Book Review Folder - 2005/2006/2007

abhischekcc
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4278
Joined: 12 Jul 1999 11:31
Location: If I can’t move the gods, I’ll stir up hell
Contact:

Postby abhischekcc » 09 Aug 2007 20:10

Raju wrote:
Having been through both Viet-Nam as a youth and the Central American Wars as an adult, I am quite certain that there are at least four different slices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where I served for ten years as a clandestine case officer:

A small slice does what the White House wants, including black bag jobs.

A small but more important slice does what Wall Street wants, and helps Wall Street with access to financially relevant information that the public which pays for the CIA does not get. Buzzy Krongard, until recently Executive Director of the CIA, comes to mind as the most recent leader of this section.


In other words basically hatchet jobs for an elite clique.

A larger slice, that does covert action off the books with funding from Saudi Arabia and others, sometimes called the Safari Club, sometimes having off-shoots like Ted Shackley's Southern Air Transport, and so on. This slice can provide the intersection between criminal activities, white collar crime profits, illegal White House activities, and plain profiteering.


A lot of private benami airlines are owned by the CIA & all of them are used for smuggling drugs throughout the world and esp within the US.

The links that he establishes between oil companies and logistics support companies to the U.S. military, and their importation of drugs that seem to explode anytime CIA goes into Laos or Afghanistan or Colombia or anywhere else in a big way, are remarkable. He has very specific details, including references to drugs going to oil rigs off New Orleans and then directly in through the most corrupt police force in the country.


Well well well, the last part of the quote supports my view, which I have held almost since the beginning of the US assault on Afghanistan, that the yanks are there for the drug money. Just like Vietnam, or the secret war in Columbia.

The conflict provides a convenient cover for the yankee doodles to keep their illegal activities justified in the public eye.

So much for civilisation.

Raju

Postby Raju » 09 Aug 2007 20:41

According to the F.A.A.'s records, a C-123K cargo plane, serial number 54-0679, was shot down over Nicaragua (Denton and Morris, no pagination). Inside the plane, the Sandinistas not only found arms intended for the Contras, but also discovered logs that linked the C-123K to Area 51 (no pagination). Looking into this plane's background leads one to the CIA's doorstep. The plane was leased by Southern Air Transport, a CIA front company ("Barry Seal,"). The plane's surviving crew member, Eugene Hasenfus, was a cargo handler for the Central Intelligence Agency. It was his admissions that would lead to the Iran-Contra scandal breaking wide open (Denton and Morris).

Months before the plane was shot down, its original owner, Barry Seal, had been murdered. Barry Seal was known as America's most successful drug smuggler, and many believe that his murder was a gangland hit. After all, Seal did bring drugs into America on behalf of the Medellin Cartel. However, there is a body of evidence that effectively refutes this contention. When asked if Barry Seal feared that the Ochoa crime family would kill him, Seal's good friend Rene Martin explained that Seal did not fear the Colombians because he did not implicate senior organization members (Hopsicker 377). So, who had the motive to kill Seal? According to Seal's lawyer, Lewis Unglesby, Seal had expressed a willingness to testify against George Bush (376).

The truth is that Seal was working for the CIA. Former CIA pilot Tosh Plumlee, claims that Seal's relationship with the CIA began as far back as the 1950s.

In an interview, Plumlee stated: "Barry Seal was involved with military intelligence in the early days... Military intelligence was the real game, with the CIA just acting as logistical people. Barry was a peripheral player back then, but he was a CIA 'contract' pilot all the way back to 1956 or 1957." (113) Plumlee also told Hopsicker that Seal had been involved with none other than the Blond Ghost himself, CIA officer Ted Shackley:

"Barry Seal did a lot of damn good stuff in the late 60's," CIA pilot Tosh Plumlee told us. "In 67 and 68 he was with Air America in South Vietnam and Laos doing Search and Destroy and Special Ops with Ted Shackley's boys. He'd been recruited for Special Ops because of the 'Cuban thing.'" (156)

In an interview with investigative researcher Daniel Hopsicker, CIA contract agent Gary Hemming even claimed that Seal was part of the infamous, CIA-sponsored project known as Operation 40 (143). Seal also worked with Sonia Atala, a drug baron whose operations were protected by the CIA, according to former DEA agent (254). It is more likely that Seal was killed by people connected to America's intelligence community than drug dealers with the Medellin Cartel. Barry Seal's secretary, Dandra Seale, believed that the government was responsible for his death. In an interview with Daniel Hopsicker, Dandra stated: "The CIA people here allowed it to happen. He had a chart, he had dirt on anybody and everybody" (368).

Daniel Hopsicker conducted an investigation to find out who directed the Seal hit. This led him to Richard Sharpstein, a prominent Miami defense attorney who represented three of convicted assassins. Hopsicker's interview with Sharpstein pointed to Oliver North as the culprit. Hopsicker elaborates:

"I represented Miguel Velez for the Barry Seal homicide, which was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever been through," Sharpstein began. "It was an amazing experience. Nobody wanted to think about what any of this meant back in 1986. The implications were just too big. And I'm only speaking with you now because some of this has leaked out. All three of the Colombians who went on trial always told us - their lawyers - that they were being directed, after they got into this country, on what to do and where to go by an 'anonymous gringo,' a United States Military officer, who they quickly figured out was Oliver North," Sharpstein says.

"Say that again?" we asked. We were sure we'd heard it right the first time; we just needed confirmation. . . "Once they rendezvoused together in the States," explained Sharpstein, "they, the Colombians, were being directed, by phone, by a man who insisted on remaining anonymous, but who did identify himself as being an officer in the American military. They were put in touch with this officer through Rafa (a Colombian smuggler) who was the guy my client worked for. And they all believed that it was Oliver North." (372)

Why would Ollie North direct the execution of Barry Seal? Could the fact that congressional investigators found no less than 500 references to drugs in North's notebooks (those he did not shred) have something to do with it (Hopsicker 4)? The truth is that our own government has been in on the trafficking of drugs for quite some time now. There are many reasons for this involvement. Drug money helps prop up a precarious, unstable national economy. Drug money helps fund covert operations that Congress and Americans would frown upon. However, the most sinister reason was provided by deceased researcher Jim Keith in his Casebook

"there is a war going on worldwide which at one level has nothing to do with drugs, although it can be sold to the public, particularly the American public, on the basis of suppression of drugs. By simultaneously creating anti-drug legislation and fostering drug trade (mirroring the operation that took place in America during Prohibition), international manipulators obtain both a rationalization for that war and for the increased police penetration of society and suppression of political freedoms. The fundamental game is not traffic in drugs, but the traffic in human lives and energy, the buying, selling and herding of cattle-resources. It boils down to the ultimate master/slave relationship with the master in a continual struggle for profits and to keep the people uninformed, sated, mindless, utilized.

The "host," be it animal, human or planet, is anesthetized, then drained by its parasitic self-styled masters. And then the ravaged hulk is discarded."

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 09 Aug 2007 20:53

abhischekcc wrote:A lot of private benami airlines are owned by the CIA & all of them are used for smuggling drugs throughout the world and esp within the US.

The links that he establishes between oil companies and logistics support companies to the U.S. military, and their importation of drugs that seem to explode anytime CIA goes into Laos or Afghanistan or Colombia or anywhere else in a big way, are remarkable. He has very specific details, including references to drugs going to oil rigs off New Orleans and then directly in through the most corrupt police force in the country.


Well well well, the last part of the quote supports my view, which I have held almost since the beginning of the US assault on Afghanistan, that the yanks are there for the drug money. Just like Vietnam, or the secret war in Columbia.

The conflict provides a convenient cover for the yankee doodles to keep their illegal activities justified in the public eye.

So much for civilisation.


I will tell you which most of the Indians know about colonial History.
British used the drug trade to create large liquidity in the British trading system and fund wars for over 100 years.
Afghan region and the Burma region was the most coveted region for the Drug production right from those days. At independence they had to make sure that these two region were outside of the Independent India so that they could still control it.

Pakistan was a result of drug business of Colonial British for more than 100 years. They will never allow any other nation to come to Afghanistan as we have seen during the Afghan wars with FSU. Rockefeller foundation was largest trading house for dealing with drug money and transportation.
Hence Pakistan is under direct control of Rockefeller house via PM Aziz(VP Citibank)

During the afghan wars the drug business was still going on using the logistic cell of the PA. The logistic cell and transport business of Afghan/Pathan is a direct result of the drug trade. Taliban was a creation to sustain this operation. PA is sustained and supported mainly because it is the courier and protector of the drug supply chain and money supply. The stability of Pakistan is important for the drug business and also the liquidity of the Wall Street the largest financial center of the world.

These are the reason why US lawmakers have special interest in Myanmar and the NE India since these regions are the drug transit routes and supply chain for the business. This is the same reason why missionaries have special interest in NE and drug culture is promoted in NE for over 50 years.
Last edited by svinayak on 09 Aug 2007 21:07, edited 1 time in total.

Anand K
BRFite
Posts: 1115
Joined: 19 Aug 2003 11:31
Location: Out.

Postby Anand K » 09 Aug 2007 20:56

Hmmm..... remember Sunil's arguments on the Narcotics + Hawala angle?
Napoleon's German and Swiss bankers washed the looted dough to finance his imperialistic campaigns against "Perfidious Albion" and "Despotic Russia". The British OTOH looted India (with the help of certain Indians when the home Govt/shareholders themselves refused to bankroll downright dangerous+unethical ops) and washed that dough so that their little island could be THE world power. The Russians always played with a weak hand and that's what got them into one fine mess after another.... tch tch. {PS: The usual suspect-Gurulog here might have a thing or two to say about how certain Indians played an ACTIVE hand in establishing(if not sustaining) the Raj.}
Now that outright loot is passe, best way to usher in the New American Century/Whatever is to get a vice-like grip on the flow of the (estimated) 500 billion dollar criminal economy AND Energy.

Don't you lavv the onward march of freeeedom and democracy? 8)
Last edited by Anand K on 09 Aug 2007 21:01, edited 1 time in total.

Anand K
BRFite
Posts: 1115
Joined: 19 Aug 2003 11:31
Location: Out.

Postby Anand K » 09 Aug 2007 20:58

Drat!
Acharya beat me to it! :P

Raju

Postby Raju » 09 Aug 2007 21:07

These are the reason why US lawmakers have special interest in Myanmar and the NE India since these regions are the drug transit routes and supply chain for the business. This is the same reason why missionaries have special interest in NE and drug culture is promoted in NE for over 50 years.


Kashmir is another centre of drug trade into India maintained by the powers that be. Unemployed youth aka couriers are also available in plenty there. Isn't it interesting viz two zones of instability in India are hotbeds of drug trade.

CIA's drug specialists gained access into North East as missionaries. They are responsible for pushing drugs into East and South East of India. In Kashmir the drug business is handled by ISI proxies of CIA who push drugs in North & West India.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 11 Aug 2007 23:25

With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military
by Michael L. Weinstein (Author), Davin Seay (Author)

# Hardcover: 272 pages
# Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (October 3, 2006)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0312361432
# ISBN-13: 978-0312361433

[quote]

More than two years ago the author of this book started the Military Religious Freedom Foundation as a watchdog to make the military obey the laws of separation of Church and State. His concern started with a specific evil at his alma mater, the Air Force Academy, the chronic harassment and intimidation by evangelicals to pressure Catholics, liberal Christians, Jews, and others to assent to a right wing, primitive faith. Weinstein explains how the military has been taken over by a fundamentalist agenda. What these chaplains are doing is a blatant violation of the famous wall between Church and State.

Various chaplaincy codes flatly prohibit the "proselytizing of any religion, faith or practice."(p. 74) In the command structure of superior and inferior of the military this may put government in the person of an officer in the position of commanding a soldier or cadet to convert or else. This prohibition of evangelizing the fundies reject as curtailing their freedom of religion, claiming that making converts is enjoined as an integral part of their religion. Anything less, they claim, is anti-Christian bigotry, a bias against the majority, and discrimination against their belief. Remember, in most circumstances when fundies speak of Christianity it does not include Roman Catholics and liberal or mainline denominations.

Mikey Weinstein has qualification to take on this struggle few can match. A family tradition of father, son, and grandchildren graduating from the Air Force Academy, law degrees and experience of service in the White House, and a network of political allies. The book is a narrative of events at the Air Force Academy and the military in general which lead Weinstein to found the organization. The book is a quick and easy read. It seems part of a push back on the inroads made by "born again" religious fascists on the administration of the country. In the long run I do think the believers in fascist Christian authority will lose.

“With God on Our Side is the story of one man’s willingness to stand up for the Constitution of the United States. Arrayed against Mikey Weinstein are those who would transform the United States military, our most revered institution, into a force of evangelical crusaders, intolerant of the diversity of our society and willfully subversive of our national security interests. It is an important call to arms for all who love our country and the principles for which it stands.â€

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 12 Aug 2007 02:25

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design
by Jonathan Wells (Author)


# Paperback: 288 pages
# Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc. (August 21, 2006)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1596980133
# ISBN-13: 978-1596980136

You think you know about Darwinism and intelligent design, but did you know: *There is no overwhelming evidence for Darwinism; *Intelligent design is based on scientific evidence, not religious belief; *What many public schools teach about Darwinism is based on known falsehoods; *Scientists at major universities believe in intelligent design; *Scientists who question Darwinism are punished --by public institutions using your tax dollars. Battle-hardened veteran with doctorates in biology and theology sets the record straight in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwin and Intelligent Design.


Why Darwinism—like Marxism and Freudianism before it—is headed for extinction

In the 1925 Scopes trial, the American Civil Liberties Union sued to allow the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in public schools. Seventy-five years later, in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the ACLU sued to prevent the teaching of an alternative to Darwin’s theory known as "Intelligent Design"—and won. Why did the ACLU turn from defending the free-speech rights of Darwinists to silencing their opponents? Jonathan Wells reveals that, for today’s Darwinists, there may be no other choice: unable to fend off growing challenges from scientists, or to compete with rival theories better adapted to the latest evidence, Darwinism—like Marxism and Freudianism before it—is simply unfit to survive.

Wells begins by explaining the basic tenets of Darwinism, and the evidence both for and against it. He reveals, for instance, that the fossil record, which according to Darwin should be teeming with "transitional" fossils showing the development of one species to the next, so far hasn’t produced a single incontestable example. On the other hand, certain well-documented aspects of the fossil record—such as the Cambrian explosion, in which innumerable new species suddenly appeared fully formed—directly contradict Darwin’s theory. Wells also shows how most of the other "evidence" for evolution— including textbook "icons" such as peppered moths, Darwin’s finches, Haeckel’s embryos, and the Tree of Life—has been exaggerated, distorted . . . and even faked.

