Archive for the 'Political Correctness' Category

Apr 08 2014

Catching up

What with the move and all there has been a lot going on. The travails of getting ready for the move kept me from commenting on some of the really stupid things that have happened in the last month. So this will be a post aimed at catching up-if only just for a bit.

ß—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–à

Starting with the most recent abomination is the US Supreme Court’s hideous ruling the case of McCutcheon vs FEC.  Not content to f*ck up American politics by allowing Citizens United, Justice Roberts decides to compound the damage. James Fallows had a couple of pretty good articles pointing out just how cynical Roberts’ position is:

Humility. Modesty. Restraint. Deference to precedent. "We're just calling balls and strikes."

That guy sounded so great. Really, watch this minute-long video and think what it would be like to have a person like that on the bench.

Instead we have a chief justice who:

?In the "Obamacare" ruling two years ago, apparently decided that the institutional risk to the Court of blatantly coming across as just another branch of party politics outweighed the objections implicit in his prior rulings to the healthcare plan. So he found a way not to overturn the main legislative accomplishment of a president's first term, with all the hubbub that would ensue. As it happens, I was glad that the politics added up that way for him. But …

?In this week's McCutcheon ruling, following Citizens United, he made up out of nowhere his own interpretation of how electoral politics and favor-trading works—trumping that of Congress, composed 100 percent of elected members. Plus he invented his own post-Founders, no-input-from-Congress, precedent-be-damned theory of what "corruption" means. As it happens, I disagree with the results of this one. But the main point is that in their activist political sensibility neither this judgment nor the Obamacare one had the slightest connection to the person who so self-effacingly presented himself for confirmation nine years ago.

Fallows correctly points out that Roberts is dangerous for two reasons, 1) he is overtly partisan and has infected his judicial understanding with that partisanship and 2) he will be on the Court for a long time to come. “The man who, at age 50, presented himself for lifetime tenure as chief justice said that he conceived of his role as a minimalist "balls and strikes" umpire. No one who has observed him in office could plausibly describe him that way. He has been as precedent-disregarding as they come. So was he naive in saying what he did nine years ago? Or was he cynical? To me those seem to be the options.”

So. To review-money is not speech, corporations are not people,  my friend.

ß————————————————————————————————————————————————————–à

About the MH370 situation I have nothing of substance to add. Clearly an enormous tragedy has occurred-and it was compounded by the incompetence of the Malaysian government.  It will be interesting to see if they actually find anything like the “black box”.

ß—————————————————————————————————————————————————————à

And finally I am astounded the by the hi tech lynching of Brendan Eich. Who was CEO of Mozilla which creates the Firefox browser. The reason he was forced out? Because he gave money back in 2008 to support proposition 8 in California.

As I have noted before-this business of firing people for Facebook and Twitter postings is getting out of hand. It is ludicrous to suggest that Eich should have been fired over this-and all of the lame justifications that as CEO he should be held to a “higher standard” get no sympathy from me. He is not just a CEO he is also a private citizen. And he has a right to donate to whatever causes he wants.

Eich's abrupt departure has stirred the debate over the fairness of forcing out a highly qualified technology executive over his personal views and a single campaign contribution six years ago. And it raises questions about how far corporate leaders are allowed to go in expressing their political views.

Some are also questioning whether the episode undercuts the well-groomed image of Silicon Valley as a marketplace of ideas and diversity of thought, and whether, in this case, the tech world surrendered to political correctness enforced through a public shaming on social media.

OkCupid never demanded Eich resign, and after discussing the issue with Mozilla, Yagun ended the call for a Firefox boycott Wednesday afternoon.

In retrospect, however, Yagun said he wished he had framed the Firefox boycott in a slightly different light.

"I would have loved to have engaged in a debate over what happens when freedoms collide," Yagun said. "We have freedom of speech, which I would defend to the end. And we have what I believe is a fundamental liberty of people to marry and love whoever they want. We took a stand that matters to us personally and as a business — and I think the world will be a better place because of it."

Eich's departure didn't end the controversy, it just changed it.

 This is a bad thing for a whole lot of reasons and it will come back to bite those who organized this excursion into political correctness in the ass. Andrew Sullivan, who I tend to disagree with most of the time is on the right side here when he warns that this will have unintended consequences:

"You want to squander the real gains we have made by argument and engagement by becoming just as intolerant of others' views as the Christians?," he asked. "You've just found a great way to do this. It's a bad, self-inflicted blow. And all of us will come to regret it."

 

Furthermore, it creates a double standard. Brendan Eich was regarded as someone whose political beliefs and activities rendered him unsuitable for his job. In California, if an employer had fired an employee for these reasons, he would be breaking the law. Now some folks try to hold up that this is a market based decision. If that’s the case, then market is way too sensitive.

Mozilla could have let this pass-and it probably would have passed by in a few days. But now its actually going to hurt Firefox I think in the long run.  The market is much more elastic than that.

And before the inevitable Chick-Fil –A reference is made. Remember, there are some really big differences, not the least of which is that Chick-Fil-A was talking about actually not hiring people who are gay.

Eich begged for mercy; he asked to be given a fair shot to prove he wasn’t David Duke; he directly interacted with those he had hurt. He expressed sorrow. He had not the slightest blemish in his professional record. He had invented JavaScript. He was a hero. He pledged to do all he could to make amends. But none of this is ever enough for Inquisitions – and it wasn’t enough in this case. His mind and conscience were the problem. He had to change them or leave.

A civil rights movement without toleration is not a civil rights movement; it is a cultural campaign to expunge and destroy its opponents. A moral movement without mercy is not moral; it is, when push comes to shove, cruel.

 

4 responses so far

Feb 12 2014

Mandatory Training…..

Over at Esquire's political blog, LTC Robert Bateman has been buying into the entire-"all military men are rapists" theme.  Now, I, for one, am sick of hearing it. A) Because its not true and B) its disguising yet another hidden feminist agenda. Fortunately for us all- ROK Drop is still on the case. 

This just confirms to me how these AP writers are interested in sensationalism and not journalism.  Each case stands on its own facts which leads to its own outcome.  Just because a person is accused of sexual assault does not mean that they should automatically be convicted and receive the same sentence as someone else who was convicted.  You have to look at the facts of each case that was presented at trial which the AP writers did not provide.  Did the first case come down to just a he said said case where the accuser was drunk and changed her story multiple times?  While the second case the accuser never changed his story and maybe even had a witness to help confirm the crime?  I don’t know, but it is facts like this that help the legal system get convictions while other cases do not lead to convictions.

The AP writers also suggest in the article that the fact that accusers are not cooperating with authorities shows that they do not have confidence in the system.  They make this statement with no evidence of course.  I could just as easily make the claim that these were false rape accusations that were made with no evidence.  And if anyone thinks that servicemembers do not make false rape accusations think again:

After which, in his usual thorough style-he proceeds to debunk the AP myths.

Additionally the AP writers make a big deal about how few cases in Japan are tried by court martials and instead handled with non-judicial punishment.  Could that be because of the heavy alcohol consumption and people piled together in the barracks on Okinawa leads to a lot of the drunken he said, she said cases that are notoriously difficult to prosecute?  So instead of going to court martial with little chance to convict due to lack of evidence are the commanders offering the non-judicial punishment route to convict them on something?  Could that be why a high number of people are supposedly convicted of sex in the barracks and adultery?  Once again I do not know and the AP writers do not provide evidence otherwise.  However, McClatchy already looked into this issue and found that the military if anything is over prosecuting service members for sexual assault.

Follow the links and read the rest for yourself. I stand by the statement I made a long time ago. THE MILITARY DOES NOT HAVE A SEXUAL ASSAULT epidemic. It has a rate that is probably lower than that of a comparably sized and aged segment of the civilian population.  It has a buyer's remorse problem and a political correctness problem-by not sticking to its standards and demanding that everyone live by them, male or female. And it has a huge problem with creating policies that place men and women together, encouraging service members to date each other-with the usual hilarity that subsequently ensues. This is the world you said you wanted when began the great experiment-well, welcome to it.

Unfortunately however, we here at Far East Cynic HQ have been notified that we are required, because of failure to understand the gravity of the problem, to take some required training-and they are taking attendance. This has been de riguer since that fun little party at the Vegas Hilton some 20+ years ago. So sit down and make sure you get your name on the sign in sheet.

