Friday, August 31, 2007

The value of self-censorship in American society

Censorship has a bad connotation. Self-censorship should not.

Self-censorship is as simple as displaying self-control and good manners in all aspects of life. Self-censorship suggests leadership, as in parents to children. Self-censorship suggests the values of showing respect in a respectful and cheerful manner. Self-censorship suggests self-control and respect is valued.

Political debate and blogging prompts this post as so many bloggers use bad language because they can. Most readers think bad language, and insults, subtle or not, hurts the cause of the poster, yet it is the style today. Bad language insults do not win hearts and minds anywhere, anytime. A little respect goes a long way.

On the bad language theme, and self-censorship theme, why do so many movies have bad language written in to the scripts? The decades old argument that the movies are just reflecting real life have long be superceded by influencing our American culture in a bad way. I say this as a foul mouthed Marine who has been counseled on his bad language in an earlier time. Of course I blame it on my Navy time.

Most think that behavior is learned, not biological. Behavior includes training in manners and self-control. Attending a dining-in at a Royal Marine Commando base in Scotland and using American cotillion training saved me a lot of embarrassment. So did going to a cocktail party in Hong Kong. As much as I was chagrined to being made to attend cotillion training at an earlier time, and the dancing steps never took, the social etiquette training did take. And much like one just has to memorize the multiplication tables, one also just has to memorize etiquette rules, assuming one believes in the value of all this in American society.

Displaying self-control and good manners is not a born trait, I believe. This is definitely a learned behavior. And it is time to teach it again. Leadership by example by trained adults is the best way, but more effort is needed. This is not an advertisement for bringing back cotillion, lord knows, I would have broken my leg to get out of it. But by leadership, example, and private programs (this is not a government responsibility) we can begin to teach and require our young men and women that have missed out on all this the opportunity to get back in to respect for civility; and even recognizing the value of this respect, some might say standard. Then they can teach it in their own way.

Much like too many of our young men and women have never been taught to do basic things like cook, sew, and do basic home maintenance, we are now suffering a lack of teachers of the same. These most basic skills are not biological, they are taught. The same applies to the idea of self-censorship, or displaying self-control and good manners. This must be taught for the benefit of American culture. The alternative looks like anarchy.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Russian aviation is not ten feet tall, either

The Russian military equipment is not ten feet tall. In fact, it is less tall than our American equipment, in my humble opinion. And I worked with a Russian engineer who said much the same thing. And I grew up aviation style until I flunked the depth perception test. And so when I read alarming news reports about Russian aviation sales to Venezuela, Syria, and Iran I took it with a grain of salt. In another day, I did not. But time and experience changes many things. Perhaps the Russians are taking in a lot of money, paying a lot of engineers, and then seeing their exported gear parked due to lack of maintenance and maintenance funding. I only wish we could get them to do this more!

My Russian friend always dreaded the flight back to Russia since there was a good chance the Aeroflot plane would be build by Ilyushin. He always wished to fly a Boeing plane if he could get a choice, which he could not.

Right now there are reports than the President of Venezuela is spending 3 billion dollars of his nations wealth, oil income mostly, for Russian planes. Fine and dandy if he is also spending the required 15 to 20 billion dollars to do the infrastructure support to include education, parts and supplies, and even weapons that fit the planes. There is little evidence of this, and the planes may be parked for a long time.

The same principle applies to Russian exports of jet airplanes to the Middle East. Alarming reports of top of the line Russian jets to Syria, paid by Iran, and shared by both, come to mind. This is of concern, until one looks at the 25 or so Russian planes Syria paid for around 1975, and they are still parked because they do not run.

Just watch the History Channel to be impressed with the Russian jet dog and pony shows, mostly in the west. They make good machines. It’s the buying the fleet with its support to influence foreign policy of Syria, for example, where things come up lacking. On the face, the Russian jet planes are pretty good. Especially of worry is when they are electronically retrofitted with European avionics stuff. What is not of worry is the Russian made label. And the recent resurgence of Russian strategic aviation is a political move, given that all the airframes and most of the avionics are still 50 years old. Go figure what Putin is trying to show, but these people and their airplanes are not ten feet tall.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just who is in charge of American culture?

Is it kids or adults? Is it individuals or groups? The questions assume the sellers of individual rights are just meeting demand, and getting paid for it. And the questions assume we adults can vote with our feet and our pocket books.

The question of the day is droopy pants worn by boys and girls to the chagrin of many communities. But it could be many more things, like home security verses criminal rights to roam in public. It could be school dress codes. It could be homeland security while in a war. It could be school chaperones breaking apart 7th graders grinding at a school dance. But it is the droopy pants issue that should define who is in charge of communities, and America. It is the adults, and not the children.

In this most litigious society, too many are intimidated by lawyers. The stories coming out of Iraq combat and the CIA about the influence of lawyers is intimidating compared to World War Two stories, for example. But here in our communities, let our common sense and leadership run our communities. This often will cost money, but let our lawyers fight their lawyers, with a strategy of bleed them out. In this strategy, insure it is our tax payer money working for us, and not the children-in-charge lawyers being paid out of our pocket. Let the children-in-charge lawyers get paid by their sponsors and not the public. If that doesn’t work, then let’s fight again. If there is an easier way to get back community control to the adult standards, please say so. After all Rome was not built in a day, and it takes a big effort to turn an aircraft carrier around, but one has to start the effort.
Just who is paying for all the protests?

Between the eco stuff, and the minority but fervent controllers of the Democratic party, just who is paying? Even if many of the protests in all forms seem weak, one still wonders? Organization, and the constant media-friendly reports, makes one especially wonder.

The cynical will suggest big time underwriters are paying to gain some kind of future business and political advantage, to include continued funding of what works to enhance these advantages. Some think George Soros wants his son to President. After all, it worked for the Kennedy family. In this case, both sides know they are dancing with the devil, including the slathering politicians being funded for elections. The slightly less cynical will suggest this small percentage of Americans, and more importantly, a small percentage of the Democratic party, are just bleeding themselves dry, human energy wise and financially. Time will tell. In the latter case, it comes across like the Shaker religious group which bred themselves out of existence. Much the same will probably happen to the netroots kind of Americans, and their funding.

There is a third way to answer who is paying … it may be the American taxpayer. The cottage industry of non-profits as well as Arab charities is full of abuse stories that seem to suggest toleration for protesters or whatever, be they terrorists or freedom fighters. Just ask various opinions of now deceased Menachem Begin when the shoe was on the other foot. The point is this is a repeat problem in the U.S., and now it is the Arab Muslims taking advantage.

A rural southern land owner might make a comparison to the fire ant infestation. There are two obvious courses of action. One is to fight them continuously with all fire ant weapons. The other course of action in fighting them is to allow them to build up big nests, and then go in and eradicate them, again with fire ant weapons. Both ideas assume humans might win battles, but may lose the war.

Of course fire ants reproduce themselves at prodigious rates. But then we humans have the funding. Now if fighting fire ants is not a bipartisanship national interest objective, what is?

Funding national political objectives should be about the same. It is not happening now. What a sad state of affairs. And a back to basic question continues, just who is funding all the protests? And why? Voters answers to these questions should have much to do with their vote in 2008.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Can elected politicians even do the basics anymore?

It’s a fair question as one who worries about the basics, like home security (not the D.C. term) but our home. Or public education about geography given the recent example from the Carolina follow-up which declares she’s a really good student. How could public education produce such a poor student? How could Dora the Explorer kids get Chinese lead in their American bodies? How could my dumb dog die from food purchased at any grocery store. How could I be executed by an illegal immigrant murderer still free in New Jersey?

Doing the basics takes money. It’s how to spend the money that will get most citizens attention…since we are in charge. And the basics are so important to American culture.

Monday, August 27, 2007

American people are awesome

And so is most of the New World, and our combined cultures. The emigration trends support this as others vote with their feet to come here.

Perhaps it is part our Judeo-Christian background, respect and support for the rule of law, or just plain economic opportunity. Maybe it is about our Constitution. One can also believe opportunity for their kids plays a big factor. Just having their kids being able to break out of the Old World patterns of being stuck where you are born in life is profound.

To give due to the blame America crowd, they have a point, also. As much as I hate to agree, many of their points appeal to many. American culture as exported by Hollywood is abhorrent to many. As one who has lived overseas, the appeal of this to many young people is even more abhorrent to their parents in much of the world. Disrespect for traditions, disrespect for parents, and disrespect for women almost always come up, as they should. All this is too often amplified in cultures where change comes slow, as it does in much of the third world. But also do not ignore societies and cultures that thrive on change, often quickly (USA, Japan, and Korea come to mind). Amplify all this “change” with global communications and many will listen to the blame America crowd.

