How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

book jacket plain white with gold bulletsHow Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon by Rosa Brooks (2016)

Considering the United States seemingly has been at war somewhere, declared or not, for my entire life, despite protests in the Sixties to the contrary, this book provides multiple perspectives on the business of perpetual war.

The author worked in prominent Pentagon capacities and provides real intimate details of what it was like to live in that particular bubble.

Those two years were strange, almost surreal in their intensity. For me — a law professor and journalist brought up in a family of left-wing anti-war activists — working for the Pentagon was like conducting anthropological fieldwork in some exotic and unpredictable foreign tribe. (p. 6)

I saw her on Book TV talking about this book and knew that it was going to be special because, as it is described on the cover flap, “it is by turns a memoir, a work of journalism, and a scholarly exploration of history, anthropology, and law.”

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The Money Cult by Chris Lehmann

the money cult book jacket with capitalism Christianity and part of money showingThe Money Cult: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream by Chris Lehmann (2016)

BUY THIS BOOK! I am taking my library copy back and buying it myself.

I am posting this now without further commentary just in case someone needs an idea for a Christmas present (ironically since “Christianity” is part of the problem!) for a progressive friend or family member.

Chris Hedges Speaks the Unspeakable

book jacket of Unspeakable by Chris Hedges on the most forbidden topics in AmericaChris Hedges, one of my favorite authors and thinkers speaks with David Talbot “about the most forbidden topics in America” in this new book series from Hot Press (Conversations). David Talbot is a fellow radical journalist who founded Salon and the Hot Books imprint.

This book, Unspeakable, by Chris Hedges (c 2016) is formatted with Talbot asking him questions and then transcription his replies.

This is not a fun read; he has seen too much death and greed and destruction. I am an idealist, so I guess I still have a spark of hope.

I did put this off for another day to read in full: it is bleak.

[note: this was written in August 2017 and I am not sure I still have that spark of hope. Subsequent events: #GOPTaxScam, the close contest for senator from Alabama where a sexual predator was deemed better than a Democrat, and the Democrats eating their own with the hasty and ill-considered holier-than-thou response to Al Franken’s juvenile sense of humor exceeds my capacity to believe that everything will be alright.]

He mentions the documentary Cowspiracy that I have heard about but could not bear to watch. I cannot bear many things these days, like the fact that:

Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes combined. Livestock, along with their waste and flatulence, account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. . . . (p. 139)

He goes on like this citing more statistics, including the stat that my theme reading on water issues already made me aware of: “It takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce a gallon of milk.”

Also, “Crops grown for livestock feed consume 56 percent of the water use in the United States.

Many things take more water than they are worth to produce. Ethanol, as I recall, was a big water waster.


So I’m just going to post this as is without more. It’s December now, and things have only gotten worse and worse. I may not ever feel emotionally strong enough to read this completely. Too much bad in the world.

Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nbook jacket democracy in chains on the Koch brothers and economist James McGill Buchanan ancy MacLean (2017) is a must read, must buy, and must share book. It is both terrifying and depressing. Alas, after having read about the Powell memorandum, the Koch brothers and dark money, and background on the Birchers, I find myself a believer in a right-wing conspiracy that has probably already destroyed democracy in America for good now.

I was going to write more and quote but had to take back to the library. Plan to buy and may post more after I do that. The book was acclaimed elsewhere too.

People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities

book jacket people habitat nice photos of charming town sitesPeople Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities by F. Kaid Benfield (2014)

One thing that none of the pushers for multi-family dwellings ever address involves NEIGHBORS. Single-family dwellings are desirable over anything else — not because people have no interest in environmental impact — but because dealing with other people can be a nightmare. Thin walls are not funny in reality. ¬†Even single homes can have issues: Good fences make good neighbors!

Unless some law or soundproofing regulations or roving enforcers with martial arts skills are part of every multi-family dwelling, the problems of conflicts between people will still drive people who can afford it to buy single-family homes. Plus they are going to want big lots so there is distance between them and still noisy neighbors.

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