Now get trained!

 

Danger Zone!

No responses yet

Jun 21 2013

Not understanding what was said…..

One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.

Bertrand Russell


Recently, there has been a video that has gone viral in military blogging circles and elsewhere, showing the Chief of Staff of the Australian Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, making tough talk on the issue of sexual harassment in the Australian Army.

A lot of people have been impressed by this video with his plain spokeness and tough talk. I am not in the least impressed-and see this video in a much different light.

Just more pap for the masses.

A cheery “Fuck you mate”-would appear to be required in reply.

There is nothing new here-save for his actual endorsement of the long held feminist ideal, namely criminalizing speech which runs counter to the party line. That has been the stated and unstated objective in the American military as well, especially as the years have passed and women have proven “indispensable” to the service of the Armed Forces. As this blog has proven repeatedly in many posts over the past 7 years-it’s complete and utter nonsense. It would appear that Gen Morrison through either active coercion or actual belief,  has bought into the myth as well.

Now I do not know the details of the Australian case, but I think without knowing exactly what occurred, the world-and the Australian military,  might not want to be in such haste to condemn the rest of the service for the bad acts of a few people. Yet as in the United States that appears to be exactly what is taking place.

There are legitimate policy arguments that still need to be held about the social revolution that has engulfed the armed forces of the Western Nations, policy discussions on fairness, affects on readiness, and over all common sense of many of the decisions that are being made in the service of the diversity industry that I know is present in the United States and appears to be in place in Australia. Some very knowledgeable and brave individuals have spoken out on these policy issues and taken a contrarian view, namely that of that every societal change comes at a cost to the society making it. Expanded roles of women in the military do have a cost and if the last 20 years have proven anything, it is that the administrative overhead of running a mixed gender force is huge. And it will continue to be greater than that involved in a single gender outfit.

Now to hold that point of view is not the same as endorsing misconduct. It would appear that the Australian offenders violated the cardinal rule of existence in today’s brave new world: 1) Know your environment and 2) never conduct conversations with your female co-workers that are not strictly limited to required professional matters. As a gun owner would say, “treat every gun as if it was loaded.” The adage applies to male / female interactions in the work place. “Always, always, always, be on your guard-and watch what you say or do.”  The consequences of failure to do so-appear almost weekly on the cover of Navy Times.

It is a cold day in hell when I agree with Wall Street journalist James Taranto, but the snowballs appear to be being tossed around in the infernal regions today. Taranto has pointed out the complete hypocrisy with which our elected leadership is behaving with respect to empowering our military leadership to deal with the issue of sexual harassment in the ranks:

In March, President Obama nominated Gen. Helms to serve as vice commander of the Air Force Space Command. But Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who sits on the Armed Services Committee, has placed a "permanent hold" on the nomination.

At issue is the general's decision in February 2012 to grant clemency to an officer under her command. Capt. Matthew Herrera had been convicted by a court-martial of aggravated sexual assault. Ms. McCaskill said earlier this month that the clemency decision "sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system."

To describe the accuser in the Herrera case as a "survivor" is more than a little histrionic. The trial was a he-said/she-said dispute between Capt. Herrera and a female second lieutenant about a drunken October 2009 sexual advance in the back seat of a moving car. The accuser testified that she fell asleep, then awoke to find her pants undone and Capt. Herrera touching her genitals. He testified that she was awake, undid her own pants, and responded to his touching by resting her head on his shoulder………

It's fair to say that Capt. Herrera seems to have a tendency toward sexual recklessness. Perhaps that makes him unsuitable to serve as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. But his accusers acted recklessly too. The presumption that reckless men are criminals while reckless women are victims makes a mockery of any notion that the sexes are equal.

More important, Sen. McCaskill's blocking of Gen. Helms's nomination makes a mockery of basic principles of justice. As the general observed in her memo: "Capt Herrera's conviction should not rest on [the accuser's] view of her victimization, but on the law and convincing evidence, consistent with the standards afforded any American who finds him/herself on trial for a crime of this severity."

On Friday the House passed a defense bill that would strip commanders of the authority to grant clemency. That would be a mistake. The Herrera case demonstrates that the authority offers crucial protection for the accused.

Military officers and lawmakers alike swear an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." In the case of Matthew Herrera, Gen. Helms lived up to that commitment. Will Sen. McCaskill?

 

The point he makes is exactly the same one I made a few weeks back. These steps to deprive convening authorities of their discretion in court martial cases is dangerous-and full of unforeseen consequences. The recently passed action by Congress requiring minimum sentences and the inability of a convening authority to overturn a sexual harassment case,  doubly so.  They are stupid restrictions, passed in a knee-jerk fashion. And worse yet will be unevenly applied. Have a penis? Get fucked at the drive through.  Have a vagina? Here, take a tissue and lie down on the fainting couch-and let me pencil you in for your interview on “The View”.

Let me say it again, there is a difference between misconduct and sincere opposition to poorly thought out and poorly implemented policy. The former is just stupid, the latter is noble and something that happens not nearly enough in our military today. And that,  Gen Morrison,  is where your smooth sounding speech just falls apart. There are people who care too much about the proud traditions of the service, to see it sacrificed all too quickly on the altar of political correctness.

 

3 responses so far

Feb 26 2013

Not understanding the meaning of the word, “satire”.

I must admit, I am taking enormous pleasure at the conservative freak out over both Seth McFarland's hosting of the Oscars-and the appearance of Michelle Obama therein.

It is indeed laughable-because it shows what prudish jerks, a certain segment of American society is.

For starters-Family Guy is great. Its funny, edgy and a great satiric criticism of the trends in American society. Anyone who doesn't think so must be a conservative hack. Or a conservative whore-like Michelle Malkin. 

Or Jennifer Rubin.

 Rubin wrote a scathing review of the first lady’s appearance, complaining about nearly every word she said, and claiming she must have felt “entitled” to “intrude” on the big Hollywood night. In her eyes, an appearance like last night’s “makes both the president and the first lady seem small and grasping. In this case, it was just downright weird.”

Yea………right.

There is a word for Jennifer Rubin. Its the same one the Onion used for Quvenzhané Wallis. ( if you can pronounce that name, you are a better man than I).

And the list of whiners goes on. 

The National Review put together their round-up of the various responses “mocking” the first lady. The Drudge Report called her a party crasher in his banner headline. The Breitbart team complained she hijacked the Oscars. Charles Johnson has a great round up of how truly demented most of the folks on the right wing side of the aisle are.

Hardly a group of "respectable" critics if you ask me. And clearly they have no sense of tradition whatsoever. ( But hey, what else did you expect from Andrew Breibart's useless children?)

Look, morons. If you had no idea Seth McFarland was going to be "edgy" then you are really stupid. You should probably go talk to your children who understand his work quite well. 

Now I will admit-what with the 9 hour time difference-I was not going to be able to stay awake for the Oscars. But I watched the re-runs this morning-and I thought Seth McFarland was funny.

And talented. Especially this bit:

 

 


 

Only a moron would think that was not cleverly done. And , by the way, correct. We did see their boobs ( Thanks be to God!)

So please, Ms. Malkin-since we already know what a whore you are-spare us the the criticisms of people who can pull off the role a lot better than you do!.

4 responses so far

Jan 24 2013

The brave new world.

Can we finally do away with DACOWITS now?

Since everyone can do everything-why are they needed? Except of course, its not about equality at all.

Its about reshaping the service into an image it never should have.

But such is the way society is changing.

I consider myself pretty open minded-but on the issue of women serving in combat, in squadrons, on ships, in submarines,  in the military in general, I shall never change my mind.  These changes come at a cost to American society-and they in the end,  demean women. It is not about doing what's right-its about careerism, and wanting to slant the table so that the tables of 10,000 years get turned 180 degrees around.

Secretary Panetta, Professor Van Creveld would like to have a word with you:

4141F05E81L._SS500_

 

This, so you can understand the implications of what you did today.

And for the hypocrites in the Navy who whine and cry about all the guys getting fired for "morals" violations-just wait. The world you supposedly wished for has come true.

And no Mr. Ruiz, I do not apologize for writing this post about this time last year. I was right then-and I am right now. I will go on believing what I believe as long as I live. 

This-This is the world you have created. Enjoy it. 

