Sunday, December 30, 2012

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot By: Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

Interesting book however the book is more about "living" Kennedy than "killing" Kennedy.  Also, one thing to note is how large the author's name is as opposed to the tittle of the book.

The book is typical O'Reilly; entertaining. However nothing new in this book.  Probably the most interesting "fact" he brought to light was that his ancestors are Kennedys which was self-serving.

With all that said, the book flows very smoothly.  It is informative regarding details of the Kennedy's life early on and throughout his later years.  However he does not touch on other possibilities of his assassination.  To O'Reilly, Oswald did it and no one else was involved.  Although I am not into conspiracies much, there are many different avenues not travelled by O'Reilly and Dugard.

The book is certainly a book you should read.  It is an easy weekend read although it should not be used as an exhausted source for the Kennedy assassination.  Ironically, O'Reilly's nemesis, Chris Matthews also wrote a good book "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero" which in my opinion does a better job of the early years of Kennedy but touches very little on the assassination.

File Size: 1369 KB
Print Length: 294 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0805096663
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (October 2, 2012)
Sold by: Macmillan
Language: English 

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Naked Constitution: What the Founders Said and Why It Still Matters by: Adam Freedman

I am a strict Constitutionalist in every sense of the word.  Naturally, I was attracted to this book.  However when I started reading this book, I noticed a kind of comical component to the book which was not too bad however the partisan nature of the book was bothersome.  In my own opinion, party in matters of Constitution have absolutely no place.  I am well aware how President Obama has skirted the Constitution, however I am equally aware that Bush did too, as did Clinton, Papa Bush, Reagan etc, etc.

While I agree with his criticism of the Left and although he is on solid ground Constitutionally speaking, the criticism of the GOP is blatantly absent.  The criticism of the left is nauseatingly plentiful.  This book is geared specifically toward the legislative interpretation of the Constitution.

I recommend this book if you are able to ignore the partisan tone of it.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Broadside Books (October 9, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062094637
ISBN-13: 978-0062094636

In Harm's Way By. Doug Stanton

The story of the USS Indianapolis, the last major American warship sunk in World War II, is one of the few naval disasters remembered to this day. Most probably remember the loss of the Indianapolis as the subject of a (mostly historically accurate) monologue by Robert Shaw’s character Quint in the movie Jaws.

This book was right up my alley.  Being a veteran of the U.S. Navy I was very much at home when discussing Naval life and the use of naval terms.  The book starts off by telling the tale of key figures in the story, well unfortunately, there may have been many more key figures, but this tells the tale of those who primarily went on to survive the horrid voyage they set on.  

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine roughly 350 miles away from land in the Philippine Sea.  There were over 1,196 crew and officers.  It is estimated that around 300 men went down with the ship.  The remainder of the men, were left afloat in shark infested water with little or no fresh water, food, life jackets or protection from sun in fuel rich water.

The book covers the carnage experienced by these men.  From the actual torpedo affects and the ensuing chaos on the ship to the shark attack and insanity experienced by the men.  It was extremely detailed and at times I found myself choked up.   Reading about the times when one of the sailors in the water would reach out to pull in his fellow sailor,just to find that his lower half was missing due to a shark attack was shocking and must have done something to the minds of these poor survivors.

In the end, the captain, Charles McVay ended up court-matialed.  The sad part is that in my opinion the U.S. Navy failed to protect the ship and sent them into a hostile environment to fend for themselves.  Not only that, but afterward, blamed the captain for failing to "zig zag" which even at the time was said to be futile.  More disturbing is that as of 2000, when you would think that the evidence would have been... well evident, they would clear the captain's name.  However this is not the case.

I recommend this book for any history and/or military buff.

After reading this book, I researched the website
and was able to see the pictures of the crew that survived.  I suggest you do the same.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (May 1, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805073663
ISBN-13: 978-0805073669


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves By: Henry Wiencek

I will be truthful here, I am a big fan of Thomas Jefferson.  I believe he was pivotal in setting a system of government that was fair and in line with natural law.  With that said, this book exposes a side of Jefferson that is dark and disturbing.  Wiencek has obviously done a lot of research on Jefferson's slave owning time.  Much of the first half of the book relies on Jefferson's "Farm Book".

The book is riddled with words such as: probably, perhaps, maybe and assuming. That turns me off.  As for the fact or lack thereof regarding his fathering of of children to Sally Hemmings, I find it irrelevant insofar as I wanted to know his actions with slaves in general.  I believe the well accepted conclusion, also stated in this book, is that it cannot be proven that Jefferson father the Hemming's kids.  I believe it is possible and maybe even probable.

This book does little to detract from the amazing things Mr. Jefferson gave this country.  I agree that the slave holding portion of his life was wrong and causes me to be confused in what he said compared to what he did.

I guess the book was OK.  The book was full of conjecture although not all.  One thing that aggravates me is when they assume what the person was thinking and say things like, "he was probably thinking" in which the author has no proof to make such a statement.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (October 16, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0374299560
ISBN-13: 978-0374299569

Friday, December 14, 2012

Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom By: Andrew Napolitano

I will not lie, I love Judge Andrew Napolitano.  This is his seventh book and I have read them all.  This book is hard hitting and pulls no punches.  The Judge goes after the progressive presidents of yesteryear but does not give the ones who followed a free ride.

As is expected, the judge has produced another gem in his Constitutional treasure chest of books.  This book covers the destructive era of "progressivism" and how it has left a stain on our history and quite honestly on our present and future.

I found the chapter on the 17th Amendment extremely interesting and enlightening.  I have always wondered why the 17th amendment was ratified.

In this book, he discusses many of the mistakes the US made in regards to foreign affairs. Empire building has been one of the costliest, most destructive  behavior in both blood and treasure, not to mention the hatred against us by the receiving countries.  Napolitano also talks about race and how racist the progressive forefathers were.  Ironically, today these men are lauded by the African-Americans in this country.  It is akin to Stockholm Syndrome in many ways.

Napolitano discusses the dichotomy of the Lincoln era's conscription which is slavery by another name, in order to supposedly abolish slavery.  Later this seed by the "Grate[sic] Emancipator" has allowed for the leviathan to grow out of control and interpret the Constitutions in ways never though of.

Equally interesting is the chapter on the Antiquities Act of 1906 and how the Federal Leviathan has used it to steal thousands upon thousands of acres from the states.

This book does what all Napolitano's books do; they open your eyes regardless of party.  You see things for what they were from a Constitutional perspective.  You may not agree with  his conclusions, but the information presented are factual.  You can choose to ignore them if you so choose.

The postscript of this book regarding the Supreme Court Ruling on "Obama-Care" is exceptional.  

