Why Can’t Dems Judge Character?

January 31, 2005

The overwhelmingly negative response to the election by the Democratic party suggest it is plain broken. How can anyone fail to be awed by the courage of the ordinary Iraqi people? They’re fighting for the same democratic rights that allow Edward Kennedy and John Kerry to exist!

Billionaire George Soros is quoted today as saying:

Democratic challenger John Kerry was a flawed candidate.

Why didn’t he know that from the get-go? Couldn’t he read the man’s self-hating body language? Didn’t he care that Kerry was considered a creep by the men who saw him in action in Vietnam?

And how about Edward Kennedy? He left a girl to die and used his family clout to evade punishment. Yet he’s a Democratic Establishment figure. What does that tell you about that Establishment?

Here’s my theory: the once great Democratic Party has been infected by a memetic plague that actively promotes worthless individuals. I’ll examine this in more detail in later posts.


Land of Heroes

January 30, 2005

We won’t know exact numbers until the votes are counted. But it’s clear that millions of ordinary people defied the killers & went out and voted. Many took their kids. And they let their pictures be taken, for all the world (and the killers) to see. They are ordinary people, they are like us.

But rather nobler and braver.

Michelle Malkin has some images of the women who voted.

There seems to be something wrong with our bloody army

January 29, 2005

Apropos Admiral Beatty’s famous remark, here’s a deeply depressing insight into the British Army officer corps & its political masters.

The Brits are trying 3 of their soldiers for hazing captured Iraqi looters.

The essential facts appear to be:
1. The soldiers are a Corporal and 2 Lance Corporals.
2. The events took place when, 1 day after rotating out of combat, their unit was ordered by their officer to “work hard” armed & persistent looters they’d captured.
3. All of the soldiers had been cited for heroism – one for moving out of cover to take out a sniper, one for defusing an IED, one for leading a charge on an Iraqi mortar nest.
4. Blair, with the trial in progress announced, without qualification, that the soldiers were being “brought to account.”
5. The officer in charge of the soldiers has not been brought to trial because he
“could not have known” the consequences of his orders.

The abuse was mild violence and & sexual humiliation. I experienced, and inflicted, worse as a 16 year old cadet. War is Hell.

Here are the truly guilty men.

1. The officers that failed to put Military Police in charge of the prisoners. You never put troops straight out of combat in charge of prisoners. Because, without a period to decompress, it’s impossible to control aggressive feelings against people who’ve been trying to kill and sometimes killing you & your friends.

2. The officers that let the officer off the hook & the men that selected that officer for command. None understands basic management. If you give an order you are responsible for following it up to ensure compliance. That applies in every management situation – combat to clerking.

3. Tony Blair for denying British citizens the presumption of innocence.

4. The British public for not rising up against this parody of justice.

So now what? The British Army again turns out to be lions led by donkeys. Fortunately the lions are now volunteers so can escape the circus. Perhaps to the USMC or Army, where they’d have professional officers. And a Commander in Chief who understands the responsibilities of putting people in harm’s way.

Until this crowd of wankers is hosed out, the British should avoid further wars. And the US would be wise not to rely on the Brits.

And perhaps now is the time for Tony Blair to depart to Europe, where they don’t have irritations like the presumption of innocence, jury trials or any of that Anglo nonsense.

UN Corruption Index

January 28, 2005

The excellent Diplomad continues to dissect the untruths coming out of the UN in the wake of the tsunami. And the Oil for Bribes scandal continues to grow. Why has an organization set up with such high aims come so low?

A simple explanation is that it’s designed that way. Here’s why.

Every nation in the world (barring of course Taiwan) is represented at the UN and has democratic oversight of the UN executive. So the UN secretariat is bound to reflect that membership in its behavior. Not to do so would risk loss of office & its associated valuable perquisites – high salary, first class travel, 4 star hotels, diplomatic privileges etc.

We can look at the corruption level of the UN’s members through the 2004 Corruption Perceptions Index, compiled at the University of Passau on behalf of Transparency International. That covers most but not all of the UN membership. We’d expect the UN staff to behave at a level equal to the median of its membership – half of the members fall above the median and half below.

The median state is Syria.


Now we have trackback

January 28, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Answers.Com is Really Cool!

January 28, 2005

I’ve put a link to an excellent new service on the sidebar. Google is great, but this gives you answers directly on a single nicely formatted page. It uses various reference sources (e.g. dictionaries and Wikipedia) to generate a well organized summary of relevant information about your query. It gets better. Answers.com comes from an Israeli company. So when you use it you get to support the only democracy in the Middle East!

On Intruder Alarms and Cultural Trust

January 28, 2005

Gandalf’s new winter lair is in a balmy Mediterranean locality. I’d flagged it as low/mid-trust. Low- because of anarchic driving & profusion of window bars. Mid- because local politics seems clean.

The trust model (summary at end of this post) explains why the UN and EU are corrupt, why the French are perfidious, and why we face an uphill struggle in the Arab world. More in later posts.

With the house vacant part of the year, I’d been planning home security & tracking the experiences of others. Would an intruder alarm work in a low/mid-trust culture? I got the answer when a deafening alarm fired up in the middle of last night just 10 feet outside my window. Six hours later I knew that alarms don’t work here, so back to killer drones

The alarm was on the house next door. We knew the householder was absent, so ran a quick external check for intruders (negative). After a long wait a policemen came and ran the same checks we had, then wandered off. Nobody else took any notice. After 60 minutes, external alarm shut down, leaving us deafened & sleep deprived. Irritating internal alarm continued.

3 hours later, I managed to get the alarm company to pick up the phone.

“ Did you monitor this alarm”
“Automatic phone signal to you when alarm triggered”
“Why would we do that? What could we do? We have no key. Perhaps police will come”
“Why not call keyholders to check the house & switch off the alarm”
“Trusted people nominated by owner for each alarm. Caretakers, property agents and so on. You call them to check out alarmed property and switch off”
“You are foreign?”
“I confess. But this is how we do things in UK and US”
“No such system here. Nobody here gives keys to anyone. Nothing we can do, sorry”

After 6 hours the alarm stopped – either it died or got pinched.

So now we know we’re in a low-trust society where intruder alarms are not a great idea!

A useful way of characterising cultures (including I believe those of organizations & companies) is their level of trust. See Francis Fukuyama’s Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity.

High-trust cultures emphasise the individual & have a strong consensus that protects property & the person and supports obedience to accepted rules and behaviors. High-trust societies display volunteerism: if something needs doing, people get together and do it.

In low-trust societies the individual is defined through their membership of one group: their family, a religious group, or an ethnic group. Low-trust states are authoritarian & characterized by nepotism, corruption, and low economic growth. And if the state doesn’t do something, it doesn’t get done.

High-trust states include Scandinavia & the English speaking nations. Low trust states include the Arab world, Russia & most Southern European states. I believe that the EU & UN organizations are low-trust (the marker is the level of corruption). Many old style corporations are low-trust but Google Inc’s Don’t be Evil is a high-trust marker.