Friday, September 29, 2006

Our country’s future

Another election is on the way and again we vote for our house, and some of our senate, all in 2006.

This election is important to me because it will affect my progenies future. I could care less about my future. I’ve had my run.

So what might be best for my progeny (ages 11 through 31)?

Security from Islamic attack is number one.

Number two is a chance to earn a good job that rewards them. If they don’t want to work hard, screw them. Somebody else will. And I will still love them, albeit with tough love.

After this opportunity, I am almost ready to put up with about any western alternative lifestyle, except hard work and dedication every day is mandatory.

So if my progeny is lazy or lacking, I think my country will survive to go forward. This idea applies to myself, also.

The world is bigger than me, of course.

And the power of ideas is enormous. The pen is mightier than the sword, so to speak.

And the idea of ideas, culturally applied, suggests some of us just want to do good to feel good, and some other of us want to do good to make things happen. I think this is fair.

So at this time in the upcoming election, I suggest we lead.

Ignore all the election experts in your area and your regional and national areas and just vote yourself. I think we are common sense smarter than all the hype, focus group party platforms, and media experts that make their living assuming they can manipulate us.

I, personally, can accept the results.
Where have all the flowers gone? …Long time passing.

I was born in 1948 and my generation was taught standards and opportunities earned by those who taught me. This group to me includes my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and some cousins. They experienced the death and injury of relatives from combat in both World Wars, and later.

It was wonderful for me to be idealistic, educated, protected, and willing to lead by example in the 60’s. We knew our cause and style of applying it would change the world.. It was obvious that the Western World’s lead would influence the rest of the world for the best, as we knew it. Bob Dylan, even if he could not really sing, had the messages in his poetry.

Back then teachers even taught me history that included the strong American character of isolation from foreign threats to we the people. Today I can see one history teacher’s face, just not remember her name.

The light bulb went on about age 17. If I believed it, I would have to serve…like do the military and go in harms way. No talking the talk, just walk the walk. I voted that way with my feet and joined. My younger brother planned on going to Canada.

I did the Newport Folk Festival when it was changing from a folk musical festival to a protest festival about 1967. It was the first time I experienced prejudice as the young gals there taunted people like me with sexual type displays (I had to be in a Naval ROTC uniform during my summer requirement). I got my feelings hurt. I was in the political minority there and then, for sure.

Vietnam later provided friction to this idealism, but so did MTV. And my brother was at Vanderbilt.

Then I lived overseas and perceived the local disgust of the media coming out of America. “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll” is cute here only.

The repression of ideas by inquisition, murder, and mayhem I studied has not gone away as I was sure the human race had evolved. It still happens, even morphing into character and integrity tainting.

The USA continues to be a melting pot of peoples that emigrate to this land and country because of hope.

The balance of idealism and pragmatism in our religious and educational institutions continues to swing as a pendulum. All out-of-balances will naturally correct over time, and they will.

Journalism is a business. Media control will always be attempted by politicians.

The effects of television and its myopic tendencies will balance out with other medias as we citizens gain another 50 years experience with all of the mediums which includes the internet.

The political institutions will always be about the frictions between performance and ideal intentions.

Greater civility in American cultural discourse will return and grow because that is who we are.

The techno outburst of 500 TV channels for many of us with young children is fraught with perils. Even NOGIN now has teen programming that includes teen girls making out.

I grew up without TV, and even radio was limited. Back then we had to read (or be read to) books, or play Family games together, like Scrabble. The games could be tough as we fought each other, and talked.

It seems less that I have changed over time, but that the world has changed more. I feel I have been more forced away from groups that changed than been pulled towards groups that have changed less.

Now is the time for more flowers to grow, again. We, the people, are the planters.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Don’t forget about bandits

They have many names in American English: bandits, banditos, criminals, mafia, guerillas, freedom fighters, terrorists, Islamic fascists, Apaches, Pancho Villa, and sometimes ideologues.

This article is about the criminals who wrap themselves in political cover to protect themselves and cover their tracks of criminal behavior.

It does appear there may be an increase in criminal behavior, often exhibited as rogue militias in the third world. I think this behavior is about the same, given my discount of poor western media reporting. Others with more local information may disagree, and even see a vacuum of civilization as exhibited by poor governance. This view may be right, also. Also consider the influence of drug money ultimately from our USA drug users.

Complicating all this is history. The fog between bandits and local criminal gangs is close. It is confusing for all the right reasons.

In my local area on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, the civil war is still alive and well, and one local hero who was probably a bandit on the side was later, after the war, tried and hung and buried in this land. And his burial site is still a place to visit.

And then I listen to my Brit friends who compare NYC crime rates to northern Ireland during the worst IRA guerilla actions, and things do look different. Since most of us Americans are revolutionists at heart (I think), the idea of being an IRA kind of guy is appealing: sleep in, plenty of sex, lots of booze, work periodically, get paid now and then, and be a well respected freedom fighter.

I think all of the aforementioned type of people are low life criminals at heart, and they need to be killed (as opposed to the politically correct term of eliminated).

Do not be confused as to criminal motivation. If in doubt, tie goes to killing them as part of a war. This is not a legal action against criminals. Our ancestors have been through this drill, and tie has always gone to war, not legal action.