If Napolitano ran for office, I would do everything in my power to get him elected.  He calls them as he sees them.  Good, bad or indifferent.  I have much respect for him.  Hope you enjoy the book. 

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 13, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595553517
ISBN-13: 978-1595553515

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lincoln by: David Herbert Donald

This book was a great book regarding our 16th President of the United States.  This is probably my 50th book on Lincoln and heretofore, this is the one that has focussed more on Lincoln the man as well as Lincoln the consummate politician.

Anyone that has read my reviews of any works on Lincoln, knows that I am by no means a "Lincoln Lover".  I will try to keep me personal dislikes of Mr. Lincoln to a minimum and review the book itself.

The book is very well written.  It flows very smoothly.  The author attempts to not focus on the assassination or the civil war insofar as it is possible. The author gives ample time to his childhood as well as young adult life, after which it becomes much of the same as what has already been written.

The author is honest to some degree when he writes about issues that I and others like me hold against "The Great Emancipator".  However in many instances he white-washes Lincoln's decisions.  Lincoln was a shrewd politician and was not the "humble rail splitter" people make him out to be.  He was very smart and very quick.  His answers were calculated and everything he said and did was to further his career as a politician.  Maybe that sound harsh, but there are many sections of the book where he says something to the affect that he is not interested in a position or title, yet his actions tell a different story (e.g. his re-election).

One thing to note which is present in so many Lincoln books and quite frankly begs the questions; how can a state be "allowed back into the union" of which it reportedly could not leave?  Along those lines and specifically on the subject of secession, it is always interesting how West Virginia came to be since it was an act of secession from Virginia.... but I digress.  

Although I have read many books on the subject, I did learn information I did not know prior to reading this book.  I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in Lincoln and/or the period in which he lived.     

Hardcover: 714 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (October 16, 1995)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0684808463
ISBN-13: 978-0684808468

Monday, November 19, 2012

Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government By: Thomas DiLorenzo

Great book by Mr. DiLorenzo.  I have read other books by this author and he has yet to publish something I did not find informative and/or educational. In "Organized Crime" he does not let me down.  

The book contains roughly 52 Chapters, of which take you about 10-15 minutes depending on your reading speed (with the help of my Kindle PaperWhite, I am able to see my reading speed)  These chapters are chock-full of information on how the government commits crimes against us.  Not your run of the mill crime such as stealing my newspaper or breaking an ordinance with loud music after 11:00PM.  No, these crimes are more pernicious and are veiled in government assistance.

This book is great for those who do not see this country through the prism of party.  Some of the more notable chapters were:

Chapter 27: Fascism, The new American system.   Chapter 36: Why the government is responsible for the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and 44: The truth about Sherman's anti-trust act.

This was a great book and I recommend it.

Hardcover: 232 pages
Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute (July 20, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1610162560
ISBN-13: 978-1610162562 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jefferson the Virginian, Vol. 1 By: Dumas Malone

Volume 1 of 6.  An astounding feat by any standard.  This book is an exceptional history of Thomas Jefferson.  The level of detail regarding Jefferson's family and early life is better than anything I have read to date.  By no means do I have an exhaustive list of works on Jefferson so that comment can be taken at face value.

The book attempts to explain the many facets Jefferson's life as an architect, naturalist, jurist, political theorist, governor, philosopher, inventor, the list goes on and on.  Jefferson was a extremely learned man and was a voracious reader.  He served as Secretary of State under Washington, Vice President under Adams and finally becoming President in March of 1801.  Thomas Jefferson is certainly one of my favorite founding fathers.

This is truly a biography in all sense of the word.  It is not a watered down 300 page book.  The author gives you details into the life of the great man.  The book is written in the English of that period so it made the book that much more enjoyable.

The one criticism I have of the book, is that most of the information gained in this book appeared to be mostly positive.  Although I love Jefferson, I am sure there are things that were left out in an attempt to protect his name, I assume of course.

I can't wait to get started on Volume II

Hardcover: 484 pages
Publisher: University of Virginia Press (August 4, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0813923557
ISBN-13: 978-0813923550

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

50 Things Every Young Gentleman Should Know

Useless little book.  These are things my 6 year old has already learned.  Maybe if you have been living under a rock, this book would be useful. If not...... not so much.

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 31, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401602940
ISBN-13: 978-1401602949

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Politics of Freedom By: David Boaz

Great little book by David Boaz from the Cato Institute.  I have long been a fan of Boaz.  His views on many of today's hot topics may seem obtuse to some that continue to view things through an emotional prism.  However I have learned that if you remove emotion from the problem or question, you are left with nothing but the facts. Then you are equipped to make an "EDUCATED" decision based on fact and not emotions.

"The Politics of Freedom" is a collection of many years worth of essays by Mr. Boaz.  Boaz tackles many of the subjects that are considered taboo by many from 'Right to Life' to 'gun restriction' and everything in between.  His discussions are a lighter change from the heavy rhetorical and ideological views maintained by many hyper-partisans today.  

I am against political parties, however if I had to choose a party, it would be Libertarian although I consider myself [l]ibertarian.  Emphasis on the lowercase 'l'.  I really wish more people could read this book and other like it with an open mind, they won't though.

File Size: 927 KB
Print Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Cato Institute (February 25, 2008)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Racketeer By: John Grisham

OK.  Now THIS is what I expected from a "John Grisham" book.  If you read my review of "The Litigators" by Grisham, you would know that I was not impressed with his work.  I will say that many people raved of his books.  I did not read "The Firm" but I did watch the movie and was, as many, surprised at the twists and turns of that story.  This was going to be the last chance I gave Grisham.  Man am I glad I did so.

This book, as apparently many others of Grisham, involve lawyers.  It is well written and to me, a page turner.  The book is essentially divided into two parts and in reality, three.  The first section deals with Malcom Bannister a former lawyer in a Federal Prison for racketeering charges.  He claims to be innocent.  He has served 5 years and  his wife has left him and subsequently re-married.  Malcom is the prison librarian and the unofficial adjunct attorney.  The prison is what is known as a "Federal Country Club" since there are no fences or barbed-wire.

A Federal judge is murdered and Malcolm sees a way he may be able to use this as a way out of prison.  Utilizing Rule 35 stating that a prisoner helping solve a crime committed outside can be given commuted sentence and even witness protection.  Malcolm is able to give the Feds a name of the murderer but ONLY after he is guaranteed release.

As always, nothing is as it seems and soon Grisham spins a web of intrigue that involves private jets, Caribbean islands, murder, lies, and twists.  The second section of the book is the one that builds the story up to the great reveal in the third section.

