Melissafrei’s Weblog

An Evolving Consciousness

Archive for November, 2007

The Candidates on Energy Independence

This week, I would like to take a glance at the presidential candidates on a few of the issues that are important to me and perhaps to you.  As I see it, an essential piece in maintaining national security and the foundation of a domestic economic policy should be the establishment and execution of a comprehensive energy plan.  Gaining energy independence, attacking the problem of global warming, and generating more highly skilled and technical green jobs sounds to me like the cornerstone of national security.   This is why I am a little confused by what I found. 

It appears to me that our current Energy Policy  consist of more drilling,  deregulation of energy suppliers (repealing the Public Utility Holding Company Act, and reforms the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act), and the use of coal ( which is now called clean coal).  To be fair, there are recommendations to develop renewable energy sources and to revamp our energy infrastructure which is in need of critical maintenance and restructuring.  The greater focus however seemed to be the former.   I could not believe that there was a continued priority placed on deregulation after the rolling blackouts in California and the Enron scandal.  Why would we place such a huge national security issue in the hands of the energy industry?  Am I missing something? 

The candidates with the most comprehensive solutions offered the usual development of renewable energy, a focus on conservation, and investment in technology.   Barack Obama and Chris Dodd clearly had the most comprehensive plans.  Dennis Kucinich appeared to be the only candidate to address our looming water issues and our problems with nuclear waste.  Mike Huckabee appeared to have a grasp of the connection between a sound energy policy and national security, but indicated that the policies would follow after he was elected.  There were several of the Democrats who had included metrics to measure accountability, but not a single Republican candidate.  How could this be?  Don’t they call themselves the National Security Party?  You can now see why I was confused.   This is how the candidates ranked on this issue from my perspective, but you be the judge: 

  1. Barack Obama 

  2. Chris Dodd

  3.  John Edwards

  4.  Hillary Clinton

  5.  Joe Biden

  6.  Bill Richardson

  7.  Mike Huckabee

  8.  Dennis Kucinich

  9.  Rudy Giuliani

 While I am looking at individuals who must have the vision to lead us where we need to be on this issue, we are reminded by Thomas Friedman that energy policy is crafted in the hall of congress.  So once again, the Power is local.  Where does your congressman or senator stand on this issue?  Currently, Iceland looks like they will be the first energy independent country and the European Union is taking the lead on other environmental issues.  I really believe that this should and can be the US position.   

 The National Renewable Energy Laboratory 

Science Daily 

Current US Secretary of Energy, Samuel Wright Bodman III

The Presidential Candidates….a real opportunity

The pundits have narrowed the fields in both the Republican and Democratic races.  For the first time since I have been old enough to vote, I actually feel that I have choices. I am sincerely hoping that we do not buy into the media hype that is being played out on the political stage.  This race is not just between those candidates that the establishment has elected to toss money and support to.  We still have a wide open race and we will have that until the last primary takes place. 

Candidates like Bill Richardson , Joe Biden and John McCain have impeccable foreign policy credentials.  They each have laid out in detail their philosophies regarding foreign policy and how they would proceed to rebuild our relationships around the world.  The War on Terror has ignited hot spots all over the globe from Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, to Georgia 

Others like Dennis Kucinich, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul and Chris Dodd appear to possess a true integrity and would make every attempt to do what is in the best interest of the country and not their individual parties.  

 I was rather surprised and delighted with the American people in the 2006 midyear election.  We demonstrated that we can move government when we truly have the will to do so.   I am mentally laying out my priorities for what I would like to see the next administration focus on and perhaps that will allow me to get somewhat closer to who I am going to support. 

  • Foreign Policy issues will more than likely be at the forefront of American politics for some time to come so my candidate must have a strong foreign policy background.  It will be essential that we elect someone who has the ability to speak the language of diplomacy and at the same time possess the experience and wisdom that will allow them to execute policy decisions.

  • Possessing a strategic economic domestic vision is also extremely important to me.  By this, I do not mean more of the same stances of globalization, importing goods and exporting jobs.  I would like to see a well managed trade policy and a refocus of education in this country.  We need someone who will not put the interest of multinational corporations and profits before the people of this country.

  • Next, I would want someone who is GREEN thinking.  How can we become a leader in the world on environmental practices and innovation?  We should be first in producing new forms of energy and transportation. 

  • Finally, I want someone who is serious about Universal Healthcare.

We have a real OPPORTUNITY to shift the POLITICAL PARADIGM in our country. That is…..if we have the WILL and the COURAGE to take a stand.  

BLACKWATER, Military Privatization

“I say, therefore, that the arms with whch a prince defends his state are either his own, or they are mercenaries, auxiliaries, or mixed.  Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy.  The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you.”