We do have a way of life to defend. And for those who disagree, let’s vote.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Responsibility for communicating is a two way street, I think

Most of us have experience with the subject. It may be our siblings, our spouses, our families, our politics, our nation, our tribe, and even our religion. But most of us have experience in the communication process in one or more of the preceding.

Recently the communications gap between parts of the world seems appalling, to me.

It appears people are often talking past each other. This problem is as old as history, but terrible things can come out of this problem.

The confusion around whether it’s nature is religions, cultures, nations, tribes, local vs. international causes, or just despots and megalomaniacs is made worse by inflaming media reporting. To me it is all of the above. I can pick any confusing issue, and really get wound up.

For me, it’s personality dependent.

For example, when it is reported that some low level Muslim cleric or citizen tells the Pope to convert and die, I get really wound up. But should I? And I am not Catholic.

“Should I” means like going to a shooting war with all its terrible consequences. But then I calm down some when I think about communications.

I have busted my tail to think like the other side on the Islam stuff in the forefront today. I am not Muslim, but I used to be in the Marines, so I know how important it is to know the other side, respect his values, and seek ways to help him help me. If that doesn’t work, then we kill him. It hardly gets to the last point, since we all know we will leave and come back home to the USA, and he will still be there with his family.

Much of the recent media reporting and many other resources that focus on the other side I have inhaled. History, culture, values, religions, tribes, nation states, political systems, and economics have all been consumed by my homework.

It is especially important for me to realize, and state to the readers, that many issues and conflicts and frictions are at play. One size does not fit all.

So where am I today?

The subject says it all. Communications is a two way street, I think.

Where is the effort on the other side to listen to us, know our values, our intents, our bottom line determination to protect our families and defend our way of life?…and to state all this for later media reporting. Are there leaders on the other side who do their “inhaling”?

I answer my question as follows: The effort is there by those on the other side who believe and understand that communications is a two way street. We don’t have to agree with them necessarily, but edicts and non-negotiable demands are a non-starter. That all this is not well media reported is obvious.

So, as I believe, that communications is a two way street, then it is time to hear more discussion from the other side.

The other side I think of are not the fascist, racist, megalomaniac, criminal religious types, but the regular people like you and me.

Somebody, please step up to the plate…in western terms.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Only a child a mother could love

Historical guesses and today’s marital opinions are confusing for most of our younger readers.

The immigration to the Americas occurred long before Columbus sailed. It was a two way street, and came from the east, and the west. This theory, though not agreed upon by all, is probably correct. The details are still being researched and up for grabs. Depending on where you live in the USA, if you live in the Dakota Minnesota area, for example, there was probably an Icelandic and earlier immigration, for example. If you live on the west coast and up to Canadian B.C., there is a Polynesian example. Since I am on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, I am probably a true mongrel from Melungeons and other such occupiers of this land from across the Atlantic.

And of course, after Columbus, a lot more emigration occurred.

Almost all of us USA Americans are mongrels, in the genealogy and dog breeding sense.

Many elitists and purists look down on mongrels of all kinds.

What little I understand about dog breeding is that inbreeding of a kind, like a golden retriever, may reinforce introducing defective genes. In the same method, mutts tend to reinforce the suppressing of defective genes.

The USA seems to reinforce the mutt/mongrel idea of breeding.

While most USA children still get married for “first comes love, then marriage, then baby in the baby carriage”, I think the more eastern method of “first comes marriage, then baby in the baby carriage, then love “may work better for my progeny. Who knows. In the end, we are mongrels or mutts, genealogy wise.

So all mothers love their children. And most kids are of good mongrel blood, as if forget the western adage, even if the breeding does occur.

After they are bred, let’s go forward in time.

What bothers me, as in to ask in this article, is why are children of Christians of the same faith, and the children of Moslems muslim, the children of Buddists buddist, and so on?

Is this a human foible? Of course it is, I think.

So how can a mother love such a person?

Is it just humanity, or religion, or politics, or something else?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Don’t trust anyone under 30

It is a profound time in anyone’s life when something trips you that gradual aging has passed a critical point, a node, a surprise, a jolt, a kind hint, a sarcastic hint, maybe an injury, and even a real report that my age has become generational. I have become of another generation that has, or may have been, superseded in the old fashioned normal way. In my case this is the old fashioned USA way.

Politics come to mind now as I think of war and peace and being passed by, and knowing I am too old to serve. I do want to serve again, but my presence may do more harm than good. Boy, does that thought hurt. And yet, I also think how very important it is now to think of war and peace and how it might affect my progeny. The normal human instinct is to say I am willing to go in harms way, but committing my progeny to the same is another matter. I want them to succeed where I don’t really give a darn about me.

And there are other cultures where the “old” have different positions in families, societies, and life in general. I tend to read about these cultures in aging articles and National Geographic magazine articles. And I have lived in some of these cultures, and seen all this with my own eyes. Obon in Okinawa especially impresses me.

And now to today’s friction between Islamic wackos and us decadent western types. Maybe we old people can bring something to the plate. And I speak of a plate that is two way, and I put ideas on and take ideas off of the plate.

