Books And Authors I’ve Read (60 – 100)

84. “The Killing Of Osama bin Laden” by Seymour Hersh

nuggets: 1. Hersh would have us believe that Obamacare was a good thing. (pgs 2, 12). 2. “In my interviews about Obama’s early decision to raise the ante in Afghanistan, one fact stood out: Obama’s faith in the world of special operations and in Stanley McChyrstal, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan who worked closely with Dick Cheney from 2003 to 2008 as director of the Joint Special Operations Command.” (pg 8). 3. JSOC too riddle with dangerous, unprofessional soldiers and too liable to be directed by dangerous, unprofessional commanders. (pg 9). 4. The navy seals who slaughtered Obama found an elderly man and, his wives and children. He was not armed and his hideout wasn’t a command center full of important papers and computers etc. (pgs 29, 30). “Obama didn’t just double-cross Gate, he double-crossed everyone.” That’s mainly in reference to macho Obama’s decision to break with the plan he agreed to about when to publicly announce the killing of Osama bin Laden. When he did, and lied about how it happened – with a view to improving his re-election odds, a la JFK – he cause multiple problems. (pg 33). 5. One of the results of Obama’s lying, was the destruction of an entirely innocent man, namely Shakil Afridi, who oversaw a vaccination program. (Whether vaccination programs are “important,” as in ‘good’, is another subject. (pgs 41-43). 6. Hersh accepts information passed to him, by a Join Chief of Staff member, about Russia’s aggressive violation of Turkish airspace. (pg 114). 7. A retired American diplomat tells Hersh that Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine and Hersh seems to have no problem with it, even though it’s rubbish. (pg 112)

Michael Denton
photo source:
Privileged Species

85. “Evolution: A Theory In Crisis” by Michael Denton

I see that Michael has a follow up book, 30 years later. It’s titled “Evolution: Still A Theory In Crisis.”

nuggets: 1. Charles Darwin felt that homologous resemblance was highly suggestive of the reality of macroevolution. “…resemblances between living organisms are of two quite different sorts. On the one hand, there is the sort of resemblance where a fundamentally dissimilar structure has been modified or adapted to similar ends… The other sort of resemblance is termed homologous and occurs where a fundamentally similar organ or structure is modified to serve quite dissimlar ends.” – Denton (pg 48). 2. “Darwin never claimed his theory could explain the origin of life, but the implication was there. Thus, not only was God banished from the creation of species but from the entire realim of biology.” – Denton (pg 53). 3. Denton feels that Darwin’s special theory is substantiated, but he notes that it “…was also largely dependent on circumstantial evidence.” (pg 62). 4. Darwin’s particular concept of evolution, espousing continuity and gradulaism, was agreeable to the Victorian spirit of political and social conservation, Denton notes. (Continuity and gradulaism and bloody empire expansion and colonialism, is more accurate.). 5. “As the years passed after the Darwinian revolution, and as evolution became more and more consolidated into dogma, the gestalt of continuity imposed itself on every facet of biology. The discontinuities of nature could no longer be perceived. Consequently, debate slackened and there was less need to justify the idea of evolution by reference to the facts.” – Denton (pg 74). 6. “It appears then that Darwin’s usage of the term ‘homology’, which he defines in the Origin as that “relationship between parts which results from their development from corresponding embryonic parts,” is, as [Gavin] De Beer emphasizes, just what homology is not… Almost every gene that has been studied in higher organisms has been found to effect more than one organ system, a multiple effect which is known as pleiotropy… Not only are most genes in higher organisms plieotropic [sic] in their influence on development but, as is clear from a variety of studies of mutational patterns in different species, the plietropic [sic] effects are invariably species specific.” (pg 149)

