Faith-building biography


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As a writer, (I wrote Building Wealth for Building the Kingdom: A Financial Planning Guide for Latter-day Saint Families) I found the book to be exactly what you'd want it to be: a faith-promoting, inspiring biography that allows you to grow closer to the living prophet.

The book is clearly written principally for faithful Latter-day Saints. Others will find the book interesting, but lacking in the sorts of details that would give the book an investigative feel. Swinton did not seek to expose the unknown man, instead she sought to affirm the view of the public man.

The book follows his life, much as we've heard it from President Monson himself over the years. He's always been an open book, having nothing to fear from sharing. He's done nothing that would embarrass himself or the Church. Each phase of his life is built around a central challenge or theme that allows you to experience the development of a prophet in a logical progression.

When I finished the book, I both felt that I knew the prophet better and felt my faith in his divine calling affirmed.

One note: I generally like shorter, lighter books, but found that Swinton's story-telling ability kept the pace of the book moving at a clip that allowed me to enjoy this rather lengthy tome.

Get This One To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson (Hardcover)


Great Product Maafa 21: Black Genocide In 21st Century America (DVD)


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This was an eye-opening experience. I viewed this dvd in the comfort of my office when no one else was there. OMG! There is pure evil out there and it walks, breathes, eats, sleeps and has families and can look as benign as you or I, but it is NOT!
If anyone has ANY reservations about the following issues being tied together: race, racism, raciality, EDUCATION, marriage, ABORTION, illegitmacy, birth control, legislated immorality, promiscuity, PERVERTED VIEW OF GOD, hip hop, birth rates, survival rates, culture of entitilement mentality, SFN disease (something for nothing) and a sundry of other issues; THIS dvd will quelch ALL doubt. There has been an agenda to get rid of the black race, especially here in America (duh!).
Get this dvd. View it alone, first, deal with your emotions and set your thoughts to paper so that you NEVER forget your initial thoughts after you turned the dvd player off. Then, invite your people over.
After you have this knowledge, decide what you'll do with it. I pray you organize and constructively fight the evil that is exposed in this dvd. God bless those who came together to make this!!! Bless they and their offspring forever more, God!!

Get This Product Maafa 21: Black Genocide In 21st Century America (DVD)


Its my choice Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA (Hardcover)


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As shown in the title, the author, a CIA veteran, doesn't believe that the Agency needs fixing or "tweaking." He strongly believes that it needs to be torn down and totally rebuilt.

During World War II, in the days of the OSS, a person or group was given a mission, which usually involved being dropped behind enemy lines, and was told to make it happen. They treated intelligence work as some sort of holy calling. Today, the CIA is filled with bureaucrats and buck-passers who consider it as merely another federal job. It is thought of as a cardinal sin to make waves, even if it will save American lives. The solution to intelligence failures, like 9/11, seems to be to add layers of bureaucracy and "coordination" instead of reducing it.

The US Army's ROTC program trains and continually evaluates potential officers. If a person doesn't measure up to Army standards, they are asked to leave the program. The CIA has no such training program. A person could be a wonderful case officer, but be totally incompetent in a position of leadership. Despite the CIA's rigid bureaucracy, they still know how to put together a covert operation in days, or even hours, when an intelligence opportunity presents itself. Other agencies, like the military and FBI, need months and months of briefings, re-briefings, evaluations and approval from several different people before there can be a final approval. That is why the author strongly feels that the CIA should be the only foreign intelligence agency, and that other agencies should stop their foreign intelligence operations.

In a US embassy overseas, the ambassador is the boss. No covert operation happens without his (or her) approval. The ambassador works for the State Department, whose top rule seems to be "Don't upset the host country", even if that covert operation will save lives. Occasionally, there will be visits from Washington bureaucrats, who would not know a covert operation if they tripped over it. They usually have this wonderful intelligence idea, which sounds great in a Langley conference room, but on the ground, is an amazingly stupid idea.

Physical training for covert agents used to be very rigorous, because an agent had to be able to deal with almost anything. Over the years, standards have been reduced to almost zero. What was "very rigorous" training is now something like mildly stressful. The CIA is in strong need of people on the ground, so physical standards have been reduced to the point where people from other divisions have been let in to the program. It doesn't matter if they have asthma, diabetes or some other major ailment. If they complete the course (there are no repercussions if they don't), they suddenly think they are qualified to go overseas and work on real covert operations, right next to someone with 20 years experience.

This is a very scathing book, but it is much needed. Regardless of your opinions about recent CIA actions, America needs some sort of foreign intelligence agency. This book is an excellent place to start putting together such an agency the right way.

Take It Now ! Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA (Hardcover)


Reviews About Cold Calling for Cowards - How to Turn the Fear of Rejection into Opportunities, Sales, and Money (Kindle Edition)


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I was a small business owner for years and followed that as a corporate drone, but still heavily involved in sales. With my credentials vaguely established, let me now assert that Cold Calling for Cowards is the "BEST BOOK ON SALES EVER!!!!"

Let's wait for a moment for the echo of that momentous statement to die down...ahhh, there we go. I know the above statement seems grandious and over the top, but I sincerely believe. In my experience, the field of sales self-help, guide, or instructional books is a vast wasteland of crap. Almost every book on sales out there suffers from the desire to sell you "The Secret to Sales Success!" Unfortunately, like in so many other fields (diet, finance, video games), there isn't one solitary secret. Sales is just hard work. There's no short cut.

Most books on selling try and avoid this problem with the trick of saying very little, but promising you that in the NEXT chapter they will reveal the secret. This goes on and on with little to nothing of real value being laid out until the end of the book appears and the author either reveals that they have some tired aphorism as their "secret," or, more likely, that there is another product that they are selling where you will get the REAL secret. This may be another book, or a program, or a course you can take. While these types of book do a good job of selling, they don't really help you learn to be a better salesperson (except by doing a meta-analysis of the work itself.)

Cold Calling for Cowards is different (finally you bother to mention the book you are reviewing. Way to bury the lead!) I was given this book a number of years ago by an outside vendor sales rep who was trying to help my company improve our sales force. I was sceptical, to say the least. However, when I started reading I was astounded to find that this was actually a really good book with solid lessons to be learned.

The focus of Cold Calling for Cowards is that sales IS hard work. There's no magical secret other than working at selling every day. Having eliminated the need to reveal a secret, the author sets to work providing you solid lessons in every chapter. The book, in spite of its' title, doesn't just focus on cold-calling. It really covers selling in a pretty comprehensive way. The author doesn't hesitate to tell lots of stories from his experience selling, but he succeeds at telling them well and, more importantly, relating them clearly to sales lessons.

The biggest concern for many people who pick up this work is the relevance to our changing digital world. I will grant, that many of the stories told come from a different era of sales. Social media didn't exist when this book was written. However, there's no doubt in my mind that the most cutting edge sales person in the world has a lot to learn still from the author. The techniques and skills discussed still apply in the digital world.

If you are serious about sales, then I highly recommend you read this book. If you aren't serious about sales, read this book and then get serious or find a different job. If you aren't in sales, then why are you reading this review at all? (HINT: Everyone is in sales. They just may be unaware that it's part of their job.)

Get This Product Cold Calling for Cowards - How to Turn the Fear of Rejection into Opportunities, Sales, and Money (Kindle Edition)


Excellent introduction to questioning well and holding firmly to the Word of God


Its a review about this product

The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith (Kindle Edition) Questions are dangerous because they can lead us negatively down the road to unbelief or positively towards understanding what we believe and why it matters. Questions are often viewed in the evangelical church in the wrong way. Many people think that if you ask a question then you are just like doubting Thomas. In his excellent new book The End of Our Exploring: A Book About Questioning and the Confidence of Faith, Matthew Anderson writes to help us ground our questions in the Word of God for the purpose of having them shaped by and reformed by that proper foundation.

The author rightly comments, "The beginning of questioning well is to seek to question well, which may mean laying down our questions and allowing them to be reshaped and reformed by the answers given to us by God. For if Christianity is true, the end of our exploring will be joy and goodness and life. But the path leads down the via Dolorosa and up toward Golgotha, as we take up our cross and follow the One who went ahead" (28). As Anderson notes, our questions need to be informed, molded, and transformed by the Word of God.

In my experience in ministry, many people ask the wrong questions because they begin at the wrong source, namely themselves rather than the Word of God. When we do that we will always get the wrong answers because rather than grounding our thinking in Scripture, we are instead basing what we think on personal opinions. Addressing this, Anderson states, "Opening ourselves to being questioned by God means, here and now, surrendering ourselves to the word of Scripture, a Word that probes and questions us as we read it" (44). He further explains, "The confidence of our faith must be rooted in the cross, for through His death Christ is faithful to His promises and ushers in the newness of life" (63).

Moreover, Anderson makes an important point concerning the resurgence of catechisms, commenting, "The recovery of catechesis is one of the most hopeful signs for Christians interested in cultivating their ability to question and live into the answers. Christians throughout history have used catechisms to train those new to the faith in the fundamentals. Answers were often memorized, with the goal that they would be internalized so that the catechumen could have a lively dialogue with the teacher. As Christians recover the practice of catechesis, our questions will become more sophisticated because we will have a more robust framework through which to look at the world. The apologetics movement could think of its own work through this lens. Answers and particular reasons almost never persuade people. But internalizing them lays a helpful foundation that allows for the more lively and productive back-and-forth of dialoguing together" (79).

As one engaged in the apologetics community, I greatly appreciate this statement by Anderson. One of the main tasks of apologetics is not to provide answers to but rather to help people build their lives upon a solid biblical foundation. When engaging people I rarely tell them what I think about an issue before I find out what they think about that particular issue. For example, when going up to a Jehovah Witness who may be on the street handing out pamphlets, I refrain from telling that individual at the outset of the conversation, "You are going to hell because you deny the deity of Christ." Instead, I ask, "So what do you think of the King James Bible?" or "What do you think of the Deity of Christ?" Now I am not advocating we compromise on calling people who reject biblical orthodoxy to repentance. What I am saying is that our approach can be much softer. Rather than coming out with a hammer to strike down our opponent, we should focus on an approach centered on reaching the person with the Gospel. While asking the Jehovah Witness about the KJV Bible, I've been told, "I don't believe the Bible you believe in because it contains errors". In other words our initial question doesn't have to be accusatory even if the person's response is accusatory. Our engagement with others is to be marked by speaking the truth in love with a view to a biblical commitment rooted in the inspired and authoritative Word of God.

One of the greatest challenges in the apologetics community as Anderson aptly notes is just "giving answers" as if just repeating these answers will either drive people to understand the topic or somehow provide them the ability to at least memorize the message. But "internalizing" answers is much more productive because conversations are rarely in the mode of a "question and answers" type session. Knowing the Word of God should lead to not just knowing the right thing to say. Conversely, it should lead to being transformed by the Word of God. Given the resurgence and interest in apologetics, this is a vital point for the reader to grasp. The apologetics community is often more interested in giving answers for why they believe rather than helping people understand why those answers are important. That subtle distinction is an important one not to miss. The Christian faith is based on understanding who Jesus is and what He has done in His death, burial and resurrection. Christians should give answers for the hope they have (1 Peter 3:15), but they should do so with a view to explaining the foundation for those answers in order to help people understand what they believe, why they believe it, and what difference it makes in their life. That methodology will demonstrate that our faith is not just about how we "repeat" answers, but rather why those answers make a difference in our lives. Doing apologetics in this way will assist the apologetics community and Christians at large to make a difference for the Gospel by being Word-centered, Gospel-centered, and grace-empowered.

The End Of Our Exploring: A Book About Questioning and the Confidence of Faith by Matthew Anderson is an important book that grounds our questions in the Word of God. By guiding us through how to answer a question, he answers the fundamental question of "What is good questioning?" The approach of this book is one that will help the reader not to doubt the validity of their faith, but rather to base their questions on the authoritativeness of the Word of God. While doubt is in vogue these days, good questioning is not. It is precisely for this reason why this book by Matthew Anderson is needed because it exposes the root of our doubt as foolish by stressing the need to ground our questions in Scripture. This approach will in turn properly inform our questions and provide the foundation for not just the Church's reformation, but also our own personal renewal and transformation in the Gospel.

This book would be excellent for Christian high school and college students in public schools whose faith is being daily assaulted by an evolutionistic and secular worldview. Reading this book will help students understand how to base their questions not on their own personal philosophy but on the unchanging Word of God. This book would also be good for lay people to learn how to ground their questions and thinking in Scriptural truth. Wherever you are in your pilgrimage of grace, The End of our exploring has something for you. I recommend this book and pray it will help a generation of Christians to base their inquiries in the Word of God so they may grow in the grace of God.

Get This One The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith (Paperback)


Its my choice Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers (Kindle Edition)


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368 of 479 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary claim not backed up by evidence, October 15, 2013
By Alice Friedemann (Oakland, California) - See all my reviews
Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers (Hardcover)
The blurb for this book reads: "carbs are destroying your brain. And not just unhealthy carbs, but even healthy ones like WHOLE GRAINS can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more".

Wow! This is such an incredible claim, and there is not one shred of evidence in the book to back it up. Here are some of the reasons why:

#1: Mediterranean & DASH diets both recommend whole grains

These diets have lots of carbohydrates and LOWER dementia, blood pressure, cancer, strokes, heart attacks, and so on.

People eating a Mediterranean diet are among the longest-lived on earth and they've been studied for decades. Italy has the 4th longest lifespan in the world!

U.S. News and World report has a fantastic overview and details of the best diets (and worst). The DASH and Mediterranean diets were considered to be the best diets by experts across many fields There were 22 experts - mainly physicians and professors of food science and nutrition, who evaluated and ranked a variety of diet plans based on: how easy to follow, ability to produce short and long-term weight loss, nutritional completeness, safety, and prevent diabetes and heart disease. The Paleo diet came in dead last.


#2 If whole grains or carbohydrates caused any of these maladies, it would be headline news on Time magazine, medical journals, the New York Times, and TV news.

But it isn't.


#3 Grains have been the basis of civilization for over 10,000 years. We evolved to eat grain. So did dogs. Two-thirds of people on the planet depend on grains to get enough calories.

Our genetics have even changed to adapt to this -- anyone with ancestors from a farming region has up to 7 times as many amylase genes to digest starch as a hunter-gatherer. Read The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution to learn more about how we evolved faster the past 10,000 years than the previous 6 million years to adapt to the new agricultural diet (and milk, etc).

One of the top peer-reviewed science journals in the world, Science Magazine, has an article titled "Diet Shaped Dog Domestication" published 23 January 2013. DNA from wolves and dogs was obtained, and the most surprising difference between wolves and dogs was that dogs were highly evolved to digest starch, with 4 to 30 copies of the amylase gene, which breaks down starch in the intestine. Wolves only have 2 copies, which means amylase genes in dogs are 28 times as active than in wolves, making dogs 5 times better at digesting starch than wolves. The same is true of people - Europeans, Americans, Japanese and other cultures that eat a lot of grains have much higher numbers of copies of amylase genes than people who eat starch-poor diets like the Mbuti in Africa.

"We have adapted in a very similar way to the dramatic changes that happened when agriculture was developed," concluded evolutionary geneticist Erik at Uppsala University in Sweden.

"Axelsson thinks these results support the idea that wolves began to associate with humans who were beginning to settle down and farm. Waste dumps provided a ready source of food, albeit not meat, the usual diet. Thus early dogs that evolved more efficient starch digestion had an advantage".

I thought a paleo diet made sense many years ago, and was both surprised and delighted to discover we'd evolved to eat grains and legumes in mere millenia. Grains and legumes are the basis of civilization and always will be, since grains don't need refrigeration and can last past several bad harvests. The Buddha said to avoid attachment, and this applies not just to things but ideas.


#4 Before agriculture, most cultures, even Native Americans, ate lots of carbohydrates.

In California, half the diet of most hunter-gatherer tribes was acorns. Tribes across America depended heavily on acorns, as well as tribes across the Eurasian continent. Acorns are 43% carbohydrate. Whole wheat is 68% carbohydrate - but grains and lentils are only a quarter of the food plate, while Native Americans were depending on them for half of their diet. So it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

Bits of starch grains have been found on the grinding stones from 30,000 year old sites in Italy, Russia, and the Czech Republic, where our ancestors made flour from ground up plants, combined it with water and made a pita bread on stones heated in fires. Our ancestors were smart to grind roots so the flour could be stored or carried, since often game animals were seasonal and no meat was to be had many times of the year.

Eating carbohydrates could go back for millions of years. Fossil hominids had such sturdy premolar teeth it's believed they were probably used to open seeds and chew starchy underground tubers and bulbs. Even Neanderthals ate starch, which we know from studying the plaque on their teeth.

Anthropologist Frank Marlowe studied the eating patterns of 478 groups around the globe. He found that no matter where you live, at least a third of your diet is going to come from plants (and in many places nearly all of your diet), so the idea our ancestors were mainly carnivorous is not true.


#5 We already know what the causes of dementia and Alzheimer's are from tens of thousands of studies. Carbohydrates have nothing to do with it.

The risks are: Being over 65, genetic (5%), female (women live longer), severe or repeated head trauma, lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, poorly controlled diabetes, not enough fruits & vegetables, lack of social engagement

People at a lower risk have higher levels of formal education, a stimulating job, mentally challenging hobbies like reading or playing a musical instrument, and lots of social interactions.


#6 Thousands of studies over 50 years that show whole grains can reduce your risk of stroke by up to 36%, heart disease by up to 28%, and type 2 diabetes up to 30%

The March 2008 issue of Consumer Reports says that eating whole grains is the #1 action you can take to improve your health (besides quitting smoking).

According to the World Health Organization Global Burden of disease 2010 study, the 16th leading cause of early death and disability is not eating enough whole grains (The Lancet).

Whole grains also appear to lessen or lower the risk of: Artery-narrowing plaque, Asthma, Atherosclerosis, Blood pressure, Cancer: Bladder, Breast, Colon, Esophagus, Gallbladder, Kidney, Liver, Larynx, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Prostate, Rectal, Stomach; C-reactive protein, lower LDL Cholesterol and triglycerides, Constipation, Diabetes, Diverticulitis, Gallstones, Gastrointestinal disorders, Gum disease, Hemorrhoids, Hypertension, Inflammatory diseases, Macular degeneration, Metabolic syndrome, Obesity, Varicose veins of the legs, Weight regulation (loss), lower BMI, and increase your life span (wholegraincouncil).

