Archive for July, 2009

Another great email impacting leadership and the art of decision making by my friend COL (ret.) TX Hammes, who is the author of the book Sling and Stone.  For further details on what PowerPoint has done when laid over the culture of control see Chuck Spinney’s blaster from nine years ago, www.d-n-i.net/fcs/comments/c353.htm


Every year, the services spend millions of dollars teaching our people how to think. We invest in everything from war colleges to noncommissioned officer schools. Our senior schools in particular expose our leaders to broad issues and historical insights in an attempt to expose the complex and interactive nature of many of the decisions they will make. Unfortunately, as soon as they graduate, our people return to a world driven by a tool that is the antithesis of thinking: PowerPoint. Make no mistake, PowerPoint is not a neutral tool — it is actively hostile to thoughtful decision-making. It has fundamentally changed our culture by altering the expectations of who makes decisions, what decisions they make and how they make them. While this may seem to be a sweeping generalization, I think a brief examination of the impact of PowerPoint will support this statement.


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This article should be read by anyone trying to understand the current financial mess or who is interested in understanding why it is so difficult to reform any institution that has allowed itself to be captured by its own dogma, like the Federal Reserve Board, General Motors, or the Pentagon.

The pathway to disaster is quite predictable in the abstract: When the organization’s leaders and members become captured by their own dogma, they see what they want to see. Dissenters or advocates of a different view are squelched or ignored. Add to this the pressures of ambition and greed, and the result is a positive feedback loop that corrupts information on an ever-increasing scale to disconnect the Observation – Orientation – Decision – Action loops of decision makers from the environment they must cope with to survive. The attached analysis in Der Speigel documents this how this process unfolded for the financial sector in excruciating detail, notwithstanding clear warnings of impending doom. As shown below, the incestuously amplifying disconnect between thinking and reality, left unchecked, became a prescription for a march of folly to inevitable catastrophe, a process that became dangerously reinforced when senior decisionmakers, like Alan Greenspan, become viewed (and viewed themselves) as infallible Delphic oracles.

President Obama would do well to understand how this widespread process influences governance, because incestuous amplifying behavior, flowing out of the systemic corruption of information, is not only a phenomenon of the Fed and the Treasury, it has been clearly documented in the dysfunctional decision making practices in the Pentagon, which are now clearly out of control notwithstanding a litany of warnings going back to the early 1980s, as well as in the counterinsurgency dogmas that are now threatening to repeat the decision-making errors of Vietnam in Afghanistan.

Global Banking Economist Warned of Coming Crisis

By Beat Balzli and Michaela Schiessl

William White predicted the approaching financial crisis years before 2007’s subprime meltdown. But central bankers preferred to listen to his great rival Alan Greenspan instead, with devastating consequences for the global economy.

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William S. Lind
7 July 2009

According to the July 3 Cleveland Plain Dealer, President Barack Obama said something very interesting last week. He told the AP that he has “a very narrow definition of success when it comes to our national security interests” in Afghanistan. “And that is that al-Qa’ida and its affiliates cannot set up safe havens from which to attack Americans.”


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My friend Andrew Cockburn has launched yet another stunning tubesteak. Read it and you will understand why we don’t need “change we can believe in.” We already have the best government money can buy. 

On the 4th of July, I was driving with my wife to see my step son and his family when we drove by the Prince William County Virginia Government buildings, and we saw several people in front protesting big government.  The signs talked about socialism and the massive debt we are taking on. The audience resembled more the parent crowd at a kids soccer game than sterotyped protestors.  I told my wife, I should be out there with them. I agree with their positions.  Sadly, I believed in the President when he first came into office though I am a Ron Paul supporter, but I had to give President Obama a chance.

Now, I am very disappointed.  Our country is turning into a nation of corruption, where the rich get very rich no matter how it happens, while most of the rest of my fellow citizens are turning into dependents of the government.  They are unable or unwilling to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their own actions.  Someone else is always to blame for their troubles., while the the big U.S. government is the only one that can fix their problems.

Then, there is no path for leadership in order to gain a position to fix the problems we face.   We select people based on stunning and long resumes, then they are groomed through a system that tells them to play along to get along.  If you do what is right, no matter how effective it may be, but it goes against the establishment, you become an “outsider.” We all proclaim through the media, pop culture and books that we like these boat rockers, heretics, etc…but as my good friend and mentor Chuck Spinney says, “as long as they don’t rock anyone’s boat.”

The following article, which could relate to the other institutions that make up our government, show how the top stay in control, and continue to screw the rest of us. They put self before the nation, retaining institutions and systems that are draining our national treasure, so they can fill theirs.

My solution, civic involvement, like the people I saw yesterday, get out and vote, but we need to form a third party.  Right now, both parties are one in the same, it is all about greed and power, not leading. Until we as citizens peacefully rally and fix this mess, our nation will continue to go down the tubes owing China and others a lot of money, while our fellow citizens become irresponsible, unable take any action while they wait for their periodic handout.


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