Tag Archives: politics

Peter Schweizer’s Red-Handed

Peter Schweizer’s Red-Handed, How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win explains how powerful government, business and academic leaders cash in with big pay offs from China. I already knew about many of the examples, like the NBA, the Bushes, Mitch McConnell and the Bidens. I also knew that American colleges will sweep problems under the rug to continue lucrative deals with China. (I could write a book on that.) 

However, I wasn’t aware of how Former Secretaries of State, Kissinger and Albright cashed in on their relationships formed when in office as they opened up consulting firms focused on China. They made fortunes bowing to China’s best interests.

Because I worked in higher education the bulk of my teaching career and spent more time teaching in China for an American college, I was most interested in the chapter on academics. I was saddened to learn that though Yale admitted Hong Kong dissident Nathan Law when he was in danger in China, they tried their best to keep him quiet on campus since their donors from China only wanted the party line discussed. Other colleges try to protect China and it’s propaganda by limited what speakers and guests come to campus. Many won’t invite the Dali Lama because China doesn’t want him to. (Hats off to my alma mater Loyola University Chicago who did have the Dali Lama speak on campus in 2012.)

Red-Handed is thoroughly researched with scores of citations. While it’s not exactly a quick read, it’s not a slog either. It’s a good book for anyone who wants to understand the somewhat sordid world of international business and foreign affairs. These folks are in it for themselves. “The system ain’t broken; it’s fixed” as the adage goes.

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Posted by on April 27, 2022 in contemporary, non-fiction


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The Secret Knowledge

David Mamet shares his journey from liberal to conservative and offers his understanding of his past beliefs and the strengths of his more traditional views in The Secret Knowledge. The book is well written and Mamet offers insights that never occurred to me. I think it’s good practice to taken in insights from a wide variety of perspectives and with that in mind, I got a lot out of The Secret Knowledge. 

If you’ve seen or read, Mamet’s plays, you won’t be surprised by his forceful writing. He packs a punch, which is probably why he likes boxing.

Published in 2014, Mamet doesn’t comment on the Trump Presidency, but he does examine the 60s, 70s, and on up to 2012. He is well read and thoughtful.



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Posted by on June 8, 2018 in contemporary, essay, fiction, non-fiction, postaweek


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What a difference

From the ethernet archives:

Well, I think I’m in love. I have been impressed with Barack Obama since he ran for Senator of Illinois. Reading “Audacity of Hope” convinced me of his character, intelligence, perspicacity, eloquence and his ability to look at several sides of a problem. His background living in the US and Indonesia, working in grassroots community development, attending law school, and balancing a family are described in a reflective, intelligent, occasionally witty manner. He owns up to shortcomings, personal and national. He seems to be able to address the concerns of some conservative citizens, such as the breakdown of the family, and to debate with respect and intelligence. I think he can win in 2008. At least that’s my hope.

By the way, my cousin Meaghan quit her job at the DCCC to work for him in Chicago. I’ll have to track her down and find out what she’s doing.

Now I feel the biggest change was to my opinion of Obama. I still see him as an eloquent, intelligent man, but I also see him as a tepid leader. I’m disappointed because he has prioritized politics over leadership. I hoped for more, for better.

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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in memoir, non-fiction


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Still need to Read This

In December 2006, I wrote:

I’ve just finished listening to MIT World’s Reporters’ Notebook on Iraq. Well things are worse than I thought. Much worse and have been for a long time. I found myself taking notes. Another book at the top of my book list. This list looks more like a plateau than a peak every day.

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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in contemporary, non-fiction


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Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics

If you want to understand economics better without actually taking any economics courses, read Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics.P.J. O’Rourke does the heavy studying for you. Or actually he gets someone else to. He does read some dense economics texts and pushes them aside deciding there are better ways to gain understanding.

So off he goes in search of answers. The results are chapters like “Good Capitalism: Wall St.,” “Bad Capitalism: Albania,” “Good Socialism: Sweden,” “Bad Socialism: Cuba,” “How to Make Nothing from Everything: Tanzania,” and “How to Make Everything from Nothing: Hong Kong.” In each country O’Rourke seeks to find the reason behind its success or poverty. He talks with experts, examines the markets, chats with the man in the street and makes sense of statistics. After reading, I feel smarter and it was a painless experience, quite unexpected when I think about economics.

