Apartheid and Integration in Contemporary America

Bordering on the Insane,” by Kathryn Lopez, National Review Online, 21 March 2006, http://www.nationalreview.com/lopez/lopez200603211638.asp.

The social reinvention that’s possible through successful immigration: a tale of two cities,” by Tom Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 22 March 2006,

Clinton Vows to Block Bill Criminalizing Illegal Immigrants,” by Beth Fouhy, AP Political Wire, 22 March 2006, http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny–clinton-immigrati0322mar22,0,1122337,print.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork (from NRO’s The Corner).

Adopted in China , Seeing an Identity in America,” by Lynette Clemetson, New York Times, 23 March 2006, http://www.nytimescom/2006/03/23/national/23adopt.html.

In Reversal, Graduate School Applications from Foreigners Rise,” by Alan Finder, New York Times, 23 March 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/23/education/23apply.html.

Seeking Friends in Senate, China Tries Charm,” by Joseph Kahn, New York Times, 23 March 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/23/business/worldbusiness/23china.html

“A Vision, Bruised and Dented,” by David Brooks, New York Times, 23 March 2006, pg A27.

Disconnected Black Youth Plight Worsens,” by Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune, 23 March 2006, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/03/disconnected_black_youth_pligh.html.

U.K.: Court Upholds School’s Ban on Muslim Gown,” RadioFreeEurope / RadioLiberty, 23 March 2006, http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/03/22127a5d-527f-4127-9539-072dca0130a3.html

Harry Reid’s America,” by Bill First, VOLPAC, 23 March 2006, http://www.volpac.org/index.cfm?FuseAction=Blogs.View&Blog_id=230 (from NRO’s The Corner).

Hillary the Hawk: The Democrats’ Athena Only Differs from Bush in the Details,” by Justin Raimondo, The American Conservative, 27 March 2006, http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_03_27/cover.html.

While Asians, Mexicans, Christians, and Democrats encourage assimilation in American society and Global commerce, Republicans and blacks conspire to build a new apartheid.

A ton of news stories on connectivity. I’m naturally optimistic, so first the good news.

More Indians and Chinese are attending grad school in American universities. Encouraging 180 IQ Asians to study in the United States is in our long-term benefit. It puts them in the United States, learning American ideas and working on American projects, allowing us to take the very best of other countries. Short-sighted US visa rules in the wake of 9/11 had dropped the number of international students applying to study in America – driving them to Europe or elsewhere. Fortunately, things are turning around.

That’s the end of the good news. There’s some not-terrible news, too:

Even close-minded Democrats aren’t willing to give up on trade. I’m no fan of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — from big government puritanism to reckless calls for sanctions on China, he’s a man who should not be associated with power. However, he’s in Beijing meeting with Chinese hotshots on trade issues. While it would be in everyone’s interest if he simply had a whirlwind romance with some ‘Communist’ and never came back, I have to give him props for at least visiting the land of competition.

Catholics are Democrats are rallying to protect Mexican immigration. America doesn’t just need the few and the amazing — our country has historically grown by importing the many and the poor. America is great at processing raw human capital, able to take an illiterate subminimum-wage immigrant and producing English-fluent, American citizens from his seen in two or three generations. At the end of the process, America has more fully Americanized Americans, and in the meantime we have cheap labor at home which helps us grow our own wealth.

Of course, the flip-side to this is that Republicans are trying to sabotage America’s growth through immigration. The chief villain here is Senator Bill Frist (R-NY), a man who previously mis-diagnosed a Florida woman after observing her exclusively through videotape. First went on a blog castigating Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) for promising to fight a bill that would criminalize feeding illegal immigrants. The Catholic Church, known for supporting the lives of both the unborn and immigrants, is on the right side of this. So is Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who also knows a thing or two about foreign policy – unlike a Republican base which is embracing xenophobia.

Now the bad news:

This fight by the modern know-nothings in the Republican Party is exasperating. When my home state’s (South Dakota‘s) constitution was ratified in 1889, it was published in three languages (English, German, and Norwegian) because English fluency was so low. South Dakota’s now one of the most monolingual parts of the country. Imagine the reaction from the know-nothing Right if the next controversial Constitutional amendment was published throughout the country in multiple languages!

