Book reviews – both about the excesses of power

Glenn Greenwald’s book about the NSA documents and how Greenwald was contacted by Edward Snowdon was released this week. Much of the content is known to those of us who have followed the story from the very beginning. The details of how Edward Snowdon choose Hong Kong to meet Greenwald and Laura Poitras reads like a spy thriller. In this case the spies are U.S. Government spies who are willing to do anything to cover up the fact that the U.S. military/NSA has been and continues to spy on all Americans as well as the rest of the world.

Greenwald detailed how Poitras has been targeted by the U.S. Government when she traveled through airports. The Government’s harassment continued to get worse. She is a documentary film maker and she travels to forbidden places. How dare she! There appears to be a world wide war on journalists both print/internet and photojournalists. A woman doing this – again how dare she – according to the Authoritarians that run the mini dictatorships at the points of entry to the U.S.. Greenwald shed some light on the brutish behave of the Gestapo boarder guards in a column he wrote for Salon. Edward Snowdon choose Greenwald and Poitras because they are truth tellers and he knew from following their work, that they would be as shocked and disgusted as he is about how the U.S. Government spies an all of us.

Edward Snowdon carefully chose the two reporters who he trusted to break the stories about NSA spying on all of us. Greenwald gives us an insight into how the Washington Post got involved. Basically the U.S.media comes out looking like dog poop. The lawyers at the Guardian were scared and nearly blocked the deal. The spy guys from both the UK and the U.S. were frantic with damage control – which turned out to be lies, lies and more lies.

Read the book – the cheapest price is the ebook. You can wait for the paperback version to come out – or one of my favorite ways to find cheap books are the used book stores. You really need to see the peeling of the onion skins of the vast sums of our tax dollars being spent on collecting massive amounts of raw data. Collect everything is the spy guys motto. Some many government spooks are out there collecting data that I want to know how much all the spy bottle necks are slowing down the Internet. The tech guys tell me that yes the bottlenecks put in place by multiple spy agencies do have an unknown lag time.

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Elizabeth Warren’s book, A Fighting Chance, gives us an up close and personal view of how Washington, D.C. works (or doesn’t work at all). We learn about the U.S. Treasury departments billion dollar bail out of the Wall Street con artists and bankers. But first Senator Warren tells us who she is. I really understand where she came from because my maternal line came from Kansas. My grandmother spent her childhood in Oklahoma (she was born in Kansas). My grandmother had a whole lot of relatives in Oklahoma that her own children never knew, until my uncle discovered them while doing genealogy research. That’s where the Indian branch was hiding. Many of us do have a bit of Native American. No! most of our ancestors didn’t “register”. I think something very unpleasant happened to my grandmother regarding her Indian blood. She was very family centered and she had hundreds of kin folk in Kansas and neighboring states. She kept detailed records – but there were no records of her father’s mother. This missing detail caught my uncle’s attention. When he found kin in Oklahoma and went to visit them (on a reservation is what he told us all) grandmother was not pleased.

Back in my grand mother’s era one never mentioned ones Native American ancestors. This was something to be ashamed of. Senator Brown attempted to use Elizabeth Warren’s oral history of her Native American heritage against her. Foolish man. I think that my grandmother would have understood.

Professor Warren takes us through her journey through law school while also raising two children. She tells us how her family helped her. Her first husband thought he was getting a traditional stay at home wife. His loss.

There are a lot of reasons to read this book but probably the best reason is her observations about D.C. political games. She was in D.C. for the TARP games and the magical slight of hand by the Treasury Department involving billions of dollars.

Professor Warren taught Bankruptcy Law and I learned many things about that law and the fact that the lawmakers in D.C. wrote a law without knowing any facts about the people who file for bankruptcy. Warren did the research along with other Social scientists. Warren talked and listened to the people who had to deal with a law written by ignorant politicians who were listening to lobbyists and ignoring the people.

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Off topic and just for fun. I’m learning about close-up and macro photography. A book I recommend is – Understanding Close-up Photography by Bryan Peterson. In short you need a camera that can shoot RAW images – and he recommends several. He also uses a point and shoot that can produce RAW images as well as a Nikon which uses changeable lenses. Everyday point and shoot often come with a close up setting. A tripod is necessary according to all the books on close-up photography. The next step is graphic software. There are several non photoshop brands of graphic software some are even free. Coral has a couple of products that work well for amateur photographers who merely want to improve their photos to something nicer than a mere snap shot. You can really get deeply involved in the software of photo improvement.

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