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Pot Shards: Fragments of a Life Lived in CIA, the White House, and the Two Koreas

The long awaited book written by “Uncle Don”. Of course the book is completely screened by the agency, but still a good read. Donald P. Gregg From the publisher: Pot Shards is a memoir, based on the author’s memorable experiences. Donald P. Gregg spent thirty-one years as an operations officer in CIA and ten years in the White House under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush. Pot Shards is his memoir. It tells of a philosophy major who graduated from college in 1951 and immediately joined CIA when told, “You’ll jump out of airplanes and save the world!” With raucous humor, he describes his parachute training and arctic survival course in Idaho. His book is a window into the Cold War-era CIA, both its failings (twenty years in a Chinese jail for a close friend) and unheralded successes, including Gregg’s role in saving the life of Kim Dae-jung, a Korean political dissident who later, as president, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Gregg colorfully describes his tours in Japan, Burma, Vietnam, and South... read more

Governing Through Crime

This book was recommended by one of our NA producers. It seems to me an interesting read on the subject of crime and crime fighting and the increasing role the government has taken to “protect” the citizens. From the publisher: Across America today gated communities sprawl out from urban centers, employers enforce mandatory drug testing, and schools screen students with metal detectors. Social problems ranging from welfare dependency to educational inequality have been reconceptualized as crimes, with an attendant focus on assigning fault and imposing consequences. Even before the recent terrorist attacks, non-citizen residents had become subject to an increasingly harsh regime of detention and deportation, and prospective employees subjected to background checks. How and when did our everyday world become dominated by fear, every citizen treated as a potential criminal?   In this startlingly original work, Jonathan Simon traces this pattern back to the collapse of the New Deal approach to governing during the 1960s when declining confidence in expert-guided government policies sent political leaders searching for new models of governance. The War on Crime offered a ready solution to their problem: politicians set agendas by drawing analogies to crime and redefined the ideal citizen as a crime victim, one whose vulnerabilities opened the door to overweening government intervention. By the 1980s, this transformation of the core powers of government had spilled over into the institutions that govern daily life. Soon our schools, our families, our workplaces, and our residential communities were being governed through crime.... read more

In the president’s secret service

This book was mentioned by Adam Curry on show 400. This book conveiniently was brought up in the media at the same time the US Secret Service prostitution scandal in Cartagena broke as a distraction from the drug legelisation propsals at the American summit. From the publisher: Never before has a journalist penetrated the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service. After conducting exclusive interviews with more than one hundred current and former Secret Service agents, bestselling author and award-winning reporter Ronald Kessler reveals their secrets for the first time. •    George W. Bush’s daughters would try to lose their agents. •    Based on a psychic’s vision that a sniper would assassinate President George H. W. Bush, the Secret Service changed his motorcade route. •    To make the press think he came to work early, Jimmy Carter would walk into the Oval Office at 5 a.m., then nod off to sleep. •    Lyndon Johnson gave dangerous instructions to his Secret Service agents and ­engaged in extensive philandering at the White... read more

It Can’t Happen Here

This work from 1935 gets mentioned by John C Dvorak sometimes in relation with the current political and economic situation. Can it happen here? Mentioned again in show 440 and 441 From Amazon: The only one of Sinclair Lewis’s later novels to match the power of Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith, It Can’t Happen Here is a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Written during the Great Depression when America was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a President who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, rampant promiscuity, crime, and a liberal press. Now finally back in print, It Can’t Happen Here remains uniquely important, a shockingly prescient novel that’s as fresh and contemporary as today’s... read more

Legacy of Ashes, The history of the CIA

This book is one of the basic reading materials of the show (like the confessions of an economic hitman). This book descibes the upcomming of the CIA from WWII and the turn to a covert operations only organisation. Revisiting the many moments of failure in the history of the CIA makes you wonder why they are still in business. From the publisher: This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America’s confidence. Legacy of Ashes is based on more than 50,000 documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA. Everything is on the record. There are no anonymous sources, no blind quotations. With shocking revelations that will make headlines, Tim Weiner gets at the truth and tells us how the CIA’s failures have profoundly jeopardized our national... read more

Life and Death in Shanghai

This book is discussed in show 388 but referred to on other shows as well. In this show the book is mentioned in the context of Oil (as always). Mentioned again in show 440 From the book of knowledge: The book tells the story of Cheng’s arrest during the first days of the Cultural Revolution, her imprisonment, release, persecution, efforts to leave China, and early life in exile. Cheng was arrested in late 1966 after Red Guards looted her home. During her imprisonment, she was pressured to make a false confession that she was a spy for “the imperialists” because for many years after the death of her husband she had continued to work as a senior partner for Shell in Shanghai. Cheng refused to provide a false confession, and was tortured as a... read more