Those who do not recognize how awesome American people may be perhaps are just lacking being through the school of hard knocks. Having been prejudiced against will change a lot of experience and worldly opinion. Those assuming most prejudice is white against black or brown just have not been “experienced”. Where is Jimi Hendrix when we need him, and he did serve in the 101st. Try seeing hippy girls making lewd suggestive sexual displays against midshipmen required to wear Navy uniforms back during the 1967 Newport Folk Festival will get one’s attention. This was not Joan Baez or Bob Dylan or Peter, Paul and Mary. It was raw prejudice. Just see the looks in the Georgia Tech faculty lunch lounge in the 1980’s by the academics against we ROTC types and it hurts (and I graduated from GaTech). Just live in Japan and see the difference in how many Japanese look at we “foreign devils” is an attention gainer. They especially are prejudiced against Negro foreign devils. Go through a Katrina “like” Philippines village after a typhoon, and see the hungry look on the family’s faces as they know the government will not be in to help them. As a Marine, I locked and loaded after this eyeball experience. And keep perspective, which usually comes with some experience. My Japanese experience often taught that local Okinawans disliked the Japanese Self Defense Force types as much as we American military types. It was not as much cultural, as being anti-military. If you live there and read their history, it will make sense to an American, as it does to the local Okinawans. And then there is my Saudi experience, but that is another story. I’m just glad I am not a woman born in Saudi Arabia.

So on to today’s politics, foreign and domestic. It’s a full plate, but the menu seems simple. Foreign wise, we are on the defensive which frustrates so many. Being on the defensive means too many foreigner thinkers are in charge of most everything, to include our American lives and budget. Domestic wise, it seems American frustration about Iraq is alive and well, as in dominating our domestic issues. But there are so many more domestic problems that solutions in the past worked, and have made us so awesome when our ancestors solved them for their time. But now it is time for domestic change, as in upgrade. This is a simple enough menu item for we awesome Americans, and fellow types.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

An element of truth can make any argument plausible

The Vietnam analogies for Iraq are just coming out of the woodwork since the President’s speech to the VFW last week. Most just cherry pick history to make a point, but many also are educated fools it seems. And for lack of knowing what to say, many just say what they know. The old story about asking three PhD’s the same question and always getting at least four answers comes to mind. So does the story about the blind wise men describing an elephant to a village of all blind people where each blind wise man is correct in what he says, but misses the point of the entire elephant.

The other trend is the emphasis on looking back, vice forward. The expression that those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it comes to mind. But so does the expression about the military always preparing to fight the last war. Except in today’s case, the military analogy also applies to politicians and their hired advisors, and the media and its pundits. After all, having a job in the news or political business does not confer any extra experience or common sense.

Looking forward means leadership and business experience. (In the old days it was called the school of hard knocks.) Looking forward means mission statements, and accountability for results, be it local, state, or national. Leaders have tools such as yesterday’s six sigma by Motorola, or TQM by many, but these are tools only. Looking forward means taking the initiative and learning from mistakes, if the Board or voters will be so tolerant. America has become too committee and CYA and process oriented, as if doing the process or having good intentions is what counts, rather than accomplishing the mission. The recent shutdown of the King/Drew hospital in Los Angeles can be seen as place which looked back while today’s people died as a result. This is the place where the lady died on the floor in the emergency area after having been ignored for hours. The CIA’s IG critiques of process over results provides another example. The point is that the ideas of good intentions and process are still alive and well in American government.

Of course leaders come from us, we Americans. Why any citizen politician leader and his or her family would come to the caustic environment of Washington, D.C. is a good question. Many think the politics of personal destruction and criminalizing politics as political tools have in fact run off many of the leaders we need today at the federal level, be it executive, congress, or judiciary. They don’t even bother to apply these days, or run for office.

America needs leaders, not historians and other such ilk. Leaders are in short supply in D.C., while paid critics are over supplied.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fathers for daughters

What’s love got to do with it?

Not too long ago there was a religious sect that had an annual pick your spouse out of the hat ceremony. If one did not like the luck of the draw, one simply threw their name back in the hat, and waited another year. As bad as this sounds today, the alternative 50% divorce rate sounds worse. This sect’s % was better than 50 %.

That boys and girls are different is not the subject of this post. Most know this.

What is the subject of this post is girls, fatherly speaking. The idea of group dating and girl friends “with privileges” is appalling as a father. Fathers understand hormones, thank goodness, as it helps girls put out, as when growing up. Ah, the mental pictures. But also fatherhood conveys certain perspectives, mostly about American society.

As a father, I would just love to cross their legs and tie them shut. This would work for birth control in the back of the car, but my objective is more sinister. Thanks to education, much of this is better understood. The amount of thrown out used condoms in rural parking places on my rural place is a good reason to think the kids are practicing safe sex.

This post is about girls, though. And it is posted as a father. All that has gone in the last 5 decades or so vis-a-vis the pill has been about birth control. How about humanity, and the girls part in all this. If this sounds like a heavy load, it is. Just who does run the world?
The American way of war got us here

Can it get us out?

Will you buy the line that every country has a distinct way to wage war? There might a best way, but most countries wage war their way, often not the best way. Of course who decides what the “best” way is too often turns out to be some academic subject written decades later.

America’s historical trends about war so far in just over 200 years is one of isolationism, and pacifistic instincts. Many attribute this to being self confidently surrounded by vast oceans, and being too busy to take the time out to be bogged down by the old world’s problems.

We have gone to war. Congress and the President have declared war many times, and war with less than war declarations are also many. Sometimes we just have to fight. This is where the subject of the American way of war comes up.

We Americans have crummy war leaders, historically speaking. Mostly our Presidents and Congressmen, and importantly these days, their hired staffs, have little experience about war fighting. In the past this has been much the same. These days the American way of war includes vast bureaucracies that don’t respond very well to our President or Congress as they try to prosecute a war. That’s pretty bad, but the badness is amplified by the inexperience of our political leaders and their staffs. Most appalling is the inability of these same people to admit this, and do something about it, publicly.

So what we get is what we get. The old line of the blind leading the blind comes to mind. Maybe the academics have a point, though most doubt it. Does anyone doubt that had we not been attacked on September 11, 2001, with all the vast damage to our centers of gravity, that we would have attacked Iraq? This is the American way of war, before, during, and after. Our political leaders lead us there, a decision many agree with. It’s the during and talk of after that comes up these days. After all, you dance with the one you came with.

The attack of Iraq was a stunning military victory is its brevity and confirmation of all taught at the political and military schools about maneuver warfare and the entire military education system down to the NCO level, with Clausewitz confirmed. What was not taught, and later not practiced and imposed, was how to win the peace as in the nasty details of small wars occupations with un-American experiences like constabularies or gendarmes. Most professional schools did not teach this mostly because it is not how America works, though much of the rest of the world does work this way. All this process of losing the peace was amplified by bureaucratic infighting at the D.C. level. Nobody could impose unity of effort. This has been the American way of waging war.

Now citizens are being asked by our President to have patience in the Iraq war. The request assumes finally he and his hired minions have learned how to wage a small war, such as winning the peace in Iraq. It’s been a long four or more years for America in his and his staff’s learning curve. Now citizens are also hearing other loyal comments from some such as Senator Warner suggesting he and his staff also have some knowledge about winning the peace in Iraq, using their learning curve and political knowledge about the American way to wage war. There are other loyal comments suggesting some knowledge about winning the peace for U.S. interests.

It is important to our national interest to win the war against Al-Qaeda. We did defeat a similar idea against the Barbary Pirates around 1800. Whether Iraq makes it as an Arab democracy or three states or whatever is secondary to many of our thoughts. This is the American way of waging a war. The learning curve about waging war applies also to citizens, as we impose ourselves. Politicians got us into Iraq, and the cause was good and noble, and they will get us out of Iraq…with a good bit of citizen influence. This is the traditional American way of waging war.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Why many no longer read the New York Times, or TIME Magazine, or Newsweek

One could add in others like the Washington Post, or the Boston Globe, or the LA Times.

There was a time when a citizen seeking to be informed could expect news and information from these sources. Now, much like similar content from NPR, PBS, and BBC, many citizens don’t want to take the time to try filter out editorials and diatribe from our old faithful, now less faithful, news sources. In this citizen’s case it is not laziness, nor putting one’s head in the sand like the story of an ostrich. Rather it is a case of believing online reading, i.e., clicking on a story, equals income for these dinosaurs. And this citizen wants to do his part in advancing their demise sooner rather than later.