*** SPOILER ***
I will be honest, the first part of the book where Malcolm is released and is in witness protection was great.  Then the film-making part started and I said, "great, here we go with the anti-climactic garbage again".  Man was I pleasantly surprised. I love the fact that gold and not cash-money was involved as it gave it a more international allure.

It was a great book and I can't wait for it to be made into a movie.  I am already picturing the cast.  Denzel or Will Smith as Malcolm and Vivica A. Fox as Vanessa, Toby McGuire as Nattie.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (October 23, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385535147
ISBN-13: 978-0385535144

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No Easy Day by: Mark Owen & Kevin Maurer

This is not my normal type of book.  I was pleasantly surprised.  During the reading of this book, I was involved in a very high profile project that demanded most if not all of my time.  I found it hard to "Kindle time".  However I tried to make time.  It kept me engaged throughout the book.  The book not only tells the tale of the Osama Bin Laden hit, as this is precisely what it was but also the tale of a Navy Seal and his struggles through the gruelling training to become a SeAL and more especially DEVGRU (SeAL Team Six).

The book flows well.  There is plenty of gun speak but not enough to make you nauseous.  I enjoyed it again to my surprise, but not sure I could read another book about the OBL hit. 

This book attempts to tell the story without the usually accompaniment of media fanfare.  The epilogue explains that the story being told by the media is wrong.  It dispels the notion that OBL had a weapon and even attempted to use one.  The author explains how OBL's son was shot and that he too had made no attempt to shoot back.  The books makes it obvious that those inside the compound had more than enough time to mount a defensive manoeuvre but did not or could not.

Reminds me of a saying, "Communism is for the people, not the communists" with all the talk about giving your life for the jehad, you see that the ones behind the curtain are not willing to walk the walk.

I will say that I had hoped the he and "Jen" would have hooked up.  It would have been great.  It would have been nice if he would have sat her next to him on the flight back and gotten her number.  Oh well.  Good book nonetheless.

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (September 4, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525953728
ISBN-13: 978-0525953722

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fallen Founder By: Nancy Isenberg

It is no secret, at least to most that Burr got a raw deal from authors and historians.  He is best knows for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.  Alexander Hamilton was Burr's nemesis did everything he could to instigate and castigate Burr at every turn.   

The book is well written but it did not engage me.  Was not a page-turner and was difficult to finish.  I am aware that history books are rarely a page-turner, but this was difficult to get through.  I do though.

Not much to say about the book except that I am glad I finished it.  It was not what I was looking for, but that is my own fault.  I am sure there are many who will enjoy it. 

Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult (May 10, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0861874137
ISBN-13: 978-0861874132

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero By: Chris Matthew

I will begin by saying that I am not a fan of the Chris Matthews of MSNBC, however THIS Chris Matthews is a far cry from his MSNBC on-air persona.  I was shocked when  reading this book how non-partisan he was especially writing about a Democratic leader.

I was surprised to find out that Matthews was a Republican prior to being a Democrat.  This book is not what I would consider a "biography" although it has all parts of one.  It is primarily the political biography of John "Jack" F. Kennedy.  Matthews does a good job in painting the political life of Jack Kennedy.  The book covers that efforts leading up to the Senatorial Campaign, and the ultimate position of President of the United States.

The book paints Kennedy, in what I perceived as a fair depiction.  Kennedy was by no stretch of the imagination a saint.  However he loved his family.  The loss of his son Patrick in the book was heart breaking.  The book tells of Kennedy "weeping" while locked in his room.  You also see a side of Kennedy as a shrewd political tactitioner that would do whatever it took to gain power.

Kennedy was faced with many International issues during his tenure.  The Cuban missile crisis being one of the most memorable.  Being of Cuban decent, I was shocked at the incident of the "Bay of Pigs" and how Kennedy dismissed it and the people who fought and gave their lives.

I am an avid reader of Abraham Lincoln.  There are many similarities with their lives and quite frankly, their death.  Joe, the father seemed to be a shady guy interested in crony-ism.  His father seemed to want to parley his sons success to his advantage.  The sons not showing any signs of not wanting to help.

I always wondered the fascination that Matthews had with Obama's election and how awkward it sounded.  After reading this book I can see the similarities in how he felt about Kennedy being the first Irish Catholic to run for POTUS. 

The book is well written in my opinion.  It flows well.  His assassination was only mentioned insofar as Mrs. Kennedy planned his funeral.  The book piqued my interest in reading some other books on this subject, more especially Joe Kennedy.

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451635087
ISBN-13: 978-1451635089

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West By:Blaine Harden

This book is extremely disturbing.  There are acts of torture; physically, mentally and emotionally that will bring you to the brink of tears.  The level of abuse these people suffer under the thumb of the North Korean government is appalling.  

This story covers the life of Shin Dong-hyuk which was born in a North Korean labour  camp.  The author gives you insight into the camp itself, the ideology of prison life and the penalties of violating the rules.  Shin witnesses and indirectly participates in the hanging of his mother and execution of his brother for attempting an escape from the camp.  He is then tortured himself within an inch of his life due to their attempted escape.  Finally meeting up with "Uncle", an old man imprisoned with knowledge of the outside world and enough medical knowledge to nurse Shin back to "normal".


Shin in befriended by a 40 year old political prisoner from Pyongyang, Park, which has firsthand knowledge of the outside world and himself escaped to China with his family, only to have himself and family imprisoned when he returns to North Korea to vote. They spend many hours discussing the outside world.  Ironically, the allure of freedom was not as appealing to Shin as was the promise of meals.  They plan an escape and Park loses his life while attempting to escape, however Shin is the benefactor of Park's death and uses it to his advantage.  This brave man, without any knowledge of geography, no concept of money, no connections, no help was able to make it out of the camp and make his way through freezing temperatures and hostility out of North Korea and into China. 

The book also covers the "adjustment" period of Shin once he makes it to freedom.  I was impressed with the "Unification" program of South Korea to assist the North Koreans.  They house, feed, provide medical and dental care and even take the North Koreans on field trips where they take them shopping and have them interact with South Koreans.

The saddest part about this story is that although he escaped physically, it is painfully obvious that emotionally, he is still a prisoner because of the irreversible damage caused by his up-bring and travels heretofore. 

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult; Book Club Edition edition (March 29, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0670023329
ISBN-13: 978-0670023325

1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History By: Charles Bracelen Flood

Another Lincoln book under my belt. 

Year, 1864.  The subject? Abraham Lincoln, the civil war and the re-election of the grate [sic] emancipator.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a Lincoln lover however I am an avid reader of, and very interested in, Mr. Lincoln, his life, his decisions and lack thereof. With that being said, I enjoyed this book.

