Melissafrei’s Weblog

An Evolving Consciousness

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Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report

Unless you read the newspapers, you would not have heard that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a long awaited report subscribing to the notion that the administration engaged in a propaganda campaign that lead the country into an unnecessary war. 

 

If it were only that straight forward.  Eight of the democrats on the committee and two of the republicans arrived at the aforementioned conclusion.  The other republicans attached minority statements, rightly so, that reminded the committee of the democratic statements not mentioned in the report, that had also been made overstating the case for war. 

 

I am just an ordinary citizen and I am lost trying to figure out all of this double talk.  What is the point of this exercise in futility? 

 

Taking responsibility for one’s actions has always been associated for me, with integrity, sound ethics, and rational behavior.  Where have we gone?  I will let you be the judge.

  

You can find the report at http://intelligence.senate.gov.

 

The following conclusions were found on the MSNBC website:

 

  1. Most of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community’s October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting. A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterization of the intelligence.
  2. The Intelligence Community did not accurately or adequately explain to policymakers the uncertainties behind the judgments in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.
  3. The Intelligence Community (1C) suffered from a collective presumption that Iraq had an active and growing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program. This “group think” dynamic led Intelligence Community analysts, collectors and managers to both interpret ambiguous evidence as conclusively indicative of a WMD program as well as ignore or minimize evidence that Iraq did not have active and expanding weapons of mass destruction programs. This presumption was so strong that formalized IC mechanisms established to challenge assumptions and group think were not utilized.
  4.  In a few significant instances, the analysis in the National Intelligence Estimate suffers from a “layering” effect whereby assessments were built based on previous judgments without carrying forward the uncertainties of the underlying judgments.
  5. In each instance where the Committee found an analytic or collection failure, it resulted in part from a failure of Intelligence Community managers throughout their leadership chains to adequately supervise the work of their analysts and collectors. They did not encourage analysts to challenge their assumptions, fully consider alternative arguments, accurately characterize the intelligence reporting, or counsel analysts who lost their objectivity.
  6. The Committee found significant short-comings in almost every aspect of the Intelligence Community’s human intelligence collection efforts against Iraq‘s weapons of mass destruction activities, in particular that the Community had no sources collecting against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after 1998. Most, if not all, of these problems stem from a broken corporate culture and poor management, and will not be solved by additional funding and personnel.
  7. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in several significant instances, abused its unique position in the Intelligence Community, particularly in terms of information sharing, to the detriment of the Intelligence Community’s prewar analysis concerning Iraq‘s weapons of mass destruction programs.
  8. OVERALL CONCLUSIONS – TERRORISM   Intelligence Community analysts lack a consistent post-September 11 approach to analyzing and reporting on terrorist threats

WHY THE HYPE ???? – scott mcclellen

A younger friend approached me last week and asked me what I thought about the Scott McClellen book.  My response was, “not much”.  This was information that I already had.  What was the hype about? 

There were those who thought it quite grandiose that we were observing someone in this administration acting as a true patriot and placing loyalty to the country above loyalty to the President. Unfortunately I was not one of those high minded individuals.  To me it looked like an opportunistic individual publicly stating the obvious and risking nothing from an embarrassed, incompetent, and impotent administration. 

 

With that said, I want to take the opportunity to THANK the people and institutions that did risk the title of “people who lacked patriotism”, but demonstrated the sound judgment, wisdom and true PATRIOTISM to stand against the authorization of war.  We need to take a look at these people and question our past stand and our current stand. 

 

HOW MUCH DO WE REALLY LOVE OUR COUNTRY AND THE IDEALS THAT WE WERE FOUNDED ON??????????

 

WE WERE NOT LISTENING OR PAYING ATTENTION THE FIRST TIME.  WHAT WILL WE DO NOW??????

 

DNay votes in the Senate (21 Democrats, 1 Republican, and 1 Independent):aniel Akaka (D-HI)

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM),        Barbara Boxer (D-CA),         Robert Byrd (D-WV),

Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)           Kent Conrad (D-ND)             Jon Corzine (D-NJ)

Mark Dayton (D-MN)          Richard Durbin (D-IL)           Russ Feingold (D-WI)

Bob Graham (D-FL) Daniel Inouye (D-HI)            James Jeffords (I-VT)

Edward Kennedy (D-MA)     Patrick Leahy (D-VT)            Carl Levin (D-MI)

Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)   Patty Murray (D-WA)           Jack Reed (D-RI)

Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)          Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Paul Wellstone (D-MN)        Ron Wyden (D-OR)

 

Nay votes in the House of Representatives (126 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 1 Independent):

Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)      Thomas Allen (D-ME)           Joe Baca (D-CA)

Brian Baird (D-WA) John Baldacci (D-ME)           Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Gresham Barrett (R-SC)       Xavier Becerra (D-CA)         Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