In 2010, the American Society for Nutrition brought researchers together to review the evidence of whole grain health benefits. Current scientific evidence shows that whole grains play an important role in lowering the risk of chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and also contribute to body weight management and gastrointestinal health. The findings were published as a supplement to The Journal of Nutrition in May 2011

In 2004 (Nutrition Research Reviews, May 2004; Vol 17: 99-110), Dr. Joanne Slavin of the University of Minnesota published a comprehensive article that reviewed and compiled scores of recent studies on whole grains and health, to show how whole-grain intake is protective against cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

The wholegrainscouncil has thousands of studies listed at their "health studies on whole grains" and "What are the health benefits" pages. If you think the wholegrainscouncil is a biased institution then you need to counter with peer-reviewed scientific evidence, not name-calling.


#7 Did Perlmutter single-handedly disprove decades of peer-reviewed studies in both medicine and nutrition?

I can't find any reference(s) in his book to support his claims. Nor did the the New York Times, the 2 top scientific magazines Science and Nature, NBC, ABC, CBS, The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, the Mayo Clinic, or any other medical or science journal.

There are very few 2013 references. Many of those are non-science references (i.e. Dr. Oz, cookbook author Mark Bittman - my favorite cookbook author, but the citation is not a peer-reviewed study) and most of his scientific references that have anything to do with wheat are for people with celiac disease (1-2% of the population) or sensitive to gluten, at most 7% of people.


#8 the references that do exist only apply to the 1% with celiac disease or 5% with gluten intolerance

So if there's a grain of truth to anything he's saying, it doesn't apply to those of us in the 90% majority. But I don't know if I can believe anything he's saying, and it's too much work to sort the wheat from the chaff.


#9 Testimonials are not proof. Only peer-reviewed science in top-tier journals counts

Most of Perlmutter's "proof" are the testimonials of patients.

Testimonials are NOT SCIENCE --and Dr. Perlmutter MUST know this if he has an advanced degree.

Only double blind studies that can be repeated are valid evidence. Because people forget what they've eaten, or over/under estimate what they've eaten, the reports of people in scientific studies are the least reliable, and this isn't even a scientific study, it's his patients who probably like him or they'd go to another doctor.

The most trustworthy studies look at the diets of millions of people across nations or large groups of people over decades. Many studies of national diet and thousands of people have shown many benefits from eating whole grains for decades.

If you want to seriously debate the merits of this book, you need to counter with peer-reviewed science, not attack my character or invent something I wrote and then rebut an argument I never made.

I feel like I disturbed a hornet's nest of True Believers, a religious Paleo diet cult. Hey, I'm not trying to take your bacon away -- believing in bacon makes more sense than believing any of the 3,000 plus Gods you can choose from across the various main and tribal religions.

But as Eric Schlosser showed in Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal there are ethical and ecological repercussions to consider. So before you fry up that next pan of bacon, you might find that Raising a Stink: The Struggle over Factory Hog Farms in Nebraska (Our Sustainable Future) will give you food for thought.

Bacon, eggs, and red meat do not lead to a long life. Quite the opposite: According to the World Health Organization's "Global Burden of Disease 2010″ study, American causes of early death and disability are: High total cholesterol #9, Diet high in processed meat #12, Diet high in red meat #32


#10 What is Perlmutter's motivation?

At I have been accused of profiting somehow from my 1-star review of this book. This is called an "ad hominem" attack because it distracts people from my 11 criticisms by not addressing any of them. (By the way I don't work -- I'm retired, make no money from my book about home made whole grain & legume chips & crackers, and don't care if I ever do. I'm way too busy with other activities, such as volunteering to take 4th & 5th graders from the inner city on hikes at Audubon Canyon Ranch near Bolinas, blogging about nutrition and other food related topics at my website, etc. My grandfather was a nutrition professor at the University of Chicago so I've been interested in this topic for a long time. He died before he could publish his book about the extent to which a well-fed an army was likely to win a battle. Napoleon thought good food was essential and had first-rate bakers making high-quality bread for soldiers on the front-lines).

So these strange attacks on me rather than my arguments and accusations that I was somehow doing this to make money brought up another argument I hadn't thought of, so I went back to this review to add what's below.

In murder mysteries the killer is often found by discovering a motivation. Why would Perlmutter slam WHOLE GRAINS rather than white flour? And he's not the only one doing this, which makes me all the more suspicious that the industrial food companies are funding people who speak out against whole grains.

Why would they do that?

The basis of processed food is using unhealthy cheap ingredients. Fat, sugar, salt and white flour are almost as cheap as water. Read my review of Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us at wholegrainalice.

If there's anyone who makes money off of this, it would be the processed food industry, and they'd do it by sponsoring "experts" to slam whole grains so they can keep using cheap unhealthy white flour. There are many ways to do this, one would be making lucrative speaking engagements on TV, radio, and conferences available to Perlmutter and other "experts" who slam whole grains. The multi-billion dollar food industry has a very strong motive to fight whole grains because they're quite expensive compared to white flour, have a shorter shelf life, and are more trouble to predictably make "perfect" because whole wheat varies in protein and other content.

But there are many other ways that corporations pay "experts" and also keep it a secret. The best book on this is Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research. Also see Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

Basically Perlmutter is making a claim that refutes thousands of studies of the health benefits of whole grains -- he deserves to be criticized just like those who deny climate change, evolution, or that tobacco causes cancer.

Why didn't Perlmutter criticize white flour?

White flour has had the bran and germ removed so it's just a starch. It no longer behaves like flour, so up to 30 chemicals are added (many of them banned in Europe -- see my article at wholegrainalice). White flour has no fiber, up to 88% of 21 vitamins and minerals are removed (they're mostly in the missing bran & germ), and all the essential healthy oils, and most of the protein too.

David Kessler, former head of the FDA, writes in The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite that more than any other product, baked goods have more sugar, salt, and fat than other products to hide these sour, bitter chemical flavors.

I can understand that the average person is totally confused by all the advice out there and wouldn't know that testimony counts for nothing, but Dr. Perlmutter knows he can't refute decades of studies showing the benefits of whole grains. Health claims for whole grains are one of the few claims allowed by the FDA. It's how two-thirds of people in the world get enough calories to survive.

So to blame dementia etc., on wheat when he knows full well that other factors are mainly to blame, now why would he do that? Yet another way to make money off of this quack idea is obvious - to sell this book to gullible new age, Dr. Oz, Andrew Weil, gluten-free and Paleo diet followers.

A third way to make money, in addition to corporate money and selling this book is that he's on the advisory board of the company that makes the Protandim pill he recommends taking.


#11 Perlmutter knows other factors are to blame

And get this -- only a very small number of his citations are about grains, the title of this book. And only one chapter, the rest are about fats, statins, sleep, fasting, and other topics.


The only way to protect yourself from bad ideas is to understand what bad versus good evidence is, develop critical thinking skills, and read about a topic. If you don't know what we know and how we know it, or have a basic understanding of nutrition, then you may fall prey to any quack that sounds good to you. Inoculate yourself by reading a nutrition textbook. My favorite by far (and I've looked through hundreds of textbooks at the University of California library) is Nutrition for Health and Health Care. Get it from a university library, or buy an older edition, the basics don't change much.

One of the comments says that wheat has a gluten content 500 times what it was in the past which "disturbs the digestive tract by making it more permeable and "leaky" even in people who aren't gluten-sensitive". Another said they are "enriched" with chemical laden "nutrients" and it's not the same as it used to be. Another that mutagenesis has changed the wheat somehow. Prove these statements with peer-reviewed references, the more the better, and I'll change my mind.

I noticed that the 3 Most Helpful Customer Reviews that appear on the main page, which few people would click past to reach this review, are written by Amazon Vine Reviewers. According to episode #492 of National Public Radio's "Planet Money", they receive the items reviewed for FREE. This would lead to positive reviews in two different ways -- the obvious one is that we are wired as human beings to be return gifts (that's why the Hare Krishna's liked to hand out flowers at the airport), and #2 the reviewers get to pick which items they want to review out of many -- so they're going to pick books that they might be interested in. I spent a good deal of time looking at the books and products these reviewers reviewed, and they tended to give nearly all four or five star reviews, and they write thousands of them, across thousands of not just books, but all the other products they get for free. I wonder if maybe Amazon is picking Vine reviewers by those that highly rate most products so they can sell more books (or whatever).

Perlmutter also buys into the Paleo diet, which has been soundly shown to be a fantasy (see my book review of Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live )

Here's what the Whole Grains Council had to say about this book:

Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are real and serious issues. People with celiac disease (1-2% of the population) or non-celiac gluten intolerance (estimated at about 6% of the population) can indeed have medical issues not only with their digestive systems but with other organs including the brain, and these people will benefit from removing the four gluten grains - wheat, barley, rye and triticale - from their diets.

Even the 7-10% of people with a reaction to gluten, however, can continue to enjoy all the non-gluten grains: amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats (if certified as non-contaminated), quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff, and wild rice. The rest of the population can enjoy these ten grains along with the four gluten grains. Leading medical researchers in the area of gluten intolerance and celiac disease attest that there is no need for 90 percent or more of our population to avoid any grains.

Put simply, there is no evidence for the idea we should all avoid all grains. Perlmutter must realize this himself, since Grain Brain contradicts its main premise that all grains are injurious to brain health, and recommends eating, in moderation, "amaranth, buckwheat, rice (brown, white [sic], wild), millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff and [gluten-free] oats."

In fact, evidence for the health benefits of whole grains is well-documented at the whole grains council website - and was touted by Grain Brain's author in his earlier book The Better Brain which included foods like whole grain couscous, oatmeal, spelt pasta, and quinoa-stuffed peppers throughout its menu plans. In an interview promoting The Better Brain on CBN-TV, for instance, Perlmutter advocated replacing junk food with "real food such as unprocessed whole grains and fruits and vegetables." He does not acknowledge or explain his flip-flop in Grain Brain, giving us no clue why he has now turned against what he previously acknowledged to be sound science.

