10.20.2019

Tulsi Gabbard For President

Tulsi Gabbard for President

The recent "Tulsi works for Putin" schtick can be understood best as a fight between old media and new media.  A classic power fight between wheezing old talking heads, their younger clones, and new media power brokers will show where the new election lines are drawn.  Newsflash: Tulsi will win.

Hillary Clinton is running a '90s media smear campaign that really worked for her and her husband in the past - the way past.  Clinton whispers her vengeful stories to stooges on cable tv and foolish New York Time op ed writers.  Feeling safe, they repeat them without fearing real consequences.

Old Media and The Clinton Playbook


Why not?  It is the same playbook Clinton used in her failed 2016 election campaign:
  1. court mass media, 
  2. take voters for granted, 
  3. rely on proxies to say nasty things for you, 
  4. insult and dismiss half of the electorate. 
It didn't work last time, but as Clinton apparently never took responsibility for her role in her own defeat, she blindly uses the same approach again.

Court Mass Media

The '90s media landscape was exclusively mass media, so a strategy targeting those influencers was smart.  Prescient was Bill Clinton's focus on alternate paths to voter attention, like talk shows. It was how he got around the universal dismissal of him as a serious candidate by the "serious" political press after his sex scandals.  

But this approach is outdated.  There are thousands of information sources for voters now.  The personal relationship approach will not control political watchers because there are simply too many thinkers in the political space.  The rah-rah for the "weapons of mass destruction" leading to the Gulf War and Russiagate undermined credibility for mass media outlets anyway, and people look to other voices to trust.

Take Voters for Granted

Hillary Clinton neglected Michigan and other rust belt states during the 2016 Presidential election.  She dismissed HALF OF AMERICA as "deplorables."  Not very persuasive.  Clinton took the voters of the rust belt for granted because of their union affiliation, not learning the lesson that Reagan taught:  people make up their own minds.

In the frame of this Tulsi Gabbard dialogue, Clinton assumes that the support of the media "elites" will lead to the sheeplike support of Americans.

Rely on Proxies To Say Nasty Things For You

Bakari Sellers accused Tulsi Gabbard of treason on CNN.  This charge has been supported by Hillary Clinton by getting other people to repeat the accusation.

Tulsi Gabbard shows her understanding of modern media when she pins the "Russian asset" smear directly on Hillary Clinton.  Clinton is used to dodging the stench of a shit show by getting others to say her insults.  Part of that tactic was the pretense of cable t.v. hosts that she didn't really say it at all, but that somebody else did.  Now, Tulsi Gabbard's voice can appeal directly to voters, much like Bill Clinton did in playing the saxophone on late night television.

Insult and Dismiss Half of the Electorate


Clinton also insults everyone in the military by implying that one of them would betray their country with treason.

In this message struggle with Tulsi Gabbard, Clinton is dismissing anyone under the age of 50.  Younger voters don't believe that the New York Times is always right.  They don't have t.v.'s or watch cable "news."

The Tulsi Gabbard Winning Strategy

Tulsi Gabbard takes a sniper shot approach to a crowded Presidential candidate field.  One by one, she takes out a frontrunner.  It worked for Trump, and it is working for her.  

Tusli Gabbard is an underestimated candidate.  She won't be the Democratic nominee, but she will beat out almost everybody else that is running.  Her best weapon are her deadly barbs that really stick.  Ask Kamala "I put people in prison for doing what I did" Harris.  Gabbard is better at this tactic than even Trump.  

Tulsi Gabbard knows how the current information ecosystem works. When she hits something, it reverberates.  All the Clinton machine can do is get their flying monkeys on cable television and op-ed pages to repeat what she tells them to say.  Too bad they are no longer influencers like in the '90s.  

Tulsi Gabbard will beat the Democratic Party machine because its relevance and power are sliding out from under them.  They are using a playbook of a bygone day.  What is supposed to be a kill shot will only show everybody their irrelevance.

The Democratic Party relies on big donors, reporter relationships and endorsements.  Stronger tools have been forged, and they are about to find out the hard way.

As I like to say to people I hate:  "I wish you the best of luck."