But, if the Republicans (with the heroic exceptions of George Bush and John McCain) are proving themselves to be the the Koreans of American politics (willfully self-destructive), blacks continue their role as the Arabs. According to reports, young black men are most isolated from American culture than ever before. This isn’t surprising — some of the blame comes from the great Democrat Party social experiments of the mid 20th century, which transformed blacks from having high-employment and stable families to the reverse. Other causes of the apartheid comes from the black community itself. For instance, one reason for the rise in adoption from Asia (and subsequent hyper-assimilation of many racial Asians into American culture) is apartheid measures pressed by the National Association of Black Social Welfare Workers.

Yet the problem with openness isn’t confined to America. A British girl who won the right to wear religious clothing last year has had that right stripped by a British court. Similar Anti-Muslim, anti-religious codes exist in France and Turkey — fortunately in the US, our justice department depends faith.

Washington Post Criticizes Ginsburg Over Foreign Law

Citing Foreign Law,” Washington Post, 21 March 2006, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/20/AR2006032001674.html (from NRO’s Bench Memos).

I’ve applauded Chief Justice Roberts successful attack on so-called international law. Roberts’ victory is all the more encouraging because of the division of the Supreme Court on a closely related matter: foreign law.

Foreign law, which has been attacked by the Attorney General and Justice Scalia, differs from “international law” in that it is actually law, somewhere. While there was once a real international law based on the Catholic Church, in modern times “international law” means at best the socialization of states and at worst a strange morality.

When applied to cases in the United States, both are threats to our freedom and democracy. Freedoms we hold dear, like free speech, are routinely ignored by other countries like China and Germany. At best, an “honest” use of foreign laws by the Courts would lead to a lessening of freedoms in the United States, as are laws are harmonized with the less-free acts of foreign parliaments and potentates.

However, those lovers of “foreign law” are not so honest. They wish to use foreign law to get opinions that would be impossible otherwise. For example, liberal justices like Ruth Bader Ginsberg will use European criminal law (which is more liberal than American criminal law) to liberalize our justice system, but have not (yet) used European abortion laws (which are more conservative than American abortion laws) to make life safer for the unborn.

Don’t take my word for it: take the Washington Post‘s:

At the same time, Justice Antonin Scalia offers some reasonable criticisms of how the court has used foreign precedents — that is, selectively, when foreign law supports results that the court cannot justify based on American authorities alone. As Justice Scalia points out, justices cite foreign precedents in capital cases, where European law is far more liberal than American law, but not in abortion cases, where it is more restrictive.

Ginsberg, recognizing her weak position, has compared those who oppose permissive use of foreign laws to the old Apartheid government of South Dakota.

Of course, she also hides behind sex stereotypes and complains of right wing terrorists-sympathizers in Congress, so it’s not surprising behavior for her.

Fisking Der Spiegel on South Dakota

The Front Lines of the Religious War in God’s Own Country,” by Frank Hornig, translated by Christopher Sultan, Spiegel Online, 13 March 2006, http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,405690,00.html (from RadioActive Chief, also at Albert Mohler, Forest Nymph, Lost in Media, Titus One Nine).

A stray link over at JRR alerted a German article on the .

The wrongness of the article extends from geography, to politics, to everything in between.

Begin rant:

Phillips Avenue in Sioux Falls, South Dakota — located in the heart of the flat Midwestern prairie

Philips Avenue is in the heart of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which lies in a huge bowl surrounded by “hills.” You have to travel a long distance, certainly longer from Foss Field to downtown Sioux Falls

Foss Field to Philipps Avenue

to get to even the rolling prairies of South Dakota.

That’s why Sioux Falls appears to have no skyline — the tallest buildings are about level with the land outside the city.

— is a sleepy thoroughfare.

If “sleepy thoroughfare” equals “the heart of downtown of the largest city in the state,” yes.

There are a few businesses along the street, a couple of restaurants, and a souvenir shop which struggles to attract customers.


From the DTSF Business Directory. Those not on Philipps are about a block away

Cafe 334
605.334.3050334 S. Phillips Ave.
Food N’ Fermentation
605.332.4338212 S. Phillips Ave.
605.334.0386301 S. Phillips Ave.
Touch of Europe
605.336.3066337 S. Phillips Ave.
Coffee ‘N Clay
605.367.1100324 S. Phillips Avenue
De Hoek
605.334.2942200 S. Phillips Ave.
Falls Landing Restaurant
605.373.0153200 E. 8th St.
Hamburger Inn
605.332.5412111 E 10th Street
Kaladis Coffee Legend & Bistro
605.977.0888121 S. Main Avenue
Leonardo’s Cafe at the Washinton Pavilion
605.731.2384301 S. Main Avenue
Mama’s Ladas
605-332-2772116 W. 11th St.
Ming Wah’s Chinese American
119 W. 10th St.
Park Place Cafe and Terrace
605.339.2000100 W. 8th St.
Phillips Ave. Diner
605.335.4977121 S. Phillips Avenue
River Walk Cafe
605.339.4824196 E. 6th St.
Sanaa’s 8th Street Gourmet
605.275.2516401 E. 8th St. Suite #100
Skelly’s Pub and Grill
605.221.0244130 S. Phillips Ave.
Soda Falls In Zandbroz
605.331.5137209 S. Phillips Ave.
The Cookie Jar
605.978.0991125 W. 10th St.
Uncle Angelo’s Italian Buffet
605.330.0331230 S. Phillips Ave.
Zandbroz Variety
605-331-5137209 S. Phillips Ave.

But last Thursday, this dreary provincial boulevard


A boulevard?

Philipps Avenue

Nope, because it’s not divided.

became the dividing line separating two irreconcilable camps in the city — and it became the most recent front line in an ongoing war that bisects the entire nation. For about an hour, opposing groups of demonstrators swore at one another across the street, launching a new round in an old dispute that has long since expanded into a cultural battle — a bitter fight that has raged for decades between conservatives and liberals, devout Christians and women’s rights groups.

Setting aside the idea that “women” or “women’s rights” includes only one ideological perspective (an error also made by Misquoting Jesus), the conservative v. liberal divide simply does not describe South Dakota. The Mount Rushmore State is prairie populist, which is why the state constantly sends Democrats to Washington and republicans to Pierre.

By signing the bill into law, Rounds threw down the gauntlet not just to the majority of Americans — two-thirds of whom are pro-choice — but also to the United States Supreme Court, which established the constitutional right to abortion more than 30 years ago in the landmark decision “Roe vs. Wade”.

Also ignoring the article’s questionable definition of “pro-choice,” the important piece here is the reference to the United States Supreme Court. To paraphrase Tom Barnett, the United States is an economic and political union of fifty member states, and when push comes to shove, Massachusetts and South Dakota can each have the laws they want.

With the bizarre exception of abortion.

South Dakota’s law is an attempt to correct that.

The burning issues dividing America today are the extent to which right-wing fundamentalists should influence public life, and the relevance of religious morals in a nominally secular country.

The article’s confusion of evangelicalism and fundementalism is as typical as it is misguided.

the separation of church and state

Considering that South Dakota former four-term Governor and former Congressman is a self-described “Jewish Lutheran” and son of one of the Nuremberg prosecutor, and the South Dakota capital building yearly is decorated with a Menorah, the author’s sectarian view is bizarre.

in a nominally secular country.

Nominally secular? Nominally? Where is America or South Dakota described that way? Certainly our united States are at least nominally Christian or nominally faithful, but nominally secular? How strange.

Thelma Underberg, director of the regional pro-choice movement, has been fighting to uphold abortion rights for more than 40 years. For Underberg, professional and economic equal opportunity and a woman’s right to choose are inextricably linked. When the Supreme Court passed Roe vs. Wade in 1973, enabling women to obtain abortions legally anywhere in America, Underberg celebrated. “We thought we had won,” she says.