While Grain Brain goes off the deep end in imagining that the very real health problems of the 7-10% of the population with gluten intolerance or celiac disease somehow extend to all of us, the book rightfully details many important components of good health that Oldways and the Whole Grains Council have long supported. These include the key roles of physical activity and sleep; the essential contribution of good fats; the value of the Mediterranean Diet (which Perlmutter cites as "very similar to my dietary protocol"); and the importance of avoiding inflammation and choosing carbohydrates with a low glycemic impact.

Our advice? Don't let Grain Brain scare you away from appropriate-size portions of healthy forms of whole grains (yes, a whole grain cookie is still a cookie!). Enjoy a balanced diet including a delicious variety of real, whole foods, an approach followed in traditional diets backed up by proven science, like those championed by Oldways.
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Take It Now ! Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers (Kindle Edition)


Its my choice Saving Those Damned Catholics (Paperback)


Its a review about this product

This Judie Brown effort brings to task many of the Catholic prelates and politicians who think and say they are Catholic but who sadly are deficient when it comes to living their Catholic faith. She cites specifics by giving name,title, date and issue of where they have failed and often refused to act on their beliefs (if in fact they really do believe). Many Bishops come across as more politicians than Apostles. Priests and religious are noted who have and teach their own agenda which contradicts the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. She also notes those faithful to the Church who champion the Catholic faith and do battle with the secular world and frequently dissident Catholics. She is courteous and firm in her style--sort of the John Wayne type. You know where you stand and what's expected of you and if you cross the line I'll be there to remind you. A great book for the mature Catholic or your Pastor if he starts suggesting we need married priests or communal penance service.

Get This Product Saving Those Damned Catholics (Paperback)


Its my choice Evolution: The Grand Experiment Episode 1 (DVD)


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This book and DVD (book is more thorough, but the DVD was NOVA quality) show how the fossil evidence refutes biological evolution. I found it extremely credible because no creationist scientists were interviewed (Dr. Gish is a footnote), and therefore the potential accusation of biased interpretations are avoided. All the scientists/ paleontologists/ professors interviewed accept evolution, yet their evidence and interpretations refute the theory. I've taken my children to many Natural History museums, and without this book/DVD we would have never seen the fossil evidence that shows modern reptiles, fish, amphibians, birds (I thought birds were supposed to have evolved from dinosaurs?) and mammals are found buried with dinosaurs. I highly recommend getting the DVD/book as a set, as well as the second DVD/book episode which proves some paleontologists are engaged in fraud (I don't understand how the fellow at National Geographic kept his job!) The pictures of bird and smaller mammal fossils are excellent, but I would have liked to see more pictures of larger mammals with the dinosaur fossils (or at least an explanation for there smaller numbers when compared to the other fossils.). I also found the first 5 minutes of the DVD Episode One a bit slow paced, but it soon gets to the evidence. I would give the book a 4.7, but always round down (hence the 4).

Get This One Evolution: The Grand Experiment Episode 1 (DVD)


Its my choice American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us (Hardcover)


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Steve Emerson wishes to dissuade those bigots who might target a whole ethnic group merely because of the actions of a few. This is why he adamantly declares "The vast majority of all American Muslims subscribe to the strong Islamic tradition of tolerance and human dignity." Unfortunately, Emerson adds "the extremists have disproportionate influence." The latter often set the agenda for the Muslim secular and religious groups throughout virtually every area of the United States. Emerson warns us that the extremists have taken full advantage of the politically correct attitudes dominating our mainstream media and academic institutions. The case of non citizen Professor Sami Al-Arian of the University of Florida is particularly upsetting to the author. Al-Arian was literally videotaped screaming for the "death to Israel." Nonetheless, for many years nothing effective was done to curtail his vile behavior. The author says that these militants have murdered people in the United States. Steve Emerson has himself received a number of serious death threats. Federal and local police agencies, however, are often hesitant to investigate the militants. Emerson believes that these law enforcement officials are fearful of being accused of ethnic discrimination. This might be true even after 9/11.How fanatical are the Islamic fascists? Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, a major terrorist in his own right, is perceived by them to be "too Western," adds Emerson. Coloring books are provided to Muslim children instructing them on "How to kill the Infidel." The adults receive tracts on the Jihad required to exterminate all Jews and Christians. These militants actively seek converts among those yearning for a "true believer" ideology to satisfy their existential angst. "American Jihad" is mandatory reading. The dangers cited by Steve Emerson will not disappear anytime in the near future. We are regrettably in this battle for the long haul.

Get This One American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us (Hardcover)


Lucid well-argued analysis


The review about this product

I have encountered Rabbi Telushkin's work before and in this (revised) text he agian brings tremendous clarity to his message. Never strident, never unkind that book is fair and balanced. The authors stand their theses on historical reactions to Jews aas a nation, as montheists, as successful, as a coheent social group. Many of the analyses are equally found in other texts but Praeger and Telushkin speak to the reader with exceptional simplicity and directness (by simplicty here, I mean unadorned jargon, not monosyllables). I have only two quibbles with the book. One is terminological and the other analytical. A fundamental thesis of the text is that anti-Zionism is a cloak for recompiled antisemitism. The authors use the term 'non-Jewish Jews' to refer to those Jews who are anti-Zionism. It is an awkward word cart and i hope the authros rethink its usage in subsequent additions. On the analytical front, the authors point out that while most Jews are not radicals, most radicals are Jews (ok, probablty stretching a statistic slightly, but only slightly). I would have liked to authors to have got 'stuck in' here and offer a detailed analysis as to why this occurs. There is some analysis along the traditional lines of Jews being somewhat on the outside and using their observer status, (which I find either suggests an exotic or even quixotic dimension to the Jewish character or else descends into just mythic waffle) It could have been plumbed more thoroughly connecting more with biblical exemplars possibly. Leaving those issues aside, the book is direct and thoughtfully free of propaganda.

Get This Product Why the Jews?: The Reason for Antisemitism (Paperback)


Its my choice World of Warcraft - PC/Mac (Full Standard) (DVD-ROM)


The review about this product

WOW is definitely one of the better MMORPGs out there, and I've played quite a few...

What I liked:

1. Lots of quests that give valuable experience and items.

2. My characte was NOT nerfed.

3. You get a rest "bonus" for time spent OFFLINE. Which means if you don't play a character, once you do log back on, you will experience a significant bonus to the experience you gain for a significant block of time. This benefits the casual player who thus has less difficulty staying level with his friends. It also benefits the hard core gamer whose alt characters get the bonus while he's on his main and vice versa--I wish ALL MMORPGs had this.

4. Blizzard did a good job at balancing the different classes. ALthough some classes outdid others at pvp, it seemed there were good and bad pvpers in every class. Group dynamics worked very well in general.

5. Blizzard did a good job at getting rid of a lot of the annoyances in MMORPGs, such as cutting down travel time.

6. If you feel like it, you can solo quite a bit in this game.

What I didn't like:

1. LAG, LAG, LAG---because just one town featured an Auction House, it got so laggy that I couldn't move and routinely got disconnected. Alliance/horde raids were really too laggy to play well and to enjoy.

2. The professions were very unbalanced. Ore and skins are very plentiful but herbs are so rare that potions are either non existant or prohibitively expensive. Blacksmithing will bring you a bundle of cash, whereas many leathercrafters end up abandoning the trade. This needs reworking.

3. Not much to do after level 60. You need to raid instances to get "uber" equipment and these raids take WAY too long to organize and to run. If you're a priest or a mage you will be harrassed by raid invites, if you're a rogue or a hunter you will have to plead for an invite, gets old for both camps.

4. Recently, the honor system was put in place. Quite simply, you get rewarded with phat loot for killing a large number of players from the opposing faction. This is great for stimulating pvp. Unfortunately the easiest way to kill someone is to jump him while he's in the midst of a battle with a mob ("ganking"). Which means that with the current system it is very difficult to solo to gain levels without getting killed over and over. This is too bad because this was a very fun game to solo and many people are leaving because of this new honor system which rewards dishonerable acts.

I would still recommend this game. I had a lot of fun with it for 6 months. As a MMORPG vet I burn out faster than most and need to check out the next hot game :)

Take It Now ! World of Warcraft - PC/Mac (Full Standard) (DVD-ROM)


Great Product Kobe Doin' Work: A Spike Lee Joint (DVD)


Its a review about this product

Very Insightful, June 2, 2009 By Rod McCain "Darth Chode" (Trenton, NJ USA) - See all my reviews This is a very insightful look into the mindset and game of Kobe Bryant. He offers play by play commentary and on the court audio in a game with the Spurs. You get to hear his passion for the game etc. However this isnt what you want to watch if you are a casual fan and want to see a game or clips of dunks etc. If you play basketball or are into the strategy and mindset behind the game this is for you.