Much friction today is from ideas from long dead people. Maybe they were intellectuals worthy of reading today, and maybe they were megalomaniacs operating in their small world. The ideas of Salafism and Qutbism from those objecting to the Arabian dictatorships come to mind. Wahhabism and its oil and desert tribe funding in Arabia are apparent to old people like me. Then there are Madrasah’s in Pakistan, but the evil Moslem input is totally over reported, in my humble opinion. And Pakistan is the sixth biggest country in the world, by the way.

And all I want is for my progeny to have a chance to go forward in their own lives.

Here’s what maybe old USA people like me can bring to the plate. We have the time to read and research, and then say what we think. That is very powerful. And probably it is.

In the other cultures, I am not sure.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Shooting wars 101...a western perspective

I am going to be negative, then I will be positive

There seems to be an incredible amount of misunderstanding between cultures as they talk past each other. I think the Muslim and Christian communities have more in common than not.

There seems to be a rising tide of exasperation with Islamic actions by western media pundits.

This frustration is more and more mentioning a shooting war as a reluctant alternative. Most of these authors have not served, nor will have to serve, or have their kids serve in harms way. For those who I have insulted, I apologize. A lot of today’s kids are stepping up to the plate.

If ever there were a time for media to be responsible about “just the news” it is now. The BBC’s inflamed reporting of the Pope’s comments, and in all the local languages broadcast over short wave, is appalling because it looks to this westerner as either really ignorant broadcasting, or a deliberate effort to start a war and get people killed. What megalomania in either case. I suspect none of the BBC people so responsible will serve in harms way, either. This principle also applies to al-Jazerra.

Could this be the yellow press in a new reincarnation? I think so. If it is, I will not be drawn in!

The Colin Powell principles still apply, especially for the USA. Right now I don’t think the criteria will lead us to a greater shooting war with Islam’s fascists. In fact, I think US will is so divided, thanks to my political opponents by the way, that the USA will just tolerate about anything as long as it does not harm us.

The USA does have a long history of isolationism and pacifism that is part of our culture. I am not sure of why, but I think our physical isolation in the old days may have had something to do with all this. We had bigger fish to fry.

It’s a confusing time, since the end of the cold war with communism should have brought an end to the idea of war and apocalypse and other religious end of days terms.

Now we western types are in the soup again. Why?

The question presumes we can influence the world, and that we will try to do so.

Now I will be positive.

The friction with Islam’s fanatics is not national. The USA may be a big gorilla, but that is all we are. That the president of France back in January threatened a nuclear bomb response tells me he was responding to a valid threat as reported to him by his intel people.

The EU countries will not be Islamized inspite of present trends. The obvious comment is that these good family people come to the EU for economic and political reasons. And the other obvious comment to this USA commenter is that, in the long run, the immigrants will adopt their new countries standards. I have heard much the same from a relative living in a Bengali community in London, for example. And I think all this in spite of all I read about EU countries inherent prejudice. The British example recently makes me nervous, but I expect in the end british society will dominate, as always, I hope.

Women are key. The power of female emancipation throughout the world will change everything. A world ruled by listening to ½ the population will be different. While I don’t like it, I agree that the world will different.

Between the USA and EU, people should pay attention as to economics, and more importantly politics.

Do not ignore Japan, India, Brazil, and even Australia.

All deserve a place in the UN security council, but that is another article.

And yes, we the USA types are learning from our mistakes in Iraq.

It is still amazing to me that a very small group of mostly arab western educated people will move to Iraq and kill themselves, and as many other tribal enemies because of religion, politics, and power.

Will this very dedicated group influence our western and USA policy. Right now it looks so.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Things in perspective…revolutions in Iran and China

I would rather be the leader of any western country today than the leaders of Iran, and China. Here’s why.

One country at a time.

Iran’s government is a dictatorship run by theocrats (ayatollahs) and a slightly lunatic president who has only known success, to include his university time taking over the US Embassy in 1979. Much of this dictatorial group is more arab oriented than the majority Persian population.

Here are population statistics:
Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%

Here are language statistics:
Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%

Some of the theocrats can barely speak Persian. This says legions. And their pernicious imposition on the population of their visions is tenuous, at best.

Their power today seems to be less idea based than oil based. Present Iranian threats to disrupt their oil output and even to interrupt the Persian Gulf output through the Strait of Hormuz are mostly talk from weak third world tin despots that are full of themselves. Most of the Iranian oil and even Persian Gulf oil goes east, as in to China and others, and they can not and will not tolerate this effort to hurt the west. I feel confident this has already been “expressed” in the appropriate way.

If you believe a nation's government has one responsibility to at least try to improve the lot of its citizens, then the present Iranian government is failing, and no amount of secret police, intimidation, and even billboards extolling martyrdom can change what mothers and fathers think. Because the older Iranian people have lived under other regimes, they especially know the difference.

Of such situations, revolutions are made. More to follow.

On to China, first.

My opinion about revolution there is strategic in nature, though I will drop down to operational a little bit.

China has never been able to rule itself for any historically extended period of time. This inherent principle still applies. China is not homogeneous, just like Iran is not homogeneous.

