delusion. Krainer mercilessly dissects Browder's tale in the most minute details and, as he examines Browder's numerous statements, he portrays Browder as he truly is: not a magnanimous human rights champion but rather a wicked purveyor of (other man's) tragedy and salesman of (his own) self-aggrandizing fantasies. Bill Browder seems to me as a somehow cartoonish villain who makes us chuckle even while we shudder.

Krainer writing possesses a great sense of drama and a fine sense of irony. His book reads like a horrific thriller sprinkled with taunting humor. Even when he excoriates Browder's own "Red Notice" and his posing, he does it with penetrating wit: "Browder didn't neglect to throw in more ugly smears on Russia and the Russian people. He assures us that – 'Most Russians don't operate on high-minded principles Everything in Russia was about money. Making it, keeping it and making sure no one took it ' – (that) stands in stark contrast with Bill Browder and his goodfellas who did everything they did out of selfless desire to make the world a better place."

Krainer's study of Bill Browder's book and actions is a riveting, unflinching expose of what might end up being pivotal in revealing one of this decade's big hoaxes.

"Killing of William Browder: Bill Browder's Dangerous Deception" is a monumental work of an extraordinary skilled writer who pulls no punches as he bravely swims upstream.

darbycook on October 4, 2017
Who knew I'd like a subject matter this dry

Who knew I'd like a subject matter this dry, but I found myself LMFAO so many times I can't keep count. Beautifully done, Mr. Krainer!

Y. on September 29, 2017
Must read!

Well researched. Insightful and thought provoking

Amazon Customer on August 30, 2017
Excellent!

A well researched and interesting read. Recommended for those that would like to understand much more of the browder myth.

David Gortner on April 27, 2018
Russia may be in much better shape economically now than during the 1990s and immediately ...

The book does make a compelling case against much of Browder's version of events in Russia over the years from the fall of the USSR through most of Putin's time as leader of Russia. But there is nothing about democracy in Russia since Putin came to power. How is democracy left out of the equation? Russia may be in much better shape economically now than during the 1990s and immediately afterward but there is no appearance of anything like democracy. We have seen nothing in the leadership of Russia; only Putin since 2000 (alternating with Medvedev).

Daniel Good on December 30, 2017
It is amazing that Browder has been able to prevent the showing ...

It is amazing that Browder has been able to prevent the showing of an important documentary by Andrei Nekrasov on the Magnitsky Act and also prevent the distribution on the Amazon site of this excellent well written intelligent exposé of the fraud perpetrated by him. One wonders who is behind Browder that gives him such power and influence.

Who should Browder fear more: those who are supporting him or Vladimir Putin?

In this book, unavailable on Amazon, can be found:

1. one of the best summaries of the Yeltsin years;

2. a useful review of US-Russia relations in the XIX century; 3. a counter-view of the personality of V.V. Putin; 4. copious footnotes and a very valuable bibliography; 5. a deconstruction of William Browder's thriller, Red Notice.

Only the people who make those decision at Amazon know why the book is not available on their site.

[Jul 18, 2018] Dash Cam, DuDuBell 2K DVR 1296P Car Camera with 3.0 LCD Screen, 170 Wide Angle Car Dashboard Recorder with 6G Enha

Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Denise Rogers 5.0 out of 5 stars

Good deal.

The dash cam is the perfect size. It does not obstruct the drivers view. I was surprised at the quality of the picture day and night. Very clear. This cam is also very user friendly vs some of the more expensive cams. Keep it simple! Definitely worth the price. It's going to work great for my next off road adventure!

July 17, 2018 Verified Purchase
Helpful on road for any kind of unexpected accidents!!!

Dash cam is almost one of essential tool pf driving prooving best in case of any kind of accodents, I have a old model car that doesnot cone with inbuilt.
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just need to buy memory card sd!

[Jul 04, 2018] Amazon.com U-571 Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi Amazon Digital Services LLC

Jul 04, 2018 | www.amazon.com

5 stars | Verified Purchase

Intense suspense war epic!

"U-571" is a pleasing and very exciting movie, one that can be enjoyed by followers and non-followers of war movies alike. It's one of those all-encompassing movies that has something in it for everyone: dazzling visual and sound effects for tech junkies, a gripping story based on similar events of war, and suspense and action for those looking to be surprised. This is a summer blockbuster that actually pleases its crowds, and certainly a movie that ranks with some of the best and most well-known war movies in Hollywood.
The movie begins, fittingly enough, in the German submarine after which the movie is named, and the Germans have just finished bombing an American ship. Soon after, they are set upon by a destroyer, which depth-charges the fragile vessel and leaves it crippled and in need of repairs. They send a call our for help, which is found by the Americans. This provides them with the opportunity to crack the secret code the Germans have been using by boarding the damaged vessel under the guise of German soldiers and stealing the Enigma, which houses the codes.
The beginning of the movie allows us to get to know our American characters, with whom we will be spending a great deal of time during the movie. We are introduced to Captain Andrew Tyler, who has just found out that he did not receive the position of captain as he had hoped. His commander, Lieutenant Commander Mike Dahlgren, feels he does not have what it takes to be a captain at this point, and that his emotional connection to his shipmates would prevent him from putting them in situations of potential danger.
Soon, our men are on their sub, heading out to sea, where they encounter the German submarine, take the crew hostage, and swipe the Enigma and code book to bring back to the attention of the U.S. Armed Forces. However, the German sub that responded to their call for help destroys the American sub, killing the German hostages and some Americans, leaving the rest of the crew on the German sub with Tyler as their captain. As their special ops mission turns into a race for survival, Tyler must make the right decisions in order to keep his crew alive and ship afloat as they near hostile waters on their way to safety.
The plot of the story follows a pretty basic pattern that is intensified by the suspense of the action sequences and the way in which Mostow works his magic with the camera. I found myself guessing what was going to happen in certain scenes of the movie, mainly because after seeing the trailer, I knew there was more that had to happen than just allowing the sub to sink and the Germans to win. And as much as the story does for its characters and their will to survive, I knew that the script would not shortchange them in the long run. This really doesn't hinder the story, though; it still has a lot to offer.
Mostow has done a masterful job in creating an atmosphere that is tightly cramped and perilous all at the same time. The lighting used for the insides of the sub is merely the lights actually shown, not offscreen, giving it an authentic and real feel. The crew finds themselves huddled tightly together at times during sequences in which depth charges are deployed to harm the ship, which adds to the sense of small space while also keeping us at bay with the question of whether or not the vessel will make it through the treachery of the explosions. The depth charges provide the most ominous threat to the vessel, which is carried out on film in a most intense manner. The first set of explosions takes place outside of the vessel, where we can see everything that's going on, while the second set keeps us inside the sub so that all we can do is hold our breath with the crew and wait for the explosions to end.
The fact that the movie can set up this kind of connection is a testament to its brilliance. Mostow is able to bring us into the movie with the characters, giving us bird's-eye views of the action as well as taking us right into the middle of it. Either way, the effect is truly awesome, showing us a different kind of warfare that can be just as intense and terrifying as hand-to-hand and firearm combat on land. When the movie was over, I felt jolted and out of breath; the movie simply delivers the goods.

The visual and sound effects also help to bring us into the movie's rich canvas as well. Miniatures and life-size vessels were used in the filming of the actual submarine, and while the effects that surround it may be digitized, it helps to have something that is real to harness the look and acuity of the shot. The sound design and use of the elements available is tremendous and pleasing, with a low bass frequency playing pretty much throughout the entire movie to create a sense of tension. This is one of those big, loud effects movies that, even if you don't care for the story, will please on its visuals and sound alone.

Casting is an important factor in bringing out the emotion and depth, and this one, an all-star ensemble, does just that. Matthew McConaughey is the ambitious Lieutenant Andrew Tyler, who is the strongest of the characters. He is portrayed as earnest in his endeavors to save his crew, while keeping the movie from degenerating into a blatant effects show. Harvey Keitel is Chief Klough, a pivotal character who advises and aides Tyler in some pretty tight situations. He keeps Tyler from losing his cool, which is important for the movie. Bill Paxton plays Lieutenant Dahlgren, and while his character has little screen time, he does well in keeping us informed of the events at hand. Jake Weber is a convincing Lieutenant Hirsch, who knows everything about the mission and plays his character with integrity and intelligence.

One of the better war films to come out of Hollywood, "U-571" follows an intense and gripping storyline that delivers the goods to even those who don't follow the war film trend. Under the direction of Jonathon Mostow, who also directed the thriller "Breakdown," the film contains a stellar cast that knows what it's doing and superb visual and sound effects that add to the atmosphere of suspense.

[Jul 04, 2018] Stabilizing an Unstable Economy by Hyman P. Minsky

Jul 04, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Larry R Frank Sr, MBA, CFP 5.0 out of 5 stars | Verified Purchase

Just what have we learned over the years (or not)?

Unfortunately, economists seem to given more attention after they're deceased and it appears Hyman P. Minsky (1919 -1986) is one in this category as well. As I read this book, originally published in 1986, I was amazed at not only one, but the many, parallels to today his synthesis of economic views, a blend of today's camps including the behavioral, had.

More valuable to you are his comments than mine, so I will quote Minsky as much as possible in this review and highly suggest its reading to fill in the gaps he so well articulates on his own. I decided to read this book because I'm not an economist and heard how his theories may better apply today than ever.

Many years later, the preface to this edition provides an excellent summary of Minsky's work. You do not need to be an expert to follow along. In the Introduction (8), Minsky points out that the institutional arrangements we have today in response to the Great Depression were set up pre-Keynes and with a pre-Keynesian understanding of the economy. ¨The evidence from 1975 indicates that, although the simple Keynesian model in which a large government deficit stabilizes and the helps the economy to expand is valid in a rough and ready way, the relevant economic relations are more complicated than the simple model allows. In particular, because what happens in our economy is so largely determined by financial considerations, economic theory can be relevant only if finance is integrated in the structure of the theory.¨

Minsky discusses Big Government and lender-of-last-resort (Federal Reserve or Fed) which is enlightening is and of itself. The balance of Chapters two and three are devoted to how these two interventions may work in theory. ¨To understand how Big Government stopped the economy's free fall, it is necessary to delve into the different impacts of government deficits on our economy ...¨ (24) He proceeds to define and then discuss three impacts: income and employment effect; budget effect; and portfolio effect. The standard view only incorporates one impact while Minsky argues and expanded view must incorporate all three views. ¨As a result of the 1975 experience, the issues in economic theory and policy that we should have to face are not about the ability of prodigious government deficit spending to halt even a very sharp recession but about the relative efficiency of specific measures and the side and after effects associated with particular policy strategies.¨ (24-25) I would suggest this has not been done effectively in response to the 2007 recession (started in Dec 2007 and has not been declared over as of this review writing (google "nber recession dates" for start and finish dates for this recession) which to date has had a more blind application of Keynesian without much thought as Minsky suggested long ago. Of interest is his discussion how Big Government entitlement programs impart an inflationary bias into the economy. (29)

Minsky's lender-of-last-resort includes a discussion on the lack of understanding of the inflationary side effects affects of intervention (51) and explosive growth of speculative liability structures (52) are as applicable today as to then. ¨Unless a theory can define the conditions in which a phenomenon occurs, it offers no guide to the control or elimination of the phenomenon.¨ He discusses the open market and discount window functions of the Fed and is instructive as to how the FOMC loses its power to affect member bank behavior, thus the Fed is not acting on intimate knowledge of banking practices. (54) Wow! Wasn't that also true this time! Minsky points out five causes of concern that the 1974 Chairman of the Federal Reserve System had appear as relevant today as to then as well: ¨first, the attenuation of the banking systems' base of equity capital; second, greater reliance on funds of a potentially volatile character; third, heavy loan commitments in relation to resources; fourth, some deterioration in the quality of assets; fifth, increased exposure to the larger banks to risks entailed in foreign exchange transactions and other foreign operations.¨

Minsky foresees how regulators (and politicians it seems) in imputing ¨...the difficulties he sees to either a laxness of regulatory zeal or, perhaps, some rather trivial mistake in how the regulatory bodies were organized, rather than to a fundamental behavioral characteristic of our economy.¨ (58) Even today, we see more shuffling of regulatory responsibilities and body creation rather than understand the behavior that causes the problems first in order to develop solutions.

He also points out how real estate was a problem back then as well, as result from explosive speculation. ¨The need for lender-of-last-resort intervention follows from an explosive growth in speculative finance and the way in which speculative finance leads to a crisis-prone situation.¨ (59) ¨Inasmuch as the successful execution of lender-of-last-resort functions extends the domain of the Federal Reserve guarantees to new markets and to new instruments there is an inherent inflationary bias to these operations; by validating the past use of an instrument, an implicit guarantee of its future is extended.¨ (58-59)

¨It is important to emphasize that ... any constraint placed on the Federal Reserve flexibility (e.g. by mandating mechanical rules of behavior) attenuates its power to act. Rules cannot substitute for lender-of-last-resort discretion.¨ Recall, the call by many to constrain the Fed? Minsky suggests otherwise. He also states ¨Certainly the bank examination aspects of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve should be integrated, especially if inputs from bank examinations are to become part of an early warning system for problem banks.¨ (64) This ties in with the idea above where the Fed has lost intimate knowledge of the banking practices.

Minsky discusses how the behavior of many actors need to be considered in a cohesive theory when he states ¨The dynamics of the financial system that lead to institutional change result from profit-seeking activities by businesses, financial institutions, and households as they manage their affairs.¨ (77) The problems that exist in the hierarchical financial system between mainstream banks and fringe banks is also noticed by Minsky years ago where a potential domino effect can cause serious disruptions as a result of the lender-of-last-resort guarantee to the mainstream banks as discussed on page 58. (97)

So far Minsky has laid the groundwork for actor interactions and issues. He then proceeds to theory. ¨In all disciplines theory plays a double role: it is both a lens and a blinder.¨ "It is ironic that an economic theory that purports to be based on Keynes fails because it cannot explain instability. ... Identifying a phenomenon is not enough: we need a theory that makes instability a normal result in our economy and gives us handles to control it." (111) "In what lies ahead, we will develop a theory explaining why our economy fluctuates, showing that the instability and incoherence exhibited from time to time is related to the development of fragile financial structures that occur normally within capitalist economies in the course of financing capital asset ownership and investment. We thus start with a bias in favor of using the market mechanism to the fullest extent possible to achieve social goals, but with recognition that market capitalism is both intrinsically unstable and can lead to distasteful distributions of wealth and power." (112) "The elements of Keynes that are ignored in the neoclassical synthesis deal with the pricing of capital assets and the special properties of economies with capitalistic financial institutions." (114) Minsky goes on to deconstruct both pre-Keynesian and and after-Keynesian constructs and synthesis. Minsky's "financial instability hypothesis" (127) addresses weaknesses he views in the neoclassical model. "In the neoclassical view, speculation, financing conditions, inherited financial obligations, and the fluctuating behavior of aggregate demand have nothing whatsoever to do with savings, investment, and the interest rate determination." (123) "In neoclassical theory, money does not have any significant relation to finance and the financing activity." (124) Minsky addresses the point that Keynes thoughts came out after government programs for reform and recovery were put into place, not the other way around and many may think today. (134) Minsky then develops how cause and effect to lay the ground work for his hypothesis throughout chapters 6 through 9 as he discusses in turn price relations allowing for government, foreign trade, consuming out of profits and saving out of wages, supply prices, taxes and government spending, financing of business spending, investment and finance, capital asset prices, investment, cash flows, and three kinds of financing (hedge, speculative and Ponzi: "The mixture of hedge, speculative, and Ponzi finance in an economy is a major determinant of its stability. (232)). "The main reason why our economy behaves in different ways at different times is that financial practices and structure of financial commitments change." (219) He calls the economy existing always in a transitory state.

Minsky then builds a larger model by discussion Institutional dynamics in Part 4. "Business cycles are `natural' in a investing capitalist economy, but to understand why this is so it is necessary to deal with the financing of investment and positions in capital assets explicitly." (249) He also recognized the distinction between commercial banks and investment banks and that the distinction between the two were breaking down even back in the 80's. (249) "In a capitalist economy money is tied up with the process of creating and controlling capital assets." (250) "Money is created as bankers go about their business of arranging for the financing of trade, investment, and positions in capital assets." (250).

Deposit (commercial banks) are emphasized in Chapter 10. Minsky's observation in the 80's rings as true today as it did then when he says "The narrow view that banking affects the economy only through the money supply led economists and policymakers to virtually ignore the composition of bank portfolios." (252) The rest of Chapter 10 explains how bank portfolio composition works and the economic effect this has.

