consultants are sandburs

Friday, August 01, 2014

“All good Marines, we comply with our orders and our regulations,” Ogg said.

The headline is but one piece of explaining by a Texas Corps. official, per this Stars and Stripes item.

Consider; why is the trademark of the U.S. Marine Corps protected by Pentagon officials?

Well it's pretty clear; the same military published item notes:

Whether or not former Marines may use the Eagle, Globe and Anchor in campaign materials is a specific question in the frequently asked questions section of the U.S. Marine Corps Division of Public Affairs’ website.

“No, you may not use the official Marine Corps Seal, Eagle, Globe and Anchor (EGA), or any other USMC insignia or trademark in this manner, since it might create the impression that your candidacy is endorsed by or affiliated with the USMC in some way, or that the USMC has chosen your candidacy over other candidates.”

It's like they, the Corps officials, don't want false misunderstandings to arise by implication. By intentional creation of some false or ambiguous impression, beyond a simple, "I served," which is unambiguous and correct. As is, "I served in Vietnam." [UPDATE: Buchholz stating that on his campaign website is a true statement of fact and as such it is perfectly proper and creates no problem by implication or as a direct statement. Adding years of service, rank attained, decorations, and duty stations would only lead to better understanding, though Buchholz has every right to decline to provide further detail. I recall former mayor Bob Ramsey in campaigning noting, if I recall correctly, over twenty years of army service and a Bronze Star for service during the Balkan Wars. Pride of service is a good thing, and is not being criticized. This link.]

BOTTOM LINE: The Corps does not endorse politicians, and politicians should honor what the Corps commands of its alumni.

Consider after somebody does that, if winning while intentionally abusing the protected trademark, disrespecting the rule of law and military command, knowingly, then that person takes an oath to uphold the laws of the land. What weight does such an oath carry after knowing of the problem and blowing criticism off?

Doesn't that make the oath hollow? Harder to trust, if I like the law I will uphold it, but its my personal judgment; that's not how the oath goes.

Another related item, here.

Wrapping up in the flag is bad enough, but implying some official permission/endorsement/sponsorship/goodwill license by a branch of the military when that's pure fiction, the skating is on real thin ice, and unwise as a practice.

Hubris lacking respect that the Corps owns the goodwill, not an individual who served, is questionable at best. The Corps makes its rules, not former members who served a stint.

And like the headline I posted, quoting from that article says, ...

This has to be said.

In being critical, it is recognized that Buchholz, if elected, would be honest, dedicated, and hard working. Which is something to be said for each of the three candidates who so far have campaigned seriously.

So, how really should use of the Corps badging be viewed, given that Buchholz now well knows it is against the rules but defies them? The question that such conduct causes is whether a "stand your ground" mentality is at play, too quickly and too entrenched, without any willingness to then concede the opposite view has merit and that this might not be the wisest time and set of circumstances for standing your ground.

Intransigence is not a quality that goes well with the give and take of elected public service. In elective office as a representative of others, a diverse pool of people are represented by a board or council where each individual representative in turn has diverse experience and skill sets and points of view, and with that the entire group must come together and reason so that a consensus will be reached - on each and every vote a town council faces.

Intransigence can get in the way. Towns facing normal short and long term needs do not gain in having governing people with too inflexible and entrenched a perspective together with a personal agenda that likely is not universally shared.

Beyond representatives having to face each question with an experienced but open mind, agendas can get in the way. Especially if intransigence accompanies agenda-based thinking and decision making.

Representatives must be mindful of the rights and expectations of an entire community, where others have diverse views which must be wisely balanced, and where an agenda and intransigence together can have negative impacts. We have seen that problem in governance, already, locally.

Sometimes, like the candidate in the Stars and Stripes reporting, it is a positive and sound sign to see a person having a willingness to say, "Yes, I was wrong," and change accordingly. Office holders or candidates lacking that grace to a fair degree, can think in ways that are contrary to sound case-by-case reasonableness.

