Review (Guest): The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy: The Revolution in Higher Education

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Amazon Page

Charles Hugh Smith

Publisher’s Overview: With the soaring cost of higher education, has the value a college degree been turned upside down. College tuition and fees are up 1000% since 1980. Half of all recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed, revealing a deep disconnect between higher education and the job market. It is no surprise everyone is asking: Where is the return on investment? Is the assumption that higher education returns greater prosperity no longer true? And if this is the case, how does this impact you, your children and grandchildren? We must thoroughly understand the twin revolutions now fundamentally changing our world: The true cost of higher education and an economy that seems to re-shape itself minute to minute. The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy clearly describes the underlying dynamics at work – and, more importantly, lays out a new low-cost model for higher education: how digital technology is enabling a revolution in higher education that dramatically lowers costs while expanding the opportunities for students of all ages. The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy provides clarity and optimism in a period of the greatest change our educational systems and society have seen. The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy offers everyone the tools needed to prosper in the Emerging Economy.

Smith has the genius to find the words to distill observations which become clear to all when he reduces them to the succinct text that others seem not to have managed.

Smith opens with the observation that education is a dinosaur of an industry. It is delivered the same way it was in Aristotle’s day, by assembling the students in the physical presence of a teacher. That was necessary when there were no books, and when books were too expensive for individuals to own. The reason that the situation perpetuates itself has more to do with the rich benefits which accrue to teachers and administrators in the University itself rather than any benefits to the students.

Education is a protected cartel. The right to accreditation is controlled by the state, and it is doled out to institutions which conform to the traditional mold. All participants in the industry have an interest in and its perpetuation, except students. Students are powerless and not very well informed, so the system continues as it is.

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Oct 9

REVEALED: The True Story of Dr. Dr. Dave Warner and the Synergy Strike Force

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The Merry Pranksters Who Hacked the Afghan War

It was a dark time in a long, drawn-out war. Afghanistan was festering with resentment. The Pentagon brass were desperate. It was the kind of last-ditch moment when authorities start throwing an era’s weirdest ideas at its most hopeless bureaucratic mistakes.

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Click on Image to Enlarge

(ILLUSTRATIONS: GRAHAM SMITH)

By

Pacific Magazine, July 1, 2013

For a long time, the Taj Guest House was about the only place you could get a beer in Jalalabad. The provincial capital, about 30 miles from the infamous mountains of Tora Bora, has been the main staging ground for U.S.-led forces in the eastern part of Afghanistan since the early days of the war. When I showed up in the city in November 2011 to report on the propaganda efforts of a franchising Taliban, I found myself at the Taj. There wasn’t much to the pub—just a bamboo-covered bar, a fireplace, a glass-fronted cooler with some Heineken stacked inside, and a few bottles of vodka and other spirits lined up under the red glow of a lamp.

Plus there was an odd little sign: “We share information, communication, (and beer).”

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Jul 2

Review (Guest): Eisenhower in War and Peace

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Jean Edward Smith

Publisher’s Summary:

In his magisterial bestseller FDR, Jean Edward Smith gave us a fresh, modern look at one of the most indelible figures in American history. Now this peerless biographer returns with a new life of Dwight D. Eisenhower that is as full, rich, and revealing as anything ever written about America’s thirty-fourth president. As America searches for new heroes to lead it out of its present-day predicaments, Jean Edward Smith’s achievement lies in reintroducing us to a hero from the past whose virtues have become clouded in the mists of history.

Here is Eisenhower the young dreamer, charting a course from Abilene, Kansas, to West Point, to Paris under Pershing, and beyond. Drawing on a wealth of untapped primary sources, Smith provides new insight into Ike’s maddening apprenticeship under Douglas MacArthur in Washington and the Philippines. Then the whole panorama of World War II unfolds, with Eisenhower’s superlative generalship forging the Allied path to victory through multiple reversals of fortune in North Africa and Italy, culminating in the triumphant invasion of Normandy. Smith also gives us an intriguing examination of Ike’s finances, details his wartime affair with Kay Summersby, and reveals the inside story of the 1952 Republican convention that catapulted him to the White House.

Smith’s chronicle of Eisenhower’s presidential years is as compelling as it is comprehensive. Derided by his detractors as a somnambulant caretaker, Eisenhower emerges in Smith’s perceptive retelling as both a canny politician and a skillful, decisive leader. Smith convincingly portrays an Eisenhower who engineered an end to America’s three-year no-win war in Korea, resisted calls for preventative wars against the Soviet Union and China, and boldly deployed the Seventh Fleet to protect Formosa from invasion. This Eisenhower, Smith shows us, stared down Khrushchev over Berlin and forced the withdrawal of British, French, and Israeli forces from the Suez Canal. He managed not only to keep the peace—after Ike made peace in Korea, not one American soldier was killed in action during his tenure—but also to enhance America’s prestige in the Middle East and throughout the world.