Chapter 11 in about inflation. "My theory emphasizes the composition of financed demand and the spending of incomes that are allocations of profits as the determinants of the prices of consumption goods. It is compatible with the multiplier analysis in orthodox Keynesian theory" (254) "The determination of employment, wages, and prices starts with the profit calculations of businessmen and bankers. This proposition is in sharp contrast to the views of neoclassical monetarist theory." (255) Milton Friedman is a monetarist that he discusses next with this weakness in that theory in mind. Minsky develops his inflation theory by discussing money wages, price-deflated wages, government as an inflation engine, and trade union roles in inflation.

Part 5 is the culmination of his work where he discusses possible policy implications of his theory through the lens of his financial instability hypothesis. "Even if a program of reform is successful, the success will be transitory." (319) He continually reminds us that a dynamic system will need continual monitoring, adjustment and trade offs in the attempt to keep instability within reasonable bounds. An overarching agenda and approach should be developed to do this. An employment strategy should be developed, financial reform should be carefully crafted so as to not make matter worse.

**********
Conclusion:
As I mentioned at the beginning, I am not an economist. Minsky's description of the economy as developed through his instability model appears to describe much of how the interactions work, the inherent instability of a capitalist system, and his proposals to manage the instability appear to have merit for consideration. Especially in light of the 2007 recession.

Minsky appears to be an interesting combination of Keynesians who look to mitigate busts, and Austrians who look to prevent artificial booms.

For an easy read which builds a hypothetical economy, using an example of an island and fish on up, to describe economic history through the lens of the Austrian economic model: How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes by Peter D Schiff and Andrew J Schiff.

For more on Keynes, this work by Hunter Lewis describes what Keynes said and what he didn't say side by side. Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts

Review by Larry Frank, author of Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map For Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying To Go With Money?

[Jul 04, 2018] Why Minsky Matters An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist L. Wray 9780691178400 Amazon.com Books

www.theatlantic.com
Jul 04, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Amazon.com Das Boot Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Gronemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Wolfgang Petersen Amazon Digital Services LLC

[May 28, 2018] Movie: From Here To Eternity

May 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com

D. Blackdeer on September 3, 2001

From Here to Eternity

1953 Best Picture (eight Academy Awards) about Army soldiers dealing with corrupt leadership in Hawaii just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Burt Lancaster heads the cast as First Sergeant Milt Warden, a top soldier trapped in an infantry company commanded by the incompetent and corrupt Captain Dana "Dynamite" Holmes, played by Philip Ober.

Holmes is an incapable officer seeking promotion as the regiment's boxing coach while Warden holds the company together. Conditions are status quo until Private Robert E. Lee Pruitt, played by Montgomery Clift, arrives from the bugler corps.

Holmes attempts to recruit Pruitt as the new middleweight boxer, but Pruitt refuses for personal reasons. Holmes then embarks on a campaign of harassment, ordering the other boxers in the company to service Pruitt with frequent punishment and extra work detail to change his mind. In the meantime, Warden falls for Holmes's wife Karen played by Deborah Kerr, and risks his career in an adulterous relationship that soon develops into a serious love affair.

Frank Sinatra turns in a great performance as "Maggio," a fellow soldier who becomes Private Pruitt's best friend during the ordeal. Other marvelous features are the supporting cast providing terrific characters around the main actors, and the production's location at the historic Schofield Barracks on Oahu. It's easy to see why this was Best Picture in 1953.

JCY 500 on July 21, 2014
A film for all time

One of my all-time favorite films. Superb performances by Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, and Montgomery Clift in a gripping tale set in an army base on Hawaii in the period leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Frank Sinatra was born to play the part of Angelo Maggio in what is, along with Manchurian Candidate, his best work.

The most impressive acting is from Clift. The extended scene with Donna Reed, as she unsuccessfully pleads with him to not attempt to rejoin his unit, is simply breathtaking. What he does with his eyes and simple gestures so richly reveals his inner torment.

[May 27, 2018] From Here to Eternity The Complete Uncensored Edition (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)

May 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com

0 out of 5 stars with a tip of the hat to predecessors like "Golden Boy" and and Kipling's military tales By Jeffrey A. Beard on December 20, 2016 Ahead of it's time--feels contemporary in it portrayal of the morals and mores of peacetime barracks life, with a tip of the hat to predecessors like "Golden Boy" and and Kipling's military tales; still poignant and pointed after all these years. 3 1/2 stars


By Gerard J. St. John on June 15, 2015

I'll Bet That's Prewitt!

From Here to Eternity has long been one of my favorite movies. I cannot resist watching its reruns on television. Recently, I decided to read book, the 802-page hardcover volume.

Everyone knows that a book is always better than the movie, and that was the case here – but not by much. The casting for the movie was superb. You cannot read about Pvt. Prewitt in the book without seeing in your mind's eye Montgomery Clift; Sgt. Warden, without seeing Burt Lancaster; or Maggio, without seeing Frank Sinatra. The book reminds me of a string of short stories, mainly focusing on Prewitt and Warden during their assignment at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Prewitt is an outstanding welterweight (147 lbs) prizefighter who refuses to fight for the company's boxing team. Also, he is a gifted bugler who was once assigned to duty at Arlington National Cemetery. Prewitt's company commander, who is also in charge of the boxing team, orders the NCOs to give Prewitt "the treatment", i.e., all of the tough, dirty jobs, until he agrees to join the boxing team. Warden, the company's first sergeant, sympathizes with Prewitt but has no authority to override the orders of the company commander.

Most of the stories in the book were covered in the movie, with the exception of the one involving a group of homosexuals in the Honolulu area, and one involves a suicide by a member of the company boxing team. A few details of some of the other stories were revised slightly in the movie, but not to any significant level.

The author's writing style is interesting in many respects. For example, there is extensive discussion about psychology, philosophy, religion, and morality with respect to the persons and events that are the subject of the book. These comments give added meaning to the events in the book – and also account for its substantial length. On the other hand, such intellectual discussion is totally out of character coming from persons who had minimal education, and virtually no contact with liberal arts. The author seems to be cognizant of this disconnect when he mentions that a particular character or characters "read a lot of books." There is even one character that mysteriously shows up as a prisoner in the stockade, apparently for the purpose of abetting this type of discussion. He disappears from the book by walking out of the stockade in a successful escape. His purpose in the narrative appears to have been completed when he painted the philosophical setting of life in the stockade.

The author frequently uses poor grammar and spelling in an apparent effort to present a realistic speech pattern of the day-to-day language of the minimally educated soldiers. In addition to being inconsistent with the high level discussions of psychology and philosophy, it is a technique that doesn't work well.

All told, it is an excellent book that captures the atmosphere of an overseas military post. You feel like you were there.

By Peter Monks on July 21, 2012
Unmatched description of peacetime soldiers

"From Here to Eternity" is, together with Sword of Honour (Penguin Modern Classics) , one of the greatest books ever written about peacetime soldiering or soldiers not actually engaged in combat. While Waugh captures the absurdity, tedium and frustration inherent in being a junior officer marooned in military backwaters, in "From Here to Eternity" Jones is almost unmatched in describing in-barracks military life from a soldiers point of view. My only reservations are the author's occasionally excessive digressions to allow Malloy in particular to expound on what are the authors thinly-veiled views on politics and class, and that Jones shares with Mailer's The Naked and the Dead an inability to create an officer that is anything other than a caricature (Jones does a - slightly - better job in The Thin Red Line . While as individuals Jones' officers are one-dimensional, their collective introspection and emphasis on sports and the relatively trivial or routine at the expense of preparing seriously for war is accurate enough. The real strength of "From Here to Eternity" is Jones' ability to vividly illustrate the life of a soldier in peacetime, complete with the indignity, absurdity and coarseness that is often inherent in military life when not sustained by an immediate objective or sense of purpose. If there is a book that does a better job of portraying garrison life I am yet to find it.

By Garrett Zecker on December 1, 2016
The Greatest Generation" on the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor

I read this book as a part of wanting to accomplish The Modern Library's 100 Best Novels. It is also a preface to watching the film which is on the list of 1001 Films To See Before You Die (visit beforewediefilms-dot-com for the blog I write with my wife). It was opportunistic to finish this book this week as we are marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

From Here To Eternity is the first novel James Jones wrote, and he had set out to complete a novel that captured the essence of his life and those of his fellow soldiers in the peacetime army. It examines several characters who wander about trying to make sense of life, relationships, money, art, hobbies, work, brotherhood, and the pecking order while living the regimented military life. While the narrative mainly focuses on a young recruit named Prewitt, it also weaves through other stories of people who surround Prew in a somewhat inconsistent manner. The book is funny, touching, bold, and in many ways an extraordinary view into the pre-WWII lives of "the greatest generation."

I read this book over several months and had to put it down a few times. I am an avid reader and read voraciously, but the first half of the book was so dry that it seemed to be almost a catalogue of non-things happening. It wasn't until the halfway mark that the strings dangling off of the characters interactions began getting tied up in actual events, and it was at this point that my fascination with the characters and Jones' incredible building of so many characters as actual three-dimensional people began to take shape. It turns out that for the entirety of the time that I was bored, Jones expertly characterized hundreds of people for their true calling and individual moments of truth. When they were put into situations where they had to face a bad marriage, adultery, a broken heart, loss, death, being out of control of things, regimented systems, interpersonal conflict, and a hundred other challenges, it became immediately clear that Jones was putting the meat on the bones of these incredibly strong and true people to face what life was about to throw at them. The result was incredible for me, and while at times I was wishing the book wasn't so needlessly long, by the end I was wishing there was more.

Jones' prose is very interesting in the novel, as it switches between the pedestrian and (albeit, realistically) vulgar to some paragraphs that were truly memorable. The simple playing of TAPS by Prewitt danced the narrative camera from person to person and created this gorgeous symphony of experience that was a beautiful four or five pages if I remember correctly. Another was a night where one soldier was sleeping with another man's wife, but the horror of the betrayal is stripped away with Jones' writing to reveal the beauty of truly feeling free, and contented, and in love.

I read Open Road's "Restored" edition, which I only understand to include a lot more that the author wanted to include in the original but was asked to remove (some sexual language and vulgarity), and some portions that were almost completely censored because of obscenity laws (including entire chunks focused on homosexuality in the army and civilian life). I have never read the original, but what I read here felt true and real, and I am happy to have experienced Jones' preferred text my first time through.

A truly excellent book, well deserving of the National Book Award.

By Steve on March 11, 2015
So Very Good

I feel like an idiot. I'm 65 years and just discovered James Jones. This book is excellent in so many ways. I hated for it to end but instead of wallowing in self pity, I immediately read the other two in the trilogy, "The Thin Red Line" and "Whistle" and then his WWII. I will give each of those five stars as well. These plus "The Naked and the Dead" by Norman Mailer are simply fantastic.

I read "From Here to Eternity" in the Kindle edition but purchased all three as used hardcover editions. These are books you will want to keep as real paper books.

By Amazon Customer on July 1, 2013
Probably My Favorite Novel Ever

I doubt very much whether I have anything new or important to say about From Here to Eternity. It's a great book, but its greatness was well known long before I was born, let alone before I got around to reading it. Anyway, here goes...
As an author James Jones is brutally honest. He's also what every tortured high school English student probably begged God for at one point in their life: an author who does not use symbolism (or anyway, he claimed as much in an interview with some Paris based book reviewer back in the 50's). There are several advantages to this, technique, at least when the author put as much care into it as Jones did here. I feel he provides a vast insight into the human psyche in a host of situations. The shifting narrator helps there as well. Jones also does a wonderful job transporting the reader to wherever his characters are whether its a military base, a field exercise, or the stockade. Of course the downside to all the vast amount of introspection and exhaustive detail is that it makes for a looonng book, and there are even a few points where it drags for me. Moreover, since Jones pulls no punches it can be a dark book in places (in particular I had hard time with the portrayal of one character in a protracted drunken stupor because I've seen someone do the same thing in real life, and its extremely unpleasant), and there were other spots where it dragged for me. Finally, there are a couple of portrayals I'm not sure I agree with. The sequence of thoughts portrayed in the suicide scene is (I'm positive) impossible since it was a suicide by gunshot and the bullet would move faster than any sensation or thought it could have caused. Also, I have to question the idea that all senior officers of the era were worthless (its not that Jones ever implies that the officers he writes of represent the whole army, but clearly every senior officer he describes is a disgrace to his uniform, in fact the only decent officer he portrays at all is an ROTC replacement Lieutenant). On the other hand if the book wasn't intelligently (and sympathetically) written with very deep characters, I would not have even been able to tell whether Jones was portraying good or bad officers, so this is still a relatively minor criticism. In any case, if you want a detailed, unbridled, unvarnished look at the life of enlisted men in the US on the eve of WWII, I don't see how you could do much better than this novel. For me personally, I'm very glad to have had such a peak at the time and place. My Grandfather was about 4 years younger than Jones and also spent time on Oahu during WWII. He was an MP around 1943 (at which point Jones would have been somewhere on Guadalcanal or New Georgia). My Grandfather also died when I was just 6 years old, which was, of course, before I ever got to ask him what his time in the army was like (or could have begun to comprehend even if I had asked). So to me this book transcended literature alone, it put me in touch with a little piece of my own family that I never thought I'd get to know. For that I owe Jones a huge debt of gratitude. He showed me a part of my own family's past I never thought I'd get to see. Of course for most people, it won't hold that kind of meaning, it will just be a novel. But even then its a very good one, though also a long one. I highly recommend the whole trilogy" From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and Whistle. Of the three, I think From Here to Eternity is the best. The Thin Red Line is great as well, probably the best way anyone will ever come to understand combat without either being there themselves and suffering PTSD as both Jones and the characters he portrayed did or at least becoming a psychologist and tending to soldiers suffering from PTSD, and Whistle is also a very strong work, although possibly the toughest read of all because it is so tragic. From Here to Eternity was the last project of a literary agent who had previously worked with Faulkner and Hemingway. Since it was Jones's debut, it may also have been his greatest work. I've never read anyone else like James Jones, and there may not be anyone else like James Jones.

By J. BUCKWALTER on January 12, 2015
which I also recommend.

A must read for anyone interested in a novel with epic scope, issues of power/leadership/control, the "breaking" of men, war, and struggles for freedom and dignity. I was also surprised at how well he writes women! It's not often I have very fond and vivid memories of reading a book, but this was one long, languid dream. Will definitely be rereading. Psychologically, it reminded me very much of the black & white Sean Connery prison film "The Hill", which I also recommend.

By russell bentley on February 12, 2016
A Must read for a New Generation

This favorite book of my youth was bought as a present for a young relative. I think it is an important piece of literature that everyone should read and I am quite happy to pass it on to another generation. Its development of characters and portrayal of human nature is the equal of Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath".

By Terence M. Kelley on May 3, 2009
All for Naught

From Here to Eternity is James Jones' masterfully envisioned tale of soldiers and their lovers on the eve of 1941's Pearl Harbor invasion. The rest of the world is already at war, and the neutral United States has begun a peacetime draft as the prospect of war seems inevitable. Despite this impending calamity, the soldiers of Schofield Barracks go on about their daily lives as if nothing had or ever will change: they spend their days routinely and begrudgingly performing their military duties and their nights drinking and whoring, while rarely examining their existences for any greater meaning.

At the center is Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt who has just requested a transfer out of the Regimental Bugle Corps, where he had a soft existence, and into an infantry company, where he will perform "straight duty," soldiering as any other man of the ranks. He immediately incurs the wrath of his commanding officer, Captain Dana "Dynamite" Holmes, when he refuses to join the company boxing team, preferring to think of himself as retired from boxing after blinding another man in a sparring match. Holmes needs Prewitt to box if he wants to field a championship team, and his superior, Lieutenant Colonel Jake Delbert soon makes clear that such a victory would likely earn him a long sought promotion. The conflict thus established, the characters hurtle unwittingly towards America's humiliation at Pearl Harbor and their own mortal humiliations.

Even Prewitt in his self-righteous suffering is guilty of pride--there are no innocents in this book as in life. Jones draws the Army as a microcosm of society: men and women at odds with their surroundings as they search for meaning. Ultimately, all the characters efforts are in vain; even as they struggle mightily against one another, the reader knows that on December 7th their lives will all be smashed as trivial and meaningless by a calamity far greater than any of them.

By Phil Aaronson on March 18, 2013
Great Writing

I read once that Hemingway said that James Jones was the best writer of his generation. I don't know if this is true, but for years I have had this book on my "list" to read. I have finally gotten around to it and am thoroughly enjoying it. I've read a lot of war stories over the years but this is much more than a war story. Jones' insights into human nature are penetrating and revealing, and his writing has retained its power and freshness over the years.

