Friday, December 29, 2006

Why what we say matters

It had been awhile since I checked out Iraq the Model, and so I found the article that I am referring to down just a little bit. Titled "It's in our interest to make them understand..." Omar is saying many of the things that I have felt, but lacked the coherence to put them to paper like he has. Perception is everything when it comes to foreign policy. If your opponents perceive you to be strong when you are not, they will be more careful just because it is ambiguous. Conversely, if you appear weak, they will plunge ahead in misadventures.
The article details how the Middle East has taken the Democratic take over of Congress to be the first step in our surrender. i don't think any Democrat is actually advocating surrender. They just want us out of there now. But for the listeners in the Middle East, that is the same as surrender. I predict that there will be an upsurge in violence in the coming months as an attempt to convince us that we were correct to abandon Iraq. Unfortunately, it will be our soldiers and Iraqi civilians who will pay the enhanced price of our change in direction.
As Omar said:
The ideology of the extremists believes in "either victory or martyrdom" and now they think they are closer to the former and this will be used to attract more of the reluctant to the camp that considers itself close to victory and we'll see intensified media efforts invested in this field.
What I want to say here is that now I believe more that I must disagree with those who claim that wrong American policy breeds extremism, and now I believe more than ever that wrong signals that might be interpreted as weakness are what can be exploited by the enemy to give more credit to extremism especially under the current circumstances.

Now the fanatics in the Middle East will be able to point to the Tehran Embassy, the Marine barracks in Lebanon, Mogadishu, and now Baghdad as examples of how to bring the Americans low.

Maybe they are right.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sometimes, Ya just gotta wonder

At the above link is James Taranto's Best of the Web latest installment about those who "didn't work hard enough" or Charley Rangel's refugees from poverty. What astounds me about this is how insensitive they (Rangel/Kerry) are. But I suppose they are playing to an audience that is used to hearing this sort of BS.
I have even had good intentioned and well educated friends of the Democratic persuasion relate the same nonsense to me, which was rather flabbergasting, since they knew that I had served long enough to retire. I suppose it fits their mold of how the world should be. But I would suggest that they consider an alternate story line in order to broaden their perspectives.

Having just read this, I realize that the same problem that I have with some Republicans acting in a patronizing manner towards poor people is just the same as what the Democrats are doing to the military.
Obviously, there is only one solution to all of this. Draft Democrats to serve in the military, and Republicans to take care of the poor, addicted and mentally ill.
That will never happen, but my next solution would be to have everyone who doesn't know what they are talking about to just shut up!!!

This is ridiculous

So Donald Trump and Rosie are having a public hissy fit. For the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone would care. But surprisingly, (or not so, if you are a cynic) more people are interested in this than anything else going on in the country.

How pathetic. And yes, they too have the right to vote.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Look for the Union Label?

Some may know (but most don't care) that I have signed on with the State Office of the Public Defender. The program went fully active on last July 1st. However, prior to becoming active, public defenders in both Missoula and Billings (who were county employees) held a vote to determine who would be the union that represents us at the state level. So, I never had a chance to vote for a union that was brought in before the enactment of my job, and now I will have to pay dues to said union. WTF?
I find it ridiculous that lawyers have unions. I am a professional, in that I exercise a skill for the best interests of my client, without regard for outside pressures. I am a member of a group that requires specialized training, and required me to pass a test and to be examined and found worthy first, in order to exercise my skills. Skills that the majority of the public are prohibited from doing.
What I want to know, though, is what in the heck is this union going to do for me? Are they going to say that I have too heavy of a caseload, and that if management doesn't reduce it we will go on strike? Let me tell you, the courts can and will impose punitive sanctions for failing to do my job, even if the union does call a strike. What about if some other union is picketing the courthouse, am I going to be allowed to cross the picket line? And if I don't who goes to jail for failure to represent my client?
As i understand it, we are supposed to be having a decertification vote next June. I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

This is too funny

Click on this link if you are a blogger, or read blogs.

I love the part about "written by fools, to be read by idiots."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The problem with ideology

Meagan McCardle lists her disappointment with PIRG work as the basis for her turning from liberal to libertarian. I think that the future of libealism (as opposed to Leftism) is going to be libertarianism. The reason for this is the difference between ideology and values.
For the most part, I have always believed that all human organizations become so large and unwieldly, that they begin to destroy the very reasons for their creation, in order to continue their existence as they perceive it needs to be. One of the examples cited in her comments was unions paying sub minimum wage to protest Wal-Mart wages, which are above minimum wage already.
The only organization that I can think of which hasn't fallen into this trap is the US Army. Upon relfelction, I think that is because the Army trains to accomplish something that it hopes will never happen. So, you have an orgainzation that seems to be doing something pointless. While some may argue that because it is pointless, it should not be done, I would argue that is pollyanish at best, and extremely dangerous at worst. Pure pacifism requires surrender to anyone immoral enough to demand it and willing to employ force to accomplish it. This is a surrender of your basic values for the purpose of upholding those values. A worthy contradiction, don't you think?
But getting back to the Army. The thing that held it together was called the Army values. These were (I am sure that they have been massaged since I was in) Courage, Candor, Commitment and Excellence. Each and every soldier regardless of rank or responsibility was expected to hold each of these values and to base all of their actions on these same values. If you look at the listed values, they are all fuzzy. Any MBA would find them inadequate for Management by Objective, but their fuzziness actually made them stronger. If you were to err, you would always err on the side of the decision that was closest to the Army values as understood by the group as a whole. Technicalities were not allowed. The only thing that mattered were did you accomplish the mission, not how hard you tried, or how well you meant, just did you do the job. The reason for this is that accurate information is a life or death matter in this type of job.
When I was teaching the Leadership course in ROTC, I always used the example of a tank platoon that was crossing a river in Korea during that war. The engineeer in charge of blowing the bridge asked the lieutenant of the tanks if he was the last of the Americans. The lieutenant thinking that with all of the fighting he had been doing said "Yes I am." So the engineer blew the bridge, and when the smoke cleared, there was an American infantry unit stranded on the other side of the river.
The moral of the story is that the lieutenant conveyed false information. Not that he meant to, but that he didn't know better. If he would have said "I've been fighting them all the way here and haven't seen any other Americans," that would have been an accurate statement, but different from his being the last Americans.
Values are something that has to be spread throughout and organization. Ideology can be a basis for forming values, but ideology can also destroy values. (I am doing this for the good of the cause.) If you have good basic values, your actions will always be moral and just. If you have a good ideology, your values will fall by the wayside whenever they conflict, because ideology is more important.
I would rather people with strong values lead than strong ideology. I can trust people with values to do the right thing. I can trust people with strong ideology to do whatever is needed to propagate that ideology as they perceive it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm Baaack

Football season is now over, and once again I can concentrate on something other than my beloved Grizzlies, at least until September. I apologize for the lack of posting, but nothing seemed as interesting to me until now.

On Income Redistribution

Matt of Left in the West is decrying the fact that some people actually have the temerity to be rich!! Oh the nerve of some people.
This reminded me of an interview I saw on Fox News Sunday where Barney Frank was being interviewed and was asked if it was alright for the government to take wealth from one group and give it to another. Rep. Frank was pointing out that the top echelons are amassing more wealth than ever before. This would be a legitimate problem if and I mean only IF it was due to some government policy. But I know of no such policy. Instead, it just seems to be "unfair."
Why is it the role of government to forcibly sieze wealth from one group to give to another? What moral or legal basis would allow, much less condone such robbery? I am at a loss for an explanation.
I know that some have argued that the rich have too much and the poor have too little. Okay, why is that a problem for governmental intervention? Again, I am at a loss.