Put in a nutshell, I really am troubled by the back of that kid's tee shirt, and would not want to be represented by any like minded person. In particular if such a like minded person were to appear inflexible or unwilling to promptly admit to being wrong, on some unrelated point, such as use of trademarked Corps badging. With three candidates all showing signs of honesty, hard work, and willingness to serve the public, looking beyond those prerequisites to other aspects of the three candidacies suggests to me that Buchholz is the weaker of the three.

Favoring Hendriksen admittedly is colored by a personal friendship, but that is how I got to understand his judgment and appreciate that where our minds disagree there is a basic reasonableness I respect greatly.

Hendriksen is the only candidate who already served on council, at a time when gung-ho Town Center enthusiasms were first forming, and he was the one saying even the best cars have brakes. Another long-time council member even accused Hendriksen then of being "a negative thinker," thus putting him in a class with the insurance industry people doing crashworthiness testing. Not that you want the crash, but what's the story were it to happen was an outlook that did not then carry the day, but looking back, it should have.

Kris Williams appears to have a sound railroad real estate background, and a few years of experience on the EDA, where the council is already disproportionately represented, and where it might be better to elect a successful small business owner-operator who survived market cycles in a field, computers and communication, where obsolete thinking or unwise investment, or not holding to a budget while meeting a payroll could end things abruptly; yet that person, Hendriksen, steered the shoals and positioned the firm to where a planned sale and retirement were achieved. Finally, in moving decades ago to Ramsey after finding a fairly priced home and acreage where he could build a barn and keep horses which was a personal goal, Hendriksen has said, "I never bought a thing without knowing what it would cost."

We need that. Where civic goals and dreams may conflict with budget constraints, someone who successfully faced that decision making task year in and year out in the private sector by weighing benefits and risks dispassionately in deciding what to do or avoid, has much to offer when willing to reenter public service and bring that skill set to the council table.

Last, during about two decades of planning commission service in Ramsey prior to being on council, Hendriksen should be remembered as the initiator and strongest advocate of density transition, the concept that where residents of an existing neighborhood with a shared local character are faced with development proposals on adjacent vacant land, those people should be entitled to a density gradient at the edge of the new housing, to not lose property value, or quality of the character of the established neighborhood. That was not being against growth per se, but wanting sound expansion decisions in town, which is true smart growth despite how that term has been cheapened now by over use and inappropriate use. Call it "fair growth" instead. It was a principle Hendriksen never abandoned.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
The thing I should add about Terry Hendriksen as a candidate, his vision for Ramsey has always been wanting to encourage the build-out of industrial and commercial projects, with high-paying job opportunities so people could move here and live close to where they worked. His own business location has varied but was consistently in Anoka County and he saw Ramsey as a place that could, with careful growth, provide the rental rates and customer proximity other sites provided him while being closer to his home.

An objection he had to the entire Town Center process was putting the cart before the horse; where he would have been building jobs first and then seeing the housing growth expand to meet the good employment opportunities that were always his aim.

Recent talk of another Big Mac fast food outlet with one already down the highway in Anoka and a gas station-quick shop at Town Center was not within his view of the employment-opportunity business strata toward which to aim. And to the extent rail proximity might matter to a high-skills industrial employer, he has always favored caution in siting development of the right kind along the BNSF rail line. Besides the expense and risks of the Town Center dream, he was critical of "housing now" by the rail line when other use opportunities might later arise.

Living close to a busy noisy rail line was never in his mind something desirable which many would want, when the pattern had been over the years that people moved to Ramsey to find large lot single family housing at affordable cost. As he did.

Demographics change, but the rush hour traffic just gets worse and worse. Workers without downtown jobs entailing absolutely fixed rush-hour working hours find a commuter rail of little to no use to them, and Northstar has continued to be a burden with meager usage insufficient to pay the costs.

While some reach of the views Hendriksen holds has been foreclosed or constrained by how development has been managed, the jobs-first outlook Hendriksen has always held has always made sense.


Randy Backous said...