Wells then turns to the theory of intelligent design (ID), the idea that some features of the natural world, such as the internal machinery of cells, are too "irreducibly complex" to have resulted from unguided natural processes alone. In clear-cut layman’s language, he reveals the growing evidence for ID coming out of scientific specialties from microbiology to astrophysics. As Wells explains, religion does play a role in the debate over Darwin—though not in the way evolutionists claim. Wells shows how Darwin reasoned that evolution is true because divine creation "must" be false—a theological assumption oddly out of place in a scientific debate. In other words, Darwinists’ materialistic, atheistic assumptions rule out any theories but their own, and account for their willingness to explain away the evidence—or lack of it.

Darwin is an emperor who has no clothes— but it takes a brave man to say so. Jonathan Wells, a microbiologist with two Ph.D.s (from Berkeley and Yale), is that brave man. Most textbooks on evolution are written by Darwinists with an ideological ax to grind.
Brave dissidents—qualified scientists—who try to teach or write about intelligent design are silenced and sent to the academic gulag. But fear not: Jonathan Wells is a liberator. He unmasks the truth about Darwinism— why it is wrong and what the real evidence is. He also supplies a revealing list of "Books You’re Not Supposed to Read" (as far as the Darwinists are concerned) and puts at your fingertips all the evidence you need to challenge the most closed-minded Darwinist.

A top ten list from my book, The Politically Incorrect Guideâ„¢ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design

1. The root of the controversy is not evolution, but Darwinism. Evolution can mean simply change within existing species, a fact that people have known for centuries. But Darwinism claims that all living things are descended from a common ancestor by unguided natural processes such as random mutations and survival of the fittest – and that what appears to be design in living things is just an illusion.

2. Intelligent design is not religion, but science. Intelligent design maintains that we can infer from evidence in nature that some features of the universe and living things are better explained by an intelligent cause than by unguided processes. It is not biblical creationism, but empirical science. Darwinists claim it is not scientific because it is untestable – but they also claim they have tested it and proven it wrong.

3. The evidence does not support Darwinism. First, the fossil record turns Darwin's theory upside down. Second, no matter what we do to a fruit fly embryo, the only possible outcomes are a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly; no Darwinian evolution. Third, comparisons of molecules such as DNA do not provide support for Darwinian theory, but lead to conflicting conclusions. Finally, no one has
ever observed the origin of even one species by Darwin’s process of variation and selection.

4. Darwinism has made no valuable contributions to biology. Darwinists boast that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," but the major disciplines of biology – including anatomy, botany, embryology, genetics, microbiology, paleontology, physiology and zoology – were founded either
before Darwin or by scientists who rejected his theory. Agriculture and medicine – the two disciplines that have provided us with the most practical benefits – owe nothing to Darwinism.

5. Biology and cosmology both provide evidence for intelligent design. The computer-like code in DNA, and the complex molecular machines inside living cells, cannot be produced by unguided processes but point to a designing intelligence. So does that fact that Earth is unusually well suited not only for life, but also for scientific discovery.

6. Darwinists do not want students to learn critical thinking. The U. S. Congress has officially endorsed teaching students "the full range of scientific views" about Darwinian evolution. Yet some public school districts that have asked their students to approach the subject with an open mind have been sued by the ACLU for unconstitutionally teaching religion – and federal judges have sided with the ACLU.

7. Darwinism corrodes traditional moral values. Some Darwinists argue that conservatives should embrace their doctrine because it provides a scientific basis for traditional morality, but Darwinism has been used historically to justify social evils such as eugenics and racism.

8. Darwinism is anti-Christian. Like Marxism, Darwinism is a materialistic philosophy that is routinely used to attack religion. Indeed, some Darwinist professors at publicly supported universities have stated that Christianity should be confined to cultural zoos and that the pope is "a corpse in a funny hat wearing a dress." U. S. taxpayers' money is now used to promote religious denominations that favor Darwinism.

9. Darwinists are now behaving like their counterparts in the former Soviet Union. When Stalin’s government sided with Darwinists against their critics eighty years ago the result was Lysenkoism, which obstructed scientific progress for decades. Lysenkoism is now rearing its ugly head again in the U. S., as Darwinists use their government positions to destroy the careers of scientists who criticize their doctrine.

10. But the good news is that Darwinism will lose. First, Darwinists will lose because the scientific evidence is against them. Second, they will lose because they treat with contempt the very people on whom they depend the most: American taxpayers. Finally, Darwinists will lose because they are relying on a tactic always guaranteed to fail in America: censorship.



ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 50069
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby ramana » 18 Aug 2007 03:50

Pioneer, 18 Aug.,2007
Children of a dead god

The book seeks to analyse the causes and effects of academic Hinduphobia in the US, writes NS Rajaram

Invading the Sacred: An analysis of Hinduism studies in America, Krishnan Ramaswamy, Antonio de Nicolas & Aditi Banerji (Edited), Rupa, Rs 595

Like anthropology, Indology is a colonial creation. While anthropology has acquired a degree of respectability by allying with empirical disciplines like archaeology, Indology remains rooted in its colonial past. During its brief existence, Indology has rested on two pillars - the Aryan invasion/migration myth and the Hindu religion. For almost 150 years the Aryan myth and its offshoots remained the most visible face of Indology. Six decades after the collapse of Nazi Germany the myth is now in its last gasp, despite a last ditch effort by a few fringe groups to keep it alive in the guise of Indo-European studies and philology. It is a sign of things to come that Cambridge and Berlin have shut down their Indology programmes.

With the collapse of the Aryan myth, the other wing of Indology targeting the 'heathen' Hindu has moved to the centre-stage. Its home is no longer Europe, but American academia. Its most visible member is Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, a professor of religion at the University of Chicago. The agenda of O'Flaherty and her camp followers - Jeffrey Kripal, Paul Courtwright and others (commonly known as 'Wendy's Children') - is to project almost all Hindu beliefs and practices as rooted in sexual fantasies by applying what they claim to be 'Freudian analysis'. The result is a grotesque caricature of Hindu thought and literature as a ***** parade.

To these Hinduism scholars, Freudian psychology serves the same role that 'race science' did for Arthur de Gobineau and Houston Chamberlain - the founding fathers of the Aryan master race theory. In language and style, Doniger O'Flaherty and her ilk are a throwback to Julius Streicher and his Nazi propaganda sheet, Der Strummer, published 70 years ago. (The same holds for Michael Witzel and his Indo-Eurasian Research, but that is a different story.) As always, such an exercise reveals more about the state of mind of the perpetrators than the subject they claim to be writing about. For these academics, 'Hinduphobia' - a word coined by Rajiv Malhotra - has replaced anti-Semitism of the Aryan invasion/migration theorists.


Invading the Sacred is a collection of scholarly articles that seeks to analyse the causes and effects of academic Hinduphobia. The contributors represent a wide range of disciplines from religion and philosophy (Sharma, De Nicholas and Balagangadhara) to education and mass communication (Yvette Rosser, Indrani Rampersad and Ramesh Rao), and clinical psychology (Roland and Ramaswamy). This broad representation has allowed the claims of Hinduphobic scholars to be put to test using the very tools they claim to be using in their analysis.


The self-proclaimed knowledge of Freudian psychology of these Hinduphobic writers is not taken seriously by practicing psychologists represented in Invading the Sacred. It simply serves as a fig leaf to give them the licence to give a sexual twist to everything in Hindu literature and practice while invoking Freud as authority. It is not much different when it comes to the sources: Their familiarity with the subjects they claim to be writing about ranges from weak to non-existent. This is true especially of their knowledge of Indian languages and literature. All this is a testimony not only to their shoddy scholarship, but also intellectual hypocrisy.

To their credit, the contributors to Invading the Sacred refrain from polemics by taking the scholarly high ground, and analyse their subjects (including their authors) on the merits and demerits of their work. One of the contributors (Balagangadhara) makes the perceptive observation that the social sciences and the humanities in the West are rooted in Christian theology. And for this reason, in rhetoric and conclusions, these scholars are often indistinguishable from Christian missionaries of a hundred years ago.


Their missionary roots are on display in another of their claims - that these Hinduphobic scholars are only helping to "cleanse" Hinduism of its sins, presumably because the degraded Hindus are incapable of doing it themselves. This is no different from the missionary heaping abuse on the heathens to save their souls from eternal damnation. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

In this situation, anti-Hindu bias is inevitable even though denied by academics who proudly flaunt their Marxist and/or Freudian colours. To counter this, Arvind Sharma in his informative preface makes a long overdue suggestion: Why not use statistical methods to test their claims of being unbiased. After all, statistics has proved its mettle in analysing such problems. Bias detection is a well understood statistical technique.


In the final analysis, these Hinduphobic scholars' 'scholarly' contributions will prove no more lasting than that of the Aryan theorists before them. The real question is what drives their visceral anti-Hinduism? Or as Shakespeare asked about those who murdered Julius Caesar: "What private griefs these men have," for their behaviour cannot be explained on rational grounds.


Chapter 10 (It's All About Power) takes a step towards answering the question by pointing out how these scholars feel insecure that Hindus in the West are succeeding in the professions and may soon topple them from their self-appointed positions of intellectual superiority. To make things worse, Hindus are succeeding without losing their spiritual moorings.

More than a century ago Nietzsche, in his Thus Spake Zarathushtra, diagnosed their malady: Their god is dead. The resulting spiritual vacuum, he warned, would be filled by what he called "barbaric brotherhoods". The following century was to witness several of these - Fascism, Communism and Nazism, each with its own underlying secular theology. Academic Hinduphobia, like anti-Semitism, is an outgrowth of this spiritually barren landscape.


In the face of this we should see these not as 'Wendy's Children', but the children of a 'dead god', Wendy included.

-- The reviewer is a scientist and historian. His latest book is Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, science and politics




svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 18 Aug 2007 03:57

BTW University of Chicago was started and funded by Rockefeller.

ashish raval
BRFite
Posts: 1373
Joined: 10 Aug 2006 00:49
Location: London
Contact:

Postby ashish raval » 18 Aug 2007 05:23

ramana wrote:Pioneer, 18 Aug.,2007
Children of a dead god

The book seeks to analyse the causes and effects of academic Hinduphobia in the US, writes NS Rajaram

Invading the Sacred: An analysis of Hinduism studies in America, Krishnan Ramaswamy, Antonio de Nicolas & Aditi Banerji (Edited), Rupa, Rs 595

Like anthropology, Indology is a colonial creation. While anthropology has acquired a degree of respectability by allying with empirical disciplines like archaeology, Indology remains rooted in its colonial past. During its brief existence, Indology has rested on two pillars - the Aryan invasion/migration myth and the Hindu religion. For almost 150 years the Aryan myth and its offshoots remained the most visible face of Indology. Six decades after the collapse of Nazi Germany the myth is now in its last gasp, despite a last ditch effort by a few fringe groups to keep it alive in the guise of Indo-European studies and philology. It is a sign of things to come that Cambridge and Berlin have shut down their Indology programmes.

With the collapse of the Aryan myth, the other wing of Indology targeting the 'heathen' Hindu has moved to the centre-stage. Its home is no longer Europe, but American academia. Its most visible member is Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, a professor of religion at the University of Chicago. The agenda of O'Flaherty and her camp followers - Jeffrey Kripal, Paul Courtwright and others (commonly known as 'Wendy's Children') - is to project almost all Hindu beliefs and practices as rooted in sexual fantasies by applying what they claim to be 'Freudian analysis'. The result is a grotesque caricature of Hindu thought and literature as a ***** parade.

To these Hinduism scholars, Freudian psychology serves the same role that 'race science' did for Arthur de Gobineau and Houston Chamberlain - the founding fathers of the Aryan master race theory. In language and style, Doniger O'Flaherty and her ilk are a throwback to Julius Streicher and his Nazi propaganda sheet, Der Strummer, published 70 years ago. (The same holds for Michael Witzel and his Indo-Eurasian Research, but that is a different story.) As always, such an exercise reveals more about the state of mind of the perpetrators than the subject they claim to be writing about. For these academics, 'Hinduphobia' - a word coined by Rajiv Malhotra - has replaced anti-Semitism of the Aryan invasion/migration theorists.


Invading the Sacred is a collection of scholarly articles that seeks to analyse the causes and effects of academic Hinduphobia. The contributors represent a wide range of disciplines from religion and philosophy (Sharma, De Nicholas and Balagangadhara) to education and mass communication (Yvette Rosser, Indrani Rampersad and Ramesh Rao), and clinical psychology (Roland and Ramaswamy). This broad representation has allowed the claims of Hinduphobic scholars to be put to test using the very tools they claim to be using in their analysis.


The self-proclaimed knowledge of Freudian psychology of these Hinduphobic writers is not taken seriously by practicing psychologists represented in Invading the Sacred. It simply serves as a fig leaf to give them the licence to give a sexual twist to everything in Hindu literature and practice while invoking Freud as authority. It is not much different when it comes to the sources: Their familiarity with the subjects they claim to be writing about ranges from weak to non-existent. This is true especially of their knowledge of Indian languages and literature. All this is a testimony not only to their shoddy scholarship, but also intellectual hypocrisy.

To their credit, the contributors to Invading the Sacred refrain from polemics by taking the scholarly high ground, and analyse their subjects (including their authors) on the merits and demerits of their work. One of the contributors (Balagangadhara) makes the perceptive observation that the social sciences and the humanities in the West are rooted in Christian theology. And for this reason, in rhetoric and conclusions, these scholars are often indistinguishable from Christian missionaries of a hundred years ago.


Their missionary roots are on display in another of their claims - that these Hinduphobic scholars are only helping to "cleanse" Hinduism of its sins, presumably because the degraded Hindus are incapable of doing it themselves. This is no different from the missionary heaping abuse on the heathens to save their souls from eternal damnation. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

In this situation, anti-Hindu bias is inevitable even though denied by academics who proudly flaunt their Marxist and/or Freudian colours. To counter this, Arvind Sharma in his informative preface makes a long overdue suggestion: Why not use statistical methods to test their claims of being unbiased. After all, statistics has proved its mettle in analysing such problems. Bias detection is a well understood statistical technique.


In the final analysis, these Hinduphobic scholars' 'scholarly' contributions will prove no more lasting than that of the Aryan theorists before them. The real question is what drives their visceral anti-Hinduism? Or as Shakespeare asked about those who murdered Julius Caesar: "What private griefs these men have," for their behaviour cannot be explained on rational grounds.


Chapter 10 (It's All About Power) takes a step towards answering the question by pointing out how these scholars feel insecure that Hindus in the West are succeeding in the professions and may soon topple them from their self-appointed positions of intellectual superiority. To make things worse, Hindus are succeeding without losing their spiritual moorings.

More than a century ago Nietzsche, in his Thus Spake Zarathushtra, diagnosed their malady: Their god is dead. The resulting spiritual vacuum, he warned, would be filled by what he called "barbaric brotherhoods". The following century was to witness several of these - Fascism, Communism and Nazism, each with its own underlying secular theology. Academic Hinduphobia, like anti-Semitism, is an outgrowth of this spiritually barren landscape.


In the face of this we should see these not as 'Wendy's Children', but the children of a 'dead god', Wendy included.