22015_516002395089435_2121058175_n

 

There is no free ride and no matter what the benefit-we pay a cost as a society as the role of women as the civilizers of American society is destroyed.

 

All I can say is that I am glad I got to serve with men, when it was a man's thing to do.

4 responses so far

Dec 27 2012

Misleading Conclusions

I normally do not post about contentious issues during the holiday break, preferring instead to have innocuous fun with Beer and Babes, or comics, or life in the promised land of Japan. However I came across and article that is simply so egregiously wrong-that fisking it just cannot wait until after the beginning of the New Year.
Several months ago, Navy CAPT Mark Light-formerly a C-2 pilot and now a faculty member at the Army War College,  published an article that purports to be a scholarly analysis of the Navy’s recent rise CO firings compared to its historic averages of some 20 years ago. Notice I used the word “purports” because,  quite simply,  this article is not an effective analysis at all, scholarly or otherwise. Rather it is just another venue by which the Navy’s leadership is seeking to absolve itself of any responsibility for creating an environment that placed CO’s increasingly in the hands of temptation. It provides the patently absurd and convenient explanation that somehow the “problem” with the Navy’s CO’s comes down to flaws in “character”. And by absolving the civilian and flag leadership of any responsibility whatsoever, he comes down with the tired old trope of a solution that obviously the screening process is at fault for not finding these so called “character flaws” and avoiding promoting these supposedly “amoral” officers to positions of increased responsibility and authority. It was a bullshit conclusion when I first wrote about it here, here, and here.
Since the argument has been had before-and your time at Christmas is precious I will give you my responses up front. I’ll then take some time to look at the conclusions that CAPT Light came up with-and then moved his analysis around to support.
1) The Military is NOT a moral profession. It may be honorable and needed-but it not by any stretch of the imagination “moral”. An organization whose fundamental purpose is the mass murder of one’s fellow human beings, no matter how necessary in the pursuit of the national defense, is not “moral”. And in recent years, the military particularly jumped off the moral high ground when it became perfectly comfortable with pictures like this one, or this one too.
Oh, and before any goes overboard and says that I am simply exposing myself as a “homophobic bigot”, trust me I am not. I simply am setting the precondition that: once having accepted a postulate that what one does sexually doesn’t matter; then it is quite hypocritical to all of a sudden decide that punishing some sexual behavior is OK-while letting others go. Phrased another way: “How many adultery convictions or UCMJ cases will you see for any gay service personnel when gay marriage becomes legal in the majority of the states?” It’s a trick question-the answer is zero.
But you sure see a lot of dismissals of heterosexuals now don’t we?
Which leads to conclusion number 2:
2) Conclusion one is not-“in any way shape or form-saying that there should not be rules and regulations. There have to be rules and regulations. I've been clear that there are redlines that cannot be crossed. But let’s define those lines in a more clear and practical way, shall we? Especially when you have the "diverse" institution you have now. How about , in a Navy where "morality"-at least as defined by the UCMJ-is now a relative term anyway- ( or am I just imagining that a homosexual Sailor, by definition of the word "homosexual" is violating the Sodomy statute ( as well as great number of male v female Sailors.)-why not go back to the old tried and true method to gauge Naval regulations. Namely, "what type of behavior really gets in the way of readiness.". And I am talking about real readiness here-not someone’s fantasy of readiness.
 
I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it again: “There is no moral or “character”  crisis in the Navy.  The average naval officer or Sailor is getting up each morning and going to work on time, pays his bills, takes care of his family, serve his country-and maybe just maybe-desires to have a good time once in a while, while doing so. It’s not an unreasonable expectation on his or her part.”
Which brings me to my final conclusion, again an oldie but goodie:
3)Want to stop firing so many CO's? Instead of mucking up a screening process that is not generally broken, why not stop being so obsessed with who and what they do off duty? There are civilian laws to deal with what happens outside the gate, the Navy doesn't need to add to them.
 
CAPT Light appears to disagree with this sentiment. He makes a series of statements that, to put it mildly, are not supported by the data he analyzed. Let’s take a quick glance at some of the most glaring, shall we?
The problem is not mixed-gender crews. Of the forty-two personal CO DFCs in this study, twenty (48 percent) involved sexual misconduct. Fewer than half involved COs of shipboard commands. Of those, one involved a relationship
between a submarine CO and an officer in the Army—clearly not a product of integrated crews. The propensity for sexual misconduct is obviously widespread, but not because men and women deploy together. Whether on a ship with a
mixed crew or ashore, commanding officers must keep their relationships in line with the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Manual for Courts-Martial prohibiting adultery and fraternization.31 Failure to do so (like
any other misconduct) is a violation not only of the law but of the character that each commanding officer is entrusted with maintaining.
 
Oh really? Then how exactly do you explain some of the more spectacular cases in recent years? His example of the submarine CO is particularly flawed since it does not take into account the fact that submarines are just now going co-ed and only a certain class of submarine is doing so. He also fails to note that in a least three cases that I can think of –the CO was not relieved for sex he had, but for sex his subordinates were having. Or, as in the case of CDR Jackson, literal “sexual assassination” by a disgruntled female subordinate over the mere implication of sexual misconduct. If he had been in an all male wardroom he would have finished his command tour covered in glory. Same with CAPT Honors and “XO Movie Night”. His only crime was trying to motivate his mixed gender crew. ( That case in particular highlights what is wrong with CAPT Light’s argument).
Clearly, Mark Light is writing form the idea that mixed gender crews are just hunky dory as a starting point. Then,  shaping the facts to meet his preconception. Did he come that conclusion on his own? Or is he just parroting Navy diversity propaganda? I’ll also repeat my question, “Now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is gone, will we see adultery as a means of sacking homosexual officers?”. I’m not holding my breath waiting for the answer-we already know its “no”. Since its “no’-can’t a case be made for dumping the adultery clause from the UCMJ? I think there is.
And then there is this:
Our system needs improvement. Many of the CO’s fired for personal misconduct should never have been selected for command. Nine of the dismissals for cause cited in this study were due to alcohol-related incidents, and it is likely that previous supervisors of these officers were aware of their propensity to drink. At least sixteen DFCs were for inappropriate relationships, and while some of them may have been difficult to foresee, in many cases signs were likely present that should have been addressed.
 
That’s rich. And who exactly will be the determiner of who drinks too much?  The Navy’s AA obsessed treatment mafia? Bible Thumping, tee-totalers? The Navy’s own version of temperance leaguers. What CAPT Light probably considers drinking too much-I consider a mere appetizer before the main course. Besides its probably true that if a guy gets to the stage where he has a “screen worthy” record and is a drinker-he probably also has a sizeable record of showing up on time and getting something done as well.
How much a man drinks is his own business. Period,  end of statement. So long as he shows up on time-it should remain so. Yes there are drunks and playboys who get through "the process"-I'm proud to call some of them friends of mine. What you probably don't remember very well-is that they also flew airplanes, drove ships, and guided submarines through destroyer screens from time to time. Many of them did it quite well, as a matter of fact. More than a few of them were somehow still able to inspire loyalty among their squadron mates. Furthermore-for the most part, and the record pretty well shows this, generally most of them cared for their units and cared for them very deeply. What they didn't care for-in the slightest-was someone else’s twisted and sick view that they had to toe the line- in the way of an idea of what is "moral" and what is not.
There are people who get through the screening process that have no business doing so. Here is a news flash Mark-they will continue to do so. Oral Boards and written tests won't solve that.-you will just get people who test well. The selection board is a human process-a compromise-that like it or not sometimes makes mistakes. In fact I submit to you that "new" processes will actually get you more bullies, especially if they are female. That is why you have other tools-including firing people. You guys claim you wanted this world, well welcome to it.
Which comes to a final point CAPT Light makes:
Few familiar with the Navy over the past twenty years are likely to dispute the point that actions once overlooked are today grounds for DFC. Is it right that the standards have changed? Yes, because the mission of today’s Navy demands tighter standards. Captain Eyer notes that he drew his examples from the years of the Cold War;the mission of the Navy then was to be prepared to defeat the Soviets at sea and maintain freedom of navigation around the world. Today, the Navy’s missions go far beyond those objectives in complexity, including engagement, partnership, security, and unprecedented levels of deterrence. Modern technology, instant communications, and a twenty-four-hour news day are among the tools the Navy uses to leverage its global presence in support of those missions. But that same technology vastly increases the potential strategic impact of lapses in integrity by our ship captains and squadron commanders.
 