Not much was gleaned from this book that is earth shattering, however there are tidbits of information that will whet your appetite for more.  Lincoln being the the person most written about coming in at a whopping 15,000 books and counting, it is hard to find new information.  However this book was a little different in that there was not  much about the assassination hence the name, 1864.  Obviously the author elaborated a bit and added some information prior to 1864 which I felt was necessary.

The author touched on Lincoln's interaction with the people as well as his cabinet and the central government in general.  Some information was elaborated on such as Marie Lincoln's shopping sprees where other authors had just skimmed the surface.  I for one had not read about the possibilities of her infidelity or the "possible" homosexual relationship with Mr. David Dereckson. 

Flood also described the tension Mr. Lincoln felt regarding the possible run for president by Ulysses S. Grant as well as the subsequent battle with George McClellan for the presidency. The book is not exclusively about Lincoln as Flood covers other events of 1864 and the respective subjects such as Salmon P. Chase & Edwin M. Stanton to name a few.

Although I do not believe the author to be a "Lincoln Lover" such as those that choose to overlook his indiscretions and down-right unconstitutionality in his actions, there is an attempt to paint Lincoln as the kind, always available politician with a good sense of humor.  Anyone that has done any kind of research on our 16th President knows that he was not the poor rail splitter, he was essentially a lobbyist and a shrewd attorney.  Decisions he made and liberties he took based on the position he held were at times extremely tyrannical.

The author also touches on the Lincoln's henchman, Sherman and the destruction he left in his wake, yet was lauded for his "taking of Atlanta".  In one chapter, Lincoln sends a message to Sherman basically telling him to speed up the process, never admonishing him for killing innocent women and children, robbing and pillaging, and burning private citizen's home who had nothing to do with the war save for living in the South.    

Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416552294

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member By: Sanyika Shakur

This book covers the early life of Crip gang member formally named Kody Scott who subsequently changed his name to Sanyika Shakur.  It gives you a deep look at the allure of "gang-banging"and how these gang members live their lives.  The book is well written although the author appeared to purposely used "big" words.  Some other awkward things were the excessive use of 'overstand' instead of 'understand', but aside from that, the book is well written.

I was shocked to find out that there was more Crip-on-Crip killing than what is normally portraid in the media and other sources.  Additionally, Shakur mentions in his book in a nonchalant manner that his Godfather was none other than Ray Charles.  Amazing that even with those types of connections, Shakur still felt that he could only turn to the streets.  The savagery in this book is difficult at times. Murder is talked about and committed as normally as going and getting a glass of water in the kitchen. 

The depiction of prison life and the frame of mind you require to survive that place was incredible.  He talks about the different ways someone looked weak that I would have never picked up on.

Someone wrote a review saying that it seemed that he was not remorseful for what occurred.  I disagree. I had this book in my to-read list for a while and finally picked it up.  I was definitely a change from my usual "type" of book.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Grove Press (June 29, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802141447
ISBN-13: 978-0802141446

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Case Against the Fed By Murray N. Rothbard

Murray Rothbard cuts through the popular dogma our government expects us to sheepishly buy into.  Rothbard showcases his ability to present the facts in a way a layperson can understand it in lieu of the technical jargon and higher mathematics of the professional economist.  This books covers the creation of money and with it, its subjective value based on acceptance by the masses.  He shows a stark comparison of gold and other forms of "money" as it was adopted by other countries and civilizations and how specifically gold had become the standard of many societies. 

 Rothbard explains the detrimental effects of the "Federal" "Reserve" and the affects it has on our economy.  He also breaks down the creation of the "Fed" and the perpetrators of this deplorable organization.  This is an excellent book for any layperson who is interested in understanding money's creation, fractional reserve banking, and the role the "Federal" "Reserve" plays in our economy.  It is not a long book but is replete with great information and insight.

I was never "into" economics or really government insofar as I voted and toed the party line.  However after stumbling on to Dr. Ron Paul and listening to his message, I realized that the "Fed" and the economics of this country play a paramount role in how we "behave" as a country.  I have read some other authors recommended by Dr. Paul, Hayek, Mises, etc and this is my first step into Rothbard's work.  I plan to continue to read his work since I enjoyed this one so much. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Government Bullies By: Rand Paul

While I was reading this book, I do what I always do.  I connect to either Amazon or Goodreads and I look at the other customer's reviews.  Although I tell myself not to, it is something I cannot control.  At any rate, I did so and read one of the only review on Goodreads (since the book was so new at that time) wrote that the book sounded like Dr. Paul was trying to break his arm by patting himself on the back (my words).  I commented on her post and informed her I was on chapter three and did not get that impression.  Then it happened.  I saw the change in him.  Now don't get me wrong, I love Ron Paul, and the fact that THIS man came from the gene-pool of Dr. Ron Paul, he gets a small break from me.

The book covers a litny of inidents where the Federal Leviathan has overstepped their Constitutional authority and have caused head-aches, heart-aches, ridiculous fines, and even long stints in prison.  Paul describes real life stories of the EPA imprisoning people and destroying their lives because the LAND OWNERS decided to add fill to their properties; in some cases even after the EPA told them it was OK.  Paul also tells the story of the FDA raiding small business, how we have been stripped of our 4th amendment rights by the TSA while people board planes with expired boarding passes and fake IDs.

The book is well written.  The self inflicted accolades not withstanding, the book covers true issues that exist today.  As a supporter of the liberty movement, I feel that the we need to "organize" and find common ground with the political opponents when ever possible.  Lets at least fight beside them on the issues that need to be defeated and then stand without them on the ones that cannot be done together. 

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Center Street (September 12, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1455522759
ISBN-13: 978-1455522750

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Price of Politics By: Bob Woodward

Unbelievable; Absolutely unbelievable.  This book covers the mind-numbing collusion by both parties to come to some agreement on spending.  The content of this book tears the covers off of the stalemate in D.C. today.  Bob Woodward has a reputation for being a straight shooter although, this is my first book by him. 

Throughout this daunting read, words like (B)illions and (T)rillions were being thrown around as if it were Monopoly money, sadly that statement is very much NOT and exaggeration.  Both parties only worry about how the "program", "cut", "Decoupling", "revenue increase" will appear to their base.  At no point in time througout the entire book, did I get the feeling that either party had my best interest or even the best interest of the country on their mind.

Weather you agree with either side, the only logical conclusion is that the two parties is analogise to Apple Computer and the Apple/Macintosh sides to the same company. 

The asinine thing to this entire issue is that there were  never really any cuts.  All this posturing and fighting about "spending" really did nothing but "cut" proposed spending which was already insanely over budget.

Reading this book is a daunting task replete with budget, government, and monetary speak and unless you enjoy that sort of thing, you may find yourself "asleep at the wheel".  It is repetitive and hard to follow.  Although I am sure other books by the author are probably better, this one was not.  

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 11, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451651104
ISBN-13: 978-1451651102

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Always Looking Up By: Michael J. Fox

I loved this book.  I was attracted to it after reading his other book "The Lucky Man"  Lucky Man Review  Fox is an intriguing personage that is extremely inspiring.

Faced with a debilitating disease that will trap him in his own body, he does not allow it to stop him.  His tenacity towards life is awe inspiring.  Fox has an appealing view of life, politics and even religion.

This book deals with more of the details regarding his political activism as well as his life as a husband, father & brother.  Fox takes you through his emotional acceptance of his sister K.C.'s, that also suffered a brain disorder (epilepsy) eminent death and how they needed to make the decision to disconnect her from life support.  Fox describes how her brave, successful, yet risky surgery to quell the seizures gave him the strength to undergo his own surgery.  

Fox's speech he gave for his son's Bar Mitzvah was very aper-pot for the occasion and gives you the overall tone of the book.  He talks about how he was determined to teach his son how to ride a bike.  He takes his son, strangely, to a baseball diamond to learn how to ride the bike.  During this process, and after successfully riding his bike around the diamond, Fox looks up and does not see his son on the orange clay.  He comes to the realization that his son must now chart his own course.  

He is a word-smith, and I hope he writes another book.  The proceeds of the books go entirely to his foundation.  I plan to make a donation to his cause. 

Stand up gentlemen.  

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Hyperion (March 31, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401303382

Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind By: Mallory Factor

This book is a very well written book.  Although it is a bit partisan, you can read it and make your own conclusions as to the the benefits or hindrance of public sector unions.  This book is controversial in the sense that it covers a subject that is considered a third rail by many folks in this country.  I know I will get flack for my comments but will try to be as non-partisan as is possible.

Mr. Factor takes on the idea of public sector unions and the harm they have done and are in-line to do.  I once read somewhere, a quote that was credited to, strangly enough, FDR that said something like, Unions are a monopoly on the worker and the company.  I will start by saying that in NO WAY, am I accusing the true workers that are union members. 

In this book, Mr. Factor exposes the differences between private sector and and  public sector unions.  The private sector unions are somewhat, if that is possible, less pernicious than that of the public sector.  The reasons given in this book will shock you as to the crony-ism involved in public sector unions.  A politician looking to get elected, is funded by hard cash (Donations directly to the campaign) and soft cash (the phone banks, get out the vote efforts etc).  Then once the politician is in a position of power, the unions go in to either redo exiting contracts or unionise new sectors of government and even non-government workers.  If the politician decides after he/she is elected to do the right thing, the union will turn on them and get them out of office by supporting the challenger.

Although I try not to trash Obama and try to give him the benefit of the doubt (although most of time, I end up with egg on my face), I will say that the unhealthy relationship between Obama and the labor unions is scary.

The book compares and contrasts the Union states and the non-union states and their financial statuses of the respective states.  The pernicious "check off" provisions and forced union membership is egregious.    In some states, the unions working with bought politicians managed to  unionise the home care people of that states without even allowing them to choose if they even wanted a union.  One day, they received a letter in the mail saying that from this day forward, they [the care givers] would need to pay the unions the dues.  In other states, you are discriminated upon and your first amendment right of freedom of association (not implicit in the constitution but is implied and was upheld by the supreme court) is trampled on by forcing you to belong to a Union as a requirement for your employment.  Some states allowed for a substitute teacher that only taught one day in school to receive a full teachers pension.

In addition to that, the book covers the practice of "spiking" where the worker will be afforded massive amounts of overtime during the last three years of their employment.  Since the pension is calculated using the last three years of work, the worker's pensions end up costing millions more.

I have been against unions since day one.  They never made sense to me even as a young electrician helper when I was urged to join a union.  I really don't get it.  However, with that being said, I know some folks understand it and support it.  For a private company or a publicly traded company that wants to have unions or allow unions that is fine with me because at the end of the day, they are beholden to the board, investors and shareholders.  If the CEO makes a bad contract with the unions and makes the company lose money, he/she will be held responsible likewise, if the company makes bad choices with the unions, they could face bankruptcy.  With the government though, its a bit different.  The "CEO" do not really care where the money comes from, since the cities cannot really go bankrupt, this forces them to continue to give in to the union's demands or face risks to the public (e.g. Police, Fire striking while no one is available or rather willing to do anything).

Anyone who can, in their minds except the unions bosses to have the monopolistic powers they do while criticising the corporations of the same is at best disingenuous.  The books is a good book and truthfully, I recommend you read it even if you are a union supporter.  I know that my views on the subject may taint the review, but I tried to read the book with an open mind.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Center Street (August 21, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1455522740
ISBN-13: 978-1455522743

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

American Pastoral By: Philip Roth

This book was recommended by a friend of mine.  When I started to read it, I was a bit confused.  It is a Pulitzer Prize Winning book.  The author's alter ego Nathan Zucherman seems to be giving you superfluous info about his adoration of Seymor "Swede" Levov, a childhood hero of his that was an inspirational figure since they were kids.  Swede is a glove manufacture like his father before him. Zuckernam continues to idolize Swede long after they mature and move on to adulthood.  The author assumes this good looking, successful, athletic guy has had a stellar life and while Zuckerman himself has never married or had kids, it only serves to magnify the affects. 

As the story unravelled, we found that Levov has three successful sons and when Zuckernam begins to peel back the onion after finding out Levov died,  he finds that Sweed's daughter Merry is actually "The Rimrock bomber" a radical ant-war Communist  who bombed a post office in their small town and killed and innocent man; a doctor. She has been on the run ever since.  Years pass and it appears that Swede and his wife Dawn are finally getting back to anything resembling normal, we see how he finds his daughter and in no time, his life begins to turn for the worse.


Swede's life becomes unravelled during the course of a day and a dinner where he finds out that his wife has been cheating on him with a friend and has elected plastic surgery for what Swede no suspects to be their mutual friend.  He also finds out that Merry's former speech therapist hid her while she was on the run and never told Swede who was, BTW having an affair with the same speech therapist.  He also finds that his daughter is still alive and has not only been raped but has also killed three others in similar bombings. 

The book tells the story of the downward spiral of a seemingly normal "perfect" life.  He did it right, ran a business, married a beautiful woman, had a great house, and his daughter turned out a mess, blaming her parents for all that is wrong and bad in this world. His wife and his infidelity.