8.10.2019

The Revised Boy Scout Manual by William S. Burroughs


William S. Burroughs - Beat Writer

The Revised Boy Scout Manual  by William S. Burroughs - a review by Christine Axsmith


What a long way of saying “the pen is mightier than the sword.” 

The book is disturbing, and was probably meant to be.  It is also a book that cannot be ignored. Burroughs made too many accurate predictions for the politics of the Information Age we now live in.  

Burroughs is at the same time prescient and reflective.  He predicts the political impact of electronic information distribution, but what he describes is an extension of Nazi tactics.  He uses the term “virus” to explain the spread of an idea throughout society. He describes a “meme.” He predicts the impact of handheld recording devices to challenge the entrenched power of institutions.

Burroughs is not content to deliver these gems without graphic and disturbing descriptions of violent crimes.  As in, that’s most of the book. If we view that choice as strategy, maybe the trudge through blood has purpose.  It could be an exorcism of base impulses, only to bring the revolutionary down to earth and point them towards non-violent means of information warfare, with a warning that violent means lead to failure.

The Revised Boy Scout Manual begins by describing the limits of violence as a political weapon in the 20th century.  “With heavy weapons five percent of the population can hold down ninety-five percent by sheer force.” This book tells the aspiring revolutionary how to fight back with such firepower imbalances.  

Burroughs’ general plan for revolution has three parts: a political reform party whose actions are completely aboveboard and legitimate, an ostensibly unrelated terrorist group that deflects blame while it strikes; and reactive political media that advance a “law and order” narrative.

What Burroughs doesn’t see, or mention, is that Hitler used the same plan.  Hitler led the Nazi party, and pretended that the Brownshirts were not connected or coordinated.  Then Nazis deflected blame for civil unrest onto the Communists and the Jews, who were the excuse for civil law suspension.  Then Hitler seized power.

This book relies on the naive perspective that only one side, the left, would employ these tactics.  In Burrough’s fantasy that is this book, the far right would not be copying and employing his methods.  They would hopelessly grasp authoritarianism, which would in turn fuel the leftist revolution even more. Of course, if the left had actually followed Burroughs’ game plan, the right would quickly notice and begin copying tactics.  

Instead, the far right has taken up the formula Burroughs describes, and the left is copying and reacting to it.

OFFICIALLY UNRELATED TERRORIST GROUPS


Burroughs’ plan for revolution has violent terror groups killing people while the front-facing political party has plausible deniability for the bloodshed.  We can draw parallels to right-wing terror attacks and their distancing from the Republican party. However, the rhetoric of some Republican leaders ties them together.  Referencing refugees as an “invasion force” can be directly tied to the armed militias at the U.S. southern border pretending to arrest people. What they are really doing is threatening poor people, mostly women and children, with guns.  People who are scared, hungry and thirsty. Trump call for reports to be violently attacked, and an entire newsroom is gunned down.

On the left, language of “Russian collusion” has had equal value.  Trump Derangement Syndrome, a phrase coined by Scott Adams, also leads to violence, as seen in the almost-disaster of the Congressional softball game shooting and beatings of people in red MAGA hats.

On both sides, the distancing from violent and more radical elements from the rhetoric of their political siblings serves the same purpose: ways to induce radical reactions without responsibility.  

Again, both extremes are using these tactics, not just one side as in Burroughs’ book.

CAPTIVE MEDIA OUTLET


Burroughs calls for a captive media outlet as part of his plan for thought revolutionaries.  I think we can call both MSNBC and FOX News captive media outlets at this point. The weakness in Burrough’s plan for revolution is not seeing that a tactic can be used by both sides at once.  The difference is FOX News supports the far right, and MSNBC supports the liberal establishment.

Burroughs gets points for his insight into information warfare.  He predicts memes and viral data and refers to its impact on the body politic and as a weapon of revolution. He predicts the creation of Fox News as an information and propaganda organ, but did not see the conversion of MSNBC to a countervailing role.  

When Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks hosted a show on MSNBC, he was explicitly told to support a Democratic administration in the White House.  When his critical thinking skills continue to exert themselves, he was let go. Rachel Maddow, another example, took up the chant of Russiagate as directly fed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and hasn’t shut up about it since - even after it has been disproven. The extent of MSNBC capture can be measured by how little the name “Reality Winner” is mentioned during Russiagate segments.