Go back and read that statement again. And then, if you want to call yourself a “warfighter”,  bend over and gag on it. Its crap-and it’s the same kind of nonsense that gives us slogans like “Global Force for Good”. Mark, you are wrong-100% so. The mission of the Navy has not changed and it has not changed since the beginning of the century. The mission the United States Navy is to project power-ashore and afloat- and to be prepared to defeat any Navy at sea. In peacetime, it is to project the visible appearance of that power in lands far away from the United States.
Sadly, there is no going back to the better days of yesteryear. CAPT Eyer was correct when he notes that in throwing out sensible distinctions we created the grounds of our own problems.
Casual observers—those who have never served in a fully integrated ship’s company—seem convinced that men and women can serve together in ships with utter disregard for one another’s sex. That sounds ridiculous, because it is. It only sounds sensible to people so determined to make something work that they are able to discount fundamental human nature. Simply put, you cannot put men and women in a small box, send them away for extended periods of isolated time, and expect them not to interact with one another. They’re like magnets being put into a box and shaken—they stick. It is what has kept our species going for 250,000 years.
 
As I said, there is no going back-and society is changing in what it values. Younger folks in the Navy today are not as upset about the social changes that have occurred as are “old timers” such as myself. That trend will continue into the future. Fine. The brave new world is here, the one our witless flags in the 1990’s said they wanted. Everything that the skeptics said would happen, has happened. You can’t change that now.
What the Navy can do, and should do now-is adapt its so called “ethics” views to the reality that is today’s society. That offends a lot of people I know-but don’t kid yourself, the Navy is not, in anyway, shape, or form a “moral profession”. It is however an unfortunately necessary one. So take that practicality on board and make rules based on common sense and reality. Bring back the “wall” between one’s professional and one’s private life. And so long as the private life does not intrude on the professional one-leave the personal one alone.  The Navy's focus should be on avoiding problems for the Navy-while encouraging Sailors to avoid problems for themselves. As I pointed out in this earlier post-there are practical ways to that. They just are not Mark Light’s ways.

7 responses so far

Jul 20 2012

They said it would never come to this…..

But alas it has.

When people were discussing the repeal of DADT, it was always pointed out that the aim was just to have things be "business as usual" and that the rather more overt things that cause older men like me to get all pissed off and cranky-would not happen.

But just as we saw when the combat exclusion laws were repealed-what the promoters of social change said, versus what they meant, were two entirely different things.

"We just want to be treated like the men".-That's what our feminist sisters told us some 20+ years ago. We didn't listen long enough though to hear the second half of the sentence however: "While we do our damnedest to eleminate everything that made it fun to be a man!".

And now we get to see the second act of this social change:

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — The Defense Department on Thursday announced it is allowing service members to march in uniform in a gay pride parade for the first time in U.S. history.

In a memorandum sent military-wide, the department said it was making an exception to its policy that generally bars troops from marching in uniform in parades unless individuals get approval from their commanders.

The Defense Department said it was making the exception for San Diego’s Gay Pride Parade that will take place Saturday because organizers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform and the event was getting national attention.

Regardless of how you feel about DADT or about the integration of women in to warships-the Hatch Act and other prohibitions on doing things in uniform existed for a reason. And like it or not-there is no such thing as a "non-political" Gay Pride Parade; or for that matter a "non political" feminist March either. This also is not a left or right, GOP vs Democratic issue either. It's a sign of seeing some standards enforced brutally-even though they clearly cross lines that the service have no business crossing; but at the same time allowing other "protected" classes to literally get away with equally bad conduct. Even if  a Republican were in the White House, this type of thing could happen-and has happened.  Don't understand my point? By way of illustration here is an example of the problem taken to its most ridiculous extreme. I decide to attend a rally supporting the legalization of prostitution in uniform. A TV camera picks up my well groomed image and broadcasts for all to see.

What do you think would happen? It certainly would not be a commendatory action,  that I can assure you.

But here-we have people getting official encouragement to do things that are at best-probably political. Just like we have flag officers encouraging the same type of conduct for women in the Navy. No one however, supports anything to help men be men however. They just get the kick in the ass-repeatedly.

But hey-its a global force for good.

2 responses so far

Jun 16 2012

Navy Times Fails Again.

The word for the day is: "pussification". It would seem Navy Times enjoys it. Other, more rational members among us-not so much.

When I saw this cover, I wanted to just reach through the screen and strangle somebody.  Of course, as it turned out-the cover picture was nothing. What really should make anyone's head explode are the new "solutions" to the Command Screening process.

And for the record-I qualify on on two of the three-no one will ever accuse me of being a bully-so I think I know a thing or two about drinking and chasing tail- and the exercise of command there with. Plus to be honest, if Navy Times thinks today's crop qualifies as true drunkards, they clearly have set the bar so low, they would not know a real drunk if it rammed them in their back bumper.

Which, come to think of it, might be a good thing to have happen to more than a couple of Navy Times editors-and more than a couple of the witless flags who continue to propose these stupid ideas. Furthermore, glaring headlines like this one-exaggerate what is really a minor problem.

Yes there are drunks and playboys who get through "the process"-I'm proud to call some of them friends of mine. What you probably don't remember very well-is that they also flew airplanes, drove ships, and guided submarines through destroyer screens from time to time. Many of them did it quite well,  as a matter of fact. More than a few of them were somehow still able to inspire loyalty among their squadron mates. Or has that basic fundamental part of the Navy service escaped Greenert, now that he has a lineal number of 001?

Furthermore-for the most part, and the record pretty well shows this,  generally most of them cared for their units and cared for them very deeply. What they didn't care for-in the slightest-was your twisted and sick view that they had to toe in the way of an idea of what is "moral" and what is not.

Or does the prospect of the blatant hypocrisy of your position-is  itsomething you can clearly ignore. Especially for every firing that you do have-you have probably about three more acts-that are not-and will never be detected. When you have a Navy where a guy can fuck another guy in the ass, married or single,  with our blessing-but a guy can't fuck a woman with a condom without getting axed-you lost the moral high ground a long time ago.

Want to stop firing so many CO's? Instead of mucking up a screening process that is not generally broken, why not stop being so obsessed with who and what they do off duty? There are civilian laws to deal with what happens outside the gate, the Navy doesn't need to add to them.

And whatever you do-for God's sake-stop trying to pretend that the Navy is somehow "a moral profession". By definition, it is not. An organization whose root purpose is to execute-in the aggregate-the mass murder of literally thousands of one's fellow human beings is not, by any rational definition of the term "moral". No matter how much it accomplishes as a "global force good.

Now that preceding sentence is not-in any way shape or form-saying that there should not be rules and regulations. There have to be rules and regulations. I've been clear that there are redlines that cannot be crossed. But lets define those lines in a more clear and practical way, shall we?  Especially when you have the "diverse" institution you have now. How about , in a Navy where "morality"-at least as defined by the UCMJ-is now a relative term anyway. ( or am I just imagining that a homosexual Sailor, by definition of the word "homosexual" is violating the Sodomy statute ( as well as great number of male v female Sailors. ;-)   )-why not go back to the old tried and true method to gage Naval regulations. Namely, "what type of behavior really gets in the way".

A man a lot smarter than me wrote:


Then, after 1989 and the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Navy fell into an unchallenged peace so profound that we could reflect deeply on topics considered to have been trivial in the past. Our best minds were turned loose to busily pursue previously “other” issues, while the government tried to find a new global strategy to inform our military’s mission. Then, this rising tide was immeasurably spurred by the 1991 “Tailhook” debacle, which set the stage for dramatic social change. We had no enemies except, it seems, ourselves. Overnight, everything was on the table.

So has the metric for success as a commanding officer changed since the 1980s? Certainly. Mission accomplishment took a distant back seat to myriad other considerations because we could suddenly afford it. Has the “standard,” which the CNO assured us in August will continue to be enforced, changed? No. But when you change the variables, new results are assured.

The so-called zero-defects mentality that emerged in the mid-1990s greatly expanded what might be measured against the unchanging standard of perfection. Beginning in the 1990s, a DUI became a death penalty for officers seeking command. You could be a superb warrior, but if your Sailor was arrested in Japan, you were humiliated. COs were scourged if they didn’t meet unrealistic retention goals. An overweight captain was doomed, regardless of any other consideration. What changed was what, on any given day, would be measured against the standard of perfection.