What is frustrating is that they (whoever they are) ran many off. We did not leave on our own.

The politics cannot be denied, or ignored. Where did today’s media gain or assume media and political power? And why do so many fellow citizens still get outraged by the repeated obvious bias of much of the reporting? Why are they clicking on these stories that then outrage them, the readers? Do they think that the reading of the online stories that outrage themselves may be inadvertently helping the life support for these outrages?

Of course the corollary is why do so many media types and pundits think what they say or write is so important, or even knowledgeable? If they are getting paid for it, plain and simple, this most can understand. But in turn, why are those who read online stories by dubious sources who gain income by clicks, doing the clicking?

Perhaps there is a Paradigm shift going on. Perhaps Sun Tzu’s advice about knowing your enemy is balanced by today’s knowing your enemy helps online finance them? America is better than this as we don’t have political enemies, only political opponents. But we citizens still control this Country, and voting with our pocket books has a big influence in the news media, and entertainment, mostly Hollywood. An aggressive manager might force the issues, but most of us just want the news, or just want to be entertained without being embarrassed or uncomfortable with our kids and peers.

An astute builder of future business models will note this paradigm shift, and exploit it like a good American businessman or businesswoman should. In the interim, one can guess the present situation will continue. What a sad state of affairs for such a wonderful country. But there is much value in ignoring the main stream media types and present leaders compared with other Americans also stepping up to the plate. And certainly do click on them!

A future national leader will take sad to satisfied. America has always required leaders. Sadly, today’s business and political leaders in the news media and Hollywood and the presidential election are generally lacking, mostly in showing National Interest. And so many citizens no longer read the New York Times, or TIME Magazine, or Newsweek. Even media managers and media consultants are having a numbing effect on we citizens. These same citizens have better ways and people to naturally lead this most important country, and human experiment in success.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hand wringers are not leaders. Their education usually works against them. Most also suffer from little experience in what they wring their hands about.

The old catch 22 used to be “but”. Now it is “concerns”. No evidence or historical experience is required to make the statement. And it gets reported and reverberated around the main stream media till some even believe concerns are now facts. These people are both the reverberaters and the media who buy it, and even some of the public. Even more interesting is the hand wringer persona and confidence which suggests their lack of education and experience is acceptable to the public in making their public concerns, public. Some of we public think hand wringer concerns are a public admission of ignorance, albeit without shame of embarrassment to them, though what is happening is both publically embarrassing and shameful. But also it is hard to shame such local people, since most are not local, but from more distant lands and political causes.

Hand wringers abound in the main stream media, mostly in TV reporting and the newspapers.

There are concerns about the President’s Iraq policy for example. Is he too idealistic or naïve to expect democracy in the Middle East. Well hand wringers suggested much the same about Japan’s ability to become a democracy during the occupation after WWII, though one never hears a peep now. I suspect most hand wringers today are just ignorant on this subject.

Hand wringers worry about human’s contribution to global warming as if worse case based on their lack of information or their Google searching should drive public policy, for the world. The old expression of never assume conspiracy, when sheer incompetence comes to mind, still applies.

Hand wringers presently have to focus on we in the west who are both intimidated by them legally, and often have much in common anyway. Handwringers avoid the third world because they will be killed. Until they the business men and legal types fix their problems, they appear to be a drag, not a solution. A little science and financing will go a long way, if they the businessmen and legal types do the work. Yes, facts and details, not concerns, will dictate good public policy in the future for the harvesting of the rain forests, for example.

So who will lead America in our future? Many present surveys suggest many don’t care much as long as things go on. Not too shabby. Some of us even think things will sort out as long as the hand wringers and their fellows see the way of the vote, and accept it.
Hand wringers are not leaders. Their education usually works against them. Most also suffer from little experience in what they wring their hands about.

The old catch 22 used to be “but”. Now it is “concerns”. No evidence or historical experience is required to make the statement. And it gets reported and reverberated around the main stream media till some even believe concerns are now facts. These people are both the reverberaters and the media who buy it, and even some of the public. Even more interesting is the hand wringer persona and confidence which suggests their lack of education and experience is acceptable to the public in making their public concerns, public. Some of we public think hand wringer concerns are a public admission of ignorance, albeit without shame of embarrassment to them, though what is happening is both publically embarrassing and shameful. But also it is hard to shame such local people, since most are not local, but from more distant lands and political causes.

Hand wringers abound in the main stream media, mostly in TV reporting and the newspapers.

There are concerns about the President’s Iraq policy for example. Is he too idealistic or naïve to expect democracy in the Middle East. Well hand wringers suggested much the same about Japan’s ability to become a democracy during the occupation after WWII, though one never hears a peep now. I suspect most hand wringers today are just ignorant on this subject.

Hand wringers worry about human’s contribution to global warming as if worse case based on their lack of information or their Google searching should drive public policy, for the world. The old expression of never assume conspiracy, when sheer incompetence comes to mind, still applies.

Hand wringers presently have to focus on we in the west who are both intimidated by them legally, and often have much in common anyway. Handwringers avoid the third world because they will be killed. Until they the business men and legal types fix their problems in the east, they appear to be a drag, not a solution. A little science and financing will go a long way, if they the businessmen and legal types do the work. Yes, facts and details, not concerns, will dictate good public policy in the future for the harvesting of the rain forests, for example. Overseas Chinese pay attention.

So who will lead America in our future? Many present surveys suggest many don’t care much as long as things go on. Not too shabby. Some of us even think things will sort out as long as the hand wringers and their fellows see the way of the vote, and accept it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Leadership is not affirmative action or formula advertising

And what America needs now, more than ever, is real leadership.

An ideal leader of our country in any of the three branches of the federal government is intelligent, educated, experienced, and capable of tough love. We seem to have few people like this these days, and we should be very concerned.

For years now, really decades, we have used what people are vice who people are as a screening qualification for our future leaders. While the intentions might have been good, Martin Luther King was correct in asserting it should always be about qualifications and character. Promoting double standards has hurt the people affected and our country. Young people selected to compete with more qualified peers will invariably get frustrated and bitter. This frustration is often amplified by soldiers following leaders, sick people seeking medical care, or citizens seeking a lawyer wondering about one’s qualifications. And this author taught at Atlanta University for three years, so the author thoroughly understands and believes in the “diamond in the rough” idea. But when the then Ambassador to Iraq has an Arabic name and Muslim religion, and now he is the US Ambassador to the UN, one wonders if the old “what you are qualification” is still alive and well. This may not be fair, but that is just the way it is for both friends and enemies.

Now I have read the upcoming Democratic Presidential nomination convention has mandated racial quotas down to the tenth of a percent. Just who are these people who decide the numbers, and the definition of race? And more recently, I read there will be a “secret” as in “off the record” meeting very shortly about sanctioning certain states for moving up their primary votes. Maybe these 30 deciders have our best national interests in mind, and maybe they don’t. I would like to be a fly on the wall, or even make this an “on the record” meeting. And one may worse case this suspicion that the Republicans are just as bad in using the idea of what people are vice who people are.

As a citizen who only watches TV programs from the Discovery channels, the History channels, and Fox News (for now), I notice many advertisements these days include original music from the 50’s and 60’s. The trend is obvious, though the cause is beyond me. It is obvious we Americans are formula, at least to TV advertisers trying to make a living. And they are using the music in their cause. My oldest son, born in 1973, believes there are two formula trends at play. First is that people like original music. Second is that it works, as in making a lot of money.

But successful advertising formula is not leadership. Hired polls and focus groups is not leadership. What America needs now, more than ever, is leaders who are intelligent, educated, management experienced, chauvinistic as in appreciate their country, capable of tough love…and willing to say it on the record and accept the voters will.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Perverse thoughts on our American culture

Time provides some perspective on how so many standards have changed.

Americans cannot stand for pet suffering stories while we tolerate tens of thousands of humans being killed or maimed in auto accidents every year.

Prisons used to be to protect us from the criminals. Now millions die from murders and other crimes every year from criminals on the street. Why America defends criminal's individual rights over group rights is still amazing to this citizen.

Government at all levels used to be about providing services at a good price. Now they seem to be jobs programs with nice infrastructure and retirement benefits paid by the citizens.

Politicians used to focus on practical problem solving using compromise and civility. Now problems are ignored or avoided while the worse sort of discourteous behavior goes on. When was the last time you heard a question asked about social security solvency during a presidential debate?