The books has comedy as the author uses great characters, sex, sex (yes I meant to say it twice), infidelity, death, murder and destruction.  The ingredients of a great story.   I DID however learn more about gloves and glove making than I ever though I would need to know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lucky Man By: Michael J. Fox

This is a touching story about the bravery and resilience of a person who has charged himself with beating the odds.  I believe biographies are the best books to read and this one only strengthens that belief.  Fox is a funny person in-spite of his obvious predicament.  This book covers his struggles with his personal, family, and public life and how this debilitating disease has in someways helped him to become a better person.  I find it remarkable that he is able to say that.

One of the interesting things I found out by reading this book is that ironically, not only was Fox really bad in school save drama, music and art he actually dropped out of high school to pursue his career in acting.  Born and raised in Canada, he like others knew that to conquer "Hollywood" he would need to make a journey.

Fox describes the whirlwind life he lived with substance abuse as well as his own self-destructive tendencies not to mention the hidden life of Parkinson's Disease.  Fox tells the tail of having to figure out when he needed to take his meds to ensure he would not find himself "off" as he puts it.  

Fox tells of his first signs of his disease, the surgery he tried to quell the tremors as well as the realization that the disease "was doing what it was suppose to do" referring to progressively taking over his body.  He described the difficulty of working in a career where he was in the public eye and hiding a dark secret that could end his career while popping medicine routinely to get through the next scene.

Later when Fox was unable to work as before, he took on a role of the face of PD.  He sat before a Senate sub-committee twice to lobby for funds to help research for the disease.

A couple of things I want to note that is outside the review of the actual book.  The amount of money that out government flushes down the toilet on wars, programs that are not reviewed, tracked and unfunded if no producing while we have the ability to help those in need here in our own country.  I would rather close the 900+ bases overseas, stop foreign aid, kill useless programs, scale back the government and use some of the saving to help fund cures for diseases.  I support the stem cell research because I am diabetic and I too, could be helped by its research.  Especially when the embryos are discarded anyhow.

The second thing is, Barbara Walters is a $&@*.  During a pre-interview with Fox, and as he was leaving, he struggled to get his jacket on.  She asked him if that was because of the PD, he answered, Yes.  She wanted him to show the audience during the interview how he struggled with the jacket as if he was a circus act.  Has she no shame?  The man is pouring out his guts on an already difficult thing and now you want to exploit him for you ratings.  Fox's wife stepped in and said NO WAY.  Well Played Tracy, well played.

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Hyperion (April 9, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786888741
ISBN-13: 978-0786888740

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fahrenheit 451 by: Ray Bradbury

This was my first of Ray Bradburry's work I have read.  The writing style is not what I am used to reading.  The book takes place in a dystopian society where people do not read books, as a matter of fact, it is illegal to do so.  Firemen, in this society do not put out fires, they actually set them.

The book revolved around the awakening of Guy Montag which witnesses many life altering situations from meeting a young girl that is not scared of him and he connects with later to find out she has died (although book is unclear); to his wife's botched suicide, to the burning of an old lady by her own hand when the firemen come to burn her books.  The ever pressing WAR which weighs heavy on Montag throughout the novel. He questions the logic behind not reading books and eventually falls prey to their power, which eventually while bring about his potential demise.

Its funny to read books from older periods where they try to predict the future.  Compared to what we have today, this would be "lame".  Not a long book but certainly good.  I enjoyed it.

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (January 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451673310
ISBN-13: 978-1451673319

DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government By: Jesse Ventura and Dick Russel

Ventura is a strange seed.  He has historically claimed his Libertarian beliefs yet this book has many inconsistencies when compared to the "Libertarian" platform.  Ventura implicitly supports the "rich" to pay 90% in taxes.  Although I do not believe that corporations or their executives should not pay $0.00, I disagree that someone, because they have succeeded on their own merits or have created exceptional products should be penalized by taking 90% of their earnings.  With that said, I am opposed to crony-capitalism and companies and "CEOs" getting rich by stealing from the public. 

Additionally, Ventura eludes to the support of Universal Health Care, Climate Change, and other "DemoCRIPS" ideology.  He is extremely hard on the "ReBLOODlicans" yet somewhat gives the "DemoCRIPTS" a pass.  Here are just a few of his inconsistencies:

1. Koch Brothers sent out a letter/memo telling their employees who to vote for.  Ventura neglects to say that the almost 100% "democript" Unions do the same thing.  I do not necessaarily agree with the practice but he had the opportunity to do some equal opportunity bashing.

2. He call Paul Krugman a "level headed" economist.  Nuff Said.

3. Tea party are BAD while OWS are GOOD.  He rants on and on about how the Koch brothers funded the Tea Party making it "AstroTurf" instead of a grass roots movement.  However he neglects to let you know that the OWS movement was also being funded by the democript's "shot caller" (To use his gangster analogy) George Soro's

I agree with a lot of what he said.  He seems to be a far left leaning Libertarian and supports massive regulation over free market, however he seems level-headed enough (save the conspiracy stuff) and has enough common-ground to be able to work with to get true change. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a hard core, even "radical" Ron Paul supporter. The presence of the chapter on Paul was very appealing to me.

The book is good and points out both sides', albeit lopsided, ignorance and involvement in this spiralling downward society where soon, if unchecked, will become a dystopia.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (June 11, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616084480
ISBN-13: 978-1616084486

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Steve Jobs By: Walter Isaacson

I watched the 'Pirates of Silicon Valley' about 300 times.  I used to do this religiously on Sundays so that I could start work on Monday charged up and ready to "change the world".  Most of the beginning of the book is a rehash of that movie and I learned nothing new.

The book covers his professional career and life but falls short of a "traditional" biography.  Very little is covered about his pre-Apple years.  Even so, the book keeps you engaged as only Mr. Job's career could. 

My take on Mr. Jobs is that he truly was a "A-Hole".  He was mean, heartless and cold as ice.  He was not a genius in the sense that technically he relied on other people's talent however he was a genius in design and in pushing people to do what they perceived as impossible.  I never met him personally, but I know people like him that say things in such a way that even if you know it to be wrong, you second guess yourself.  I assume Steve was this type of person.

The book is filled with irony. For example, Steve rails on about how MP3 downloads was considered theft and bad karma however he had no qualms about loading HIS personal iPod with the bootleg copies of Bob Dylan's music.  Along the same lines about stealing, ironically he stole the 'Graphical User Interface' from Xerox while accusing Microsoft of stealing it from them (Apple).

Steve Jobs was a remarkable person.  His vision of products truly revolutionized the world and the way we live it.  Although very few, if any Apple product were actually original Apple products, Jobs had a way of putting his flare into the product and making it better and a success.  For instances, the 'Smart Phone' had been around for a while, as was a tablet PC, and an MP3 player,  Steve just made them better.