By David Pancost on March 5, 2017
Recommended with conditions

If you love the movie and are interested in war narratives, as I am, this novel is a must read. But by itself it's overlong and tedious. The movie has a strong, driven narrative. The novel is a big baggy monster, with long tedious discussions of semi philosophical nonsense. Think Moby Dick without substance. Some things I found especially interesting. Hints of Catch 22. There's an Indian chief, a crazy officer or three, and and heaps of Heller irony but without the laughter. Anger. Everyone is angry with themselves, with the army, with sex, with their lovers, with poverty and with depression America. Sex. There's a strong gay theme. This is true of The Thin Red Line, too, but here it's more cynical. Army life. If you've ever been in uniform, this will strike you as genuine, much more so than The Naked and the Dead or any other novel which comes to mind. To be sure, there's a good deal of exaggeration, but mood and details ring true.

[May 27, 2018] Guard of Honor (Modern Library) James Gould Cozzens 9780679603054 Amazon.com Books

May 27, 2018 | www.amazon.com

stars


July 16, 2000 Format: Hardcover | Verified Purchase

A viable candidate for the "Great American Novel"

If a contemporary reader is looking for one novel that captures with unerring precision the nature of the military and society in World War II, look no further than "Guard of Honor." The setting is authentic, and the characters are drawn with abundant sympathy and an utter lack of remorse. The issues, the personalities, the key incident -- all reflect Cozzens' skill deep insight into human nature and the nature of military bureaucracies, the latter resulting from his service on the Air Corps staff during the war. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough.

Five Stars

One of the best novels about WWII that I've read. Impressive in its knowledge of how organizations actually function.

Ursiform on April 15, 2001
WWII from another angle

Unlike many war books, which focus on either the glory or horror of battle, or both, Cozzens looks at troubles on the home front during World War II. His setting is a Florida airbase, and the action centers around the arrival of black pilots who are being trained as part of an experiment in integrating the cockpit. A few whites support the effort, a few more oppose it, but most characters are more concerned with their own self interest than with larger moral issues. The common desire to win the war doesn't eliminate social problems at home, nor does it trump human pettiness. Cozzens weaves together several interlocking stories, and while the final fabric lacks the exquisite integration that a truly great writer might achieve, it all manages to hold together in the end. Likewise his prose, while occasionally capable of taking flight, is generally adequate but workmanlike. This book is well worth reading, but go into it expecting a very good novel, not a towering classic of WWII literature.

Gene Cisco on January 17, 2009
Base Affairs

This is surely a masterful novel, though I would caution against depicting this as strictly a World War II epic. Anyone who thinks this has only nostalgic value is mistaken. It is classic in every way.

Gripping and mesmerizing at once, with moments of astounding resonance for today. "20/20" covered (01/09)last night the salaries of employees high and low, the way they are valued, with the result being according to their "usefulness." In this war yarn, various ranked individuals maneuver to avoid blame and scandal, etc. and it plays out according to their usefulness to command figures; in other words war or peace, it remains the same.

Whenever the plot movement lags and minor things intrude, Cozzens' palette of description never fails to amaze. Reading this work, I now realize where "Sgt. Bilko," "Hogans Heroes," and "MASH," derived their inspiration from.

The human comedy known as "life" survives within "Guard Of Honor's" pages in sweeping form. Makes no difference whether on base or in a large corporation, the class mentality survives. Which leaves us with the question to success, whether it will be determined by genetics or usefulness. Base life is much like a city within a city and Cozzens' succeeds in his entertaining military back drop to the human struggle. Cozzens makes it clear that the bullets and shells we avoid are not on the battlefield alone, no?

A customer on March 19, 1999
Fighting a war without bullets

Guard of Honor is a book about fighting a war in which not a single bullet is fired in anger. Readers looking for blood and glory will find it here only in the refracted light of the home front. But, this book IS about blood and glory; as well as boredom, loneliness, stupidity, comradeship, insanity, bureaucracy, death and many other things associated with the armed forces.

Cozzens decision to place his novel in Florida during World War II actually allows him to analyze the military culture in the minutest detail without the adrenaline distraction that actual combat would produce. It's a risky choice, but it works brilliantly.

The story contains a bewildering number of characters but is centered around two generous and kind men: Colonel Ross and Captain Hicks. Ross represents the command structure trying to hold an unwieldy organization together through the insanity of war. Hicks is the common man thrown into the same situation. How their lives play out is the heart of the book.

If you want explosions and gore, this book is not for you. If you want to know how the military lives, thinks and breathes read this book and cherish its portrait of a world very different from civilian life.

[Apr 30, 2018] New Book Describes Bluffing Programmers in Silicon Valley

Notable quotes:
"... Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley ..."
"... Older generations called this kind of fraud "fake it 'til you make it." ..."
"... Nowadays I work 9:30-4:30 for a very good, consistent paycheck and let some other "smart person" put in 75 hours a week dealing with hiring ..."
"... It's not a "kids these days" sort of issue, it's *always* been the case that shameless, baseless self-promotion wins out over sincere skill without the self-promotion, because the people who control the money generally understand boasting more than they understand the technology. ..."
"... In the bad old days we had a hell of a lot of ridiculous restriction We must somehow made our programs to run successfully inside a RAM that was 48KB in size (yes, 48KB, not 48MB or 48GB), on a CPU with a clock speed of 1.023 MHz ..."
"... So what are the uses for that? I am curious what things people have put these to use for. ..."
"... Also, Oracle, SAP, IBM... I would never buy from them, nor use their products. I have used plenty of IBM products and they suck big time. They make software development 100 times harder than it could be. ..."
"... I have a theory that 10% of people are good at what they do. It doesn't really matter what they do, they will still be good at it, because of their nature. These are the people who invent new things, who fix things that others didn't even see as broken and who automate routine tasks or simply question and erase tasks that are not necessary. ..."
"... 10% are just causing damage. I'm not talking about terrorists and criminals. ..."
"... Programming is statistically a dead-end job. Why should anyone hone a dead-end skill that you won't be able to use for long? For whatever reason, the industry doesn't want old programmers. ..."
Apr 30, 2018 | news.slashdot.org

Long-time Slashdot reader Martin S. pointed us to this an excerpt from the new book Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Portland-based investigator reporter Corey Pein.

The author shares what he realized at a job recruitment fair seeking Java Legends, Python Badasses, Hadoop Heroes, "and other gratingly childish classifications describing various programming specialities.

" I wasn't the only one bluffing my way through the tech scene. Everyone was doing it, even the much-sought-after engineering talent.

I was struck by how many developers were, like myself, not really programmers , but rather this, that and the other. A great number of tech ninjas were not exactly black belts when it came to the actual onerous work of computer programming. So many of the complex, discrete tasks involved in the creation of a website or an app had been automated that it was no longer necessary to possess knowledge of software mechanics. The coder's work was rarely a craft. The apps ran on an assembly line, built with "open-source", off-the-shelf components. The most important computer commands for the ninja to master were copy and paste...

[M]any programmers who had "made it" in Silicon Valley were scrambling to promote themselves from coder to "founder". There wasn't necessarily more money to be had running a startup, and the increase in status was marginal unless one's startup attracted major investment and the right kind of press coverage. It's because the programmers knew that their own ladder to prosperity was on fire and disintegrating fast. They knew that well-paid programming jobs would also soon turn to smoke and ash, as the proliferation of learn-to-code courses around the world lowered the market value of their skills, and as advances in artificial intelligence allowed for computers to take over more of the mundane work of producing software. The programmers also knew that the fastest way to win that promotion to founder was to find some new domain that hadn't yet been automated. Every tech industry campaign designed to spur investment in the Next Big Thing -- at that time, it was the "sharing economy" -- concealed a larger programme for the transformation of society, always in a direction that favoured the investor and executive classes.

"I wasn't just changing careers and jumping on the 'learn to code' bandwagon," he writes at one point. "I was being steadily indoctrinated in a specious ideology."


Anonymous Coward , Saturday April 28, 2018 @11:40PM ( #56522045 )

older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

Older generations called this kind of fraud "fake it 'til you make it."

raymorris ( 2726007 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @02:05AM ( #56522343 ) Journal
The people who are smarter won't ( Score: 5 , Informative)

> The people can do both are smart enough to build their own company and compete with you.

Been there, done that. Learned a few lessons. Nowadays I work 9:30-4:30 for a very good, consistent paycheck and let some other "smart person" put in 75 hours a week dealing with hiring, managing people, corporate strategy, staying up on the competition, figuring out tax changes each year and getting taxes filed six times each year, the various state and local requirements, legal changes, contract hassles, etc, while hoping the company makes money this month so they can take a paycheck and lay their rent.

I learned that I'm good at creating software systems and I enjoy it. I don't enjoy all-nighters, partners being dickheads trying to pull out of a contract, or any of a thousand other things related to running a start-up business. I really enjoy a consistent, six-figure compensation package too.

brian.stinar ( 1104135 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

* getting taxes filled eighteen times a year.

I pay monthly gross receipts tax (12), quarterly withholdings (4) and a corporate (1) and individual (1) returns. The gross receipts can vary based on the state, so I can see how six times a year would be the minimum.

Cederic ( 9623 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Fuck no. Cost of full automation: $4m Cost of manual entry: $0 Opportunity cost of manual entry: $800/year

At worse, pay for an accountant, if you can get one that cheaply. Bear in mind talking to them incurs most of that opportunity cost anyway.

serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Nowadays I work 9:30-4:30 for a very good, consistent paycheck and let some other "smart person" put in 75 hours a week dealing with hiring

There's nothing wrong with not wnting to run your own business, it's not for most people, and even if it was, the numbers don't add up. But putting the scare qoutes in like that makes it sound like you have huge chip on your shoulder. Those things re just as essential to the business as your work and without them you wouldn't have the steady 9:30-4:30 with good paycheck.

raymorris ( 2726007 ) writes:
Important, and dumb. ( Score: 3 , Informative)

Of course they are important. I wouldn't have done those things if they weren't important!

I frequently have friends say things like "I love baking. I can't get enough of baking. I'm going to open a bakery.". I ask them "do you love dealing with taxes, every month? Do you love contract law? Employment law? Marketing? Accounting?" If you LOVE baking, the smart thing to do is to spend your time baking. Running a start-up business, you're not going to do much baking.

If you love marketing, employment law, taxes

raymorris ( 2726007 ) writes:
Four tips for a better job. Who has more? ( Score: 3 )

I can tell you a few things that have worked for me. I'll go in chronological order rather than priority order.

Make friends in the industry you want to be in. Referrals are a major way people get jobs.

Look at the job listings for jobs you'd like to have and see which skills a lot of companies want, but you're missing. For me that's Java. A lot companies list Java skills and I'm not particularly good with Java. Then consider learning the skills you lack, the ones a lot of job postings are looking for.

Certifi

goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @02:34PM ( #56524475 ) Journal
Re: older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 5 , Insightful)
You don't understand the point of an ORM do you? I'd suggest reading why they exist

They exist because programmers value code design more than data design. ORMs are the poster-child for square-peg-round-hole solutions, which is why all ORMs choose one of three different ways of squashing hierarchical data into a relational form, all of which are crappy.

If the devs of the system (the ones choosing to use an ORM) had any competence at all they'd design their database first because in any application that uses a database the database is the most important bit, not the OO-ness or Functional-ness of the design.

Over the last few decades I've seen programs in a system come and go; a component here gets rewritten, a component there gets rewritten, but you know what? They all have to work with the same damn data.

You can more easily switch out your code for new code with new design in a new language, than you can switch change the database structure. So explain to me why it is that you think the database should be mangled to fit your OO code rather than mangling your OO code to fit the database?

cheekyboy ( 598084 ) writes:
im sick of reinventors and new frameworks ( Score: 3 )

Stick to the one thing for 10-15years. Often all this new shit doesn't do jack different to the old shit, its not faster, its not better. Every dick wants to be famous so make another damn library/tool with his own fancy name and feature, instead of enhancing an existing product.

gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

amen to that.

Or kids who can't hack the main stuff, suddenly discover the cool new, and then they can pretend they're "learning" it, and when the going gets tough (as it always does) they can declare the tech to be pants and move to another.

hence we had so many people on the bandwagon for functional programming, then dumped it for ruby on rails, then dumped that for Node.js, not sure what they're on at currently, probably back to asp.net.

Greyfox ( 87712 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

How much code do you have to reuse before you're not really programming anymore? When I started in this business, it was reasonably possible that you could end up on a project that didn't particularly have much (or any) of an operating system. They taught you assembly language and the process by which the system boots up, but I think if I were to ask most of the programmers where I work, they wouldn't be able to explain how all that works...

djinn6 ( 1868030 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
It really feels like if you know what you're doing it should be possible to build a team of actually good programmers and put everyone else out of business by actually meeting your deliverables, but no one has yet. I wonder why that is.

You mean Amazon, Google, Facebook and the like? People may not always like what they do, but they manage to get things done and make plenty of money in the process. The problem for a lot of other businesses is not having a way to identify and promote actually good programmers. In your example, you could've spent 10 minutes fixing their query and saved them days of headache, but how much recognition will you actually get? Where is your motivation to help them?

Junta ( 36770 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

It's not a "kids these days" sort of issue, it's *always* been the case that shameless, baseless self-promotion wins out over sincere skill without the self-promotion, because the people who control the money generally understand boasting more than they understand the technology. Yes it can happen that baseless boasts can be called out over time by a large enough mass of feedback from competent peers, but it takes a *lot* to overcome the tendency for them to have faith in the boasts.

It does correlate stron

cheekyboy ( 598084 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

And all these modern coders forget old lessons, and make shit stuff, just look at instagram windows app, what a load of garbage shit, that us old fuckers could code in 2-3 weeks.

Instagram - your app sucks, cookie cutter coders suck, no refinement, coolness. Just cheap ass shit, with limited usefulness.

Just like most of commercial software that's new - quick shit.

Oh and its obvious if your an Indian faking it, you haven't worked in 100 companies at the age of 29.

Junta ( 36770 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Here's another problem, if faced with a skilled team that says "this will take 6 months to do right" and a more naive team that says "oh, we can slap that together in a month", management goes with the latter. Then the security compromises occur, then the application fails due to pulling in an unvetted dependency update live into production. When the project grows to handling thousands instead of dozens of users and it starts mysteriously folding over and the dev team is at a loss, well the choice has be

molarmass192 ( 608071 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @02:15AM ( #56522359 ) Homepage Journal
Re:older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

These restrictions is a large part of what makes Arduino programming "fun". If you don't plan out your memory usage, you're gonna run out of it. I cringe when I see 8MB web pages of bloated "throw in everything including the kitchen sink and the neighbor's car". Unfortunately, the careful and cautious way is a dying in favor of the throw 3rd party code at it until it does something. Of course, I don't have time to review it but I'm sure everybody else has peer reviewed it for flaws and exploits line by line.

AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) writes: < mojo@@@world3...net > on Sunday April 29, 2018 @05:15AM ( #56522597 ) Homepage Journal
Re:older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 4 , Informative)
Unfortunately, the careful and cautious way is a dying in favor of the throw 3rd party code at it until it does something.

Of course. What is the business case for making it efficient? Those massive frameworks are cached by the browser and run on the client's system, so cost you nothing and save you time to market. Efficient costs money with no real benefit to the business.

If we want to fix this, we need to make bloat have an associated cost somehow.

locketine ( 1101453 ) writes:
Re: older generations already had a term for this ( Score: 2 )

My company is dealing with the result of this mentality right now. We released the web app to the customer without performance testing and doing several majorly inefficient things to meet deadlines. Once real load was put on the application by users with non-ideal hardware and browsers, the app was infuriatingly slow. Suddenly our standard sub-40 hour workweek became a 50+ hour workweek for months while we fixed all the inefficient code and design issues.

So, while you're right that getting to market and opt

serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

In the bad old days we had a hell of a lot of ridiculous restriction We must somehow made our programs to run successfully inside a RAM that was 48KB in size (yes, 48KB, not 48MB or 48GB), on a CPU with a clock speed of 1.023 MHz

We still have them. In fact some of the systems I've programmed have been more resource limited than the gloriously spacious 32KiB memory of the BBC model B. Take the PIC12F or 10F series. A glorious 64 bytes of RAM, max clock speed of 16MHz, but not unusual to run it 32kHz.

serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

So what are the uses for that? I am curious what things people have put these to use for.

It's hard to determine because people don't advertise use of them at all. However, I know that my electric toothbrush uses an Epson 4 bit MCU of some description. It's got a status LED, basic NiMH batteryb charger and a PWM controller for an H Bridge. Braun sell a *lot* of electric toothbrushes. Any gadget that's smarter than a simple switch will probably have some sort of basic MCU in it. Alarm system components, sensor

tlhIngan ( 30335 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 , Insightful)
b) No computer ever ran at 1.023 MHz. It was either a nice multiple of 1Mhz or maybe a multiple of 3.579545Mhz (ie. using the TV output circuit's color clock crystal to drive the CPU).

