C N S News Scroll

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Strategic Collection

The Art of War: The Quintessential Collection of Military Strategy (Knickerbocker Classics) Sun Tzu, Nicolo Machiavelli, with An Introduction by Erik O. Ronningen - (Racepoint Publishing)

Over the course of time there have been shelves full of books written about strategic thinking and how to apply strategy to business. While many of these books have been touted as classics and have offered up nuggets of useful information most have not held up in the same fashion as the classic military strategy books that date back hundreds, if not thousands of years.

These military treatises have been interpreted and re-interpreted many times and have had variations that point to a way to utilize them in the world of business. Four of these truly classical takes on strategy are collected in a beautiful and extremely useful package dubbed, The Art of War: The Quintessential Collection of Military Strategy.

Housed in a sturdy slip cover, this well designed collection includes; Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Nicolo Machiavelli’s, The Prince, General Carl von Clausewitz’s, On War, and Fredrick the Great’s, Instructions to His Generals. Military veteran Erik O. Ronningen provides an introduction to the collection that not only informs, but adds historical context for each of the individual books.

While many renditions and interpretations of Sun Tzu have come before; I have muddle through any number of variations, the version included in this set tracks very well and is among the most relatible versions I have encountered. The von Clausewitz is a book that I have recommended many times after an instructor at West Point passed along his recommendation to me. There is something quintessential about each of these pieces that translates to even modern situations.

Perfect for fans of military history or business strategy, it has allowed me to jettison the individual, often dog eared copies of the four books. There is something substantial about the heft of this book/case that tells me it will stand the test of time, much like the texts it contains. While I have gifted my son with some of these books individually, I plan to purchase an additional copy to pass along to him this holiday season. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Constitution 101

The U.S. Constitution: Explained for Every American – Ray Raphael – (Vintage)

Historian and Constitutional scholar Ray Raphael is out with a fresh update of his book The U.S. Constitution: Explained for Every American. Raphael does a pretty straight forward job of breaking down the clauses and amendments to the Constitution.

While should be pretty basic stuff to anyone who is paying attention to what is going on in the law and politics in our country, the more you watch the way people, including many of our leaders act, this may be the the perfect book to offer a clue to the clueless. In fact there are times when I think copies should be sent to all 535 members of Congress and to follow up with a test to see if they ever bothered to read the Constitution.

Waffles with your Constitution?

Don’t expect Raphael to pick sides when it comes to the thornier, oft-debated parts of the Constitution, like the Second Amendment’s seemingly never ending debate over guns. Raphael simply doles out both sides and lets the chips fall where they may, even in instances where case law supports the right to gun ownership.

In the end, I would have to say that by-in-large Raphael is fair and balanced in his explanations and that make this handy little book a good resource for beginning students and more experienced followers of politics to have on their bookshelf.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Inside Insight

All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump – Edward Klein (Regnery)

Bestselling investigative journalist Edward Klein has created a cottage industry out of gathering up sources that dole out insider insights from the most private of places within the Democrat party machine. That machine is comprised of vast array of folks from the realms of politics, the government, the entertainment industry, the media and big money donors.

In his latest outing All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump, Klein attempts to unravel the inner working of the seemingly ceaseless efforts to delegitimize the Presidency of Donald J. Trump. Klein makes compelling case that the gears of this concerted effort were well under way even before Trump was elected; dating back to the Obama administration and their efforts to try to derail and interfere with the Trump campaign and its supporters and team.

While the media continues to try to convince the American people that Trump and his campaign are guilty of “collusion”, which by the way does not exist in the U.S. Criminal Code, in reality the level of criminality and criminal behavior by Obama administration officials is staggering! Klein offers an insider’s take on any numbers of at the very least dubious behavior.

There are countless examples of how the media clearly knew that what they were reporting about Trump was either false or had been disproven, and yet they went ahead and reported it, only to later have it blow up in their face. Then they have the nerve to feign outrage over being labeled as FAKE news. The mainstream press has patently refused to understand that the game has changed and in an era of powerful tools in hands of citizen journalists they simply can’t get away with doling out bullshit and calling it news. The reaction to this load of hooey comes fast and furious to the point of giving them burns when they get called on the carpet.

Perhaps the most telling chapter is Klein’s run down of the establishment Republican’s who have gone out of their way to hinder so much of the Trump agenda. Sore loser clowns like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake and Mitch McConnell are almost worse than clueless asshat liberals like Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Ted Lieu.