-- The reviewer is a scientist and historian. His latest book is Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, science and politics




Utter bollocks ! does anyone care anymore about anything american ?

Jagan
Webmaster BR
Posts: 3035
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Earth @ Google.com
Contact:

Postby Jagan » 20 Aug 2007 05:21

Image
http://frontierindia.net/the-kaoboys-of ... ry-lane-2/


[quote]The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane

Published by P. Chacko Joseph at 11:39 am under Intelligence, Military and Strategic Book Review

I put the book down in disgust. Not disgusted with the book or With B Raman. I had read B Raman’s articles on Chinese; I expectantly purchased the book in order to find what Raman and R&AW managed to get on Chinese. Instead what I found that R&AW is unimportant, they just did what normally IB could have done. Nothing on US, nothing on China, nothing on Russia,…. All that Raman writes is the R&AW and its whine stories.

Raman is politically correct on all subjects.

Often P V Narasimha Rao, ex Indian Prime Minister, is criticized about China policy. When Narasimha Rao had invited the Tibetan Head Dalai Lama, R&AW faxed a permission letter from China. How can a leader conduct a foreign policy when its instruments of foreign policy like R&AW have nothing to show on China? This subject will be dealt in a paragraphs below. In spite of Raman’s political correctness, P V Narasimha Rao and Indira Gandhi seem to be only prime ministers who ran foreign policy as a strategy; using the instruments in a manner it should be used.

R&AW seem to be has misplaced priorities. CIA did not give cooperation on Pakistan. CIA was all for joint operations with India on China, North Korea and countries of same region. R&AW decided to not bite it. R&AW missed significant opportunity for utilizing the CIA resources to penetrate these countries. This is relevant especially today when North Korea has supplied long range missile technology to Pakistan.

Raman description of R&AW’s cooperation with the Chinese intelligence agency called Ministry of State Security (MSS) is disturbing. R&AW dutifully reminded them that China was supplying weapons to Pakistan and when MSS told them that Chinese were supplying weapons that would not harm India, R&AW dutifully reported back. R&AW had nothing substantial to report on China. Bulk of it was from open source. As Raman mentions it, that R&AW was asked not to report on China any more. R&AW couldn’t even estimate the total deployments of China against India. Local Army commanders did better job on assessing the realistic China scenario. R&AW should have considered CIA offer on South East and Eastern Asia. One wonders what would be the cooperation with the Chinese agency Raman talks about. Chinese are all over the neighborhood and internationally trying to contain India. What has R&AW achieved with cooperating with MSS? While China has direct and indirect destabilization activities in India, there is no evidence that India has similar activities for Chinese mainland. A little bit what R&AW does in Tibet and Xingjian region has only irritating value to Beijing with no direct threat to the Chinese Mainland.

Not withstanding Raman’s clouded emotional claims on the relevance of R&AW, R&AW is effectively a south Asian intelligence agency with a marginal role of liaison and listening post in other countries. By Raman’s writing, there is a clear need for a external intelligence agency which has far reach, whether R&AW should be merged with IB or retained as South Asian agency is political decision, based on the budgets. Another point is R&AW takes research and analysis too seriously but lacks on action. 1971 is more of IB influence on R&AW.

“The Kaboys of R&AW – Down the Memory laneâ€

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 50069
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby ramana » 22 Aug 2007 21:22

From Pioneer
Horror of '47 revisited

Nobody has been spared in this book, whether it is the British royalty or Indian leaders. The author tells the story as it is, making the characters look all too human, writes MV Kamath

Indian Summer, Alex Von Tunzelmann, Simon & Schuster, £20


One can say with utter confidence that there has never been a history of India from the time the British left the country to Jawaharlal Nehru's death, written with such openness, insight and daring as Alex Von Tunzelmann's Indian Summer. The sub-heading, 'The Secret History of the End of an Empire', tells it all. So many secrets come tumbling down in the depiction of the epic sweep of events that one wonders how come they were kept away from the public eye for six-long decades.

Illuminating each page are anecdotes about celebrities that include Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Vallabhbhai Patel among Indians and Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee and, of course, Lord Mountbatten and his wife Edwina.

Tunzelmann is relentlessly honest whether writing about Britain of the 17th century ("begging was common and the nation's 10,000 vagabonds the terror of the land") or of Queen Elizabeth I ("next to Akbar, Elizabeth was indeed as weak and feeble woman with her dubious breeding... and her grubby, unsophisticated, cold, dismal little kingdom") or of the British in India as the empire moved on: "Indians were commonly referred to as 'natives' in the 18th century, 'coolies' by the end of the 19th and 'niggers' by the beginning of the 20th."


Nobody has been spared, whether it is the British royalty ("Prince Albert had been placed 68th out of 68 in his final examination of Trinity College, Cambridge"), British nobility (reference to the low economic status of Lord Mountbatten and Prince Philip; the latter, who was to marry Elizabeth II, has to be read to be believed), or to Winston Churchill, a sick character who regarded Indians as "a beastly people with a beastly religion" and wanted Gandhi to be trampled down by an elephant at India Gate in New Delhi, with the Viceroy seated aloft the animal.


There are references to Lord Mountbatten's love affairs, as indeed of his wife Edwina's liaison with Nehru, described with considerable detail to everyone's shame. Mountbatten and his wife were often not even on speaking terms and there was a time when Edwina even thought of seeking divorce. Mountbatten's relationship with Nehru, Gandhi, Jinnah and several others are freely discussed, as also the rapport between Indian leaders themselves, none flattering.

There are references even to the Poona Pact, with BR Ambedkar, the co-signatory with Gandhi, saying: "There was nothing noble in the (Mahatma's) fast, it was a foul and filthy act."

We learn that Mountbatten was disinclined to accept the viceroyalty; that Nehru originally was suspicious about his appointment and mistrustful of the man himself; that Mountbatten was scared to come to India and is quoted as saying as he left England: "I don't want to go (to India). They don't want me there. We'll probably come home with bullets in our back."

Tunzelmann describes in vivid detail how the Partition of India took place, the tantalising discussions that went on behind-the-scene between Delhi and London, the bloodbath that followed and the human tragedy that unfolded.

The chapter on Kashmir is especially significant. If Tunzelmann is to be believed, it all started with the Maharaja's Dogra-led troops carrying out "a campaign of sustained harassment, arson, physical violence and genocide against Muslim Kashmiris" that invited retaliation from the tribals of the North-West Frontier. Adds the author: "Despite extensive research by the Indian Government, the United Nations and independent researchers, no conclusive evidence has ever been found to confirm Indian suspicions that Jinnah was directing the invasion."

According to Tunzelmann "Jinnah could not have stopped the tribesmen, even had he wanted to", except that "the correct course of action would have been for Jinnah to warn Nehru of the tribesmen's approach and explain frankly why they could not be stopped".

There have been suggestions that the British, through Mountbatten, were anxious to get the Kashmir issue at the Security Council to embarrass India, but there is no evidence reported on that either. At one time Mountbatten was only "beginning to think" about referring the dispute to the UN, but Tunzelmann adds: "Nehru was reluctant to accept United Nations' involvement." That this finally came about and with what disastrous effect is recalled in the pages of this book with admirable detachment.

Tunzelmann recalls that Mountbatten's insistence on taking the Kashmir issue to the UN had been based on two "sincere beliefs": First, that conflict between India and Pakistan would escalate; and, second, that the better option was to cool the Governments down and persuade them to talk.

Evidently, there was no evil intention on Mountbatten's part. But no one is spared. Every leader's personal shortcomings are aired with commendable - if not shocking - objectivity. Not even Gandhi is given any credit. At one point, Mountbatten felt that Gandhi was proposing to take advantage of Jinnah's good intentions to crush Muslim dissent and is quoted as saying: "I find it hard to believe that I correctly understood Mr Gandhi." The most ironic quote is of Jinnah telling Liaquat Ali Khan that Pakistan was "the biggest blunder" of his life. He is supposed to have said: "If now I get an opportunity, I will go to Delhi and tell Jawaharlal to forget about the follies of the past and become friends against."

Incidentally, the author notes that because "Nehru failed to inform Jinnah that the (Kashmir) Maharaja had asked for help and that he was sending troops, Jinnah became convinced that Nehru had all along meant for Kashmir to be dragged into India by force". What gives special relevance to this absorbing study of one of the defining moments of world history is the recalling of small but human anecdotes that make the characters look all too human.

Tunzelmann tells the story as it is. This is narrative history-writing at its best.

Gerard
Forum Moderator
Posts: 7533
Joined: 15 Nov 1999 12:31

Postby Gerard » 23 Aug 2007 22:09

The Quranic Concept of War - Book Review
By Lt.-Colonel Joseph C. Myers

[quote]“In war our main objective is the opponent’s heart or soul, our main weapon of offence against this objective is the strength of our own souls, and to launch such an attack, we have to keep terror away from our own hearts… Terror struck into the hearts of the enemies is not only a means, it is the end itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent’s heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved. It is the point where the means and the end meet and merge. Terror is not a means of imposing decision on the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose on him.â€

Paul
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3452
Joined: 25 Jun 1999 11:31
Contact:

Postby Paul » 05 Sep 2007 14:35


Sanjay M
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4892
Joined: 02 Nov 2005 14:57

Postby Sanjay M » 14 Sep 2007 07:24

An interesting study claims to be able to predict where ethnic conflicts will erupt:

http://www.physorg.com/news108912264.html

gashish
BRFite
Posts: 257
Joined: 23 May 2004 11:31
Location: BRF's tailgate party, aka, Nukkad thread

Postby gashish » 14 Sep 2007 11:14

The Merchant of Death: Viktor Bout

a major illegal arms dealer often supplies arms to both sides of the warring armies.. man who made money of 21st century terrorism and wars....a hardcore capitalist born in comunist soviet union

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Bout

Even GOTUS is a customer of this guy!.Amazing story...

http://www.amazon.com/Merchant-Death-Money-Planes-Possible/dp/0470048662

Review
"Victor Bout is like Osama bin Laden: a major target of U.S. intelligence officials who time and again gets away. In Merchant of Death, Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun have skillfully documented how this notorious arms dealer has stoked violence around the world and thwarted international sanctions. Even more appalling, they show how Bout ended up getting millions of dollars in U.S. government money to assist the war in Iraq. Their book is a truly impressive piece of investigative reporting."--Michael Isikoff, co-author of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 17 Sep 2007 04:59


The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy (Hardcover)
by Glenn Kessler
(Author)


[quote]

At the end of President George W. Bush's first term, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was prepared to leave politics and return to an academic post at Stanford University before she was drafted by Bush to be secretary of state. Two years later, polls showed American voters regarded her as the most powerful woman in the country. In this gripping and intelligent account, Washington Post correspondent Kessler chronicles those two years, drawing on his firsthand experiences traveling with Rice as well as an impressive array of documents and interviews. Kessler organizes the book by region, vividly dramatizing Rice's travels and negotiations overseas—the chapter including her visits to Khartoum and Darfur is a standout—while providing thoughtful analysis and historical background to put these vignettes in context. Kessler praises Rice for a number of successes, including her role in weakening a secret CIA prison system in Europe, but he also criticizes her failure to provide a coherent foreign policy vision and her weakness at implementation and follow-up. This balanced, detailed text offers invaluable insight into Rice's rise to power, though its exclusive focus on foreign policy may limit its appeal. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
"A tour de force. I have followed Rice for years, yet reading this book I feel like I only now understand her."--Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

"Kessler, in this timely and important book, identifies the principal weakness of Rice’s stewardship as the absence of any 'coherent foreign policy vision,' especially regarding the Middle East. The calamitous consequences for America of this shortcoming are likely to be felt for years to come."--Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor, 1977-1981

"Glenn Kessler is a tough, independent beat reporter of the old school. His chronicle of Condoleezza Rice's turn as Secretary of State is meticulous and fair, but it provides a devastating account of how Rice's diplomacy often rested on wish and illusion, and was finally overwhelmed by the Bush Administration's failed foreign policies."--Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

"Glenn Kessler has amassed a wealth of new material about Condoleezza Rice and the people around her. If you want to get beyond the image-makers and find out what Condoleezza Rice has actually been doing as secretary of state, this is the right book for you."--James Mann, Johns Hopkins University and author of Rise of the Vulcans: The History of the Bush War Cabinet

“As foreign policy tutor, security adviser, and now as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice has stood at the center of George Bush’s foreign policy from day one. Glenn Kessler provides a fair and balanced assessment of how Rice’s actions and inactions in these first incarnations made her job of guiding foreign policy now so much more difficult. A masterful treatment that is bound to stand the test of time.â€

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 17 Sep 2007 05:05


The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek)
by F. A. Hayek (Author), Bruce Caldwell
(Foreword, Editor, Introduction)

# Paperback: 304 pages
# Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; New Ed edition (March 30, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0226320553
# ISBN-13: 978-0226320557



An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program—The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

First published by the University of Chicago Press on September 18, 1944, The Road to Serfdom garnered immediate, widespread attention. The first printing of 2,000 copies was exhausted instantly, and within six months more than 30,000 books were sold. In April 1945, Reader’s Digest published a condensed version of the book, and soon thereafter the Book-of-the-Month Club distributed this edition to more than 600,000 readers. A perennial best seller, the book has sold 400,000 copies in the United States alone and has been translated into more than twenty languages, along the way becoming one of the most important and influential books of the century.

With this new edition, The Road to Serfdom takes its place in the series The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek. The volume includes a foreword by series editor and leading Hayek scholar Bruce Caldwell explaining the book's origins and publishing history and assessing common misinterpretations of Hayek's thought. Caldwell has also standardized and corrected Hayek's references and added helpful new explanatory notes. Supplemented with an appendix of related materials ranging from prepublication reports on the initial manuscript to forewords to earlier editions by John Chamberlain, Milton Friedman, and Hayek himself, this new edition of The Road to Serfdom will be the definitive version of Friedrich Hayek's enduring masterwork.


About the Author
F. A. Hayek (1899–1992), recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and cowinner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and a leading proponent of classical liberalism in the twentieth century.



As for the book itself, the Road to Serfdom explains focuses on the rise of totalitarianism in twentieth century Europe. Yet it also made a more general argument concerning the incompatibility of democracy and comprehensive central planning. Hayek argues that the pursuit of socialist ideals leads to totalitarianism. While socialist ideals seem noble to many, those who persist in realizing these ideals will find it necessary to adopt coercive methods that are incompatible with freedom. Thus socialists must choose between their egalitarian goals and the preservation of individual liberty.

Hayek describes how Europeans came to expect progress, and became impatient for faster progress. The liberal reforms of the 19th century delivered unprecedented economic progress. Much of this was directly due to scientific discovery. The role of free competition in promoting scientific discovery was less obvious. Europeans increasingly came to believe that scientific planning of society itself could accelerate greater progress.