While no electronic records related to CO firings exist before 2000, the San Diego Union Tribune has quoted sources in the Naval Personnel Command saying “nearly every commander fired 50 years ago got into trouble for running the ship aground or hitting a pier.”

Mission accomplishment got the standard of perfection applied to it in the past. Not so much today. According to the same source, “changing social standards mean more wires to trip over.” Indeed, there are captains in command now who have professionally survived collisions at sea and failures to pass major inspections. Those are metrics against which we are currently not willing to fully apply the standard, for whatever reason.

But we are absolutely willing to apply the standard of perfection when it comes to a captain’s handling of his mixed-gender crew. ( Skippy comment-somehow the word "hers" never quite gets the same attention, celebrated female firings notwithstanding)

Now that same author goes on to note that there are people who get through the screening process that have no business doing so.Here is a news flash-they will continue to do so.  Oral Boards and written tests won't solve that.-you will just get people who test well.  The selection board is a human process-a compromise-that like it or not sometimes makes mistakes. In fact I submit to you that this "new"  process will actually get you more bullies, especially if they are female. That is why you have other tools-including firing people.

How about trying a solution that they tried 30+ years ago? Keep people doing their primary warfare specialty ( flying, sailing, submarining) for the entirety of their sea tours till they reach the time to screen for command.  Have community leaders who brief the records and let community reputation have more meaning in the selection process than JPME, Diversity awareness or DC tours. There is no substitute for experience-the career path laid before our folks today does not put a premium on that. You have folks showing up to Department head tours with barely 1400 hours-when I went to my department head tour I had almost 2700 ( And yes its true I was a whore for flight time-if you were not flying, what was the point of being in the Navy after all?). Thanks to IA's, disassociated tours and other workarounds for nonexistent problems, quite simply you are not "saving" enough in the experience bank so that when people do assume command the don't have that experience to draw on. Three tours of three years flying, floating or submerging should be the minimum-not the exception. 

On other thing I think needs to be looked at seriously, is having the Navy admit it was wrong to want younger commanding officers. Move promotion control points from O1-O6 back by at least a year. The goal is to have more folks showing up to their first operational units at the rank they should be, Ensigns; and in the process buy some more time to get those three sea tours of three years done-and get the post graduate degree they will need.

And while you are pointing fingers-why not point more than a couple of fingers at those who created this situation in the first place?

Casual observers—those who have never served in a fully integrated ship’s company—seem convinced that men and women can serve together in ships with utter disregard for one another’s sex. That sounds ridiculous, because it is. It only sounds sensible to people so determined to make something work that they are able to discount fundamental human nature. Simply put, you cannot put men and women in a small box, send them away for extended periods of isolated time, and expect them not to interact with one another. They’re like magnets being put into a box and shaken—they stick. It is what has kept our species going for 250,000 years.

There are two possible outcomes here. First, we can continue to enforce the standard, ratcheting up the pressure on captains and ships to asymptomatic levels. At least a standard is set and enforced, and the CNO himself has said that “you’re not going to change the standard, just because the number may be getting high.” A scorched-earth policy is supportable as long as it is consistently applied without passion or favoritism. There will be losses, but those losses will grow to be accepted, just as collision and grounding are now.

The second, more likely scenario is that the Navy will grow weary of these embarrassments and find another path. While that may seem inconsistent (and it is), it is also more realistic. Time has a way of altering perception, and this hemorrhaging of COs makes us look embarrassingly unprofessional.

Cause and Effect

Given the trend in 2010 and liberally counting commissioned cruisers, destroyers, frigates, and amphibs at 150 units, that means that 4 percent of ship captains will have been fired. That is not 1 percent. More telling, if one only includes mixed-gender crews in the calculus, it is certain that the numbers are even more glaring.

The end of the Cold War set the stage for a wide-open-to-change era in the Navy. Certainly, the first key change, post-Tailhook, took place when CNO Admiral Frank Kelso mandated that women go to sea in our combatants. Then, in 2000, CNO Admiral Vern Clark (a SWO) decided that a major effort needed to be undertaken to create the resources necessary to remediate 50 years’ worth of underfunding in the Navy’s real-property accounts. The strategy chosen to effect this effort was to increasingly model Navy practices on more “efficient” industrial models and practices—change upon change, leading to unanticipated effects. One of those is that our surface fleet is in trouble. Another—and one that was certainly unanticipated—is that our captains are failing to handle the challenge presented by mixed-gender crews.

In the end, it all comes down, as Vice Admiral Balisle suggested, to causes and their unanticipated effects. It may seem like an excellent, timely, or even an unavoidable idea to integrate a ship. It may be the right time to integrate a submarine. It might even be the time, as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen (another SWO) suggests, to do away with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But to do so without the full and conscious awareness that there will be a cost, potentially high, at a variety of levels, is to abdicate responsibility.

No responses yet

Jun 09 2012

Trolls can be dealt with.

This video is lovingly dedicated to all those commenters who can't seem to discuss a subject on its merits alone.  Like the fine group of folks who dropped by here in January.

Warning NSFW!

 

 

One response so far

May 30 2012

Over time-they always wear you down.

It is called, "undue command influence" and it refers to the ability of a massive organization, sanctioned with authorities by the US government to regulate peoples lives-such as the US Military-to apply pressure on its judicial system to obtain a pre-ordered result. For the "good of the service". There are supposed to be checks and balances in the military justice system that are supposed to prevent that, but trust me-they do not work well. The system will get its way eventually-and the individual will be thrown under the bus. ( Particularly if he is white and male). I know a bit or two about this-having been associated with the convening authority on at least a few court martials. Sometimes the evidence is clear cut-many times it is not. And that's why we need defense attorneys.

A man who knows a lot more than I do about the process, however, has finally had it with the "system"-and is throwing in the towel. The US military justice system and the nation is poorer as a result:

 

A well-known military defense attorney who has represented troops in some of the most high-profile military cases in recent memory is planning to leave his criminal defense practice, saying he “decided not to bang my head against the military justice wall any longer.”

Charles Gittins, 56, said he has accepted a job as an in-house attorney for Valley Proteins, a Virginia-based firm that specializes in the safe disposal and recycling of inedible animal byproducts for food industry.

“My days as a [military justice] guy in the trenches are over. Good luck to all of you heroes doing that work. You are doing the Lord’s work in an area of the law that is stacked against justice. You are my heroes,” Gittins wrote on his Facebook page Monday night.

Gittins, a former Marine officer, spent more than two decades defending clients in some of the most highly publicized military justice cases. His clients included a Navy officer embroiled in the 1991 Tailhook scandal, a soldier convicted in the Abu Graib prison scandal in 2004 and a Marine officer accused of mishandling an investigation of the infamous Haditha massacre in which Marines killed 24 unarmed Iraqis in 2005.

Gittins said his decision in part stemmed from his frustration with a recent case in which his client, a Marine captain, served more than a year in the brig for a rape conviction that was overturned in March due to lack of evidence. Capt. Nicholas Stewart was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman who said she was drunk and did not recall resisting the sexual encounter.

“The loss at trial of the Stewart case (which I never should have lost but for the sex assault BS going on in DoD), righted by [the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces], made me decide to get out of the business,” Gittins wrote on his Facebook page.


Just sour grapes by an attorney who should know better? I think not. It is real anguish at what has happened in today's military, where the chain of command has lost sight of the things it can regulate, and what it has not the authority to.

Consider:

It was undue command influence that allowed a hack like Harvey to trash the career of CAPT O.P. Honors-when any judgment on the correctness of his actions had long been completed and moved on from. In order to obtain a pre-ordained result the authority of the chain of command was usurped and a guy -who was by all accounts a good ship's captain- was thrown under the bus to appease the gods of political correctness.

Think too, about a now common practice-considered grossly illegal during my day-of taking someone to Captain's mast for a DUI accusation. The directives authorizing this take the individual to mast,  long before any civil proceedings are adjudicated, meaning that even if the guy gets acquitted of the charge ( and thus no DUI ever happened), the individual will have already been punished and had his career ruined. Not one high ranking person has spoken out about how this violates the Constitution's protections against double jeopardy.