Getting results used to matter. Now getting across one’s good intentions seems to matter more.

Budgets are for the real world. Borrowing is for governments, with future taxpayers having to pay the principal and interest.

The national sense used to be a lot about our future, and expectations for our children. Now it is about us, today.

Women used to run the world. Now since the birth control pill, the question about who runs the world is in doubt to this citizen.

Many fear unaccountable government child services and prosecutors when no one even heard of them in the not so distant past.

The idea about shame has been superceded by looser morals to the core of America. The out of wedlock birth rates have exploded, with the government helping pay for it. There are even TV ads promoting sexual relations with herpes, which can kill women from cervical cancer.

We used to understand when our nation was being attacked, physically or even culturally. Now so many citizens do not even understand all this, or care. The assumption that the life they were born to and grew up in will go on forever is culturally assumed. The idea of having to preserve all this is naïve to so many.

Television and home movie systems are morally corrosive to our culture. The old time alternatives of families having to play games or read to each other is lost to most of us. The value of this is beyond basic understanding to so many.

School curriculums always had shop and home economics as part of teaching the basics. Now many adults can’t cook, or even do basic home repair. And more than ever, parents don’t have these skills to teach their kids.

Governments outsource many services, often to very competent retired employees who know how to do their job. What happens when all these people die off?

The rule of law was always supreme. Our government, aka we the people, passed laws and enforced them for our benefit, and paid for it. Now we have sanctuary cities publicly refusing to enforce federal laws about illegal aliens, and yet the federal government still seems to be sending its federal funds to these revolters. Please let these leaders answer to their voters when the federal government cuts off their federal funds, or worse.

The citizen's pride in winning a ribbon in the local county fair has been often replaced by derision of the much of the community who think of such industrious persons as hopelessly naïve. Children pick up on this as the sponges they are.

Most Americans love their country. Most recognize a good deal when they see it. What the younger generations may not see is the change from a not so distant past. What the younger generations may lead is standards, and their willingness to work in their behalf. A lot of Americans are about to be superceded, politically speaking. Lord knows, one hopes what has happened to date does not take another revolution or civil war in America to correct.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ignorance in education and experience is no excuse for a professional

Congress makes an officer and a gentleman or gentlewoman. Just who makes a hired human a media professional? … Or an educational professional?

It gets worse about education and experience. Most military and hunters try to recycle the brass casings to save money, and be environmentally responsible. Even trying to pull off a fake ambush in the Philippines during military training is often difficult because the locals are already giving away the ambush area in anticipation of recovering the brass from the blank rounds fired to make it seem real. Now that is experience. Lack of experience is some vice principal in a Catholic school (the last bastion of common sense one would think), kicking out a kid because he brought expended recycled brass casings to school in his backpack. Her logic was that if he had casings, he could have a gun. Now if that is not ignorance in education and experience, I am challenged to find a dumber example.

It seems to gets worse on having subject matter expertise. A recent cover of Time Magazine had a graphic with a Russian helicopter doing the pull out deed. The poor graphic artist using a symbol library of available icons, and the unprofessional reporter and producer, simply did not know how silly they looked to so many Americans that know better. And even today a Fox News TV article on Russian aviation reassertion of the old days of the bombers coming across the north pole used American video footage of the F-15 on and on and on (to make us think it was Russian planes). The ignorance and unprofessional display thereof was simply appalling to this person.

Just where is a common citizen to find the news? Not fake news, or news done in a hurry by those with no subject matter experience, just what is happening.

Those ambitious young people who want to sell a business plan that works in the media world might consider all this. They could make a lot of money when the reporter has experience. If fact, this idea also applies to educators of our young people. Teaching French in SC, or anywhere else, usually implies the teacher can speak French. In one case at least, the teacher has a teachers degree, but cannot speak a word of French, the job she was hired for.

Where’s the professionalism?
The number of federal representatives to the House is not magic, nor Constitutionally dictated

It’s time for a numbers change, again.

The present number of representatives to the House is 435. That number was prescribed by a public law in 1911 passed by the Congress and signed by the President. In 1911 there were about 98 million of us Americans. Now this number is reportedly just over 300 million of us Americans. Back in 1911, there was still no federal income tax as the 16th Amendment beginning the income tax came a few years later. Even the women’s right to vote did not come until the 19th Amendment about 1920. And the size and responsibility of the federal government was less back in 1911, though Congressmen still had to provide constituent services. They still have to do this, but the numbers of constituents are many more.

A management consultant, or a common voter, might suggest we the voters need to spread the load on our poor congressmen and congresswomen. The Constitution requires the use of the census to apportion the number of representatives, but leaves the total number up to us. And it is a matter of public law as to what that number might be.

It’s time to change that number, again. And while we are at it, it is time for Congressional Term Limits for both the House and the Senate. We already have a Presidential Term Limits done by the 22nd Amendment ratified in 1951. The key point is to make the federal government more responsive to the voters in America. And the other key point is to make this federal government more manageable than the 1911 law allows.

The Electoral College is tied to all this idea, so the repercussions will get interesting.

Our Country has many problems. One of them is the present limit on the number of members to the House of Representatives. This voter cannot be the first to see this. This problem is hiding in plain sight.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Is not it amazing about girls and boys

There are at least three divergent things (I would call them tangents) going on today, I think.

First is that the biological clock is ticking for girls who want to have babies.

Second is that most want to be married, and do the normal thing.

Third is the not normal thing, as in have a child out of wedlock and raise it on their own.

Is this the future of the world?
America’s future is leaders

A little homework on the facts, civility in discourse, and loyalty to the national interest will go a long way. Yet few seem willing to step up to the plate. After all it is much easier to be unruly and even use bad language to display one’s point of view, or frustration, or cynicism. Even worse, it appears much of our old time media names are attempting to influence our votes and our country to gain their (present owners and paymasters) political point of view. Most of these people will be in another job in ten years, and perhaps be bitter about their experience in being exploited by their educators and their hirers. They will get little sympathy when they went down another path than leadership.

The original idea of an investigative reporter is still alive and well. This type of person is in a hurry, but never in enough of a hurry to use internet searches like Google as their main source. They actually talk to people, and maybe even use the internet to help the process. These people are due respect as contributors to leaders who can listen, and learn.

There is at best about 16% of America, very well organized and funded by ways I wished I could learn, who try run our country through the Democratic Party. But they too are not leaders, but bitter complainers mostly. Politically, I could handle them, too, if only they would offer leadership. Then I might have a voting choice.

We Americans have choices, thank goodness. We should encourage candidates to step up to the plate. Those that are manipulators, not leaders, will be rejected at all levels, local, state, and federal. The key point is leaders who look out for our national interests will succeed. The whole industry of hired campaign mangers and their whole entourage will wash away with the vote. The country is the same, the voters sentiment is different, and in this the dinosaurs will die, and rot on the plains of America.
Bringing home the bacon is bad national policy these days

There may have been a time it was good national policy. But now this path is our road to destruction. When the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper compliments former Speaker Hastert on his skills in bringing home the bacon, the whole system is displaying symptoms of being rotten to the core. All the projects mentioned in the editorial sound worthy and American, until I think a lot of the money to pay it was borrowed, with interest, some to our adversaries. And like every school child in my school time period, one of the reasons for the US revolution was taxation without representation. Now our leaders and even Sun-Times editorialists are doing the same to our progeny, and bragging about it. This is bad national policy.

Good national policy is doing the basics. If in doubt what that means, read the Constitution as to what the basics might be. Hint: infrastructure maintenance of federally funded bridges is one of them. Hint: import controls and inspections for basic food safety and child toys is one of them. Hint: protecting our borders is one of them. Would not it be wonderful as a voter to match up two candidates in a local election, federal, state, or local, one who’s pledges were just to maintain all we have achieved, which is pretty good.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Giving mongrels a good name

The connotation of the term mongrel is derogatory. And it is usually applied to dogs. A good marketing type will call a mongrel dog an all American dog, while an insulter will call it a mutt. And certain mongrels are so appealing they often become a new recognized breed. Here in America most recognize the negative effects of in-breeding, and still look askance at the benefits of mongrels with the mixing of genes to best ensure a dog with all dominant genes. And while appearance is better assured in pure breeds, there is no guarantee of intelligence or avoiding recessive traits.