THE PRINCE, Niccolo Machiavelli

What is all the hoopla surrounding the privatization of our military.  Well, there is a group that believe that privatization is the answer to all of our problems.  We should privitize education, the military, the government, ect.  What is the difference in private versus public and why exactly are we moving towards the private sector.

When organizations are public:

  1. They are accountable to the public
  2. They are there to serve all of the public, they can not be selective.
  3. They tend to be under government control, which in a very technical sense, they should be under yours and my control.  Because after all we are a part of that huge beauracracy, as the governed.

When organzations are private:

  1. Their missions become narrow.  This sounds good, right.  They become experts in their fields.
  2. They must profit or not exist.
  3. They are accountable to a smaller group of people, their board, or whoever has the power in their organization.  They do NOT serve the public at large.

I am not going into a lot of discussion on this.  I just wanted to bring this to your attention. Just imagine, a private group that has more power, better weaponary, more intelligence than our government and no allegience to you or I.

Media Matters

“The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being”

Thomas Jefferson

 “I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.” 

Thomas Jefferson 

One of the cornerstones of a democracy is a free press.  We here in the United States consistently lambaste other countries, such as Russia, China, Pakistan, ect. for constraining their media.  The Freedom of the Press in the US goes back to the American Revolution.  The trial of John Peter Zenger, in 1735 was one of the cases that supported the foundation of a free press in this country. 

The First Amendment in our Bill of Rights state that: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, with that background, what do you think happens if I decide to go and buy up all of the TV and radio stations along with all of the news papers?  More than likely, you are going to get my perspective of all events that occur and if I don’t think that you need certain information, I can make it extremely difficult for you to have access.  Certain Voices are forever shut out of the discourse of many of the debates needed to maintain a healthy democracy. 

I know that you are thinking that, well, we do not have to worry about such a thing….this after all is the number one democracy in the world……our freedom of the press is guaranteed.   

Currently the FCC, the Federal Communication Commission, is stripping away the rules that prevent extensive media consolidation.  Corporations and wealthy moguls will be able to purchase broadcast TV, radio stations and newspapers in the same market.

 Do you remember how the war was propagandized by the media……the GROUP THINK that occurred?  Well, lookout, much more from where that emerged from.  I don’t know about you, but this is extremely disconcerting to me. 

The one thing that I try to do on this site is remind us about the Power of the People. The future of this country and the rest of the world will depend on the evolution of individuals. Of each of us taking responsibility for what we see occurring in front of our eyes.  I will tell you what I will be doing about this threat to democracy and provide sources so that, if you CHOOSE and this is important to you, you can take whatever action that you deem necessary.  I will be writing my congressman, Senators and Representatives.  I have links on this blog to all contact information for our Congress.  I will be contacting the FCC at:

To Contact the Commissioners via E-mail

Chairman Kevin J. Martin:
Commissioner Michael J. Copps:
Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein:
Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate:
Commissioner Robert McDowell:   

My Veterans Day week …Can’t keep quiet anymore

One of my readers brought to my attention that I have not written anything in a while.  I have been spending quite a bit of time in thought wrestling with numerous issues.  

 My Veterans Day and week was quite emotional this year.  I listened to many stories from vets from the current conflict and numerous conflicts past.  I shed many tears this week and said many prayers.  

 I grew up in a state with several major military installations and my own childhood town was a major marine and navy training base.  My neighbor and several church members were World War II vets and had numerous Viet Nam vets amongst other family and friends.  I grew up knowing many of these people who were dedicated, disciplined, hardworking and decorated American soldiers…many of which could not shut their eyes at night without having night sweats and nightmares… visions of scenes so horrific that I could never imagine.  These were also the quiet men, wise men who were constantly bringing me and my friends back to reality…..reminding us of things that were really important…..  I thank each of these men for the foundation that they gave me and the service they gave to this country.

It is this past that has caused me to be so incensed at some of the atrocities that have occurred over the last six years.  I don’t know if you have noticed but most of the people who have been the biggest defenders of this war, have never served.  They have not been injured, lost body parts, or experienced a single nightmare of fallen friends and enemies.  They tout support of our troops but do not provide necessary equipment for them to fight, do not provide enough medical benefits both physical and mental when they return home.And above all, have never listened to the knowledge and wisdom they provided before entering into this war.   

The one thing that I know about true soldiers is, you will never hear them complain.  They are duty driven and focused, no matter their politics.  They serve this country (its people and its values), not politicians.   

 I have said many times, that I am not a lover of war, but I do understand the necessity for reluctant conflicts at certain times.  I understood the need to go get Bin Laden, but am aghast at our actions in Iraq and the destabilization through out the Middle East partly due to past and present US policies.    

I have been one to remain quiet in the past… maybe it’s just age but I can do so no longer.   We do not support our troops by supporting wars, but by holding our politicians accountable for their actions.