86. “Wages Of Rebellion” by Chris Hedges

nuggets: 1. Chris says that the masses of the unemployed and underemployed are beginning to see through the “neoliberal version of the promise of rising living standards… based on the fallacy of economic deregulation and financialization.” (pg 6). 2. Chris abandons one savior, Jesus Christ, for another, namely rebels. (pg 20). “Government, in the hands of speculators, is a protection racket for corporations and a small group of oligarchs.” – Hedges (pg 32). 3. Chris refers to a “beast” in the Christian Bible book of Revelation and notes that the “single-minded drive for profit” is the service that that beast’s worshippers render to it. He doesn’t specify the beast, of which there are many in that book. If he’s talking about the second seven headed wild beast of Revelation, then he’s certainly correct to link the pursuit of profit – the money system – to it. I myself refer to that beast, which the Bible explains gets its authority from Satan, as the wild beast of Corporatocracy, which has come to be. Perhaps in important respects, that’s what it always was. (pg 42). 4. “A Department of Defense program know as “1033,” begun in the 1990s and authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act, and federal homeland security grants to the states have provided a total of $4.3 billion in military equipment to local police forces, either for free or on permanent loan, the magazine Mother Jones reported.” – Hedges (pg 83). 5. Ronnie Kasrils, a white South African, tells Hedges that the negotiators, with the ANC, for South Africa when apartheid was ending, screwed up big time. “They were fearful of defying Western imperialism and, as Kasrils put it, “neoliberal global economy market fundamentals.” But the ANC’s capitulation to global pressure to adopt a free market economy has proved to be a disaster. South Africa continues to be one of the most unequal societies on the planet. Whites, although they number less than 10 percent of the nation’s population, earn 7.7 times more money on average than their black counterparts. Only a few thousand of the country’s 41 million blacks earn more than $5000 a year. It is apartheid by another name.” – Hedges. This story of fake independence for South Africa following the formal end of apartheid is also told by Naomi Klein in her book, “The Shock Doctrine.” (pgs 92, 93). 6. “Landowners in Alberta own only the top 6 inches of soil. The mineral rights below it belong to the state. The province can lease these rights without the knowledge or acquiescence of the owner.” – Hedges (pg 203). 7. David York, who made a film about Ludwig Wiebo, told Hedges that “…sabotage in the oil patch is one of the oil and gas industry’s dirty little secrets… It is widespread… The industry doesn’t make a big fuss because they don’t want to encourage the response.” (pg 206)

From “The Swastika And The Maple Leaf”

87. “The Swastika And The Maple Leaf – Fascist Movements In Canada In The Thirties” by Lita-Rose Betcherman

nuggets: 1. “In 1922 the Fascisti made their historic march on Rome, which ended with King Victor Emmanuel calling upon Mussolini to form a government. This easy victory fell to him because fascism appeared to be the only alternative to another phenomenon of the postwar period – communism.” – Betcherman (pg 1). 2. “Hitler’s rise to power in the spring of 1933 not only inspired [Adrien] Arcand to transform his Patriotic Order of Golgus into a genuine fascist movement, it also caused fascist stirrings in other parts of Canada. In Ontario, Swastika Clubs suddenly sprang up – gangs of youths wearing swastika bages who harassed Jewish people on public beaches and in the parks. In Manitoba, the manifestations of Nazism were of a more adult and disturbing kind. As in Quebec, a shirt group – the Canadian Nationalist Party – was operating openly.” – author (pg 45). 3. “In less than three weeks the eleven fascists brought to trial in Montreal court. RCMP Inspector Clifford Harvison, the officer in charge of the round-up, produced a seized document purported to be a plan for a fascist army of seventy thousand. Also exhibited were dozens of letters to Arcand from Nazis and international fascists which provided strong circumstantial evidence of his affiliation with these groups. Proceeding under the wartime Defence of Canada Regulations, events moved swiftly. Two days after the preliminary inquiry, the Minister of Justice, Ernest Lapointe, announced that the fascists had been interned. He stated that he had seen the exhibits at the trial and since they clearly showed “communication and intelligence with enemies,” he had ordered the internment. At the same time the National Unity Party (along with other fascist and communist organizations) was declared illegal. The fascist movement in Canada was suppressed, not out of any moral repugnance, but because Germany had become the enemy.” – author (pg 146)

