Just Above Sunset
January 9, 2005 - We chose the optimist over the realist after all...

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I have a friend who teaches at a major business school – and I wonder if he recommends this approach to his MBA students?


The Nelson Report is a daily political tip sheet and analysis written for the past twenty years for the (US and Asian) corporate and government clients of Chris Nelson, a former Capitol Hill staffer and UPI reporter.


Check out this:


There is rising concern amongst senior officials that President Bush does not grasp the increasingly grim reality of the security situation in Iraq because he refuses to listen to that type of information. Our sources say that attempts to brief Bush on various grim realities have been personally rebuffed by the President, who actually says that he does not want to hear “bad news.”


Rather, Bush makes clear that all he wants are progress reports, where they exist, and those facts which seem to support his declared mission in Iraq...building democracy. “That’s all he wants to hear about,” we have been told. So “in” are the latest totals on school openings, and “out” are reports from senior US military commanders (and those intelligence experts still on the job) that they see an insurgency becoming increasingly effective, and their projection that “it will just get worse.”


Our sources are firm in that they conclude this “good news only” directive comes from Bush himself; that is, it is not a trap or cocoon thrown around the President by National Security Advisor Rice, Vice President Cheney, and DOD Secretary Rumsfeld.  In any event, whether self-imposed, or due to manipulation by irresponsible subordinates, the information/intelligence vacuum at the highest levels of the White House increasingly frightens those officials interested in objective assessment, and not just selling a political message.


This has come up in these pages before.  See May 9, 2004 - The CEO President (folks are getting nervous) for this:


Back in the eighties I worked for a dynamic woman at Hughes Aircraft – the company that later turned into Hughes Electronics, then became part of General Motors, then morphed into DirecTV and last year got sold to Rupert Murdoch.  Back then I worked for the Hughes Space and Communications Group, and we had two-thirds of the satellites and satellite payloads in orbit for two decades.  This was a class act.  The place was indeed full of rocket scientists.  Aircraft?  No, the Hughes Aircraft name had more to do with history.  Heck, the last airplane Hughes made had been nailed together in the mid-forties, the famous Spruce Goose – and it had flown once in 1948 down in Long Beach for all of a half-mile. 

Anyway, the reign of my dynamic boss, her time in power, ended badly - and I think it had something to do with her “George Bush” style of managing.  She would propose all sorts of grand ideas, and ask how we could implement these ideas.  So we’d have long staff meetings over many afternoons trying to figure out how to “make it so” – as the commander of the Starship Enterprise says to his crew. 

The problem was those of us on the staff who liked to suggest there were some problems we’d have to solve, that we should have contingency back-out plans and slack in the project schedules for unexpected events, even things as minor as illness keeping key players home for a day or two, or the real possibility a vendor might be late a day or two with something critical we really needed.  But we were the problem.  She didn’t want to hear the negative.  She didn’t like people who didn’t have a positive attitude.  She made us remove the slack from the project schedules – and we were told to not tell her, ever, of factors that might slow us down or stop us in any way.  She didn’t want to hear it.  She called this positive leadership – you had to believe anything could be done and not consider any obstacles.  The word was we can to this, not we can do this if…. 

Most everything we did, of course, didn’t quite work as planned, or just didn’t work at all.  Then she’d have a meeting and berate us all for not being sufficiently positive.  Our negative attitude had doomed us all.  Why couldn’t we be more like her?  You get the idea. 

How did that all end?  Oddly enough she was fired for theft of company property, a computer hard drive that she wanted for her Macintosh at home. 

When I see how Bush manages our country, I think of her.


Oh well.  This is what we have.  Maybe someone will take Bush aside and explain things.


Bob Patterson knows -


It doesn't take much for me to go along with President Bush on this.


I watch the evening news and see the daily explosion in Iraq and I think: "One small explosion for the terrorists; one giant leap for Iraq freedom and democracy." 


I can tune into Rushbo and listen to the crowd at the (virtual) Nurmburg Rallies and things are the same as if I said: "This ain't good."


For the troops in Iraq, it is an entirely different matter.


Denying reality is easier to do in Washington than on the battlefield.


As I understand it, when a strong will denies reality, eventually something happens that can't be denied and usually the thing that happens is very, very bad.


There was a punk rock song where some bad person says to a drugged out friend on a rooftop: "Bet ya can't fly."  The idea was the drugged-out guy would feel that he could and would step off the roof and find reality real fast.


Bush does not want to hear any negativity.  So play Frank Sinatra's song "Come Fly With Me" and stand back and watch.


As they say on TV, "And it can only get worse . . ."


"Good Night, Chet."


"Good Night, Dave."


Good Night to us all.


We chose the optimist over the realist.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....