Get This Product Kobe Doin' Work: A Spike Lee Joint (DVD)


Its my choice Underwater City (Contemporary Poetry Series) (Paperback)


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Also available in a hardcover edition (0813027519, $24.95), Underwater City is the debut compilation of poetry by Kelle Groom. Currently a Tennessee Williams Scholar in poetry at the Sewanee Writers Conference at the University of the South in Tennessee, Kelle's poems have previously appeared in such publications as "Agni", "The New Yorker", "Luna", and "Witness", and she was named the Norma Millay Ellis Fellow for 2003 by the Millay Colony for the Arts in New York. In the body of poetry comprising Underwater City, Kelle deftly explores personal relationships in terms of emotion, metaphysics, and boundaries. Kukla: Sometimes I think when I was suffocated & died,/I lost much of my childhood memory.//I'm just jotting this down so I don't forget./When You read the Amichai poem with two girls//who overflow & vanish. I had the feeling/from Kukla, Fran, Ollie movies--//the European ones: children in a field, rain,/my heart beating fast.//During the war, I stood on my bed/at the top of the house,//arms upraised & screamed, the tongue of a bell calling you home.

Get This Product Underwater City (Contemporary Poetry Series) (Paperback)


Great Product Panasonic KX-TG6445T Expandable Digital Cordless Kit (Electronics)


Its a review about this product

This is a great phone system, speakerphones work well, great range, sound quality is terrific. There is one annoying factor however. There is no way to name the phones. If you use the intercom feature, you have to try to remember which phone is where - ie: "handset 2" instead of "Living Room". The other minorly annoying thing is there is no way to page all devices with the intercom. If I want to talk to someone else in the house, i have to know what phone they might be near instead of just being able to page all phones. Overall, it's decent, but will likely be replaced because of the missing features that make the intercom less than optimal.

Take It Now ! Panasonic KX-TG6445T Expandable Digital Cordless Kit (Electronics)


Great Product The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: Season One, Volume One (DVD)


Its a review about this product

As an avid fan of what I hold to be the best American cartoon of the 90s, and certainly of my youth, I was one of the first in line to preorder this dvd collection. My zeal in getting this payed off, as this dvd collection does not disappoint. The video quality is superb, far better than the homemade VHS tapes that we've been strung along with for these past 12-13 years. (I cannot believe that it has been so long.)

Testifying to the quality of the shows does not tell much of the quality of the dvds; it is already known that the shows themselves were awesome. The special features are what make a dvd pack. There is, sadly, only one special feature on this set, and that is the "Modernizing a Classic" segment where creators of this incarnation of the show speak for about 12 minutes, revealing their insight in creating an epic show.

One minor complaint about that special feature is that it tantalizes the viewer with short glimpses at rare material such as character art and biographies, as well as concept art. I know that I would be most appreciative if this material was put out, and I am sure that I am not the only one. Some of this material could do well in a DVD pamphlet to be bundled inside the box, as the inside of this box is barren, and it has empty clips just begging for a pamphlet to hold.

As another suggestion, I present the motion to include the "lost episode" that was featured in many preview clips, and which contributed many scenes (Jessie on horseback, Jonny running from the attack helicopter) to the Canyon Intro of each episode.

My desire is that the dvd publishers will take these suggestions that we have made to heart, and allow them to manifest in the next dvd bundle of the series (3 more to go), but my sincere hope is that everyone who was a fan will pick up this classic so that the show will not die another death.

Get This One The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: Season One, Volume One (DVD)


Lee losing his luster?? SPOILER MENTIONED BELOW


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Worth Dying For (Hardcover) Like most of Lee Child's readers, I have read all of his books. However the 3 most recent: this one, 61 Hours, and Gone Tomorrow have been disappointing. I became a fan when I read Without Fail. I wanted to read every book on Jack Reacher and I have done so.

What interested me in the early books was the story of Reacher, who he is, what makes him tick, why he has no family etc. We know all of those things. I feel like the last 3 books are not telling me anything interesting with the bad guys he encounters and how he saves the day.

This book moved VERY SLOWLY... It took too long to get to the point about the Duncans. There were also things such as where are the Duncan women? These men never married? Did they kill their wives?? Are they all gay? It would have been good to know where the women other than Seth's wife are.

The story didnt interest me. I kept reading hoping it would get better. I have had this same feeling about the 2 books right before this one. I do hope Mr. Child can go back to telling the stories about Reacher that made me interested in wanting to know what happens to him; not so that I finish the book out of obligation to myself.

Get This One Worth Dying For: (Jack Reacher 15) (Kindle Edition)


Reviews About O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling (Paperback)


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I have just finished reading "O Me of Little Faith" by Jason Boyett. It took me at least three weeks NOT because it is long but because I wanted to savor it.

The book is an exploration of faith and doubt, but in accessible language and stories as well as terrific argument, logic, and dot-connecting. Not that Boyett is going to argue us into faith or argue us out of doubt. In fact, he concludes that doubt actually stokes faith and gives an impetus to life. Aren't we all here to be joyously confused, enthusiastic bumper car drivers trying to turn here and there with the breeze in our hair and our parents grinning at the sheer fun we are having?

I found Boyett's stories of his religious upbringing totally fascinating. I was raised in a very liberal and committed church family but our fervor was always kept under wraps. Some call that Presbyterian and I might acknowledge that over a beer. Needless to say, Boyett's stories would work well over a beer, too. He's the kind of writer and thinker that makes it safe to chat about just about anything. And about Everything.

It's interesting to read someone who is both a relaxed writer, full of conversational quips, and also of strong mind. He's going to poke, prod, joke, think, push but never let go. We need such strong thinkers and we need them to be available to us in exactly this sort of book.

Take It Now ! O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling (Paperback)


Best Written, if not Most Informative, Book about the Crisis


Its a review about this product

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (Kindle Edition) Considering that I have read just about every other book about the crisis, I am pretty late to the party in reading this book. I downloaded it last week and read it through within 24 hours.

First, I have to say Lewis provides the most entertaining account of the crisis. Lewis presents an account of a few short-sellers out of about 20 who were completely short the market. I will not go into details about the short-sellers since all the other reviewers mention them. I will say, however, what's most notable is who Lewis generally left out: John Paulson. After all, he was the biggest short-seller of them all. He made the "greatest trade ever" by buying up CDS's, an insane multi-billion dollar profit.

Paulson, however, was still a typical Wall Street actor. He happened to see the crisis coming, but he also bet on it in a typical Wall Street way. Unlike Burry, who used his investment letters to say everybody else was stupid, Paulson sold his fund as merely a hedge on extreme movements in the housing market. Many investors who may not have bought the certainty of doomsday did put money for insurance against doomsday. Lewis realized his Wall Street demeanor made Paulson uninteresting and consequently Lewis dedicates only a few pages to him.

And it's a good thing he did because the short-sellers, Burry, Cornwall Capital and Eisman, all make for fascinating characters and fascinating stories. In a field of dry business writers, Lewis is the one true story-teller. He breaks up monotony about the structuring of CDO's with more and more fascinating antidotes. He does a great service for presenting the truth about the financial crisis in a form people uninterested in finance can appreciate.

The only reason I am giving 4 stars is his Epilogue and the lack of good prescriptions past blaming investment banks going public. To a certain extent, the argument does make a good bit of sense. Before the banks went public, only financially sophisticated partners made decisions. After going public, shareholders pressured the bank CEO's to do anything necessary to increase profits. Furthermore, the banks had huge incentives to make their balance sheet and accounting as opaque as possible. The shareholders just were not sophisticated enough to dig through the balance sheet and realize that they were really invested in an extremely leveraged hedge fund filled with the most opaque OTC assets. After layer upon layer upon layer of obfuscation of the banks' assets as well as its counterparty risks, the CEO's took the easy way out and focused on paper profits above everything else.

That said, I do not find the partnership argument wholly convincing. It seems like Lewis is using the argument to somehow vindicate bankers. Even after all his crazy antidotes about how bankers had no clue what they were buying and selling, the argument somehow says "the finance people were in fact smart, but the shareholders made them do it." For one thing, going public was not just to get a big payday for partners, although that was a big part of it. Banks were also going into more capital-intensive businesses. After computers really hit finance in the 80's, banks had to find a source of capital to buy all their computerized trading desks, data centers, etc. If Salomon Brothers did not go public, another bank eventually would have. Also, not enough people mention the SEC ending commission minimums in the 70's. For whatever reason, the SEC used to mandate minimum commissions and the banks basically earned very easy money from executing stock trades for institutional investors. When the commissions ended, the banks traditional market-making business had become very commoditized. To keep making decent money, the banks had to create more and more exotic instruments with higher transaction costs and find a way to sell them. If Salomon didn't create the MBS market, with the ensuing CDO market, somebody would have eventually just to earn the higher transaction costs.

The real answer is that some sort of reregulation is needed just like we had with the FDIC and the SEC starting in the 30's. People often respond to this suggestion by saying regulators were sleeping at the switch and regulation caused part of the reason the crisis happened in the first place (especially Basel II risk-weighting of AAA tranches, which I won't get into here). This argument against regulation does not mention that regulation and regulators became very intertwined during the Reagan, Clinton and the two Bush administrations. Neither side had a real incentive to actually limit the activity of banks. The institutions who bought fixed-income instruments also didn't have a real political constituency like the retail stockholders of Enron and Worldcom. There was no political reason to make the fixed income market more transparent. With no political pressure and cushy finance jobs awaiting them, the regulators quickly became "partners" with the banks rather adversaries and past some SEC pressure for SOX compliance, there was very little if any regulation.