Much of the same thoughts apply to humans, also. A socially inept person such as myself will blindly ask a person if they are a mongrel, not thinking about the connotation of insulting this person. Almost all say NO!, that they are such and such, as in Irish and German. But of course there is no genetically pure Irish or German person anywhere that I know of. Most are mixed or mongrels, which in my inept mind makes them genetically superior. But for humans this question has cultural implications that a dog does not have to think of.

A serious question, which I still find humorous, is the “they all look alike” point. Having spent a lot of time in Asia and the Pacific, there are distinct differences in how people look, be they Japanese, Korean, northern Chinese, southern Chinese, Polynesian, Micronesians, the mixtures, etc. And this is a two-way street having been told I could pass for Afghani in Afghanistan by Afghanis, or a few years later asked at a Taco Bell in NC by a black cashier if I was black or white? You should have seen my kids fall on the floor laughing at this most sincere and socially inept question. Of course being a Marine meant she deserved an answer, and with an impish wink of an eye I answered that I best looked like Willie B, the silver back gorilla in the Atlanta zoo. Then I got my food.

The importance of mixing genes in rural settings in the old time USA is well respected and understood. My time in SC on a 23,000 acre place with many small churches (the numbers vary over time) has the churches meeting not every Sunday, but on a rotating basis just to ensure congregations travel and mix to ensure all the advantages that being a mongrel brings. This doesn’t take an advanced degree to recognize, nor a government to organize.

Now there are census terms that avoid the term mixed or mongrel. What a shame. Terms like Latino or Hispanic are invented. Native American has over 500 definitions depending on the tribe. And this has even become a science problem if you follow the Kennewick Man legalities over the last decade or so. Even Barack Obama, progeny of a Kansas mother and a Kenyan father, is being represented as a Negro when he is definitely an all American mongrel (he will never get my vote, though). And in the state of Hawaii there is discussion of giving legal preference to pure Hawaiians, as if there are any left. And the original Hawaiians were transported mongrels anyway.

We Americans are genetically superior because we are mongrels. If we can get past all the old world cultural connotations and new world academic cultural prejudices to become an American culture, then we will be the guiding light for the world.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Are you a realistic cynic, or a cynical realist?

Take this quiz to see how you might vote on issues.

1. Are political candidates for office lying connivers, or conniving liars?
2. Is public education an adult jobs program, or a children’s education program?
3. Is abortion about society, or about a birth control method?
4. Are trade agreements about national benefits according to academics and pundits, or about communities of Americans being impacted?
5. Are American role models sports stars and Hollywood actors, or community leaders and those in the military?
6. Do the facts matter that much, or is the herd mentality and go-along approach more important?
7. Are you leaving the traditional news media, or are they leaving you?
8. Does being for border control make you a racist, or a nationalist?
9. Do you believe in civil discourse, or civil intimidation?
10. Which idea is more in our American interest, the melting pot, or multiculturism?
11. Is there a vast right wing conspiracy, or a vast left wing conspiracy? If so, who’s paying and why?
12. Is America new, or bogged down by old world problems?
13. Is environmentalism about people, or a new secular religious order in the making?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Small Wars 102

Certain principles are human universal. And this is a repeat post dressed up another way.

For a first world country and its people to win a small war against a third world country and its people involves two principles. This is a repeat discussion which certainly will go on in the 21st century as we learn again. The Navy and Marines and State Department went through this drill in the early 20th century in the Caribbean and Central America, and even published a book called the Small Wars Manual circa 1940. When it came out there was a raging debate about whether the USMC should organize around amphibious warfare, or small wars. Now in 2007 the Army is entering the exact same debate and discussion as to how to organize for America’s future. Of course Iraq and the focus on brigades being task organized reflects the world today. So does the leaders education, which has been more Clausewitz and war in Europe against the Soviets.

But both in 1940 and 2007 there are things that should be asked in Small Wars 102. Number one is security, as is where is the police training, often called the gendarme or constabulary? Any training that focuses on the military misses the point, as did much of our training of locals in Iraq. Most militaries are intended to expand the borders, albeit to the suffering of local citizens in peril. Number two in the class is treating local politicians as equals, since they are not. Small Wars 102 demands cooperation with the State Department in imposing our American will. They can all revert later, as they always do. Seldom is the reversion adverse to our national interest in the long term. But to expect locals to dictate our military and foreign policy in their country is not in our objective. Is there anything wrong with being selfish? After all, they are doing the same.

Just what in life is certain?

Why does our American culture over-intellectualize even being attacked? And by a relatively small group of Iranian brigands, to boot. I wish it was more an astute case of savvy where bribes might be a cheaper way for America to achieve its goals and protect its people. But, alas, it seems more like too many people are too smart for their pants, to use an old time term. There is little new in this debate or discussion.

What prompts this post is an article yesterday by Robin Wright about the US government proposing giving the Iranian version of the Nazi SS, the IRGC, a special terrorist designation. This will allow “by law” the US government to do more to the bad guys than we could before, mostly financial stuff the UN will avoid doing. When implemented, if ever, Ralph Peters today suggests it also gives the US legal cover to bomb and do special operations against the IRGC, anywhere. I hope he’s correct.

Robin Wright worked for the LA Times before she hired on with the Washington Post, to add another perspective. She did an online Q&A which is pretty good in what it says and does not say, and here is the link for those so inclined:

Back to the subject with some “kinda” stories. There is a covert war going on with the IRGC and its proxies, if all the stories I know and have heard are correct. This is not proof, just belief and faith in what we are doing. But it is not good enough today after last springs’ public announcements by Iranians of a coming summer campaign to influence the Congressional vote to bail out of Iraq. And now the Iranian campaign is happening, mostly very violent suicide attacks, and it appears these IRGC types are now too big for their pants. Decades of unchallenged successes with little fighting back from the west have made them full of themselves. This especially applies to their export training and financed organization, the Qods force. This is a very dangerous situation we big dogs in the west have allowed to evolve with the little dogs in the middle east. Of course an Israeli would say the middle east is about Palestine, and a US type would think more Persian Gulf these days (an Arab calls it the Arabian Gulf). An over-intellectualize type will wring his hands, and note it is more an Arab-Persian problem, ignoring its impacts on America as long as they themselves can heat and cool and travel using gasoline. And then use the oft-used phrase “action passed is action completed” and let some future American leaders have to sort it out. That is a course of action, of course, but the outcomes may not be to future Americans’ benefit.

A recent Tom Clancy based movie had a line that answered the subject question. His daughter’s unrequited love was certain. In the same vein, its time that common sense American policy give more value to our future generations in what we do today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How about America?

Our way of life, and our children, our civilization is not some casual subject for those so inclined. We have something worth defending, as in fighting for. Of course in any fight, we might lose, but again our way of civilization is worth fighting for. What is especially an attention gainer is that we did not start the fight. This gives us a moral advantage to pursue. That many citizens don’t agree on the moral points, or even if their way of life has been attacked, is astounding to this citizen. It is tempting to just let them go down the tubes, but of course so would I, and I am willing to fight for America, and its culture.

How did this happen?
Politician’s ignorance is a big cause for concern for the USA’s future

Any citizen can cherry pick the examples, but the trend is clear. We citizens have elected politicians who are poorly educated, vote with the mob mentality, and hire staff who are just as unqualified. At least we can say we get what we citizens pay for, since most votes are dictated by those who pay the politicians. And the elected politicians hire young people with management or business degrees and little experience. That the Brady Law that passed included certain banned weapons was fine, until one learns the Senator’s staff got out a gun magazine and picked out their choices based on pictures, intuition, and innuendoes. What a sad state of affairs to govern such a country, all the while the Senator is using influence to benefit herself and her husband.

Ignorance goes so far. But being ignorant, not knowing it, and being forceful about it is a dangerous game for pundits, whom so many politicians seem to respect. Maybe the lazy politician assumes the pundit does his homework, and maybe visa versa. What a way to rule a country. In one pundit’s case, when Mr. Ignatius of the Washington Post announced the debate was over (in his mind and homework) about global warming, and the paper published it, many of us tuned out. That he was either ignorant, or had not done his homework, made him a loser pundit.

It is easy to complain and more difficult to offer solutions. An honest path to the future is to use this internet medium to offer subject matter experts whom we can accept or reject. If ever old-time politicians and their hired election consultants ruling our country is over, it is during this period. The burden is still on the citizens, but so is the new opportunity. Ignorance will no longer guide our American future.
A case for universal national service

That many western countries do it suggests there is merit in the idea.

The obvious benefits are mainly two. One is that the country gets fine young people recently out of high school to work for the nation for a short period of time. And they are paid at local wages. The not so obvious benefits are also two. One is the great homogenizing effect as young people from throughout the nation are mixed together, one might say exposed to each other. And once conscripted, many will choose to volunteer for existing national organizations such as the military or AmeriCorps as an alternative. At least past experience predicts this.

