GaryGagliardi's blog

Plans Versus Reality

Before The Passion of The Christ opened if was subjected to an unprecedented attack campaign by Jewish advocacy groups that considered it anti-Semitic. Their protests were taken up and echoed by a mainstream media that is quick to attack anything that can be labeled “conservative Christian.” What was the direct result? Exactly the opposite of what the film’s opponents wanted. Their protests made the film controversial; its opening became an event, and its initial box-office sales huge. You would almost think that they planned to promote the film rather than hurt it.

Positions on Marriage

When you develop the "warrior mind," you learn to stop seeing conflict and start seeing everything as positioning. You become less sensitive to words that people use to confuse issues, and more sensitive to where things are and where they are going. Because of the continuing debate on gay unions, I became curious about the historical positions of the Supreme Court regarding this matter and found a useful page that summarizes all Court decisions on race, class, and sex.

Attack or Defense: Gay Marriage and the Culture Wars

Today the president came out in favor of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Immediately upon the president’s announcement, Democrats characterized his position as an election year ploy to raise a divisive issue. As always, my interest focuses on the strategic aspects of this battle in the cultural war. Despite the popular aphorism that the best defense is a good offense, Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that defensive positions are always inherently stronger than offensive ones.

The Democratic Primaries and Choosing the Right Battleground

Currently, the Democratic primary battle provides us a great example of the strategic necessity of picking the right battleground. In Sun Tzu’s system, the one thing we can control is where we fight our battles. Choice of the proper battleground arises from a good analysis of our relative strengths using the key five factors—philosophy, heaven (uncontrollable change), ground (position), leadership, and organization (methods). Using this analysis, Kerry has the advantage in ground—leading in the polls—and organization, having the most money and organizers.

Nader: Both a Problem and an Opportunity for Democrats

The recent entry of Ralph Nader into the presidential race is a perfect illustration on Sun Tzu’s concept of xu sat, emptiness and fullness. This concept states that every problem contains an opportunity, if only we are clever enough to see it. While most pundits predict that Nader’s candidacy is a problem for the Democratic nominee, this is only true if the Democratic candidate refuses to recognize the opportunity. With Nader in the race, the Democrat, Kerry or Edwards, can positioning himself as the moderate, midway between the Bush and Nader.

A Shift in Momentum

In Sun Tzu’s system, “surprise” is the key to momentum. Winning consistently doesn’t create momentum. A surprisingly close loss, for example, Edward’s close challenge of Kerry in Wisconsin, can change momentum because it is unexpected. Even though Kerry technically won the Wisconsin primary, Edwards has, at least for the moment, won back the momentum in the election. With two weeks until Super Tuesday, he has the opportunity mount a serious challenge. This is especially true with Dean dropping out.

WMDs and How People Make Good Decisions

On Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked President Bush, “But can you launch a preemptive war without iron clad, absolute intelligence that he had weapons of mass destruction?” Only people with no understanding of strategic decision-making could ask such a silly question. 2,500 years ago, Sun Tzu said it clearly: you cannot know the costs of going to war and you cannot know the benefits either. Period. No one in any competitive environment has the luxury of making decisions with perfect knowledge. So how are good decision made? The problem is that most people like Mr.

John Kerry, War Criminal or Hero

Was it a good strategy for Kerry to raise issues of Bush's war service? Only if his own military record can withstand the same scrutiny. We all know about Kerry's antiwar activity, but could it be that John Kerry accused Americans soldiers of war crimes because he felt that he got his Silver Star for an action that bordered on a war crime? On a personal note, I researched Kerry's medals because my father, Franklin Gagliardi, and John Kerry won the exact same

It's All Greek to Me: Homeostasis versus Heterosis

A bit of rambling about language and truth: earlier, I posted an article about gay “marriage” and how it defeats the purpose of true marriage, which is heterosis, the union of two different things to make something stronger. This idea lead me to a number of thoughts about how seeking “the other” (hetero in Greek) leads to progress, satisfaction, and a more complete life while seeking “the same” (homo in Greek) leads to stagnation, unhappiness, and a less-satisfying life.


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