Melissafrei’s Weblog

An Evolving Consciousness

Archive for Democracy

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
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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 ?

Defining PATRIOTISM

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

 

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

“Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.”

Eisenhower, Farewell Address, 17 January 1961.

The choices that were made during this administration will have consequences that will out live most of us who are currently here on the planet.  So many of us are quick to move to the next topic and do not want to dwell in the past.  Even if the past is the last eight years.  It is imperative that we thoroughly look at how we arrived at this point in time.  How did an entire nation of people allow a few individuals to convince us to go invade another sovereign state.  Just a little common sense tells us that this was not because the leader of the country was a dangerous and unstable individual who had killed his own people and invaded another country.  We have several people on the world stage that fit that description and several countries that are committing genocide, engaging in nuclear weapons testing, and in reality are a much greater threat to our country. 

 

It will take soldiers, strategist, diplomats and a leader who understands that there can be no victory when there has been bloodshed, there can only be rebuilding and healing. 

 

We as Americans must decide what definition of PATRIOTISM we will take into the election booth in November and select another individual to make decisions and act in our name on the world stage.

 

Will we utilize a patriotism that we wear on our sleeve or will we utilize a PATRIOTISM that we carry in our hearts. 

 

 

 

 

 

MARTIN LUTHER KING, His words…40 years after his death

 

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

 
Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

The Potomac Primaries – Simply Evolve

The overarching variable in this election is exhaustion.  Exhaustion from lies, back room dealing, lack of ethical behavior and out and out criminal behavior.  I have been pleased with my choices of candidates in this election.  I feel for Senator Clinton because I realize that she just does not understand why she is not faring better in this election. She should not take it personally however.             

The “everyman”, regardless of party, gender, race, age, Dunkin Doughnuts or Starbucks crowd and what ever other box that the people who think they know put us in, is simply tired.  We are beginning to WAKE UP.  We are beginning to understand the “game” as it is described by the pundits. 

We want someone with their own mind in Washington, DC.  They don’t have to do everything exactly as we say, but they do need to act like they know that they work for US, the CITIZENS of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA and not conglomerates, corporations, or extremist of either kind.  They need to present us with the challenges and let us demonstrate that we truly are the greatest nation in the world because of the ideals and values that we say we believe in. 

We want to participate in our Democracy.  We want someone with vision and someone who expects something from us, instead of dividing us and stealing from all of us.            

I personally have the utmost respect for Senator Clinton and Ex- President Clinton, but I will be voting for either Barack Obama or John McCain in November.  That is because I do not want to wake up the day after the election to more of the same nightmare that we have faced for the last 30 years.  Let me at least experience a new dream or at least a different nightmare.          

Both of these people appear to go against the grain.  I do not want a safe bet, the same tactics, or the same people.  Yes, I still have concerns with each of these people. 

I am concerned who John McCain would put in his cabinet.  I trust him to not spend taxpayer dollars like he has lost his mind and I trust him not to pull us out of IRAQ too quickly.  Even though the current administration lied us into the war, we still owe it to IRAQ and the region to assist in cleaning up the mess that we made.            

I trust that Barack Obama will simply change the way that we conduct business.  He will respect the rights of other countries and value their sovereignty.  He will push diplomacy and community in this country as well as the world. 

          Senator Clinton on the other hand has programs from A to Z.  She knows bureaucracy.  We cannot legislate our evolution. 

 WE MUST SIMPLY EVOLVE !!!!!!  

     TRANSFORM OUR THINKING !!!!!          

Media Mine Field in the 2008 election

Well, now it begins.   It’s time for all thoughtful citizens to navigate the media mine fields for the 2008 election.  I watch a lot of television and listen to a ton of radio during presidential elections and it always amazes me how the media will focus on everything but the issues.  They remind me of maggots on a dead carcass. Now, I know that is a horrible visual, but I wanted to make sure that the point was made.  Our democracy is the dead carcass.     

It will be especially crucial in this particular election to educate ourselves on where the candidates stand on issues and who they are as people.  There are numerous places that one can go to get this information, beginning with the candidate’s websites.  This blog has links to places like the NY times political page with links to all of the candidate’s websites.  Project Vote Smart is another helpful place to go and get information.  Check the facts at “Fact Check”.  Go to the political information section of this blog.  

I bring this up because being an informed citizen is the least that we can do for the country that we all claim to love and be proud of.   So once again, let’s come in off of the playgrounds and stop being herded like sheep by the pundits, media, and focus groups.  Let us be thoughtful, rational beings that can and do connect the dots.  

 THINK 

THINK 

THINK