The normal historical friction is usually expressed as the inland Chinese tribes vs. the coastal Chinese tribes. It is more modernly called the friction between the governing inland Chinese tribes vs. the more entrepreneurial coastal Chinese tribes (to include the Vietnamese by the way). At the operational level, it is the massively corrupted communist Chinese government (to include the military that runs entire business empires) vs. the business people running on rampant capitalism vs. the regular people being overrun by too fast an economic change, tribal change, and even environmental change. People do not take birth defects well if they think, as they do, that it is not mother nature at work.

And somewhat as in Iran, no amount of secret police, intimidation, and media control efforts will change what mothers and fathers think. And we all really resent nepotism.

When China took over Hong Kong, some wondered if, in the end, Hong Kong might take over China?

Of such situations, revolutions are made.

The last part of this article is difficult for me, for now I am somewhat out of my league.

Of what are revolutions made? What precipitates a revolution?

I use an historical approach. As a child of the 60’s, I think the US went through a revolution, though it was different from what I think will happen in Iran and China. And for sure the Soviet Union’s dissolution was another revolution of sorts, in my opinion.

I think one size do not fit all. Iran’s and China’s revolutions will be local… and violent with much blood let.

Iran seems like a case of the majority being ruled by a minority bent on its objectives.

China seems like a case of historical friction exacerbated by resentment of corruption and nepotism and “birth defects” .

Only time will tell.


The USA was born through revolution. So some revolutions can have good consequences.
I think some English still think of George Washington as a terrorist.

When I told my Israeli classmate at Command and Staff College at Quantico that I at the time considered Menachem Begin an imperialist, and compared him to my Leon Uris novel writer motivations, he knew and agreed with my disappointments and frustrations, at least he said so, and I believed him.

Menachem Begin was a terrorist in his youthful time. This comment in the class by a Delta Force fellow got a big protest from the Israeli embassy. So much for schooling, except in the USMC school, it stuck.

Predicting is a human foible. For anyone who has read this far, focus on your judgment about enemy capabilities. That is where the meat is. Judging intents from media reports is a waste of your intellectual time. Do use media reports to figure out what is the other sides objectives, sometimes even called centers of gravity.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cutting through the noise to get to the basics

Examples of noise that get my emotional attention are:

70% of Quebecers blame US policy for 911. But there are more people in New York City than in Quebec. And New York City people are very patriotic.

Charlatan pontifications get main stream media attention, such as from the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Yet while he was being a “spiritual advisor” to our President Clinton about his running around on his wife, Jesse was banging a University of Georgia professor, and apparently not using safe sex, since she conceived and he paid, somehow.

Teddy Kennedy can say anything, anytime, and any place, to include mispronouncing Supreme Court nominee Alito’s name in front of Congress. Yet now there is no mention of that embarrassment, or of his manslaughter of Mary Joe Kopechnie while he and his running mates was running around on their wives. Yea I know, the government did not prosecute, but I think we all can guess why.

Any normal comment about Muslims, such as by Pope Benedict, or even some dumb cartoons in Denmark, can set off an Islamic firestorm in the press. Most of the whole world agrees with the Pope, to include most Muslims. They have bigger fish to fry. All the press reports add up to maybe a couple thousand people out of 1.4 billion Muslims. You do the math.

In the meantime, western media types publish articles about the Pope’s lack of mastery of media control and spin. Where’s the beef? Substance does matter. People focusing on spin and taking the least common denominator and moral equivalency are not the people I would vote for. Who cares that they can “report”.

Democratic party news releases are omnipresent. Who thinks this stuff up? After about the fifth brochure about what the party thinks (long since superseded by another brochure), they lost credibility with me. Of course, who believes them at this point?

Al Jazeera can publish anything without any western coughs, like BS. Beheadings of innocent civilians are apparently normal to western reverberations of “the news”. I assume all the high tech they use is from the employees’ western educations and life styles, to include alcohol and bacon. This is not theoretical.

My life has been threatened before by such people. Go figure. And all I am doing is saying what I think. And I am a common citizen.

BBC and even Reuters employees have killed the “goose that laid the golden egg“. These employees have abused all the legacies their predecessors earned by hard work and standards, and people like me have been run off. I am old enough to know the difference, and it is profound. For those not old enough, just read about staged events then reported as news to be concerned. How the BBC still gets government money is probably because the BBC also does good social work. Sounds a little bit like Hezbollah, doesn’t it. In the end, citizens wanting to be informed of the news should ignore the BBC.

Some wacko PHD professor somewhere says the USA government and conspiracy did 911, not the attackers. Where is the outrage as to the vetting process for awarding the title PHD to such educated fools. Is there a review process for the awarders of such a degree?

OK, I am naïve. My two plus years overseas from the US don’t help me form my own opinions that will sell. The opinions of the educated fools who have never been overseas will dominate politically.

I can’t wait to vote.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

News, intel, and stories from the past

I don’t know who should be frustrated more? Is it we common USA citizens wanting to know it all, and in real time; or is it the decision makers wanting to also know it all, in real time, and having to accept what they get as they make a decision?

My vote is for the decision makers… If only to protect their sources from enemy knowledge, and maybe even to protect their sources lives.

For us citizens, in my humble opinion, what we learn from our main stream media is pitiful for those wanting to be arm chair operational and strategic leaders. Our opinions are well thought out, but missing essential elements of information.

For decision makers, in my humble opinion, what they learn from intel may be tainted by the system. In my own military life, I remember being taught that the Russians were ten feet tall as they would come through the Fulda Gap (Napoleon used the same Gap, although he went the other way into Russia). I was shocked learning all this from the Army since no other sources made the Russians ten feet tall. As a Marine, I was encouraged to read, and one book by Andrew Cockburn said just the opposite. He interviewed former Soviet soldiers who basically said they were our height, or smaller. This got my attention as to news and intel.

Then I piled on my reading with James Dunigan, Sergey Gorshksov, and even Tom Clancy.

Maybe this was when I tipped towards be a recalcitrant about intel and news.

Later I enjoyed the beauty of reading H.G. Wells “Outline of History” (1928 version) and the USMC “Small Wars Manual” (1940 version, the only version), and many National Geographic magazine articles in the Breckenridge Library at Quantico. All were suggested by a mentor, by the way.

I accept that there is much going on in our countries defense by arms of our government that cannot be reported for security reasons. We should be proud to think this is going on.
And our enemies on the receiving end also know it is going on since they have been impacted, killed, etc. They have the message. We are often influencing the other side without we USA citizens even knowing. I wish we could know in a timely manner. Some of it is like protecting American kids taking a school bus in Turkey eons ago, and some is like killing the Hezbellah people who hung Col. Rich Higgins in the late 1980’s. All the preceding is open source, by the way.

Now for today.

My news filters are such that I don’t believe anything I read, especially from any press.

So how do I try to be informed. Bottom line, I can’t be.

The fall back is to use blogs, but they suffer from the same frustration most of us common citizens have.

For us citizens, in my humble opinion, what we do learn does help us better understand our enemy. Knowing the other sides values, thought process, and methods is a big advantage to us western types. And right now they are giving it to us for free.
New York Times and the times they are a changing

I grew up on the Washington Post and the Evening Star . In the old days (1960’s) I lived inside the now beltway and believed most of what was reported. The only question was in the Drew Pearson and his neophyte Jack Anderson reports. I understood even then muckraking. I also believed in Time Magazine…Newsweek was an also ran. Before this period I read all four of the then Los Angeles newspapers.

I carried this news thirst and my upbringing to Georgia Tech during my engineer training. My main sources of info there were based on my earlier experiences… Time Magazine and Aviation Week. I ignored the local Atlanta papers as being inferior as to world news.

I was spoiled, naïve, or all. I trusted the news that I read as accurate during my GaTech demanding schooling. Later when I was assigned to USMC enlisted recruiting in Kentucky, did I come to understand what a privileged life I had come up through. Mostly I mean that I was taken aback that only 1 in 3 people were mentally, morally, and physically qualified to even be a Marine private from Kentucky. My news filters began to change some.

The first hint that news might not be accurate was a White Paper (from our State Department D.C. types). It was published in Time Magazine and all about our effort in Vietnam (before I went to GaTech) . I read it religiously, and finally thought something is not just right. Since I was draft age ready, I was very sincere about my readings since I was directly affected. And any of today’s spoiled objections to war usually lack my then perspective of knowing “ I will serve or be drafted”.

All this leads me to the New York Times today.

My understanding is that it is run by a person who inherited his position. I also understand that the old New York Times was at one time the number one newspaper in the USA based on distribution numbers. I also understand the present New York Times is down to number three, and most importantly, further on the way down. I also understand the present leadership publishes editorial opinions as news on the front page.

If I were to guess, which I will, many of the employees from other superb sections of the newspaper are bailing out due to frustration with the paper’s leadership. And I will guess the Board of Directors will eventually step in to preserve the shareholders equity. Boards today aren’t what they used to be.

And all I want is the news. I can read others’ opinions when I feel like it, which is often.

I think many of us today are voting with our feet as to our news sources. Those reporters who have been taught, hired and paid to do their opinion bit are dinosaurs to me. “Fake but true” and “docudramas” seem to be gaining traction and becoming professional norms. Only time will tell if that is correct. I hope not.

I do offer questions, more than ideas, about American media and the New York Times as you read and think.

Like in a Hillary Clinton analogy, is there was some vast left wing conspiracy to do political and agenda reporting?

Is the 24/7 news cycle on TV skewing the whole profession to do timely investigative reporting with two sources?

If old fashioned investigative reporting can’t make money, is it time for government funded and controlled news?

Can main media company giants be subject to the Sherman AntiTrust Act? …As if sometimes acting in the restraint of trade?

Has the education system that teaches journalism as a profession missed the point that reporters should know something about that which they report? The idea is to ask the correct question, and know when something is BS or smells wrong. It helps to know things like the difference between a Major and a Major General when doing Iraq reporting, as a simple example.

Is American media just one more symptom of the dumbing down of America?

Or as Thomas Sowell wonders, is it somehow that many journalists, or those that they appeal to, believe that they are so iron-clad right that no one could even mistakenly disagree with them without being bought and paid for by their bad guys?

Is our whole educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities, increasingly turning out people who have never heard enough conflicting arguments to develop the skills and discipline required to produce a coherent analysis, based on logic and evidence. (Sowell mostly).

Do the implications of having so many people so incapable of confronting opposing arguments with anything besides ad hominem responses matter? Are these implications in fact the Achilles heel of this generation of our society and of Western civilization? (Sowell mostly).

I believe in history that the pendulum does swing back and forth; and right now the pendulum is swinging away from the New York Times and media like it. Only time will tell. I am hopeful for the future. And my news filters will remain ever vigilant.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Size matters…and so do ideas

First on size in 2006.

The USA is huge in most categories: economic, cultural, financial, and even military.

The old Chinese proverb that our ancestors honor is all their own applies to all today.

Our hugeness today is from our ancestors aggressiveness and our constitution.

Our USA hugeness was and is not preordained.

And now we Americans again come to face and realize the world is bigger than us in 2006, and full of hatreds that go back beyond our imaginations and history.

And there are other nation-states and tribes just as large as us in preserving their future for their children in their own way.

The stamp of western culture and especially the USA culture is enormous throughout the world.
As a Marine with two plus years overseas, I have observed the effects of the filth of American culture and Hollywood’s depiction of same. This observation has often been on local TV and radio, seen in young people’s behavior and dress in Okinawa and Danish clubs and the music they dance to, on the commuter trains of Japan and USA city subways, and the advertising billboards in Istanbul, Tokyo, and Stockholm. Even the large amount of satellite TV dishes popping up in Kuwait City after the Iraqi’s were evicted says legions.

The American dream is huge in its perception throughout the world. The immigration numbers alone say it all in immigration to the USA, and even the EU countries.

The negative impacts of world globalization are huge enough to turn world history back to tribes and away from nation-states.

The world’s population is becoming huge.

The potential of propaganda is huge as the available means of communications becomes huge.

Ideas that recognize hugeness do matter.

Along the way of human history, a group of men created the USA and its constitution.

In human history, this is unique because it is working.

The USA idea has never happened before.

Even the present friction within Islam is a distracter for all the Islamic family people I know. The Islam world population is huge, 1.4 billion people I read. The Islam fascist population is most likely around 100,000 to include fighters. The actual leaders and financiers are a much much smaller number.

Large groups of people are consuming the rainforests for group advancement and economic gain in the third world. Ask any research anthropologist about what is happening in Borneo, for example, and he will say the Chinese are particularly aggressive. Often this means local Chinese, not overseas Chinese. Watch any recent video (including HDNET) that makes China’s urbanization look good, and I wonder where did all the wood furniture come from. Of course, I know, or think I know.

If I were a parent in any rural tribal area in the world I would defend my family against any outsider influence. This statement does not make us morally equivalent. It is just a statement of the local tribal resistance to world hugeness. This also applies to USA urban tribal areas. When NOGIN has girls making out as part of “teen” programming, enough is enough.

Huge numbers count. One one-hundredth of one percent (00.01%) of a billion person tribe is 100,000 people. That’s a lot of people.

The huge explosion of communication means also expands the power of ideas and organizing ideas and efforts.

The emancipation of women, especially if spread throughout the world, is huge.

There is an element of our USA society, probably a large percent, that thinks our way of life and power is permanent, as if that is how the world and history is. Their wonderful efforts to “improve” society in their image scare me as they may “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”.

And then there are the USA people who seek power and control of huge public monies for their personal purposes. Some are altruistic, and some are just plain mean power mongers with egos to match. Their potential effects are enormous.

Another big number in the USA is a charity element that is part of our American psyche? Where I live there is a big charity element. It is almost 100% to local benefit…our people do the work for altruistic/golden rule reasons.

The huge world population will affect our world environment. Some of the effects (like pollution) may be bad for us, and some of the effects (like more food) may be good for us. Don’t let others think and report for you, just let science and time work to inform you. On global warming, I think mother nature is still mostly in charge. It is other human impacts in the next 5 generation that should be of more concern. The previous statement is a trick question as to what a generation is? Well it depends on male or female and even what part of the world. The answer to keep it simple is to use 30 years as a “generation”.

Boycotts can be huge. Voting with pocket books in the western societies can be really huge. Apply it anyway you might choose. I choose Hollywood movies; and reports the industry is suffering makes me happy, even if it is for other reasons. Just read movie descriptions and I wonder where did somebody get money to make this filth, joke, or admiring a low life. That I will pay for entertainment, yes. That I will not pay for movies that I object to, yes.

“It’s my families prospects for the future and way of life, stupid.”

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fighting war and peace and ideas for citizens who vote

I’ve just read a wonderful article on the internet by an “I think” intellectual, Tony Corn, who seems to be smart, well read as to history, and can certainly write. Here’s the link to a very long article: I call him an intellectual because his article appears to me to be as much for his peers as us other people. He has other articles, also.

I read his article mostly as an objection to the Clausewitz influence on military professional military education (PME) that dominates our military schools today and has for many years. His point is that civilian smart intellectuals and educators who teach our senior Commissioned Officers all too often teach a traditional Clausewitz war from the past; and are doing normal traditional education as they have been hired and taught. Tony Corn offers solutions to his objection at the intellectual level. Good on him for making us voters think. And I read his message that the military leadership (Commissioned Officers mostly) subsequently suffer from their PME during their time in Iraq. This may be valid. He notes few words are given to the Strategic Corporal concept (Krulak), for example. PME of Staff Non-Commisioned Officers, and Non-Commisioned Officers is not mentioned at all in his article.

From his article is a really good point:

In Iraq as in Afghanistan, real professionals have learned the hard way that -- to put it in a nutshell -- the injunction "Know Thy Enemy, Know Thyself" matters more than the bookish "Know Thy Clausewitz" taught in war colleges. Know thy enemy: At the tactical and operational levels at least, it is anthropology, not Clausewitzology, that will shed light on the grammar and logic of tribal warfare and provide the conceptual weapons necessary to return fire. Know thyself: It is only through anthropological "distanciation" that the U.S. military (and its various "tribes": Army, Navy, etc.) will become aware of its own cultural quirks -- including a monomaniacal obsession with Clausewitz -- and adapt its military culture to the new enemy.

My following part of this article applies to voters and is about the military since it was left holding the bag in Iraq. Some think that is appropriate, that the military was left holding the bag. I still think we Americans had, and still have, a mission to accomplish and go forward to accomplish, and this is most important.

Of course what is the mission? I think our President has said it often enough to where even I can understand it.

What I don’t understand is how we are presently task organized to accomplish the mission. To my simple mind, only one person can be in charge of the effort. This would be a person who is accountable, and can be replaced if he fails.

And I am a little confused as to political accountability both in the US, the UN, and the rest of the world.

Best I can read, no one is in charge and everyone is in charge. That is a formula for western disaster and a highway an eastern enemy can drive through.

Now I am not talking about “time phasing” problems from occupation to Iraq sovereignty. I am talking about some kind of responsibility chart that has somebody at the top, and I mean a local somebody, not a D.C. or London, UN, or EU type. All the good efforts by DOD, DOS, UN, World Bank, AID, EU, and other do gooders are usually wasted until there is a coordinated and unified effort under one person who controls a local Iraq agency. Does Dwight Eisenhower come to mind? He may not have been perfect military wise or even political wise, but he was in charge (and subject to firing/replacement).

I have tried to no avail to find such a responsibility chart circa September 2006. Maybe that is why I am not a politician, but, I can still vote.

Most of us Americans would be very proud of our ingenuity and flexibility in trying to win the peace. Inspite of all our boo boo’s we are noble. I think the French and many EU leaders also say we are naïve and all this is a waste. I think many State Department intellectuals think the French are correct. I respectfully disagree.

The French have their Algeria colonial experience and war that they lost, in the end. That the French government after WWII was trying to impose it itself for colonial reasons is a given. A wise man would read the lessons learned from the people involved. Ignore any present day French politician. Finding any of this, especially in an English translation, is most difficult. There are quick summaries, primarily through the Army War College, but to find it at is impossible in the English translation. This report is two years old, so maybe others can succeed where I failed two years ago.

Since I am a Marine, I am prejudiced; but for those interested please read the Small Wars Manual published in 1940; or just buy the National Geographic series of CD’s from 188x or so to learn how to be anthropologic in your homework. Even today I have read a 1913 National Geographic article about the non-Christians in the Philippines. It includes a picture of an Army captain later killed in the small war. He had a Moro boy on his lap, and I wonder what ever happened to the boy?

Most of us voters think we won the invasion of Iraq. Most of us voters think the winning of the peace is presently (9/9/06) up for grabs. Most of us are not willing to tolerate the continuation of whatever is going on in Iraq’s bad areas. Most of us know that most Iraqi areas are peaceful.

Most of us want to win in Iraq because it should bring us peace in the war on Islamic terror. Islamic terror and our families protection are voter basics.

Friday, September 08, 2006

History is dynamic and also today…we are living the good old days

I write this piece in 2006 as a person who reads, listens, and appreciates history as a guide to the near future.

The intent of this piece is the near future, and how to go forward for the USA, both domestic and foreign.

First the sarcastic and diss stuff:
History is what is written, not what happens.
The Marine Corps has a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin’s.
Sample question from a Ft. Sill test using multiple choice:
When a Marine goes to war he needs:
A. One reporter
B. Two reporters
C. Three reporters
D. All of the above (the correct answer)

The Clinton Spin machine is devoted to him and his ego.

Propaganda is an art, not a science.

Public relations and spin are professional propaganda.

Media, the power of so few to influence so many, will collapse of its own weight. In western talk, media will “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”.

Read the different geographic newspapers to realize our USA is big, and focused on different things, most local. Traveling between papers makes this obvious. The internet helps in this regard.

The power of family preservation and continuation transcends all spin and propaganda. People are common sense smart, including the USA.

The introduction of state political styles and methods, recently from Arkansas, will pass in history.

The unique American experience through our constitution should continue for a while.

The unique American experience is no more guaranteed in the future than was Rome, Byzantium, Pax Britannica, Moslem caliphate, China dynasties, Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan.

Now the questions to ask and my guesses.

Is the American experience and constitution and history unique in human history so far? My answer is yes, based on immigration numbers. Do the numbers and don’t be distracted by Mexicans (nice families also). Look at the central america numbers and asia numbers and know there is something going on good in the USA that brings these people. I am suggesting we have a good deal that attracts the kind of people we ID with, but will always control their joining us in the USA.

Is there an element of our society, probably a large percent, that thinks our way of life and power is permanent, as if that is how the world and history is. My answer is yes. Their wonderful efforts to “improve” society in their efforts scare me as they “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”.

