It was about the the recent ballot measures #19 & #112 …its not good!
That said, I was reflecting on this video from the event they organized at PCC campus in Nov 2007 here in Portland Oregon and it was at this forum where we were listening to these very issue of these bad laws being discussed …. Here is my video from that event
#19: Prohibits Teaching Public School Student In Language Other Than English For More Than Two Years
Filed By: Alan Grosso, Bill Sizemore, and Russell Walker
Summary of Initiative
Non-English speaking students who enter the public school system will be limited to not more than two years of English Immersion classes.
The amount of time for ESL classes depends on the grade of non-English speaking student enter the public school system.
“Yes” statement: “Yes” vote prohibits teaching public school student in language other than English for more than two years (exception for teaching foreign language to English speakers).
“No” statement: “No” vote retains requiring English courses for students unable to profit from classes taught in English, permitting Multilanguage instruction to assist transition to English.
This initiative does not consider individual learning levels or students with special needs.
What are the consequences for non-English speaking students who are prematurely forced into English only classes?
How will this affect refugee children who have come directly from refugee camps with little formal education?
How will this affect ESL funding, school funding, and curriculum?
#112: Allows state cooperation with Immigration Enforcement; Requires “Legal Presence”/Citizenship for Specified States Rights/Privileges
Filed By: Mehran Smith and Shahriyar Smith
Summary of Initiative
No Statute, regulation, or agency/instrumentality of the state can prohibit public employees from cooperating with federal agencies in the enforcement of federal immigration law.
First time Oregon voters must provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
Proof of legal residence is required for driver license applicants.
“Yes” Statement: “Yes” vote allow state/local cooperation and resources for immigration enforcement; requires certain documentation of citizenship for voter registration, “legal presence” for driver/identification documents.
“No” Statement: “No” vote retains current state/local limits on cooperation and resources to enforce immigration laws, current requirements for voter registration, and grant of driver/identification documents.
Would state and local police have the ability to arrest undocumented immigrants on a regular basis? Would state and local police receive proper training, funding and support to carry out federal immigration enforcement?
Would this initiative require all government workers (hospitals, schools, etc.) to report undocumented immigrants? Would this initiative promote racial profiling?
Would this eliminate the ability to hold street-side voter registration drives?
How long will it take to verify a voter’s status under the new system?
Why are taser being used on civilians that need assistance?
Good question because its happening "way too much" especially in the Portland Oregon area
As I interviewed Clifton Brooks on 6-14 on week after he was shocked with a taser (in his back) when he called 911 for HELP...I wondered how much longer will this kind of "torture for attention" be used on innocent people and then dropped on the trial day and the courts never see the abuse the police are using? In this case volts of electricity when the man was a victim.
Come on! This is out of hand!
Folks this is Portland Oregon ...and people are dying from this "kind of help" from the police
And in the last week in this neighborhood .... It looks like 2 tasers in a 10 block radius all for .... "NO REASON"
Well it is all too plain and simple ... Police using pain and force to do the same work that brains and common sense use to be used for. That was before they started using their new cattle shocking style toys
“It is now imperative that the Judiciary Committee begin a review of the 35 articles,” said Kucinich. “I will be providing supporting documentation to the committee so that it can proceed in an orderly manner.
“The weight of evidence contained in the articles makes it clear that President Bush violated the Constitution and the U.S. Code as well as international law,” said the Ohio lawmaker, whose efforts to impeach Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been largely ignored by the mainstream media.
The House of Representatives approved Kucinich’s motion today to refer the articles of impeachment to the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). Kucinich said on Wednesday that he would meet with Conyers this week.
Conyers has yet to release a public statement on the motion, but has in the past not been supportive of impeachment efforts. The resolution to impeach Cheney, which Kucinich presented in April 2007, remains stalled in the committee he chairs.
“It is the House’s responsibility as a co-equal branch of government to provide an effective check and balance to executive abuse of power,” Kucinich continued in the statement. “President Bush was principally responsible for directing the United States Armed Forces to attack Iraq.
“I believe that there is sufficient evidence in the articles to support the charge that President Bush allowed, authorized and sanctioned the manipulation of intelligence by those acting under his direction and control, misleading Congress to approve a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
“As a result over 4,000 United States soldiers have died in combat in Iraq, with tens of thousands injured, many of them permanently impaired,” explained Kucinich. “Over a million innocent Iraqis have perished in a war which was based on lies, a war which will cost the American taxpayers as much as three trillion dollars.
The Ohio lawmaker said that it is now “incumbent” for the Judiciary Committee to review evidence he presented. He promised that if the committee failed to hold any hearings on the resolution within thirty days, he would repeat his efforts. He told one reporter Wednesday, “Leadership wants to bury it, but this is one resolution that will be coming back from the dead. … I will be bringing the resolution up again, and I won’t be the only one reading it.”
Kucinich closed in his statement, “We must not only create an historical record of the misconduct of the Bush administration, but we must make sure that any future administration is forewarned about the constitutionally proscribed limits of executive authority and exercise of power contravening the Constitution.”
June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Guantanamo inmates have constitutional rights and may seek release in federal court, the Supreme Court ruled in a rebuke to the Bush administration and Congress on their handling of accused terrorists. The ruling bolsters the legal rights of the 270 inmates at Camp Delta, set up in 2002 to detain accused al-Qaida fighters captured after Sept. 11.
June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Guantanamo Bay inmates have constitutional rights and may seek release in federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a rebuke to the Bush administration and Congress on their handling of accused terrorists.
The justices, voting 5-4, said a 2006 law unconstitutionally stripped Guantanamo prisoners of the right to file so-called habeas corpus petitions. The majority rejected arguments that a system of limited judicial review set up by Congress was adequate to protect inmate rights.
``The costs of delay can no longer be borne by those who are held in custody,'' Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. ``The detainees in these cases are entitled to a prompt habeas corpus hearing.''
The ruling bolsters the legal rights of the 270 inmates at Guantanamo's Camp Delta, set up in 2002 to detain accused al- Qaeda fighters captured after the Sept. 11 attacks. More broadly, the decision may mean a more powerful wartime role for the judiciary.
Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter joined Kennedy's opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented. Scalia took the unusual step of reading a summary of his dissent from the bench.
``The nation will live to regret what the court has done today,'' Scalia said in his written opinion.
The Bush administration contended that the Constitution and its guarantee of habeas rights don't cover enemy prisoners held outside the country, in this case on Cuban territory that the U.S. occupies under a 1903 lease. Habeas corpus is a legal device that dates back to 14th-century England and lets inmates claim they are being wrongfully held.
Kennedy wrote that Guantanamo ``while technically not part of the United States, is under the complete and total control of our government.'' He said the constitutional habeas guarantee ``has full effect at Guantanamo Bay.''
The justices were reviewing appeals by 37 inmates being held as ``enemy combatants.'' The group includes six Algerian natives seized in Bosnia in 2002 and a larger group of men who were taken into custody in Afghanistan or the bordering areas of Pakistan.
None of those inmates have been criminally charged, although today's ruling may affect those who have been. The military plans on prosecuting about 80 inmates, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. Prosecution efforts have stalled in recent months, and at most a handful of trials are likely to go forward this year.
Combat Status Review
All Guantanamo inmates appear before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal, or CSRT, a military panel that decides whether the men are ``enemy combatants'' who should remain in detention. A 2005 law gives inmates only a limited right to appeal that conclusion to a federal court in Washington.
Lawyers for the prisoners say those procedures are a poor substitute for habeas rights. During CSRT hearings, shackled inmates appear before a panel of three officers.
The inmates can't have a lawyer present, are barred from seeing much of the evidence against them and in most circumstances can't call witnesses in their defense. In a number of cases, a second CSRT was convened after the first panel concluded an inmate wasn't an enemy combatant.
Officials at Guantanamo say the CSRTs have led to the release of more than three dozen prisoners.
The cases are Boumediene v. Bush, 06-1195, and Al Odah v. United States, 06-1196.
To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Hall of Justice, Second Floor 600 Administration Drive, Room 212-J Santa Rosa, California 95403 Telephone: (707) 565-2311 FAX: (707) 565-2762
Hello. I’m writing you to insist that you drop all charges against Benjamin Saari from his arrest of May 1st, 2008. I believe Mr. Saari is an upstanding member of our community and that his arrest for publicly observing police activities in a legal manner is an attack on individuals and thus the community’s right to safely and critically observe public servants on the job.
On May 1st, as thousands were entering Santa Rosa’s Juliard Park from the east side, Santa Rosa police officers began trying to corral youth, mostly young Latinos, on the west side of the park. SRPD had extended metal batons at ready and a very agitated police dog. Different squads of police were yelling conflicting orders at the nebulous group of youth they’d defined as a gang. I believe that at this point Ben Saari exercised his ability to observe the police in a manner in keeping with the First Ammendment right to peaceably assemble. As police advanced on the crowd, which Mr. Saari was pushed into, Mr. Saari made a point of communicating with the advancing officers and keeping a safe distance between himself and the officers.
At one point an officer being most directly observed stepped up his pace and shoulder-checked Mr. Saari, claiming the contact as Mr. Saari’s interference with police activities and arresting him for such. The arresting officer did not immediately announce the charges as Mr. Saari was arrested, nor was Mr. Saari read his Miranda rights. Mr. Saari repeatedly asked the officer if he was being arrested and just before Mr. Saari’s arrest the arresting officer informed Mr. Saari that he was in fact no being arrested. Mr. Saari was never told by the police or the police department what he was being arrested for. He was only informed of his charges when released on bail by the person who posted the bail.
Elements of Sonoma County Law Enforcement, particularly among the Santa Rosa Police and Sonoma County Sheriff, have been resistant to public observation of their activities from a safe distance, in some cases not identifying themselves, obscuring the visibility of interactions or even threatening the observers with arrest. Many believe this is because the police fear being observed overstepping their bounds and trampling people’s rights and because of a law enforcement culture that fears public oversight.
I believe that community members checking authorities and pushing institutions towards more transparency deters abuse of power and makes a community healthier. Local activists should not be allowed to be punished for legitimately checking authority and attempting to deescalate potentially explosive situations through their public observation and nor should they be dissuaded from active participation in matters of public affair.
The foundations of a free and open society rest upon the active participation of those living within it’s bounds in the decisions and running of that society. That is the foundation of democracy. Allowing a branch of the executive to suppress the legitimate oversight of that institution by the people affected by its activities leads us further down the road away from that free and open society and hastens toward rule by a government with unchecked power.
Again, I strongly encourage you to do the right thing and drop the charges against Benjamin Saari. Thank you for your time.
"The Swamp" is a swath of land along Springwater Corridor in Gresham that's frequented by homeless campers. It reeks of human waste. People there sometimes have knives and drug paraphernalia.On the morning of April 7, 2006, Gresham police Officers Jeffrey Durbin and Ted Van Beek went to work early to remove people illegally camped there. By the time they left, Mary Catherine MacQuire had been arrested, punched in the gut, thrown to the ground by the hair and shocked four times with a Taser.Durbin, a 15-year Gresham veteran once named officer of the year, said he used a justifiable level of force because MacQuire was uncooperative. But MacQuire said he used excessive force and violated her civil rights.
Today, at the end of a two-day trial in U.S. District Court, jurors sided with MacQuire and awarded her $80,000 in damages -- $10,000 more than sought. MacQuire said she hoped to inspire others who think they've been wronged but are scared to come forward. "I am one girl. I'm homeless. I don't have a job," said MacQuire, 24, represented by the Oregon Law Center. "And these are police officers."
According to testimony, the incident unfolded like this:About 7 a.m., Durbin and Van Beek went to a campsite with several tents. They announced their presence and told campers to come out. Greg Schultz, a friend of MacQuire's, approached Durbin and began yelling.Durbin and his partner are certified drug recognition experts. Both said MacQuire and Schultz looked and acted as if they were high on methamphetamine. But the two denied using drugs.
MacQuire, upset with how Schultz was being treated, eventually ran toward Durbin, who grabbed her left arm. But she resisted being handcuffed, he said, and she kicked him. Durbin said he made three to four "focused blows" to her stomach. Then he grabbed her hair and pushed her to the ground.Durbin, who in uniform weighs between 260 and 280 pounds, said he used his knee and part of his weight to keep MacQuire on the ground. He said she tucked her right arm underneath her body and continued to resist.
But MacQuire said Durbin did more than hold her down -- he repeatedly jammed his knee into her back. She said he placed so much weight on her that she could not move her right arm.Durbin warned MacQuire he would use his Taser if she didn't cooperate. "She dared me to," he testified.Fifty thousand volts spread through her body each time she was shocked.
At one point, Durbin said, he could feel electricity transmitted from her left hand through his left hand.MacQuire's right arm came out after the fourth shock, and she was arrested. MacQuire said Durbin put his hands on her neck and choked her."I thought he was going to kill me," MacQuire testified. Durbin vehemently denied choking her.Police backup arrived soon after.
Prosecutors charged her with resisting arrest and obstructing an officer, but she was found not guilty in a criminal trial in November 2006.
Durbin left the courtroom quickly today. "We told the truth," he said.
A minister discovers institutionalized child abuse Mood:
irritated Now Playing: child abuse video tells story from Canada minister Topic: NATIVE AMERICANS
A minister discovers
Unrepenetent: Canada's genocide
I love Canada. Love the land. Love the people.
But I have no illusions about the government there, especially the government/church alliance.
Interestingly, the book "Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil" traces the roots of the US "residential" school system for Native children to a Rockefeller family initiative.
After being pushed to remote areas, it was discovered that Native people were sitting on massive mineral and oil deposits.
Thus began the US program of removing Native children from their families, punishing them for speaking their native languages, and subjecting them to all forms of abuse.
Word Games used on Homeless in Portland Oregon Mood:
incredulous Now Playing: Word Cames & trumped Up Charges For The Poor And Homeless Topic: HUMANITY
BULLSHIT CHARGES used on Camping Homeless in Portland
There is lots of double meaning word games going on in regards to the police harassment on the protesters the charges that I have seen that allot are getting "ARE NOT FOR SITTING OR SLEEPING" <??????>
They get ticketed for interfering with a police officer's business<?>
I feel there is a sneaky court-padding way to charge these homeless protesters and in doing so they overt the "bullshit" sit-lie law that they (police/city) claim they are enforcing.
I say if they are going to <sic>arrest for the Sit Lie No Camping then do so ....But as Wesley Flowers points out on Indy Media they charge them with other types of charges..... there is some legal shifty bull shit going on... this is fuck you latter in court type of organizing by the police that is going on....
Legal Scholars should look into all these BULLSHIT charges
I wouldn't doubt "great minds in the legal department of City Hall have concocted a way to fuck these people with evasive jargon and trumped up charges" which they will see when their day in court comes...If they violated the "<sic> Sitting-Camping" laws ...then why doesnt ’the tickets that those protesting are getting... show that as their <sic>crime" ???
.......... I cry "BULLSHIT"
Look at all these arrest and see the charges that are mounting ..... something suspicious is going on! Not all are interfering with police business...that I am quite sure of!
Scott Ritter talks about the Military -Excellent Article- Mood:
loud Now Playing: EXCELLENT ARTICLE Topic: WAR
The Pentagon vs. America http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080505_the_pentagon_vs_america/ Posted on May 5, 2008 By Scott Ritter
I recently heard from an anti-war student I met while I was speaking at a college in northern Vermont. The e-mail included the following query:
“I told you about how I wanted to build a career around social activism and making a difference. You told me that one of the most important things was to make myself reputable and give people a reason to listen to you. I think this is some of the best advice I’ve received. My issue however is that you mentioned joining the military as a way to do this and mentioned how that is how you fell into it. ... We talked extensively about all of our criticisms of the military currently and our foreign policy. ... What I don’t understand is, how can you [advise] someone who wants to make a difference with the flawed system, to join that flawed system?”
The question is a valid one. Throughout my travels in the United States, where I interact with people from progressive anti-war groups, I am often confronted with the seeming contradiction of my position. I rail against the war in Iraq (and the potential of war with Iran) and yet embrace, at times enthusiastically, the notion of military service. It gets even more difficult to absorb, at least on the surface, when I simultaneously advocate counter-recruitment as well as support for those who seek to join the armed services.
The notion that the military and citizens of conscience should be at odds is a critical problem for our nation. That confrontation only exacerbates the problems of the soldier and the citizen, and must be properly understood if it is to be defeated. Let us start by constructing a framework in which my positions can be better assessed.
First and foremost, I do not view military service as an obligation of citizenship. I do view military service as an act of good citizenship, but it can under no circumstance be used as a litmus test for patriotism. There are many ways in which one can serve his or her nation; the military is but one. I am a big believer in the all-volunteer military. For one thing, the professional fighting force is far more effective and efficient than any conscript force could ever be.
There are those who argue that a draft would level the playing field, spreading the burdens and responsibilities associated with a standing military force more evenly among the population. Those citizens whose lives would be impacted through war (namely those of draft age and their immediate relatives) would presumably be less inclined to support war.
Conversely, the argument goes, with an all-volunteer professional force, the burden of sacrifice is limited to that segment of society which is engaged in the fighting, real or potential. Two points emerge: First, the majority of society not immediately impacted by the sacrifices of conflict will remain distant from the reality of war. Second, even when the costs of conflict become discernable to the withdrawn population, the fact that the sacrifice is being absorbed by those who willingly volunteered somehow lessens any moral outcry.
I will submit that these are valid observations, and indeed have been borne out in America’s response to the Iraq war tragedy. However, simply because something exists doesn’t make it right. The collective response to the Iraq war on the part of the American people is not a result of there not being a draft, but rather poor citizenship. An engaged citizenry would not only find sufficient qualified volunteers to fill the ranks of our military, but would also personally identify with all those who served so that the loss of one was felt by all. The fact that many Americans today view the all-volunteer force not so much as an extension of themselves, but more along the lines of a “legion” of professionals removed from society, illustrates the yawning gap that exists between we the people and those we ask to defend us.
Narrowing this gap is not something that can be accomplished simply through legislation. Reinstating the draft is illusory in this regard. There is a more fundamental obstacle to the reunion of our society and those who take an oath in the military to uphold and defend the Constitution. Void of this bond, the inherent differences of civilian and military life will serve to drive a wedge between the two, regardless of whether the military force is drafted or volunteer.
Lacking a common understanding of the foundational principles upon which the nation was built, a citizenry will grow to view military service as an imposition, as opposed to an obligation. Simply put, one cannot willingly defend that which one does not know and understand. The fundamental ignorance that exists in America today about the Constitution creates the conditions which foster the divide between citizen and soldier that permeates society today. America must take ownership of its military, not simply by footing the bill, but by assuming a moral responsibility for every aspect of military service. The vehicle for doing this has been well established through the Constitution: the legislative branch of government, the Congress, which serves to represent the will of the people.
Congress, especially the House of Representatives, was never conceived of as separate and distinct from the people, but rather as one with the people, directly derived from their collective will via the electoral process. Unfortunately today, few Americans identify with Congress. An “us versus them” mentality pervades. This mentality creates the crack in the moral and social contract which exists regarding a citizenry and its military. Congress is responsible for maintaining the military. Congress is the branch of government mandated with the responsibility for declaring war. When the bond is strained between the people and Congress, the bond between citizen and soldier is broken. Congress, left to its own devices, will begin to view the military not as an extension of its constituents, but rather as a commodity to be traded and used in a highly politicized fashion.
This is the reality we find ourselves in today (and indeed which has existed for some time). The 2006 midterm elections highlight this reality, where a strong anti-war sentiment upon the part of the voters resulted in a Democratic majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Having assumed the mantle of legislative power, however, those who were elected on the coattails of anti-war sentiment were able to shun their anti-war constituents. They did so by taking full advantage of the reality that the anti-war movement was in fact not a movement at all, but rather a concept pushed forward by a disparate mass without much political viability.
Where anti-war sentiment did in fact cross over from the ranks of the progressive left and into the mainstream of American society, it was quickly quashed through the dishonest logic that if one truly supported the troops (as most red-blooded Americans swear they do), then one must by extension support the mission. This flawed connectivity empowered Congress to sidestep the issue of withdrawing American forces from Iraq, and enabled it to continue rubber-stamping funding for a war which long ago lost any connection, perceived or otherwise, to the general security of the American people.
And so U.S. service members continue to fight and die in Iraq, a conflict which grows more unpopular with the American people each passing day. The question thus emerges: What is the appropriate response on the part of the American citizenry? While we insulate ourselves from political duplicity, the soldiers ultimately pay the price for the cowardice of those whom we elect to represent us in higher office. This seems to be the path taken by most Americans, who have grown numbly indifferent to the incessant stream of disappointment over the continued failure of Congress to truly represent the will of the people. We have therefore built a wall which separates we the people from the one aspect of republican governance which is, by design, supposed to give us voice.
In doing so, we likewise create a buffer between citizen and soldier, as those who are constitutionally mandated to fund the care, equipping and utilization of the military now operate in ambiguity created by the vacuum of citizen apathy. Thus liberated from the moral compass provided by the people, Congress has lost its ability to defend its own role in governance, and over time has demeaned its constitutional mandate by transferring powers inherent to the legislative branch to an executive branch which has assumed the role of caretaker of the military. By vesting absolute power in the hands of the executive, Congress has all but assured that America has become a nation no longer governed by the rule of law, but rather the rule of man. This sort of tyranny is what Americans fought a revolution to free themselves from 233 years ago.
An executive that operates in accordance with a unitary theory of governance is one that views the capacity to defend the state as being in fact the capacity to defend the realm. As such, one sees a gravitation of emphasis: Rather than focusing on external threats to the collective, the realm becomes obsessed with internal threats to its ability to retain power. The Patriot Act is a clear-cut example of how a unitary executive has undermined and corrupted the legitimate law enforcement mechanisms of the land by vesting the executive with powers normally associated solely with the legislative branch. In this regard, we see the armed forces similarly abused, with the creation of military command structures (namely U.S. Northern Command) which exist not to protect the people, but rather protect the realm from the people. This is not a stated objective, but rather one inferred from the fact that, for the first time since the imposition of posse comitatus in 1876, the United States has positioned its armed forces so that they can participate in normal state law enforcement. In short, instead of serving as a force of protection for the American people from external threats, the military views the American people as the threat, “targets” which need to be investigated as potential threats to the military.
An example of just how far off track the executive branch, facilitated by an all too complicit legislative branch, has strayed when it comes to the common defense is the Pentagon’s controversial Counterintelligence Field Activity, ostensibly created in a post-9/11 world to “… protect the [Defense] department by supporting the detection and neutralization of foreign espionage.” The CFA operates under the umbrella of U.S. Northern Command, created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to ostensibly safeguard the American homeland. A major aspect of the CFA’s work is something known as the Joint Protection Enterprise Network, or JPEN.
The JPEN network enables the Defense Department to share unverified information with civilian police departments, the FBI and other government agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA). Originally dubbed Project Protect America, the JPEN system came into being in July 2003 with the full support of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The heart and soul of the JPEN system is the “Threat and Local Observation Notice,” or TALON report, the brainchild of then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. In the conduct of its work, the CFA created and distributed thousands of TALON reports via the JPEN system on the activities of private U.S. citizens, with a particular focus of those engaged in anti-war protests.
The CFA is slated in the near future to be morphed into a larger Defense Intelligence Agency-run Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence activity. Far from limiting the scope and scale of the activities currently undertaken by the CFA, this new organization will simply increase the level of illegal and unconstitutional activities currently undertaken by the CFA against the American “target.” The fact that the U.S. military now views the American citizenry as its target, as opposed to the object of its defense, shows just how broken the circle of trust is between citizen and soldier. Additional TALON reports are being assembled on anyone deemed to be a potential threat to the U.S. military, including all who are involved in “counter-recruitment” activities designed to provide alternatives to military service for today’s youths. This myopic approach toward installation and facility security undertaken by the Pentagon is not only intellectually weak but constitutionally prohibited. The legislative branch, operating amid constituent apathy, continues to fail in its mission of upholding the rule of law.
In similarly deplorable fashion, the Pentagon has allowed itself to be hijacked by the radical right wing of the Republican Party. The fact that Fox News has become the channel of choice for the U.S. military speaks volumes about the mind-set which has gripped those who lead it. The military has always been a conservative institution. Yet when wearing the uniform of the United States serves more as a front for defending a political ideology (a rabid one at that) rather than upholding and defending the Constitution, the military does itself a disservice. The disconnect between those who serve in the military and those whom they are sworn to protect can be fatal when one realizes the recruiting pool no longer identifies with the military as a legitimate expression of patriotism and citizenship.
The scope of this ideological hijacking is broad, yet barely recognized. One can glimpse just how deep and nefarious this ideological shift is when one considers the extent to which evangelical Christians have infiltrated the U.S. Air Force Academy, proselytizing their heavily politicized religion to the future officers and leaders of that service. The past comments of Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a decorated Army Special Operations veteran who described America’s post-9/11 “war on terror” as a conflict between “Christian” America and “radical Islam,” are widely embraced within the U.S. military. President Bush has echoed Boykin in his speeches and statements, and the military’s favorite presidential candidate, Republican Sen. John McCain, has become the embodiment of Boykin’s philosophy. The Constitution prohibits the notion that America be defined as a Christian nation. To allow the military, sworn as it is to uphold and defend that document, to posture itself as Christian, becoming in effect the “sword of God,” is unthinkable and unforgivable.
The implications of such posturing are far-reaching, especially from the military recruitment standpoint. The all-volunteer military succeeds when it attracts to its ranks those who have a sincere desire to serve their nation. It succeeds greatly when those it attracts come from the broadest possible cross section of the American demographic. There has always been an economic aspect to the all-volunteer force; service is not slavery, and the military has always promised the security of a middle-class lifestyle to those who choose to enlist. But military service, properly motivated, has never been solely about the money. It is about defending a greater good, the people of the United States of America and their values and ideals as defined by the Constitution.
It has become increasingly difficult to motivate enough of today’s youths to serve in the armed services based upon the call of duty alone. One of the primary reasons for this shortfall is the unfortunate perception, not improperly derived, that military service is not in keeping with the concept of “doing the right thing.” This perception, born of an unpopular war and the dishonest foreign policies of successive administrations, is further exaggerated by the reality that the military not only operates as a separate and distinct part of American society (this has always been the case) but, due in large part to post-9/11 hysteria, has been positioned to view the American people as a threat. The inherent problems of the military trying to recruit from a population base which is under attack from the military are self-evident. Genuine patriotism was once a viable recruitment pitch. Now, economic incentives, false promises and pseudo-patriotism are used as the bait to lure the youths of today into America’s legions. Like the legions of the past, these new warriors march not on behalf of the citizens they are sworn to protect, but rather the emperor who commands them. This may be viewed as an overly harsh statement, but there is no other way to describe the abuses of a unitary executive who positions himself above the Constitution and Congress in a time of war.
Having described the current state of the military and military service in this manner, why would I ever encourage a citizen of military age to consider service in the armed forces? First and foremost, one needs to understand that the entire military system has not been corrupted. There are still men and women of honor who serve with dedication and pride. They are, in fact, in the majority. It takes only a few bad apples to spoil the lot, however, and our military today, thanks to a nebulous mission and lower recruiting standards, is full of bad apples. Likewise, to quote a Russian general, “a fish stinks from its head,” and nothing smells worse today than the “head” of the United States. Our commander in chief has disgraced the office he was entrusted with, and in doing so has severely damaged the foundation of American civil society as well as the institutions sworn to uphold and defend it.
The solution, however, cannot be “cut and run.” Simply identifying the problem and pointing a finger at the perpetrators will do nothing to resolve these critical issues. Our military cannot change unless we the people re-establish the link between ourselves and the legislative branch of government and rebuild the bond of trust between citizen and soldier. This cannot happen in stages, but rather must occur simultaneously. While the vast majority of America struggles to regain its moral and ethical compass through the re-establishment of the rule of law as set forth by the Constitution, we need to continue to maintain a military which is capable of defending us.
This requires good people to serve, even if the conditions of their service are not ideal. Do I want to have an intelligent, morally grounded soldier on the front line in Iraq, making the decisions about the use of force in the framework of an illegal and unjust occupation, or do I want to relinquish that job to a former felon lacking even a high school diploma? Do I want the troops of today led by Bible-wielding zealots or Constitution-wielding patriots? While we struggle to re-establish the bond between citizen and soldier, we have an absolute requirement to ensure we continue to field a military composed of citizen soldiers. The only way to prevent our military from becoming the new Roman Legion is to staff it with citizens of principle who reject such an abominable label. We are a nation at war, not just abroad, but with ourselves. Now, more than ever, we need citizens of standing to answer the call to service, not in the name of a criminal president or an illegal war, but rather in defense of the Constitution and all that it stands for, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
You might have heard the inklings about the 'Slow Food Movement', pioneered by Carlo Patrini of Italy, whereby the cultivation of appreciation, mindfulness, and awareness is suggested as an antidote to the poison of our frenzied, 'fast food' (and fast everything) culture.
In other words, with the Slow Food Movement, you replace 'fast food' and 'eating on the go' with an attention to eating fresh, local food that is prepared at a gentle pace at home and enjoyed, perhaps, in the company of loved ones. Or, you simply allow the time to cook yourself a fresh, lovely meal and eat it as if it was a meditation.
The more I read and learned about the Slow Food Movement, the more I realized that it mirrored the principles that I have endeavored to explore and share through Ivy Sea, and that I researched and wrote about in Big Vision, Small Business.
The primary difference is that, where Carlos Petrini is talking about 'slow food' and mindful agriculture and eating, I've been talking about 'slow business'.
What would Slow Business look like? When we hear such a thing, we might immediately associate 'slow' with something negative. This would be an automatic response that comes from an indoctrination in the 'fast is better, bigger is better' culture. Yet when we think about it, mindfully and heartfully, we know that our frenzied, urgency-worshipping, fast-everything culture is not optimal; in fact, we have plenty of evidence -- perhaps even in our own experience and life -- that 'fast' and 'urgent' are often unnecessary and harmful.
With 'Slow Business', as with Slow Food, we simply become more mindful, more aware, more skillful.
We have a greater sense of why we're doing what we're doing, and that 'why' is linked with heart-centered intuitive guidance about our own purpose, deep values, and 'right livelihood' than the old way of externally defined 'should do, or I won't be successful' thinking.
With 'Slow Business', we emphasize connection, in our actions as well as our vision or mission statements. We embody and demonstrate a true respect or valuing of the opportunity we have to share our gifts, skills, and 'pearls of experience', and to express our vision and purpose through our livelihood.
We extend this respect to all beings: in our way of relating to other people within and outside of our business or organization; in our decision-making, where we reflect on the ripple-effect and consequences of our actions, intending that they be positive and life-affirming.
We seek to explore, embody, and express deep values and the principles of 'holographic business'
We approach our work as a master-craftsperson approaches his or her art; we're artisans of business (or livelihood), creating a work of art in and through our organization or business, whether we're a larger group or a one-person enterprise. In 'Slow Business', we weave a tapestry of positive connection and collaboration, seeing plenty and potential in the opportunities to co-creative with others on behalf of, and for the benefit of, others as well.
'Slow Business' simply means slowing down, and visioning and acting from our center of being, our hearts, our 'Divine Essence' (whatever you might choose to call it), and making choices from this center, rather than 'fast business' where you're simply reacting and making hasty choices regardless of their ripple effects or consequences.
With 'Slow Business', you're experiencing joy and plenty and creativity right NOW, even as you 'create forward', versus the frenzied 'always trying to catch up' that marks 'fast business' and 'fast life.'
And oddly, though we've been conditioned to fear being 'left behind', we all remember the story of the race between the turtle and the hare, where the turtle's deliberate, steady, mindful pace outruns and outdistances the fast-hopping hare every time.
Slowing down can seem frightening, but that's just old conditioning talking. In reality, a greater mindfulness and awareness yields better choices and far-better outcomes. And you get to enjoy your life and livelihood along the way, instead of constantly placing that enjoyment 'out there' somewhere in the distant future, where it never arrives but you keep on running. Take a breath; explore slow. There's no need to catch up, since you're always here, now.