Map Heads

Discussing the geographical significence of the current “uprisings” in the middle east this book came up on show 395. This ties in to the pipeline thesis and the simplifieing of geographical knowledge by the general public. Adam has a interview with Ken Jennings on his BigBookShow From the authors website: Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks is Ken’s followup to his 2005 best-seller Brainiac. Much as Brainiac offered a behind-the-scenes look at the little-known demimonde of competitive trivia buffs, Maphead finally gives equal time to that other downtrodden underclass: America’s map... read more

Nullification

John likes to point out the possibility for states to nullify an unconstitutional federal law. This book explains all about the history behind the process. It also points out why this could become quite important in the near future. From the publisher: Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say “no.” As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification” allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For many tea partiers nationwide, nullification is rapidly becoming the only way to stop an over-reaching government drunk on power. From privacy to national healthcare, Woods shows how this growing and popular movement is sweeping across America and empowering states to take action against Obama’s socialist policies and big-government... read more

Spec Ops

This book by William McRaven is mentioned by John C. Dvorak in show 405. “He actually wrote the book on special operations, literally.” From Amazon: Vice Adm. William H. McRaven helped to devise the strategy for how to bring down Osama bin Laden, and commanded the courageous U.S. military unit that carried it out on May 1, 2011, ending one of the greatest manhunts in history. In Spec Ops, a well-organized and deeply researched study, McRaven analyzes eight classic special operations. Six are from WWII: the German commando raid on the Belgian fort Eben Emael (1940); the Italian torpedo attack on the Alexandria harbor (1941); the British commando raid on Nazaire, France (1942); the German glider rescue of Benito Mussolini (1943); the British midget-submarine attack on the Tirpitz (1943); and the U.S. Ranger rescue mission at the Cabanatuan POW camp in the Philippines (1945). The two post-WWII examples are the U.S. Army raid on the Son Tay POW camp in North Vietnam (1970) and the Israeli rescue of the skyjacked hostages in Entebbe, Uganda (1976). McRaven—who commands a U.S. Navy SEAL team—pinpoints six essential principles of “spec ops” success: simplicity, security, repetition, surprise, speed and purpose. For each of the case studies, he provides political and military context, a meticulous reconstruction of the mission itself and an analysis of the operation in relation to his six principles. McRaven deems the Son Tay raid “the best modern example of a successful spec op [which] should be considered textbook material for future missions.” His own book is an instructive textbook that will be closely studied by students of the military arts.... read more

The Technological Society

Recommended by Dvorak, “The Technological Society” approaches technique from a sociological perspective and explains how it is fundamentally totalitarian. It also makes for a more socially-acceptable reference than the Unabomber’s manifesto. Nice quote: “The Technological Society is one of the most important books of the second half of the twentieth century. In it, Jacques Ellul convincingly demonstrates that technology, which we continue to conceptualize as the servant of man, will overthrow everything that prevents the internal logic of its development, including humanity itself — unless we take the necessary steps to move human society out of the environment that ‘technique’ is creating to meet its own needs.”– Robert Theobald, The... read more

One day in Gitmo Nation

A novel from our own Sir Scot McKenzie. In the near future, the world stands on the edge of global governance. In less than twenty-four hours, the lives of a man boarding a plane, a kid at summer camp, a stock broker, a scientist, a teenage superstar and the President of the USA are forever entwined in the global conspiracy that will result in the President’s... read more

Merchants of dispair

This book by Robert Zubrin is discussed in great detail by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak in show 412. Adam followed up on an end of show clip and found this book about the systematic planning of forced sterilization and killing people. From the publisher: There was a time when humanity looked in the mirror and saw something precious, worth protecting and fighting for—indeed, worth liberating. But now, we are beset on all sides by propaganda promoting a radically different viewpoint. According to this idea, human beings are a cancer upon the Earth, a horde of vermin whose aspirations and appetites are endangering the natural order. This is the core of antihumanism. <em>Merchants of Despair</em> traces the pedigree of this ideology and exposes its pernicious consequences in startling and horrifying detail. The book names the chief prophets and promoters of antihumanism over the last two centuries, from Thomas Malthus through Paul Ehrlich and Al Gore. It exposes the worst crimes perpetrated by the antihumanist movement, including eugenics campaigns in the United States and genocidal anti-development and population-control programs around the world. Combining riveting tales from history with powerful policy arguments, <em>Merchants of Despair</em> provides scientific refutations to all of antihumanism’s major pseudo-scientific claims, including its modern tirades against nuclear power, pesticides, population growth, biotech foods, resource depletion, and industrial development.... read more