Review: Comeback America–Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility (Hardcover)

3 Star, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Economics, Electoral Reform USA, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), True Cost & Toxicity, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)

3.0 out of 5 stars Ten Years Late, More Whimper than Roar

February 7, 2010

David Walker

I was watching David Walker as he served nine of his fifteen years at Comptroller General, with light-weight whimpers to Congress until he finally got Peter Peterson to bail him out of government and give him a chunk of cash for making movies and writing a book and creating a web site that very few serious under 40 pioneers pay attention to.

I was thrilled to see him tell Congress in 2007 that the US was bankrupt–both Senator McCain and Senator Obama could have cared less–and so he walked quietly back to his holding cell at the General Accountability Office (GAO).  His “loyalty” to impeachable masters is just as troubling to me as the loyalty of our military leaders during the neo-con rampage.

This book loses one star for the publishers arrogance and ineptitude in failing to use all of the tools Amazon provides, so that readers like myself who read a great deal and do not buy books on whim, can actually look at the table of contents. If you want a sense what the author has to say, see the Wikipedia page on the US Federal Budget where the author's fingerprints are elegantly visible.

If and when the publisher acts more responsibly and provides Look Inside the Book information as well standard entries via Amazon Advantage (about the book, about the author, editorial reviews), I will buy the book, read it, and review it.

The book loses a second star for being wildly praised by all the unethical losers that got us into this mess in the first place by sacrificing their ethics and selling the two party system out to Wall Street. Bill Bradley in particular is a major disappointment, he slunk off to Allen and Company where George “Slam Dunk” Tenet is also in hiding, and they have profited handsomely for betraying the public trust for over a decade. Edumund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Even better is the following from Chief Justice Louis Brandeis:

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Review (Guest) DVD: I.O.U.S.A. DVD on US Bankruptcy

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Country/Regional, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Public), Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

David Walker (Peter G. Peterson Foundation), Bob Bixby (Concord Coalition) Director: Patrick Creadon

Product Description: America is on the brink of a financial meltdown. I.O.U.S.A. boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States. Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions.   Over 125 minutes of bonus materials, including exclusive interviews with Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan and others.

Phi Beta Iota:  Walker was Comptroller General and briefed Senate in 2007 on bankruptcy.  He resigned in the 9th year of a 15 year term.  Peterson, his sponsor, is the author of Running on Empty–How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About I.

5 stars an outstanding and informative film, April 22, 2009

By Matthew G. Sherwin

I.O.U.S.A. educates people about the very real and very dangerous financial problems our government is facing. The producers of the film pull no punches here and they don't sugar-coat it; and that was the right thing to do. The way Americans live today is essentially “living for the moment” without thinking of the importance of saving money for a rainy day; and the film goes into great, great detail highlighting that the American government does the same. I will tell you just some of the points made by this movie; although it will seem as if I've given it all away I assure you that I haven't.
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Journal: Wayne Madson on “Conflict or Revolution”


Confidential Doc Warns Of Conflict Or Revolution For US

Wayne Madsen Report


WMR has learned from knowledgeable sources within the US financial community that an alarming confidential and limited distribution document is circulating among senior members of Congress and their senior staff members that is warning of a bleak future for the United States if it does not quickly get its financial house in order. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is among those who have reportedly read the document.

The document is being called the “C & R” document because it reportedly states that if the United States defaults on loans and debt underwriting from China, Japan, and Russia, all of which are propping up the United States government financially, and the United States unilaterally cancels the debts, America can expect a war that will have disastrous results for the United States and the world. “Conflict” is the “C word” in the document.

The other scenario is that the federal government will be forced to drastically raise taxes in order to pay off debts to foreign countries to the point that the American people will react with a popular revolution against the government. “Revolution” is the document's “R word.”

Click on the title to read the rest of the Madsen report.  Commentary below the fold.

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Review: Resilience Thinking–Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World

5 Star, Complexity & Resilience, Environment (Solutions), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design
Resilience Thinking
Amazon Page

Gem of Useful Education, February 24, 2008

Brian Walker

This is a gem of an educational book. Mixing case studies with elaborating chapters on key concepts, it's as a good a volume as I have found for teaching undergraduates, graduates, and practitioners (farmers, factory managers, investors) the core ideas needed to restore a sustainable social-ecological system.

Highlights for me:

+ Optemization is a false premise, simplifies complex systems we do not understand, with the result that we end up causing long-term damage.

+ Resilience thinking is systems thinking. I cannot help but think back to all of the excellent work in the 1970's and 1980's–the authors were simply a quarter century ahead of their time.

+ In a nut-shell, resilient system can absorb severe disturbance.

+ System resilience is affected by context, connections across scales of time and space, and current system state in relations to threshholds.

+ Fresh water, fisheries, and topsoil depletion are major failures.

+ Drivers of environmental degradation are poverty, willful excessive consumption, and lack of knowledge (from another book, I recall that changes to the Earth that used to take 10,000 years now take three, one reason we need real-time science).

+ Key concepts are threshholds and adaptive cycles. Adaptive cycles have four phases: Rapid Growth; Conservation; Release; and Reorganization.

+ Redundancy is NOT a dirty word (just as intelligence–decision support–should not be a dirty word within the United Nations)

+ Ecological networks cannot be understood nor nurtured with a tight linking and understanding of the social networks that interact with the ecological networks.

+ Subsidies are a form of social denial, as they subsidize unsustainable practices and prevent adaptation and change.

+ Lovely–absolutely lovely–chart on page 89 about time-scales of climate and natural disasters like major fires.

+ One size does not fit all–solutions for one social-ecological network, e.g. in the USA, will not be the same as for another, e.g. in Norway.

+ Diversity is the key to regeneration.

+ Governances must be able to see and act upon key intervention points.

+ A Resilient world would be characterized by:

1. Diversity
2. Ecological variables
3. Modularity
4. Acknowledgement of slow variables
5. Tight feedbacks
6. Social capital
7. Innovation
8. Overlap in governance
9. Ecosystem services

Within this small and very easy to absorb book one finds a great annotated bibliography of recommended readings, a fine reference section, and a very solid index.

Other books that come to mind as complements to this one (limited to ten links by Amazon):
The leadership of civilization building: Administrative and civilization theory, symbolic dialogue, and citizen skills for the 21st century
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
Ecological Economics: Principles And Applications
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design
High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them
Pandora's Poison: Chlorine, Health, and a New Environmental Strategy
The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink

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