With the lack of regulation, the banks became more like the banks of the 1920's. Sure, there was FDIC insurance, but retail deposits up to $250,000 were chump-change compared to the various deposit-like instruments for institutions in the shadow banking sector. The opaque repo market basically functioned as a retail deposit for those wanting to park 100's of millions of dollars. Before the crisis, a bank's word was considered as good as the Treasury's. Instead of keeping their short-term money in cash, Pension funds could park the money with a bank in the Repo market and earn a bit of interest. Same story in the Money Market, which funneled funds through the Commercial Paper market. Both Repo and Commercial Paper had to be rolled over frequently, which was also part of their great appeal to Institutions. They could forgo most interest rate and couterparty risk by getting 100 cents on the dollar in a month rather than years. The banks liked this short-term funding too because it was cheap. Borrowing short and lending long is a pretty good gig if you can get it.

Another short-term financing component were OTC options. I still do not know how exactly banks put the CDS liabilities to Burry, Paulson and others on their balance sheets. Did the CDS payments just count as pure income and retained earnings? Maybe I'll find out one day. In any case, opaque OTC options had an inherent short-term liability in them waiting to explode if the bank bet wrongly. In the worst days of the crisis, all the banks' short-term financing dried up completely and margin calls went through the roof. With 1929-style regulation, it should be no surprise that there was a 1929-style bank run in the shadow sector. It isn't dumb bankers, dumb Germans, dumb stockholders, big bonuses, etc. behind the crisis, it's the lack of FDIC-style regulation and insurance for the short-term financing in the shadow sector.

I would also guess that 1 out of 10 people who started reading this review are still reading. If you're still reading, then I sincerely appreciate it. It also shows why my argument has not gotten a lot of airtime. The deposits in the shadow-banking sector don't make for great political speeches or even great books, but it's the argument that makes the most sense to me. Without drastically regulating the shadow banking sector like the retail banking sector was regulated in the 30's, we will be doomed to repeat the crisis. Before the Great Depression, a banking panic happened about once a generation. Bankers remember, control risk for a time and then the next generation of bankers bets other people's money again, causing another panic. Before the Panic of 1929, we had the Panics of 1819, 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893 and 1907. In the era of post-1980 deregulation, we have now had the Panic of 2008. Sadly I do not think Dodd-Frank goes far enough and it probably won't be our last.

Take It Now ! The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (Hardcover)


Gripping story, a real ride through a war zone


The review about this product

Under the Wire: Marie Colvin's Final Assignment (Hardcover) As someone who opted out of newspapers in 1982, opted out of television in 1990, and doesn't do online "news" sources, I don't know who the newscasters or war correspondents are. My rationale for this is explained after this review; narrowed in scope to how it's relevant to this book in particular.

Because of my "opt out," I had never heard of Marie Colvin before coming across this book. My decision to read it wasn't based, then, on a desire to follow up on a familiar face or name. It sounded like a story that would be interesting and perhaps informative. It was. I enjoyed this book. Immensely.

For those who do follow news, you probably know who Marie Colvin was and would like the real story as seen from someone who was there. This is that story.

And it is so well-written, you'll have a hard time putting the book down until you've finished it. In my own case, I was going to read from page 140 to 160 due to time restrictions, and just did not stop reading until page 302 (by then, I really had to go so stopped until later). Rare is the book that can get me to exceed my plan by even 5 pages. There's an endorsement for you.

Let me explain about "well-written." Writer's Digest and other trade publications for journalists have talked about "using elements of fiction in non-fiction." This has also been a frequent topic at writing conferences. The idea behind it is that the truth doesn't need to be boring.

Why is that crime novel so interesting? The factors that make it so can be translated over to non-fiction writing. For example, write in the active voice, provide details that help the reader feel like s/he is actually there, build tension, and provide strong transitions. It doesn't mean make things up from whole cloth, and I'm pleased to say that Conroy didn't do that.

Because of its subject, this book would have been interesting even with mediocre writing. But at this high level of writing skill, the book was downright gripping. The author is a photographer, not a columnist or reporter. The high caliber writing might seem anomalous, but if you know what goes into telling a story with photographs (as Conroy does) then you also know a person who excels at that (and Conroy is a genius at it) excels at many of the skills required for good writing.

This book is realistic partly because of the sheer grittiness of the writing. But that grittiness is a double-edged sword, because there's a lot of foul language in the book. So it's not appropriate for all audiences. Then again, it's about war so to me reading "foul" words is much less shocking than reading about a 10-year old with his legs blown off. I give Conroy a free pass on the foul language.

Another issue here is the culture of the folks engaged in war reporting (what I glean of it from Conroy's comments). Conroy, as part of that culture, seems to glorify smoking and drinking. These behaviors cause immense human suffering (not that war doesn't, but why pile it on?), plus they are very costly to the society that picks up the very high medical tabs for people who have the self-inflicted diseases resulting from these behaviors. I don't like it when people encourage this behavior.

An issue that may arise with some reviewers is this book has no bibliography. My opinion is that such a thing would actually be a detriment and I am glad Conroy didn't go there. Ditto for getting after the fact interviews. Those secondary/tertiary source practices would have indicated a revisionist after the fact rewrite, instead of the factual account we got. This is a primary source work, and such works by definition do not draw from other works. He isn't researching a topic, his experience during Marie Colvin's Final Assignment is the topic.

The subtitle is surprisingly accurate, considering the common penchant today for misleading subtitles. This subtitle is exactly what this book is about.

This book runs 319 "can't put it down" pages of hard-biting text. It also includes several pages of outstanding photographs (not included in that page count). My own photos have graced several magazine covers, so when I say someone's photos are outstanding that carries multiple meanings that go deeper than might be indicated. The subject, composition, and technical elements are all top-notch. From these photos, it's clear why Conroy is a highly respected photo journalist. I think he put these skills to work when composing the text, as well. I could see events in my mind as I read.

Just a quick summary of the story line (written at 1/10th the brilliance of Conroy's writing). Conroy and Colvin take an assignment to document the war atrocities in Homs (a town in Syria). Getting there is problematic and dangerous, the problem being solved by using a very long underground tunnel. Going through that tunnel is no picnic, due to having to walk bent over for an extended time while breathing oxygen-poor air. Try walking in a duck squat across your lawn while holding your breath, and you will (barely) begin to understand this ordeal.

Due to an alert the city will be under a vicious assault from govt forces (including drone-guided bomb and mortar attacks), they retreat back through the tunnel. But then the assault doesn't happen. However, everyone knows it is going to. All of the other journalist teams wisely refrain from going back through the tunnel. But Marie insists on going back. Conroy has a gut feeling that it can only end badly, and his gut has never been wrong. But he can't desert Marie to go back by herself. So they go back through together. And it ends badly.

Relating the details of that final trip and its aftermath is presumably the goal of this book. But I have to tell you that Conroy doesn't waste page space warming up to that. The part of the book that covers the buildup to that trip is also edge of your seat stuff.

So as you can tell, I really liked this book and highly recommend it for any adult looking for some good reading.

About bias

One reason I don't do news is it is so biased. This book illustrates that aspect, with Conroy's frequent laments about the bloody regime and how the world was just standing by letting the slaughter happen. He didn't present the other side of the story, which is that a sovereign government was trying to hold on to its sovereignty (right or wrong, that's what it is).

I am not saying he was dishonest. No, he was quite honest and I have no doubt that every fact he stated is true and what he said happened is exactly what happened. It's just not the whole picture. Not that it needs to be, but for the purposes of his personal commentary about the situation there's a gap in this book. It's the interpretation that shows bias, not the accounting of what happened.

Let me put that into perspective that Americans maybe can understand.

In our own history, banksters manipulated things to get their illegal War Between the States. This was our bloodiest war ever, the first truly mechanized war, and the first war in which the primary strategy became the infliction of massive civilian suffering and casualties. That last part sounds about like what Paul described as going on in Syria.

This war resulted in a totally different form of national government when it was over. It was a war of aggression and invasion against states that had lawfully seceded (the first having done so several years prior). It does not fit the definition of a civil war (and General Grant never called it a civil war), in which armed insurgents attack to seize the means of governance. "Honest" Abe Lincoln deliberately misappropriated that terminology in the Gettysburg Address as a form of war propaganda.

How would today's foreign war correspondents have viewed Lincoln's War? The answer is obvious.

Typically when people call for "other nations to help" they mean they want the most indebted nation in history to go even deeper into debt to get involved in something that's not germane to our national interests. The USA now has real total national debt that exceeds the GDP of all nations combined--three times over. And we're ruled by an oligarchy that added $6 trillion (source: GAO) more to that debt last year alone (not, as Obama stated, "only" $1.2 trillion).

As horrible as things are in nations going through civil unrest and war, it is not imperative that the USA do anything about it. We have our own civil unrest and war (for example, the south side of "criminal protection zone" Chicago is a de facto war zone and there's a higher rate of violent death there than in Iraq) to contend with. We also have a brutally oppressive regime, though it manages to mask the various acts of oppression through deception and manipulation.

Examples abound, from the many unreported IRS atrocities to the badly reported atrocities at Ruby Ridge and Waco. And a Navy UDT instructor flatly stated the Oklahoma bombing story simply could not be true because the technical facts don't support that story; other evidence points to that as an action of our own "government" in an attempt to discredit those calling for lawful government.

Also, we have huge infrastructure deficiencies. Nearly all of our bridges have been rated as unsafe. Two of them spanning the Mississippi River collapsed in recent times, sending many innocent tax-paying Americans into the water to experience the agony of drowning because the tax dollars aren't going toward bridge repair. They are going to wars we can't afford and various measures to protect big banking, big oil, and a few other special interests (read, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"). Oh, and they are also going directly to big banksters; the Federal Reserve gave (not loaned, gave) the largest banks $49 trillion (49 followed by 12 zeroes) between 2008 and 2012. Stealing on steroids leaves the victims broke. We can't pay for "helping" in Syria or anywhere else.

