Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dark Money by Jane Mayer

It will not be surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that for the past twenty years our political system has been awash in special interest money. Mayer tells us it is forty years. What Mayer does in this detailed accounting is to elucidate the sources of that money and the routes it takes to influence votes. What may be more surprising to readers is how often that money has failed in its mission.

Probably the best reason for reading this book is to see how Jane Mayer allows these individuals and groups to speak for themselves. She quotes from statements spoken by fund raisers at their own gatherings, from the literature distributed under their aegis, and from interviews with associates. Mayer also traces the many shell companies through which the money flows to hide its origins. She documents why the groups feel it is necessary to hide the source of the monies and why the folks involved do not want their names to be known.

Many of the families besides David and Charles Koch who most ardently support far right wing causes are not the self-made men of legend. They are heirs of fortunes who seek to retain those fortunes. The tax laws in our country have been such that persons with enormous fortunes could use a portion of it for charitable giving rather than have it taxed by the government. These generous brethren have decided to do the patriarchal thing: to “give” portions of their fortune to like-minded groups they create to influence the populace. I am not suggesting they don’t work hard at it. They do. Lots of effort has gone into creating an empire on the backs of a people they disparage.

What I cannot reconcile in my own mind is how these folks, experienced in the advantages (and disadvantages) of great wealth, don’t come to the conclusion that money isn’t the point. There have been too many studies on the limits of wealth to ensure happiness for these experienced folks to have missed the central point. Money does buy power, but look at the uses to which these folks want to use their power: to perpetuate their own wealth, despite the documented injury to the environment their companies perpetuate and to the continued abasement of their workforces. Even Koch scoffs at the notion that he needs more money. I just don’t get it.

And, it seems, neither do the American public. Despite libertarian donors of like-minded billionaires pooling their capital donations and pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into influencing the last presidential election, their arch-nemesis Obama was reelected. Of course, he was unable to accomplish much in his term because of the groups were successful in filling the House and Senate with politicians they’d supported financially: the darlings of what is still called the Republican party, e.g., Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, among many others. When Mitch McConnell became Majority Speaker of the Senate, he hired a new policy chief who was formerly a lobbyist for Koch Industries. Neither Ohio Governor John Kasich and real estate magnate Donald Trump have a part in the Koch money cabal. But…remind me again, who won in the presidential election primaries in NH this year?

If you have been confused about the obstreperous obstructionism Obama encountered in the House and Senate even after he was elected, twice, to the presidency, you may be interested to learn that the money promised to groups favoring select Republican candidates for the coming presidential election has been estimated to be over $800 million. Apparently the Republican Party itself is the poor step-sister of a shadow organization that dwarfs it in money and reach. These monies have begun in recent years to target local elections and judge nominations. In these arenas dark money seems to have more effect (see the change in the red/blue map of governerships and local districts after 2010), perhaps because national elections get more voters. More voters often translate into more moderate results.

In addition, the money is going to influence academic centers and think tanks. Penetrating academia – a delivery system for the group’s ideology by winning the hearts and minds of college students--has long been on their wish list. Academia is an investment for the Koch’s ambitious designs. Their own literature claims they have funded 5,000 scholars in some 400 universities throughout the country. “Privately funded pro-corporate centers can replace faculty teachings with their own.” The groups are also pouring money into online education, paying lower-income students to take more courses. The intent is to create an “idea pipeline.” I have to say, Bernie Sanders’ proposed free college education sounds better than ever.

But at the end of it all, I am still perplexed. We know the sources of the dark money discussed in this book believe in small government free enterprise. But do they really believe that corporations do not have a responsibility to provide living wages and a non-polluting environment? At the same time company profits and management wages soar. Unfortunately for their argument is the fact that many of the corporate heads financing opposition to regulation are under indictment for pollution caused by their own corporations. They are trying to address this also, changing perceptions by calling their investments “wellbeing” grants.

In the end, what I don’t like about the current system of free enterprise and/or payments for work is that corporations have shown that they don’t do very well at controlling themselves. Corporate governance is beginning to sound like an oxymoron. Corporate boards blame their inability to control costs on the need to make profits for stake-holders or investors, but the salaries and bonuses these boards award themselves at the expense of cleaning up pollution caused by their companies or to avoid paying a living wage to workers make them look foolish (and greedy).