Again, it is Burroughs’ tactic of cheerleading media outlets.  However, he misses that anyone could do it, and it seems they have.  

He calls for eliminating words: “the” “to be” “is” “either/or” because these words support identities in people, and so their elimination would end conflict.  There’s a new take on identity politics. Again, advocating the use of thought as an effective weapon when out-gunned, this time through language control.  

The book also suggests:  random assassinations, rape (but only of women), bombs, rumors, kill lists.  Page one of the book describes blowing up the “economic system of the West” by attacking buildings in New York City, predictive of the 9-11 attacks.

Later, Burroughs touches close to his own life describing a wealthy respectable woman who is murdered and humiliated, and her son deciding to support the revolution and the gang rape of his sister.  He is describing himself, of course. Burroughs is the scion of a very wealthy family who decided to join the revolution. The older woman who commands respect would be his mother, who is the same person who is beaten and humiliated.  The young scion’s eyes widen with the fever of revolution as he leads the revolutionaries to gang rape his sister. No thoughts on the young man being raped, however. No mention of his being beaten and insulted. Damn, Burroughs must have hated women, as any revolutionary knows that men can be raped, too. Odd blind spot. I will leave it to greater minds to parse the Freud in that.  It is enough to say that I wouldn’t take Burroughs’ advice on how to fix my car, and I won’t heed his insight on gender issues.

It’s almost funny when Burroughs has the slightest realization that his script for revolution matches Charles Manson’s, who also thought random and senseless killings would spark a revolution.  He doesn’t quite accept it, though. Burroughs makes some distinction based on motivation of murders. He claims Manson’s only motivation was “crimes against property and crimes against persons.”  He ignores the Manson Family plan to start a race war. Manson’s drive was political. It was just as political as Burroughs. It’s just that Burroughs didn’t have the courage to look at his own recipe, because basically they were the same.

Burroughs calls the Ku Klux Klan a “criminal commune” to artificially separate them from his own tactics of political violence, similar to what he did with the Manson Family.  But of course the KKK is a violent political organization: it was created after Reconstruction to maintain white power, they used lynching and fire to enhance their power, and they used Jim Crow laws to prevent people from exercising their power. 

When you have to add footnotes to your revolutionary plan explaining the difference between the Manson Family and the KKK and yourself, maybe some introspection is in order.  Just saying.

However, The Revised Boy Scouts Manual is not only dripping in bloody suggestions.  Burroughs has visions of the good resulting from his revolution of thought. Society would form into small groups with similar interests, like fishing.  Soon, in Burroughs’ mind, criminals would just quit crime to pursue their personal interests. Police would lose too many officers to communes through resignation and personal choices.  Who wouldn’t rather go fly fishing? Then why do anything else?

Somehow, violent criminals in Burrough’s fantasy will stop committing crimes against people and property if given the chance to fish or something in what he terms MOBs, or loosely organized groups who Mind Own Business.  Because one thing an armed robber wants is to hook worms rather than threaten people for money, if given the chance.

This raises, once again, Burroughs’ personal perspective on the world.  He was a heroin-addicted scion from incredible wealth. Of course he would think that people who didn’t phone the cops for a little drugs would be the best to run the world, i.e., minded their own business.  He probably wished the entire world was made up of people like that. The kind that aren’t worried about their son’s substance abuse. The kind that didn’t worry about cleaning the streets and schools. The kind that didn’t worry about making a living at all, in fact.  Just like him. If people could haul off and do whatever they wanted to do, they would be doing it. If only people would leave him alone, he thought. He could live his life in peace and there would be no crime. You can see the appeal from his perspective.

Since then, society has created groups where like-minded people gather.  People join others interested in fly fishing, for example. He also describes our information diet and its influence on our political views.  This reality has been used to attempt to change elections. Yes, Facebook ads have been used to sway voter choices. That’s the purpose of ads.  But Burroughs is wrong to think such balkanization of interests shuts out other desires. You can enjoy fly fishing and still be angry at the mayor.  Burroughs’ formula assumes “minding own business” means a lack of concern for anything else - which turned out not to be true.  