Well, it could be used to drive the TV output circuit, OR, it was used because it's a stupidly cheap high speed crystal. You have to remember except for a few frequencies, most crystals would have to be specially cut for the desired frequency. This occurs even today, where most oscillators are either 32.768kHz (real time clock

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Interesting)

Yeah, nice talk. You could have stopped after the first sentence. The other AC is referring to the Commodore C64 [wikipedia.org]. The frequency has nothing to do with crystal availability but with the simple fact that everything in the C64 is synced to the TV. One clock cycle equals 8 pixels. The graphics chip and the CPU take turns accessing the RAM. The different frequencies dictated by the TV standards are the reason why the CPU in the NTSC version of the C64 runs at 1.023MHz and the PAL version at 0.985MHz.

Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

LOL what exactly is so special about 16K RAM? https://yourlogicalfallacyis.c... [yourlogicalfallacyis.com]

I cut my teeth on a VIC20 (5K RAM), then later a C64 (which ran at 1.023MHz...)

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Interesting)

Commodore 64 for the win. I worked for a company that made detection devices for the railroad, things like monitoring axle temperatures, reading the rail car ID tags. The original devices were made using Commodore 64 boards using software written by an employee at the one rail road company working with them.

The company then hired some electrical engineers to design custom boards using the 68000 chips and I was hired as the only programmer. Had to rewrite all of the code which was fine...

wierd_w ( 1375923 ) , Saturday April 28, 2018 @11:58PM ( #56522075 )
... A job fair can easily test this competency. ( Score: 4 , Interesting)

Many of these languages have an interactive interpreter. I know for a fact that Python does.

So, since job-fairs are an all day thing, and setup is already a thing for them -- set up a booth with like 4 computers at it, and an admin station. The 4 terminals have an interactive session with the interpreter of choice. Every 20min or so, have a challenge for "Solve this problem" (needs to be easy and already solved in general. Programmers hate being pimped without pay. They don't mind tests of skill, but hate being pimped. Something like "sort this array, while picking out all the prime numbers" or something.) and see who steps up. The ones that step up have confidence they can solve the problem, and you can quickly see who can do the work and who can't.

The ones that solve it, and solve it to your satisfaction, you offer a nice gig to.

ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:50AM ( #56522321 )
Re:... A job fair can easily test this competency. ( Score: 5 , Informative)
Then you get someone good at sorting arrays while picking out prime numbers, but potentially not much else.

The point of the test is not to identify the perfect candidate, but to filter out the clearly incompetent. If you can't sort an array and write a function to identify a prime number, I certainly would not hire you. Passing the test doesn't get you a job, but it may get you an interview ... where there will be other tests.

wierd_w ( 1375923 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

BINGO!

(I am not even a professional programmer, but I can totally perform such a trivially easy task. The example tests basic understanding of loop construction, function construction, variable use, efficient sorting, and error correction-- especially with mixed type arrays. All of these are things any programmer SHOULD now how to do, without being overly complicated, or clearly a disguised occupational problem trying to get a free solution. Like I said, programmers hate being pimped, and will be turned off

wierd_w ( 1375923 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @04:02AM ( #56522443 )
Re: ... A job fair can easily test this competency ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

Again, the quality applicant and the code monkey both have something the fakers do not-- Actual comprehension of what a program is, and how to create one.

As Bill points out, this is not the final exam. This is the "Oh, I see you do actually know how to program-- show me more" portion of the process. This is the part that HR drones are not capable of performing, due to Dunning-Krueger. Those that are actually, REALLY competent will do more than just satisfy the requirements of the challenge, they will provide actually working solutions to the challenge that properly validate their input, and return proper error states if the input is invalid, etc-- You can learn a LOT about a potential hire by observing their work. *THAT* is what this is really about. The triviality of the problem is a necessity, because you ***DON'T*** try to get free solutions out of people.

I realize that may be difficult for you to comprehend, but you *DON'T* do that. The job fair is to let people know that you have a position available, and try to curry interest in people to apply. A successful pre-screening is confidence building, and helps the potential hire to feel that your company is actually interested in actually hiring somebody, and not just fucking off in the booth, to cover for "failing to find somebody" and then "Getting yet another H1B". It gives them a chance to show you what they can do. That is what it is for, and what it does. It also excludes the fakers that this article is about-- The ones that can talk a good talk, but could not program a simple boolean check condition if their life depended on it.

If it were not for the time constraints of a job fair (usually only 2 days, and in that time you need to try and pre-screen as many as possible), I would suggest a tiered challenge, with progressively harder challenges, where you hand out resumes to the ones that make it to the top 3 brackets, but that is not the way the world works.

luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
This in my opinion is really a waste of time. Challenges like this have to be so simple they can be done walking up to a booth are not likely to filter the "all talks" any better than a few interview questions could (imperson so the candidate can't just google it).

Tougher more involved stuff isn't good either it gives a huge advantage to the full time job hunter, the guy or gal that already has a 9-5 and a family that wants to seem them has not got time for games. We have been struggling with hiring where I work ( I do a lot of the interviews ) and these are the conclusions we have reached

You would be surprised at the number of people with impeccable-looking resumes failing at something as simple as the FizzBuzz test [codinghorror.com]

PaulRivers10 ( 4110595 ) writes:
Re: ... A job fair can easily test this competenc ( Score: 2 )

The only thing fuzzbuzz tests is "have you done fizzbuzz before"? It's a short question filled with every petty trick the author could think ti throw in there. If you haven't seen the tricks they trip you up for no reason related to your actual coding skills. Once you have seen them they're trivial and again unrelated to real work. Fizzbuzz is best passed by someone aiming to game the interview system. It passes people gaming it and trips up people who spent their time doing on the job real work.

Hognoxious ( 631665 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
they trip you up for no reason related to your actual codung skills.

Bullshit!

luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @07:49AM ( #56522861 ) Homepage
filter the lame code monkeys ( Score: 4 , Informative)
Lame monkey tests select for lame monkeys.

A good programmer first and foremost has a clean mind. Experience suggests puzzle geeks, who excel at contrived tests, are usually sloppy thinkers.

No. Good programmers can trivially knock out any of these so-called lame monkey tests. It's lame code monkeys who can't do it. And I've seen their work. Many night shifts and weekends I've burned trying to fix their shit because they couldn't actually do any of the things behind what you call "lame monkey tests", like:

    pulling expensive invariant calculations out of loops using for loops to scan a fucking table to pull rows or calculate an aggregate when they could let the database do what it does best with a simple SQL statement systems crashing under actual load because their shitty code was never stress tested ( but it worked on my dev box! .) again with databases, having to redo their schemas because they were fattened up so much with columns like VALUE1, VALUE2, ... VALUE20 (normalize you assholes!) chatting remote APIs - because these code monkeys cannot think about the need for bulk operations in increasingly distributed systems. storing dates in unsortable strings because the idiots do not know most modern programming languages have a date data type.

Oh and the most important, off-by-one looping errors. I see this all the time, the type of thing a good programmer can spot on quickly because he or she can do the so-called "lame monkey tests" that involve arrays and sorting.

I've seen the type: "I don't need to do this shit because I have business knowledge and I code for business and IT not google", and then they go and code and fuck it up... and then the rest of us have to go clean up their shit at 1AM or on weekends.

If you work as an hourly paid contractor cleaning that crap, it can be quite lucrative. But sooner or later it truly sucks the energy out of your soul.

So yeah, we need more lame monkey tests ... to filter the lame code monkeys.

ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )
Someone could Google the problem with the phone then step up and solve the challenge.

If given a spec, someone can consistently cobble together working code by Googling, then I would love to hire them. That is the most productive way to get things done.

There is nothing wrong with using external references. When I am coding, I have three windows open: an editor, a testing window, and a browser with a Stackoverflow tab open.

Junta ( 36770 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Yeah, when we do tech interviews, we ask questions that we are certain they won't be able to answer, but want to see how they would think about the problem and what questions they ask to get more data and that they don't just fold up and say "well that's not the sort of problem I'd be thinking of" The examples aren't made up or anything, they are generally selection of real problems that were incredibly difficult that our company had faced before, that one may not think at first glance such a position would

bobstreo ( 1320787 ) writes:
Nothing worse ( Score: 2 )

than spending weeks interviewing "good" candidates for an opening, selecting a couple and hiring them as contractors, then finding out they are less than unqualified to do the job they were hired for.

I've seen it a few times, Java "experts", Microsoft "experts" with years of experience on their resumes, but completely useless in coding, deployment or anything other than buying stuff from the break room vending machines.

That being said, I've also seen projects costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, with y

Anonymous Coward , Sunday April 29, 2018 @12:34AM ( #56522157 )
Re:Nothing worse ( Score: 4 , Insightful)

The moment you said "contractors", and you have lost any sane developer. Keep swimming, its not a fish.

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Informative)

I agree with this. I consider myself to be a good programmer and I would never go into contractor game. I also wonder, how does it take you weeks to interview someone and you still can't figure out if the person can't code? I could probably see that in 15 minutes in a pair coding session.

Also, Oracle, SAP, IBM... I would never buy from them, nor use their products. I have used plenty of IBM products and they suck big time. They make software development 100 times harder than it could be. Their technical supp

Lanthanide ( 4982283 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

It's weeks to interview multiple different candidates before deciding on 1 or 2 of them. Not weeks per person.

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 , Insightful)
That being said, I've also seen projects costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, with years of delays from companies like Oracle, Sun, SAP, and many other "vendors"

Software development is a hard thing to do well, despite the general thinking of technology becoming cheaper over time, and like health care the quality of the goods and services received can sometimes be difficult to ascertain. However, people who don't respect developers and the problems we solve are very often the same ones who continually frustrate themselves by trying to cheap out, hiring outsourced contractors, and then tearing their hair out when sub par results are delivered, if anything is even del

pauljlucas ( 529435 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

As part of your interview process, don't you have candidates code a solution to a problem on a whiteboard? I've interviewed lots of "good" candidates (on paper) too, but they crashed and burned when challenged with a coding exercise. As a result, we didn't make them job offers.

VeryFluffyBunny ( 5037285 ) writes:
I do the opposite ( Score: 2 )

I'm not a great coder but good enough to get done what clients want done. If I'm not sure or don't think I can do it, I tell them. I think they appreciate the honesty. I don't work in a tech-hub, startups or anything like that so I'm not under the same expectations and pressures that others may be.

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) writes:
Bigger building blocks ( Score: 2 )

OK, so yes, I know plenty of programmers who do fake it. But stitching together components isn't "fake" programming.

Back in the day, we had to write our own code to loop through an XML file, looking for nuggets. Now, we just use an XML serializer. Back then, we had to write our own routines to send TCP/IP messages back and forth. Now we just use a library.

I love it! I hated having to make my own bricks before I could build a house. Now, I can get down to the business of writing the functionality I want, ins

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Insightful)

But, I suspect you could write the component if you had to. That makes you a very different user of that component than someone who just knows it as a magic black box.

Because of this, you understand the component better and have real knowledge of its strengths and limitations. People blindly using components with only a cursory idea of their internal operation often cause major performance problems. They rarely recognize when it is time to write their own to overcome a limitation (or even that it is possibl

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

You're right on all counts. A person who knows how the innards work, is better than someone who doesn't, all else being equal. Still, today's world is so specialized that no one can possibly learn it all. I've never built a processor, as you have, but I still have been able to build a DNA matching algorithm for a major DNA lab.

I would argue that anyone who can skillfully use off-the-shelf components can also learn how to build components, if they are required to.

thesupraman ( 179040 ) writes:
Ummm. ( Score: 2 )

1, 'Back in the Day' there was no XML, XMl was not very long ago.
2, its a parser, a serialiser is pretty much the opposite (unless this weeks fashion has redefined that.. anything is possible).
3, 'Back then' we didnt have TCP stacks...

But, actually I agree with you. I can only assume the author thinks there are lots of fake plumbers because they dont cast their own toilet bowels from raw clay, and use pre-build fittings and pipes! That car mechanics start from raw steel scrap and a file.. And that you need

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

For the record, XML was invented in 1997, you know, in the last century! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
And we had a WinSock library in 1992. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Yes, I agree with you on the "middle ground." My reaction was to the author's point that "not knowing how to build the components" was the same as being a "fake programmer."

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:46AM ( #56522313 ) Homepage
Re:Bigger building blocks ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

If I'm a plumber, and I don't know anything about the engineering behind the construction of PVC pipe, I can still be a good plumber. If I'm an electrician, and I don't understand the role of a blast furnace in the making of the metal components, I can still be a good electrician.

The analogy fits. If I'm a programmer, and I don't know how to make an LZW compression library, I can still be a good programmer. It's a matter of layers. These days, we specialize. You've got your low-level programmers that make the components, the high level programmers that put together the components, the graphics guys who do HTML/CSS, and the SQL programmers that just know about databases. Every person has their specialty. It's no longer necessary to be a low-level programmer, or jack-of-all-trades, to be "good."

If I don't know the layout of the IP header, I can still write quality networking software, and if I know XSLT, I can still do cool stuff with XML, even if I don't know how to write a good parser.

frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )

I was with you until you said " I can still do cool stuff with XML".

Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

LOL yeah I know it's all JSON now. I've been around long enough to see these fads come and go. Frankly, I don't see a whole lot of advantage of JSON over XML. It's not even that much more compact, about 10% or so. But the point is that the author laments the "bad old days" when you had to create all your own building blocks, and you didn't have a team of specialists. I for one don't want to go back to those days!

careysub ( 976506 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )

The main advantage is that JSON is that it is consistent. XML has attributes, embedded optional stuff within tags. That was derived from the original SGML ancestor where is was thought to be a convenience for the human authors who were supposed to be making the mark-up manually. Programmatically it is a PITA.

Cederic ( 9623 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )

I got shit for decrying XML back when it was the trendy thing. I've had people apologise to me months later because they've realized I was right, even though at the time they did their best to fuck over my career because XML was the new big thing and I wasn't fully on board.

XML has its strengths and its place, but fuck me it taught me how little some people really fucking understand shit.

Anonymous Coward writes:
Silicon Valley is Only Part of the Tech Business ( Score: 2 , Informative)

And a rather small part at that, albeit a very visible and vocal one full of the proverbial prima donas. However, much of the rest of the tech business, or at least the people working in it, are not like that. It's small groups of developers working in other industries that would not typically be considered technology. There are software developers working for insurance companies, banks, hedge funds, oil and gas exploration or extraction firms, national defense and many hundreds and thousands of other small

phantomfive ( 622387 ) writes:
bonfire of fakers ( Score: 2 )

This is the reason I wish programming didn't pay so much....the field is better when it's mostly populated by people who enjoy programming.

Njovich ( 553857 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @05:35AM ( #56522641 )
Learn to code courses ( Score: 5 , Insightful)
They knew that well-paid programming jobs would also soon turn to smoke and ash, as the proliferation of learn-to-code courses around the world lowered the market value of their skills, and as advances in artificial intelligence allowed for computers to take over more of the mundane work of producing software.

Kind of hard to take this article serious after saying gibberish like this. I would say most good programmers know that neither learn-to-code courses nor AI are going to make a dent in their income any time soon.

AndyKron ( 937105 ) writes:
Me? No ( Score: 2 )

As a non-programmer Arduino and libraries are my friends

Escogido ( 884359 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @06:59AM ( #56522777 )
in the silly cone valley ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

There is a huge shortage of decent programmers. I have personally witnessed more than one phone "interview" that went like "have you done this? what about this? do you know what this is? um, can you start Monday?" (120K-ish salary range)

Partly because there are way more people who got their stupid ideas funded than good coders willing to stain their resume with that. partly because if you are funded, and cannot do all the required coding solo, here's your conundrum:

  • top level hackers can afford to be really picky, so on one hand it's hard to get them interested, and if you could get that, they often want some ownership of the project. the plus side is that they are happy to work for lots of equity if they have faith in the idea, but that can be a huge "if".
  • "good but not exceptional" senior engineers aren't usually going to be super happy, as they often have spouses and children and mortgages, so they'd favor job security over exciting ideas and startup lottery.
  • that leaves you with fresh-out-of-college folks, which are really really a mixed bunch. some are actually already senior level of understanding without the experience, some are absolutely useless, with varying degrees in between, and there's no easy way to tell which is which early.

so the not-so-scrupulous folks realized what's going on, and launched multiple coding boot camps programmes, to essentially trick both the students into believing they can become a coder in a month or two, and also the prospective employers that said students are useful. so far it's been working, to a degree, in part because in such companies coding skill evaluation process is broken. but one can only hide their lack of value add for so long, even if they do manage to bluff their way into a job.

quonset ( 4839537 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @07:20AM ( #56522817 )
Duh! ( Score: 4 , Insightful)

All one had to do was look at the lousy state of software and web sites today to see this is true. It's quite obvious little to no thought is given on how to make something work such that one doesn't have to jump through hoops.

I have many times said the most perfect word processing program ever developed was WordPefect 5.1 for DOS. Ones productivity was astonishing. It just worked.