I guess it really is so simple as narcissism: the wealthy come to believe they deserve to be wealthy because they are either smarter or more deserving in some other way. If that is the inevitable outcome of the free market system, I think we can state unequivocally that it does, in fact, need regulation. We could, I suppose, just throw away the whole system. Which, do you think, sources of dark money would prefer?

I think everyone needs to read or listen to this book but if you don’t feel you have the time, go to the library or a bookstore and read Chapter 14. While in previous chapters Mayer tells us how the groups began, which groups and donors comprise dark money, and what they have tried to do, in this final chapter Mayer tells us what is happening now. This is important for how we integrate and process any new information we learn. Mayer has also written several smaller articles in The New Yorker, beginning in 2010. A wonderfully informative January 24, 2016 NYTimes book podcast is also available on this title. Get the information piecemeal if you must, but you will definitely want to inform yourselves.

Link to a list of groups created and sustained by Koch Family Foundations. I listened to the audio of this title, produced by Penguin Random House and narrated by Kirsten Potter. Potter paced the narrative well, and may have tried to inject some excitement into the narrative by using a somewhat sensational vocal modulation. A dry recitation may be more boring, but the material needed no enhancement.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell

There are times in every person’s life when one desires to know the essence of things. It often happens when we are young, and if it does, it may hang around in the back of our minds all our lives, breaking through into real questioning and investigation at different stages, when we need to know how to understand events, either personal or public. Sarah Bakewell makes the argument that the ideas of the European phenomenologist and existentialist philosophers of the twentieth century have so pervaded our world view that we have incorporated their philosophies into our art, literature, rebellion, and social movements, often without knowing exactly where those ideas have come from.

Bakewell makes the point that we need to revisit the genesis and development of those philosophies again, not because they were necessarily right, but because they make us think. At a time when people are questioning the notion of “freedom” to act, of whether we have any agency in the direction of the world or whether we are cast about by forces against which we can only react, Bakewell believes that revisiting the record of the lives, friendships, and scholarship of the existentialists will show us the ways in which they were both acting and reacting to the world around them.
“…freedom may prove to be the great puzzle for the early twenty-first century…Science books and magazines bombard us with the news that we are out of control: that we amount to a mass of irrational but statistically predictable responses, veiled by the mere illusion of a conscious, governing mind...Reading such accounts, one gets the impression that we actually take pleasure in this idea of ourselves as out-of-control mechanical dupes of our own biology and environment. We claim to find it disturbing, but we might actually be taking a kind of reassurance from it—for such an idea lets us off the hook. They save us from the existential anxiety that comes with considering ourselves free agents who are responsible for what we do. Sartre would call that bad faith. Moreover, recent research suggests that those who have been encouraged to think they are unfree are inclined to behave less ethically, again suggesting that we take it as an alibi.”

Bakewell looks at an impressive list of writers and philosophers, some of whom are Sartre, Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Camus, Husserl, and Heidegger. Bakewell calls them “hopelessly flawed.” Heidegger removed himself from public life after his support of the Nazi regime made him reexamine phenomenology. Sartre in later years recanted his support of violence, and his support of the Soviet state. Beauvoir in her autobiography writes in wonder, “I might not have met Sartre; anything at all might have happened.”

But Bakewell makes another look at the existentialists and phenomenologists relevant and interesting. We need to think about these things, she suggests, because it has been a long time since anyone has come up with ideas which attempt to define and shape our presence and interactions in the world. Her extraordinary lucidity in explaining the nub of the phenomenology and existentialism, and her vast research into the lives of the philosophers who brought these ideas into consciousness allow her to describe, even illustrate, “character” and “goodness,” two traits towards which we strive. Bakewell makes us think again about our responsibility in the world, and where the use of technology fits in with our lives as authentic, ethical beings. “Computers are bad phenomenologists.”