But now, sitting in her windowless office, she says she doesn’t understand the world anymore. The 74-year-old has three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and she is active in her church. Yet while she outwardly resembles her opponents in the pro-life camp, she refuses to speak with them. “You might as well be talking to a wall,” she says.

Rarely does one read such classic examples of self-referential cognitive loops. A fighter thinks he wins, he ignores reality, and then loses. Interesting.

The climate began to deteriorate in South Dakota sometime in the mid-1990s, says Underberg. The churches, led by the Catholic Church, began politicizing the abortion issue and endorsing candidates who were willing to oppose abortion. Apparently the strategy worked. South Dakota’s state legislature ratified the new law with a majority of 50 to 18 votes. “The dividing lines didn’t run between the parties or the sexes,” says Democratic state legislator Elaine Roberts. In the end, religious faith was the deciding factor — and the crevice which has been slowly wedging American society apart for several years came into sharp focus in South Dakota.

The ban is supported by members of both parties and sexes. Considering the hysteria, that’s important to remember.

The religious war in the Midwest is gradually threatening to become a burden for Bush, himself a born-again Christian. At least five other states in the American Heartland have backed South Dakota’s radical approach. But such extreme positions are unlikely to sway a majority of moderate Republican voters in urban areas. States with larger populations, critical in election season, like Pennsylvania and Ohio, could easily revert to Democratic control if the Supreme Court ever decides to overturn its 1973 landmark decision.

A reversal of Roe v. Wade would de-federalize the issue, sending abortion back to the 50 united States of America where it belongs. Abortion is only a federal issue, at all, because of the Supreme Court’s overstretch in the 1970s. There is no reason for thinking it will remain so.

Two-thirds of Americans are against a tightening of the current liberal laws on abortion. Nevertheless, the abortion rate has consistently declined since the 1980s, even without a ban, and has almost returned to its level in 1973, when Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal.

Most Americans believe partial birth abortions should not be legal.

But any moderate, reasoned approach to the issue has long been shunted aside

Here, the article is somewhat right. The Supreme Court, by removing abortion from the democratic process, has prevented the emergence of a stable center. That is a true loss.

The New Jim River Report

Today’s a snowday at UNL, and I’ve been using the time effectively. I made the small changes that have upgrade the code from “read8” to “read9,” and am proud to present the new Jim River Report.

The New Jim River Report

Identical in nearly every way to the previous version (see a before and after), the new JRR contains such monumental alterations as

Typically a home to news too partisan or trite for tdaxp, previous “breaking news” features have been on Tom Daschle’s future, a loophole in the South Dakota abortion ban, and Muslim riot commentary.


Review of "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Ehrman

Textual Criticism is a method of determining the original wording of the text by combining wordings of variations of that text against each other and themselves. Misquoting Jesus is a history of textual criticism of the New Testament, and focuse on three main branches of New Testament textx: the Alexadrian, the Byzantine, and the Western. Written like an engaging text for a graduate class, Bart D. Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus is an accessible introduction to this field of scholarship.


Yet aptly written or not, Misquoting Jesus suffers from lapses of thought and questionable conclusions. Ultimately, it’s most likely to be a mystifying introduction to the world of the New Testament for most readers. If you must, you may buy Misquoting Jesus, but please read some other works first.

I purchased Misquoting Jesus because of the enjoyable introduction to criticism that I received from Thomas Cahill’s Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus. While Cahill is no conservative, as is witnessed by his personal web page:

But the Republican Party in its current incarnation is racist (racism being the clear premise of its “Southern strategy,” pursued so single mindedly since the days of the ineffable Richard Nixon) and the enemy of the poor. To be these things — to be against the poor and the marginalized — is, in my reading of the New Testament, to be specifically anti-Christian

Cahill’s work is a masterpiece apologetic for a Catholic understanding of the Bible within the Divine Tradition. Matthew, Peter, Luke, John, Paul, and Mary are fleshed out as real characters with real emotions. Exclusively using New Testament texts, Cahill illuminates a world with differences of perspective that make people in the same place and time react and record very differently.