The case that Gittins cites is a great example of undue command influence. Clearly a case of "buyers remorse", it highlights the ability of a woman who believes she has been wronged-to extract revenge by casually throwing out the "R" word. Even when no "R" has taken place. The military's rate of sexual assault is no higher than that of the comparable sized civilian sector-but thanks to the organized instutional paranoia inside DOD-done to appease feminists-lots of individuals have been routinely thrown under the bus.

And finally let's ask CDR Jackson about how impartial the Navy's IG system is-or any of the victims of the Tailhook inquisition about how fairly they were treated. Over incidents that were to put it mildly, nothing more than mild over exuberance. And probably could have been handled more discreetly with less pain and suffering for all. ( But hey, Paula Coughlin got 8 million dollars!)

Charles Gittins was the guy you turned to when the "machine" rose up and decided to crush you. There are other attorneys out there of course-but not all of them are of the same caliber as he is. And some, regrettably, care only about their fees ( like some lawyers everywhere-especially divorce lawyers). This is a loss for the individual officer and Sailor.

3 responses so far

Jun 08 2011

Where HAVE all the fun people gone?

A friend sent me the following in an e-mail. I am so lucky to have been able to see the “Old Navy”-sadly, future generations will never get to know the fun we had:

Where Have All The Fighter Pilots Gone? 

 We used to go to the Officers Club or NCO Club Stag Bar on Friday afternoons to drink, smoke and swap lies with our comrades. Think about this when you read the rest of the letter below. What happened to our Air Force (or Military)? 

Drinking then became frowned on. Smoking caused cancer and could “harm you.” Stag bars became seen as ‘sexist’. Gradually, our men quit patronizing their clubs because what happened in the club became fodder for a performance report. It was the same thing at the Airman’s Club and the NCO and/or Top 3 clubs. 

Now we don’t have separate clubs for the ranks. Instead we have something called All Ranks Clubs / community clubs. They’re open to men and women of all ranks….from airman basic to general officer. Still, no one is there. Gee, I wonder why? 

The latest brilliant thought out of Washington is that the operators (“pilots?”) flying remote aircraft in combat areas from their duty station in Nevada or Arizona should draw the same combat pay as those real world pilots actually on board a plane in a hostile environment. More politically correct logic? They say that remote vehicle operators are subject to the same stress levels as the combat pilot actually flying in combat. —– REALLY!!!??? 

Now that I’ve primed you a little, read on.

————————————- 

There are many who will agree with these sentiments, but they apply to more than just fighter pilots. Unfortunately, the ones with the guts to speak up or push for what they believe in are beaten down by the “system”. 

Unfortunately there is a lot of truth in the following text – supposedly, Secretary Gates has a force beating the bushes to learn who wrote this…. 

Subject: Where Have All The Fighter Pilots Gone? 

Good Question. 

———————————–

Here is a rant from a retired fighter pilot that is worth reading: 

It is rumored that our current Secretary of Defense recently asked the question, “Where are all the dynamic leaders of the past?” I can only assume, if that is true, that he was referring to Robin Olds, Jimmy Doolittle, Patton, Ike, Boyington, Nimitz, etc.? Well, I’ve got the answer: 

They were fired before they made major. 

Our nation doesn’t want those kinds of leaders anymore. Squadron commanders don’t run squadrons and wing commanders don’t run wings. They are managed by higher ranking dildos with other esoteric goals in mind. 

Can you imagine someone today looking for a LEADER to execute that Doolittle Raid and suggesting that it be given to a dare-devil boozer – his only attributes: he had the respect of his men, an awesome ability to fly, and the organizational skills to put it all together? If someone told me there was a chance in hell of selecting that man today, I would tell them they were either a liar or dumber than shit. 

I find it ironic that the Air Force put BG Robin Olds on the cover of the company rag last month. While it made me extremely proud to see his face, he wouldn’t make it across any base in America (or overseas) without ten enlisted folks telling him to zip up his flight suit and shave his mustache off. 

I have a feeling that his response would be predictable and for that crime he would probably get a trip home and an Article 15. We have lost the war on rugged individualism and that, unfortunately, is what fighter pilots want to follow; not because they have to but because they respect leaders of that ilk. We’ve all run across that leader that made us proud to follow him because you wanted to be like him and make a difference. The individual who you would drag your testicles through glass for rather than disappoint him. 

We better wake the hell up! We’re asking our young men and women to go to really shitty places; some with unbearable climates, never have a drink, have little or no contact with the opposite sex, not look at magazines of a suggestive nature of any type, and adhere to ridiculous regs that require you to tuck your shirt into your PT uniform on the way to the porta-shitter at night in a dust storm because it’s a uniform. 

These people we’re sending to combat are some of the brightest I’ve met but they are looking for a little sanity, which they will only find on the outside if we don’t get a friggin’ clue. You can’t continue asking people to live for months or years at a time acting like nuns and priests. Hell, even they get to have a beer. 

Who are we afraid of offending? The guys that already hate us enough to strap C-4 to their own bodies and walk into a crowd of us? Think about it. 

I’m extremely proud of our young men and women who continue to serve. I’m also very in tune with what they are considering for the future and I’ve got news for whoever sits in the White House, Congress, and our so-called military leaders. Much talent has and will continue to hemorrhage from our services, because wanna-be warriors are tired of fighting on two fronts – - one with our enemies, another against our lack of common sense. 

I don’t approve of political jokes–I’ve seen too many of them get elected.” 

Political correctness has doomed them, like our nation, to the hoary pages of history.

6 responses so far

Mar 12 2011

Totebaggers-to the barricades!

A long post  follows. It is worth your time to read-because not everything, contrary to the opinion of many conservative bloggers-can be adequately discussed in just a couple of paragraphs.

The recent incident involving acknowledged reprobate and con man James O’Keefe, who –through a combination of almost criminal deception and conspiracy with other ultra conservative zealots(especially Pamela Gellar)- was able to obtain and edit a video recording that caught Mr. Ron Schiller saying some disparaging remarks about the Tea Party and other things that were not particularly smart to have yourself on tape saying.


Cue the outrage! The usual suspects, immediately swung into action, holding their heads up high and saying how this “proves” NPR and Public Broadcasting is nothing but a bunch of panty-waisted liberal vermin that looks down their noses at “real Murrika!”.  Phib had a recent post on his blog-that was more than a little emotional on the subject:  “ I’m not sure which I find more disgusting, the anti-Semitism, the Dhimmitude ( what the hell does that even mean anyway?), the arrogance, the smugness,…” Etc, Etc, Etc. Then close with praise for a dipshit   “citizen journalist” like O’Keefe who is supposedly “doing the job the MSM used to do”.  A cheery head nod, a  “tut, tut”, and off to the next task sure in the knowledge of their inherent goodness and high mindedness.

So much that is so wrong with that-and with the attitude of the majority of his commenter’s. Where to begin?

Let’s start with the bottom line up front, it’s not NPR that maybe smug and arrogant-it is the more than arrogant to refuse to recognize who the real villain is in this event. And that villain is not public broadcasting.  The second-and equally important point- is that the truth of the event, compared with the first reports, show that the reporting about this particular event are not accurate. In their rush to judgment, and to excoriate public broadcasting, they have ignored the evidence that mitigates NPR and provides much needed context. That’s not surprising, facts are never high on the conservative hierarchy of needs-getting the message out to the uninformed is. What’s unfortunate , to quote James Fallows, “is that it has allowed Fox and its political allies to position NPR as something it is not, and in the process to jeopardize a part of American journalism we can’t afford to lose. “ Especially now.

 I guess that makes me smug and arrogant. Oh well, that’s just a cross I’ll have to bear.  Some people deserve to be looked down upon. James O’Keefe and his mentor Andrew Breitbart are among that group. If their rotund and rather close minded colleagues in the Tea Party are offended-well -that’s just a bonus.

The Economist has summed up the major issues quite well:

Anyway. Over in America, meanwhile, there are a bunch of smart people who know how this works, too. Earlier this week, they managed to catch an outgoing NPR executive calling the tea-party movement “racist” while talking to two undercover punk-ers dressed up as Muslim advocates of sharia law. In my inbox, Tea Party Nation’s Judson Phillips celebrates:

If James O’Keefe were a liberal, he would be a national hero today. If his targets were conservatives, the liberal media establishment would be falling all over themselves to see what they could offer him.