This is no dusty, boring tome filled with outdated ideas. Bakewell packs the book with details of the lives and conversations of some of the most charismatic and influential thinkers of the twentieth century. This is philosophy lived, not just talked about. If you have not taken your brain out for a run lately, this fascinating discussion of philosophical principles and principals is a terrific trail in the woods.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Books I Wish I Had Time to Read - new and upcoming 2016

Am getting lots of information about interesting books these days and cannot get to them all. However, you bright things out there may be able to enjoy them. Below please find the offerings of a few publishers or authors that I wish I had time to read:

Columbia University Press
Published in 2012, this title just won CUP's Distinguished Book Award. From the CUP website description of this book:
"Wael B. Hallaq boldly argues that the 'Islamic state,' judged by any standard definition of what the modern state represents, is both impossible and inherently self-contradictory. Comparing the legal, political, moral, and constitutional histories of premodern Islam and Euro-America, he finds the adoption and practice of the modern state to be highly problematic for modern Muslims. He also critiques more expansively modernity's moral predicament, which renders impossible any project resting solely on ethical foundations.

The modern state not only suffers from serious legal, political, and constitutional issues, Hallaq argues, but also, by its very nature, fashions a subject inconsistent with what it means to be, or to live as, a Muslim. By Islamic standards, the state's technologies of the self are severely lacking in moral substance, and today's Islamic state, as Hallaq shows, has done little to advance an acceptable form of genuine Shari'a governance. The Islamists' constitutional battles in Egypt and Pakistan, the Islamic legal and political failures of the Iranian Revolution, and similar disappointments underscore this fact. Nevertheless, the state remains the favored template of the Islamists and the ulama (Muslim clergymen). Providing Muslims with a path toward realizing the good life, Hallaq turns to the rich moral resources of Isl...(continued on CUP website)"
Knopf Doubleday, a division of Random House
From the promo materials:
In the late 1890s, Mark Twain made the terrible mistake of pouring his and his wife’s life savings into a publishing company. Needless to say, they lost everything. At the peak of his fame, Twain went bankrupt and at risk of losing control of his most beloved masterpieces, such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, decided to pay the debts quickly by embarking on a round-the-world speaking tour. Along the way, Twain delivered one hundred and twenty-two standup comedy performances — the greatest hits of his career in a ninety-minute one-man show — across the USA in places such as Butte and Spokane, and on to Australia, New Zealand, India, Ceylon and South Africa. The performances were funny, poignant, strangely thought-provoking, and wildly popular. No American author had ever talked his way around the world. And on the cusp of success, his family suffered a horrific tragedy, but Twain survived and returned triumphant to New York City in 1900. [Aside: Richard Zacks sounds a bit of a character, too.]See the website blurb

Penguin Random House
From the promo:
For readers of Lorrie Moore, Jennifer Egan, and Lena Dunham, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL is a dark, hilarious, acutely written collection of vignettes which skewers our body image-obsessed culture while simultaneously delivering a tender, sympathetic portrait of a difficult but unforgettable woman whose lifelong struggle to lose weight comes at a high cost.
Caustic, hilarious, and heartbreaking, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL introduces Mona Awad as a major literary talent. From the website blurb

Other Press
From the promo lit:
This best-selling debut novel from one of France’s most exciting young writers is based on the true story of the 1949 disappearance of Air France’s Lockheed Constellation and its famous passengers. On October 27th, 1949, the newest crown jewel in the Air France fleet, the Constellation welcomed thirty-eight passengers aboard a flight from Paris to New York, including the world famous boxer Marcel Cerdan and virtuoso violinist Ginette Neveu. In his best-selling debut novel CONSTELLATION...Bosc is as a detective trying to solve a crime, drawing a spider web of connections that grows exponentially in spectrum; in telling these stories, Bosc brings us to the Italian-American mafia in pre-revolution Havana, to the private love letters of Édith Piaf, to the quickie divorces of the rich and famous in 1940s Reno, Nevada, to his own correspondence with the son of one of the Constellation’s victims.
Go to the website

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Willful Disregard by Lena Andersson