Seeing him contemplate death was very difficult.  For a person that was a control freak and ALWAYS got his way, it must have been the most debilitating experience for him.  Additionally, his relationship with his middle daughter or rather lack thereof was equally difficult.  I could imagine Steve giving President Obama a rash of $H!7 for being unfriendly to businesses.  Steve was on the money when he said that the politics makes things not work.  I agree with him.  The politics of the day, only serve to divide and conquer and no one wins when they pit one group against another. He was also on the money when he told Obama that teachers should be treated as professionals and not factory workers being unionized.  

I was a bit let down because I wanted to know the last days of Mr. Jobs, how he passed on and what was the funeral like.  What was his state of mind; was he at peace?  Did he have closure with Lisa?   Was it minimalist?  Who attended; who eulogized him; and how and where he was buried?  I hope some one writes a book about Steve Jobs that covers more of the beginning and the end as I feel Mr. Isaacson fell short.   

As a side note, the fact that I watched 'The Pirates of Silicon Valley' so many times, twisted my view a bit because I kept seeing Noah Wiley who played Jobs on the movie as I was reading the book.  He did, by the way, do a great Steve Jobs.

Hardcover: 656 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (October 24, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451648537
ISBN-13: 978-1451648539

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Freemasons of Gettysburg By. Sheldon A. Munn

Great "little" book about the many Freemasons of the Civil war.  At only 92 Pages it is very short but chock full of mini-biographies of many Freemasons of that period.  I feel such a special bond with all of these long lost Brothers.  Knowing that they too went through the same degrees I did is very interesting to me.  I enjoyed it because of my affiliation with the fraternity. Others that are not may find it non-engaging.

Paperback: 92 pages
Publisher: Thomas Pubns; 1 Ed edition (October 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0939631687
ISBN-13: 978-0939631681

Lincoln Über Alles: Dictatorship Comes to America By John Avery Emoison

Quite an amazing book about Lincoln's "indiscretions" as 16th POTUS.  The book flies in the face of the "Lincoln Scholars" perspective.  I have long said that Lincoln was one of, if not the worst Presidents this country has ever had.  I know this subject is controversial to some, however if you open your mind and read this book with an open mind, you WILL at a minimum need to question your belief in "The Great Emancipator".

Mr. Emison blows the lid off of the "conventional" Lincoln story.  The book focuses on the many of the Unconstitutional and even treasonous acts committed by Lincoln and his minions.  Although many reviewers comment on the "German connection" made by this author, I found that there was one chapter about it and then sporadic mentioning in the latter chapters.  The majority of the book is about Lincoln's interpretation, and subsequent disregard of the Constitution and the concept of State's Right and sovereignty.

The book explores the incongruous statements by Lincoln sympathizers past and present.  The author gives you examples of "Lincoln Scholar" authors and their statements and shows you how their arguments do not hold water.  

My opinion is based on many books I have read.  When viewing secession of the Southern States compared to the secession of the original 13 colonies, it is clear to see that the South was well within their rite to dissolve their affiliation with the Northern States.  Mr. Emmison explains the basis of "equal footing" where all additional states brought in after the initial ratification were so brought in on an "equal footing" as the other existing states.  In addition to that, there was a lack of "unmistakablility" by the States in the Constitution.  Finally the precedent of Legislative Entrenchment makes it clear that no previous legislative body could have more power that any future body. 

With all of the aforementioned, it is clear from this book and many others that the North were the aggressors in this conflict.  The North wanted to subdue and overthrow a duly elected government by force.  It is clear that the war was not fought to free slaves as per the words of Mr. Lincoln himself and the actions he permitted as the commander in chief.  

I enjoyed this book because I am one of those who believe Lincoln was wrong for our country(s) and gets way too much credit for things he did, said, did not say and did not do.  Most of the books about Lincoln try to show him as deity and that he could not do wrong.  Those with even an elementary level of knowledge can see through that veil.

The book is well written and I enjoyed it greatly.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company (August 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1589806921
ISBN-13: 978-1589806924     

Saturday, August 11, 2012

On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery by Robert M M. Poole

In the spirit of disclosure,  I started to write this review as I read the book.  Thinking the subject matter would end with the civil war.  Anyone who has read my reviews will know that Lincoln was not one of my favorite POTUS'.  I also do not agree with the premise that the "Civil War" was fought to free the slaves.  I also dont like the attitude the North takes/took as if they were somehow anti-racist because some of the were anti-slave.  With that being said.  Man was I wrong about this book.


Interesting book regarding how Arlington Cemetery came to be.  Ironically, the land on which it sits belonged to George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's step-grandson and adopted son.  Mary Anna Custis Lee (his daughter and wife of General Robert E. Lee) inherited the property after the death of her father.

At the onset of the war, Robert E. Lee left his wife and home and headed South to fight in the Confederate Army.  Mr. Lee realized that Arlington House was in a very strategic location and would soon be overtaken by Union Soldiers.  He warned Mrs. Lee to collect the valuables and leave Arlington.  She heeded the warning and left to family eventually making her way to Richmond, VA (controlled by the South).

President Lincoln decided that he would tax those in VA a high tax for their property in hopes of having the owners default and the North take ownership of those lands.  Mrs. Lee sent a family member to pay the tax in full, and the office taking the payments insisted that it be Mrs. or Mr. Lee in person.  Montgomery C. Meigs, who hated General Lee, the Union Army's Quartermaster, decided to inter the bodies as close to Mrs. Lee's garden and as close to the home to ensure that the Lees would not be able to inhabit the home lest they wanted to live with the ghosts.

Eventually, General Lee's son, George Washington Custis Lee assembled a successful case against the United States claiming that the U.S. illegally and Unconstitutionally took the Lee's homestead.  The government paid the Lee son for the property.

This book proves that the all mighty "North" was not as great as they purported to be.  We see time and again how the North treated the South.  How the Southern soldiers, the very same the North wanted to stay in the union at all costs, did not allow for the southern soldiers to be interred in Arlington.  The blacks that the North claims to have gone to war for where called "contraband", forced to live in shabby shanties and were denied proper interment into Arlington.


This book was amazing.  I learned so much about the different wars and "conflicts" that I have an entire list to add to my 'to read' list.  The chapters on the "Unknown Soldiers" were amazing.  I did not know that the Vietnam "Unknown" was identified and now sits empty in Arlington.  It is impossible to do this book justice in such little space.  Read it, you will love it.