Now we have the bloated behemoth Word which does its utmost to get in the way of you doing your work. The only way to get it to function is to turn large portions of its "features" off, and even then it still insists on doing something other than what you told it to do.

Then we have the abomination of Windows 10, which is nothing but Clippy on 10X steroids. It is patently obvious the people who program this steaming pile have never heard of simplicity. Who in their right mind would think having to "search" for something is more efficient than going directly to it? I would ask the question if these people wander around stores "searching" for what they're looking for, but then I realize that's how their entire life is run. They search for everything online rather than going directly to the source. It's no wonder they complain about not having time to things. They're always searching.

Web sites are another area where these people have no clue what they're doing. Anything that might be useful is hidden behind dropdown menus, flyouts, popup bubbles and intriately designed mazes of clicks needed to get to where you want to go. When someone clicks on a line of products, they shouldn't be harassed about what part of the product line they want to look at. Give them the information and let the user go where they want.

This rant could go on, but this article explains clearly why we have regressed when it comes to software and web design. Instead of making things simple and easy to use, using the one or two brain cells they have, programmers and web designers let the software do what it wants without considering, should it be done like this?

swb ( 14022 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @07:48AM ( #56522857 )
Tech industry churn ( Score: 3 )

The tech industry has a ton of churn -- there's some technological advancement, but there's an awful lot of new products turned out simply to keep customers buying new licenses and paying for upgrades.

This relentless and mostly phony newness means a lot of people have little experience with current products. People fake because they have no choice. The good ones understand the general technologies and problems they're meant to solve and can generally get up to speed quickly, while the bad ones are good at faking it but don't really know what they're doing. Telling the difference from the outside is impossible.

Sales people make it worse, promoting people as "experts" in specific products or implementations because the people have experience with a related product and "they're all the same". This burns out the people with good adaption skills.

DaMattster ( 977781 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @08:39AM ( #56522979 )
Interesting ( Score: 3 )

From the summary, it sounds like a lot of programmers and software engineers are trying to develop the next big thing so that they can literally beg for money from the elite class and one day, hopefully, become a member of the aforementioned. It's sad how the middle class has been utterly decimated in the United States that some of us are willing to beg for scraps from the wealthy. I used to work in IT but I've aged out and am now back in school to learn automotive technology so that I can do something other than being a security guard. Currently, the only work I have been able to find has been in the unglamorous security field.

I am learning some really good new skills in the automotive program that I am in but I hate this one class called "Professionalism in the Shop." I can summarize the entire class in one succinct phrase, "Learn how to appeal to, and communicate with, Mr. Doctor, Mr. Lawyer, or Mr. Wealthy-man." Basically, the class says that we are supposed to kiss their ass so they keep coming back to the Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, or Cadillac dealership. It feels a lot like begging for money on behalf of my employer (of which very little of it I will see) and nothing like professionalism. Professionalism is doing the job right the first time, not jerking the customer off. Professionalism is not begging for a 5 star review for a few measly extra bucks but doing absolute top quality work. I guess the upshot is that this class will be the easiest 4.0 that I've ever seen.

There is something fundamentally wrong when the wealthy elite have basically demanded that we beg them for every little scrap. I can understand the importance of polite and professional interaction but this prevalent expectation that we bend over backwards for them crosses a line with me. I still suck it up because I have to but it chafes my ass to basically validate the wealthy man.

ElitistWhiner ( 79961 ) writes:
Natural talent... ( Score: 2 )

In 70's I worked with two people who had a natural talent for computer science algorithms .vs. coding syntax. In the 90's while at COLUMBIA I worked with only a couple of true computer scientists out of 30 students. I've met 1 genius who programmed, spoke 13 languages, ex-CIA, wrote SWIFT and spoke fluent assembly complete with animated characters.

According to the Bluff Book, everyone else without natural talent fakes it. In the undiluted definition of computer science, genetics roulette and intellectual d

fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) writes:
Other book sells better and is more interesting ( Score: 2 )
New Book Describes 'Bluffing' Programmers in Silicon Valley

It's not as interesting as the one about "fluffing" [urbandictionary.com] programmers.

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 , Funny)

Ah yes, the good old 80:20 rule, except it's recursive for programmers.

80% are shit, so you fire them. Soon you realize that 80% of the remaining 20% are also shit, so you fire them too. Eventually you realize that 80% of the 4% remaining after sacking the 80% of the 20% are also shit, so you fire them!

...

The cycle repeats until there's just one programmer left: the person telling the joke.

---

tl;dr: All programmers suck. Just ask them to review their own code from more than 3 years ago: they'll tell you that

luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )
Who gives a fuck about lines? If someone gave me JavaScript, and someone gave me minified JavaScript, which one would I want to maintain?

I donâ(TM)t care about your line savings, less isnâ(TM)t always better.

Because the world of programming is not centered about JavasScript and reduction of lines is not the same as minification. If the first thing that came to your mind was about minified JavaScript when you saw this conversation, you are certainly not the type of programmer I would want to inherit code from.

See, there's a lot of shit out there that is overtly redundant and unnecessarily complex. This is specially true when copy-n-paste code monkeys are left to their own devices for whom code formatting seems

Anonymous Coward , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:17AM ( #56522241 )
Re:Most "Professional programmers" are useless. ( Score: 4 , Interesting)

I have a theory that 10% of people are good at what they do. It doesn't really matter what they do, they will still be good at it, because of their nature. These are the people who invent new things, who fix things that others didn't even see as broken and who automate routine tasks or simply question and erase tasks that are not necessary. If you have a software team that contain 5 of these, you can easily beat a team of 100 average people, not only in cost but also in schedule, quality and features. In theory they are worth 20 times more than average employees, but in practise they are usually paid the same amount of money with few exceptions.

80% of people are the average. They can follow instructions and they can get the work done, but they don't see that something is broken and needs fixing if it works the way it has always worked. While it might seem so, these people are not worthless. There are a lot of tasks that these people are happily doing which the 10% don't want to do. E.g. simple maintenance work, implementing simple features, automating test cases etc. But if you let the top 10% lead the project, you most likely won't be needed that much of these people. Most work done by these people is caused by themselves, by writing bad software due to lack of good leader.

10% are just causing damage. I'm not talking about terrorists and criminals. I have seen software developers who have tried (their best?), but still end up causing just damage to the code that someone else needs to fix, costing much more than their own wasted time. You really must use code reviews if you don't know your team members, to find these people early.

Anonymous Coward , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:40AM ( #56522299 )
Re:Most "Professional programmers" are useless. ( Score: 5 , Funny)
to find these people early

and promote them to management where they belong.

raymorris ( 2726007 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:51AM ( #56522329 ) Journal
Seems about right. Constantly learning, studying ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

That seems about right to me.

I have a lot of weaknesses. My people skills suck, I'm scrawny, I'm arrogant. I'm also generally known as a really good programmer and people ask me how/why I'm so much better at my job than everyone else in the room. (There are a lot of things I'm not good at, but I'm good at my job, so say everyone I've worked with.)

I think one major difference is that I'm always studying, intentionally working to improve, every day. I've been doing that for twenty years.

I've worked with people who have "20 years of experience"; they've done the same job, in the same way, for 20 years. Their first month on the job they read the first half of "Databases for Dummies" and that's what they've been doing for 20 years. They never read the second half, and use Oracle database 18.0 exactly the same way they used Oracle Database 2.0 - and it was wrong 20 years ago too. So it's not just experience, it's 20 years of learning, getting better, every day. That's 7,305 days of improvement.

gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

I think I can guarantee that they are a lot better at their jobs than you think, and that you are a lot worse at your job than you think too.

m00sh ( 2538182 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
That seems about right to me.

I have a lot of weaknesses. My people skills suck, I'm scrawny, I'm arrogant. I'm also generally known as a really good programmer and people ask me how/why I'm so much better at my job than everyone else in the room. (There are a lot of things I'm not good at, but I'm good at my job, so say everyone I've worked with.)

I think one major difference is that I'm always studying, intentionally working to improve, every day. I've been doing that for twenty years.

I've worked with people who have "20 years of experience"; they've done the same job, in the same way, for 20 years. Their first month on the job they read the first half of "Databases for Dummies" and that's what they've been doing for 20 years. They never read the second half, and use Oracle database 18.0 exactly the same way they used Oracle Database 2.0 - and it was wrong 20 years ago too. So it's not just experience, it's 20 years of learning, getting better, every day. That's 7,305 days of improvement.

If you take this attitude towards other people, people will not ask your for help. At the same time, you'll be also be not able to ask for their help.

You're not interviewing your peers. They are already in your team. You should be working together.

I've seen superstar programmers suck the life out of project by over-complicating things and not working together with others.

raymorris ( 2726007 ) writes:
Which part? Learning makes you better? ( Score: 2 )

You quoted a lot. Is there one part exactly do you have in mind? The thesis of my post is of course "constant learning, on purpose, makes you better"

> you take this attitude towards other people, people will not ask your for help. At the same time, you'll be also be not able to ask for their help.

Are you saying that trying to learn means you can't ask for help, or was there something more specific? For me, trying to learn means asking.

Trying to learn, I've had the opportunity to ask for help from peop

phantomfive ( 622387 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

The difference between a smart programmer who succeeds and a stupid programmer who drops out is that the smart programmer doesn't give up.

complete loony ( 663508 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

In other words;

What is often mistaken for 20 years' experience, is just 1 year's experience repeated 20 times.
serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

10% are just causing damage. I'm not talking about terrorists and criminals.

Terrorists and criminals have nothing on those guys. I know guy who is one of those. Worse, he's both motivated and enthusiastic. He also likes to offer help and advice to other people who don't know the systems well.

asifyoucare ( 302582 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @08:49AM ( #56522999 )
Re:Most "Professional programmers" are useless. ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

Good point. To quote Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord:

"I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief."

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Oops. Good thing I never did anything military. I am definitely in the "clever and lazy" class.

apoc.famine ( 621563 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

I was just thinking the same thing. One of my passions in life is coming up with clever ways to do less work while getting more accomplished.

Software_Dev_GL ( 5377065 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

It's called the Pareto Distribution [wikipedia.org]. The number of competent people (people doing most of the work) in any given organization goes like the square root of the number of employees.

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Matches my observations. 10-15% are smart, can think independently, can verify claims by others and can identify and use rules in whatever they do. They are not fooled by things "everybody knows" and see standard-approaches as first approximations that, of course, need to be verified to work. They do not trust anything blindly, but can identify whether something actually work well and build up a toolbox of such things.

The problem is that in coding, you do not have a "(mass) production step", and that is the

geoskd ( 321194 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

In basic concept I agree with your theory, it fits my own anecdotal experience well, but I find that your numbers are off. The top bracket is actually closer to 20%. The reason it seems so low is that a large portion of the highly competent people are running one programmer shows, so they have no co-workers to appreciate their knowledge and skill. The places they work do a very good job of keeping them well paid and happy (assuming they don't own the company outright), so they rarely if ever switch jobs.

The

Tablizer ( 95088 ) , Sunday April 29, 2018 @01:54AM ( #56522331 ) Journal
Re:Most "Professional programmers" are useless. ( Score: 4 , Interesting)
at least 70, probably 80, maybe even 90 percent of professional programmers should just fuck off and do something else as they are useless at programming.

Programming is statistically a dead-end job. Why should anyone hone a dead-end skill that you won't be able to use for long? For whatever reason, the industry doesn't want old programmers.

Otherwise, I'd suggest longer training and education before they enter the industry. But that just narrows an already narrow window of use.

Cesare Ferrari ( 667973 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Well, it does rather depend on which industry you work in - i've managed to find interesting programming jobs for 25 years, and there's no end in sight for interesting projects and new avenues to explore. However, this isn't for everyone, and if you have good personal skills then moving from programming into some technical management role is a very worthwhile route, and I know plenty of people who have found very interesting work in that direction.

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 , Insightful)

I think that is a misinterpretation of the facts. Old(er) coders that are incompetent are just much more obvious and usually are also limited to technologies that have gotten old as well. Hence the 90% old coders that can actually not hack it and never really could get sacked at some time and cannot find a new job with their limited and outdated skills. The 10% that are good at it do not need to worry though. Who worries there is their employers when these people approach retirement age.

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

My experience as an IT Security Consultant (I also do some coding, but only at full rates) confirms that. Most are basically helpless and many have negative productivity, because people with a clue need to clean up after them. "Learn to code"? We have far too many coders already.

tomhath ( 637240 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

You can't bluff you way through writing software, but many, many people have bluffed their way into a job and then tried to learn it from the people who are already there. In a marginally functional organization those incompetents are let go pretty quickly, but sometimes they stick around for months or years.

Apparently the author of this book is one of those, probably hired and fired several times before deciding to go back to his liberal arts roots and write a book.

DaMattster ( 977781 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

There are some mechanics that bluff their way through an automotive repair. It's the same damn thing

gweihir ( 88907 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

I think you can and this is by far not the first piece describing that. Here is a classic: https://blog.codinghorror.com/... [codinghorror.com]
Yet these people somehow manage to actually have "experience" because they worked in a role they are completely unqualified to fill.

phantomfive ( 622387 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
Fiddling with JavaScript libraries to get a fancy dancy interface that makes PHB's happy is a sought-after skill, for good or bad. Now that we rely more on half-ass libraries, much of "programming" is fiddling with dark-grey boxes until they work good enough.

This drives me crazy, but I'm consoled somewhat by the fact that it will all be thrown out in five years anyway.

[Apr 29, 2018] The Cranes are Flying (The Criterion Collection) Tatyana Samoylova Aleksey Batalov

For his role in this him soviet star Aleksey Batalov won Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival .
Jul 03, 2002 | www.amazon.com

July 3, 2002 Format: DVD | Verified Purchase

My favorite Russian classic

I've never been a huge fan of soviet cinema until I saw this great movie a few months ago. Sure Eisenstein is a great director and he made wonderful classics but this is probably the first Russian movie that I can identify with the characters since the Eisenstein movies and a few others that I've seen like Earth (Alexander Dovzhenko, 1930) are very political and showing me a culture and a way of life that is interesting and informative but that I can't identify with.

This movie tells a simple story about a young couple (Veronika and Boris) that is separated because Boris as to go to war. I think I love this movie so much because it is so open and so full of humanity. It is also very poetic particularly when Boris is at the front and he dreams about his girl back home.

But the thing that I admire the most is the superior cinematography, the camera angles are stunning and the close-ups (very close) are almost disturbing because you feel that you are spying on them or following them anywhere they go.

Also, great scenes with hand held cameras and used wisely not just to use it but at chosen moments to accentuate dramatic scenes or to show chaos during this time of war.

It amaze me that a great reference for cinematography like that is not use or missuse in movies today. If you can, try to catch the movie I am Cuba with the same great director and the same wonderful cinematography, the story is political but unlike early Russian movies of Eisenstein and such, the characters are warmer and you can identify with them.

August 14, 2017 Format: DVD | Verified Purchase
Very well shot and produced, great story with a big surprise ending.

Since my Wife is Russian, I have a new found interest in Russian movies. This is an early film with the lead role being played by the same actor from "Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears". The movie has a great story, very well shot and produced with a big surprise ending.

January 20, 2003 Format: DVD | Verified Purchase
A beautiful, well acted movie.

This is one of my favorite movies. It's quality is typical of what I have come to expect of a Criterion reconstruction. Something along the lines of HDTV black and white. It's that good.

The story itself is situated at the begining of Russia's Great Patriotic War (WWII). The story covers every inch of human behaviour including happiness, love, sorrow, deceit, manipulation, and heroism against all odds.

The last quarter of the movie is a stunning surprise, as it builds to an ending scene that is nothing less than a grand tribute to the best of what makes us human.

Even hardcore war movie fans (like me) can expect blurred vision at the end of this film. Not sappy at all, this film will strike a chord with viewers of any country, and most generations. It is not a single view disk.

I don't even know if it has an English language soundtrack, as the tonality of the Russian soundtrack combined with the very well produced English subtitles offers a great connection to the film even for non Russian speaking people. Buy this disk, you wil enjoy it over and over.

[Apr 29, 2018] Paths of Glory Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Apr 29, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Bwhami 5.0 out of 5 stars | Verified Purchase

The movie tells the tragic story of three Frenchmen who a selected to be court marshaled for a Generals bad decision. It also de

Paths of Glory takes place during World War I. The movie tells the tragic story of three Frenchmen who a selected to be court marshaled for a Generals bad decision. It also depicts the differences between the old officer class and the foot soldier. In one scene the General Paul Mireau is talking to Colonel Dax, played by Kirk Douglas about the projected losses when the French Army will assault the "Ant Hill', a German held position that is well protected. The General is speaking in percentages, but Douglas talks about the loss of him men. It is plain to see that the General does not really care of the common soldier. WWI saw the death of the old way of fighting a war and the passing of the old Aristocrat Military leaders who saw war as a way of life. Near the beginning of the movie Colonel Dax is referred to as one of the Best defense Lawyers in France. He uses all his skills to defend the three men selected to die. Their fate has already been decided and the trial is only a formality. There is a battle fought and lost . Watching the three men discuss their fate is painful. The final scene where a young German girl is forced to sing to the French soldiers is very touching as the men begin to hum to the tune of the song. Some are moved to tears. I highly recommend this movie.