In this wonderfully dense slim novel Lena Andersson manages to encapsulate the intensely personal—the treatment of a woman writer in love with a famous painter who is uninterested in her—and broaden it to encompass larger political questions and concerns.
”[Are] we in fact not all to some extent utilitarians, that is consequentialists, that is, we judge things in terms of outcomes, even when we claim to be applying principles?...A consequentialist…is obliged to be against democracy if it turns out to have worse consequences than dictatorship. For her, there can be no intrinsic value in anything other than maximum well-being, whereas for the rights-based ethicist, intrinsic value is the only orientation point. The intrinsic value of freedom and autonomy.”
As it happens, this is precisely what I have been mulling over lately when considering the foreign affairs of nations. Andersson’s fascinating study on the monomaniacal intensity of a woman in a relationship she is not able to control, being the partner who cares too much and who therefore has less power, dovetails nicely with the direction of my reading and thinking. Part of the pleasure of this novel comes from listening to the undeniably realistic internal confabulations of a woman under the influence of an overwhelming attraction she cannot escape. We’ve all been there, to greater or lesser degrees. The pleasure and pain of an unrequited love is something none of us forget.
”Ester Nilsson…was a poet and essayist who lived by the understanding that the world was as she experienced it. Or to be more precise, that people were so constituted as to experience the world as it was, so long as they did not let their attention wander, or lie to themselves. The subjective was the objective, and the objective was the subjective.”
What a remarkable idea, and since it is expressed on the first page of the novel, we are obliged to apply its principle throughout, finding plenty of contradictions in her approach since her passionate though unrequited love clearly colors her reality. She experiences “willful disregard” for facts. The obsessive circuit of her rehashing of events and conversations leads her to conclude that the object of her attention does not love her but the slightest attention on his part can restart the destructive obsessive cycle all over again.

At one point Ester travels to Paris in the spring to see if she can break the cycle and look at the world anew but “Paris didn’t help. Nothing helped you still had yourself with you.” Truer words… We feel her pain. Shortly after her return to Stockholm she calls her ex-boyfriend, the one she threw over when she became obsessed with the artist she is pursuing. We are not exactly sure why she calls her old boyfriend, Per, and neither is she. Per is clearly in the weaker position of the relationship, as he loves her more. After her call, Per’s obsession with Ester begins anew, with Per calling her twice a day, culminating in Per’s shrill denunciation of her disturbing his hard-won equilibrium after her departure last time. This portion of the novel recalls perfectly the novel Climates, André Maurois’s depiction of a trio of loves, all unrequited. We create our own climate in the atmosphere of our minds. Other people may or may not feel comfortable in that climate.

Ester had a group of women friends with whom she shared the story of her obsession, and they ended up telling her “he’s just not that into you.” She turns her back on them since they clearly do not understand. As the finish of the novel approached, we savor the final pages, sure that some resolution is imminent. The reader finds oneself simultaneously annoyed with Ester for her blindness and outraged by Hugo, the object of her affection, for his brutish manipulation of Ester.

Andersson draws back to show the larger political picture once again at the end of the novel. Hugo trots out the usual tired tropes about U.S. imperialism in the world:
"He often talked like that, she noted, about nobody doing anything, saying anything, having the guts for anything. They were all morally corrupt, bankrupt and cowardly...Ester looked at Hugo. This body and this consciousness were what she had been yearning for, all day every day for almost a year and four months…How is it, she asked, that only Westerners have to answer for their actions and ideas, not other people?"
Ester's bewilderment and disgust at this point are very nearly enough to tip her into recognition of her delusions. Undoubtedly a great deal of Ester’s obsessive love was her own construction of what Hugo’s ideas as an artist represented. Hugo was a construct, and what she imagined did not exist outside of her own mind.

The final few pages of the novel are a worthy finish to a novel of obsessive love, reading like a thriller of the heart. "'Best of luck, then', he said...'Best of luck, then', she thought, a phrase with all the qualities of a murder weapon", words that drive a stake through the notion of love. But it isn’t over even then. She still needed final confirmation.

A terrific novel that brings into relief human capability and culpability, Willful Disregard won the 2014 August Prize awarded by the Swedish Publisher’s Association, and the Literature Prize given by the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. Translated into twelve languages, it was published in English in Britain in 2015. It was developed into a screenplay in Sweden and was performed on a minimalist stage in 2015 with a cast of five. It is being released in the United States this week by Other Press.

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict by Austin Reed, edited by Caleb Smith

There can be no doubt that this remarkable document uncovered and authenticated recently by a team led by Caleb Smith at Yale University is something altogether new in the annals of prison literature. A young free black inmate of New York’s prison system, ten years old at first incarceration in 1833, shares his history in rich detail and with great storytelling skill.