Europeans also changed how they thought about equality and freedom. Insistence upon freedom from want displaced the yearning for freedom from coercion. Democracy came to be seen as a means of realizing an increasing number of social goals, rather than as a means of preserving freedom. To Hayek, these were dangerous errors. Democracy could only work effectively in areas where agreement upon ultimate ends could be attained with little difficulty. A democratic government could enforce general rules of conduct that applied to all equally (i.e. free speech and free association). Democracy can never produce agreement over policies that affect specific economic results. One always gains at the expense of others in such matters. Such Economic planning places impossible demands upon democracy. This is because pursuit of specific ends requires timely and decisive action. Democracies move too slowly to attain specific ends, so arbitrary powers of government will grow. A planned economy will ultimately require acceptance of dictatorship. This is a dire consequence, as it is the worst sort of tyrants who are most adept at wielding dictatorial powers.

Some might say that these arguments are unduly pessimistic. Hayek points to the examples of Hitler and Stalin to support his case. Of course, these are worst case scenarios. Have not England, Sweden, and the US adopted large welfare-regulatory states without such tyranny? This is a fair point, yet we should remember two things. First, Hayek claimed that centralized control of the economy would destroy freedom ultimately, but gradually. Second, Western nations have not yet gone as far in planning their economies as did Russia and Germany in the 1930's. The fact that we have yet realized the horrible results of Stalinism implies neither that were are safe from despotism in the future, nor that our present situation is entirely satisfactory. One can easily argue that we have already started on the wrong path. For instance, Hayek's chapter on `The End of Truth' applies to modern political correctness.

Hayek wrote this book not only to warn people about the limits of democracy and the incompatibility of planning and freedom. This was the start of his project concerning the abuse of reason. His warning is also about the tendency to overestimate the abilities of even the best and brightest individuals. Not even the best and brightest can comprehend modern societies. Socialists who favor comprehensive planning, and even modern liberals and conservatives who want to plan part of society, proceed on a false assumption concerning human reason. Ultimately, Hayek makes a strong case for limited constitutional government. To expect more of democracy than what Madison and Jefferson intended invites disaster.

The Road to Serfdom is a profound defense of commercial society and limited government. The RTS also is where Hayek started his 'abuse of reason' project. To fully appreciate Hayek's genius in the RTS, one should read his subsequent books in this project- The Constitution of Liberty and Law Liberty and Legislation V1-3.

The RTS has its critics, mainly on the left. Due to its insightful nature the Road to Serfdom has produced hysterical responses from the left. Leftists despise the RTS simply because it strikes at the core of both democratic-socialist or Marxist beliefs. Some serious scholars have attacked the RTS (i.e. Farrant and Levy) but their objections are misguided. The Road to Serfdom stands out as a true classic, as timeless as it is insightful. Read it completely and repeatedly.


svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 17 Sep 2007 05:31

Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President
by Stephen F. Hayes (Author)

# Hardcover: 592 pages
# Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (July 24, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0060723467
# ISBN-13: 978-0060723460

Before he became George W. Bush's running mate in the 2000 election, Hayes reports, Dick Cheney called the vice presidency a cruddy job. But during his tenure, Hayes argues, Cheney transformed this traditionally inconsequential office into a focal point of presidential power. While emphasizing Cheney's role as vice president, this biography follows his entire political career, beginning with a 1968 congressional fellowship and including key positions in the Ford and George H.W. Bush administrations, as well as 21 years as a congressman. Drawing on interviews with Cheney and others, as well as TV interviews and other journalistic reports, Hayes covers this material engagingly and efficiently. A reporter for the Weekly Standard and author of a previous book on the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, Hayes approaches Cheney sympathetically, countering more critical accounts in the popular press—for example, he laments the way Ambassador Joseph Wilson's flawed storyline regarding forged evidence that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Niger hardened into conventional wisdom. The book may not convince detractors, but it sketches a vivid portrait of Cheney as an intelligent, quiet leader committed throughout his career, even as a member of Congress, to strengthening the power and authority of the executive branch. (July 24)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book Description

During a forty-year career in politics, Vice President Dick Cheney has been involved in some of the most consequential decisions in recent American history. He was one of a few select advisers in the room when President Gerald Ford decided to declare an end to the Vietnam War. Nearly thirty years later, from the presidential bunker below the White House in the moments immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, he helped shape the response: America's global war on terror.

Yet for all of his influence, the world knows very little about Dick Cheney. The most powerful vice president in U.S. history has also been the most secretive and guarded of all public officials. "Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole?" Cheney asked rhetorically in 2004. "It's a nice way to operate, actually."


Now, in Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President, New York Times bestselling author and Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen F. Hayes offers readers a groundbreaking view into the world of this most enigmatic man. Having had exclusive access to Cheney himself, Hayes draws upon hundreds of interviews with the vice president, his boyhood friends, political mentors, family members, reticent staffers, and senior Bush administration officials, to deliver a comprehensive portrait of one of the most important political figures in modern times.

The wide range of topics Hayes covers includes Cheney's withdrawal from Yale; his early run-ins with the law; the incident that almost got him blackballed from working in the Ford White House; his meteoric rise to congressional leadership; his opposition to removing Saddam Hussein from power after the first Gulf War; the solo, cross-country drive he took after leaving the Pentagon; his selection as Bush's running mate; his commanding performance on 9/11; the aggressive intelligence and interrogation measures he pushed in the aftermath of those attacks; the necessity of the Iraq War; the consequences of mistakes made during and after that war; and intelligence battles with the CIA and their lasting effects. With exhaustive reporting, Hayes shines a light into the shadows of the Bush administration and finds a very different Dick Cheney from the one America thinks it knows.


Stephen F. Hayes's new biography of Vice President Cheney is narrative history at its best. Decidedly not an authorized biography, the book is unsparing in its account of Cheney's development from an "analytical" political scientist, primarily interested in political methods, into the most powerful American conservative since President Reagan. Hayes shows how Cheney's experience in the Nixon and Ford administrations encouraged his development from a "moderate" without ideological moorings into a principled conservative whose skepticism of governmental solutions to human problems is founded upon firsthand knowledge of governmental failures.

Hayes is interested in neither gossip nor dirt. If you want that, you'll have to find a different book. Nor is it accurate to say that Hayes offers little new information. I had not known, for example, that Cheney went from being a Yale dropout and electrical-company lineman (with two drunk driving arrests) to White House insider in just a decade. If a man capable of such improbable progress fascinates you; if you do not want your preconceptions confirmed, either for or against the man; if you are curious how the "most powerful and controversial vice president" in American history came to assume that title; if you are convinced that a man ought to be judged by how he explains himself rather than by conspiracy theories; if you want to learn about the Vice President's moral and intellectual development and if you believe that it is possible, even for your political opponents, to act from moral and intellectual principle; then this is the book for you.

Hayes is a political journalist, and writes like one. As a consequence, the book is not without its faults. It is more of an "oral" biography, depending largely upon interviews, than a "literary" one, depending upon documents. Similarly, it is not scholarly biography, which might supply more background information on events, movements, and the lesser figures in Cheney's life. Because the focus is exclusively on Cheney, things get dropped without explanation. Hayes discusses Cheney's disagreement with Henry Kissinger over whether President Ford should meet with Alexander Solzhenitsyn, for example, but never reports the outcome. (Ford declined to meet with him.) These are small flaws, though, especially given the book's informativeness and easy readability. Overall, this is a superb look into the inner political machinery of the Republican Party over the past three decades, which should appeal to fair-minded opponents and supporters of Vice President Cheney alike.




Raju

Postby Raju » 17 Sep 2007 15:57

http://www.saag.org/%5Cpapers24%5Cpaper2376.html

I found Raman's book refreshing after reviewing General Musharraf's autobiography glorifying himself in the first person singular. Unlike the General, Raman does not drum up his achievements loudly in every chapter. These are tucked in here and there in low key, often credited to his guru or his organisation.

Paul
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3452
Joined: 25 Jun 1999 11:31
Contact:

Postby Paul » 18 Sep 2007 00:01


svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 18 Sep 2007 09:07

The Age of Turbulence

Adventures in a New World
Alan Greenspan - Author

$35.00

Book: Hardcover |
6.14 x 9.25in | 544 pages |
ISBN 9781594201318 | 17 Sep 2007 |
The Penguin Press |


The Age of Turbulence

In the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, in his fourteenth year as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan took part in a very quiet collective effort to ensure that America didn't experience an economic meltdown, taking the rest of the world with it. There was good reason to fear the worst: the stock market crash of October 1987, his first major crisis as Federal Reserve Chairman, coming just weeks after he assumed control, had come much closer than is even today generally known to freezing the financial system and triggering a genuine financial panic. But the most remarkable thing that happened to the economy after 9/11 was...nothing. What in an earlier day would have meant a crippling shock to the system was absorbed astonishingly quickly.

After 9/11 Alan Greenspan knew, if he needed any further reinforcement, that we're living in a new world - the world of a global capitalist economy that is vastly more flexible, resilient, open, self-directing, and fast-changing than it was even 20 years ago. It's a world that presents us with enormous new possibilities but also enormous new challenges. The Age of Turbulence is Alan Greenspan's incomparable reckoning with the nature of this new world - how we got here, what we're living through, and what lies over the horizon, for good and for ill-channeled through his own experiences working in the command room of the global economy for longer and with greater effect than any other single living figure. He begins his account on that September 11th morning, but then leaps back to his childhood, and follows the arc of his remarkable life's journey through to his more than 18-year tenure as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, from 1987 to 2006, during a time of transforming change.

Alan Greenspan shares the story of his life first simply with an eye toward doing justice to the extraordinary amount of history he has experienced and shaped. But his other goal is to draw readers along the same learning curve he followed, so they accrue a grasp of his own understanding of the underlying dynamics that drive world events. In the second half of the book, having brought us to the present and armed us with the conceptual tools to follow him forward, Dr. Greenspan embarks on a magnificent tour de horizon of the global economy. He reveals the universals of economic growth, delves into the specific facts on the ground in each of the major countries and regions of the world, and explains what the trend-lines of globalization are from here. The distillation of a life's worth of wisdom and insight into an elegant expression of a coherent worldview, The Age of Turbulence will stand as Alan Greenspan's personal and intellectual legacy.


Greenspan calls "The Age of Turbulence" a "psychoanalysis of himself." It begins (first half) with his early life, describing the events that provided his learning experiences (including his desire to become a baseball player, then a jazz musician), and then goes to his life of implementing those lessons.

Undoubtedly the most interesting material included Greenspan's evaluations of the Presidents he had worked with. His observations were not the platitudes one might have expected. "Nixon was very smart, paranoid," and was an equal-opportunity disparager of all ethnic groups. Ford was the most normal, and sometimes looked past politics to focus on the ethics of an issue. Reagan's ability to spout seemingless endless one-liners and stories was an "odd form of intelligence," according to Greenspan. Greenspan felt his relationship with Bush I was a disaster, with the President eventually blaming Greenspan for his losing the election to Clinton. Clinton, however, was most like a soul-mate to Greenspan - very intelligent, and one constantly working to soak up knowledge and understanding. Greenspan also labeled Clinton's '93 economic plan that focused on reducing the deficit as an "act of political courage." Finally, Greenspan's assessment of Bush II was that he was incurious about the effects of his own economic policy, and that Greenspan's biggest frustration with Bush II was his failure to veto any spending bills.

Greenspan was told that Bush thought he could better control Speaker Hastert and Whip Delay by signing the spending bills; they, however, were never reticent to spend more money to help assure more Republican congressmen. Greenspan also added that he disagreed with Bush II's supply-side economic thinking, and that his endorsement of "A" tax cut during 2001 was just that - not an endorsement of Bush's plan. Another problem was that the plan had no adjustment mechanism in the event assumptions did not pan out and the deficit began to rear up again.

On the other hand, Greenspan does not tell the whole story. According to Paul Krugman (New York Times, 9/17/07), he could have clarified himself a few weeks later when he appeared before a Senate committee on the same topic and evaded questions on whether the proposed tax cuts were too large. Two years later when more cuts were proposed, Greenspan did not object, and in 2004 he expressed support for making the Bush cuts permanent - accompanied by cuts in Social Security beneifts that he assured Congress in 2001 would not be threatened by the cuts.

The most incendiary comment in the book was clearly Greenspan's conclusion that the Iraq War II was all about oil. However, Greenspan is now "clarifying" his statement to Greenspan having told the White House that removing Saddam was "essential" to secure world oil supplies, and now stating (Washington Post interview, 9/17/07) that securing global oil supplies was "not the administration's motive."

Greenspan was initially elated when Bush II won, and brought in his old friends Cheney and Rumsfeld. However, he noted that "they changed," and that he did not agree with Cheney's "deficit's don't matter." There also seemed to be little value placed on rigorous economic policy debate or weighing long-term policy consequences - policy-making was firmly in the hands of White House staff (Rove, et al). A result was that Bush II's first two Treasury Secretaries (O-Neill, Snow) were essentially powerless. Summarizing, Greenspan saw the Republicans in '04 as having swapped principle for power, ending up with neither, and deserving to lose in '06. The "good news" was that they did not try to interfere with monetary policy.

Greenspan has come under increasing criticism himself for the current housing collapse and preceding bubble. His defense, in "The Age of Turbulence," was that the risk of broadening home ownership was worth the risk, that he didn't realize shady practices had grown so prevalent, and had tried raising mortgage rates in '04 and '05 by hiking rates on ten-year Federal notes (no impact).

Finally, looking to the future, Greenspan sees a need to raise taxes on energy to encourage conservation, and a risk of increased inflation - already prices are rising in China. As for ethanol, even if all U.S. corn was converted to ethanol, it would only provide less than 20% of our current oil usage.


SSridhar
Forum Moderator
Posts: 22777
Joined: 05 May 2001 11:31
Location: Chennai

Postby SSridhar » 18 Sep 2007 15:25

Confessions of a Swadeshi Reformer
Yashwant Sinha
Penguin/Viking 2007
ISBN 13: 978-0-67099-952-1

The book mostly deals with the period when Yashwant Sinha was a Finance Minister during Vajpayee's Prime Ministership.

First, some general comments. The book is easy to read with a good flow and continuity. The book, about 200 pages in all, is divided into three parts with the first part dealing with his performance as a Finance Minister, the second on overall policy framework within which he functioned and the third part dealing with miscellaneous things such as the various controversies, swadeshi Vs. Globalization and the future of India. Obviously, the first part is the longest with 15 chapters and the third part the smallest with five chapters. He has covered all major events during his tenure in the cabinet, mainly in the Finance Ministry and it gives a good insight into how the Government functions/functioned. He has not written much about his stint as a Foreign Minister, which was brief. But, as the title suggests, he set out to write only about his period as a Finance Minister. He has not tried to sensationalize events, though there were many exciting events during his tenure. Mr. Sinha has dealt with issues that personally put him in the dock, the most famous of which was the decision to pledge India's gold reserves and a few other scams in which others tried to implicate him. He looks convincing in the explanations he offers. He also hints at some intra-party rivalry, especially with a junior like him taking over the finance ministry causing heartburn among seniors, possibly Sushma Swaraj. Even while discussing these various events, Mr. Sinha does not cross the line of decency and it is obvious that there is much more to the stories than he divulges. Mr. Sinha has not failed to mention the names of various officers who worked under him and has praised them for their significant contribution. As an ex bureaucrat, he understands that more often than not, they do not get sufficiently patted for their excellent work.

He starts off with the brief period when Chandrasekhar assumed PMship after the collapse of the VP Singh's government and how he took over as Finance Minister under difficult circumstances. There is a good description of how the Congress, which gave outside support to the Chandrasekhar government, wanted to dominate them especially in the budget-making process. The chapter on preparing and presenting the budget gives a good insight into the humongous efforts normally made for this exercise. It could have helped if he had explained a little bit more of the various receipts and expenditures and the Consolidated Fund of India as a matter of general interest to the readers, though I must hasten to say he has done quite well otherwise. He also very briefly touches upon the nuclear tests of 1998 and the general principles on which his first budget was formulated. Later, he provides the continuity of thought when subsequent budgets were presented after Vajpayee came back to power. Sinha gives a good description of each of his five budgets and discusses their nuances as well as tracing the common threads that united all of them.

There are also chapters where he discusses the various international meetings and fora that he chaired or participated in. Overall, one does get a feeling that even immediately after 1998, the stock of India was quite high. He discusses at length the formaion of G20, the Davos meetings, IMF etc.

The second part which deals with policy farmework discusses the various reforms in such sectors as Insurance, Agricultural, Taxation, Banking and Electricity. Sinha discusses his own view points as well as those of the other concerned ministries which many times may not coincide. Apart from ministries, there are also states to contend with and Sinha gives a good account of the trials and tribulations.

The last part is more philosophical and his musings on how to take India forward. It also discusses some of the rivalries and controversies within the party.

All in all, a fairly well written and easily readable book.

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 19366
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Postby Philip » 19 Sep 2007 17:12

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
By Jeremy Scahill

List Price: $26.95
Price: $16.17 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
Product Description

Meet BLACKWATER USA, the world's most secretive and powerful mercenary firm. Based in the wilderness of North Carolina, it is the fastest-growing private army on the planet with forces capable of carrying out regime change throughout the world. Blackwater protects the top US officials in Iraq and yet we know almost nothing about the firm's quasi-military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and inside the US. Blackwater was founded by an extreme right-wing fundamentalist Christian mega-millionaire ex- Navy Seal named Erik Prince, the scion of a wealthy conservative family that bankrolls far-right-wing causes.
Blackwater is the dark story of the rise of a powerful mercenary army, ranging from the blood-soaked streets of Fallujah to rooftop firefights in Najaf to the hurricane-ravaged US gulf to Washington DC, where Blackwater executives are hailed as new heroes in the war on terror. This is an extraordinary exposé by one of America's most exciting young radical journalists.

A review from Sinodefence.com

Democracy under assault
"Blackwater" by Jeremy Scahill is a chilling story about America's fractured democracy. Mr. Scahill has written skillfully about an underreported issue that should be a cause of alarm and concern for everyone. Supporting his narrative with painstaking research and analysis, the author shows how modern mercenary forces are empowered by a potent mix of neoliberal, national and religious ideologies. That Blackwater and other unaccountable private armies have the firepower to disrupt most governments and have been deployed on U.S. soil makes it clear that America is currently subverting its democratic ideals in its pursuit of imperial power at home and abroad.

Mr. Scahill profiles the founder of Blackwater and his privileged family's long history of activism in extreme right-wing political and religious causes. We learn that Blackwater first found a niche for its services in the 1990s when it gained advantage from the relatively modest outsourcing tendencies afforded to it by the Clinton administration. Of course, the latter Bush administration's agenda of channeling as much government largess as possible to its corporate patrons in the energy, defense and other strategic industries opened the floodgates for Blackwater and other security firms, especially in the wake of public anxiety and fear stemming from the 9/11 attacks. However, the author draws our attention to the fact the fog of war has allowed billions of dollars to be irresponsibly spent on security projects with little to no oversight and with questionable benefit to taxpayers.

The tragic act of mob violence that claimed the lives of four Blackwater employees is detailed by Mr. Scahill. The soldier's families share their anger about Blackwater's negligence in the incident. In discussing the families' pursuit of justice, the author reveals how Blackwater has managed to successfully evade legal accountability for its actions. We understand that the Bush administration's legal maneuvers in support of Blackwater suggests how much the government values the strategic role that mercenary forces might be playing with respect to prisoner renditions, torture and other shadowy activities that are supposedly justified by the war on terror.

Mr. Scahill goes on to discuss many other related issues, including the role of mercenary forces in protecting government officials and supply routes in the Iraq War; the overthrow of governments and pipeline protection in the Caspian Sea region; the deployment of Blackwater forces to New Orleans; and the incorporation of a Blackwater subsidiary in Barbados that positions its services outside U.S. jurisdiction and control. The evidence collected by Mr. Scahill demonstrates that violence can and will be purchased by governments who wish to impose policies without the constraining influence of popular consent; worse, these forces are becoming readily available to corporations and individuals who might be seeking to consolidate or gain power. Obviously, these developments call into serious question the future viability of democracy in America.

I highly recommend this important book to everyone.

More excerpts from the guardian UKL on the new industry of "disaster capitalism".

Blackwater is far from being the biggest mercenary firm operating in Iraq, nor is it the most profitable. But it has the closest proximity to the throne in Washington and to radical rightwing causes, leading some critics to label it a "Republican guard". Blackwater offers the services of some of the most elite forces in the world and is tasked with some of the occupation's most "mission-critical" activities, namely keeping alive the most hated men in Baghdad - a fact it has deftly used as a marketing tool. Since the Iraq invasion began four years ago, Blackwater has emerged out of its compound near the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina as the trendsetter of the mercenary industry, leading the way toward a legitimisation of one of the world's dirtiest professions. And it owes its meteoric rise to the policies of the Bush administration.

Since the launch of the "war on terror", the administration has funnelled billions of dollars in public funds to US war corporations such as Blackwater USA, DynCorp and Triple Canopy. These companies have used the money to build up private armies that rival or outgun many of the world's national militaries.

A decade ago, Blackwater barely existed; and yet its "diplomatic security" contracts since mid-2004, with the State Department alone, total more than $750m (£370m). It protects the US ambassador and other senior officials in Iraq as well as visiting Congressional delegations; it trains Afghan security forces, and was deployed in the oil-rich Caspian Sea region, setting up a "command and control" centre just miles from the Iranian border. The company was also hired to protect emergency operations and facilities in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where it raked in $240,000 (£120,000) a day from the American taxpayer, billing $950 (£470) a day per Blackwater contractor.

Yet this is still just a fraction of the company's business. It also runs an impressive domestic law-enforcement and military training system inside the US. While some of its competitors may have more forces deployed in more countries around the globe, none have organised their troops and facilities more like an actual military.

At present, Blackwater has forces deployed in nine countries and boasts a database of 21,000 additional troops at the ready, a fleet of more than 20 aircraft, including helicopter gun-ships, and the world's largest private military facility - a 7,000-acre compound in North Carolina. It recently opened a new facility in Illinois (Blackwater North) and is fighting local opposition to a third planned domestic facility near San Diego (Blackwater West) by the Mexican border. It is also manufacturing an armoured vehicle (nicknamed the Grizzly) and surveillance blimps.

The man behind this empire is 38-year-old Erik Prince, a secretive, conservative Christian who once served with the US Navy's special forces and has made major campaign contributions to President Bush and his allies. Among Blackwater's senior executives are J Cofer Black, former head of counterterrorism at the CIA; Robert Richer, former deputy director of operations at the CIA; Joseph Schmitz, former Pentagon inspector general; and an impressive array of other retired military and intelligence officials. Company executives recently announced the creation of a new private intelligence company, Total Intelligence, to be headed by Black and Richer. Blackwater executives boast that some of their work for the government is so sensitive that the company cannot tell one federal agency what it is doing for another.

In many ways, Blackwater's rapid ascent to prominence within the US war machine symbolises what could be called Bush's mercenary revolution. Much has been made of the administration's "failure" to build international consensus for the invasion of Iraq, but perhaps that was never the intention. Almost from the beginning, the White House substituted international diplomacy with lucrative war contracts. When US tanks rolled into Iraq in March 2003, they brought with them the largest army of "private contractors" ever deployed in a war.

While precise data on the extent of American spending on mercenary services is nearly impossible to obtain, Congressional sources say that the US has spent at least $6bn (£3bn) in Iraq, while Britain has spent some £200m. Like America, Britain has used private security from firms like ArmorGroup to guard Foreign Office and International Development officials in Iraq. Other British firms are used to protect private companies and media, but UK firms do their biggest business with Washington. The single largest US contract for private security in Iraq has for years been held by the British firm Aegis, headed by Tim Spicer, the retired British lieutenant-colonel who was implicated in the Arms to Africa scandal of the late 1990s, when weapons were shipped to a Sierra Leone militia leader during a weapons embargo. Aegis's Iraq contract - essentially coordinating the private military firms in Iraq - was valued at approximately $300m (£1147m) and drew protests from US competitors and lawmakers.

At present, a US or British special forces veteran working for a private security company in Iraq can make $650 (£320) a day, after the company takes its cut. At times the rate has reached $1,000 (£490) a day - pay that dwarfs that of active-duty troops. "We got [tens of thousands of] contractors over there, some of them making more than the secretary of defense," John Murtha, chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, recently said. "How in the hell do you justify that?"

In part, these contractors do mundane jobs that traditionally have been performed by soldiers, from driving trucks to doing laundry. These services are provided through companies such as Halliburton, KBR and Fluor and through their vast labyrinth of subcontractors. But increasingly, private personnel are engaged in armed combat and "security" operations. They interrogate prisoners, gather intelligence, operate rendition flights, protect senior occupation officials - including some commanding US generals - and in some cases have taken command of US and international troops in battle. In an admission that speaks volumes about the extent of the privatisation, General David Petraeus, who is implementing Bush's troop surge, said earlier this year that he has, at times, not been guarded in Iraq by the US military but "secured by contract security". At least three US commanding generals are currently being guarded in Iraq by hired guns.

"To have half of your army be contractors, I don't know that there's a precedent for that," says Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a member of the House oversight and government reform committee, which has been investigating war contractors. "There's no democratic control and there's no intention to have democratic control here."

ldev
BRFite
Posts: 1533
Joined: 06 Nov 2002 12:31

Postby ldev » 20 Sep 2007 18:36

Indian Summer

Indian Summer

The Secret History of the End of an Empire.

By Alex von Tunzelmann.

Illustrated. 401 pages. Henry Holt & Company. $30.




On the balmy evening of Aug. 15, 1947, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the great- grandson of Queen Victoria and the last viceroy of India, gave a sumptuous party in the Mughal Gardens of Delhi to mark the end of empire. Thousands of tiny lanterns hung from the bougainvillea and jacaranda trees as the great and good of India, past and future - native princes in dazzling array, British colonial army officers, Indian politicians of every creed and stripe - wandered among the fountains and rose beds, sipping Champagne and eating canapés.

Louis Mountbatten moved among the throng with his vivacious wife, Edwina, whose close relationship with Jawaharlal Nehru, India's foremost statesman, was already the source of lurid local gossip. Nehru had been independent India's first prime minister for less than 24 hours. Pakistan was not yet a day old.

It was a surreal occasion - Britain renouncing and dividing up the jewel of empire with every appearance of satisfaction; India and Pakistan applauding a freedom that would soon be engulfed by bloodshed and war. The viceroy (known as Dickie to his friends, and Lord Mountbatten to absolutely everyone else) was gorgeous in his finery, bedecked with medals, sash and brocade like a figure from a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. Implausibly handsome, royal of blood and regal of bearing, Dickie loved to dress up. No Englishman was better suited to the task of representing the dissolution of empire as a grand celebratory gesture.

The fairy lights winked in the trees of the Mughal Gardens and dusk fell on Delhi that night, but the subcontinent was already aflame. Thousands had perished in Lahore in an orgy of religious murder. Over the coming days and months, as Britain slipped away, the riots would spread in a holocaust of communal violence. With the stroke of a pen, the king's representative in India granted independence to four-fifths of the British Empire, or 400 million souls. The young British historian Alex von Tunzelmann has elected to tell the story of that handover and its aftermath through five people: the Mount-battens; Nehru; Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan; and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, spiritual leader of the independence movement. This is history as multiple, interconnected biography, and what it lacks in depth is more than made up for in panache. Beyond the great clash of communities, religions and ideas, Indian independence was a story of the subtle interplay of these five powerful individuals, whose relations encompassed three close friendships, two bitter enmities, at least three cases of hero-worship, a love affair and one very odd marriage.

Dickie Mountbatten was in many ways a strange choice to preside over the end of empire. He had proved himself a particularly inept wartime commander. As "cousin to almost every king, prince and grand duke in the monkey-puzzle family tree of European royalty" he was most in his element as a sort of royal fixer. Arguably his signal achievement to date was to encourage the betrothal of his nephew Philip to Elizabeth, the future queen.

Von Tunzelmann has a fine time puncturing royal pretension. Her description of the future Duke of Edinburgh is delightfully cruel: "His father was a playboy who had disappeared into the Champagne bars of the Côte d'Azur; his mother, abandoned, had gone mad and become a nun; his sisters had all married Nazis." Dickie, however, was determined that through Philip, the House of Mountbatten should occupy the throne; his candidate got there, though his name did not. This, then, was the man selected by Prime Minister Clement Attlee to oversee the hideously complex process of Indian independence. Many expected him to fail utterly. Some, like Winston Churchill, regarded the handover as little short of treachery. The preposterously named Admiral Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax spoke for many when he wrote to the new viceroy: "Muslim & Hindu in India, like Jews & Arab in Palestine, will continue to quarrel until one of the contending parties invites the Russians to come in & help them. After that, the date of World War No. 3 is anybody's guess. Š Every good wish to you in your difficult task."

Yet in other ways a charming, gung-ho, genealogy-obsessed scion of British royalty was just the man for a very specific task: to get Britain out of India as swiftly and cheaply as possible. This, von Tunzelmann argues, Mountbatten achieved: He "turned a stagnating mess into perhaps the most successful retreat from empire in history - from the point of view of the imperialist nation, at least." Whether Britain failed morally is another question. Some have called for Mountbatten to face a posthumous court-martial, laying the tragedy that engulfed India firmly at his door. The viceroy failed to appreciate the level of Sikh fury in the Punjab; he did not deploy British troops when the violence escalated; and he hurried through the preparations for partition with disastrous and inexplicable speed. The intensely complicated work of drawing the new borders was left to Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a barrister with no personal experience of India and an impossible deadline. He completed this monumental, unenviable task in 40 days, sweating in a boiling bungalow. Radcliffe then burned his papers and scuttled for home, observing: "There will be roughly 80 million people with a grievance who will begin looking for me. I do not want them to find me."