Domestically, Eisenhower reduced defense spending, balanced the budget, constructed the interstate highway system, and provided social security coverage for millions who were self-employed. Ike believed that traditional American values encompassed change and progress.

Unmatched in insight, Eisenhower in War and Peace at last gives us an Eisenhower for our time—and for the ages.

Guest Review Below the Line

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Mar 22

Review: Who Stole the American Dream?

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Hedrick Smith

5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Narrative–Could the Book Tour Spark a Revolution?, September 11, 2012

EDIT of 12 Sep 2012: I spent the night thinking about this book. Directly below [and now also loaded as a graphic to this Amazon page] are a graphic showing the preconditions of revolution in the USA, and the short paper on revolution from which the graphic was drawn Here’s the deal: ample preconditions exist for a public overthrow of the two-party tyranny, but a precipitant (such as the fruit seller in Tunisia) has not occurred. Even though 18 veterans commit suicide day after day after day, this is hushed up. Occupy blew it–they should have occupied the home offices of every Senator and Representative and demanded the one thing Congress could deliver that would energize the public: the Electoral Reform Act of 2012. This book by Hendrick Smith, and the book tour, could be a first step toward mobilizing a complacent public. [search for phrases below to get right to them]. Don’t miss all three graphics above with the cover.

Graphic: Preconditions of Revolution in the USA Today

1992 MCU Thinking About Revolution

– – – – – – –

I received this book as a gift today (I am unemployed and can no longer afford to buy books very often), and a most welcome gift it was. The author’s earlier books were in my library, now resting peacefully at George Mason University, and I was quite interested in seeing what he makes of the mess we are in.

The book is a solid five. I would have liked to see a great deal more outrage, a lot more calling of a spade a spade (abject corruption on the part of all concerned), but that is me. The author has created a very compelling narrative that manages to avoid offending anyone in particular, and I can only feel inadequate in admiration for his balance. If I were to re-write this book, most readers over 40 would be dead of a heart attack by chapter four. On second thought, not killing the reader with truth may have its own special merits!

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Sep 12

Review (Guest): ECONned – How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism

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Yves Smith

5.0 out of 5 stars ECONNED,March 3, 2010

M. M. Thomas (Brooklyn) – See all my reviews

I’ve written quite a bit about the financial crisis, and God knows I’ve read nearly every book on the subject, and I have no hesitation in saying that if there is one book that gets it whole, and gets it right, and is THE book for the intelligent, thoughtful reader to turn to, it is ECONNED. This is not an anecdotal recitation of deal gossip (like, for example, Sorkin’s book); it’s not “source-based” journalism reflective of the way certain participants in the dire events that unfolded in 2007-2009 wish themselves to be seen. It lays out, in what is easily as clear, as direct, as smart and with as much force of fact as any financial writing today how exactly the fun and games that have nearly wrecked our economy and the lives of so many of us went down. Yves Smith is, unlike so many other writers feeding off the crisis, writing about it from the inside: with an unfailing grasp of where the details (where the devil lurks) fit into the larger pattern of financial perfidy and destruction, in this Doomsday Machine that Wall Street put together. The intelligent reader will understand that if you want to know why you’re suffering from acute ptomaine, you have to understand what went into the sausage you got it from. And then you have to be made to see plain the kind of restaurant or market that serves up this toxic offal. And then the regulatory failures that allow such places to be licensed. We have undergone one of the great crises in this nation’s history. It needs to be seen plain and understood. Deadline-driven blahblahblah won’t get the job done. But ECONNED does. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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Jan 23

Journal: Get America Working–A Conversation Part II

Original Post with William Drayton, Alexandere Carpenter, and Robert Steele:  Journal: Get America Working–A Conversation

Part II–Alexander Carpenter (AC), the Founding Fathers, and Modern Seers

Journal: Get America Working-A Conversation

If you do nothing else, please consider reviewing the many contributions by Tom Atlee via the first line in Part IV: Related Recommended Reading,

Atlee at Phi Beta Iota

AC: And add this from Charles Hugh Smith to the list:

Charles Hugh Smith America’s Job-Creation Machinery Is Hollowed Out

Dave Cohen on Job Prospects in the Bubble Economy, looking for a technological driver:

And this for those still trying to believe in the “enlightenment model,” some lowest-common-denominator and somewhat overstated evolutionary psychology:

Ian Charles, Conscious Robots: How We Make a Decision

And add this about computer gaming:

How Videogames Are Changing the Economy

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Jan 3

Review (Guest): ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism

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Yves Smith

Product Description

Why are we in such a financial mess today?  There are lots of proximate causes: over-leverage, global imbalances, bad financial technology that lead to widespread underestimation of risk.
But these are all symptoms. Until we isolate and tackle fundamental causes, we will fail to extirpate the disease.  ECONned is the first book to examine the unquestioned role of economists as policy-makers, and how they helped create an unmitigated economic disaster.