 The saddest part of this book is that you see just how many people are affected by war.  If we continue the Jingoistic views, we will soon require an entire state to bury those lost in wars.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Walker & Company; Fourth Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802715486
ISBN-13: 978-0802715487

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse By: Sen. Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint is a great senator. Although I do not agree with him on every point he seems to have common sense and that, I can work with.  I do not believe the politicians need to agree 100% with each other, but what we have today is obviously not working.  We have indebted ourselves with the past two administrations and there appears to be no end in site, even with Romney being touted as the Savior.  The out of control spending and the misinformation and divisive ways of this administration is mind blowing.

This book is marketed as a call to action.  I think it is wonderful what the Senator has done with the Senate Conservative Fund.  With his help, we have seen Senators elected to office against the established RINOs that have fidelity to the Constitution such as Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Rand Paul.  Others not so much like Marco Rubio (See my review of "The American Son").

DeMint described the gridlock in Washington and the reasons for it.  The importance of a balanced budget and the stonewalling by Democrats in the Senate who refuse to even put it to a vote.  He sheds some light on the reasons why the Dems are stonewalling. DeMint also described the "problem" with bipartisanship and how nothing good comes from it except expansion of government.

I do not believe in parties.  I think they corrupt the system and leave you with a black/white solution for everything.  You are either 100% on or 100% off and they divide the country into class, race, sex, etc.  I am not a Republican, nor do I think they have all the answers, but I tend to see that they have more of a handle on the financial situation than the Dems.  This hoopla of taxing the 1% would only bring in 47 Billion in 10 Years.  We are borrowing $41K a second.  This would just be more money into the Federal Government to spend on frivolous shit.  This is a class warfare move since the Democratic run senate refuses to pass a budget, refuses to cut anything, even the Simpson Bowles recommendations from an Obama appointed commission has been ignored.  It seems the Dems are more concerned in divide and conquer than actually fixing the problem.  Why not say that there will be no more spending outside of the budget and all the money collected from the 1% would ONLY go to pay down the debt?

I do believe which DeMint barely touches that the reason the government can continue to do what it does is because of the "Federal" "Reserve".  Without their ability to fabricate money, it would be impossible for the US to maintain the constant state of war and the unsustainable social programs they have today.  If you don't track something, you can't improve on it.  There are hundreds of programs that are failing and rather than try to do away with them or consolidate with others and fix them; the politicians would rather not give the impression of "taking something from someone" and just create other useless failed programs.  This is where the duplicity comes into play.  Why have 200 failing programs and not one that is tracked and improved upon? 

Something needs to be done, and quickly.  The current administration does not seem to have an idea what they are doing.  It is not working partially because its ironically more of the same (W).  

A truly good book although most of the Information contained therein, I had already learned from other books, It was an interesting read with introductions of each chapter by one of the Senators SCF supported. 

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (January 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1455511846
ISBN-13: 978-1455511846

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street by: Neil Barofsky

I will begin by saying that I was and still am against T.A.R.P..  With that being said, it was passed and we had it.  Neil Barofsky is a Democrat and donated to the Obama campaign in 2008.  He was nominated as Inspector General of T.A.R.P. by President Bush and was confirmed by both sides with barely any incident. 

Barofsky nails it in this book.  He starts by being critical of the Bush administration and then states that he is hopping that the new administration (Obama) and his appointments will be better in trying to create the atmosphere of corruption that would allow T.A.R.P. recipients to game the system.  Those hopes were crushed by Timothy Geithner and his minions.

I am not saying the Bush and Obama were directly involved, but at a minimum, it makes them inept and indirectly responsible with what happens on their watch; especially something as big and egregious as this.  Barofsky breaks down the Troubled Asset Relief Fund (TARP), Public Private Investment Program (PPIP), roubled Asset-backed Loan Facility (TALF) and other boondoggles by our Federal Government. He describes in layman's terms how the system was gamed and by whom.

He describes encounters with Treasury officials, Congressmen, and Senators and how he informed them and warned of how the system could be and would be gamed. Those warnings fell on deaf ears. 

Required reading if you are interested in what happened and worst yet, how the more things change, the more the stay the same.  We are doomed.

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Free Press (July 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451684932
ISBN-13: 978-1451684933

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Along the Way By: Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez

Amazing story of father and son.  Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez AKA Martin Sheen and son Emilio Estévez take you on a journey through their lives.  I was never a hard core fan of any of the Sheen/Estevez clan until this book.  WOW!  What a life young Emilio and the rest of his brothers and sister lived.  They were jet-setting all around the world while their father Ramon (Martin) was on location filming movies.  

It is written in a way where the father reflects on a time period and then Emilio does the same.  You get to hear both sides and how Marin felt when Emilio was coming into his own and how Emilio felt during the same time.  Fame, travel, and money notwithstanding, I find parallels in mine and Emilio's life.

Amazingly, his youth in Malibu was surrounded by the up and comers Rob Lowe, Sean and Chris Penn, Robert Downey Jr that lived on Emilio's block and they grew up together.  Also during the casting for The Outsiders, Tom Cruz lives with the Estevez/Sheen family.

I found myself re-watching Apocalypse Now, Bad Lands, and The Outsiders with an entirely different view of the movie.  Knowing some "insider" information gives you perspective on the films.  I plan to watch "The Way" which inspired this book.

What a great book for any father to read.  I have already started putting certain things into practice with my kids.

Highly Recommended.

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (May 8, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451643683
ISBN-13: 978-1451643688

Thursday, July 26, 2012

An American Son by: Marco Rubio

Well Well.  Mr. Marco Rubio is certainly an interesting person.  I was attracted to this book because he is my same age and we grew up somewhat the same way as sons of immigrant exiles of  Fidel Castro's regime and the long lost country.

The book details the plight of his parents and grandparents as they struggled to provide for their families both here in the US as well as in Cuba prior to coming here.  Rubio details his life as a football loving, specifically Miami Dolphins, political junky.  He states in the book that he was following the election of Jimmy Carter.  I consider myself to be somewhat of a political junky but do not really remember being interested at that age.

Rubio gives the impression of a spoiled egotistical calculating person.  Although people may say that is typical of Republicans, I think it is typical of politicians in general.  He made it clear that he felt politics was a career.  He painfully states, atnasium, how much better he did for himself that his parents. 

The book also covers the tumultuous campaign between him, Kendrick Meeks and Charlie Crist.  The book gives you an insight which I have not seen in other books.  He shares certain aspects of the campaign and how the tacticians thought and acted.

The criticism notwithstanding, I like Marco Rubio and I think he has potential.  He needs to embrace the Constitution more and relax on the Jingoism.  I follow his actions in the Senate and there is some wasted time on his part voted for frivolous things that do not benefit or protect the State of Florida which should be his job.

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Sentinel HC (June 19, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595230947
ISBN-13: 978-1595230942