David Bonior (D-MI)             Robert Brady (D-PA)            Corinne Brown (D-FL)

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)         Lois Capps (D-CA)                Michael Capuano (D-MA)

Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)     Julia Carson (D-IN)               William Clay Jr. (D-MO)

Eva Clayton (D-NC)              James Clyburn (D-SC)          Gary Condit (D-CA)

John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)      Jerry Costello (D-IL)             William Coyne (D-PA)

Elijah Cummings (D-MD)     Susan Davis (D-CA)              Danny Davis (D-IL)

Peter DeFazio (D-OR)           Diana DeGette (D-CO)         Bill Delahunt (D-MA)

Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)          John Dingell (D-MI)              Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)

Mike Doyle (D-PA)               John Duncan, Jr. (R-TN)       Anna Eshoo (D-CA)

Lane Evans (D-IL)                 Sam Farr (D-CA)                   Chaka Fattah (D-PA)

Bob Filner (D-CA)                 Barney Frank (D-MA)          Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)

Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)            Alcee Hastings (D-FL)          Earl Hilliard (D-AL)

Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)      Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)        Rush Holt (D-NJ)

Mike Honda (D-CA) Darlene Hooley (D-OR)        John Hostettler (R-IN)

Amo Houghton (R-NY)          Jay Inslee (D-WA)                 Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL)

Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH)        Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)

Dale Kildee (D-MI)               Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI)

Jerry Kleczka (D-WI)            Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)       John LaFalce (D-NY)

James Langevin (D-RI)         Rick Larsen (D-WA)             John Larson (D-CT)

Jim Leach (R-IA)                   Barbara Lee (D-CA) Sandy Levin (D-MI)

John Lewis (D-GA)                Bill Lipinski (D-IL)                Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

James Maloney (D-CT)        Robert Matsui (D-CA)          Karen McCarthy (D-MO)

Betty McCollum (D-MN)      Jim McDermott-D-WA)        Jim McGovern (D-MA)

Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)   Carrie Meek (D-FL)              Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

Robert Menendez (D-NJ)     Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA)

George Miller (D-CA)           Alan Mollohan (D-WV)         Jim Moran (D-VA)

Connie Morella (R-MD)*     Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)          Grace Napolitano (D-CA)

Richard Neal (D-MA)           Jim Oberstar (D-MN)           David Obey (D-WI)

John Olver (D-MA)               Major Owens (D-NY)            Frank Pallone Jr.(D-NJ)

Ed Pastor (D-AZ)                   Ron Paul (R-TX)                    Donald Payne (D-NJ)

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)             David Price (D-NC)               Nick Rahall (D-WV)

Charles Rangel (D-NY)         Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)         Lynn Rivers (D-MI)

Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX)          Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)          

Bobby Rush (D-IL)                Martin Olav Sabo (D-MN)   Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)

Bernie Sanders (I-VT)           Thomas Sawyer (D-OH)        Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Bobby Scott (D-Virginia)       Jose Serrano (D-NY)             Louise Slaughter (D-NY)

Vic Snyder (D-AR)                Hilda Solis (D-CA)                 Pete Stark (D-CA)

Ted Strickland (D-OH)          Burt Stupak (DMI)               Mike Thompson (D-CA)

Bennie Thompson (D-MS)    John Tierney (D-MA)            Edolphus Towns (D-NY)

Mark Udall (D-CO)               Tom Udall (D-NM)                Nydia Velaquez (D-NY)

Pete Visclosky (D-IN)           Maxine Waters (D-CA)         Diane Watson (D-CA)

Melvin Watt (D-NC)             Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)           David Wu (D-OR)

 

 

Then there were people like Scott Ritter and Brent Scowcroft who voiced loudly the warning against a pre-emptive road to war. 

 

The only news organization that we have left besides NPR and PBS, the McClatchy News Organization.

 

MY DREAM TICKET: OBAMA – HAGEL

If Barack Obama is the democratic nominee, my dream ticket will be an

OBAMA / HAGEL ticket. 

 

Chuck Hagel has been one of the few republicans that asked his party and the president some tough questions over the last eight years.  He is a Vietnam veteran, a businessman, a member of four committees in the senate: Foreign Relations, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Committee on Rules and Administration and the select committee on Intelligence.  He has also self imposed term limits on himself.

 

Senator Hagel who was a Vietnam vet opposed the surge strategy that Senator McCain vigorously supported.  Currently he is a co-sponsor with Senator Jim Webb for a A Post-Iraq G.I. Bill.  This is a bill that Senator John McCain is not supporting.

 

In a conversationwith Richard Haass, Hagel suggested that we consider direct, unconditional comprehensive bilateral talks with Iran.  

 

It is time that people from both parties and independents demand ethical, competent leadership in Washington DC, leaders who have no allegiance to anyone but the citizens of the United States of America. 