88. “The Secret History Of The American Empire – The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, And How To Change The World” by John Perkins

nuggets: 1. “An empire is ruled by an emperor or king who has control over the government and media, is not elected by the people, is not subject to their will, and whose term is not limited by law. On first glance, this seems to set the United States apart from other empires. However, the appearance is illusory. This empire is ruled by a group of people who collectively act very much like a king. They run our largest corporations and, through them, our government. They cycle through the “revolving door” back and forth between business and government. Because they fund political campaigns and the media, they control elected officials and the information we receive. These men and women (the corporatocracy) are in charge regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats control the White House or Congress. They are not subject to the people’s will and their terms are not limited by law.” (pg 6). 2. “Very soon we EHMs discovered that we did not need to wait for countries to nationalize oil fields as an excuse to manipulate their politics. We turned the World Bank, the IMF, and other “multinational” institutions into colonizing tools. We negotiated lucrative deals for U.S. corporations, established “free” trade agreements that blatantly served our exporters at the expense of those in the Third World, and burdened other countries with unmanageable debts. In effect, we created surrogate governments that appeared to represent their people but in reality were our servants. Some early examples: Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, and Israel.” (pgs 166 & 167). 3. “The overall share of federal taxes pad by U.S. corporations is now less than 10 percent, down from 21 percent in 2001, and more than 50 percent during World War II. One-third of America’s largest and most profitable corporations paid zero taxes in at least one of the first three years in the new millenium. In 2002 U.S. corporations booked $149 billion in tax-haven countries such as Ireland, Bermuda, Luxembourg, and Singapore.” (pg 294)

89. “The Shock Doctrine – The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein

nuggets: 1. “When the September 11 attacks hit, the White House was packed with [Milton] Friedman’s disciples, including his close friend Donald Rumsfeld. The Bush team seized the moment of collective vertigo with chilling speed – not, as some have claimed, because the administration deviously plotted the crisis but because the key figures of the administration, veterans of earlier disaster capitalism experiments in Latin America and Eastern Europe, were part of a movement that prays for crisis the way drought-struck farmers pray for rain, and the way Christian-Zionist end-timers pray for the Rapture. When the disaster strikes, they know instantly that their moment has come at last.” – author (pg 13). 2. Klein’s statement about “biblical fantasies of great floods and great fires,” here, hints at a hatred for the Christian Bible, and Christianity, that she becomes emboldened to express with even stronger hints in her next bestseller. And lucky Klein! It pays! Klein is Jewish. (pg 23). 3. “Most of the press attention focused on the sensational detail that the government had been funding acid trips. In fact, a large part of the scandal, when it finally broke, was that the CIA and Ewen Cameron had recklessly shattered lives with their experiments for no good reason – the research appeared useless: everyone knew by then that brainwashing was a Cold War myth. The CIA, for its part, actively encouraged this narrative, much preferring to be mocked as bumbling sci-fi buffoons than for having funded a torture laboratory at a respected university – and an effective one at that. When John Gittinger, the CIA psychologist who first reached out to Cameron, was forced to testify before a joint Senate hearing, he called support for Cameron “a foolish mistake… A terrible mistake.” When the hearing asked Sidney Gottlieb, former director of MKUltra, to explain why he had ordered all the files destroyed from the $25 million program, he replied that “the project MKUltra had not yielded any results of real positive value to the Agency.” In the exposés of MKUltra from the eighties, both in investigative accounts in the mainstream press and in books, the experiments are consistently described as “mind control” and “brainwashing.” The word “torture” is almost never used.” – author (pgs 42 & 43). 4. Klein reminds us that Joseph Stalin, with the support of other (beastly) leaders, had managed to have a UN General Assembly resolution “barring acts of genocide “when racial, religious, political and other groups have been destroyed destroyed, entirely or in part” altered so as to exclude the term “political.” (pgs 119 & 120). 5. “It was in 1982 that Milton Friedman wrote the highly influential passage that best summarizes the shock doctrine: “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.” It was to become a kind of mantra for his movement in the new democratic era. Allan Meltzer elaborated on the philosophy: “Ideas are alternatives waiting on a crisis to serve as the catalyst of change. Friedman’s model of influence was to legitimize ideas, to make them bearable, and worth trying when the opportunity comes.” The kind of crisis that Friedman had in mind was not military but economic. What he understood was that in normal circumstances, economic decisions are made based on the push and pull of competing interests – workers want jobs and raises, owners want low taxes and relaxed regulation, and politicians have to strike a balance between these competing forces. However, if an economic crisis hits and is severe enough – a currency meltdown, a market crash, a major recession – it blows everything else out of the water, and leaders are liberated to do whatever is necessary (or said to be necessary) in the name of responding to a national emergency. Crises are, in a way, democracy-free zones – gaps in politics as usual when the need for consent and consensus do not seem to apply.” – author. In fact, that passage describes how fascism advances. This is where fascist ‘leaders’ proclaim the old, broken, system to be dead and offer themselves as enablers and organizers of the new system and its new rules, while failing to mention that, as imperfect as the old system was, it was built with input from citizens at all levels of society, whereas the new and improved system will be designed and run, solely, by experts with the ‘right’ political views. (pgs 166 & 167)