Easily the most entertaining chapter involves the disengagement of Barack Obama. Since leaving office the Bamster seems more content to travel to high end vacation locales then he is interested in taking up the charge of leading the resistance to Trump. Perhaps in a throwback to his high school days leading the so-called “Choom Gang” a band of dope smoking teenagers Obama proudly led; Klein details Obama’s current favorite pastime of firing up a joint and playing video games in his man cave at the high end DC home in the Kalorama neighborhood that he purchased after finally(!) vacating the White House.   

More Proof…Liberals Are STUPID!

You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody) – Alec Baldwin and Kurt Anderson (Penguin Press)

As a proud member, in good standing, of Middle America, you know those backwards bumpkins who have the nerve to live outside of New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles, I continue to marvel that the high brow, cosmopolitan types just can’t quite grasp the concept of how the anointed Hilary Clinton could possibly have lost the election, let alone to Donald J. Trump.

Trump absolutely drives these whack-a-mole liberals to the brink of their sanity and their reaction comes more often than not in the form of some high profile celebrity in full on meltdown mode. Probably no greater example exists than that of actor Alec Baldwin in the form of his portrayals of Trump on Saturday Night Live. Baldwin is convinced that the American people just love his smirky, posturing, over the top Trump. And therein lies the problem for liberals like Baldwin and so many other, who just can’t quite grasp the concept that Middle America is tired of their horseshit being jammed down our throats and that they actually contributed to Trump’s victory.

Now Baldwin is trying to capitalize on his Trump by teaming with writer Kurt Anderson to serve up the book, You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody). You literally can’t make this stuff up; they included the line “A So-Called Parody,” in an attempt to be clever and somehow indicate that that this really isn’t a parody, that it is somehow a real accounting of the Trump Presidency. Parody is defined as a deliberate exaggeration for comic effect, the problem is there really is much of a parody here, or for that matter, much in the way of comedy.

What Baldwin and Anderson really end up doing is to run down a litany of misguided liberalism over the course of the long form. I can only guess that Baldwin and Anderson believe the polls that show Trump’s popularity numbers are sagging and that somehow they are hitting the right notes for the American people. If they don’t understand the negative consequences of believing polling, then maybe they need to have a chat with Hilary Clinton and her campaign team about how well buying into polls worked out for them.

For middle America it’s just more of the same from the elite liberals and I encourage them to keep on serving this stuff up because it will just help their folks to continue to lose election after election.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Or Maybe Not…

Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon and the US Government Conspired to Torture – Mark Fallon (Regan Arts)

16 years after the events of September 11, 2001 and 7 years after Navy SEAL raid that led the death of that events mastermind, Osama bin Laden seems like an odd time for the release of a book calling into question the enhanced interrogation techniques employed during the War on Terror. My only guess is the comment by President Donald Trump that he would bring back waterboarding and with some Trump-esque bravado, “and worse” is what spurred the publication of Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon and the US Government Conspired to Torture, from former NCIS investigator Mark Fallon.

Fallon, like so many others before him, makes the claim that the U.S. Government’s so-called enhanced interrogation techniques; sleep deprivation, stress positions, being forced to stand for long periods, exposed to extremes in temperature, isolation and waterboarding amount to torture. Fallon, again like so many before him, throws around things like the Geneva Convention’s prohibitions against torture and claims that so-called “torture” does not work, in producing actionable intelligence. Naturally, Fallon’s role as an insider in the war on terror, will have liberals falling all over themselves to foist “expert” status on him.

In the end, what Unjustifiable Means, amounts to is nothing more than one man’s opinion about whether or not the enhanced interrogation techniques amount to torture or not and if they produce the desired results. It’s easy to claim that they don’t work for any number of reasons, most notable is that our secret keepers can’t really lay specific claims to successes without revealing the instances where it clearly worked and the techniques that worked without broadcasting to the enemy the details of the process.

We do know with CERTAINTY, that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the events of 9/11, was subjected to waterboarding among other approaches and in the process gave up the fact that bin Laden communicated from his Abbotabad hideout through a pair of couriers. That knowledge led to tracking those couriers back to bin Laden’s location, which in turn led to the Navy Seal raid that brought about his demise. Even the three major liberal networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, along with the Washington Post, Time and Newsweek among others concede this point.