The book itself is filled with lurid imaginings of the aforementioned tactics in action.  It is, in parts, gory, disgusting, clairvoyant and strategic. 

MEMES


“The Revised Boy Scout Manual” introduces the concept of a “meme.”  Burroughs had the vision to see the intersection of propaganda and electronic communication in terms of political influence and persuasion.  He saw the power of memes operating as electronic rumors and thought changers, and the magnifying power of electronic communications.  

However, thought as a weapon is not a new idea, as any Nazi will tell you.

RECORDING DEVICES


“You can do more to destroy enemies with tape recorders and video cameras than with machine guns.”  Burroughs anticipates recording devices in everybody’s hands. That was far-sighted. He didn’t envision everybody having a video camera on them at all times, but it was a good guess.  He also ties power shifts to the ubiquitous availability of information.  

The current political climate is certainly a case study of political change via public exposure.  Fights against unjust police shootings and imprisonments, rapes ignored by law enforcement, the water protector movement and more demonstrate the power of mass exposure that Burroughs predicted.  But mass exposure also brought us cat videos and the Kardashians. Screaming goat videos still have more views than any police shooting expose. The most profitable YouTube channel is a child who tells us what he thinks of toys.  The Young Turks, a very popular news network on Youtube, has four million subscribers; but NigaHiga, a comedy channel, has twenty-two million.

RANDOM POLITICAL KILLINGS

Of course history since has shown that fringes of the far right has employed Burrough’s ideas of mass and random killings.  And guess what? It didn’t work. His prediction of an opposing terrorist force just didn’t happen. The killings have not made American more extreme and punitive.  If anything, the opposite happened.  

The National Rifle Association has, for the first time in decades, lost ground politically and socially.  Youth, most impacted by mass shootings on a daily level, revolted in the opposite direction, but not with violence. Burroughs calls for random killings to ignite a authoritarian reaction which will only feed the revolution in the end.  However the right’s use of senseless violence has not birthed a left version of the same thing.  

If Burroughs’ revolutionary plan worked, far right political killings would cause a boomerang of leftist violence.  It has not.  

There has been a leftist reaction to right-wing political assassinations, but mostly a legal and non-violent one.  The question is, how would this feed into the agenda of a far right revolution, rather than defeat it? Income streams have dried up for the NRA, they have degraded public support, lost advertisers, lost television channels and are regularly called out on social media, as are associated politicians.  Was this Dylann Roof’s plan when he shot worshippers on a Sunday morning? The result of these attempts at race wars has been clear public will opposing that agenda. So Burroughs’ suggested tactic of mass killings is a failure.

The far right feels ever more under attack, but enough to fund a rightist revolution?  I don’t think so. Revolution requires youth, and that is one group that tilts left by a wide margin. 

Burroughs uses the word “assassination” to include killing the enemy’s word and image.  A modern example would be Scott Adams highlighting the MAGA hat as a symbol of support for Trump whose meaning was assassinated in the Burroughs’ sense and turned into a symbol of racism.

Another result of the random killing tactic is strangulation of radical voices on the right.  Right-wing groups like QAnon and people like Alex Jones have been sidelined from media platforms and all mainstream, and frankly, marginal media outlets.  Payment platforms like Patreon have banned them, causing funding to become scarce. Credit card companies won’t process their payments.  

The final history has not been written on our current political struggles.  Maybe these radical fringe groups are growing in the dark and will surprise us all.  But it doesn’t look that way.

The Revised Boy Scout Manual posited a revolutionary game plan.  Its tactics are being employed right now. They have not created a revolution.  Both left and right are using captive media outlets, memes, fake news, recordings and more. 

Burroughs was prophetic in seeing the acceleration of information warfare with electronic communications.  The end of the book lists weaponry and related countermeasures. His conclusion is that guns and bombs will lose.  The only weapon that could work is ideas, he writes. Again, a long and bloody way to say “the pen is mightier than the sword.” 