Realistically, only about one third of those who are subject to conscription will be mentally, morally, or physically qualified. And the probable exemptions are for the politicians and voters to decide. Universal national service is an idealistic title, at best. But using simple round off numbers, about 2 million young people would enter the eligible group each year, and if the country conscripted 500,000 a year, that is a big number, especially if the service period was two years.

Keeping things simple as can be is important. Inductees would enter one National Conscription Corps (NCC) for basic and follow on skill training, much like the military does. Politicians and those with bigger egos can suggest other names. There would be one NCC uniform style and logo. The training period would take about 6 months in all, to include travel time. The NCC’s mission would be national service, with three sub-Corps’ focusing on homeland security (to include import safety), rural and urban public policy infrastructure, and infrastructure maintenance. The NCC would not be a jobs training program, in all cases, and must not compete with local wage earners. Nor is it a career program. Those familiar with co-op programs will see a similar decentralized management means to keep these conscripts assigned and working for our nation's benefit. Conscripts wishing to pursue a career with the Border Patrol or local construction company or FDA subcontractor, for examples, would apply through their processes at the end of their national service period. The suggested period of conscription would be two years, with 6 months going towards training and 18 months towards service. Given the probable learning curve time of 6 more months, the nation might expect 12 months of productive service, which may not sound like much. But don’t forget the homogenizing effect as young people from throughout the land are mixed and live together, and many are motivated to join the military or other such national services.

Any successful national program does not go from speed 0 to 60 in one year, including this idea. Rather, ramp up the program over a three to five year period, so the left and right hands get a chance to know each other and work together for the common good.

As always, reinforce success, not failure. Once started, there will be American lessons learned and improvements to getting the mission accomplished.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In defense of hard science academics

It is difficult for common citizens like this person to filter the wheat from the chafe.

The chafe is the politically and religiously/environmentally motivated media reports by ill educated reporters, reverberating research money earned by hard science academics and their lowest paid students. President Eisenhower’s last article warning us about the military industrial complex included a second half warning us about a research industrial complex. The whole miasma is stirred by soft science academics and pundits with their own political and personal goals, often to change America to some kind of idealistic and perfect commune.

Of course global warming is the fad/herd mentality popular subject today. Just filtering out the facts is most difficult. There are plenty of good links for those doing homework about the facts, and there are plenty of university academics and engineers and scientists who work in the real world to teach us. This poster will avoid his list since it might be construed as a sales pitch.

To avoid the herd mentality, there are so many other environmental issues not reported that should get our attention. Just look at the massive environmental degradation going on in China to see the kinds of issues. For America, the basic issues seem apparent. Energy is first. As one who lives in Appalachia, for now 30 years I have never seen safety comparisons between the nuclear industry and the coal industry. Why not? I always thought environmentalism was about people. Second, the impact of agriculture and timber on soil erosion and fertilizer run-off downstream is apparently off limits due to state laws and ignorance. Just smell the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, Missouri; or try harvest seafood in the Gulf dead zone from the run-off, or map the massive erosion ditches in Illinois, and see if you can read about all this.

Thank goodness there are so many hard science Americans working in these areas. We just have to filter out the interference if we are to expect and elect politicians that work in behalf of American national interests.

And the best news is that this is a win-win with business. The more facts the better in achieving the bottom line. The recommended course of action is to let the voters, informed by the hard scientists, choose how to guide our future. Then the voters still have to filter the wheat from the chafe, but this is the lesser of two evils. Evil number two is to be led by well intended poorly informed politicians advancing socialist/commune ideas that have been failing for over 100 years. This is a no-brainer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Political shopping is entertainment, though the outcome is not

Generally, women love to shop for entertainment and use of their spare time, while men might rather sign up for the cotillion or just slit their wrists. But while in the tourist mode, when shopping often equates to gifts, things change. Every foreign city has its shopping district, be it in Istanbul, Turkey or Seoul, South Korea; and Americans go forth in the most naïve well intentioned shopping attacks where most confidently know they are being fleeced by price or counterfeit goods. And this is after long periods of haggling and walking away, and then coming back. Then they come home to talk about the good deal they got, and the seller does the same.

This dance of people and time goes on every election, it seems. The politicians sell their wares, the American people shop and haggle, and both seem to go home satisfied. The logic is indisputable … it has been going on for decades and there is no reason to expect things to change.

But change is constant. The American population is larger every decade, the demographics change to include population numbers and values, and standards change. While there is a real concern for cultural lowering of standards and poor education of our children, there is also change towards renewing the idea of shame for sex out of marriage, and babies without fathers, or for double standards where adult jobs supercede our national interest’s in our children succeeding in graduation rates or much lowered death rates from auto wrecks and guns.

Now that is shopping! As always, let the buyer beware. But also at last let the politician seller beware. What most citizens in the future are shopping for is our national future, and their children’s future, boys and girls. And the products may look much more like standards of behavior that include shame for living together without marriage, and having babies out of wedlock. Family shoppers will do their part, but so can American culture.

Somehow many have been indoctrinated in the last five decades that to impose their standards about American civilization is morally wrong. Those indoctrinators have been superceded, or just missed the boat. What they are selling is a losing political business. What shoppers are seeking is changing everything, and so are the changing demographics.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Conventional wisdom and dinosaurs

Dinosaurs existed for millions of years, and conventional wisdom would suggest they would go on in their future as they had in the past. And then the world changed, and so did they.

It is fair to say today’s world of politicians is full of dinosaurs, but America today has more than its fair share, albeit being fed by the politicians who feed them with public taxpayer money or raised money. Little personal wealth of the politicians is at risk.

Conventional wisdom of the dinosaur-like hired political managers and media managers and their hired pollsters and focus groups is that the world of the past several decades will go on forever. Their survival instincts, as in generating income to pay their bills, are based on the relatively recent past decades. This past includes run from the left and right in the primaries, go to the center in the election run, there will always be only two major national political parties, the voting public is too dumb to remember the facts, and mass communication skills, as in propaganda, will substitute for ideas and debates in front of the voting public. Even sponsors of the so called debates participate in what questions can be asked. All too often social security and immigration are not even discussed. This is the world of political dinosaurs advising federal presidential candidates.

Add in the 535 Congressional seats, 435 every two years in the House of Representatives, and 100 in the Senate on a 1/3 every two years basis, and the federal world is ready for change, to include their hired staffs. This change is not as much idealistic as it is selfish by the voting public. The representatives and their staffs have taken their cut at the public’s expense and priorities for now decades. National interest seems like a quaint idea for those that mine our national treasure. Spoiled self-confident Americans mimic this. We can borrow our way out of selfishness, and have our children pay for it. Now it is time for payback, though in America it is better said that the world has changed, the voting public will show it in the vote, and America will be better off. And the political dinosaurs will die off.

How it will all end one does not know. Like Robert Frost’s poem, it may be fire or ice. Or it may be a new national party, or term limits for the congress. But it will be a new world, and the dinosaurs will have died off, again. As before, they just don’t know it yet.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Intelligence and education and experience are all different

Our present American culture seems to value advanced education as a defining value of whom to hire. Suppose this is a case of reinforcing one’s case, as in those in charge educated their kids to be hired by those like them. Nothing wrong with this, except, the executive and congress are going down the tubes. The advice, one may say leadership, offered by our best and brightest to their leaders, seems to lack intelligence and certainly experience.

What a way to ruin a country, especially a super-power. Of course, why did our political leaders even hire them? Did the parents involvement count? Was it just the education degree? Was it the Ivy League pedigree? This part is especially disturbing to the modern standards of rigor, vice the inherited history of the Ivy League. At one time Notre Dame had a better reputation for academic rigor, and rewards. One can only the infer the Kennedy infatuation with this academic group with the results in Vietnam. Or one can still see some kind of infatuation with the Ivy League and its political power with the black balling of the president’s nomination to the supreme court because she was not Ivy League. As one who knows a person with a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech, and then who gained a Master of Business Degree from Harvard, she said the latter degree was not very challenging compared to the rigor of her engineering degree. Later she bailed out of Mobil Oil, and the name brand is out of business. The real world is really tough!

Most Americans know the difference between intelligence and education and experience.

What is so new to our American experience is the politics of personal destruction as a political technique. Add in the apparently poor values of hiring based on education and pedigree vice intelligence and experience, and no wonder America looks embarrassing to much of the world.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Numbers count, too

A good strategy followed through, and time, count too.

