No Place to Hide

No Place to HideNo Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald
Published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt (NY) on May 13th 2014
Pages: 260
Format: hardback
Genres: National Security, Nonfiction, Politics & Social Sciences
See it @ Goodreads
four-stars


Synopsis


No Place to Hide is a groundbreaking look at the NSA surveillance scandal, from the reporter who broke the story

Investigative reporter for The Guardian and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald, provides an in-depth look into the NSA scandal that has triggered a national debate over national security and information privacy. With further revelations from documents entrusted to Glenn Greenwald by Edward Snowden himself, this book explores the extraordinary cooperation between private industry and the NSA, and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s surveillance program, both domestically and abroad.

My thoughts on this book

I was interested in how one person could possibly steal digital information from our government. I never really found out by reading this book. I did find out that the government has the ability to know a lot about us and our personal lives. I also decided that you would have to live totally off the grid to have any real privacy, which I don’t think is even possible to do any longer.

What interest me now is if we have such capabilities to spy on people then, we should know exactly what was happening with Trump et al. Early on in the Trump investigation wasn’t there talk of surveillance of foreign diplomats and didn’t the Obama Administration ask the courts to release information as to whom that foreign diplomat was speaking to? Did Trump collude with the Russians, I personally don’t believe he has the depth or knowledge to successfully do that.

While Greenwald makes Edward Snowden out to be the hero of the 20th century, he (Greenwald) takes to task the The Washington Post and The New York Times for going to the government for input before publishing stories about their suspicious activities implying that we never get the truth because the media and government collude to lessen the impact of these stories. Greenwald can, in my mind’s eye, be a bit self-righteous at times, but mostly he is spot on.

I wanted to read No Place to Hide prior to reading How America Lost Its Secrets by Edward Jay Epstein, whom has a totally different take on Edward Snowden and the theft of documents from the NSA apparatus.

About Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is the author of several bestsellers, including How Would a Patriot Act? and With Liberty and Justice for Some. Acclaimed as one of the 25 most influential political commentators by The Atlantic, one of America’s top 10 opinion writers by Newsweek, and one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013 by Foreign Policy, Greenwald is a former constitutional law and civil rights litigator. He was a columnist for The Guardian until October 2013 and is now a founding editor of a new media outlet, The Intercept.. He is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, and various other television and radio outlets. He has won numerous awards for his NSA reporting, including the 2013 Polk Award for national security reporting, the top 2013 investigative journalism award from the Online News Association, the Esso Award for Excellence in Reporting (the Brazilian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize), and the 2013 Pioneer Award from Electronic Frontier Foundation. He also received the first annual I. F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2009 and a 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work on the arrest and detention of Chelsea Manning. In 2013, Greenwald led the Guardian reporting that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service.

Janesville: An American Story

Janesville: An American StoryJanesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
on April 18th 2017
Pages: 368
Format: hardback
Genres: Nonfiction, Politics & Social Sciences
See it @ Goodreads
four-half-stars


Synopsis


“Moving and magnificently well-researched...Janesville joins a growing family of books about the evisceration of the working class in the United States. What sets it apart is the sophistication of its storytelling and analysis.” —The New York Times

A Washington Post reporter’s intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors’ assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin—Paul Ryan’s hometown—and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.

This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills—but it’s not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.

Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America’s biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it’s so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.

For this is not just a Janesville story or a Midwestern story. It’s an American story.

My thoughts on this book

Janesville was devastated by the closing of the General Motors plant in December 2008. Amy Goldstein’s book takes us through the five years following the plant closure. Janesville survived the loss of the plant and all of the supporting industries but it never finally recovered.

It was refreshing to get an honest appraisal of what happen in Janesville. Millions of dollars flowed into Janesville for job retraining which proved to be a dismal failure. None of the jobs that Janeville residents retrained for ever returned them to where they were financially before the plant closing. Many of the folks were ill-equipped for retraining as they had no computer skills. As the residents struggled, the city and county attempted to respond by developing identifying possible job skills for retraining it citizens. Various forces worked against some of the folks that were retrained. Even after re-training wages were never equal to what they were paid working for General Motors. Going back you school after being in the work-force for 15 to 20 years is hard. Training a new trade is hard, but learning a new trade in a community where the economic base has been destroyed is near impossible.

Today Janesville, has an underemployment rate of just over 4% but the area has not recovered to where it was prior to the plant closing. There are still residents that are commuting to other GM plants rather than take a cut in wages. I don’t see the current administration doing anything substantial to return Janesville to prior economic status. Although Janesville is the home of Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, Goldstein makes it clear that Ryan did not involve himself in the in the community as one thought that he should. Janesville is just another example of how we are losing our manufacturing base in this country, while our corporate and civic leaders are doing nothing to find new avenues of meaningful and well-paying employment for its middle class.

I would highly recommend this book, it is honest and forthright.

About Amy Goldstein

Authors - amy_goldstein.jpg

Amy Goldstein is a staff writer for the Washington Post, where she writes about national social policy issues. Her pieces focus on health care reform, housing, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, welfare, and the strains put on the social safety net by the recent recession. During two decades at the Post, she has covered the White House and many notable news events of recent times.

Goldstein was part of a team of Washington Post reporters awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for the newspaper’s coverage of 9/11 and the government’s response to the attacks. She was also a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting for an investigative series she cowrote on the medical treatment of immigrants detained by the federal government. Goldstein is a visiting research professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. She holds an AB in American civilization from Brown University and was a 2005 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.