90. “This Changes Everything – Capitalism VS The Climate” by Naomi Klein

nuggets: 1. “We know that if we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, climate change will change everything about our world. Major cities will very likely drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas, and there is a very high chance that our children will spend a great deal of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts.” – author (pg 4). 2. “More fundamentally than any of this, though, is their deep fear that if the free market system really has set in motion physical and chemical processes that, if allowed to continue unchecked, threaten large parts of humanity at an existential level, then their entire crusade to morally redeem capitalism has been for naught. With stakes like these, clearly greed is not so very good after all. And that is what is behind the abrupt rise in climate denial among hardcore conservatives: they have come to understand that as soon as they admit that climate change is real, they will lose the central ideological battle of our time – whether we need to plan and manage our societies to reflect our goals and values, or whether that task can be left to the magic of the market.” – author. I sort of disagree here with Klein about how central that ideological threat is to the politicians and their associates in this neoliberal era. I think the more important considerations, to them, are of a practical nature. Liability issues come into play. Simple cost cutting factors come into play. If your (cheaper) pollution isn’t so damaging, then you don’t have to worry so much (invest) about making your industry more green. Also, Regarding Klein’s idea about the “central ideological battle of our time” being a battle that we are all fighting, I disagree that it’s the central ideological battle that she says it is and therefore Klein is wrong about ‘our’ “goals and values.” Anthropogenic climate change is big and it’s important, but it’s not the biggest issue that faces us. The biggest issue people have to deal with is the issue of universal sovereignty. But those who choose to be faithless (whether they call it a different faith or no belief in God) will not see that. (pg 40). 3. Klein looks at one of the legacies of the free market counterrevolution: “In virtually every country, the political class accepts the premise that it is not the place of government to tell large corporations what they can and cannot do, even when public health and welfare – indeed the habitability of our shared home – are clearly at stake.” (pg 142). 4. “Extractivism is a nonreciprocal, dominance-based relationship with the earth, one purely of taking. It is the opposite of stewardship, which involves taking but also taking care that regeneration and future life continue. Extractivism is the mentality of the mountaintop remover and the old-growth clear-cutter. It is the reduction of life into objects for the use of others, giving them no integrity or value of their own – turning complex ecosystems into “natural resources,” mountains into “overburden” (as the mining industry terms the forests, rocks, and streams that get in the way of its bulldozers). It is also the reduction of human beings either into labor to be brutally extracted, pushed beyond limits, or, alternatively, into social burden, problems to be locked out at borders and locked away in prisons or reservations. In an extractivist economy, the interconnections among these various objetified components of life are ignored; the consequences of severing them are of no concern.” – author. I completely agree with that, but elsewhere in Klein’s book she feels the need to weave into that narrative the deviant Christianity that supports extractivism, without noting that there’s deviant Christianity and true Christianity. (pg 169)