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Reviews About Ten Indictments against the Modern Church (Kindle Edition)


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This book is what every one who think themselves saved should read. Pastors, preachers, and evangelists read it. It is clear and well written and follows Bibical principles exactly. Our world is for from God and Bro. Paul points out why this is so. It may make your blood boil when you read it but if you are a child of God you will have to agree with Bro. Paul. If you do not agree you had best check into your salvation.

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This cordless phone is top-rated in the October 2010 issue of Consumer Reports and after comparing it to a VTech wireless 6.0 phone that I recently purchased (and later returned) I can see why. It has large numbers on the display...a great feature for we seniors. It has a economy mode that powers down the phone until you walk up to it...and it then it beeps and turns the power on. It has lighted buttons at night...a great feature in my dimmly lit room. And, it is very clear and crisp when transmitting calls. My only issues is that sometimes the caller's voice fads out for afew moments but the VTech had the same problem so I think it's a directional thing within the walls of my home. You can buy the cheaper VTech or Uniden phones but for the few dollars extra I think the Panasonic is unmatched for both quality and features.

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Great Product Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America (Hardcover)


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Long-term American Myths finally Meet Reality, October 20, 2013
By Herbert L Calhoun "paulocal" (Falls Church, VA USA) - See all my reviews
Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America (Paperback)
Three things become immediately clear as one reads this book: the first is that nothing that occurred on the North American continent was even remotely as important as the events going on back in Europe. Colonization, was at best a remote sideshow and thus ran a distant second to the beehive of geopolitical competition going on between Britain and "mighty" Spain. Second, most of the history that survived the colonial experience was necessarily the musings of those possessed with the foresight to keep personal records.

As often as not, these proved to be self-serving fragments, some rewritten and edited years after the fact. That however is not the case with this book. Mr. Woolley has combed and sifted through thousands of primary sources to put together for us a "best case" record of what almost certainly happened at Jamestown. In the process he adds considerable face validity to his study by strategically inserting into the text direct quotes in the original Old English. Third and most importantly, This manuscript proves once again that reality is rarely tidy. It simply does not come neatly packaged ready made for mythologized or fantasized narratives of national tales of heroism.

This book proves that historical truths are always complex and messy; seldom neat, cut-and-dried -- ready made to fit national morality plays. Invariably our most cherished heroes bleed into villains and vice versa. Our cherished beliefs are, as often as not, sloppy, unproven, and when provable, as is the case here, are often shown to be wrong. And were it not for the fact that the truth itself has its own embedded rules and easily recognizable resonance, we would still be continually trying to twist the facts of Jamestown into another one of our own preconceived heroic narratives.

Never has it been more important than here for the author to stay out of the way of what he is writing and allow the documents to speak for themselves. That this author has managed to do so is a fine tribute to his exquisite scholarship and speaks tons about his integrity as a writer. The reader will almost feel him straining not to give in to the subliminal pressures to make conveniently satisfying interpretations that would easily converge with what the collective national mind expects and wants to hear. And at the same time, he also managed to avoid the opposite error as well.

Now for a long summary of the book.

The historical predicates that set the stage for the establishment of the Jamestown settlement are probably at least as important as the details of the history itself. And here the author gives us a full picture, in context, of why that is so:

As the 14th Century closed, Spain was the pre-eminent power of the day. It was the heir apparent to Rome as it had just ejected the Moors from its territory and colonized much of North and South America, enriching itself enormously in the process. Spain was an Empire without a rival. It was so sprawling in fact that their new King, Phillip III, was finding it both difficult and expensive to manage it.

The book opens with Catholic Spain in the South colonizing the Americas; Protestant England in the north fighting to throw off the yolk of Spanish rule. In the East there was Sulieman, and in the middle Catholic France. Lutherans, had established a colony called Fort Caroline (St. Augustine) near Jacksonville, Fl., right in the heart of Spanish country, and as this was seen as a supreme insult to both the Spanish crown and the Catholic Church, Phillip had been repeatedly counseled to take heed to matters going on in Virginia. Yet he had declined -- that is until a report by a captured English spy, spurred him into sending a small craft of naval scouts to reconnoiter the Virginian coast. The report alarmed Phillip enough to move Virginia colony activities closer to his front burner. About a decade before, in a savage attack, the Spanish overran the settlement at St. Augustine, and to prevent similar attempts by England, Phillip was strongly urged to colonize the whole east coast. And thus, as the drama opens, North America had become the new Spanish front line.

As Elizabeth I passed on, her young successor James I, for monetary reasons, was advised to establish a publicly financed colony in America. And so, as an Act of Parliament, and despite a recent treaty with Spain, the Virginia Company was established and the first voyage to America was set.

It is noteworthy to point out here that only lip service was being paid to the high moral principles and ideas of Christianizing or civilizing the Natives as a reason for colonizing America. As well, there is only scant evidence that religious groups were fleeing England in search of more religious freedom. It is true that the Lutherans had fled to what was to later become Germany, and that as a self-imposed condition, in preparation for their first charter to America, the Puritans had pledged not to criticize the English Church. However, the real purpose was always crystal clear: gold, riches, booty for the King and for everyone involved in the venture. Period.

Yet, even with the singular purpose of profits being made crystal clear, finding investors was still an "iffy" proposition since previous excursions into the Americas had ended in disasters. In the end, convincing incentives were found that satisfied all parties, and a handpicked royal led crew of 100, set sail.

As ennui quickly set in on the long scary voyage, bickering began almost immediately. John Smith, the most vocal and cantankerous of the crew got the worse of it and was put in the ship's brig. As part one of the book ends, due to spies back in London, Spain already knew Britain's every move before the first ship had even left its English port. But perhaps wisely the King of Spain elected not to act rashly, but to allow the brutality of nature to take its course.

Part two opens with the Englishmen setting up a fort and warily making contact with local Natives. Powhatan, the ruler of the region was apprised of the arrival of these men "with sticks that spewed fire," and who could make paper talk. The Settlers continued to set up their fort in an avowedly defensive mode, befriending some tribes and fearing others. When the first attack occurred, chaos and dissension broke out within the ranks as foods stocks were found to be inadequate due to rats, mildew and ship rot.

A power struggle ensued that would continue until London was to settle the matter. However, the first report back to London did not mention the internal bickering, instead it was filled with red flags about the prospects for long-term survival. As the skipper Newport prepared to make a return trip back to London in search of more provisions, clearly more trouble lay ahead. The first load back to London was en embarrassing load of wood and a few samples of dirt to be assayed for its gold contents. Since the samples proved worthless, and the report showed the settlers desperate for more provisions, England was already of the opinion that the venture was a bust. So when Spanish Ambassador to London called to raise the issue of piracy as a possible motive for the ships being in the Jamestown harbor, the Brits agreed with them and suggested that Spain deal with the issue as it saw fit.

Meanwhile back in Virginia: Not knowing that the King had diplomatically thrown them under the bus, John Smith, freed from the brig, was making a determined power play to take over the leadership role. He argued that the Settlers should either go on the offense and take the Indians land, or wait to be forced into starvation. Moreover, Smith was already developing an embryonic ideology that had at its core the idea that since the Indians did not cultivate the land, they didn't deserve it. However, at least for the moment, cooler heads prevailed and rapprochement with the Indians, despite the attacked, was a way of making a virtue out of a survival necessity.

The upshot of several rounds of internal bickering and recrimination was that John Smith did eventually survive to at least become the "cape master," which gave him the right to interact with natives. With his new charge, he set off to find food, new lands and ways to bargain with the Indians. But he and his troops were immediately attacked; some killed, and others, including Smith himself, captured. Smith survived in exchange for giving vital information on the Settlers' defenses and weapons -- a clear act of treason. When he returned to camp in chains and with Indian escorts, he was immediately arrested for treason, given a trial and prepared to be hanged, except that Newport's ship back from London had arrived the same day, saving him from the gallows.

Smith would eventually gives his own self-serving account of his capture and incredible rescue by a 12-year old princess, named Pocahontas. Since it is the only account that was written down, it has become the centerpiece of the narrative of American version of Jamestown heroism. And sadly it is also the only one that has survived. However, at the time, it is recorded that most of his shipmates, already thinking Smith was out of control -- if not slightly off his rockers -- did not believe his account.

An unsteady modus vivendi ensued followed by thefts of hatchets and other metal objects by the Indians. Differences were quickly smoothed over so as to avoid further open conflict. But by Newport's second return trip, things were no better: no gold had been found and the status of the settlements had not improved. Yet, Smith continued to declare that the Settlers and their technology was superior to that of the Natives and advocated war with them, but his cohorts realizing just how precarious their position was, again did not agree, and restrained him.

Since people were dying like flies either from various sicknesses or outright starvation, Smith was promoted to head of mission as much by attrition and by default as by merit. Taking over, with his Irish experience against England as his training ground, Smith began to implement the ideology that had been in his head all along: The Settlers' new goal would be an ideological one: It would be conquest over profits. As Smith articulated it, it had been a writ of passage for savage nations to arrive at the gates of civilization through domination by more civilized superior societies. Indeed is that not what happened to savage British with respect to the Roman Empire? Or Ireland with respect to the superior Anglo-Saxon Brits? It was Smith's belief that English Colonialism must be modeled in a way that made the Indian nations heel in the face of superior weaponry and civilization -- even if it was a fact that those wielding the weapons could not feed themselves well enough to survive without massive Indian help.