Misquoting Jesus is not that book. The conclusions of Desire of the Everlasting Hills are generally reinforced, but as lifeless shadows of themselves. For instance, to take one issue that was raised in a review by the Washington Post

Ehrman, 50, pounces on the anomalies: In this Gospel, Jesus isn’t born in Bethlehem, he doesn’t tell any parables, he never casts out a demon, there’s no last supper. The crucifixion stories are different: in Mark, Jesus is terrified on the cross; in John, he’s perfectly composed. Key dates are different. The resurrection stories are different. Ehrman reels them off, rapid-fire, shell bursts against the bulwark of tradition.

The difference is real. An interesting portion of Misquoting Jesus argues that a part commonly describing Jesus’s empathy should instead describe his anger.

Yet this isn’t a contradiction, but rather supporting evidence. The Gospel of Mark was written by Saint Mark on behalf of Saint Simon called Peter, who was unable to write or tell long, coherent stories. (The Gospel of Mark has many, many dates and places, indicating St. Mark had to piece together the chronology from the words of the IQ-challenged St. Peter). Simon-called-Peter was an illiterate fisherman, nicknamed Rocky, who is often described as a bungler unable to obey moderately complex demands over any length of time. Whether working under his father, his boss, or later Jesus, it appears that a unifying feature of Peter’s life was screwing up and having people frustrated with him.

The Gospel of Luke, by contrast, was written by an educated, modern thinker. Able to switch multiple perspectives (He can be as Hebraistic as the Septuagint, and as free from Hebraisms as Plutarch. . . He is Hebraistic in describing Hebrew society and Greek when describing Greek society”, Catholic Encyclopedia), the author of St. Luke wrote the longest of the Gospels. A physiciain (he used medical terminology commonly), Luke would have associated a calm, professional demeanor with authority. A unifying feature of Luke’s life would have been calm superiors surrounded by worried, anxious, if not hysterical inferiors.

So when it comes time for them to write, Peter describes the Ultimate Superior as analogous to the superiors of Peter’s life, while Luke describes Him as analogous to the superiors of Luke’s life. While Ehrman attempts to describe relational quality in his conclusion, his words are muddled, and Bart can’t get beyond the “contradictions.” You have to read Cahill to see the underlying similarity.

Another problem: one of the first examples Misquoting Jesus gives as a problem with New Testament text is the case of the adulteress: Ehrman finds “questions” with it

If this woman was caught in the act of adultery, for example, where is the man she was caught with? … Moreover, when Jesus wrote on the ground, what exactly was he writing? … And even if Jesus did teach a message of love, did he really think that the Law of God given by Moses was no longer in force and should not be obeyed?

To answer

  • Ehrman’s assumption that the Pharisees are not sexist hypocrites is striking
  • What Jesus wrote is neither known nor relevent to the veracity of the story
  • As Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Given that Ehrman elsewhere says that Jesus had his own interpretation of the Law, it’s striking Erhman now implies that only a literalist reading of the law is valid

In many ways, reminded me of Creativity by Robert Weisberg. Like Weisberg’s book, Misquoting Jesus continues interesting facts and some useful conclusions. But also like Creativity, Ehrman’s work is at best half-true, and is likely to be misleading without some prior readings.

Steer clear of this one.


Recently, Mark from ZenPundit linked to some travelogues by our mutual blogfriends at Coming Anarchy. From the Balkans, to Iran, Syria, and Turkey (twice), there’s no where that those Victorians haven’t gone. So out of envy of them or love of her (hint: love of her), this May I will be joining Lady of tdaxp in visiting her hometown of Beijing, China.


Staying in more urban environs than Younghusband in East Turkestan, I will spread knowledge of tdaxp-the-Man in a nation where tdaxp-the-blog is banned.

My trip will begin in early May, shortly after my classes in Adolescence, Creativity, and Methods end, and extend till early June.

Commentator Mike has taken photos of many beautiful parts of Beijing and China, including Peking University. What else should I see? And how will I be able to update my blog in a land where blogspirit is banned?

