Saturday, June 21, 2014

No. 000029 Sherpa missed a lot at and before his UMSL Commencement

1. Trust those who are greedy for money a thousand time more than those who are greedy for credentials.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Aphorisms, Rules, and Heuristics 

Sunday's Everyday Section of the Post turned over precious inches to Joe Holleman to express his view that Rutgers should not have disinvited Condoleezza Rice from a commencement speech invitation. Her best qualification appears to be her Augusta National Golf Club membership.

Sherpa: Go to college, narrow your mind : Lifestyles:

Since Holleman mentioned but did not object to Tony La Russa's appearance I Washington University, the essay suggested to me a learning opportunity about Nassim Nicholas Taleb's "Skin in the Game" filter.

Mr. Taleb also has a Facebook page on which journalists, like Joe Holleman, are forbidden as they lack "Skin in the Game." More material is collected here.

Mr. Taleb can be followed on Twitter.

Mr. Taleb has just published a growing list of 212 aphorisms, rules and heuristics to aid you in your life and decision making. This comes in addition to his previously released book of philosophical and practical aphorisms, The Bed of Procrustes. The list can be found in it’s current form as a Google document under the title, Additional Aphorisms, Rules and Heuristics (Added to the Incerto) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. His original list is here.

Enough introduction. Let's turn to the question, about what does Condoleezza Rice have enough skin in the game by which we should pay attention to her?

By skin in the game, to what damage will Ms. Rice be exposed if she used the address to offer more of her ill conceived neo-conservative nonsense.

Joe, having read you column, I'm stumped. 

In considering your answer, you might want to think about the lessons of history about Vietnam that Rice didn't learn when she participated in the removal of Saddam Hussein. 

You will recall Vietnam, where in October and November 1963 the United States participated in the murder of Diem for the purpose of regime change.

Upon learning of Diệm's ouster and assassination, Hồ Chí Minh reportedly stated: 
“I can scarcely believe the Americans would be so stupid.”
The North Vietnamese Politburo in a report stated: 
“The consequences of the 1 November coup d'état will be contrary to the calculations of the U.S. imperialists ... Diệm was one of the strongest individuals resisting the people and Communism. Everything that could be done in an attempt to crush the revolution was carried out by Diệm. Diệm was one of the most competent lackeys of the U.S. imperialists ... Among the anti-Communists in South Vietnam or exiled in other countries, no one has sufficient political assets and abilities to cause others to obey. Therefore, the lackey administration cannot be stabilized. The coup d'état on 1 November 1963 will not be the last.”
Hồ Chí Minh's analysis was correct.
Before dawn on January 30, 1964, General Nguyen Khanh ousted the military junta led by General Duong Van Minh from the leadership of South Vietnam. It came less than three months after Minh's junta had themselves come to power in the coup against Diem.
This was followed on February 19, 1965 with some units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam commanded by General Lam Van Phat and Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao launching a coup against  Khanh. Their aim was to install General Tran Thien Khiem, a Khanh rival who had been sent to Washington DC as Ambassador to the United States to prevent him from seizing power. The attempted coup reached a stalemate, and although the trio did not take power, a group of officers led by General Nguyen Chanh Thi and Air Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky, and hostile to both the plot and to Khanh himself, were able to force a leadership change and take control themselves with the support of American officials.
 What did Rice (and Bush) think they had on Jack Kennedy?