5.09.2019

Susan Wojcicki and PhillyD and the Suggestion Algorithm

Changing the YouTube Suggestion Algorithm

PhillyD and YouTube Discussions

PhillyD has had discussions with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki about their list of trending videos, which have long weighted corporate content unfairly. If you have the most views, then you should be on the most-viewed list. If you can’t created content that most YouTube users want to see, then you shouldn’t be on that list.

As long as YouTube is listening...

I am on YouTube far more than is good for me or anyone.  The algorithm goes in tight circles, recommending the same people and videos all the time.  It is tiresome.

YouTube Suggestion Algorithm Problem

By setting the YouTube recommendation algorithm to “following the buzz,” Google is only setting up its own failure. They may not know it yet, but if the only thing people are getting out of their product is buzz, it acts like mental candy. Sure, you want it all the time. Who doesn’t? But one day you will be sick of all the candy and reject the whole thing. It is inevitable. If human beings forever chose the buzz, we would not have survived as a species. So this proposal is a long-term survival strategy for the Alphabet Corporation as well.

There is an alternative.

Let users change their suggestion algorithms in user preferences.

I always want to see more content from smaller YouTubers and nothing about sports. Why can’t I choose that? Surely the YouTube algorithm can allow user input in terms of what percentage of smaller channels are suggested to me. I want to support local businesses rather than large chain stores, and my google search results should reflect that.

The Econo-Girl Suggestion Solution

It would not be hard to implement this change. Just break the code into sections, and make user input the driver of the algorithm.

So let the content providers set their video categories. Then, within those categories, let users define their preferences:


  • NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS - I ALWAYS LIKE TO TEST OUT CREATORS WITH LESS THAN 20,000 FOLLOWERS; OR,
  • MOST RECENT - A CATEGORY I REALLY MISS; OR,
  • CORPORATE VS. NON-CORPORATE CREATORS; OR,
  • BALANCE OF PRO/CON; OR,
  • TRENDING TOPICS IN THAT CATEGORY; OR
  • NOT TO SEE THAT CATEGORY AT ALL, OR TO SET A FLOOR FOR SEEING VIDEOS IN THAT CATEGORY, LIKE IF A VIDEO IN THIS CATEGORY HITS THE TRENDING TOP 100 LIST, SHOW IT TO ME.
The goal is to maximize value to the consumer.  The current suggestion algorithm is based on feeding rats a sugar-based diet that will make them obese and starve them at the same time.

A rabbit hole is a waste of time.  Humans are going to dump something that wastes their time, eventually.  Survival demands it.  

12.26.2018


Harvard Says 27% Earn More Than 4 Year College Graduates...


Christine Axsmith

This idea goes against conventional wisdom and lots of google search results.  

But if you look through the top Google results for "earning more than a college graduate," the web sites are tied to colleges, or companies selling advertising to colleges.

There's no shortage of people who are success stories without a college degree.  But the most recent research is showing that a college degree is not necessary for success.

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Pathways to prosperity: Meeting the challenge of preparing young Americans for the 21st century is a report from Harvard University talking about the failure of the "college-for-all" policy, and how that cheats some young people.  "We fail these young people not because we are indifferent, but because we have focused too exclusively on a few narrow pathways to success," referring to college.
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Other experts agree with that conclusion:

“Employment rates for the nation’s teens and young adults are at post-World War II lows—a true labor market depression. Based on experiences both here and abroad, Pathways to Prosperity points to the need for expanded employment and work-based learning opportunities for young people, closer ties between post-secondary education/training and the workplace, and expanded youth apprenticeships. The need has never been greater, and the report provides a clarion call for action now.”
Andrew Sum, Director, Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University.


Conventional wisdom, and google search results, are sure to follow these conclusions.  Young people are not one big clump that are exactly the same as the other.  As they are different, their needs are different.  Not everyone needs to be an accountant.  Our economy requires all types of skills.  Many of the in-demand skills can be learned while working or through a certificate program.

Paths to success without college means entering the plumber, firefighter, carpenter or other trades.  And, yes, math will be needed.  But it will be a direct, problem-solving math with direct, visible results.

$uccess Without College Publications has published $uccess Without College - Roadmap to Software Developer and $uccess Without College - Roadmap to Plumber to show people that there are alternatives to college to get success.