Review of "Global Brain" by Howard Bloom

This spring break I had the pleasure to read Global Brain by . Biz highly rated this book, and as I have blogged on Mr. Bloom’s previous book and enjoyed his appearances on Coast to Coast AM, when I say this tome at Barnes & Noble I couldn’t resist.


How to summarize Global Brain? I could say it’s about neural networks, or emergence, or even Matthew 13:12, but that captures only a trillionth of the work. Instead I’ll use the subtitle, The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century.

On the back cover, the book quotes Douglas Rushkoff as saying “I am awestruck.” That’s an accurate assessment. Global Brain becomes breathtaking after you finish it, because then you realize well it is written.

Howard Bloom argues that life is best viewed as a complex adaptive system. That is, all life in, on, and over the world form a dynamic, parallel, learning network. The network operates by rewarding success and punishing failure, or in the oft-quoted words of Jesus

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Bloom gives many examples of this. The neurons in a baby born in America that could recognize the different clicks of African bush-people rapidly die, while those adept to our alphabet are connected to. Healthy, active male guerrillas live in amorous harems, while subordinate males show signs of stress and social ostracization. And in our history, the military prowess of Sparta over Athens saw a flow of wealth and adulation (including Plato’s) to Sparta, while the democratic ideals of Athens were scorned, along with her former might.

Bloom transitioning from cell life to animals to human societies is amazing. By viewing life as a complex adaptive system groups that are typically referred to quite differently are seen as analogs in this book. Applying memetics to baboonery, for example, had not occurred to me before. The story of prokaryote networks and Greek trade networks just flow into each other — the effect is indescribable.

Along the way, Howard tells a lot of fascinating stories. The sad tale of Gilbert Ling, a victim of an obscure paradigm, critiques the supposed rationality of science. Bloom’s warnings (the book was published in 2000) that bin Laden and the Taliban are up to something, including the line are prescient. His description of early civilization is a welcome kick-in-the-face to followers of Daniel Quinn. And his discussion of rapid evolution of new species is especially interesting to me, given UNL’s unique focus on genetics in politics.

The most controversial parts of the book are Bloom’s rejection of Selfish Competition or its modern form, Richard Dawkin’s Selfish Gene Competition. Instead Bloom focuses on group competition, placing himself with Darwin. To quote from the prologue

… add in the evidence from “learned helplessness experiments,” and toss in the discoveries of complex adaptive systems researches, an interesting pattern emerges…

Social animals are linked in networks of information exchange. Meanwhile, self-destruct mechanisms turn a creature on and off depending on his or her ability to get a handle on the tricks and traps of circumstance…

It is time for evolutionists to open their minds and abandon individual selectionism as a rigid creed which cannot coexist with its supposed opposite, group selection. For when one joins the two, one can see that the networked intelligence forecast by computer scientists and physicists as a product of emerging technology has been around a very long time.

Here, though, a feature of the book gets in the way. Despite all the talks on networks, there’s no math in the book. But that means that Blooms criticism of strict individual selectionism are frustratingly vague. Bloom says that real genetic diversity in bee hives are far greater than rational choice-style models would predict. But no numbers are given.

Still, with 65 pages of footnotes 62 pages of bibliography in a book with 223 pages of chapters, the answers to all these questions can be found by going back to the source documents.

Global Brain by Howard Bloom is very, very good. Buy it.

Howard Bloom can be found online at his personal web page or at Big Bang Tango Media Lab.

Catholicgauze in Directions Magazine

The View from Here,” by Adena Schutzberg, Directions Magazine, 15 March 2006, http://www.directionsmag.com/editorials.php?article_id=2125&trv=1 (from Catholicgauze).

A quick word of congratulations as tdaxp-alum Catholicgauze is referenced in a Directions Magazine editorial

Another reviewer noted two excellent papers from folks at West Point. The titles exude relevance: “A Geographical Analysis of Ungoverned Spaces” and “The Future of NATO and the EU.” The writer seemed embarrassed to note the rudeness of many attendees (ringing cell phones, coming and going during papers, etc.).