Again, for a far-right political movement, this stuff is pure gold. The sense of aggrievement felt by tea-party adherents and sympathisers at the accusation of racism is very similar to that felt by PVVers(A european right wing party)  at any hint of a reference to Nazism. The involvement of government subsidies provides the hook one needs to turn this into a public issue. The fact that one executive of the organisation says he thinks the tea-party movement is racist becomes the trigger not just for an offensive against an organisation unfriendly to hard-right ideology, but for a further solidification of the us-versus-them recruiting strategy. (“See? The liberal media thinks we’re racists.”)

What is the scandal here? That an NPR employee said something politically charged? Not on the air-but it what was supposed to be a semi-private setting? And that it was more Democratic sympathetic than GOP sympathetic? You will hear views like this—and their mirror image from the right disparaging the progressives and unions—at almost any Washington lunch. It is just lunch. Lunch is where deals are closed. Being the facilitator of deals means you have to put up with a lot:

But we’d last about 15 seconds in the fundraising business if every time a potential donor said something crazy or offensive, we told them to shut their pie hole. When people donate money, they feel even more entitled than when they’re sitting in their home bank-vaults running their fingers through their cash. Rich people love to give their money away, but they’re always attaching strings, and one common string is “You agree with me, right?” Can you begin to imagine the bizarre string Joan Kroc, heir to the McDonald’s fortune established by Ray Kroc, must have flung around the room as she prepared to give her NPR handlers $200 million? Ms. Kroc also gave $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army and assorted millions to peace institutes. Those gifts, plus her support of nuclear disarmament, were clearly designed to raise her dead husband, an ardent Nixon-lover and hard-right-winger, from his grave. (The efforts failed. Ray is still dead. But so is Joan.) 

If I voiced my concern over every stupid thing I heard at every meeting I ever went to-I’d get nothing done. Living here in Shopping Mall, one develops a strong tolerance for nonsense.

Then again, there are still moments when I find myself saying, “They can’t really be that stupid,” or maybe, “They can’t really think the rest of us are that stupid.” People who unreservedly believe the word of James O’Keefe have me saying that.

Lets start with the lunchtime conversation itself.  Business Insider has a pretty good rundown comparing and contrasting the actual conversation from the full video to the carefully edited version (another Breitbart-James O’Keefe trademark) released. Here is an example of the lack of context from the luncheon:

Schiller’s negative comments about Republicans and conservatives have gotten a great deal of attention.

He clearly says some offensive things, while being very direct that he is giving his own opinion and not that of NPR. Still — a wildly stupid move!

But you may be surprised to learn, that in the raw video, Schiller also speaks positively about the GOP. He expresses pride in his own Republican heritage and  his belief in fiscal conservatism.

4. The “seriously racist” Tea Party

NPR exec Ron Schiller does describe Tea Party members as “xenophobic…seriously racist people.”

This is one of the reasons why he no longer has a job!

But the clip in the edited video implies Schiller is giving simply his own analysis of the Tea Party. He does do that in part, but the raw video reveals that he is largely recounting the views expressed to him by two top Republicans, one a former ambassador, who admitted to him that they voted for Obama.

At the end, he signals his agreement. The larger context does not excuse his comments, or his judgment in sharing the account, but would a full context edit have been more fair? See what you think.

 By comparing the unedited footage with the version widely circulated, the analysis concluded that that Project Veritas’ editing of the tapes was “questionable” and “deceptive” enough to be “unethical” by journalism standpoints.

Wow! I am completely shocked that someone who sucks Breitbart’s dick  mentored at the feet of Andrew Breitbart would do such a thing!

What is surprising, however, is who did the video analysis. It was completed by The Blaze, the news and opinion site founded by Glenn Beck. Wonder how long it will be before it comes down. ( No I will not link to it-as a matter of principle- it was founded by Glenn Beck).

I have a hard time with moral outrage about what the NPR personnel said without moral outrage about what is clear deception and potentially illegal actions.  NPR at least took action against its own employees-who disciplines Breitbart and his clones?  

No one it appears-and they get away scott free with what can only be described as truely loathesome conduct.

When you support acts like this, you are no longer simply encouraging a particular point of view, you are saying- by your consent- that you have no issues with people engaging in unethical and  potentially illegal acts for the sole purpose of destroying a person’s professional livelihood. Andrew Breitbart does not have a “right” to that. Anymore than I have a right to beat the sh*t out of James O’Keefe. ( Much as I would like to).

In closing, I think it would be worth remembering that Public Broadcasting fills a need-and provides a service. When the Congress cuts off funding-its not just people they don’t like that they are screwing over, it will be their own constituents.  Contrary to the idea that Phib and a lot of others want to tell you-NPR and Public Radio in general has a pretty broad based audience. Certainly more so than Fox News.

Second,  Ron Schiller’s a fundraiser, not a news director. NPR keeps a high, thick firewall between its successful development office and its superb news division.  They want it that way because they have a tradition of wanting to get their news reporting right. As James Fallows wrote a while back about the Juna Williams firing:

In their current anti-NPR initiative, Fox and the Republicans would like to suggest that the main way NPR differs from Fox is that most NPR employees vote Democratic. That is a difference, but the real difference is what they are trying to do. NPR shows are built around gathering and analyzing the news, rather than using it as a springboard for opinions. And while of course the selection of stories and analysts is subjective and can show a bias, in a serious news organization the bias is something to be worked against rather than embraced. NPR, like the New York Times, has an ombudsman. Does Fox? [I think the answer is No.]
 
One other factor affects my view of NPR. There are jobs where people are mainly motivated by the hope of big money. (Finance in general.) There are jobs where the main motivation is job-security. And there is a category of jobs where, as absolutely everyone recognizes, it makes a tremendous difference that “employees” care about something beyond pay, hours, and security. Teachers. Soldiers. Doctors and nurses. Judges and police. Political leaders, if they want to be more than hacks. And, people in news organizations. …..I have felt privileged to work at the Atlantic through, now, three decades because, among other reasons, I know that every person in every job is doing everything possible to make the magazine the best it can be. Everyone is personally embarrassed if there’s a mistake in the magazine, or if we cover a topic — and someone else does it better. In the news business, this is the spirit that characterizes any first-rate operation, from CBS News in its glory days to the Washington Post of the ‘All the President’s Men’ era to today’s great magazines (New Yorker, NY Review of Books, many others) and broadcasts (eg PBS News Hour) and, yes, web sites. I have seen enough of NPR’s operations to know that it has the same spirit.*** Most people there don’t make a lot of money. Their compensation (as with a lot of people in journalism) comes partly in enjoying what they do, and partly in being proud of being on this team. Alumni of NPR — reporters, producers, and hosts who learned their skills there — are all over the journalistic establishment.
 
We don’t have so many first-rate institutions — in general, and especially in journalism — that we can afford to let one this valuable be delegitimized. Its leadership made a mistake in its handling of Juan Williams, but people who care about the news environment should recognize how much it has done right and defend it against the current cynical attack.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

And finally-this culture of “gotchaism” is nothing more than a race to the bottom. When James O’Keefe does things like this, it will spur someone to pull a retaliatory prank. And so and so forth. It leads no where good for either side. There is actually a double standard in place now-whenever someone at NPR does anything that offends the Fox Nation, somebody gets fired. When Roger Ailes calls NPR executives Nazi’s-all he got was a bonus. Its wrong and it has to stop.

To borrow a line from Animal House, ” They are going to nail us no matter what we do”-so NPR might as well develop a spine.

But for all its flaws, consider an America without public media. Consider a society where the distortions and dissembling would go unchallenged, where fact-based reporting is eliminated, and where the field is abandoned to the likes of James O’Keefe, whose “journalism” relies on lying and deceit.

Those folks are right-and those who support O’Keefe and Breitbart are  wrong. Nuff said.

7 responses so far

Mar 06 2011

An un-enterprising mindset….

This post is not so lovingly dedicated to Phib’s commenter Anathema, who was the central figure in the comment fest over at his place. The veracity with which he defends the flawed decision making of our gutless Naval Leadership-compels me to write this post. Please forward to him if you wish. He needs to read it.

