Sunday, January 28, 2007

Military Notes From Back Seat Driver

I am not in the military but I have a few ideas that maybe they can use.

I was watching a Taliban training film on TV and saw a man was demonstrating a head high karate style kick. I am glad that he wore long pants under his floor length gown that flew up into the air. Many other attack demonstrations were also shown. The film also showed individuals making home made bombs like the roadside bombs injuring and killing American service people and natives.

It made me uneasy to see this even though I know this type of training has been going on for a dozen years. Most of us probably characterize the behavior as crazy or radical. Who are the enemies of these people? I think it goes further than just Americans. I think they are killing their own fellow Moslems in much greater quantity than Americans. I think we need to understand them better.

I hope American military and law enforcement training is at least as intense as the Taliban training.

I think the military needs a four month intense school to teach specialists in the language and customs of a theater of military operations such as Iraq or Afghanistan. If America is going to nation build or occupy a country then we need people who can speak the language and know the customs. I am sure most bad guys know they can speak freely in their home language in front of the vast majority of the Americans. We know rank and file good guys know they cannot talk English to the Americans. Think about the intelligence and one on one goodwill that could be gathered by basic communications.

If America does not have at least 5% of their troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan that can speak the language it is unfortunate. I would certainly have all troops trained in the languages before they were sent back on a second tour of duty. It would be worth promoting any enlisted person a pay grade to learn the language and customs and be able to pass a difficult test. Maybe it would be worth holding back a promotion or even demotion if someone does not pass the language and customs test. Maybe we should have 20% of the occupying military know the language and customs at least at the ninth grade level as a future goal.

Where are the dogs and surveillance cameras? We have been in Iraq and Afghanistan for years and I have yet to see any bond sniffing dogs or surveillance cameras. They are so popular in the New York and New Jersey areas whenever we have a terrorist alert. One would think we would see on TV some success with a dog finding roadside bombs or camera surveillance capturing bad guys doing illegal things and are instantly caught or killed.

CSI. I really enjoy those shows on TV. Where is the CSI equivalent in Iraq or Afghanistan? Where are the success or failure stories of Crime Scene investigation work being accomplished there? You hear about the car bombs, the roadside bombs, and the sheer killing of dozens found in a group somewhere in the street. What conclusions have they made from any tests or observations are available? What hinders their investigations if anything? If they need to build databases to identify fingerprints, DNA, and other things...then lets build them. I think it would be easier to go after criminals with force and evidence instead of waiting to catch them in the act the next time.

I would ramp up cellular technology in both Iraq and Afghanistan and make a camera phone available to everyone above the age of 10. There has to be more good guys and gals there than bad guys and gals. The good ones could film the bad ones and make the photos available to the Americans for intelligence gathering. Then instead of going out on a blind patrol waiting to be ambushed, our soldiers could make direct assaults on contraband stockpiles, bomb making locations, hidden bomb locations, or direct enemy locations. Maybe we can obtain faces and descriptions of these criminals and identify them and put them in jail or kill them if they do not give up peacefully.

Dear Generals, hopefully you should at least think about my ideas....You know there will be Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next remains to be seen what the headcount will be in the future.

Minimum Wage Earners Held Hostage

Minimum Wage Earners Held Hostage for Ten Years by Republican Senators

28 Republican senators voted for an amendment to a bill that would raise the minimum wage, with language that would turn the issue back to state legislatures and effectively kill the concept of a federal minimum wage. Those who voted to kill the minimum wage included the GOP senators from Wyoming, Arizona and Idaho, as well as individual senators from Colorado and Utah.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) justified his opposition to the clean minimum wage hike bill by stating, “We’re trying to make sure we don’t put mom-and-pop businesses and their employees out of work.” Yet a study by the Center for American Progress, says that higher minimum wages have been good for business.
Conservatives continue to maintain that higher minimum wages destroy jobs and injure the most vulnerable.


Most business schools in the country teach their students that if their business is marginal either losing money or barely breaking even, then they should try to change what they are doing to make things better. We have seen fast food restaurants have customers pour their own drinks and swipe their own credit cards. We have seen robots in the automobile assembly plants. Supermarkets do not put prices on most items anymore. Most states have customers put gas in their cars. Most farms have equipment to save labor. Even in large business you have to go to the executive staff to find secretaries nowadays. Everyone up through middle management types up their own letters now. Automation answers the phone.

Most business schools also teach future business owners and executives to treat their employees fairly and with respect. Business schools teach everyone that if nothing can be done to improve a marginal business, then maybe the business should fail. Maybe some small businesses should fail so that the remaining ones may become stronger with potential increased sales from the closed ones. Maybe we do not need as many fast food restaurants, convenience stores, gas stations, cleaning businesses, landscapers, malls, and many other small businesses.

The pirates are the big business executives that hire or contract others to hire illegal workers and to reduce wages as low as minimum wage so that they can artificially inflate their salaries, bonuses, and corporate toys like corporate jetStockholdersders have seen none of this new found money. We have all heard about the meat packers who cut wages in half by bringing in illegals. The same thing happens when big business contracts to bring in cleaning crews, for example. The past crews usually earned an adequate wage and benefits and are fired and replaced by others for much less wages and much less in benefits.

The 28 senators are stalling the increase for the minimum wage not because of mom and pop businesses, but because of big businesses. All of them do not have any empathy for the minimum wage worker. None of them care that they are really behind federal poverty wage levels. None of them care that the people are much less likely to have any type of health care benefit or retirement plan. None of them call for decency to be fair to these people. Maybe a few more dollars each week will encourage them to obtain some training. Maybe a few dollars more will encourage them to commute a little further for a better paying job. Maybe they could save a little so they can move to a more prosperous area and obtain a better apying job.

Maybe the 28 republican senators are supporting illegal immigrants and the people that hire them instead of supporting American citizens. Maybe they are sucking up to illegal alien public relations groups instead of American citizen support groups.

Senator Webb said it best when he spoke on the Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union speech recently. For detail please follow this link. "Webb made clear that there is a class war going on, and that the wrong side is winning it.

"When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did," Webb said. "Today, it's nearly 400 times."

OK, that's a standard sort of line from your standard progressive speech. But then came this arresting sentence: "In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day."

How many politicians out there raising campaign contributions from rich people are willing to use "boss," instead of a more respectful locution? And by talking about the time it takes someone to earn a buck, Webb makes it impossible for anyone to forget how vast the inequalities in our society have become.

Webb knows whom he is fighting for. "We're working," he said, "to get the right things done, for the right people and for the right reasons.""

Finally, I don't think the 28 senators want to become reelected again. Ten years is more than enough time to delay increasing the minimum wage.