And to this armchair general , some of the basics in this Iraqi small war where west meets east are still being ignored in America. Our senior military and diplomatic leaders in the region probably recognize this, and we will hear more on the subject from them in September. And for this poster’s political beliefs, America most win in Iraq for our National Interests, so constructive criticism is difficult to bring up as it might be used by the wrong people for their own purposes. In turn, it’s difficult throwing a wet blanket on all the reported success of the surge to date.

The concerns are three: safe havens, time, and the difficulty of west meets east.

American government has put off-limits to attack safe havens that keep feeding the people and money that we keep killing or setting back in Iraq. That we Americans are doing a great job in having a new surge strategy and rules of engagement and new leaders in Iraq is to the commended and long overdue. But it seems like we westerners are shooting ducks in the barrels, and some easterners keep refilling the barrels, and we Americans want to stick with shooting ducks in the barrels. Hopefully, those easterners that refill the barrels will grow tired or poorer, and quit. But hope is not a strategy. And the ducks do shoot back, and kill and maim Americans.

We have been in Iraq way too long, from a western American point of view. One early strategy had us out within six months of winning the war. It didn’t take in D.C. Now time has marched on, and we are hearing hints in the media that while the surge is working, it will take time to succeed. Time in Iraq is something Americans do not have much more patience for, given the track record of the last five years. And as long as we allow safe havens, we are not in the drivers seat, and still on a road with no end in sight, with our wonderful American military still there and still professional and still being killed or maimed. American impatience with war fighting in all its aspects is an Achilles heel that our enemies recognize and use. I just wish our political leaders were as astute.

I was extremely proud to read about a Marine lieutenant making a mafia like payment (almost $100K) to a sunni sheik in Anbar province. That’s how it works when west meets east. The world’s longest lasting empire was not Rome (600 years) but Byzantium (1,000 years). Byzantium was a better blend of west and east, where bribes often achieved political victories compared to the military alternative. In this arena of cultural conflict, most westerners are out of their experience level; education counts for little. As Rudyard Kipling said in a poem: “It is not good for Christian health to weareth the Aryan* brown, for the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles, and he weareth the Christian down”. Being said another way, being disingenuous is a character trait admired in many eastern cultures. Said a third and probably best way, many of the eastern culture young people are western educated and exposed, and take advantage. Most small wars such as in Iraq and the region usually involve thugs and criminals and now fascists who cloak themselves in revolutionary garb and now religious garb and phrases, yet their goal is always selfish and primeval.

If one follows this train of logic, and agrees, then the future is going to be difficult, as in some sacrifice and much difficulty to protect our National Future and Interest is coming in all cases. The least damaging is to expand this to a regional war, financial and military. Killing a Saudi financier, and bombing as best we can the Iranian nuclear infrastructure and Syrian training camps in the Beqaa Valley, will provoke terrible financial repercussions from Saudi Arabians as well as the Chinese. They will suffer worse, but it will be a war. The worse option is to kick the ball down to our future leaders. If they are presented with options about National Survival because we did not act earlier, what they may do is even more ugly. In either case, it is out of our control because our enemies are determined and relentless and on the doorstep. Americans thought they could dictate everything in the world early in the 21st century. Sounds a little like the earlier Romans.

* The term Aryan is as old as the Swastika symbol in human religions. H.G. Wells’ book “ An Outline of History” published in the late 1920’s is a good primer on both subjects. One need only read the first third of the book for the primer homework. Subsequent versions (by other authors) update to WWII and later, but the original will do just fine.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Back to the basics

The purpose of our federal government is to provide for our common defense and promote our general welfare. Nowhere in the Constitution is mentioned such things as committees and other such things that exist today. Two hundred years ago we had to pay our bills as nobody in their right mind would loan us money. As a result, we often privatized things such as roads and bridges, often called tolls. We even issued letters of marque to allow our poor nation a way to attack and defend at sea, with private sources paying and taking the risk. Of course their incentive, and reward, was profit. Now our leaders, to include the most corrupt, spend assuming we as the USA can always borrow our way out. And our future generations will pay for it.

Ah profit. Hillary Clinton correctly states that lobbyists represent Americans. So does profit go to Americans. Profit is not evil. It is human, and so American, especially compared to the old world.

In the new world in a short generation or two, America has been long on ideas and short on follow-up. Many pro’s have stated the probable reason; we have voted that way for all the reasons, selfish and short term gain. Now all the common good and promotion of well being ideas are coming due for maintenance, political and real life. Tough love, not tough luck, should be the theme of the day. Most don’t expect the politicians to do much until enough dead citizens pile up and interstate commerce comes to a concerned safety slow down, and their relatives and friends vote them out. Yet this embarrassing argument is rear-end backwards as it is about reacting.

Our politicians must be acting for the benefit of our general welfare, to include maintenance of the basics, political and defense and infrastructure. Some suggest privatization as a course of action, and it has appeal as long as the taxes and funding are reduced for the government alternatives. Some suggest American standards enforced by voters as another course of action.

So back to the basics comes down to who is in charge of the USA and the coming 2008 elections. Is it the political pro’s who get paid for their work and hired poll driven advice, is it the pundits who get paid for their well written opinions as part of their jobs to pay the bills, or is it the American people?

Even in a time of great mass communications, interconnectivity, and computer machines ability to crunch numbers, it always comes down to humans and voters.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Racial quotas for the Democratic Presidential convention

The Democratic convention that mandates racial diversity in precise amounts to the decimal point is un-American. And just who decides the "formula"? And just who decides “race”?

This is not right. Let the citizens know who decides the “formula” and the definition of “race”?
Hollywood as a center of gravity

Center of Gravity is a buzzword for being an important nerve in how any society functions. It makes a good place to attack. A good example are the 9/11 attacks where the targets were financial, military, and political. The World Trade Center and the Pentagon were examples of financial and military centers of gravity. And the attacks in New York City set us back a reported one trillion dollars, though it seems hard to believe in retrospect. But it did hurt a lot. And the heroic actions of the passengers on the flight that went down in Pennsylvania averted some target being attacked. Many think it was intended to be the White House or the Capitol building as a political center of gravity.

What was not attacked on 9/11/2001 was our cultural center of gravity, Hollywood. But in the aftermath of 9/11 the Hollywood Academy Awards were repeatedly rescheduled and moved. Many think, and this is pure speculation, that it was recognized, or suspected, an attack on the ceremony was next. After all, Hollywood is an area target. Any attacker like those heinous people who pulled off 9/11 will pick a point target like a ceremony to accomplish their mission. And Hollywood represents a loathsome center of gravity to many in the USA and the world.

Like any father who has lived overseas, the export of American culture by Hollywood movies and TV repeats often creates a backlash or revulsion in other countries, or so is my observation. Mostly it is the treatment of women, and not the violence or language. Either way, there is a cultural backlash that must be recognized and accounted for.

Two thoughts for the future. A lot of Americans deserve atta-boys and atta-girls for preventing an attack on any cultural center of gravity since 9/11. Second, a lot of people inside of D.C. as well as the deployed military deserve a lot of credit for taking down and continuing to take down these Islamic radicals in any geographical location and any organization they choose.
Promoting American values will go a long way

It will take a new generation of leaders to do it.

Civility of words and voice is one American value that needs a boost. Self-censorship in terms of the golden rule and using good manners needs new leaders to promote it by words, voice, example, and deed.

Recognizing individuals and groups who display behavior and deeds that benefit their community or the country also needs a boost. There are so many good things going on that recognition and promotion by the media will be a business boost to the media. Political recognition of American values and those who work towards them will benefit most politicians seeking bipartisan election support of their constituency.

Recognizing and promoting the Constitution and such simple principles as the rule of law, the checks and balances against abuses, and the nature of how a republic works are parts of required high school civics courses that must be taught to all American students, and not as an elective. American history must be a required course in high school, also. If there are not enough hours to teach all courses, then elective courses like pet care must fall by the wayside. It will take new American leaders to mandate this. Ignorance is not bliss. A generation of young Americans exposed to this kind of American values and leadership will probably later require mandatory English language education in high schools, negating today’s remedial college courses, and making our educated American workers even more competitive.

Hollywood can even be a part of this future leadership. Much as Hollywood took cigarettes out of movies to de-glamorize smoking, it has the potential to do the same for American values. It will take many more new leaders than exist there today, and the leftist people who still do today’s blacklisting for their own ideology will have to die off, or just fade away. For an industry that responds to the bottom line, Hollywood is just crying for new business leaders to change course if they are to survive, and hopefully prosper in making a profit.

