Melissafrei’s Weblog

An Evolving Consciousness

Archive for Patriotism

LEADERSHIP

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.

 

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.

 

 

CHANGE vs EXPERIENCE

I have been quiet lately due to the fact that I have been overwhelmed by the history taking place in front of me.  It is the obvious historical inclusion of a woman, a Hispanic, a Mormon, and an African American running for the position of President of the United States.  The greater historical event and by far, most significant, is the activity of the population of the country.  Those that will participate in the election and those that will not.   

It has been described as a movement that surrounds Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee.  In spite of lack of money or ethnic make up, these two individuals are making a stand in this race.  Why is this so?  

I would submit that it is the masses of people that have arrived at the breaking point at the same time, all the events that have taken place over the last seven years that have challenged and changed the “every man”.   

I don’t know if you have heard the phrase, “you will until you won’t, and you do until you don’t”.  This phrase has always represented the “tipping point” for me … the point of equilibrium that is reached due to the preceding chaos of creation that has occurred. 

As I wrote in a post on January 1, 2008, I am ready to take responsibility for the change that I want to see in the world.  This is and has been the only primary election year in my life that I have ever looked at my choices and felt that I actually had a choice.  There are probably only two people on the Republican or Democratic side that I would never vote for or want them to win the election and the second person just recently put themselves on that list. Most of the candidates who are running in this election are people that I have held in the highest regard throughout the years for their service to this country and their accomplishments.   

That brings me to the EXPERIENCE vs. CHANGE argument.  One of the things that comforted me in the George W Bush administration was all of the experience that we had in the cabinet appointments.  I didn’t agree with Mr. Bush on issues or particularly care for his personality, experience or resume, but I looked at the people that he surrounded himself with and they were seasoned, thoughtful, intelligent people who had accomplished much in their careers.  I trusted the EXPERIENCE.   How bad could this be after all?  These were all people who have been in government for years with a wealth of knowledge and experience.   

So what happened?  I personally believe that these people placed their EXPERIENCE and REPUTATION before the health and security of our country.  They did not listen, hear or see any thing.  They were unchangeable and inflexible due too all of the things that they THOUGHT THAT THEY KNEW BASED ON THEIR EXPERIENCE.   

This is why I personally am going to harness whatever COURAGE that is within ME and as Bill Clinton says, “toss the dice, believe in the fairy tale”.  I made the rational, logical, conservative move last time and look what that got me.   

I have reached the “TIPPING POINT”.

I want in my next President, flexibility, the ability to think outside of the box and not depend on the usual solutions to problems that we have been dealing with for years.  I want in my next President, someone who is objective driven and will work with whoever it takes to meet a set of objectives and present me, the people, solutions.  I want a President who will be honest with me even when I do not like what I am hearing.

I want a President who believes in the United States of America, the People, the Democracy. 

Choices, choices

Well, I have finally narrowed my choices down to four candidates for the primaries.  My choices currently are:

  1.  John McCain
  2. Barack Obama
  3. John Edwards and…
  4. Mike Huckabee

Now, I can see the look on some of your faces.  This is a rather different group of people.  What do they all have in common? 

First, I believe that any one of these individuals represents change at a presidential level.  They all say what they feel is the best for this country regardless of where they are ranking in the polls on any particular day.  I have decided that for me, this election is about change and my individual role in bringing this about.  

Second, each of them is elect able.  Yes, I did say elect able, that is if you and I will elect them.  I will let you ruminate on that.  

Third, even though there were other candidates, like Biden, Dodd, and Richardson who have strong qualifications to hold the office of President, they just simply have not been able to effectively get out their message.  I would still love to see any of these three as VP candidates on the ticket.   

I had thrown out political parties quite some time ago and left that to the “POLITICAL ELITE”, those that profit or perhaps see politics as a game of some sort.  I would personally take the most delight at the end of the primary season to see that the people have selected Obama and Huckabee as the nominees.  Why would I be perfectly giddy with this outcome?  Because this would be the outcome that the “POLITICAL ELITES” never thought would come into fruition.  Even though, the media has been quite friendly to Obama, they counted on a population of fearful, biased, uneducated people to never elect someone who had an African ancestry.   

Huckabee on the other hand is the nightmare of those who profit off of division.  He is probably the closest that we have seen in the last twenty years to a true “Compassionate Conservative”.  Now, I know that there are those who will pull out the list: his views on abortion, homosexuality, taxes, immigration, ect.  Well, even though I differ with him on some of these issues, I am counting on the integrity that I believe that this man possesses. 

McCain, well, he is simply someone who I respect for his consistent sound judgment, integrity and service to our country.  He is also someone who places the welfare of this country before his own personal gain and political party.   

Edwards on the other hand has been signaling that he has intentions of taking Washington by storm.  I simply would not mind seeing exactly what that would look like.  I could be disappointed but I am betting on him as the strongest change agent in the race.  

The one thing that I know for sure is that I am extremely tired of the lies, and corruption in Washington DC and throughout our society as a whole and will accept my personal responsibility for my contribution to it which is just being silent and apathetic.   

I am a better person than that and we are a better country than that.     

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. 

 

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/New_Global_Economy/FireSaleEarth.html 

http://mountainrunner.us/2007/10/mercenaries_useless_and_danger.html