Buying one of our $uccess Without College Roadmap books will empower you to choose your own path to success.
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The chances of success without college are better if you think for yourself and decide what is best for you.  Students who have success without collegedo the work to find out about different career paths and match them to their temperament.  

Other books about success without college focus on calming anxious parents, and not on solutions.  Buy $uccess Without College Roadmap to Plumber or Roadmap to Software Developer by Christine Axsmith for solid advice on launching your successful career path.

linkedin:  Christine Axsmith

12.14.2018

In Defense of Megan Markle


In Defense of Megan Markle

As an ARWFA (Amateur Royal Watcher From Afar), I read with reminiscence the recent criticisms of the Duchess of Sussex, AKA Meghan Markle.  It saddens me that this happening all over again. The press has once again resorted to creating drama to sell newspapers, or more accurately, advertising.  I’m not suggesting that theses reporters are engaged in pure fabrication. I’m suggesting that they are applying all the analysis of Judith Miller of the New York Times in the lead-up to the second Iraq War.  That is to say, none.


One of Princess Diana’s enduring legacies was a glimpse into the challenges of a Royal with “the little grey men” who run the palace.  It is not inconceivable that the Duchess of Sussex has upset courtiers, who may have been hoping to manage her. Unrealistic as it is to think that a strong, mature, successful woman could be guided in the same way as an overwhelmed teenager, it seems that was the expectation.


Piers Morgan wrote a little piece in The Daily Mail calling the Duchess a “ruthless social climber.”  His basis for that opinion is her discontinuation of all communications with him after her engagement to Prince Harry.  He clearly was hoping for some sort of inside track of information from the Royal Household. She, of course, displayed appropriate boundaries by her actions.  Piers Morgan claims she only uses people, when it is he who had that intent. When he didn’t succeed, he stood on his media platform and jeered like a boy in a schoolyard.  


There’s good reason to be wary of Piers Morgan, which most Americans do not know.


Piers Morgan was largely unscathed by the Milly Dowler controversy.  He was editor of a major newspaper that hacked into the voicemail of a missing girl, listened to the messages, then deleted messages to make space for more eavesdropping on future messages.  The Dowler family had false hope of their daughter’s survival because they thought she was alive and deleting her own messages. What cruelty. And illegality, since it also interfered with a police investigation.


So this is the character of the person the Duchess of Sussex distanced herself from upon her engagement to Prince Harry.  Editor of the same media outlet that eavesdropped on phone calls of the Royal household to distribute private information to the public.  Now he laments, publicly, their loss of connection, which only demonstrates her good sense.


Random and public comments on the character of the Duchess of Sussex because she doesn’t return your calls is not responsible.  By using public airwaves and right-of-ways for your speculations, you have agreed to, and failed, your duty to the public, who provide the infrastructure and public property rights that your business uses.


So the news of the discontent in the Royal Family, and associated bitter commentary, has no other dimension than “Hey, if we say this, we will sell advertising!”  Certainly, that is Piers Morgan’s level.


So long as there is a dividing line between social media and “the media” there should be a responsibility one as well.


And is it really “news” when a disgruntled father, or whatever his problem is, has yet another public musing about his daughter refusing to talk to him?  

Courtiers are always going to complain.  Media figures are always getting “hot tips” from the attention-seeking or revenge-seeking.  We simply ask that this time, some discernment is employed before another princess is killed while being chased by you.

3.04.2018

Frankenstein - The Robot That Hires You by Christine Axsmith

Robots Get You a Job Interview


Interviews are hard to get. Robots, Frankenstein-like creatures, keep your resume from being seen by decision-makers.



Frankenstein the Robot That Hires You Success Without College book series
Success Without College book series by Christine Axsmith


Part of the $uccess Without College Roadmap book series, Frankenstein - The Robot That Hires You by Christine Axsmith shows you how to hack those barriers to a new job or a new career.

About the Author Christine Axsmith and Success Without College



Christine Axsmith grew up in a area where most people didn’t go to college. Later, her career took a sharp left turn after taking a stand against waterboarding at the CIA. From there, she reinvented herself as the owner of a successful dog walking company, a guardian for the elderly and disabled, a trial attorney and a writer. These experiences taught her how to learn from successful people and to draw a roadmap to recreate their success. In recent years, as lawyers started getting replaced by software, it sparked Christine Axsmith’s interest in this topic.