 

Please join me in asking both Senator Obama and Senator Chuck Hagel to come together and lead this country through the tumultuous years ahead.  Both of these men have presented themselves as true men of integrity. 

 

We have lost entirely too much time over the last twenty years in political gridlock. 

 

Let’s end it now.   

GLOBALIZATION VS COGNITIVE AGE

 The importance of an informed and educated citizenry is more critical today for a functioning democracy than ever before in our history.  That statement is based on the following definitions of what I believe education to be.

 

            The central task of education is to implant a will and facility for learning; it should      produce not learned but learning people. The truly human society is a learning society, where grandparents, parents, and children are students together.” ~Eric Hoffer

 

 The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life-by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past-and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his owneffort.” ~Ayn Rand

 

 

The one real object of education is to leave a man in the condition of continually asking questions.” ~Bishop Creighton

 
For most of us, our lives are moving at such a rapid pace that we can only glimpse at the swirling events and innovation around us.  Phones, blackberries, ipods, and GPS systems are reminding and directing us to the next task in our day. 

Are we loosing site of the bigger picture?  Are we asking questions, let alone the right questions regarding what we are doing and where we are headed? 

Innovation and creativity in a society depends on people being able to adequately evaluate what we have versus what we want.  As citizens in this American democracy we elect representatives to develop positions on issues of war and peace, trade, education, economics, ect.  Most of us believe that these people while in office will act with the best interest of all of our citizens. 

 

Op-ed journalist David Brooks gave a unique and valuable perspective on globalization in a recent piece. The basic premise was that we could view this new age of communication and trade from a perspective of two different paradigms, Globalization vs Cognitive Age. He highlighted that the facts and remedies that were emphasized by politicians would depend on which paradigm was embraced by that politician.  The cognitive age paradigm emphasized psychology, culture and pedagogy — the specific processes that foster learning while globalization lead people to see economic development as a form of foreign policy, as a grand competition between nations and civilizations.

 

We are currently ranked 18 out of 27 for math and science literacy of 15 year old high school students.  I totally agree with Mr. Brooks’s perspective here.  However, I did not agree with this “Companies open plants overseas, but that’s mainly so their production facilities can be close to local markets.”

 

There are many companies that are also opening plants overseas because they can pay workers lower wages with less or no benefits. They do not have deal with regulations enforced in this country for the health and well being of our citizens.  Meanwhile we give these same companies tax benefits to go abroad, take jobs from this country while increasing profits for the top 1%.  How do I know this?  When I go shopping, I do not find ANYTHING made in the US.  Where are the companies that are moving to make products for this local marketplace? I do believe that we consume and waste more than any other country on the planet.  If the above statement were true, all of these companies would be moving here to be near US. ONLY A QUESTION ?

Conscious Evolution

“Everybody counts in applying democracy. And there will never be a true democracy until every responsible and law-abiding adult in it, without regard to race, sex, color or creed has his or her own inalienable and unpurchasable voice in government”.
Carrie Chapman Catt

“Democracy is the ultimate, positive revolution because it gives each and every individual the power to control their lives. And we can work together to create a just, sustainable world”.
— Bill Blackman

 We as human beings have evolved physically.  We are healthier, we live long lives. We have evolved technically.  We have been to the moon; we can communicate with each other all over the planet.

 

Our next progression will be a spiritual, mental and emotional evolution.  This will have to be accomplished as individuals.  We must claim our own personal integrity, regardless of what our neighbor is doing. We must own ourselves……utilize a mental discipline and personal self restraint in our daily lives.  We must recognize our connectedness with the rest of the planet and the universe. 

 

Evolution is a slow process and I forget that this country is only 236 years old.  In that short time, we have accomplished much but there is so much more to do. 

 

EVOLVE CONSCIOUSLY

 

WAR – Quote of the day

The study of war should be a prince’s main goal, for war is a ruler’s only art. Knowledge of war is so vital that it not only keeps princes in power but can make princes out of private citizens. If princes become too refined to study this art, they lose their states.

 

Being unarmed makes others contemptuous of you. No one can expect an armed man to obey an unarmed one. Therefore a prince who does not understand military matters will not be able to work well with his soldiers. Even in peacetime, a prince must concentrate on war by exercises and by study.

 

Hunting is excellent exercise, because it strengthens the body and makes the prince more familiar with the surrounding terrain. A prince should always be asking himself how to make the best military advantage of the landscape.

A prince should also exercise his mind by reading the histories of great men and how they waged war, in order to imitate them.

 

 

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

 

 

 

A wise prince should never keep his word when it would go against his interest, because he can expect others to do the same. In order to pull it off, you must be a good liar, but you will always find people willing to be deceived.

To sum it up, it is useful to seem to be virtuous, but you must be ready to act the opposite way if the situation requires it. A prince should do good if he can, but be ready to do evil if he must.

 

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince