A richly documented indictment of power and corruption that bears urgent discussion in the coming electoral cycle.

PROOF OF CONSPIRACY

HOW TRUMP'S INTERNATIONAL COLLUSION IS THREATENING AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

One-time attorney Abramson extends the argument begun in Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (2018) by widening the net of culprits.

Donald Trump entered the field of presidential contenders without a discernible ideology save receiving money for nothing, a penchant that many actors were glad to serve. In this long, complex study, the author adds evidence concerning the principal actor, Russia, while layering on other parties: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Each has served Trump in various ways—Saudi Arabia, for example, by once bailing Trump out from bankruptcy—and each has been rewarded in turn, with Egypt removed from sanctions, given more military aid than it requested, and legitimated even as elected members of the Muslim Brotherhood were branded as terrorists. There are geopolitical issues surrounding this network of “Red Sea conspirators,” as Abramson dubs them: All are committed to the continued supremacy of the oil economy, all are positioned to contain Iran and Syria, and all are autocratic to one extent or another—and there’s not much Trump likes better than an autocratic leader. Russia remains the principal villain of the piece, but, as the author writes, “the Saudis and Emiratis marked…the additional slate of possibilities opened up by the Kremlin’s burgeoning interest in a political neophyte with malleable ethics.” By Abramson’s extensive account, malleability has shifted into full-blown corruption, as Trump and his associates accepted Israeli intelligence here, Russian offers of support there, and the like. The author’s deft tracing of the undeclared international shuttling back and forth between interested parties of former Trump aide Michael Flynn will make readers wonder why he’s not locked inside a maximum security prison. Abramson closes by connecting the dots in current newspaper headlines: Netanyahu wins reelection in Israel, Saudi Arabia declares war on dissidents and neighboring nations alike, Trump pledges an additional 10,000 American troops for deployment in the Middle East, a prelude to war in Iran….

A richly documented indictment of power and corruption that bears urgent discussion in the coming electoral cycle.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-25671-3

Page Count: 592

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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