Success Without College book series author Christine Axsmith Background



Christine Axsmith uses her extensive research skills to provide a roadmap for non-college success in her books by interviewing self-made millionaires and other people in the software field.

There are many media reports about success without college statistics, and many of them will tell you that the income a person earns is dramatically increased with a college degree. That was the old days. More than that, only a little over half of college students get a four year degree. Now, when calculating whether college is a good "investment," you need to include the cost of student loans. 


Christine Axsmith has been published by NIST and NSA regarding information security law, has presented papers at MIT conferences and the International Bar Association, and actively participated in the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law - Electronic Commerce Working Group. Her research on encryption export became required reading at Harvard Law School. 

What are your chances of success without college degree?  

In this $uccess Without College Book series by Christine Axsmith, investigate how to be a success without going to college with Christine Axsmith.  There are many media reports about success without college statistics, and many of them will tell you that the income a person earns is dramatically increased with a college degree.  That was the old days.  Now, when calculating whether college is a good "investment," you need to include the cost of student loans.  $uccess Without College Roadmap gives real success stories without college degrees, and improves your chances of success without college by providing a roadmap for you to follow the people who have already done it.  The goal of $uccess Without College Roadmap books is to increase your percentage of success without college.
Students who have success without college are people who work hard  People who have success without college think outside the box, which means they have the courage and intelligence to do what is right for them. Stories of success without college provide paths to success without college.  

Tuition is up, and college tuition is up, too.  

While college tuition is increasing, it many seems like a tuition scam is going on.  Students in debt, and some can't afford college at all.  Students can't afford college are people our country needs for the future of our economic wealth.  When people can't afford college, and college tuition is too high, traditional education as a path to a successful career needs a rethink.  Debt-ridden students from higher education will not be able to fuel our economy by buying cars and houses.  

While some say higher education is a scam, and there is a decline of college enrollment, $uccess Without College Roadmap books are not a diatribe against college.  It just suggests that college is a choice, and not necessary to be an American success.  College is also not the only way to succeed in many occupations.  Maybe you can go to college in ten years, or five years, after you are established financially and professionally.  That is fine.  The $uccess Without College Roadmap series only gives you suggestions, and roadmaps to alternatives.

10.15.2017

Tourism in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Tourism



Saudi Arabia has a wealth of natural beauty on its shores with the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The coastline is as original as it was ten thousand years ago. It is completely undeveloped desert wilderness. You are stepping back in time.


And now Saudi Arabia wants to become a beach holiday place. It is long-term thinking. After all, the world will turn away from oil soon enough and their economy needs something to stand on. In that sense, it is not a bad idea.

The Saudi beach experience will not be like any you have had before.


The Saudis built roads along the beach that extend far beyond any houses, or any building of any kind. Many roads were built to set up the infrastructure of future growth based on oil money Saudi Arabia has now.  Their religious police don't go there.  And they certainly don't go farther than the road itself. Yet that is what an adventuring friend and I did.  There, I wore a bathing suit.  It was just myself, my friend and Phillipino servants who went there to drink.  Alcohol.


We put our snorkels and flippers on and set out in to the Dead Sea.


It was like a public television adventure, but I was in it. The fish and the coral were all around us. The water was clear and cool, quite unlike my experiences in Wildwood, NJ.

Saudi Arabian tourism could be a fantastic idea, based on my experiences there.  The big obstacles to Saudi tourism are the scorching sun, the religious police, separate and awful facilities for women, the media diet, and the desert itself.  


Scorching Sun



You don’t know what a scorching sun is until you’ve been to the Saudi beach.  The sun will burn under the top layer of skin, and you can feel it for a few days.  And that is without any redness on the top of your skin.  Seriously.  Now, I am what I like to say is “skin cancer candidate number one.”  Me be pale.  Very pale.  So my experience may be extreme compared to most of the planet.  But if you are a human being, you will need sun protection at the Saudi beach, and I slathered that stuff on every 15 minutes.