I’m still quite proud of tdaxp‘s appearance on Slate, so I know how Catholicgauze feels. Directions Magazine is a publication in the geographic community, so I’m sure Catholicgauze is double-plus-proud.


Bitching on the Motorola RAZR

a tdaxp Special Report by “Aaron”

Aaron is a Noted Beacon of Consumer Contentedness

Welcome to the Internets

So, like many other yuppies, I am eagerly awaiting the end of my cellular provider contract so that I may switch providers and get a fancy new phone. The phone in question? The . That’s right, I am super eager for the thinnest of phones, the hippest of gadgets, the guilty pleasure of a $500 phone… For $50 with a new contract of course.

But recently, there has been a storm of controversy. The phones, apparently, are broken. They drop calls. Motorola isn’t concerned, saying they’ve isolated the problem, and after a brief window, they’re back on store shelves. And for this I am enthused.

The point of this article? Reading TheStreet.com, I happened upon an article about the problem. I was overjoyed to read this paragraph:

For its part, Motorola emphasizes its quick action in recognizing the unpopular dropped-call feature.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the right-wing financial-news media is so biased, it is now calling bugs “features.”


4GW by the United States Marine Corps

A Tactical Staff Structure for an Ideological War,” by Major G John David and Captain E Lawson Quinn, Marine Corps Gazette, February 2006, Vol. 90, Iss. 2, p. 30-32 (3 pp.).

Matt from Mountain Runner sent me an interesting article by David and Quinn on organization for the Long War. Despite an initial negative reaction, I reread the article and became impressed. The Marine Corp is learning the lessons of 4GW.

The authors recognize that moral warfare extends beyond merely influencing an enemy’s will, but rather:

IO that deals with terror’s supporting ideology must be a combined arms effort the object of which is to isolate the enemy from its justification and radical ideology, supplant its message with ours, and convince the various target populations to accept our message and change their behavior accordingly.

This combined arm of information is best used to influence the social decision cycle.

All physical (also referred to as kinetic) actions taken on the battlefield generate a message to all of the populations in the area of operations (AO)-and some external to it-who witness them through information sources, whether that message is planned or not. Accordingly, just as fire supports maneuver and vice versa, physical and information battles must be viewed as combined arms achieving synergy only if intended and controlled. Although the Marine Corps will never have, nor would it seek, charge of all information producers in an AO, it can determine friendly message objectives that can preempt, counteract, or grow more powerful than terrorist weapons of fear by employing information to achieve its objectives. Moreover, it can and must target more than simply the enemy. Adversarial populations not actually engaging in fighting, potentially friendly populations not willing to act, neutral groups, voters in coalition or allied nations, all of these elements will be reached by messages our Corps sends when engaged, and we must have a plan for managing and directing what those populations receive.

Best part: the Marines understand the heart of 4GW. 4GW relies on subversion — changing the enemy’s orientation. The greatest of 4GW victories can even make your enemy an active accomplice, as the North Vietnamese made the US Congress in the 1970s. In that context, get this:

All of this will require training in an expanded vision of IO that incorporates PsyOp, commander’s acceptance of the idea of the combined arms impact of physical and informational forces, and a commitment by the Marine Corps to extend into the PsyOp realm with the current level of personnel from both PA and intelligence. Sun Tzu wrote, “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” And the only way to do so against the radical practitioners of today’s extremist religious ideologies, prone to resorting to terrorism, is to have an effective means of conducting IO. Terrorism in and of itself is just a tactic. It is horrible and morally repugnant, but still just a tactic. Declaring war on a tactic is akin to declaring war on amphibious landings. The Marine Corps must do more than react to the enemy’s tactic. It must attack insurgent or terrorist centers of gravity by comprehensively addressing intelligence collection, information projection, and information protection to shape the perceptions of all those in or observing the battlespace in order to influence them to make decisions in support of a defined objective. It must fight the battle for the message.

“All” means everyone, including the enemy. The Marines want to shape the orientation of the enemy so that his acts “influence them to make decisions in support of [our victory].”