This, however, was not the message sent back to England. The message back was more sobering, almost obsequious, sprinkled with lots of excuses but not with much good news. Underscoring this was the fact that the bounty returned to London under Smith's tutelage was even more meager than before. As their situation went from grave to desperate, the settlers seemed to sense that they had already reached a point of no return: returning back to England was no longer a discretionary option. The die had been cast against them, and they were now on their own. And John Smith, for better or worse, was their leader and visionary.

Back in London, the King's Council could see the hand writing on the wall too and they were not happy that no Gold was found. However, as if a stroke out of the blue, tobacco was mentioned as a possible gold substitute. After all it was well known that the Spanish were making quite a bit of hay out of it. Just maybe it could save the day for the stranded Settlers too? So, again following in the footsteps of the Spanish, the search for a tobacco as a gold substitute went into full swing. As well, Smith's ideological ideas were gaining traction in London. There was even agreement on its main outline among the heavyweights such as, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Frances Drake and even Columbus himself, as well as a rash of books testifying to the fact that maybe John Smith's ideological ideas were not all bad. Indeed, the way London saw it, maybe destiny was calling on England to project its Protestant, Christian civilized tobacco-driven power towards building a new British colony in America. In response to this new impetus, a new charter was opened up, a lottery was held to raise more money and nine ships were launched for another run at Virginia.

Crippled by a vicious storm, only three of the nine ships sent to rescue Jamestown and renew the Virginia Charter, were able to limp into Virginia. Smith, ever maneuvering to outwit the new Governor, eventually lost the battle after managing to literally neuter himself in a gunpowder explosion. The search for a new site for a colony ended in more hunger and being tricked by the Indians who the settlers again, as a last resort, went to in search of food. This failure, and the ignominious neutering of their ideological godfather, set the rhythm for the second attempt at establishing a British colony in Indian soil already claimed by Spain. The news that came back to London was grim: it consisted of all bad reports and letters of discouragement.

By now London was abuzz with rumors of disaster from the New World. Astrologers were sought to separate truth from fiction. However, as the storm-wrecked ships slowly limped back home, with a permanently injured John Smith among its cargo, investor confidence in the Virginia enterprise plummeted. Yet, because the King controlled all information from the New World, London did not get the worst of the bad news. Ads with new bills of particulars were soon canvassing for new recruits. London had embraced John Smith's new ideology of colonial superiority, claiming that investors and adventurers would be converting pagans to Christianity, building a new nation, and serving as a bulwark against Spain -- in addition to making a healthy profit by trading tobacco cultivated in Virginia.

In between these lies (shielded by the King's propaganda machine) and reality, providence was indeed about to step in. Commander Gates' ship "The Sea Venture," one of the nine that got lost in the storm, floated ship-wrecked into Bermuda -- better known in those days as "Devil's Island" -- owing to the difficulty of getting in and out of its harbors. But the island's bounty of food and excellent weather proved to be a godsend, an oasis in a desert of a forbidding and a raging ocean. So much so that many in the crew wanted to stay there rather than either go back to England or continue on to Jamestown. However, Gates maintained his charge and forbid anyone, on pain of death, from staying on the Island.

Upon arriving in Jamestown, he found only a handful of settlers still alive, having survived by eating everything dead or alive, including in the end, even each other.
Surveying the destruction, remaining supplies, lives lost, and money already spent, Gates made the command decision to give up the base and return to England. But as the Gates' party was about to shove off for England, they met a longboat with a message from Lord Delaware to return. Almost as an act of providence it then seemed, Delaware had been sent to rescue Jamestown.

Delaware proved to be an able but ruthless leader, sacking and burning Indian villages and crops, cutting off the hands of prisoners and sending them back to their chiefs. And on at least one occasion, beheading a captured Queen and throwing her babies in the river and then shooting their heads off. These tactics, as could be expected, hardened the resolve of the local Indian chief and warlord, Powhatan. This led Delaware to go farther north and try to form alliances with Powhatan's enemies, a strategy that amazingly worked. And thus against all odds, Smith's strategy in Delaware capable hands was on its way to saving the colony.

Meanwhile, back in London, Sir Robert Rich, who was both literally rich and influential, impressed upon King Henry before Henry suddenly died, that Virginia should be used to wage war against the Spanish to teach them a lesson about Empire. As well, he advised that the Indians should be brought to heel in the same way: under the foot of British military power. It was a repeat of the John Smith/Delaware theme. Pursuant to this dual aim, he sent Samuel Argall to put Virginia on a new war footing, both with the Indians and with Spain.

Part one of his strategy took the form of kidnapping Powhatan's famous daughter, Pocahontas, who was lured onto Argall's ship and held for ransom. But surprisingly, Powhatan was not biting and refused to bargain for his daughter's release, holding out until Pocahontas' value as a hostage dwindled away to nothing. This occurred because eventually both she and her father were of one mind: that she should stay with the English and marry the man she loved, John Rolf.

With this as the first auspicious sign in many a season, peace briefly broke out between the Indians and the Settlers. Pocahontas and Uttamaromakkin, the new Chief who had taken over after Powhatan voluntarily retired, were taken back to London and feted by royalty. While great fanfare was heaped on Pocahontas, Uttamaromakkin was all but ignored. The Indian Princess and her husband were paid 100 pounds each to proselytize for the Christian Church. And while the show was a big windfall for Britain and the Christian religion, altogether it proved too much for the princess and she died just as they were about to board the ship for the return voyage.

Meanwhile new plans were afoot in London on ways to finally make the Virginia Colony a sustainable business concern. Added to the strategy of exploiting minerals for profit, and exporting tobacco back to Europe, land would also be sold in parcels. The land idea caught on quickly and many off-shoot religions now expressed an interest in leaving England. It was not made clear in the historical records exactly why these group wanted to leave? However, since one of the conditions they volunteered to adhere to was not to show contempt for the English Church, one can only surmise from this that their leaving had something to do with seeking more religious freedom.

Virginia was finally humming and like the proverbial biblical calm before the storm, the Indians had simply lulled the settlers into thinking everything was honky-dory: Trade between them was good. More and more the settlers could spend their resources on tobacco production rather than on food production, for which they relied almost entirely on the Indians. Some Indians were even pretending to be converted to Christians. So everything looked honky-dory, right? Wrong, this is when the bottom fell out as the Indians launched a vicious and crushing surprise attack across the whole so-called civilized landscape, killing more than half of the Settlers and sending the rest scurrying back into the defensive compound to starve to death.

The Settlers had been tricked and massacred but were not taking it sitting down. They were not in a conciliatory mood. Yet, they pretended to call a peace conference with all the Indian chiefs, only to place poison in the glasses of the Chiefs who toasted the agreement. Several of the chiefs died and the Settlers had only begun to exact their revenge. From that point on the laws of an "eye for an eye" prevailed. No more asking permission to use Indian lands and paying for it. What could be own would be taken.When word got back to England of the massacre, thousands signed up to go to America to help redress the insult. History will record that the Indian's strategy of vicious duplicity did not work. For Jamestown survived and they did not.

An important footnote on Slavery

Chapter Twenty-One, entitled the Imbangala, tells the story of how slavery got into the English colonial picture. It is such an interesting and unexpected story that I am including a rough summary of it here as well.

The transatlantic slave trade began under a license issued at Seville, in 1598 while Portugal was a province of Spain. At the time, Portugal had had much success in enlisting very unreliable local black armies to help it defeat local towns in Angola raided for large caches of slaves taken as spoils of war. That is, until it was routed by a chief of the Ndogolo people. Rather than continuing to rely on the unreliable "black armies," Portugal hired the much more feared and ruthless, if not entirely barbaric, group of itinerant marauders called the "Imbangala," best known for settling within a country, sucking it dry and then moving on.

Using weapons supplied by its Portuguese backers, the Imbagala managed to sack Ndogolo's town of nearly 30 thousand, taking enough slaves to fill three ships. A couple of hundred were purchased at the slave market in Luanda and transported on the "San Juan Bautista" in June and July of 1671 enroute to Veracruz, Mexico. However just outside Veracruz, at Campeche Bay, the ship was robbed of its cargo by two English pirate ships: the "White Lyon," and the "Treasurer."

After a harrowing trip and several transfers, 20 of the slaves on the "Treasurer" ended up in Jamestown, traded for food by the ship master to one Abraham Peirsey. It was mostly coincidental that this transaction occurred at the same time that more hands were needed to harvest the latest very labor intensive tobacco crop. However, since the English did not yet have a term for slavery, the men of the cargo were not considered slaves in the same sense that Spain had used the term. They were set to work in the normal English way, as indentured servants, hired under contract for 3-7 years to pay for transport and room and board. After all, Sir Francis Drake, a notorious English pirate (euphemistically referred to as "privateers") had fought on the side of escaped slaves against the mutually much hated Spanish masters.

Slavery was Spanish, freedom was English. The ethos of the day was that a true Englishman would rather surrender to death than engage in the kind of barbarism called slavery that the Spanish and most of the rest of the world engaged in. But now, due in large part to exports of tobacco, Jamestown finally was booming. And the 20 slaves stepped right into line. In fact some worked out their contract; became free and were given plots of land to farm. The kind of slavery that eventually led to the ideology of racism came much later and clearly was an indigenous American invention, not as we have been led to believe, an English invention. Twenty Stars
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Take It Now ! Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America (Hardcover)