If at first I thought this might be a story of the wrongly accused—the boy was only ten years old!—I was soon disabused of that idea, given Austin Reed’s own testimony that his mother was despairing of his precocious criminality and bad habits, sending him out to be indentured to a farmer some distance into the country from the corrupting influence of city life Rochester, N.Y. Within days Reed had made that farmer angry enough to give him the whip, at which point Reed threw himself on the mercy and tender attentions of another nearby farmhouse, who promptly made an effort to bring the boy back to his home in Rochester again, to the near-suicidal despair of Reed’s mother.

It turns out that Reed’s sister was as indignant as Reed himself was about the whipping, and stirred the boy to take a pistol and a knife to that angry farmer who initially indentured him. Thus attempted murder must be considered when considering his case, and though the murder failed, Reed did manage to light the farmer’s barn and house on fire, burning it nearly to the ground if his own record is to be believed. That is how he was put into the prison system the first time. (Here I will admit to an exceedingly strong hankering to know what became of the sister. If this were fiction, we could make something up. I want the nonfiction story of that strong-willed creature so filled with rage.)

What makes this work so thrilling to read is that the reader finds oneself taken with this “bright boy” despite his best efforts to complicate his life, forcing one to imagine the position and condition of a free black in a northern city before the Civil War, and examine what could cause such indignation on the part of the sister and the boy when authority of any kind attempted to constrain their unruly behaviors. When Reed tells us that being in the House of Refuge in New York City as a young boy taught him many scams and illicit behaviors of which he had been previously unaware, and to which he took like a duck to water, we shudder to think of what will become of him. So it is foretold that he was incarcerated most of his adult life for felonies and larcenies of all sorts.

An astonishing and full-throated defense of immigrant Irish we may never again hear and yet shows the depth of Reed’s feeling for those boys who, crushed like him by the “hand of oppression,” shared his cells:
“Poor Pat…shivering in poverty and clothed in rags of disgrace and shame, while freedom is planted deep in his breast…poor and helpless on these shores, with no one to extend them a hand…Yes, me brave Irish boys, me loves you till the day that I am laid cold under the sod, and I would let the last drop of this dark blood run and drain from these black veins of mine to rescue you from the hands of a full blooded Yankee…Reader, if you are on the right side of an Irishman, you have the best friend in the world.”

This beautifully written, edited, and annotated memoir of Austin Reed’s time in jail is revelatory for what it says of the cruelties and inconsistencies in the justice system, but it also gives an unforgettable glimpse into the mind of a black man in the system at the time. Prison “cut off from all virtue” a man who could only “sit brooding on vice and preparing for crime.” Fantastically detailed in places, the memoir recreates the adventures of a picaresque hero more usually found in the pages of a novel. Reed had many protectors and mentors during his time in prison, and due to his native intelligence, pride, and charm (and despite his crimes), managed to live out his years to old age. A letter he wrote to the prison system in 1895 is discussed in the Introduction.

While I have called this work a memoir, it is not a memoir in the usual sense. It is a personal history in the manner of literature at the time, and uses fictional devices and structure in places to make the story flow and involve readers. The prison warden also notes that Reed is “a most notorious liar…a deep knowing impudent and brazen-faced boy…” Inconsistencies between Reed's record and the researched history of the time suggests Reed took some liberties with the truth. Reed wanted the work published: he actively tried to make that happen at different stages in his life. Reed had a sensibility that reminds one of Iceberg Slim, another proud brother who had a strong sense of his own talents who used prison to learn many shortcuts to the life he wanted to live. Iceberg Slim also came to advise against a life of crime, but he could see the attractions of it, and the reasons for it, in the black community.

I cannot recommend this entrancing book more highly.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid

This ninth novel in the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series written by Scottish mystery writer Val McDermid brings us a serial killer who preys on opinionated women who take principled stances embodying feminist ideals, e.g., outspoken against domestic violence, deadbeat dads, the living and work arrangements of serial rapists. The police at first dismiss the vituperative online trolls who respond to these womens' blogposts—"it is only words"--until some of those outspoken women end up dead.