And then there are the USA people who seek power and control of public monies for their personal purposes. Some are altruistic, and some are just plain mean power mongers?

Is there also a charity element that is part of our American psyche? Where I live there is. It is almost 100% to local benefit…our people do the work for altruistic/golden rule reasons.

The End

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sorting out Iraq, and what to do today.

The Iraq war has gone on long enough to now be discussed by the Washington level think tanks and symposiums. A lot of smart western people are working on the Iraq war, and the world war with Islam’s fanatics.

There are even D.C. proposals for enhanced strategic communications which I interpret as top down from D.C, and maybe even surrendering to the western media influence. These proposals may have merit.

And then there is the real world.

I assume as an American that we want to preserve our way of life, mostly for our kids. If this assumption is incorrect, then do not read further.

The media does not win wars. Some quasi version of war and peace may be written as a report or even be an instrument of war, but it is words only. Devastation on the ground, death of civilian relatives, and loss of military comrades is war. Media decided wars are a western invention.

That war is the extension of politics by other means still applies. The savvy operator knows this as he applies all means of winning in any third world tribal area…family preservation, income and health and upward mobility, law and order, and an expectation of a future. This is translated to most of us USA types as nation building, to include: healthy water supply, health clinics, schools, jobs, trained and reliable constabularies, food relief when appropriate, tax collection, and NGO support. Most importantly, authority to spend money in a timely manner to do all this must be at the lowest level. All the IG stuff about D.C. contracts and corruption in the local area can come later in what will be an ugly picture, I expect.

I am impressed with our American resilience in responding to change and mistakes in the Iraq war. That we won the Iraq war is obvious; that we are winning the peace is up for grabs. While there are many D.C. based buzz words to act like the reporter is “in the know”, constabulary type conflict and “three block war” principles apply, and also be the fad words today.

Some of our institutions are light years ahead of others in this small war in Iraq, and the larger war with Islam’s small fringe of radicals. The institutions that seem to best suit us today are the Naval Service, special forces, and selected NGOs based on their experience, professional educations down to the lowest levels, and histories. I say the preceding based on the idea that “you dance with who you brought”.

I am especially disappointed in how the State Department’s performance has gone in Iraq. Perhaps the comments that they are presently institutionally only able to deal with other governments are on the mark? I have zero intel on how the present USA to Iraq Ambassador is doing. My sense is that if he can keep under the media radar as he has , he is being effective.

I would resist all efforts to eliminate the State Department as part of the solution in order to let the Defense Department do it all. Plan B is to change the State Department to do what I think is its part of the job in the future third world tribal areas. Until then, get out of the way and let the Naval Service and NGOs have a go as to leadership, along with all the great engineers the military can muster. These great people are Seabees, Army Corps of Engineers, NATO Engineers, NGO contractors, and even the Coast Guard in littoral areas. And relieve the leaders if they fail to get the mission done in a timely manner.

I would also resist all efforts to create some kind of colonial corps to address today’s problems. The alternative is to do what we have always done and are doing today: task organize using doctrine, professional education, lessons learned, and history in deciding “who we bring to the dance”. Fifty to one hundred years in the future the “dance” will probably be different, and we don’t need another bureaucratic dinosaur from 2006 in the way. Institutions that are failing must be reformed, not superseded.

I am also impressed with the CIA’s way of operating in these third world tribal areas. Lots of money goes a long way in the middle east and transcaucasia, and that is good as they have used it. What may seem as immoral use of money to westerners is just normal deceit and bribes to many easterners.

The D.C. political battle in 2003 between Gen. Garner (DOD) and Ambassador Bremmer (SD) was our, and more importantly, the Iraqi’s loss. All the reports of the window of opportunity having months left as whole local groups went without income for their families came to pass. I fault the CPA and State Department D.C. bureaucratic legacy and strategy in the face of obvious local infrastructure and financial needs; hence the need for change in the future.

The local third world people we are trying to recruit to resist our enemies don’t care about our problems all that much. And mostly we think they will give up the bad guys if they have a better deal with us. But do we care, or is our time and effort just a temporary way to advance our objective, is an oft asked local question? And in the middle east, the use of local deceit usually places us USA types out of our league. In USA terms, it is kind of a blue collar vs. white collar friction. All the best laid plans in D.C. and CentCom headquarters are interesting, but what is in it for me locally? How does it affect me locally??

Those now in a hurry or under pressure to increase nation building in Iraq will be frustrated with many of the military institutions there. So what to do when the latest “light bulb has gone on” with a military commander?

In Georgia Tech football terms, I would usually punt when it is fourth down and 10 yards to go. Good initiative cannot replace decades of lack of professional education and preparation by some USA institutions in Iraq. But Iraq is much more important than Georgia Tech football, and running that fourth down is probably a good idea.

Now that the Horn of Africa successful work since 2002 has gained recent media attention, I fear for the future of our successful western efforts there. The simple third world campaign plan in effect since 2002 is on the mark, but who knows what USA educated people who take over will do in the future? (Simple means simple in concept, but detailed in execution at all levels simultaneously.)

My vote. Let it ride in CentCom. Let’s see what D.C. and CentCom try to do now and can do in the near future. The problems just after the attack and occupation in Iraq are not the problems faced today.