On Friday, I spent some time reading the just released JAGMAN investigation into the so called “Enterprise XO movie night videos”  incident.
Never in 30+ years in and around the Naval Service have I seen so many people get screwed over something so insignificant and so trivial. You really should read the whole thing, all 74 pages. You can cut the hypocrisy with a knife. I commented on this a few weeks ago-but the tenure of the debate since then, and the over reaction by the chain of command demands further comment.

A few words up front.  I know many of the participants in these events-so it colors my view to some extent. Getting moral lectures on what should and should not be present in Naval Aviation grates me-especially when I know that many of those giving such lectures engaged in plenty of similar activities. So appeals to my better nature tend to fall on deaf ears.

In case you don’t have time to read the whole thing, here is the cliff notes version:

The XO made videos to put in front of Saturday night movie night. Contrary to what many are saying now-this always was, and has been a tradition aboard many aircraft carriers. ( They had them on Coral Sea and TR for a couple of examples of ships I served on). What is new-is the idea of someone trying to put spontaneity and some humor into these videos. Most CVN XO’s are clones of each other. They wouldn’t do it-because they lack the humor and/ or the ability to pull it off. Ambition tends to beat that out of them at an early age-and add to it the prerequisites to be even considered for  Nuke XO and its clear that “free spirits” are definitely not a part of that gene pool. (and certainly won’t be in the future).

So when someone tried to put a little life into them-here is what happened:

 Most of the crew probably liked them-a few well-placed female officers probably didn’t, and whined. In the middle of the cruise it was noted-but there were probably more important things to worry about like making the flight schedule and making sortie count. Now 4 years after the fact-with a new “special minority to be appeased” its time to show the greater world we “get it”. So hypocrites who should have more willingness to take care of their own,  are more than willing to throw their shipmates to the wolves. Been there done that in the aftermath of Tailhook, where- there as now-good men got screwed to appease a noisy few.

The investigation backs this premise up. The PDF will not allow you to copy and quote individual sections but I would draw your attention to a couple of items.

1) The investigation was specifically not tasked to investigate who made these videos public, thus denying the opportunity to keep this inside the Navy lifelines. Kind of sad really since I be willing to bet more than a couple of beers it was someone trying to settle a grudge.

2) The investigation casts a huge net as to what is “offensive”. (Paragraph 5). Suffice it to say, what they consider to be offensive-was quite normal during my time. And is still done today-although I’m sure it is being done more quietly now.

3) The phrase “popular with the crew” is used ten times at least. The phrase ” no one complained about the videos” is also used a lot. So are the words, “so and so was not derelict in the performance of his duty”-but they were quickly disregarded in the conclusions. Oh yea-the words, “Enterprise morale was high” show up a lot too.

4). Page 24 is key. A female CDR who had a “close personal and professional relationships with a member of the CSG-12 staff”  whined about the videos. Now mind you the CAPT had already discussed when and where content crossed his personal comfort line and the CSG-12 commander accepted explanations of counseling at face value.

5) And oh yes, the Enterprise was on deployment, with an old ship and still won the Battle E.

There are some very particular issues here as I see it.

Issue #1: The hoary old issue of “command presence” is at the heart of this.  This question has been around since the 1970′s that I can recall if not a lot longer. For the uninitiated-basically command presence is the idea that you have to be a certain type of personality to be effective in command. Those who believe strongly in the idea tend to have little use for mitigating factors such as great piloting, ship-handling, or great skills at tactical execution. ( Also known as the now defunct holy grail of the Navy: being able to “fight the aircraft, ship or submarine”).  These folks were described in an August 1984 issue of US Naval Institute proceedings. Namely,  people with great “command presence”:

When faced with quick decisions, they will opt for the status quo. He (or she) is inherently short on imagination, preferring careful analysis to brilliant insights. He is overly cautious…but will try to look the part of a traditional Naval Officer….and is usually very demanding “about looking good around the ship“. BTW -most “command presence” kind of folks are “thunderstruck” at liberty in Olangapo or Pattaya-their favorite ports are Monaco or Cannes. “Although he may not do well in combat-he will gladly die trying“.

In a nutshell any arguments about what CAPT Honors did or did not do are centered on this. NOT ONCE, have I heard his ship-handling, piloting skills, or ability to track details discussed as a mitigating factor. Nor it would seem is anyone asking if he could understand the concerns of the deck plate Sailor. They come back to command presence. There is no room in today’s Navy for characters-especially when “shoes” are making the judgment.

Issue #2-Nothing, even it it never violates the UCMJ, is ever in the past. Which is odd-since even the UCMJ itself has a statute of limitations. CAPT Honors-for whatever concerns were voiced about his failure as an VJ-evidently received good enough FITREPS to allow him to go on to his Deep Draft and then to subsequent CVN Command. If you are currently serving on active duty today, you should be very concerned about this, because it now means that anyone, and I do mean anyone, with an axe to grind can go back and resurrect a past decision and get it to be used against you.

Ask yourself this question? Why did this require letters of censure? A quick, ” I think you should retire” and a quiet P-4 ordering that XO movie night videos shall not be produced anymore couldn’t suffice? Of course not-not with DADT repealed and a new need to show people who cannot and will not serve,  that the Navy somehow “gets it”. And why didn’t subsequent performance and accomplishment serve to mitigate any desire to punish these individuals? Because it got out in the press and embarrassed the Navy.

3) Issue #3. It is wrong to punish enlisted people for following lawful orders and telling them what they should or should not be offended at.  Several of the critical paragraphs take Enterprise crew members to task for not voicing offense to things that they did not find offensive to begin with is just plain wrong.  I’ll grant that officers bear responsibility and will take the heat when they decided wrong-this wholesale action to formally single out enlisted personnel, whose only crime was doing their job, is just wrong. Furthermore, by making statements that they have some sort of an obligation to whine-ensures you will have whining of the worst sort. ( Law of unintended consequences).

Issue 4-This kind of overkill, on what is essentially an isolated issue, when real negligence on behalf of our personnel and procurement leadership is overlooked, sends a signal too. Who has been fired over LCS? LPD-17? JSF?Someone did get fired over JSF-but the program is still hosed.  Who is going to go back and formally censure those leaders who created the train wreck that is Naval Aviation procurement?  The XO Movie Night videos got a woman offended-the latter will actually kill people. Page 55 and the “lecture given” rings hollow from guys who acquiesced to similar things in their own time -and participated in really dumb perosnnel and hardware decisions with no one holding them accountable for them.  So spare me the moral outrage.

Now as I said at the begining-I’m not surprised at the way it all turned out-but I am more than a little angry and at the same time sad. 

 As far as I am concerned it is the natural result of the trend that many of us warned would happen when squadrons and ships were made mixed gender-namely, that unlike what the women said they wanted, “to just be treated like the men”, the real agenda was to change and destroy the culture of the Naval Aviation and ruin everything that made it fun. And it would appear they have succeeded.

There are people who say I am defending unprofessional conduct. I firmly reject that contention-now and in the future. But don’t kid yourself this is deeper task, nothing less than legislating conformity to a humorless and quite frankly, “watch your back” type of day to day environment that is not good for anyone.  The a work hard,  play hard environment of Naval Aviation is dead. And it’ s not coming back. Enjoy life as Black Shoes who fly airplanes. I’m glad I won’t have to join you.

Last Friday was the first day that I could truly say I no longer missed the Navy and I am glad I am retired. I am glad I served when I did and not in the one the “Throw ‘em under the bus” crowd wants to create.

6 responses so far

Jan 15 2011

MLK Day…..

Published by under Political Correctness

The I-Pad is a handy thing-especially when you are waiting around to take a beating.

Today is Martin Luther King’s birthday. That may be all well and good-but more important to me, it is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 93 this year. Now as far as I am concerned THAT’s reason enough for a holiday.

Nonetheless- this little ditty by Tom Lehrer comes to mind on MLK day:

One response so far

Oct 25 2010

I’m taking it back…….

Published by under Political Correctness

Recently, I have seen several stories on TV about how “whore” is the new “ N”-word for women. Now a long time ago I pointed out that there was only one really bad word when it comes to women.

So whenever I hear someone talk about the “w” word being the equivalent of the “N” word-all I can think about it this:

I’m taking it back.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

One response so far

Next »

  • Categories

  • Previous Posts

  • ISSUES?

  • Want to subscribe to my feed?

    Add to Google
  • Follow me on Facebook!

    Just look for Skippy San. ( No dash).
  • Topics

  • Meta