Religious Police



They are going to be there somewhere.  There is no way they would let go of that power for what will be a major economic influx for the country. In fact, some of their powers have already been curbed.


The religious police were an interesting experience for me.  The first Gulf War had just ended and most of the troops had been withdrawn.  During their time there, I heard more than one story about a female soldier hitting a religious policeman and then hopping in her vehicle and driving away.  The religious codes are enforced by religious policemen, always men, hitting women with little switches if they violated the dress code.  So one of them decided to hit this American soldier with his switch because she was wearing her uniform.  That’s when she decked him.  


Now I am not going to say that the dress code will be addressed like this by every Western woman, but the Saudi religious police need to be ready for more resistance than usual.


Separate But Equal



If Saudi Arabia is serious about tourism, they can’t have the “separate but equal” accommodations for women.  Just as the phrase meant historically in the United States, one side has vastly inferior options to the other.  Even the Saudi houses were divided between male and female, with the male side being much nicer than the woman’s.  


Maybe Saudi Arabian women put up with it, but none of the rest of us do.  


Like with any changes, you can’t just change one thing and think everything else is going to remain the same.  Saudi Arabian religious police must adjust to a reduced power status, and there's bound to be some backlash.  Imagine having the power to admonish almost anybody on the street, and to hit women who offended you, justified or not.  Then, enter tourism.  


After Saudi tourism, they will not have to power to arrest and punish on the spot.  They will be in a business of attraction, not punishment.  It will be a major adjustment for those policemen, many of them skinny, short men.  


The Media Diet



You will see no pictures of women’s bodies there.  It was very weird at first, and then a little funny.  The most skin you got was from Egyptian soap operas, where middle-aged women fell in love with hunky young men all the time.  And yes, they were fully draped with gobs of makeup.  So much makeup, in fact, it was like an abaya for the face.


But this media diet of “no female flesh” had an interesting side-effect:  I stopped feeling fat.  It was the first time since I was 8 years old that I didn’t feel fat.  


It was also the first time I was introduced to the idea of a media diet - that what you consume with your eyes is a diet too.  And that visual diet will affect how you feel about yourself and how you see yourself.


To my mind, the media diet in Saudi Arabia is going to be the surprise benefit to Saudi tourism.  I have always thought that Saudi Arabia would be a perfect place to recover from eating disorders.  I must mention that to the Saudi Ambassador the next time I see him.


The Desert



The mighty Saudi desert destroys anything in its path.  That shit will eat up concrete and decay metal.  Good luck building there.


But there is gold in that there overheated sand:  adventure.


I am truly one of those high-risk personalities.  I walked away from the shore, found my camel bones, and explored tiny huts that had been abandoned not long ago, but long enough for the desert to eat them up.  The wind and the sand are brutal.


A Saudi desert vacation paradise has lots of opportunity for visitors to ride camels, lunch in a desert tent like a nomad, watch a fake harem dance, bargain in a fake souq, watch sample sword fights, and have midnight picnics.


About the midnight picnics:  damn, those were fun!  One thing about Saudis - those people are WAY into picnics.  The idea of a picnic was introduced to Saudi Arabia in the 20th Century by the British, and was adopted with the relish of the converted.  Now, any visitor to Jeddah, Riyadh or Dhahran will see Saudis picnicking in CVS parking lots. Yes, there’s CVS in Saudi Arabia, along with Pizza Hut, McDonalds and Safeway, which for international legal reasons is called Safestway.  As a note, American cashiers are not generally interested in knowing this.


Saudi Arabian picnics, when done right, are something that cannot be missed.  It seems the real party starts after dark on the shores of the Persian Gulf.  All sober, of course, at least as far as I could tell.  There were wedding parties on the beach at midnight - dozens of men singing and dancing and collapsing with laughter on the sand.  The hidden joy of life came out late at night in Saudi Arabia.  You have not experienced Saudi Arabia until you have been on the beach under the full moon with little kids running up to you and wanting to touch your hair or shake your hand.  And, of course, running away at the last minute, only to do it again. And again.  And again.  It was really fun.


I am optimistic about tourism in Saudi Arabia.  If it is done right, tourists could have an unique holiday experience that is different from any other place on Earth.  I hope it works out for them.