Von Tunzelmann does her best to defend Mountbatten, pointing out that his hands were tied by a deteriorating situation. She quotes Gandhi's bleak observation that India faced only two alternatives, continued British rule or a bloodbath. "You must face the bloodbath and accept it," the Mahatma told Mountbatten. The truth is that Britain wanted to quit India with dignity if possible, but speed above all; the cost in human lives was of secondary importance. This is a book more concerned with the smaller, more colorful threads of individual character than with the broader tapestry of history and retrospective judgment. Woven through it is the poignant love affair between Edwina Mount-batten and Nehru. Whether that relationship was ever consummated is unknown, and unimportant. What is certain is that it was intense.

Dickie knew about the relationship, and was not only tolerant but encouraging. Edwina's passion for Nehru was echoed in her determination to help his people, and as the carnage spread, she plunged fearlessly into the squalid refugee camps and hospitals. Countess Mountbatten hated the fripperies of her position as much as her husband adored them; her highly visible campaign to improve the lot of ordinary Indians is remembered today, long after Mountbatten's flags and medals have been forgotten.

In the flood of books marking the anniversary of independence, this one is different. It does not seek to apportion blame, nor offer an exhaustive account of events, nor even, despite its subtitle, to expose the secrets of that time. Except for one rather unnecessary homily at the end, it suggests no prescriptions for the future. Instead, "Indian Summer" achieves something both simpler and rarer, placing the behavior and feelings of a few key players at the center of a tumultuous moment in history.

In the years after independence, Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten continued to meet, and write, and share a love of India. When she died, suddenly, at the age of 58, Nehru sent an Indian Navy frigate to the spot where she had been buried at sea in the English Channel, to cast a single wreath of marigolds.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 24 Sep 2007 00:59

Thinking Like a Terrorist: Insights of a Former FBI Undercover Agent
by Mike German (Author)



# Hardcover: 256 pages
# Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; 1 edition (January 15, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1597970255
# ISBN-13: 978-1597970259

As the fifth full year of America’s global war on terrorism continues, statistics concerning terrorist attacks show a disturbing trend: from a twenty-one-year high in 2003, attacks tripled in 2004 and then doubled in 2005. And as the incidence of terrorist attacks increased, so has the number of terrorists. While the primary leaders of the Taliban, al Qaeda, and al Qaeda in Iraq remain at large, a 2006 Department of Defense study reportedly identified thirty new al Qaeda–affiliated terrorist groups that have been created since September 11, 2001. We may not have metrics that measure our success in the war on terrorism, but these realities certainly illuminate our failures.

In Thinking Like a Terrorist, former FBI counterterrorism agent Mike German contends that the overarching problem is a fundamental failure to understand the terrorists—namely, what they want and how they intend to get it. When our counterterrorism policies are driven by misunderstanding and misperception, we shouldn’t be surprised at the results. Today’s terrorists have a real plan—a blueprint that has brought them victory in the past—that they are executing to perfection; moreover, their plan is published and available to anyone who bothers to read it. Once the terrorists’ plan is understood, we can develop and implement more effective counterterrorism strategies.

A former undercover agent who infiltrated neo-Nazi terrorist groups in the United States, German explains the terrorist’s point of view and discusses ways to counter the terrorism threat. Based on his unusual experience in the field, Thinking Like a Terrorist provides unique insights into why terrorism is such a persistent and difficult problem and why the U.S. approach to counterterrorism isn’t working.

From the Publisher
Written by a former FBI undercover agent and counterterrorism expert

Differentiates amont various types of terrorists to better evaluate solutions for stopping them

Includes case studies of different terrorist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Irish Republican Army, and al Qaeda
This is a book that needs to be read by anyone interested in the terrorist world in which the United States finds itself. The author is an ex-FBI agent who was assigned to join terrorists organizations in the US to report on their activities.

His analysis of the current situation is that our Government and particularily its intelligence agencies have not understood the way that terrorists think, what it is that they are really after, how they are really organized and much more.

I unfortunately don't know enough about the situation to know if everything he says is true. However, there are a few things that come through strongly.

1. Our government has clearly misunderstood what's been happening.

2. The terrorists are not stupid, and clearly believe in what they are doing.

3. We may be playing deliberately into their desired goals.

4. Going against the rules of our own constitution in terms of wiretaps, holding people without trial, ignoring the due process of law, torture, illegal prisons in foreign countries, in short the whole Patriot's Act will do us more harm than good. As Franklin is rumored to have said: 'Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.'



svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 24 Sep 2007 01:09


Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization
by Akbar S. Ahmed (Author)


# Hardcover: 300 pages
# Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; 1 edition (May 7, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0815701322
# ISBN-13: 978-0815701323


Akbar Ahmed is a welcome departure from the roar of Muslim rage. Journey into Islam, his latest book, is an anthropological account of his 2006 travel with a team of research assistants to the three major regions of the Muslim world: the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia. It tells of mutual suspicions between the West and Islam, fed by stereotypes of the other, and how those perceptions can be reversed through direct personal exchange, how conversations even with extremists can change minds. It offers Ahmed's wise observations and reflections, documented in prose and photographs, and it has powerful implications for all of us.

I must put my cards on the table: Akbar is my friend and colleague. I was a skeptic when I first heard him in 2001, but I found the potency, eloquence and courage of his message irresistible, a vital counterpoint to the drumbeat of clash and turmoil. His central point is that civil dialogue, aimed at listening and learning -- without stifling one's own perspectives and concerns -- allows each side to understand the other, discover a common humanity, and sometimes even to develop friendships.

For Journey into Islam, Ahmed and his research team interviewed some 120 people in each of nine countries at universities, hotels and cafes, madrassahs and mosques. Ahmed had access to people that most non-Muslims would not have, including prime ministers and presidents, princes and sheikhs, but mostly ordinary Muslims. The team asked what they read, what changes they had witnessed in their communities and societies, the nature and extent of their access to technology and the news, people they regarded as role models, both contemporary and historical, and how they viewed America. The findings of his research are consistent with those of the surveys of public perceptions and opinions in Islam conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project and Zogby International. While his samples may be less representative of the broader populations than those of the Pew and Zogby surveys, they probe more deeply and are probably more candid. This was an exercise in dialogue as well as social science.

Ahmed reports that Muslims see themselves in a world spinning out of control, due principally to the cold forces of globalization, which brings the "poisons of greed, ignorance, and anger" into their lives. They find refuge by returning to their roots.
The problem, he observes, has been exacerbated by the War on Terror, which has fueled the most revolutionary factions of Islam. Ahmed is hopeful that in time the more modern, democratic, and humanistic factions will re-emerge, and that we can accelerate such a development by returning to sanity through commitment to a more enlightened model of engagement: dialogue.

These are not the frothy slogans and dreams of a Pollyanna. Ahmed knows that some people are fanatics, beyond constructive dialogue. At the same time, as Pakistan's ambassador to Great Britain in the 1990s, he learned about changing minds and opening doors to tolerance and moderation. This book describes his extending that mission from the lofty halls of diplomacy to places where ordinary people live.

We are assaulted daily by apocalyptic images of suicide bombers acting in the name of Allah. Islam has been assaulted no less by grotesque images of Abu Ghraib and women and children killed by United States military, collateral damage inflicted in the name of freedom and democracy. Such images have become etched in the minds of the general public on each side, yet neither set bears any resemblance whatever to the lifestyles, morals and aspirations of the mainstream of either side. Ahmed's aim is to understand, chronicle, and correct these gross and toxic distortions.

Like the proverbial Persian rug, the book is not without a flaw. The absence of interviews of Persians, in fact, is a distinct flaw. More basically, anthropological research is usually plagued by questions about the representativeness of the observations, and this one is no different. While some 85% of Islam is Sunni, the countries visited were more predominantly Sunni than that, so the Shia perspective -- centered in Iran, a vast country not included in the study -- is underrepresented. Ahmed does discuss basic differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims, to be sure, but he does not probe beneath the steep ascent of Shia influence in recent years from Iran on down a crescent that runs through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This important development has been effectively documented by Reza Aslan and others, and the interested observer would do well to read Aslan's No god But God, too. The fundamental distortions between the perceptions and realities that Ahmed reports are bound to exist everywhere, but the differences between Sunni and Shia attitudes would be worth knowing more about, particularly given the title of his book.

Ahmed's work, in any case, with that of Aslan and others, reveals a powerful, widely overlooked truth: despite popular images to the contrary, Islam is undergoing profound reform. Muslims are seeking their religious roots for answers, but they are not hopelessly stuck in the past. The West can influence this crucial process for the better by acknowledging what is worthy about Islam and encouraging the expansion of that worthiness by showing more interest and respect. The colossal failures of hard power should make Ahmed's approach the preferred alternative for idealists and policy makers alike.

This is an important, extremely timely book. It provides an opening for those who have grown weary of TV accounts of our dire circumstances and battles lost in the war against terrorism. If you would like to learn about Islam today from a humble, learned man, a voice of reason, one who understands intimately both Islam and the West, you should read this book. You might discover that the prospects for shifting the course of the world from clash to mutual understanding and respect are real, and in our hands.


In response to the events of September 11, 2001, Ahmed, Islamic studies professor at American University in Washington, D.C., set out last year to visit Muslim nations in the Middle East, South Asia and Far East Asia. Accompanied the entire way by two non-Islamic American students and occasionally by others—including one American student who was Islamic—the Pakistani-born professor hoped to improve his understanding of the contemporary Muslim realm in all its diversity. Not so incidentally, Ahmed also wanted to shatter the stereotype of the U.S. as a warmongering, Islam-hating nation. The result is a fascinating account of how he and his students braved danger to build mutual understanding in Pakistan, India, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, Malaysia and Indonesia. As academics, they administered detailed questionnaires to Muslims in each nation, while as social creatures, they sat through seminars, luncheons, dinners and casual conversations looking for a candid exchange of ideas about religious, political and cultural differences. Occasionally Ahmed lapses into academese, loses his humility or generalizes beyond what the evidence seems to support. But mostly he comes across as an honorable man who believes that the future of the human race depends on international dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
"Akbar Ahmed has long been one of the beacons of the Muslim spokepersons in the West. Here he breaks new ground by taking the theme of dialogue as guiding light. This is a wonderful way to get a sense of the textures of conversations among contemporary Muslims." --Professor Omid Safi, University of North Carolina



svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 24 Sep 2007 05:30

Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground
by Robert D. Kaplan (Author)


# Hardcover: 448 pages
# Publisher: Random House (September 4, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1400061334
# ISBN-13: 978-1400061334


After 9/11, Atlantic Monthly correspondent and bestselling author Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts) spent five years living with U.S. troops deployed across the globe. He first reported on his travels in 2005's Imperial Grunts, an incisive and valuable primer on the military's role in maintaining an informal American empire. In this shrewd and often provocative sequel, Kaplan introduces readers to more of the soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen who staff the empire's forward outposts. Although the author's travels take him to Iraq, he spends most of his time with imperial maintenance units that are training indigenous troops, protecting sea lanes and providing humanitarian relief from Timbuktu to the Straits of Malacca. Kaplan clearly admires the American troops he meets, though he sometimes questions their civilian masters. He saves his harshest judgment for his fellow journalists, whose relentless criticism of anything less than perfection amounts to media tyranny, in his view. Kaplan sees the war on terror and the re-emergence of China as the U.S.'s two abiding challenges in the 21st century and argues that, after Iraq, the military will seek a smaller, less noticeable footprint overseas. Kaplan combines the travel writer's keen eye for detail and the foreign correspondent's analytical skill to produce an account of America's military worthy of its subject. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com
Reviewed by Sean D. Naylor

Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts is the second book from Robert D. Kaplan documenting his ongoing odyssey crisscrossing the globe with the U.S. military. Over the course of the two years covered in its pages, Kaplan embeds with more than a dozen units drawn from all four services, including a Marine platoon training local troops in Niger, a Special Forces A-team working with its Algerian counterparts and a nuclear attack submarine crossing the Pacific.

As the far-flung locales suggest, this book continues the theme of its predecessor, Imperial Grunts, which is that "small footprint" forces, such as Special Forces A-teams and Marine training teams, offer an economical way of building and retaining allies, gaining intelligence and avoiding nasty surprises. The military has always undervalued its foreign area officers and Special Forces teams, whose successes come more slowly and are harder to quantify than those of conventional units conducting bombing raids or infantry-on-infantry battles. But by investing in small, culturally sensitive and linguistically skilled teams to send to the farthest reaches of America's de facto empire, the United States can minimize the number of times it is forced to send much larger forces into combat, according to Kaplan.

It is a strong argument, and he makes it well, lacing his narrative with keen observations. Describing a typically austere mission by a handful of Special Forces soldiers to Araouane, a sand-blown spot on the edge of the Sahara, Kaplan notes that "you could cover most of Africa with A-teams in places like Araouane for the price of only one F-22 fighter jet, for which it was easier to get funding." Events in the Philippines offer the most dramatic example of what can be achieved with the low-key approach Kaplan advocates. There a U.S. advisory effort built around a small special operations task force has helped the Philippine military make major gains against Islamist guerrillas. Kaplan is one of the few writers to have identified the U.S. role there for what it represents. "The Philippines, perhaps more than any other place in the world since 9/11, was a success for the American military," he writes. The importance of this success cannot be understated. Not only does it let the world know that Islamist insurgencies can be beaten back with U.S. help, but it speaks to the value of Special Forces as advisers, rather than as the direct-action killing machines into which they are in danger of morphing.

Kaplan is at his best when he highlights the vital yet unsung role of troops like these. But some chapters, particularly those describing his sojourns with the Navy and the Air Force, come across as little more than paeans to the awesomeness of the U.S. military and its magnificent flying and sailing machines, with a brief overview of the theater in which they are deployed.

Unlike Imperial Grunts, in which Kaplan was not shy about expressing prescriptive views, this work is almost devoid of critical analysis. In Kaplan's world, it seems, almost every part of the military in which he's embedded automatically becomes an "elite." The attack sub crewmen are "a true elite" and "the most driven men I have ever known," the Marine Corps is "a small elite organization," the Navy officer corps is "the Ivy League with uniforms and a strong NASCAR following," the Air Force's A-10 pilots represent "a Special Forces culture fitted to the air," and so on.

Some of this hyperbole is forgivable. It is hard to spend much time with U.S. troops without feeling that the average soldier, sailor, airman or Marine is a smarter, braver, fitter, friendlier, more honest and generally more decent person than the average civilian. But Kaplan's tone veers dangerously close to cheerleading. There is nary a word of criticism for anyone in uniform. No flag officers are called to account for dubious decisions. Every weapons system Kaplan is exposed to, from the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle to the B-2 bomber to the nuclear attack sub, is described in press-release terms. ("No instrument of warfare was as integral to espionage as the submarine," Kaplan writes.)