What Americans don’t need is today’s political leaders and their staffs trying to take advantage of all this. They are part of the problem, and not the solution. Their opportunities have come and gone. Rather, those that define American values are defined by parents, and couples, and religious organizations, and schools as to mandatory high school courses. Voters must do what it takes to keep the government at all levels from telling us what American values are.

It will take new leaders, and perhaps a new national party. But as in changing the course of a big ship such as an aircraft carrier, it does take time, and new leaders to guide the newer course. In all this is hope for our great nation.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Reinforce success, not failure

Why do many Americans still promote the failed socialist array of ideas? Why do they try force them on those who disagree?

While all people are created equal in principle and in the great phrase from our Declaration of Independence, all know we are not all created equal in our God given talents. This socialist and Enlightenment idea is failure number one.

From each according to his needs to each according to his ability is failed socialist idea number two. While a wonderful sounding idea, it has always failed from the small commune level to the nation-state level. In America this failed idea has survived as many citizens in the last four decades have changed priorities from performance based outcomes and just plain practical solutions, to priorities based on good intentions and conspiracies by companies and other profit oriented organizations. The process has been skewed by organizers who exploit the masses to vote themselves and the masses benefits paid for by others. This is the typical downfall of the socialists who assume normal humans will continue to pay the higher taxes and redistribution of this income. They also assume allocated money equals results, which of course is not correct. The classical example is the increased taxes on luxury boats in the 90’s which simply drove down sales and tax income, and turned out to be counter productive. Again, this is an example of a failed socialist idea, and now some politicians are promoting these ideas, again.

A society legislating itself personal safety, and even national peace is another failed socialist idea. In the late 1930’s both houses of congress passed and the president signed three successive versions of the Neutrality Act, and yet we were dragged into a terrible world war. And even now state and federal laws are legislating what used to be called common sense about shopping and child rearing, and over zealous prosecutors are committing acts in the name of shopping safety or child rearing which four decades ago would have themselves prosecuted or evicted. Where do they get the self-confidence to try again these failed socialist ideas?

The array of socialist ideas, at least in America, includes the relatively small but now powerfully organized groups that are pacifist, and anti-war, any war. This may be a stretch comparing those that are simply anti-American with the more socialistic Americans pursuing their own agendas that are also pacifistic, and anti-war. Of course there are the anti-Bush citizens, also. These groups seem powerful because of the attention the Democratic Party affords them, be it idea or money based. But all this fervor and good intentions is another failed idea that incongruously will bring upon them, and America perhaps, the very attacks and behavior of our enemies they seek to avoid or talk our way out of. Misjudgments and misinterpretations by our enemies of American moral resolve, political intent, and willingness to wage war in defense of our Country have started as many wars as has appeasement and the pursuit of diplomacy. And here we go again to pursue another failed idea, albeit well intended by naïve fools.

Another stretch between socialism and history in the last four decades is the federal government's pursuit of socialism, or egalitarianism, or some variation thereof. While the goals were well intended: the war on poverty, the unleashing of the mentally ill to the streets, the vast expansion of our infrastructure in support of business and transportation, the expansion of personal rights over group rights (as in criminals vs. the public), and the promotion of double standards in pursuit of civil rights, have all gone wrong, as in the end been counter productive. All these well-intended socialist ideas are examples of reinforcing failure, not success.

Americans are inherently problem solvers, not idealists. That personality should in itself be another nail in the coffin of failed socialist ideas. Our future is American, not socialist, and voters will always think about what works in deciding who to vote for in all elections. Our American personality has many socialist aspects many think. Just how we go about getting there certainly will change if we reinforce success, not failure.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Going down the tubes American style

The election of 2006 exposed more than most expected. The overt selfishness of and confidence of many of our elected politicians to get rich for them and their families and contributors is one observation. The unethical behavior is just “in your face”. The main issue is the federal debt and future obligations like Social Security, and the willingness to borrow money to finance it all (to include earmarks) , since taxes and growing income is not the solution. The idea of giving priority to such basic federal government functions as border security, import screening for food safety, or infrastructure upkeep of things our ancestors built are the obvious. Instead we seem to observe photo and voting opportunities about the latest emergency which are in the end, just doing the basic functions of the federal government which should have already been done, and should keep being done if financed with the proper priority.

We have terrible political leaders these days. And people (and pets) are dieing. And why do we keep electing them, those who have been “in our face”? And why do they keep hiring “educated fools”, even if well intended. In the real world, we reinforce success, not failure. We seek out the facts, be they unpleasant or not. And we pay our bills when due.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The USA gets a freebie

Most just don’t care that much about hating Bush, or the mismanagement of the Iraq war, or even some of the domestic issues. Those of us who have relatives involved care more. Most also think the American idea is something worth defending.

Even when Clinton was hated by much of the public, it never trumped American votes and values. Most today care about the federal government’s part of problems solving or lack thereof. Between the MSM and most elected politicians, and their hired minions (this is key), it appears too many have gone national or international, albeit at our national expense. Just what is their confidence to ignore our citizen concerns, as much as some might even say chauvinistic, to be practitioners of their idealism.

The federal government leaders seem to have forgotten their purpose in the last four decades. Basic things like border control, collection of international and intrastate trade taxes, funding of infrastructure maintenance of earlier infrastructure funded at 90% to build, and inspection of foreign food products for our safety are obvious topics. Add in the academic ivory tower ideas of globalization and free trade, and then negotiated by our American people, and then seeing the results in local communities just makes one mad.

The freebie is the educated fool types who lead us towards some international idea that appeals to them, and they will be rejected by the voters. The freebie is the USA as in there is a good course of action to our Nation’s future. The freebie is the recognition that we in the USA have something special going on. The freebie is that the World will benefit, and know it. Why else the immigration problems we have today? If ever there was a freebie, the immigration problems the USA is having today are a very good example.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Is it the design or the maintenance?

The very tragic collapse of the bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is a reminder of many things we Americans don’t talk about, or seemingly avoid talking about. In the case of the bridge, it should come out in the future just what the cause was, and how we got to the tragic results.

It seems in the lifetime of the bridge, 40 years, similar things have been going on in America by design. We have conducted a war on poverty, unleashed our mentally ill to the streets, sanctified double standards in the name of civil rights, converted our public education system from the 3R’s to nanny-hood, and used legislation to try dictate safety from all of life’s perils. We’ve even legislated energy independence. And we’re trying to legislate peace for the USA.

All this has been by design, it seems. Playing God with good intentions is dangerous to all things living, to include people. Since we Americans elected these politicians who have been the designers, so be it.

Yet most Americans just want the basics, as in the maintenance side of things. Fill the potholes in the roads, maintain the bridges, teach the children the 3R’s, provide police and fire protection, and ensure good clean tap water and waste management, and 24/7 electricity. This in itself is a tough job, to include the financing.

So is it local, or national? The answer depends on where one sits. One inside the Washington D.C. beltway sees the cutthroat budget wars going on over the distribution of the vast public monies. One more local person just wants the basics, as in driving across the bridge without fear of death. And they are willing to vote and pay taxes for that.

So politically it is about time for less design and more maintenance, be it nationally or locally. This should be a National Issue, like Social Security and Medicare financing for the baby boomers. Infrastructure design and maintenance is both human social and public policy.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Democratic Party path to their national future

Is the path about National Interests, or is it about the Party’s political power and financial income of its party politicians who vote to solicit personal and party income? These days “career politician” is a fact of life term.

The analogy to the “if a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it” question comes to mind at times like this. Does anything a “generic” Democratic national politician does even matter, unless reported by the mainstream media? If not for the MSM, would we Americans even hear it?

One historical opinion is that the media selected and promoted Clinton’s election, and are now trying to recreate it again with Obama. It will be interesting to see if the Democratic Party leaders go along again for the ride. Can the MSM be the leaders, or are they just the Party reverberaters? Just who is making the “noise” we read about and hear?

The other and very interesting question about “noise” is that of the “tail wagging the dog”. Are the most bitter and conspiracy oriented Americans able to generate enough “noise” to affect the Democratic Party? A smarter generic national democrat would not pander to these types, but these days are different, and “noise” does get a lot of attention for those seeking a national party nomination. Most of Americans who do not hear the “noise” think otherwise.

Thinking otherwise is another point. Are the Democratic national leaders just plotting to gain power, or is gaining power a means to some socialist agenda for our Country? In the latter case, can we get a chance to vote on it?