This is from the ethernet archives. I doubt we can still call Wall St. “Good Capitalism.”

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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in humor


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I want to read “Such Is This World@sars.come”

Kevin sent me this book review. I’d like to read this book.

China’s Big Lie

Such Is This World@sars.come
by Hu Fayun, translated by A.E. Clark
(Ragged Banner Press, 536 pp., $38;
also available as an e-book from Ragged Banner’s website, $14)

There has never been a good time to be an honest writer in Communist China, but the present is an exceptionally bad time. Spooked by the “Arab Spring” and jostling for position in next year’s scheduled leadership changes, the Party bosses have been coming down hard on every kind of independent thinking. The cases of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and artist Ai Weiwei have been well publicized, but there are many others.

Essayist Liu Xianbin, released in 2008 after nine years imprisonment for “inciting subversion of state power,” was re-arrested last summer. In March this year he was given a new ten-year sentence on that same charge. Along with this lawless brutality towards their own citizens, China’s rulers do all they can to intimidate foreigners who seek to help dissident writers. A Chinese writer needs a translator, and those best equipped to translate are Western scholars making a career in China studies. Such a career will be handicapped, though, if the scholar is denied visas to enter China. The communists make sure Western Sinologists know this. Chinese-literature specialist Perry Link, blacklisted since 1996, has written a fine essay about the problem: “The Anaconda in the Chandelier.”

The misfortunes that have afflicted Hu Fayun’s 2004 dissident novel Such Is This World@sars.come have therefore been nothing out of the ordinary. The manuscript was posted on a website in 2005; the website was quickly shut down. A Beijing publisher brought out a bowdlerized version in 2006, but the book was proscribed the following year as the communists tightened controls prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A Princeton sinology graduate considered making a translation, but backed off on learning that the book was banned in China.

To read the rest of the original review, click here.

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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in contemporary, non-fiction


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On Monday Juan Williams was on The Daily Show where he explained why NPR fired him after he appeared on Fox News and his comments regarding profiling Muslims were edited to make it seem that he felt fear of them was rational. His story in full explained how he believed the opposite. Even after showing NPR executives the full tape, he was fired.

Now he’s written Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate, a book which deals with the NPR firing and current climate in which certain political topics can’t be debated or discussed rationally in public. Ironically, I got an email from NPR with links for items they’re promoting and getting commission from. Muzzled was listed. Hmmm. It just seemed odd. I guess everyone would profit from it, but there wasn’t any text that explained why. He did appear on Diane Rehm’s program and I suppose listening to that would

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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in non-fiction



Two Cheers for Democracy

A character on MI-5 used E.M. Forster’s Two Cheers for Democracy as a source for old time codes. I was intrigued so I got the book. Forster is such a good writer and this collection of essays, all written around and after World War II, contain lively insights which are still worth reading.

Topics covered include politics, arts, and places. The first section contains articles about the Nazism brewing in Germany and the prospect o war, which are interesting looks back into another era. In another essay he writes about the beginning of what would become one of London’s first libraries. I found the essay on Virginia Woolf interesting as he chastises her for being too aggressively feminist. Now that’s nothing new, but he seemed generally on the side of feminism, but he expected women would be completely equal by say 1950. Right, we wish.

There’s an essay on the origins of the London Library. If Thomas Carlyle could have easily gotten all the reference books he needed, perhaps it wouldn’t be. Carlyle was working on a biography of Cromwell and couldn’t easily cross town every time he needed some facts. Thus he found a patron for this library. This essay not only tells of the origins of the London Library but praises libraries in general as they serve to help all to increase their knowledge. Noble indeed.

On his first trip to America Forster writes of seeing vaguely familiar birch trees in the Berkshires.

“Was I in England? Almost, but not quite. That was again and again to be my sensation, and in the Arizona Desert I was to feel I was almost but not quite in India, and in Yosemite Valley that it was not quite Switzerland. America is always throwing out these old-world hints, and then withdrawing them in favour of America.”

Like Waugh and Greene, whose Heart of the Matter I’m now reading, Forster’s writing is superb. Forster is obviously a well-heeled man. Reading these essays is like befriending this incredibly well-rounded man who shares everything he knows about culture, politics, government, publishing.

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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in British Lit, essay, non-fiction


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