In the 1990s, the peripatetic Kaplan wrote the richly detailed travel narratives that American soldiers read to educate themselves about the exotic locations to which they might deploy.
His Balkan Ghosts was all-but-required for every Army officer headed for Bosnia. But a few years ago, he changed tack and decided to write about the troops themselves. Both are worthwhile pursuits, but on the basis of this offering, the former represented a greater value to the nation.

"Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts" is the second book in Robert Kaplan's series on the American military. Kaplan's purpose in writing these books is to inform the general reading public about the current state of the United States military. What distinguishes this book from "Imperial Grunts" is that Kaplan leaves his usual reporting beat with the Marines and Army Special Forces and spends time with Naval and Air Force units.

Robert Kaplan is a magazine writer who has spent many decades living and working in the Third World. Since September 11th, he has spent many months embedded with small, elite military units. His travels have sent him to such off the beaten track places as Colombia, Mali, Niger, Guam and the Phillipines. Kaplan genuinely likes and respects the service people he spends time with. In his affection for the common soldier, he reminds me a lot of the great journalist Ernie Pyle of the Second World War. This book is at its very best in describing training missions that Marines and Special Forces carry out in the far fringes of the devloping world. Kaplan goes places and reports things that ordinary journalists never experience.

As with "Imperial Grunts", Kaplan dances around with this idea that the United States is an Imperial power and that our military is an Imperial force. I am not sure that I agree with his thesis but I wish Kaplan would be more forthright in stating his argument and backing it up with hard evidence. It seems that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the perfect laboratory for analyzing his thesis. Did we invade these countries as acts of self defense as President Bush and most of the United States military would argue? Or are these "Imperial" wars as President Bush's most vocal critics would argue? It surprised me that in this book, Kaplan is silent on this question.

In this book, Robert Kaplan makes a convincing argument that the United States military is the best trained, best lead and most motivated military this country has ever fielded. Kaplan has spent the last five years doing a lot of travelling and asking a lot of hard questions. Yet, I feel as though he has not asked some of the very big questions. Why has it taken nearly five years to finally mount a coherent counter-insurgency in Iraq? Why haven't our much vaunted Special Forces been able to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden? It is easy to blame the politicians and liberal media for these failures but there are also problems in the way the United States wages war.

Robert Kaplan has probably the most access to the United States military of any journalist working. I hope that in his next book, he spends time with the regular, non-elite units doing the fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would be doing this country a service by digging deeper into what has been working and what has been failing at the sharp end of the stick.


Copyright 2007, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 03 Oct 2007 06:28

Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning
by George Monbiot (Author)


# Hardcover: 304 pages
# Publisher: Allen Lane (28 Sep 2006)
# Language English
# ISBN-10: 0713999233
# ISBN-13: 978-0713999235
This author takes the enormous, unpalatable issue of the impending death of our planet due to the deadly habit of unthinking consumption, and gives us a hand up to help ourselves out of this dire situation -- he gives us straightforward achievable sensible goals that will get us out of this catastrophic scenario. The slippery slope we are on and where it leads are inescapable, but it seems that many of us live in a state of unbelieving shock or helplessness, feeling there is "nothing we can do" and utterly incapable of contemplating what's at the bottom of that slippery slope. This author says, hang on a minute. It's not hopeless. We are not dumb animals on the way to the slaughter. He suggests that we would be wise to face the facts and then get in there and get on with the do-able, sensible, and positive work of ensuring a healthy and safe future for our children and for our planet. We need to read this book and books like it. We need to see the movies, watch the documentaries. Then we need to act. We need to act NOW.

George Monbiot is one of those who attempts to ask difficult questions. Unfortunately he is only one of few who actually comes up with some solutions as well. It's an understatement to describe this as one of the most important books ever written due to the over-whelming importance of the issue because he attempts to provide solutions based on meticulous research.

This book explains what the problem is as others have done, yet unlike most, he uses the most up to date, peer-reviewed research to support his claims. The book is based on the idea that we need to cut our carbon emissions by 90%. Everything in the book is then based on this target and he provides some of the most realistic answers as to how we achieve this within a capitalist system. This is not because he believes in a system based on consumption, more that we need practical realistic answers that can be achieved immediately, rather than for us to be discussing political ecology and the radical cultural changes needed for us to live in harmony with the rest of the planet. This is simply because we do not have the time.

The main question people will have is - why would we believe this one person over anyone else? The only way to really trust this guy is to read the articles on his website and the debates he has about these and other issues, and you'll soon see how easy it is for him to expose the poor science and lazy journalism of the majority who write on the subject of climate change.

As always with George, he does not think that he has all the answers - he challenges those who criticise him to come up with something better. What he asks of people that read his work is the same that he asks of us when we listen to other people on climate change: Who is funding them? Has the science been peer-reviewed? And, most importantly, have they actually got a background in science? If you do this you may find few quite like George Monbiot and more to the point, fewer books as good as this one.

Monbiot firmly believes that we need to act as a society to change things. For example, in a competitive field it's almost impossible for a business to adopt environmental measures that even slightly raise prices -they'll be put out of business by competitors. But if all businesses were in the same position, each could continue to innovate, and maximize profits within the new framework.

To achieve this, Monbiot's core proposal is to introduce carbon rationing. The allowance is fairly generous at first, tightening as we approach the 2050 deadline. The book then discusses ways we could meet the limits while minimizing the impact on our standard of living. Housing, transport and energy generation are all examined for possible savings.

Some of the proposals might seem difficult, but the truth is we're currently not doing anywhere near enough to make a real difference. The only reason the UK is on course for Kyoto is the move from coal to gas power plants - we've made almost no impact on CO2 elsewhere.

Heat isn't the first book I'd recommend to someone unsure about global warming. Field Notes from a Catastrophe (by Elizabeth Kolbert) is brilliantly readable, and probably a better place to start. The Rough Guide to Climate Change gives a thorough, concise and balanced overview of the science. But as the starting point for a debate about how the UK can seriously act to avoid disaster, Heat is unbeatable.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 03 Oct 2007 06:31

The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World?
by Joel Kovel (Author)


# Paperback: 288 pages
# Publisher: Zed Books Ltd (1 Jan 2002)
# Language English
# ISBN-10: 1842770810
# ISBN-13: 978-1842770818


Synopsis
Capitalism, with its unrelenting pressure to expand, is unreformably destructive to ecologies. Here, Joel Kovel argues against the reigning orthodoxy that there can be no alternative to the capitalist system,on the grounds that submission to it is suicidal as well as unworthy of human beings. Developing a synthesis between marxism,ecofeminism and the philosophy of nature, he critizes existing ecological politics for their evasion of capital, advances a vision of ecological production as the successor to capitalist production, and sets out the principles for realizing this.

After having read and greatly appreciated Professor Kovel's previous book, "Red Hunting in the Promised Land", I was somewhat surprised to see his entry into the ecological debate with "Enemy of Nature." But scepticism soon gave way to great insight about the fundamentals of our current ecological situation, an impending catastrophe threatening survival itself as Kovel makes clear.
Whereas other writers have examined ecological crises and misdeeds as isolated and independent manifestations of similarly discrete abuses by global and regional players, Kovel shows that the root cause of ecological ills is the capitalistic system itself, in effect the very nature of capital or "money-in-motion." What follows from this accusation is the even more unsettling demonstration that no amount of "corrections" of given abuses nor mere simple changes and "controls" applied to the basic rules of the game will suffice to reverse the dangerous nature- and life-threatening trends now evident world-wide. The Enemy of Nature is the capitalistic system itself, and if readers of such a statement should be tempted to dismiss the claim as mere Marxian doomsday-saying and thus forego a reading of it on the basis of our current celebrations that capitalism is the sole surviving economic system and therefore MUST be the best, such potential readers will be ignoring not only essential information, but be contributing to the continuation of processes which must surely end in chaos and anarchy.
For anyone who even pretends to have a passing interest in the future of Western civilisation and the questions concerning its health and survival now discussed with every passing ecological abuse and catastrophe, this book is a must. Ignoring it may well constitute a breach of morality. However, there is a great probability that the book may well be ignored because its arguments and conclusions are fairly well unanswerable and would require outright revolution in all spheres of human activity were it to be taken seriously. As such, it is hard to conclude anything else but that we are indeed approaching global meltdown and the end of history, not for the reasons that Francis Fukuyama laid out in his famous tome, but because the Panglossian continuation of our current ecological mania must soon end not only history but the means even to write it, and possibly even the species which writes.

Raju

Postby Raju » 03 Oct 2007 22:13

A review of The True Story Of The Bilderberg Group, By Daniel Estulin
By Carolyn Baker

WHO RUNS THE WORLD AND WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW IMMEDIATELY

It is difficult to re-educate people who have been brought up on nationalism to the idea of relinquishing part of their sovereignty to a supra-national body.



~Bilderberg Group founder,
Prince Bernhard~


As a rhetorical question, can someone please explain to me how it is that progressive liberals such as John Edwards and Hillary Clinton, as well as do-gooder humanitarians with multiple social projects ongoing such as the Rockefellers and every Royal House in Europe, can perennially attend Bilderberg meetings apparently knowing that the final objective of this despicable group of hoodlums is a fascist One World Empire?

~Daniel Estulin (P.318)~

Daniel Estulin is a Madrid-based journalist and an investigative reporter who took on the daunting and dangerous task of researching the Bildeberg Group, and who offers his findings in The True Story Of The Bilderberg Group, recently published by Trine Day. Equally intriguing as his harrowing tales of being followed and nearly killed on a couple of occasions while working on the book, is the manner in which Estulin connects the dots between the Bilderberg Group, world events, notable politicians and corporate tycoons and the two other secretive monsters of the ruling elite, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Trilateral Commission (TC). The project lasted fifteen years and was motivated by Estulin's curiosity about how it is that the mainstream media has never covered in depth the meetings of the Bilderberg Group whose combined wealth exceeds the combined wealth of all U.S. citizens.



What Estulin's book makes clear is that the group, along with the CFR and TC, has become a shadow government whose top priority is to erase the sovereignty of all nation-states and supplant them with global corporate control of their economies under the surveillance of "an electronic global police state." (xv)



The author emphasizes that not all members of the group are "bad" people, and he implies that membership is structured somewhat like concentric circles in a target scheme with in inner core and various levels of relationship between that core and the outer circles of membership. Almost every famous player in politics and finance in the world is a member of one of the three organizations mentioned above, and their political affiliations range from liberal to conservative, for example, George W. Bush, George Soros, Gerald Ford, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter. Of this private club, Estulin says:


This parallel world remains unseen in the daily struggles of most of humanity, but, believe me, it is there: a cesspool of duplicity and lies and double-speak and innuendo and blackmail and bribery. It is a surreal world of double and triple agents, of changing loyalties, of professional psychotic assassins, brainwashed black ops agents, soldiers of fortune and mercenaries, whose primary sources of income are the dirtiest and most despicable government-run subversive missions-the kind that can never be exposed.(15)


This world, according to Estulin, is so perverse and evil that "it has left an indelible mark on my soul". (16) How not? Because the Bilderberg Group and its two other triplets, the CFR and the TC have set about to loot the entire planet. Their members run the central banks of the world and are poised to control discount rates, money-supply, interest rates, gold prices, and which countries receive or do not receive loans. Membership is by invitation only, many of the earliest members being handpicked, not from right-wing groups but from among none other than the Fabian Socialists who ultimately supported global government.


Another chilling quote Estulin includes is from William Shannon:


The Bilderbergers are searching for the age of post-nationalism: when we won't have countries, but rather regions of the Earth surrounded by Universal values. That is to say, a global economy; one World government (selected rather than elected) and a universal religion. To assure themselves of reaching these objectives, the Bilderbergers focus on a ‘greater technical approach' and less awareness on behalf of the general public.



THE BILDERBERG BAPTISM OF BILL CLINTON



In 1991 Bill Clinton attended the Bilderberg Conference in Baden-Baden where Estulin asserts that he was "anointed" to the U.S. presidency, and shortly thereafter he took an unexpected, unannounced trip to Moscow. It appears, says Estulin, that he was sent there to get his KGB student-era, anti-Vietnam war files "buried" before he announced his candidacy for president which happened some two-and-a-half months later. Today, Clinton is a member of all three groups: Bilderberg, CFR, and TC. Hillary Clinton is a member of the Bilderberg Group.



Estulin points out that "almost all of the presidential candidates for both parties have belonged to at least one of these organizations, many of the U.S. congressmen and senators, most major policy-making positions, especially in the field of foreign relations, much of the press, most of the leadership of the CIA, FBI, IRS, and many of the remaining governmental organizations in Washington. CFR members occupy nearly all White House cabinet positions."(80) When one considers that most prominent members of mainstream media are also members of what Edith Kermit Roosevelt, granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt called "this legitimate Mafia", how can we assert that Americans obtain their news from independent sources?



For example, The News Hour with Jim Leher is the cornerstone of PBS's programming. Leher is a CFR member, and when one examines the funding of the news hour by: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) whose chairman Dwayne Andreas was a member of the Trilateral Commission; Pepsico, whose CEO Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi is a Bilderberger and TC Executive Committee member; and Smith Barney which is interlocked with Citigroup, a global financial services company that is a member of the Bilderberg Group, the CFR, and the TC, what kind of "news" should one expect from Leher's News Hour? Consider also that many of the journalists on the News Hour: Paul Gigot, David Gergen, William Kristol, and William Safire are members of one or more of the three groups. (153)

Likewise, when we consider the membership in one or more of these groups of almost every American president since the inception of these organizations, we can no longer pretend that any Democratic or Republican presidential candidate offers the American people an alternative to ruling elite global hegemony.


In fact, Estulin's research reveals that "the Council on Foreign Relations creates and delivers psycho-political operations by manipulating people's reality through a ‘tactic of deception', placing Council members on both sides of an issue. The deception is complete when the public is led to believe that its own best interests are being served while the CFR policy is being carried out."(117)


And what happens if the "anointed ones" become too autonomous? One chapter in the book, "The Watergate Con-Game", answers that question. In it Estulin suggests that Richard Nixon was set up by the Council on Foreign Relations of which he was a member because of his insubordination and unwillingness to submit to the shadow government. Presumably, Nixon's demise was carefully crafted to demonstrate to subsequent Chief Executives the price they would pay for disregarding the agenda of those who anointed them.


THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW


In the book's final pages, Estulin's research waxes increasingly relevant to the present moment in history. He asks: "Why would David Rockefeller and other U.S. Trilateralists, Bilderbergers and the CFR members want to dismantle the industrial might of the United States?" (184). He then launches into a summary of the economic history of the twentieth century and makes one of the most powerful statements of the entire book: "What we have witnessed from this ‘cabal' is the gradual collapsing of the U.S. economy that began in the 1980s." (187)


In case you haven't noticed, this "gradual collapse of the U.S. economy" is no longer gradual, and what Estulin is asserting confirms a great deal of the assertions made by Catherine Austin Fitts that the current housing bubble explosion/credit crunch/mortgage meltdown has its roots in the 1980s. James Howard Kunstler has also written recently in his blog entitled "Shock and Awe" that the great American yard sale has begun. In other words, as an engineered economic meltdown drives hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of businesses and individuals into bankruptcy, key players in the Big Three ruling elite organizations can buy up the train wreck left behind for pennies on the dollar-a brilliant fast-track strategy for owning the world.