10 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Subtitle C - Navy and Marine Corps
Sec. 7881 - Unauthorized use of Marine Corps insignia
From the U.S. Government Printing Office,
§7881. Unauthorized use of Marine Corps insignia
(a) The seal, emblem, and initials of the United States Marine Corps shall be deemed to be insignia of the United States.
(b) No person may, except with the written permission of the Secretary of the Navy, use or imitate the seal, emblem, name, or initials of the United States Marine Corps in connection with any promotion, goods, services, or commercial activity in a manner reasonably tending to suggest that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the Marine Corps or any other component of the Department of Defense.
(c) Whenever it appears to the Attorney General of the United States that any person is engaged or is about to engage in an act or practice which constitutes or will constitute conduct prohibited by subsection (b), the Attorney General may initiate a civil proceeding in a district court of the United States to enjoin such act or practice. Such court may, at any time before final determination, enter such restraining orders or prohibitions, or take such other action as is warranted, to prevent injury to the United States or to any person or class of persons for whose protection the action is brought.
(Added Pub. L. 98–525, title XV, §1532(a)(1), Oct. 19, 1984, 98 Stat. 2631.)
Savings Provision
Section 1532(b) of Pub. L. 98–525 provided that: “The amendments made by subsection (a) [enacting this chapter] shall not affect rights that vested before the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 19, 1984].”

An excerpt from their FAQ:

I'm running for a political office and am a former Marine. Can I use Marine Corps trademarks on my campaign materials?

No, you may not use the official Marine Corps Seal, Eagle, Globe and Anchor (EGA), or any other USMC insignia or trademark in this manner, since it might create the impression that your candidacy is endorsed by or affiliated with the USMC in some way, or that the USMC has chosen your candidacy over other candidates. You are more than welcome, to simply and accurately state that you are a Marine Corps veteran, that's fine, that's a fact. But using the EGA which is a trademark of the USMC, and protected by Federal law (please see 10 USC 7881) is something you may not do. This is consistent with the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations which clearly states that the wearing of the uniform in a political context is strictly prohibited. Please see Section 11002(1)(a)(2) and (3) of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations.

eric zaetsch said...

Thanks Randy. My feeling, it was a mistake Wayne made that he should not have. Bad judgment, but had he put a banner on his signs, "I served in the Marines in Vietnam, and I love the Corps." he'd have been okay, but with the same basic sentiment involved.

It would have carried no springboard effect, no implication of official Corps approval, etc., but same sentiment.

I do not see making a federal case of it, let the primary voters decide as they shall, and signs and campaign paraphernalia cost a bundle. We both know that, and no real purpose would be served by making Wayne do last minute reprinting of his materials. Only Look Signs would benefit from that second payment, and there's enough getting frazzled over details that any candidate faces days before an election.

Public criticism is proper, and it helps citizens making choices, but beyond that, I favor leaving that legislative remedy area alone, not rocking that boat.

eric zaetsch said...

Randy, someone informed me Wayne on his campaign facebook site no longer has posted his defense of using the trademarked insignia (in anticipation of an advantage) as analogous to a use of NSA insignia (as a parody, in criticism).

That was a lame argument, and its best he let go of it.

The uses differ, clearly. And the goodwill of the anchor, globe and eagle is the Corps' and the Defense Department's and not that of individuals, who nonetheless can rightly be proud of a term of military service during wartime, which is true of Buchholz.

eric zaetsch said...

This is less in response to Randy's information than a general thought.

My understanding is today's GOP has mixed feelings, still some "neocon" sentiment envisioning a "sole superpower" using military might abroad, which led us into Afghansitan and Iraq, and a Ron/Rand Paul outlook of being a national citizen among other states, where success in markets and innovation and efficiencies would convince rather than coerce imitation.

It would be interesting if Buchholz were to define himself in that, and while proud of service in wartime, whether he thinks Vietnam intervention with the benefit of decades of passing time, was a sound or unsound policy. Domino theory and all that; with Nixon/Kissinger instead committing us to long-term peaceful coexistence with China. Including Taiwan giving the UN security council seat to big China.

Clearly all that is distant from local city council considerations, but it helps define the person, who seems generally over-rigid in a belief system and a view of government constraints on types of business that, locally, might not be the best of things to be pushed from the council table when others feel differently over how they may want to live their own lives, absent narrowness.