April 23, 2015 Format: Amazon Video | Verified Purchase
This is a terrific anit-war pic

This is a terrific anit-war pic, one that doesn't bang you over the head with sentimentality or hold back on war's ugliness. Although there are a lot of films I like that can be accused of glorifying the practice---namely, "The Longest Day", "Glory", and "Patton" are a few of my favorites--this film stands with "Grand Illusion" and "All Quiet on the Western Front" at bringing a more critical look at what may have been the least justifiable war of the 20th century (World War I). Kirk Douglas gives a terrific performance in one of his earlier films, of a commander faced with sending his troops to complete a task he knows is impossible and fighting the more delusional brass who are insisting upon it. Great performances by George McReady as a general more interested in his career than the safety of his men, and Adolphe Anjou.

[Apr 28, 2018] A Higher Loyalty Truth, Lies, and Leadership

Comey career was damaged by his treatment of Hillary email scandal and derailing Sanders; clearly the political role the FBI assumed. So this is a memoir of a politician who happened to work in law enforcement, and should be treated as such.
An investigation of real Comey role in derailing Sanders and electing Trump still is a matter of the future.
Rosenstein memo pictures quite a different portrait Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's Memo Against James Comey, Annotated - The Atlantic
Notable quotes:
"... Comey is more than willing on several occasions to make misguided decisions because of his uncompromising loyalty to the FBI. Loyalty to the FBI is ever bit as dangerous as loyalty to the president. ..."
"... I am not a fan of James Comey and to this day I have never seen an answer to why it would be ok for the FBI director to hold a press conference for what seemed to be injecting his own political thoughts and opinions far too close to an election to not have known it would have an effect. ..."
"... Comey goes on to say that "in mid June the Russian Government began dumping emails stolen from the institutions associated with the Democratic Party." Here he is implying that Wikileaks is the Russian Government without any evidence to back it up. ..."
"... Is Comey saying Russia in order to protect Clinton?, its possible. Comey has said in his Book he has been investigating the Clintons since the Clinton administration. Each of those investigations he has let the Clintons walk free and has stop the investigations unexpectedly even when evidence appears to pile up, he does admit that Hillary Clinton destroyed evidence even after receiving a subpoena .Comey investigated a suicide in the clintons white house. Comey was behind an investigation of Bill clinton in January 2002. ..."
"... Comey tries to imply if you did not go along with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election and not supported her or made no positive comments about her as "associating or working with the Russians". I believe this mindset is very dangerous to suggest if you did not support Hillary Clinton for president as if working with the Russians. ..."
"... He says that "Candidate Clinton herself was talking about the Russian effort to elect her opponent.", well we do know that she was who paid for the slanderous "dossier" which is why she knew about what was in the dossier before the "Dossier" was publish by Buzzfeed and CNN. ..."
"... Before the election Comey said he did his job as if Hillary was already President and as if working for Her even though the election was weeks to come. He says " I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next President" ..."
"... Comey expected Trump to curse Russia based on what the suppose "evidence" or the DNC funded "dossier". We do know that the Clinton campaign was running the DNC before Hillary was nominated based on Donna Brazile latest book where she implies that Hillary Clinton cheated Bernie Sanders. ..."
"... Yet Comey fails to mention that he signed a FISA warrant based on the "Dossier" paid by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. He said the Dossier was "salacious and unverified". The Dossier was politically crafted much of it has been proven to be false yet Comey use it to get a FISA warrant. ..."
"... Finishing, Comey goes on to slander president Trump of undermining public confidence in law enforcement institutions when this enforcement institutions have been caught lying, protecting politicians like Hillary Clinton having a double standard when it comes to investigating certain politicians and letting them walk free before finishing an investigation. ..."
"... Comey had his issues with the Justice Department, especially Loretta Lynch although he never says that she had sinister intent. ..."
Apr 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com

mick on April 25, 2018

Loyal to whom?

James Comey is articulate and makes his case in an interesting and effective manner. He seems competent and well intentioned. Problem is he, like many, considers lying about a crime a greater crime than the crime. It is not the case. If someone commits murder, is lying about it worse than the murder?

He rightfully seems horrified that Trump demands loyalty, but Comey is more than willing on several occasions to make misguided decisions because of his uncompromising loyalty to the FBI. Loyalty to the FBI is ever bit as dangerous as loyalty to the president.

Tucker Lieberman on April 18, 2018
A justification of the Clinton email server investigation and a nonpartisan critique of Trump's erosion of norms

A skillfully written and affecting memoir. Comey shares formative experiences: suffering a random attack by a serial home invader as a teenager, being bullied and then bullying, losing an infant son. There's a lot of detail about his decision to announce the reopening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server right before the election. Given that situation as he described it, had I been in his shoes, I can't say for sure what I would have done. He means to reveal the ethical complexity and he does it well.

He speaks positively of working for President George W. Bush and then for President Obama, but he has no such appreciation for President Trump. Contradicting longstanding norms of U.S. government, Trump demanded loyalty from Comey in his nonpartisan, ten-year term as the FBI Director, and when Comey did not give it unconditionally and did not halt the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump fired him. "We had that thing, you know," Trump said to Comey, referring to the previous conversation in which he had asked for loyalty. Comey's knowledge of La Cosa Nostra ("that thing of ours," the Mafia's name for itself) adds a layer of meaning. Comey knows what Mafia guys are like, and he does not live like them; he is not swayed by appeals to loyalty. That's how he became FBI Director and that's also how he lost his job under Trump.

"I say this as someone who has worked in law enforcement for most of my life, and served presidents of both parties. What is happening now," he warns from his new position as a private citizen, "is not normal. It is not fake news. It is not okay." For those who support Trump's policy agenda because they believe it will benefit them personally somehow, Comey delivers a reminder that "the core of our nation is our commitment to a set of shared values that began with George Washington -- to restraint and integrity and balance and transparency and truth. If that slides away from us, only a fool would be consoled by a tax cut or a different immigration policy."

Irene on April 17, 2018
A higher loyalty

I am not a fan of James Comey and to this day I have never seen an answer to why it would be ok for the FBI director to hold a press conference for what seemed to be injecting his own political thoughts and opinions far too close to an election to not have known it would have an effect.

If you watch the news at all or read the 1 star reviews by people who appear not to have read the book you will be led to believe this is a book about Trump, and bashing him, or outing him as unfit in some way.

Especially if you know that the RNC has gone out of their way to create a website just ahead of the book release for the sole purpose of Comey bashing. So let me bust that myth. This is not a book about Trump. There are no big jaw dropping Trump secrets here.

This is a book about James Comey, from his early childhood until the here and now. Comey touches on childhood memories, being bullied, later on participating or at least turning a blind eye to bullyng himself. He speaks on his experience being home alone with his brother when the "Ramsey Rapist" broke into his house. He tells you how and why he decided to pursue law as a career instead of becoming a doctor. There are humorous anecdotes about his first job in the grocery store and yes some about his final days as FBI director. You do not have to be a fan of Comey or any of his decisions to enjoy this book. You may or may not be satisfied with his explanation of why he decided to make such public announcements on Hilary's emails, but that is a small part of this book. Personally I was not satisfied and he does admit that others may have handled it differently. If you are only looking for bombshells this book is not for you. By the time it gets to the visit to alert Trump to the salacious allegations the book is 70% over, because as I said this is not a book about Trump.

Even if I do not agree with Comey's decisions to publicly give his opinion on one candidate while withholding the fact that there is an investigation surrounding the other even with the "classified info" that he says we still do not know about I was still able to enjoy this book. I agree with his assessment in the last televised interview he gave, that if Comey is an idiot he is at least an honest idiot.

Omar Gonzalez on April 21, 2018
Just finished reading 100% of the book. James Comey

Just finished reading 100% of the book. James Comey starts with sharing an experience of a time his house was broken in by a robber while his parents were away and he was alone with Pete. James Comey recounts his investigations of the Mafia. James Comey talks about having Malaria and thanks his wife Patrice for taking him on the back of her motorcycle to the Hospital. He mentions his family life and his new born son Collin who passed away in the hospital after Doctors failed to give Collin treatment while Collin was already showing abnormal behavior.

Comey goes on to talk about his role as FBI director during the Obama Administration.

He talks about Micheal Brown and how fake news caused a big up roar and hatred on police by their distortion on what happened in Ferguson and thus caused great divisions.

Comey tries to justify the outcome of not prosecuting what clinton did with her private email server which had classified government data by saying that even if her actions were bad though a statute was broken and had lied to FBI officials about having classified information but she did so carelessly.

He says that the Clinton campaign was calling the criminal investigation surrounding Hillary Clinton a "matter" and he says that Attorney General Loretta Lynch was strangely telling him to do the same when confronting the media.

When Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton privately on a tarmac he saw it not as a big deal, though it was after this private meeting that the decision of not prosecuting Secretary Hillary Clinton was decided . So this shows that the Clinton campaign had influence on the outcome of the investigation concerning Clinton.

Comey goes on to say that "in mid June the Russian Government began dumping emails stolen from the institutions associated with the Democratic Party." Here he is implying that Wikileaks is the Russian Government without any evidence to back it up. Though Wikileaks has already said that it was not Russia but someone living in the United States who sent the emails to Wikileaks.

Is Comey saying Russia in order to protect Clinton?, its possible. Comey has said in his Book he has been investigating the Clintons since the Clinton administration. Each of those investigations he has let the Clintons walk free and has stop the investigations unexpectedly even when evidence appears to pile up, he does admit that Hillary Clinton destroyed evidence even after receiving a subpoena .Comey investigated a suicide in the clintons white house. Comey was behind an investigation of Bill clinton in January 2002.

Comey mentions the piss dossier as evidence "strongly suggesting that the Russian government was trying to interfere in the election in 3 ways." He later admits the suppose "evidence" as "unverifiable", this is the same "dossier" that was used to grant a FISA warrant to spy on Clinton opponent Donald Trump which was paid by Hillary Clinton and her campaign.

Comey tries to imply if you did not go along with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election and not supported her or made no positive comments about her as "associating or working with the Russians". I believe this mindset is very dangerous to suggest if you did not support Hillary Clinton for president as if working with the Russians. Again this is all based on the "unverifiable dossier" , even though the suggested "evidence" is unverifiable a tyrant Government can use this to justify in going after ANYONE who speaks against the corruption going within former director James Comey FBI.

He says that "Candidate Clinton herself was talking about the Russian effort to elect her opponent.", well we do know that she was who paid for the slanderous "dossier" which is why she knew about what was in the dossier before the "Dossier" was publish by Buzzfeed and CNN.

He says that his family were Hillary supporters and that they attended the "Woman's March" which was more of a rally in protest to President Trump presidency. Before the election Comey said he did his job as if Hillary was already President and as if working for Her even though the election was weeks to come. He says " I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next President"

Comey goes on to talk about Donald Trump inauguration and as FBI director fails to talk about the riots and protestors blocking the entrance to the inauguration where they set a limousine on fire, stores were broken in including a Starbucks. He compares Trump inauguration to Obama but Obama had no rioters.

Comey expected Trump to curse Russia based on what the suppose "evidence" or the DNC funded "dossier". We do know that the Clinton campaign was running the DNC before Hillary was nominated based on Donna Brazile latest book where she implies that Hillary Clinton cheated Bernie Sanders.

Yet Comey fails to mention that he signed a FISA warrant based on the "Dossier" paid by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. He said the Dossier was "salacious and unverified". The Dossier was politically crafted much of it has been proven to be false yet Comey use it to get a FISA warrant.

Finishing, Comey goes on to slander president Trump of undermining public confidence in law enforcement institutions when this enforcement institutions have been caught lying, protecting politicians like Hillary Clinton having a double standard when it comes to investigating certain politicians and letting them walk free before finishing an investigation.

JWM on April 27, 2018
A better title would have been " An American's Highest Loyalty"

This memoir is an important piece in the analysis of turn of the century politics in the United States. It is unfortunate that the media hype for this book has been about the more recent turmoil in James Comey's service to his country. True, the Trump administration is different and in many ways dysfunctional. But it is only in the part of the book, that he deals with it's dysfunction.

If one reads carefully, President Trump is only a more obvious and verbal and transparent figure in his disdain for the judiciary and the justice department. Dick Cheney and others in the Bush 43 administration are portrayed as far more sinister in their actions to sublimate justice after 9/11.

His admiration for President Obama is evident and little discussed in the media.

Comey had his issues with the Justice Department, especially Loretta Lynch although he never says that she had sinister intent. His dealings with the Clinton email controversy is well outlined. His dilemma with his communication regarding his investigation and its reopening was inadequately described in the book and his naivety that its reopening would not influence the election is remarkable. He supposes that the average American voter understands how the investigative system and justice system works.

His demeaning comments about President Trump's physical flaws add nothing to the book. I can understand why he wrote them in as these kinds of notations sell books. They added nothing to the story he had to tell. He should have left them out.

I appreciate that he does not give loyalty to a person. What makes America great is that we are loyal to an idea. Even if we disagree on the interpretation of the Constitution, we can all be American. His loyalty seems to be to honesty and integrity which is admirable. However the highest loyalty should be to one's reading of the Constitution. I just wished he had said it.

[Apr 26, 2018] Peplink SUS-SOHO-T Pepwave Surf Soho MK3

Apr 26, 2018 | www.amazon.com

January 13, 2017 Verified Purchase

Buy this and don't bother with anything else.

Unlike the consumer equipment, the web interface is informative and responsive. It is easy to set up and works great. Additionally, I scanned the router and found no security issues; my former wireless router had unpatched security issues, and Netgear had no plans to upgrade the firmware. Meanwhile, Peplink still updates the firmware. Since it is enterprise grade, it stays connected for a long time; I have purchased this wireless router for both my home and a non-profit; neither unit has lost the connection, nor have they had to be rebooted. I am surprised this unit is not sold at office supply stores, which only sell the same consumer grade gear you can get anywhere else. I'm also surprised this unit isn't regularly reviewed by the computer magazines since it is a higher quality piece of equipment with greater stability than anything else offered at a consumer-level price point.

Neither Amazon nor Peplink indicates this comes with antennas; Amazon suggests the purchase of antennas along with the unit. So imagine my surprise when there were antennas in the box. However, there were no setup instructions in the box -- no paperwork of any kind. I had to use my phone to get to the Peplink website and didn't find any instructions there either. Finally, I went to their community forums and got the instructions. (Use an Ethernet connection initially; browse to 192.168.50.1; UserId: admin; PWD: admin.)

December 27, 2016 Verified Purchase
Great purchase!

Received my MK3 router today. This is the first peplink product that I have dealt with. I run a computer repair shop and was anxious to try this out to see if I can recommend the MK3 to customers. I am pretty happy with the setup and options that this thing comes with. Best part about this router is that I can setup wifi networks with ease and then download the configuration file for backup. No more having to retype all of that stuff for customers when I have to reset to factory. The incontrol online portal is pretty awesome too. I don't think I'll ever recommend a store bought router over this handy piece of equipment. Haven't tested the failover WAN with my phone wifi yet but that's next on my list. A++ so far.

August 3, 2016 Verified Purchase
Great little unit.

Worked as discribed. I connected a Verizin Mifi to the pep link and it boost the signal all around my house. 1800sq ft. Also got my security camera system hooked to it via Ethernet and it broadcast clear video footage to the Internet so I can view on my phone.

Make sure you go into the settings and click "max signal boost" and turn on the external antenna. It don't come set that way from factory.

August 3, 2017 Verified Purchase
So good I set up another one for family

Realized a family member had an old Belkin G series router. No updates, just waiting to get hit. Ordered this from the 3G store once again (they are really great and friendly) and had it shipped to their house. Other than them being stuck on Cox I was able to have everything set up in 10 minutes. Two hours of rebooting the Cox modem to get the phone service to remain on. Did the update to take the router to version 7 and no complaints about speed (much faster to all devices), home and devices are much safer, and I can always reach out to the 3G store staff should I have any issues (did I mention those folks are great and very friendly!)

February 8, 2016 Verified Purchase
Very good router. Now offered in 801 a/c version. Bought it for it's good security & support reputation.

UPDATED PREAMBLE TO MY OLDER REVIEW (4/21/2017).