Here, Yves Smith looks at how economists in key policy positions put doctrine before hard evidence, ignoring the deteriorating conditions and rising dangers that eventually led them, and us, off the cliff and into financial meltdown.  Intelligently written for the layman, Smith takes us on a terrifying investigation of the financial realm over the last twenty-five years of misrepresentations, naive interpretations of economic conditions, rationalizations of bad outcomes, and rejection of clear signs of growing instability.

In eConned, author Yves Smith reveals:

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Dec 7

Review: The World in 2050–Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future

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4.0 out of 5 stars Limits to Growth in the 21st Century

September 30, 2010

Laurence C. Smith

This book was recommended to me and I recommend it to others, but with the following observations:

1) Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update was there in the 1970’s. It troubles me, as much as I read, how I seem to see the same books every ten years as someone reinvents knowledge that was known before and then either not read, or forgotten.

2) I completely agree with the Deep North concept (the Pacific Northwest Passage is opening, Iceland is now independent of Denmark, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories, along with Alaska, stand to be the main beneficiaries. Similar benefits will acrue around the South Pole, if Chile and Argentina get smart and throw Wall-Mart out of their oceans and off the continent.

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Sep 30

Worth a Look: SystemWiki.org & Co-Mapping

Graphic by Georg Schilling

UPDATE of 22 Aug 2010 to add Viral Video (John Pourdehnad)  that started the dialog.

Ackoff Virtual Inqiry Center (AVIC)

There is a discussion underway at Systems Community of Inquiry focused on developing the concepts for a network of Ackoff Virtual Inqiry Centers (AVIC) located around the world. Early on, the original vision for AVIC, offered by Dr. John Pourdehnad, was that AVIC serve as a nervous system for the Systems and Design Community in Dr. Russell Ackoff’s name. With this belief, Dr. Pourdehnad also made clear the need for AVIC to be designed Ideally and created by the stakeholders themselves. The concept is being extended by Gene Bellinger and Kent Myers.  The work of Clay Shirky is most helpful:
See Also:
Ackoff Centers for Design Thinking Version of April 12, 2010
Co-Mapping
Co-Mapping for Educators
Design Thinking
Idealized Design
Knowledge Management in Inquiring Organizations
Sustainable Development Simulation (SDSIM)
Virtual Systemic Inquiry (VSI)
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Aug 22

Journal: Modern Obstacles to Spying & Assassination

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Marcus Aurelius

(1)  I’ve seen some of the surveillance video on CNN; here is a link to more.

(2)  Regardless of who ran the operation, sounds like the Hamas guy needed to go;

(3) in addition to surveillance and biometrics, proliferation of commercially-available databases such ChoicePoint  creates additional operational challenges.)

Full Story Online

How spy technologies foil old-school political killings

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Peter Finn

Saturday, February 20, 2010; A13

The practice of secretly assassinating purported enemies of the state — an age-old tool of foreign policy — has run up against steadily improving international police collaboration and the global proliferation of surveillance technologies that make it harder for anyone anywhere to surreptitiously conduct a high-profile killing on foreign soil.

In Doha, London and now Dubai, political killers have been caught on film and tracked, provoking unexpected attention and controversy for the organizers. Because of new biometric technologies, the proliferation of cheap video, and sophisticated monitoring of customs points and airports, the skills of those who specialize in the creation of fictional identities have been tested, and sometimes defeated.

The apparent political killing of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has ricocheted around the world in recent days after his alleged attackers were spotted by a camera above an elevator at the Dubai Al-Bustan Rotana hotel, in the United Arab Emirates. Four suspects, all obvious weight-lifters, were filmed exiting in pairs and heading for Mabhouh’s room.

Shortly after the killing, they were again filmed, this time more nervously boarding the same elevator, wearing the same baseball caps. Then they were filmed again, leaving the airport on flights to Europe, Africa and Asia. On Thursday, Interpol issued warrants for 11 suspects after the Dubai police conducted a careful study of their videotaped movements at nearly a dozen locales. Their mug shots had already been flashed on television screens around the world.ed to this report.

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Feb 20