Archive for Freedom
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 one real object of education is to leave a man in the condition of continually asking questions.” ~Bishop Creighton
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 ?
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leaders possess a clear vision of the future. They must be able to look beyond where we are today. All their decisions are in alignment with their over-riding objectives and they move in that direction.
As I have stated before, this is not a political blog, even though I discuss issues from a political perspective. My intention is to submit the use of politics as the mechanism for continued transformation of our planet and ourselves. I was unaware when I began the blog that there would be several events that would culminate to allow me to clarify this purpose for myself.
I have been trying to wrap my thoughts around what is in the mind of the American populous this election year. The pundits, the establishment and the news media appear to be perplexed. Even some of the candidates. They have referred to Barack Obama’s campaign as a movement. They have caricatured him as the messiah presenting a false hope.
The caricature is what caught my attention however and deeply saddened me. I begin to realize what was happening. I personally never expected to see a person of African descent as a serious candidate for the President of the United States in my lifetime. I am 45 years old. Now, before you jump all over me, let me explain. In this country, we have come a long way on the matter of race. Some may disagree with me but, I personally think that we have. I am from the South and am of African descent also. The reason that I could not imagine that there could be a serious candidate of African descent speaks to my own personal lack of vision, my own limitations. I say all of this because not only does it not matter in any form or fashion that Mr. Obama can be described this way, but we as a public are not even seeing him in this light. Now how could this be?
I would like to submit that it is not so much, Mr Obama that is making the difference here, but it is the masses…….We the people. We are the one’s that should be the subject of our own AWE. WHAT WE ARE DEMONSTATING IS VISION.
This is what was so sad about all of the caricature from the pundits, the other candidates, and the press. These people seemed to lack the ABILITY to even see beyond our present state of existence. They could not envision a politics not driven by lobbyist and money. They could not envision a country that was strong and powerful but not superior. They could not even envision a people that would want to work towards that. They could not envision a people not driven by IDENTITY politics, nor could I. I was WRONG.
Possessing VISION is an essential leadership quality that we have lacked since John F Kennedy. Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson all possessed incredible vision that inspired US to transform the grim realities of the time.
It is the VISION that we are connecting to in Barack Obama and not his ancestry that is driving his momentum. We can see the promised land that Mr. Obama speaks of and because we can envision this, we can create this. CHANGE must be internal before it is external.
If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up re-creating fundamentally the same world, the same evils, the same dysfunction. Collective human consciousness and life on our planet are intrinsically connected. “A new heaven” is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and “a new earth” is its reflection in the physical realm. Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
I am sure that you have probably heard that the National Intelligence Estimate was released today and it suggests that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. There is much discussion out today about the administration being wrong and what our stance on Iran should now be.
I am going to take a break from the election today to ponder another thought. I doubt very seriously that Iran has halted their plans for nuclear weapons. Why? Because, basic common sense tells me that it would not be in their best interest to do so. Let’s discuss this on a very personal level.
- I (IRAN) live in a community (the world) where my neighbors (US, Israel, Europe, ect) tell me that they can have weapons but I cannot. The reason given is that they have better controls than I do and that I shouldn’t worry because they will protect me should someone threaten me. Now, I have a history with my neighbors that clearly do not coincide with what I am being told. Currently, my pit bulls are being threatened because even though they are fenced, my neighbors believe that they have been sneaking out at night. They are not for sure; but there is a hint fear. Just last week my neighbors blew up the guy’s house next door over a hint of fear (weapons of mass destruction). I didn’t get along with him anyway, but that’s not the point. My neighbors have also told me that if I make any move to try and secure my home, they will prevent other people from conducting business with me. Oh Yeah…..a while ago, they gave the guy next door (the one that they just blew up) support to kill off several members of my family. I know that if I get the weapons, I would probably be a lot safer, because the other guys up the street who have weapons, are left alone.
I have just never been able to rationalize how we could tell other countries that they should not have nuclear weapons but we (and our current allies) can. This just makes no sense to me. It would be one thing, if we worked to get rid of all nuclear weapons, but that is kind of unrealistic since the genie has been let out of the bottle.
It would seem that we would benefit more by:
- Being better neighbors and working in a larger community to form a “community watch” like organization to police ourselves since we all have weapons.
- Should have some international laws and an international court that would hand out stiff penalties for any of us not handling our weapons in the safest way possible.
- Staying out of other countries affairs unless someone makes a request of us and other members of the national community.
- Taking seriously our role as a member of a larger community and working more effectively with organizations like the UN.
This is just something to ponder.
“The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being”
“I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.”
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: KJMWEB@fcc.gov
Commissioner Michael J. Copps: Michael.Copps@fcc.gov
Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein: Jonathan.Adelstein@fcc.gov
Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate: email@example.com
Commissioner Robert McDowell: Robert.McDowell@fcc.gov http://www.fcc.gov/contacts.html
More than likely, I am going to hear screams after this post, but here goes. I personally support a draft. A DRAFT!!!!!!!?????? Yes, a draft. Why??????? I personally believe that we will all begin to pay a little bit more attention if all of our children were being called to serve and because I don’t know of any other means to kill the APATHY that is so pervasive in our society. In recent discussions with various people, friends, family, co-workers, ect, I have picked up on the following sentiments:
- “I’m not that interested in politics”.
- “I just don’t feel that I can really impact anything at that level. They’re gonna do what they want to do”.
- “All of my thoughts and energy are spent on just taking care of me and my family”.
All of the statements above, while I totally relate to and understand, are excuses. Believe me; I am also speaking to myself. I have often wondered how an entire country could fall in line behind a Hitler, a Mussolini, or a Stalin. What were the citizens of Germany, Italy and Russia doing in the years and months prior to the rise of these individuals? I realize that history has now revealed these three men to be war criminals ect. I am sure that the majority of the citizens in those countries did not see them as we see them now. It took the masses of Germans, Italians, and Russians to carryout the thoughts and will of a single man. I suspect they too were busy trying to make a living, feed their children, and run their lives.
I bring this up today because our government is now posturing for a confrontation with another country. When the people that we have placed in charge speak on the subject, it is done in our name. WE HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE. We are not Germany, Russia or Italy, but we cannot sleep……we must be engaged.
The NY Times reports that, Vice President Dick Cheney used the deck of an American aircraft carrier just 150 miles off Iran’s coast as the backdrop today to warn the country that the United States was prepared to use its naval power to keep Tehran from disrupting off oil routes or “gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region.”
We always talk about our constitution, but have we looked at it lately. Did you know that the US Constitution states the following:
Section 8 – Powers of Congress
- To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
- To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
- To provide and maintain a Navy;
- To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
- To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
- To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
- To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
- To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Can we at least write to someone. I think I will. If anyone else is interested.
The links to our congress are under the US government heading.