As to torture and the Geneva Convention; I hardly think that even long periods of hot or cold conditions, sleep deprivation or being forced to stand for long periods, amounts to torture in the face of what journalists, military personnel or contractors have been subjected to by comparison. While I could never ask the question, I doubt if journalist Daniel Pearl would label that torture. The Geneva Convention claim is ridiculous on its face. Even Fallon himself concedes in the book, that this is a different kind of enemy and to think that terrorists could or would become signatories to an international treaty is absurd. I would bet that the folks who did sign that prohibition would strongly frown on beheading and burning prisoners alive.

While I do salute Mr. Fallon for his service, I am left to wonder when he claims that in his experience the most effective way to garner information and intel from a prisoner is to “develop a relationship” with them. He neglects to spell or give any detail on exactly what that process looks like and how it works. Faced with a life or death situation, I wonder how quickly that process would work and exactly how effective it is when the person you want to develop a relationship with would dearly like to cut your head off if given the chance.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Perception vs. Reality

Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment – Angela J. Davis – (Pantheon Books)

Angela J. Davis is a law professor at American University who has written, edited and contributed to numerous books and articles focused on the legal system, prosecutorial power and racial disparities. Her latest effort, Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment, is a collection of essays in which she attempts to point out among many things the perception of undue focus on black men when it comes to policing, prosecution and imprisonment in the United States.
Professor Davis brings to the topics an inherent bias where she takes her pre-established beliefs and doesn’t attempt to prove those beliefs by backing them up with facts, but rather merely spells out what she believes to be the case. That loses her big points, because in some instances where actual disparities may exist, emphasis on MAY exist, she can’t overcome her own built in bias to make a proper case.

Much of what she writes about here comes off as simply checking the box to remain inside the pre-existing parameters of racial identity politics. Professor Davis is certainly welcome to have and state her own set of perceptions or feelings; the first amendment of the Constitution guarantees her that right, but she can’t have her own set of facts.
Often, the hard and fast facts simply don’t support some of the assertions Davis makes in the book. These aren’t mysterious or locked away numbers that counter her take on things; they an easy Google search away and come from places like the Washington Post and New York Times, so any bias complaints about sources go out the window.  

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bring It On!

This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class – Elizabeth Warren (Metropolitan Books)

“It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion,” Senator Elizabeth Warren, referring to watching the 2016 Presidential election results. Now she knows what it was like for conservatives during the eight years of Obama.

When it comes to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) new book This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class, there is so much to work with that I almost don’t know where to start. For someone who is alleged to be an intelligent, respected researcher and professor before joining the Senate, Warren really doesn’t have a grasp on the basic concepts of how things work.

She claims to be a champion of the Middle Class and wants to offer up her prescription for “saving” that group of folks. But clearly she doesn’t have a basis for understanding the middle class. The Senator writes about the country coming out of World War II and how the middle class grew exponentially and she attempts to credit the government for that growth. Anyone with even a minimal grasp on history will know that the preponderance of manufacturing during the war was dedicated to supplying the military; consumer goods were practically unheard of. With the war over, growth and demand for those consumer goods would be off the charts and the economy couldn’t grow fast enough.

For someone who has been pegged as a rising star within her party and a potential 2020 Presidential candidate, This Fight is Our Fight, is a sorry recap of the same tired, class warfare politics that have been part and parcel of the Democrat agenda for decades.

Warren bemoans the pay gap but, neglects to mention it grew worse during the Obama years. She thinks that raising the minimum wage will help low skill workers, as if it a zero sum gain; companies will dole out the cash without raising prices, right? But that is the mindset of the Democrat party which thinks that they fixed healthcare with Obamacare, which gave us HIGH deductible plans and curbs access to care not eases it.

Warren complains about trade deals that make it cheaper for Nabisco to make Oreos in Mexico and ship them here, than making them in Chicago. Just as a reminder, who did that? Democrat President Bill Clinton! Perhaps Ms. Warren needs to take off her political blinders and take a look at what President Trump is saying about NAFTA and the need to renegotiate that flawed deal.

Like so many clueless Democrats, Warren snipes at Ronald Reagan, “dubious theory of trickle-down economics.” The hard facts for Warren and other liberals to swallow is that the revenues collected from federal income taxes during every year of the Reagan administration, were higher than the revenues collected from federal income taxes during any year of any previous administration.