The model currently marketed by Amazon (as of April 20th, 2017) is a "Mark 3" version of the SOHO which now supports the latest "802.11 ac" Wi-Fi standard. It also now support Gigabit ports. It only costs 20 dollars more than what I paid for my "N" version a year or so back - well worth if for the potential performance gains. So this is good news for consumers.

I'm happy as a clam with my older "N" version of this PEPLINK SOHO router. I'm writing this "preamble" to my older review because Amazon insists on lumping all the Peplink SOHO reviews together. I believe the newer MK3 version will provide backwards compatibility/support for people who still have laptops / devices where their chipsets transmit / receive 802.11n, 802.11g and 802.11b.

I would guess that, with the revisions in the Mark 3, IF you have Gigabit connectivity from your ISP and also 802.11ac capable devices (tablet, laptop, gaming, etc) then 4 or 5 people can probably simultaneously "hog down" on 1080p movies and will not experience stuttering.

[Apr 24, 2018] 12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

Notable quotes:
"... We are complicated pieces in an even more complicated puzzle. ..."
"... Peterson states that "life is tragic." His point is that people need to be ready to deal with adversity. Anyone can handle good times, because that's what we are able to rest and relax during. The true test of a person comes when they lose a loved one or a job or their health. They need to make a decision: what will they do in response. ..."
"... His 12 Rules serve as a guide on how to go from that point of failure to a point of redemption, offering a series of suggestions and guidelines to take a life that is becoming corrupted by hatred of the world and everything in it and turn it into a vessel for growth and self-improvement. ..."
Apr 24, 2018 | www.amazon.com

... Approaching Peterson a skeptic, I was not sure that reading a book would have the power to change anything in my life. The first few chapters were met with nods, hesitancy, and the concession of points that sounded good. I wasn't hostile to him, and I found many of his points quite clever.

But when Peterson delved deeper into the archetypes and depth psychology I became suspicious. I had a moderate distrust of the Jungian method; I use it to teach literature, but I did not believe in using archetypes to assess personality.

Peterson's point is that we are all part of something great and interconnected. Because it is so massive, we need to be working to make sense of it. It won't happen automatically, and if we go for an easy explanation we may find ourselves walking dark, treacherous paths of misanthropy and rejection.

We are complicated pieces in an even more complicated puzzle. Peterson's approach is one of self improvement. When we take steps to sort ourselves out, we also need to enter a symbiotic process of bringing order to our world.

The purpose of this is not to achieve some sort of superiority. It is to achieve survival. The world will change, and we will be forced to adapt.

Peterson states that "life is tragic." His point is that people need to be ready to deal with adversity. Anyone can handle good times, because that's what we are able to rest and relax during. The true test of a person comes when they lose a loved one or a job or their health. They need to make a decision: what will they do in response.

Peterson uses haunting examples to illustrate what happens when this goes wrong. Using everything from Dostoevsky to the Soviet Union (and countless other insights from modern and historical figures), he creates case studies of what happens when things go wrong and people turn to dysfunction rather than improving their situation.

His 12 Rules serve as a guide on how to go from that point of failure to a point of redemption, offering a series of suggestions and guidelines to take a life that is becoming corrupted by hatred of the world and everything in it and turn it into a vessel for growth and self-improvement.

Is it a perfect guide to living life? No. Is it helpful? Does it give insight to great truths? Yes.

[Apr 23, 2018] 12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos

Notable quotes:
"... his theme of the inevitability of suffering. ..."
"... This book is too long, too verbose, too complicated for its purported goals ..."
"... Unfortunately, this book reads a lot like one of those lectures. While Peterson still provides, as ever, a number of valuable insights, he often does so in chapters that are only ostensibly related to the point he's making. ..."
"... His advice is mostly of the "No more Mr. Nice Guy" type, which I think has much to recommend. ..."
"... Whenever he talks about things like competitiveness, aggression, and sexual selection he tends to commit the naturalistic fallacy (X is right because that's how we evolved, or that's how our distant ancestors behaved, or, worst of all, that's what women evolved to find attractive). ..."
"... JP advocates the life of action and achievement, but he gives no *inspiring* reason to choose this kind of life over any of the other kinds recommended at various times by the world's philosophies and religions. ..."
"... While I enjoy Peterson's YouTube videos, I cannot say the same for this book ..."
"... While there are some good bits of insight in regards to raising children and dealing with various types of people, it's not worth reading 300+ pages of this man's thoughts when they could just as easily be viewed on YouTube. ..."
"... Interesting, but ultimately flawed and superficial. Peterson's arguments should be studied by basic students of logic - you'll find classic examples of statement and false dilemmas presented left and right. ..."
Apr 23, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Alex on January 23, 2018

This book = 12 Rules (rock solid advice) + Peterson's Philosophic musings

Jordan Peterson is a beacon of light in this chaotic world, a psychologist whose writing combines science and common sense. One of his talents is his ability to articulate complex ideas to a wide audience. Regardless of whether you have a background in psychology or not, you will understand this book. It covers his twelve rules for life, which are intended not only as a guide for life of the individual, but as a remedy for society's present ills. Peterson believes that the cure for society starts with curing the individual, the smallest unit of society. Peterson's well-known advice to clean your room is a reflection of the truth that if you can't even manage the most basic and mundane responsibilities of life, then you have no business dictating to others how to fix society.

One of the main themes of this book is: Personal change is possible. There's no doubt you can be slightly better today than you were yesterday. Because of Pareto's Principle (small changes can have disproportionately large results), this movement towards the good increases massively, and this upward trajectory can take your life out of hell more rapidly than you could believe. Life is tragic and full of suffering and malevolence. But there's something you can start putting right, and we can't imagine what good things are in store for us if we just fix the things that are within our power to do so.

The 12 Rules for Life:

In Peterson's own words, it's 12 rules to stop you from being pathetic, written from the perspective of someone who himself tried to stop being pathetic and is still working on it. Peterson is open about his struggles and shortcomings, unlike many authors who only reveal a carefully curated façade.

Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back. People have bad posture, and the meaning behind it can be demonstrated by animal behaviors. Peterson uses the example of the lobster. When a lobster loses a fight, and they fight all the time, it scrunches up a little. Lobsters run on serotonin and when he loses, levels go down, and when he wins, levels go up and he stretches out and is confident. Who cares? We evolutionarily diverged from lobsters 350 million years ago, but it's still the same circuit. It's a deep instinct to size others up when looking at them to see where they fit in the social hierarchy. If your serotonin levels fall, you get depressed and crunch forward and you're inviting more oppression from predator personalities and can get stuck in a loop. Fixing our posture is part of the psycho-physiological loop that can help you get started back up again.

Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. People often have self-contempt whether they realize it or not. Imagine someone you love and treat well. You need to treat yourself with the same respect. Take care of yourself, your room, your things, and have respect for yourself as if you're a person with potential and is important to the people around you. If you make a pattern of bad mistakes, your life gets worse, not just for you, but for the people around you. All your actions echo in ways that cannot be imagined. Think of Stalin's mother and the mistakes she made in life, and how the ripple effects went on to affect the millions of people around him.

Rule 3: Choose your friends carefully. It is appropriate for you to evaluate your social surroundings and eliminate those who are hurting you. You have no ethical obligation to associate with people who are making your life worse. In fact, you are obligated to disassociate with people who are trying to destroy the structure of being, your being, society's being. It's not cruel, it's sending a message that some behaviors are not to be tolerated.

Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today . You need to improve, and you may even be in real bad shape, but many unfairly compare themselves to some more seemingly successful person. Up till around age 17, random comparisons to other people can make sense, but afterwards, especially age 30+, our lives become so idiosyncratic that comparisons with others become meaningless and unhelpful. You only see a slice of their life, a public facet, and are blind to the problems they conceal.

Rule 5: Don't let children do things that make you dislike them. You aren't as nice as you think, and you will unconsciously take revenge on them. You are massively more powerful than your children, and have the ability and subconscious proclivity for tyranny deeply rooted within you.If you don't think this is true, you don't know yourself well enough. His advice on disciplinary procedure: (1) limit the rules. (2) use minimum necessary force and (3) parents should come in pairs.It's difficult and exhausting to raise children, and it's easy to make mistakes. A bad day at work, fatigue, hunger, stress, etc, can make you unreasonable.

Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world. Life is tragic and there's malevolence. There's plenty to complain about, but if you dwell on it, you will become bitter and tread down a path that will take you to twisted places. The diaries of the Columbine killers are a chilling look into minds that dwelled on the unholy trinity of deceit, arrogance, and resentment) . So instead of cursing the tragedy that is life, transform into something meaningful. Start by stop doing something, anything, that you know to be wrong. Everyday you have choices in front of you. Stop doing and saying things that make you weak and ashamed. Do only those things that you would proudly talk about in public.

Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). Meaning is how you protect yourself against the suffering that life entails. This means that despite the fact that we're all emotionally wounded by life, we've found something that makes it all worthwhile. Meaning, Peterson says, is like an instinct, or a form of vision. It lets you know when you're in the right place, and he says that the right place is midway between chaos and order. If you stay firmly ensconced within order, things you understand, then you can't grow. If you stay within chaos, then you're lost. Expediency is what you do to get yourself out of trouble here and now, but it comes at the cost of sacrificing the future for the present. So instead of doing what gets you off the hook today, aim high. Look around you and see what you can make better. Make it better. As you gain knowledge, consciously remain humble and avoid arrogance that can stealthily creep on you. Peterson also says to be aware of our shortcomings, whatever they may be; our secret resentments, hatred, cowardice, and other failings. Be slow to accuse others because we too conceal malevolent impulses, and certainly before we attempt to fix the world.

Rule 8: Tell the truth -- or, at least, don't lie. Telling the truth can be hard in the sense that it's often difficult to know the truth. However, we can know when we're lying. Telling lies makes you weak. You can feel it, and others can sense it too. Meaning, according to Peterson, is associated with truth, and lying is the antithesis of meaning. Lying disassociates you with meaning, and thus reality itself. You might get away with lying for a short while, but only a short time. In Peterson's words "It was the great and the small lies of the Nazi and Communist states that produced the deaths of millions of people."

Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't. A good conversation consists of you coming out wiser than you went into it. An example is when you get into an argument with your significant other, you want to win, especially if you get angry. If you're more verbally fluent than the other person then you can win. One problem is that the other person might see something better than you, but they can't quite articulate it as well. Always listen because there's a possibility they're going to tell you something that will prevent you from running headfirst into a brick wall. This is why Peterson says to listen to your enemies. They will lie about you, but they will also say true things about yourself that your friends won't. Separate the wheat from the chaff and make your life better.

Rule 10: Be Precise in Your Speech: There is some integral connection between communication and reality (or structures of belief as he likes to say). Language takes chaos and makes it into a 'thing.' As an example, imagine going through a rough patch in your life where you can't quite put your finger on what's wrong. This mysterious thing that's bothering you -- is it real? Yes, if it's manifesting itself as physical discomfort. Then you talk about it and give it a name, and then this fuzzy, abstract thing turns into a specific thing. Once named, you can now do something about it. The unnameable is far more terrifying than the nameable. As an example, the movie the Blair Witch project didn't actually name or describe the evil. Nothing happens in the movie, it's all about the unnameable. If you can't name something, it means it's so terrifying to you that you can't even think about it, and that makes you weaker. This is why Peterson is such a free speech advocate. He wants to bring things out of the realm of the unspeakable. Words have a creative power and you don't want to create more mark and darkness by imprecise speech.

Rule 11: Don't bother children when they are skateboarding. This is mainly about masculinity. Peterson remembers seeing children doing all kinds of crazy stunts on skateboards and handrails, and believes this is an essential ingredient to develop masculinity, to try to develop competence and face danger. Jordan Peterson considers the act of sliding down a handrail to be brave and perhaps stupid as well, but overall positive. A lot of rebellious behavior in school is often called 'toxic masculinity,' but Peterson would say to let them be. An example would be a figure skater that makes a 9.9 on her performance, essentially perfect. Then the next skater that follows her seems to have no hope. But she pushes herself closer to chaos, beyond her competence, and when successful, inspires awe. Judges award her 10's. She's gone beyond perfection into the unknown and ennobled herself as well as humanity as well.

Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. This chapter is mainly autobiographical and he writes about tragedy and pain. When tragic things are in front of you and you're somewhat powerless, you must keep your eyes open for little opportunities that highlight the redemptive elements of life that make it all worthwhile. The title of this chapter comes from his experience of observing a local stray cat, and watching it adapt to the rough circumstances around it. Another thing you must do when life is going to pieces is to shorten your temporal horizon. Instead of thinking in months, you maybe think in hours or minutes instead. You try to just have the best next minute or hour that you can. You shrink the time frame until you can handle it, this is how you adjust to the catastrophe. You try to stay on your feet and think. Although this chapters deals about harsh things, it's an overall positive one. Always look for what's meaningful and soul-sustaining even when you're where you'd rather not be.

Charles TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 23, 2018
Helpful, Fascinating--And Not Political (To My Surprise)

A friend of mine has been pushing me to look into Jordan Peterson for the past six months. I thought, since my friend is conservative, that Peterson offered right-wing politics, and it is true that he has recently been in the news for his thoughts on certain charged topics. However, Peterson does not, in fact, offer politics, which is refreshing in these days of rage. Rather, "12 Rules For Life" is a self-help book constructed like a Russian matryoshka doll, a nested construct. It talks, and works, on multiple levels, some of which may have political implications, but if so, they are incidental to what the book offers to each human person, both the broken and the whole.

The nested, complex nature of this book really should be no surprise, because Peterson's life's work is the study of the infinitely layered human mind, and his one earlier book, "Maps of Meaning," was an exhaustive analysis of intricate human myths, their roots in our moral beliefs, and their implications for today. In Peterson's view, all moral traditions are, at their root, exemplifications and explications of the opposition of order and chaos, as well as a way of creating shared beliefs, which are immensely valuable to any human society. His basic point in his Rules is that every individual can avoid the extremes of menacing chaos and tyrannical order by following the Way, the line between order and chaos, "through the willingness of everyone to shoulder the burden of Being and to take the heroic path." This is to "live properly," and if we can do this, we can "collectively flourish." Thus, his 12 Rules are guides to this end.

As I says, this is not a political book, but politics is downstream of this book -- that is, if you buy into what Peterson is offering, it probably changes some of your political views. Peterson's basic principle is the imperative need to recognize that reality exists, and given that so much of politics today is built around a wholesale denial of reality, Peterson's statements often seem political. In fact, they are political, even if that is not Peterson's intent, or at least not his major intent. This is especially true of his view of men and women, which permeates the book.

But let's treat the book as it is, rather than treating it as some form of archetype, for it is, if nothing else, highly original, and it is therefore hard to summarize. Peterson, both an academic and a practicing clinical psychologist, has spent a lifetime talking extensively to many people, most of them troubled, and he thinks very deeply about every word he says (as is clearly evident if you watch interviews with him available online). That doesn't mean he's didactic -- his writing tone is conversational and packed with anecdotes, carefully chosen to illustrate or add impact to the points he makes. But it does mean that nearly every sentence is crowded with meaning.

Rule 1 is "Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back." This is the backbone of all the rules, really, for in its Peterson explains that we are how we are. We are not malleable beyond a certain point. His illustration is lobsters, who were already incredibly ancient at the dawn of the dinosaurs, yet who have much in common with humans -- so much so that anti-depressants perk defeated lobsters up. Lobsters have a dominance hierarchy. And, critically, male and female lobsters are radically different -- they act differently, yes, but more broadly, male and female lobster teleology, their purpose, is different, and that is reflected in how each behaves. For lobsters, and all other creatures, "The dominance hierarchy, however social or cultural it might appear, has been around for some half a billion years. It's permanent. It's real. It is [rather than capitalism, or patriarchy, or some other ephemeral manifestation] a near-eternal aspect of the environment. . . . Dominance hierarchies are older than trees." Males, lobster or not, who fall in the dominance hierarchy have bad lives that get worse, often in a self-reinforcing loop; and they rise in the dominance hierarchy by fighting and winning, which means they get the best food, the best mental and physical health, the best shelter, and the best females. Similarly, females who rise (who fight only in their maternal stage, but compete otherwise) in the dominance hierarchy have the best mental health, and better physical circumstances by virtue of attracting high-quality suitors, that is, those high in the dominance hierarchy, whom they identify and pursue; those who fall; the reverse. Whether we like to admit it or not, humans are essentially the same as lobsters. They always have been, and they always will be.

Unlike lobsters, though, humans can self-diagnose that they are at the bottom of the hierarchy, or heading there in a downward spiral, and they can take action to improve their situation. (Peterson's book is about taking action, most of all.) Falling in a human dominance hierarchy basically means you are being bullied, and though some can't fight back, almost always, it's that people won't fight back. While fighting back can be as simple as changing your view of life, "to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open," and "accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood," ultimately "[t]here is very little difference between the capacity for mayhem and destruction, integrated, and strength of character." Given that I have always believed that violence, or at least its threat, is the solution to most problems of human oppression, this certainly resonates with me, though reconciling that with turning the other cheek is difficult, and not something Peterson has much use for, despite obvious deep sympathy with Christianity. Through standing up for oneself, straight with your shoulders back, using force as necessary (and the willingness to use force likely means it will not be necessary), leads the path to human flourishing, for all.