In the final months of 2007 we are witnessing the stupendous success of the Big Three's strategy for planetary economic hegemony as the cacophony of their carefully engineered global economic cataclysm reverberates across America and around the world. It was never about buyers who didn't read the fine print when taking out liar loans. It was always about silver-tongued, ruling elite politicians and central bankers, anointed by the shadow government, who ultimately and skillfully stole and continue to steal governments from people and replace them with transnational corporations.


No one could have said it better than David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, a Bilderberg member and board member of the Council On Foreign Relations in his Memoirs:


Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure-one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.


If you want to know who really runs the world and the lengths to which they will go to establish their globalist hegemony, you must read Estulin's well-documented The True Story of The Bilderberg Group.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 04 Oct 2007 10:20


The South Asian Americans (The New Americans)
by Karen Isaksen Leonard


# Hardcover: 208 pages
# Publisher: Greenwood Press (October 30, 1997)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0313297886
# ISBN-13: 978-0313297885

Book Description
Immigrants from South Asian countries are among the fastest growing segment of our population. This work, designed for students and interested readers, provides the first in-depth examination of recent South Asian immigrant groups--their history and background, current facts, comparative cultures, and contributions to contemporary American life. Groups discussed include Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Nepalis, and Afghans. The topics covered include patterns of immigration, adaption to American life and work, cultural traditions, religious traditions, women's roles, the family, adolescence, and dating and marriage. Controversial questions are examined: Does the American political economy welcome or exploit South Asian immigrants? Are American and South Asian values compatible? Leonard shows how the American social, religious, and cultural landscape looks to these immigrants and the contributions they make to it, and she outlines the experiences and views of the various South Asian groups. Statistics and tables provide information on migration, population, income, and employment. Biographical profiles of noted South Asian Americans, a glossary of terms, and selected maps and photos complete the text. The opening chapter introduces the reader to South Asian history, culture, and politics, material on which the rest of the book draws because of its continuing relevance to South Asians settled in the United States. Leonard provides a fascinating look at the early South Asian immigrant Punjabi Mexican American community whose second and third generations are grappling with the issue of being Mexican, "Hindu," and American. A comparative examination of immigrant groups from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Afghanistan illuminates the similarities and differences of their rich cultural and religious traditions, the social fabric of their communities, and how these immigrants have adapted to American life. Leonard looks closely at the diversity of cultural traditions--music, dance, poetry, foods, fashion, yoga, fine arts, entertainment, and literature--and how these traditions have changed in the United States. "Keeping the family together" is important to these immigrants. Leonard examines family issues, second generation identities, adolescence, making marriages, and wedding traditions. This work provides a wealth of information for students and interested readers to help them understand South Asian immigrant life, culture, and contributions to American life.


ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 50069
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby ramana » 06 Oct 2007 01:48

Book Review Pioneer, 6 Oct., 2007
Why Nehru opposed US

India and the United States: Politics of the Sixties, Kalyani Shankar, Macmillan, Rs 495

The book, India and the United States: Politics of the Sixties, by Kalyani Shankar, provides insights into the India-US relationship in the 1960s. It deals with the ups and downs in the relations of the two democracies between 1963 and 1969 -- during the Lyndon Johnson presidency. The political manoeuvrings of Johnson come through the confidential documents reproduced for the first time in this book. Delicate subjects ranging from the food crisis to the Vietnam war have been carefully scrutinised with the help of documents. The following is an excerpt published here with the permission of the publisher, Macmillan.

Jawaharlal Nehru was acknowledged as one of the tallest leaders of the world and an important political personality in Asia by the Americans. At the same time, they also knew his strengths and weaknesses, which are clear in their internal correspondence between the White House and the State Department as well as the US Ambassador to India, Chester Bowles.

President Johnson dealt with three Indian Prime Ministers during his two terms and his interaction with Nehru was the shortest as the latter died within a few months of Johnson becoming the President after the assassination of JF Kennedy in 1963. Johnson had a brief association with Nehru when the former visited India as Vice-President in 1961. Nehru held talks with him and hosted a dinner in his honour. The Nehru-Johnson correspondence was official and brief. By the time Johnson took over, the India-US relations were already on the move as Nehru was forced to seek American help after the Chinese aggression in 1962. The US was also toying with the idea of a military package for India to counter China, which was in final stages when Kennedy died.

Although Nehru had good relations with President Eisenhower and his successor Kennedy, he was seen as anti-American as Nehru was wedded to his non-alignment policy. The then Indian Ambassador to the US, BK Nehru, refers to this in his book Nice Guys Finish Second. He recalls how one day he dared to ask him a very rude question which was: "Why are you so anti-American?" Nehru answered sharply that he was not anti-American. I said, 'Oh yes. Sir, You are." He asked why I said so? I answered, "Because your instinctive reaction to any proposal that may come from the United States is to reject it, however good it may."

After a long silence he said in a low voice: "Maybe there is some truth in what you say. Maybe I am instinctively anti-American. I remember that when I was at Harrow (in the UK) there was one single American boy in the school. He was very rich and the rest of us disliked him for his preoccupation with money and looked down upon him for that reason. It may be that my negative reaction to America is because of that experience."

WOW!!!

Maybe this explains the Nehru psychology.

CIA tributes to Nehru

A CIA report dated May 27, 1964, the day Nehru died, paid glorious tributes to him:

When Nehru announced to the world in 1948 that the great Indian independence leader Gandhi had died, he described the event in terms of a 'light' having 'gone out of our lives'. India was fortunate that darkness did not immediately follow but rather that Nehru's 'light' burned equally bright and lasted yet another 16 years. There is no 'light' of equal magnitude in Indian politics today; Nehru was too jealous of his own power to allow one to build up. Now he is dead, the victim of a stroke, his second in six months and India must settle on the next brightest 'light' available.

(The CIA also accurately predicted that) a diminutive, retiring, moderate 59 year-old is likely to be the choice of the Congress party group in Parliament which must now select a new leader.


svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 11 Oct 2007 07:01


God and Gold
Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World

Author:
Walter Russell Mead
, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy
# Hardcover: 464 pages
# Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (October 9, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0375414037
# ISBN-13: 978-0375414039

[quote]

Overview
Since Oliver Cromwell’s day, the English-speakers have seen their enemies as haters of liberty and God who care nothing for morality, who will do anything to win, and who rely on a treacherous fifth column to assure victory.

Those enemies, from Catholic Spain and Louis XIV to the Nazis, communists, and al-Qaeda, held similar beliefs about their British and American rivals, but we see that though the Anglo-Americans have lost small wars here and there, they have won the major conflicts. So far.

Walter Russell Mead, one of our most distinguished foreign policy experts, makes clear that the key to the predominance of the United States and England has been the individualistic ideology of the prevailing Anglo-American religion. Mead explains how this helped create a culture uniquely adapted to capitalism, a system under which both countries thrived. We see how, as a result, the two nations were able to create the liberal, democratic system whose economic and social influence continues to grow around the world.

“A remarkable piece of historical analysis.â€

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 50069
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby ramana » 16 Oct 2007 08:55

Not really book reviews but a whole bunch of e-books from Uty California press!!!

http://content.cdlib.org/escholarship/

JE Menon
Forum Moderator
Posts: 6957
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby JE Menon » 16 Oct 2007 11:59

Thanx a bunch Ramana for these e-book links. I'm overdosing on 18th-19th century books on India from Google and another link (Stanford maybe) which you provided. Excellent stuff.

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 50069
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby ramana » 16 Oct 2007 18:46

Anytime JEM. BTW there are 518 public/free titles in this bunch. Some are interesting. And some very interesting.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Postby svinayak » 17 Oct 2007 12:36

Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes
by Mark Penn (Author), E. Kinney Zalesne (Author)


# Hardcover: 448 pages
# Publisher: Twelve (September 5, 2007)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0446580961
# ISBN-13: 978-0446580960

From "Soccer Moms," the legendary swing voters of the mid-1990s, to "Late-Breaking Gays" such as former Gov. Games McGreevey (out at age 47), Burson-Marsteller CEO (and campaign adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton) Penn delves into the ever-splintering societal subsets with which Americans are increasingly identifying, and what they mean. For instance, because of "Extreme Commuters," people who travel more than 90 minutes each way to work, carmakers must come up with ever more luxury seat features, and "fast food restaurants are coming out with whole meals that fit in cup holders." In a chapter titled "Archery Moms?", Penn reports on the "Niching of Sports": much to the consternation of Major League Baseball, "we don't like sports less, we just like little sports more." The net result of all this "niching" is "greater individual satisfaction"; as Penn notes, "not one of the fastest-growing sports in America... depends substantially on teamwork." Penn draws similar lessons in areas of business, culture, technology, diet, politics and education (among other areas), reporting on 70 groups ("Impressionable Elites," "Caffeine Crazies," "Neglected Dads," "Unisexuals," "America's Home-Schooled") while remaining energetic and entertaining throughout. Culture buffs, retailers and especially businesspeople for whom "small is the new big" will value this exercise in nano-sociology.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A book categorizing approximately 75 trends the author sees in the modern world (American-focused).
Written so that the ideas presented can be processed in everything from bite-sized individual morsels to sectional chunks (e.g. Love, Sex, and Relationships).

Cons:
-Sometimes staid writing
-Use of book to plug commercial contacts
(Microsoft's Zune, Mark, as leading some kind of social music revolution? the Zune? C'mon!)
-tendency to generalize anecdotes or a handful of data points he has seen into opinions he thinks are held by significant amounts of people
-highly timely, and will not age well

Microtrends is intriguing; for any watcher of society, Penn's book will likely tell you about social changes you already knew, will likely crystallize broader happenings you have-been-seeing-but-have-not-yet-realized or put a name to, and will likely introduce you to entirely new trends (and it is in these startling moments that the book becomes particularly worth the read).

Mark should be applauded for showing the value of numbers, and of data, in modern society. My only qualm with his idea-sourcing is how he never looks to the numbers to disprove a trend. Instead, he looks at them to justify what he already suspects. This is one of humanity's cognitive biases: the need to confirm what we think is true (rather than taking the alternate, harder, and ultimately more rewarding route of trying to disprove whether something is true, as real science does). While Penn is often right in his trends, that does not mean he will always be right, or that his methodology, as it stands, is not flawed.

Still, Penn effectively yanks the reader's attention in such a way that we can't help but notice new things about our daily world. Armed, often, with convincing data and the power of demographics, he makes predictions that seem sensible (and though perhaps originally startling, also seem quickly convincing in their effect).

Microtrends grabbed me, personally, in the way that I like: rather than telling me stuff, it made me think about things on my own, it made me puzzle and question and conjecture and ultimately conclude things about this crazy world of ours.

Three decades ago, Penn sat in a Harvard library and read a book by Valdimer Orlando Key, Jr., in which he wrote that `voters are not fools.' Key was known for promoting realism and rationality in the analysis of politics and election returns. Voters and consumers should be seen as being rational. As Penn writes, it is not about a male candidate's necktie color, but real issues. If one takes the time to understand the trends, one can find the roots of behaviors and desires, and potentially the future consuming and voting patterns. To that end, Penn, a pollster for over 30 years (actually he first administered a poll on his teachers at the age of 13), Clinton's lead pollster/strategist, and the person credited with defining "soccer moms" (busy suburban mothers with families and careers and political policy goals who were swing voters in the last decade) has explored and highlighted 75 out of hundreds of microtrends - these small, under the radar forces that involve as little as 1% of America's population and registered prime voters - which may affect America's future.

In the book, Penn is quick to point out that a microtrend is not merely a development, like the increased use of debit cards or wives changing their surnames upon marriage, but a growing interest group with needs and desires which are unmet by the corporate or political environment. The authors have made it easy to digest, have used a lot of humor to reinforce the points, and have closed each microtrend discussion with specific business or policy products or ideas that can meet the needs of the group. For some microtrends, they include a section on international comparisons to the American trend.

Some of the most interesting microtrends are: The growth of households comprised of single women (In 1980, 17% of Americans lived in solo households, now this figure is closer to one in four Americans). These women will need to plan for their retirements alone, so all those television commercials with couples on beaches are not speaking to them. Another growing trend is "cougars," or women, like "Mrs. Robinson," who date or marry men a decade younger than they are. They may require a new type of pre-nup or detective service. The trend for retired workers to continue working may necessitate tax law changes or a redirection of benefits from maternity leaves to `winter-off" options. Extreme Commuters have more time on their hands to read or listen (if they use mass transit); and the growth of Stay at Home workers may generate a need for changed zoning laws or more secure home offices in residential design. Protestant Hispanics (Hispanics are 14% of the U.S. population and 8% of registered voters) comprise 25% of Americans who identify as Hispanic. While 33% of Catholic Hispanics voted for Bush in the last election (unchanged from the 2000 race), Protestant Hispanics actually increased their votes for Bush from 44 percent to 56, and Pentecostal Hispanics were actually a key force that tipped the 2004 race to Bush. Penn points out that Bush's immigration policies have since changed attitudes, but this microtrend will be a growing factor in American elections. 30-Winkers are Americans who sleep less, take more naps, need caffeine, and need ways to be either more productive when they are awake or find solutions to their lack of sleep. While the microtrend of "XXX Men" is cute, that being the consumption of internet ***** at the office on corporate networks, the trend most interesting to me was Pro-semites or Philo-semites: the growing number of people who want to date Jewish men and women (11% of J-Date members are non Jews). They no longer view Jews as bearded outsiders as Woody Allen envisioned he was perception in "Annie Hall." Jewish women are no longer stereotyped as just making reservations for dinner (68% of Jewish women aged 25-44 have college degrees, the highest percentage of any religious group in America). Penn points out that in 1939, a Roper poll found that 53% of respondents thought Jews should be restricted; In 2006, a Gallup poll found the 54% had positive views of Jews, higher than any other religious group mentioned; also in a 2006 poll, 40% of non-Jews queried said that they would be interested in dating a Jew.

Overall, an easily digestible book with lots of ideas for entrepreneurs, policy designers, HR managers, and tattoo artists.
Kirkus Reviews
"Sound and cleverly written....will undoubtedly appeal to marketing analysts and armchair sociologists, as well as fans of Megatrends and Malcolm Gladwell."


Drevin
BRFite
Posts: 408
Joined: 21 Sep 2006 12:27

Postby Drevin » 17 Oct 2007 15:02

Best time to buy books is during the annual discount sale. Saves tons of money. Crossword, Bangalore recently concluded its discount sale. jmt.


Return to “Strategic & Security Issues Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest