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Monday, December 01, 2014

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ROSE COVERED GLASSES

                                                   PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Saturday, November 01, 2014

THE MANAGEMENT OF OUR LEADERS MUST SPRING FROM WITHIN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

Photo Credit: (Taken from a magnetized seal on the door of an F-150 Truck in Hastings, MN - driver would not disclose where he acquired it).

Geopolitical expert, George Friedman at STRATFOR and Columnist Aaron David Miller have recently maintained that the office of the American Presidency is designed to disappoint and that the time of great US Presidents is past. 

Friedman:

“Each candidate must promise things that are beyond his power to deliver. No candidate could expect to be elected by emphasizing how little power the office actually has and how voters should therefore expect little from him. So candidates promise great, transformative programs. What the winner actually can deliver depends upon what other institutions, nations and reality will allow him.”


Miller:

"Greatness in the presidency is too rare to be relevant in our modern times and - driven as it is in our political system by big crisis - too risky and dangerous to be desirable. Our continued search for idealized presidents raises our expectations and theirs, skews presidential performance, and leads to an impossible standard that can only frustrate and disappoint. To sum up: We can no longer have a truly great president, we seldom need one, and, as irrational as it sounds, we may not want one, either." 

 PUTTING THE CITIZEN BACK IN GOVERNMENT

As we approach the National Mid Term Elections and turn our focus to a new Presidency as well, we should examine the true strength that springs from our form of government. That strength is in each of us. It simply needs to be projected in managing our leaders.  We must manage our government by becoming involved, conveying to our officials what we individually value and making sure they understand our views continually, not just during an election season.



Technology has made the above objective easier more communicative and effective.

It is not only our vote that is golden but our opinion via surveys and direct input to our government as well. Collectively we must replace the lobbyist, the Super PAC and the stagnated political process by getting through to the pols with focused precision. Social networking, pressure via the collective use of email, public meetings, the press and the media is possible on an individual basis. It is a  matter of becoming motivated to use what is ours and what we pay for with our taxes.

BECOMING OUR OWN MEDIA SOUND BITE, LOBBY AND "IPAC" (INDIVIDUAL PERSON POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE)

It is generally accepted that money drives politics. We must change that outlook by putting ourselves as individuals in the driver seat, tuning out the ludicrous media ads, pulling out our bull horns and expressing how we feel. Where others speak with their money we must convey our values with technology, persistence and management.

Let's examine our daily life, our hopes for the future for ourselves and our families and succinctly provide guidance to those who represent us – locally, at the state level and particularly in Washington.




Letters to the editor, blogging, social networking, and physical visits to town hall meetings, representative's offices and similar individual activities exercise strength and grow robust participation. Collectively, the rest of the presently stagnated structure will follow our lead. 

If we believe we need training in communication we must get it, practice and nurture it. If we know someone who is good at oral and written conveyances we must team with he or she and "Bull Horn" the views we personally believe must be addressed. 

In an election year and throughout the year we cannot say we have not the time. We must take the time to exercise our rights or others will  sell them. 











Wednesday, October 01, 2014

US MILITARY INCURSIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST CAUSE AND EFFECT RELATIONSHIPS


An observer of our military actions over the last two decades in the Middle East could in no way have predicted the splintered, irrational, “Turn-Your-Back-And-You-Have-Two-New-Enemies”, scenario the US faces today. Perhaps a look back over our shoulder, examining cause and effect relationships along the road is in order.

CAUSE:  The US fights a just and honorable war assisting many Middle East allies and other countries free Kuwait.

EFFECT:  Saddam Hussein is driven from Kuwait and the country is returned to its rightful government.

CAUSE:  The US does not leave the Middle East after rescuing Kuwait, but rather, stays in peripheral countries militarily “To Protect Our Interests” with an imperialist attitude resented by cultures that have an ingrained,religious hatred for that type of presence by foreigners.

EFFECT:  The rise of Bin Laden and many more like him today and the deaths of 3,000 Americans on our soil, attacked in our homeland because we did not leave the Middle East. 

CAUSE:  The US reacts to 911 by setting up an elaborate Homeland Security apparatus and beefing up the National Security Agency by orders of magnitude, technologically, while putting in place a carefully concealed legal apparatus to counter terrorism.

EFFECT: The US has no outside terrorist incidents of a 911 magnitude since the Twin Towers fell in 2001 but Americans develop real concerns about our government and its role in controlling our lives as whistle blower disclosures regarding the apparatus of intelligence operation reveal potential constitutional issues.

CAUSE:  The US invades Iraq fed by false, intentionally staged intelligence, fronted by agencies and industries bent on economic gain. The US sets about war fighting and nation building programs that seek to displace a culture that had evolved through conflict and war lords for hundreds of years and is tied to the absolute requirement that religious practices be part and parcel of government, a principle the US has rejected as unworkable since our Constitution was written

EFFECT:  Failure to build anything substantial in the form of a nation over an 11 year period.  The deaths or crippling of our finest soldiers, dramatic increases in our national debt and a cynicism among our citizens with respect to the $Billions that have gone into the pockets of corporations supporting our huge Military Industrial Complex (MIC) and wasteful USAID Programs by companies that spend more lobbying Congress than they pay in taxes.

CAUSE:  The present Middle East unrest due to ISIS/ISIL and other splinter groups we thought had been scattered to the winds. 

EFFECT:  UN security council meets with many nations talking and less than a half dozen nations carefully and selectively participating in an air war against terrorism while the remainder watch the outcome.   Our military and corporate defense establishment (MIC) shout, “Sequestration to reduce military spending must end!” and estimates two years will be required with more American boots on the ground to train an Iraq force that we had already trained for a decade before the Iraq government disbanded it. 

CAUSE (PROJECTED):  A political battle like none seen in recent times during the coming US national  elections, driven by concerned American citizens and their view of the US role in the Middle East, our burgeoning national debt approaching $18Trillion and the fact that the culture in that part of the world has had a very difficult time figuring out how we can help them over the last two decades while we near energy independence from oil and require some nation building of our own in the homeland.

EFFECT (PROJECTED): A leader and a political climate that will permit prudence, tough decisions, carefully avoidance of bad intelligence and overreaction so that we do not continue to sink into the oil and blood soaked desert of Middle East cultural revolutions as global corporations consuming the MIC and USAID tax payer dollars prosper, parking their assets overseas while our young become indebted for generations.



Image: usf.edu/florida



Monday, September 01, 2014

HAVE AMERICANS LOST THE ART OF INDEPENDENT THINKING OR ARE WE MISINFORMED?

                                                     Image:  Mission to Learn dot com


Americans have grown acclimated to viewing the world through media sound bites, opinionated, biased news financed by money driven politicians and lobbying firms that spend enormous amounts to influence our opinions.

As a result, we have very little trust because the product of this buzz portends negative, stagnated government, growing like a money- eating beast and putting generations in hock with unwarranted wars through a focus on big corporations and big business.


 "WASHINGTON POST"

"Voter turnout in statewide primaries so far this year has been historically low, even among states with procedures designing to make voting more convenient.

Overall, voter turnout among the 25 states that have held primaries is down 18 percent from the 2010 election, according a study by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. There were almost 123 million age-eligible voters in these primary states, but only about 18 million of them voted."

 Voter Turnout thus far in 2014

Has independent thinking by researching a personal perspective become a lost art in our day in age?

Are we just too busy to develop a credible opinion of our own due to the fast pace our social values demand?

 Or are we misinformed?

THE VALUE OF TRUST

Trust is hard to establish in the modern era. We see very little true statesmanship in the good people we send to Washington who promptly become ground up in the huge machine there in order to survive. 

Communications and expectations are two vital elements in measuring trust.

To an extraordinary extent, the age in which we live is requiring us to redefine trust and the degree to which communication and expectations contribute to it.

Consider simpler times a few years past (say 50). Trust was necessary in many venues as a means of survival on a day-to-day basis. We relied on others extensively for our well being from our local store to our banker, from the policeman to the politician. And we knew them all better, we could reach out and touch them and we were not viewing them in sound bites and web sites, nor were we being bombarded with multiple forms of input to digest about them.

THE CHALLENGE

Mass marketing and communications has created expectations beyond reality in venues from romance web sites to building wealth and the role of nations.  We must come down to earth and become much more sophisticated in the manner with which we view all this input and sift it in a meaningful way to have true trust. If we do not we run a high risk of tyranny and that fact is inescapable.

To a very large degree this is a personal responsibility. We must become involved, make prudent judgments and think for ourselves. 

THE ENVIRONMENT

Charles Lewis’ New Book Looks at the “Lies Your President Told You and Other Mistruths” 

 INTERVIEW WITH "THE PROJECT ON GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT"

 
Author Charles Lewis

"The most disturbing discovery in my nine years of research and writing is this: leaders don't need to distort information and the truth. All they have to do now, in our fast-paced, short attention-span world, is just delay the truth, by years, months, and weeks. We still don't have key documents from the Iran-Contra scandal, the second biggest political scandal in the U.S. involving a White House since Watergate. That was a quarter century ago! Is that coincidental?  No." 

 Here’s the question you have to ask yourself before reading Charles Lewis’ new book, 

"935 Lies The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity" 

Are we as a country so jaded that we’ve come to accept untruths and    
misinformation from our government as just the cost of living in a democracy?

Lewis, who teaches journalism at American University and who founded  the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), does his best to remind us that we can and should expect more from our leaders. 935 Lies expands upon a CPI project that tracked the number of false statements that the President George W. Bush administration told in the two-year build up to the war in Iraq. The lies were aimed at persuading Americans that Iraq posed a threat to our national security.

Deceit, however, is bipartisan, as Lewis shows.

POGO: What is the big-picture effect of the public being repeatedly lied to by our leaders?

Lewis: Over time—many years which have become decades—persistent prevarications by those in power leads to cynicism, distrust and citizen disengagement. Which, you may have noticed, we substantially have had now for decades. Distrust and disapproval of Congress, for example, is at unprecedented, historic levels. Voter participation in elections has been woeful for years. Etc.

POGO: You describe the problem of misinformation as endemic to our society-- why did you choose to focus on lies told during the Bush administration? Of course they’ve continued since then.

Lewis: The "935 lies" mentioned in the Prologue of my book, regarding the false and erroneous statements by President  George W. Bush and either other top administration officials between 9/11/01 and 9/11/03, were compiled in a 380,000-word database and  published by the Center for Public Integrity in Iraq: The War Card in January 2008, near the five-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

That prompted me to examine the extent to which this had occurred before, over time, since approximately 1950 to today. And of course, the Johnson administration misrepresentations about the Gulf of Tonkin and the U.S. involvement in Vietnam more broadly, pre-dated the Bush/Iraq war by 40 years.

It also demonstrates the extent of what J. William Fulbright called "the arrogance of power" and the fact that lying by those in power is bipartisan. My book also examines untruths in the Obama administration and others, and "mortally consequential" lies by corporations dating back to the 1940s.

POGO: What should a leader’s punishment be for intentionally lying to the public? Should he lose his job—or worse?

Lewis: A leader's accountability should be directly related to the seriousness of what he/she has lied about. In real life, whether a leader should lose his job depends on the circumstances of the moment, and obviously, the political will of the people.

Unfortunately, we generally don't punish our politicians for lying, as we seem to have  a bifurcated, bipartisan perception of "truth" in the United States, to the extent that in one poll, four years after George W. Bush's second term had ended, more than 60 percent of Republicans still believed there were weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq.

We, as a society, have become increasingly confused, unable to discern the difference between truth and falsehood. And as Hannah Arendt  and others have noted, that is a dangerous state of affairs, when we no longer can ascertain what is factual and what is not, who to believe  and who NOT to believe.

We live in a society that doesn't have "real-time truth" about those in power. How can a democracy predicated upon an informed citizenry and  self-government exist successfully if the people don't know the facts about those in power?

As some point, I hope the public decides to get angry and demand more truth, but getting there from here is an enormous specter to imagine.  First of all, there is no longer a "general public" but instead numerous  carefully studied, dissected electorally and commercially micro-publics  throughout the United States.

Marketing, advertising and high-tech wizardry by those in politics have rendered the concept of "the public"  less meaningful and media political advertising has become a huge source    of revenue for that industry and fanned the fires of fractious, vituperative partisanship during and between election cycles.

We are the only advanced democracy in the world without free air time for politicians during election time.

The only way the McCain-Feingold  campaign finance law could be passed by Congress years ago was when McCain and Feingold agreed to take out the "free air time for    politicians" section of their bill—then the National Association of Broadcasters and others backed off their opposition to the legislation and it passed, among other concessions made. The broadcasters now make a billion dollars per election cycle from political ads...

It is a grim situation which has been deteriorating in many ways for decades. And it will take years, decades, to ameliorate."

 

 

 

 

 





 

 







Friday, August 01, 2014

Why is the US Spending So Much Money on Fighting a War that has Claimed so Few US Victims?


                                                     Image:  Sodahead dot com
QUESTION ON QUORA:
"The cost of war is in the trillions.  That type of money could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the medical industry or literally millions of lives in the developing world. Why is the US spending so much money on fighting a war that has claimed so few US victims?"

OUR ANSWER:
Aside from the threat of another 911 and the fact that we have lost over 4,000 young soldier’s lives, the real reason is there is money in it for big business and the Military Industrial Complex.  War is a racket. So is occupying under the guise of democracy. People make big money at it and an entire Military Industrial Complex thrives on it.

The details of exactly how this occurs were in a warning by President   Eisenhower as he left office.  His words were very prophetic:
The Military Industrial Complex (MIC) consists of both the Pentagon and the  contractors that serve it, their  lobbying firms and the politicians who  promote weapons systems,  incursions and services to the government for  profit and gain. 

The MIC has tremendous power, even though it is presently being tested by  Sequestration.   For further details and  specific example of how the MIC has influenced our decision makers and  contributed to the deaths of our finest youth, please see the following:

ABOUT THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

It is corrupt and driven by corporate influence:
 http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/11/halliburton200711

It is broken and riddled with incompetence:

http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2008/04/us-federal-government-procurement.html

http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2007/01/what-american-public-must-know-about.html


A quote many years ago from Major-General Smedley D. Butler: Common Sense (November 1935)

" I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service as a   member of our country's most agile military force---the Marine Corps. I   have served in all commissioned ranks from a second lieutenant to   major-general. And during that period I spent most of my time being a   high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the   bankers, In short I was a racketeer for capitalism

Thus, I helped  make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil  interests in  1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place to live  for the  National City Bank boys to collect   revenues in…. I helped  purify  Nicaragua for the international banking   house of Brown  Brothers in  1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican   Republic for  American  Sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras   "right" for  American  fruit companies in 1903. In China in1927 I helped   see to it  that  Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years  I  had,  as the  boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded  honors,  medals, promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have  given Al  Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate his  racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three  continents. War Is A  Racket"

The beat goes on today with the KBR's the Lockheed Martins and the other huge corporations supplying and supporting wars.

Every major aerospace company from IBM to Lockheed Martin and Boeing has totally stand-alone divisions that serve as cost centers and pursue monumental interests in the politics of government   and the billions in service contracts that are outsourced there.  This has gone on for years.  I watched it for 3 decades on the inside of these companies.

These companies routinely spend more in lobbying expenses than they pay in income taxes each year. 
http://www.ibtimes.com/30-major-us-corporations-paid-more-lobby-congress-income-taxes-2008-2010-380982 

The interests of these firms is now changing slightly with Sequestration   and many are making acquisitions and marketing services in the Health   Care sectors or escalating their interests in civil aviation, education   and other fields.

If it was too costly to do business with the government, 302,315 companies and  some of the largest corporations in the world would not be involved in it.  See  the  below link to contract awards and amounts in 2010 to large  enterprises: 
1. LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION  -                    $34,288,619,722
2. THE BOEING COMPANY                                          19,358,512,809
3. NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION                   15,472,742,729
4. GENERAL DYNAMICS CORPORATION                      14,903,216,900
5. RAYTHEON COMPANY                                             14,880,453,061
6. L-3 COMMUNICATIONS HOLDINGS, INC.                     7,629,644,919
7. UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION                    7,330,0
23,190
8. OSHKOSH CORPORATION                                         7,197,520,183
9. SAIC, INC.                                                                  6,595,330,339
10. BAE SYSTEMS PLC                                                 6,587,705,335