91. “America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy” by William Blum

nuggets: 1. “Shortly before the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, career diplomat John Bradey Kiesling, the political counselor at the US embassy in Athens, resigned over the Iraq policy. ‘Has “oderint dum metuant” really become our motto?’ he asked in his letter of resignation, referring to the fact that more than one member of the Bush administration had used the expression.” (pg 2). 2. Former CIA director asserts that there’s so much evidence that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction that he considered “this point beyond dispute.” (pg 2). 3. Entrapment is illegal but authorities with national security orgs do it, and get away with it, all the time. It’s make work for those with the freedom to do it. (pg 46). 4. a tale of two terrorists, one, Orlando Bosch, a gatekeeper and therefore free, and one, Zacarias Moussaoui, not a gatekeeper and therefore officially a terrorist (pg 50). 5. US soldiers rob Iraq households with such freedom and impunity that they do it in front of their occupants! (pg 55). 6. Like Nazis, US soldiers would imprison an Iraqi’s wife in her own home until the husband came home (pg 57). 7. Obama defends the worst American atrocities, such as the war on Iraq for its non existent weapons of mass destruction and other things that proved to be nonsense, praising ruined soldiers who actually did it, in effect (my view, not Blum’s) calling God to “Bring it!” (pgs 59 & 60). 8. In a 1970 memo to Richard Nixon (of Cambodian genocide fame), Henry Kissinger explains why the CIA must continue to be deployed against democratically elected governments. He says that “the imitative spread of similar phenomena elsewhere would in turn significantly affect the world balance of power and our own position in it.” I’ll assume that that’s a quote. Blum is punctuation-challenged. “Our position in it”? That means the US’s rule over the entire planet. It doesn’t mean ‘leadership’. It means ‘domination’.

92. “Harperism – How Stephen Harper And His Think Tank Colleagues Have Transformed Canada” by Donald Gutstein

nuggets: 1. Stephen Harper is a neoliberal. (pg 12). 2. Gutstein says that neoliberalism came to Canada later than in the US and Britain, arriving with the Brian Mulroney Conservative government. (pg 14). 3. “…the term “neoliberal,” admittedly a slippery concept to pin down.” No doubt that true – if you want to get into it in a great deal of detail. I’m not as smart as Gutstein, but I don’t find it challenging to say what neoliberal is. I might not be able to say as much about it as Gutstein, but I do think I know what it is. It’s a social economic system that has inequality at its core. It’s all about robbing people of their citizenship and leaving them with merely the appearance of being participants in decision-making. They can buy, but they can say nothing about the system that sells them things, or about the quality of goods and services, or their ability to buy, because free trade agreements, and bogus politics – in which we don’t have people’s champions and therefore ‘that’ choice at election time – has channeled all political power to unaccountable, powerful, tax-evading, exploitative corporations. It’s the old trickle-down theory in practice. Let the wealth-producers produce an abundance and we will get the overflow is how that theory goes. Of course, That would require that we are not, as individuals, free to self-modify into being believers in inequality, deceit and violence, so that all of our leaders, political and corporate, can only be good-intentioned. But that is not reality. (pg 19). 4. To poison – mentally and spiritually ruin – a people, first poison their culture. Enter the second hand dealers in ideas, namely the journalists, teachers, radio commentators etc.. (pages 20 & 21). 5. Gutstein quotes Marxist scholar Perry Anderson, who notes that whatever “limitations persist to its practice, neo-liberalism as a set of principles rules undivided across the globe: the most successful ideology in world history.” (pg 22). 6. One way that the corporate-owned, pro neoliberal media, gets us to go along is by lying to us. The more technical an argument is, the harder it is for non specialists to know that a rightwing position is based on lies. Therefore, the less likely that a sufficient number of citizens will object to implementation of rightwing, damaging policies. (pages 38 & 39). 7. The Toronto Star assists in attacking supply management. (pg 42). 8. Gutstein notes that “most people tend to accept statistics as being authoritative. (pg 67). 9. “Disseminating a story through multiple sources without actually standing behind it was a typical Harper government manoeuvre, careful observers noted,” notes Gutstein. (pg 126)