In Rule 2, "Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping," Peterson addresses why people sabotage themselves. He first delves deeply into human mythos, closely analyzing the first chapters of Genesis in particular, though also offering nods to other traditions, such as the Vedic. This is in service of a deeper exploration of the eternal opposition of order and chaos. Order is masculine; when good, it is the structure of society, the ice on which we skate; when bad, it is tyranny and stultification. Chaos is feminine; when good, it is the origin of all things and the maker of all things new, the substance from which all things are made; when bad, it is the dangerous unknown, the chthonic underworld, and the dark water under the ice. Calling these categories of reality masculine and feminine is not arbitrary; in fact, it comports with what may be the ultimate fundamental fact of human existence, the division into two very different sexes, male and female, "natural categories, deeply embedded in our perceptual, emotional and motivational structures." (You now begin to see why the transgender ideologues are not thrilled with Peterson.) As with Adam and Eve and their self-sabotage, we sabotage ourselves, not viewing ourselves as worthy of respect, since we are capable of stupidity and evil. "And with this realization we have well-nigh full legitimization of the idea, very unpopular in modern intellectual circles, of Original Sin." But we can choose to embody the Image of God, instead. "Back is the way forward -- as T. S. Eliot insisted [in "Little Gidding"] -- but back as awake beings, exercising the proper choice of awake beings."

For Christians, though, this poses a perceived difficulty. Yes, as Peterson notes, Christianity reduced evil and barbarism in the areas it conquered. But it encouraged excessive self-sacrifice through erroneous thinking. "Christ's archetypal death exists as an example of how to accept finitude, betrayal and tyranny heroically -- how to walk with God despite the tragedy of conscious self-knowledge -- and not as a directive to victimize ourselves in the service of others." We have to care for others as we care for ourselves; only in that way can both of us flourish. Peterson explores this line of thought at considerable length; it is impossible to shorten his words and retain the meaning, but it is both fully compatible with Christian belief and an antidote to a certain line of Christian excessive self-abnegation (a failing I found in Thomas à Kempis's The Imitation of Christ, though I hesitate to criticize a book of such renown).

Rule 3 advises us to choose and to see our friends clearly. You must not only see the best in people. You can show them to what they should aspire, but you cannot lift them up unless they wish to be so lifted. "Not everyone who is failing is a victim, and not everyone at the bottom wishes to rise." "But Christ himself, you might object, befriended tax-collectors and prostitutes. How dare I cast aspersions on the motives of those who are trying to help? But Christ was the archetypal perfect man. And you're you. How do you know that your attempts to pull someone up won't instead bring them -- or you -- further down?" Again, nearly every word is perfect: "Success: that's the mystery. Virtue: that's what inexplicable. . . . . Things fall apart, of their own accord, but the sins of men speed their degeneration. And then comes the flood."

Rule 4 returns to an internal focus, advising us to "Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday, Not To Who Someone Else Is Today." Just because you can always find an area where someone, or everyone, is better, does not mean that area is or should be relevant to you. A myriad of games are possible in each person's life; choose your game, choose your starting point, and improve yourself, incrementally and gradually. In fact, you should reward yourself for doing so, as silly as that sounds. And if you resent someone else, you need to realize it is either stupid immaturity, in which case you should stop it, or it is a legitimate complaint, in which case you must address it, or it will only get worse and cause more problems.

Next, on Rule 5, "Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them," Peterson switches gears, from the world of adults to the world of children as it intersects with adults. He strongly objects to certain psychological tendencies in child-rearing, especially the protection of children from dangers at the expense of making them fully functioning and competent human beings (a problem mainly with male children and their mothers, he says). Children must be socialized; they are not inherently good (or inherently bad, for that matter). Individual problems do not call for social restructuring, which is mostly stupid. "Each person's private trouble cannot be solved by a social revolution, because revolutions are destabilizing and dangerous." Socialization means limitations; limitations facilitate creative achievement, not crimp it. Along the way, Peterson discusses tangential topics, such as that hierarchies are rarely, if ever, arbitrary. He recognizes, of course, that each child is very different (as I know, having five myself), but certain basic approaches (including "discipline and punish," I assume a joke at Foucault's expense) are the most likely to lead to success, for all of child, parents, and society.

In Rule 6, Peterson returns to adult self-help, "Set Your Own House In Perfect Order Before You Criticize The World." He evaluates here, as he does in more than one place in this book, the nihilism of the smarter Columbine killer, Eric Harris. This is of course topical, with the present focus on school shootings. True, they have not actually increased in recent decades, but they have increased from forty or fifty years ago, when children carrying guns to school was unexceptional, and the reason is almost certainly some form of this nihilism. Peterson is violently opposed to the idea that humans are some kind of plague, as Harris maintained, and he identifies this sort of thinking, common among certain elites today, who adhere to the self-definition of Goethe's Mephistopheles as "the spirit who negates," as among the worst in the modern world. (Peterson would prefer Normal Borlaug to William Vogt, in Charles Mann's excellent recent "The Wizard and the Prophet.") Yes, life is very hard, and suffering, great suffering, is nearly inevitable for everyone. But transformation, not vengeance, is the answer. Abel, not Cain. Rather than blaming everyone else for what is wrong, stop today what you know to be wrong, and start doing what you know to be right. Thereby, you help yourself, and you strike a blow for Being, for the Way, and against nihilism.

Peterson continues the focus on suffering in Rule 7, "Pursue What Is Meaningful (Not What Is Expedient)." Here, he dives into Egyptian mythology, as well as several passages from the New Testament. He returns to, and expands on, his earlier thoughts about the impact of Christianity and the resulting new problems, noting that "In consequence [of Christianity], the metaphysical conception of the implicit transcendent worth of each and every soul established itself against impossible odds as the fundamental presumption of Western law and society. That was not the case in the world of the past, and is not the case yet in most places in the world of the present." (I've been saying this for years, but it's nice to find someone prominent who agrees with me!) But in addition to the tendency toward self-abnegation, long a potential problem for flourishing in this life, Christianity's decline has left a void. Here Peterson talks of Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Milton, Solzhenitsyn, and much more, including his own personal moral development, and returns again to suffering and nihilism, which are bad, but which at least point out, when addressed directly, that there is something good that opposes them. Expedience is lying and not facing up to your sins and the reality of things. Meaning is the balance between chaos and order, and it leads to good. "Meaning is the Way, the path of life more abundant, the place you live when you are guided by Love and speaking Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes any precedence over precisely that." And by much the same token, but more personal and humanized, Rule 8: "Tell The Truth -- Or At Least, Don't Lie." Deceit leads to evil, which leads to, and is embodied, suffering.

Rule 9 tells us to "Assume That The Person You Are Listening To Might Know Something You Don't." Here a plea for, in essence, humility, along with some fascinating ideas about how to conduct disagreements with one's spouse, and related thoughts on memory and wisdom. Rule 10 says "Be Precise In Your Speech." As I say, Peterson embodies this rule. I like to say (which probably says something about me), in the context of political arguments, that I am a professional killer. I have nothing on Peterson, though. You can see the wheels turning when he is asked a question, and what comes out is precise and irrefutable, each word weighted with meaning and exquisitely interlocked, intertwining and supporting, with every other. (He never seems to say "um," that's for certain.) Lack of precision leads to chaos; lack of precision may be a failure of vocabulary, but it is more often a failure to communicate at all, to identify and address problems between two people before they grow to enormous, malevolent proportions. But, "If we speak carefully and precisely, we can sort things out, and put them in their proper place, and set a new goal, and navigate to it -- often communally, if we negotiate; if we reach consensus. If we speak carelessly and imprecisely, however, things remain vague. The destination remains unproclaimed. The fog of uncertainty does not lift, and there is no negotiating through the world."

Next to last, in Rule 11, Peterson returns to children, "Do Not Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding." Danger, especially for men, is part of growth. And young men are the element of society at greatest risk today -- this is not a major theme of this book, but it is a major theme of Peterson's public thought. They are protected from developing properly, they are deliberately socialized like and as girls, yet they are blamed for the world's ills, and as a result, some turn to nihilism, and fascism, encouraged by certain other men who, in essence, Peterson calls evil.

Here, Peterson returns emphatically to his proclamation of the deep and abiding differences between men and women. "[Some] insist, ever more loudly, that gender is a social construct. It isn't. This isn't a debate. The data are in." For example, in the "emancipated" Scandinavian countries, girls choose traditionally feminine pursuits and behaviors at extremely high rates. And in the United States, it is just a lie that there are few women law firm partners due to discrimination; the reason is, purely, women's choice. (I know this from personal experience, although you are forbidden to say it at a law firm -- you would be fired instantly, yet another of many distortions of reality today, and a form of coerced lying and mass collective self-delusion.) The dominance hierarchy is only one example of this, but it is enormously important, like it or not, for young men, and making it so they can't win in any aspect of it is catastrophic for men -- and for women, who have a reduced selection of competent partners to meet their different, but complementary, needs.

The movie Frozen is "deeply propagandistic," an embodied falsehood, not because a woman necessarily needs a man to rescue her, though she probably does to some extent, as does a man need a woman to make him whole, but because it pretends that masculine traits are of no consequence to human flourishing. The "oppression of the patriarchy" is a pack of lies. "The so-called oppression of the patriarchy was instead an imperfect collective attempt by men and women, stretching over millennia, to free each other from privation, disease and drudgery." The miserable result of denying this is what we see today. "We do not teach our children that the world is flat. Neither should we teach them unsupported ideologically-predicated theories about the nature of men and women -- or the nature of hierarchy." He even boldly directly attacks transgender ideology. "Gender is constructed, but an individual who desires gender re-assignment surgery is to be unarguably considered a man trapped in a woman's body (or vice versa). The fact that both of these cannot logically be true, simultaneously, is just ignored."

The answer is simple. Rather than feeding or believing all these lies, men and women should each do, and be, what they are. "A woman should look after her children -- although that is not all she should do. And a man should look after a woman and children -- although that is not all he should do. But a woman should not look after a man, because she must look after children, and a man should not be a child. This means he must not be dependent." In this is found what men should do, not in a turn to nihilism or fascism, and equally not in a turn to emasculation and feminization to avert stupid accusations of "toxic masculinity."

Finally, in Rule 12, "Pet A Cat When You Encounter One On The Street," Peterson turns most personal, describing the trials and suffering of his daughter from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It is moving stuff, and Peterson returns again to his theme of the inevitability of suffering. But being open to cats, and myriad other joys, means you can "get a reminder that for just fifteen seconds that the wonder of Being might make up for the ineradicable suffering that accompanies it."

Peterson ends with a series of fascinating brief questions and answers, along with short explanations of the answers, posed from himself to himself, on everything from "What shall I do with my life?" (Answer: "Aim for Paradise, and concentrate on today"), to "What shall I do with a torn nation?" (Answer: "Stitch it back together with careful words of truth"), to "What shall I do with my infant's death?" (Answer: "Hold my other loved ones and heal their pain"). These are meant to, in a type of stream of consciousness, embody some of the basic principles underlying the rules in the book. Really, though, they are more; they are nearly an entire philosophy of life, which is probably why this book is so popular. If you are broken, there is much in it for you. But Peterson's point is that everyone is broken, sometimes more, sometimes less -- so there is something in this book for everyone.

By Laurel VanWilligen on February 13, 2018
A few good nuggets

There is a lot to like in this book. I apparently needed a bit of nudging about some things that maybe should have been self-evident. I especially liked the part in 'Rule 4' where he instructs on negotiating with your inner/child self on getting a few little things done without self-bullying. To me, that was the best part of the book.

Therein lies one of my complaints. This book is too long, too verbose, too complicated for its purported goals. If you want to make the average person's life better (and of course sell more books), I think you could have cut out about 75% of the book. We already know (well, I do) that Jordan Peterson is well-read, erudite, incredibly introspective and ambitious. Of course if there were any doubt about that, you could read about how he'd "flown a hammerhead roll in a carbon fiber stunt plane....consulted for the UN Secretary General's High-level Panel on Sustainable Development....identified thousands of promising entrepreneurs in sixty different countries...." Really? Who was responsible for putting that on the last printed page? That alone almost made me throw the book away.

Finally, I am an atheist. I have to say that hearing his complaints and criticism of atheists makes me wonder if all that erudition has done him any favors. He seems to have lost the ability to look out the windows of his own two eyes, without all of this information he's gleaned from other scholars, and realize that once you have an explanation for how the natural world works you can figure out how to optimize your place in it. Being self-destructive, or generally destructive, makes no sense and is not in your self-interest.

So I looked to his book for some guidance on how to continue improving my life in this rational universe. And I found a few nuggets. I'm not positive the hours of slogging through the unnecessary parts was worth it. My jury's still out....

The jury's back. I think for my purposes, 'Wear Sunscreen' by Mary Schmich (the 1997 'Commencement Address' often mistakenly attributed to Kurt Vonnegut) does as good a job, in a couple of pages that can be taped to my wall, than this tome. Maybe better. And it's free.

By Arthur Figgis on February 12, 2018
Standard JP; no major revelations, little structure

If you're a fan of Peterson's, there's a lot to like here, and a good deal of it will be familiar.

I was hoping that the written format would help reign in some of Peterson's desultory tendencies. When delivering a lecture, Peterson often allows himself to get off on tangents, and that is, in part, why his talks are so engaging and entertaining - you get the sense that you're watching someone engage in the hard work of real thought before your very eyes. That same tendency also highlights Peterson's wide-ranging erudition on religion, culture and history.

Unfortunately, this book reads a lot like one of those lectures. While Peterson still provides, as ever, a number of valuable insights, he often does so in chapters that are only ostensibly related to the point he's making. His rules themselves are simple, logical and sensible, but he often focuses on the rules themselves for only a paragraph or two in each chapter. The rest is typical freewheeling Peterson - engaging and interesting, sure, but often failing to build a comprehensive, convincing argument. Major themes repeat themselves throughout chapters, which isn't a problem in and of itself - Peterson clearly has a few key concepts he's trying to instill to his readers - but the repetition of these concepts and the less-than-strict adherence to the given topic of each chapter can result in a generally samey feel: sure, life is a struggle between order and chaos; okay, dominance hierarchies are found across almost all life on earth - but I forget, is this the chapter about standing up straight, or the one about telling the truth?

This is by no means a bad book, but I was eager to hear Peterson's thoughts presented in a more logical, organized, intentional manner, and that's not quite what this book is or does.

By Stan S. on March 13, 2018
Somewhat interesting but insanely overrated

Let me say up front that I'm going to judge this book by a very high standard here. I have no doubt that this is one of the better books of its kind.

Jordan Peterson offers some useful, if not completely original, practical advice. His advice is mostly of the "No more Mr. Nice Guy" type, which I think has much to recommend. Therefore, I praise the book wholeheartedly as a kind of how-to guide for getting certain things out of life, the kinds of things that most people want.

But Peterson falls down whenever he waxes philosophical or moralistic. Whenever he talks about things like competitiveness, aggression, and sexual selection he tends to commit the naturalistic fallacy (X is right because that's how we evolved, or that's how our distant ancestors behaved, or, worst of all, that's what women evolved to find attractive). You'd be excused if you came away with the message that qualities like gentleness and compassion (what JP calls "agreeableness") are contemptible and bad, because they may not always further certain of your interests. But I for one would much rather live in a world where the average level of agreeableness were high than its opposite.

Kant says in one of his ethical treatises that the purpose of reason is to live a moral life, not to make men happy, and that the happiest are usually those who use their instinct rather than their reason. JP seems to confuse morality with that which leads to practical success.

JP advocates the life of action and achievement, but he gives no *inspiring* reason to choose this kind of life over any of the other kinds recommended at various times by the world's philosophies and religions. He only dangles the prospect of (to use a phrase from C.S. Lewis) "girls and gold and guns" thinking that this settles the issue. Perhaps he does not think very highly of his audience.

I must mention I find his frequent, extensive use of the Bible to justify his biological reductionism rather irritating and inappropriate. I'd have given the book one more star if these parts had been edited out.

As I said at the beginning, I don't doubt that this is one of the better, perhaps one of the best books of its kind. But, at least by my lights, it is overrated to a very great degree, and I'd be surprised of JP is much talked about or read ten, or even five years from now.

By Amazon Customer on February 21, 2018
Stick to Peterson's YouTube lectures

While I enjoy Peterson's YouTube videos, I cannot say the same for this book. His style of writing is exactly like listening one of his lectures,