Hill and Jordan are long-time McDermid subjects, and the stars of a BBC TV series called The Wire in the Blood, a popular six-season (2002-2008) police procedural starring Robson Green as Tony Hill and Hermione Norris as Carol Jordan. Every two years since the TV series finished, McDermid published another Hill & Jordan mystery. In all that time, Jordan had left the police force and has started drinking far too much far too often. This story began with Jordan refitting an old barn on the outskirts of Bradfield, Yorkshire to live in.

McDermid’s character of Tony Hill always seemed to me far less autistic than Robson Green’s interpretation. Hill does play computer games to give his subconscious time to develop ideas, and he does have a tendency to insert himself into Carol Jordan’s orbit. In this story, Hill intervenes in Jordan’s drinking habit, forcing her to recognize her dependency.

While Jordan is drying out, Hill suggests she think over a problem that so far has not been identified by anyone else as a problem: those outspoken women were dying, presumably at their own hand, in the manner of famous feminists who had committed suicide in the past. Each of the suicides even had pages of books written by the different women they were emulating…so many women, so many role models, different deaths but all with the same idea. It started out as a time-consuming mental activity to keep her from drinking and then links started to appear…

Insomuch as McDermid's crime series also employ elements of police procedurals, this is a delightful look at the top cops who have a meeting early in the action. They sound so much like a group of Shakespeare’s hags around a black, round-bellied pot hanging over a campfire one can practically hear the “Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble” refrain. The old white men discuss offering Jordan her own shop under their aegis but outside the shop. The team she ultimately assembles has some terrific, familiar characters.

One of those characters, a computer whiz from an immigrant family, is sleeping with a handsome but shallow fellow officer who is always seeking the best path to his own personal aggrandizement. When the computer whiz discovers her main squeeze is leaking information from her investigation, she takes the sweetest revenge—I laughed aloud to hear it. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but believe me, you won’t want to miss it, and you wouldn’t want it to happen to you.

McDermid is so smooth and natural in her writing by now in her Gold Dagger Award-winning career that she makes churning out these psychologically dense personality profiles look easy. Scottish by birth, McDermid now splits her time each year between South Manchester and Edinburgh, where lives with her partner and her son. She began as a journalist and playwright and, inspired by American women crime writers including Sara Paretsky, she developed her own crime-writing style. If you have never seen her speak, you are in for a terrific treat. She has a big personality and clearly enjoys her work on most days. Just type in “Val McDermid interview” in YouTube’s search bar and you will hear many hours of fascinating stories, mostly true.

My personal favorite in these interviews is a short one in which McDermid is interviewing Sofie Gråbøl (embedded below), star of the Danish production of The Killing, a wildly popular multi-season TV hit throughout Europe. If you haven’t yet seen it, do not mistake the American re-do of the television screenplay for the original Danish production, which was mesmerizing. McDermid mentions the sweater Gråbøl wore in the show which became a hit also, spawning an industry.

Also note that one of McDermid’s most famous books, A Place of Execution, was made into a TV mini-series, three parts of which are also available for free on YouTube. I haven’t watched it yet, but you will recognize some of your favorite actors. My favorite is Lee Ingleby, but Robson Green is there also. Enjoy!

I listened to the audio production of this book sent to me by Goodreads FirstReads, narrated by Gerard Doyle and produced by HighBridge Audio, a division of Recorded Books. I still don't understand how the title fits in, though. I never caught the reference to that. If anyone out there figures it out, please leave me a comment.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Thomas P.M. Barnett talks about U.S. Global Strategy in Washington, D.C. (2015, published January 2016)

Mine is book blog. However, I am departing from my normal post to suggest you listen and watch Thomas P.M. Barnett go through his presentation on U.S. global strategy and security. These talks were given in 2015 to an international military audience in Washington, D.C., and published on youTube in January 2016. Barnett has written several books, which he advertises in these links. I found Barnett's speech when researching Perry Anderson, the author of U.S. Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers, my last post. Enjoy this set of 9 short videos.

Part 1 Intro

Part 2 America's Growing Energy Self-Sufficiency

Part 3 Climate Change

Part 4 Demographics

Part 5 Millenials Power

Part 6 Military

Part 7 Dangers Ahead

Part 8 The Middle East

Part 9 Questions

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