For the past few years, in response to the topics I speak about on my television show and write about on The Huffington Post, people have asked me how they could contribute to help fight for what I call “Truth to Power.” Previously there has been no mechanism to allow people to participate in this, but it is clear that we need to form an Alliance – a formation of like-minded individuals fighting for the same ideals.
With that, let me invite you to join The Alliance to help us all fight for the truth. It is clear that our country is divided in two – not left and right, but those who wish to change the status quo for better, and those who wish to keep it to protect their interests.
The problem is that the Democratic and Republican parties have lost their focus. Instead of fighting to empower the people, they are now only fighting to keep their own power. Only through the full engagement of the people can we change this.
The state of civil liberties and national security in the United States is alarming.
In the American Empire, the former are routinely crippled or lacerated in the false name of the latter. Trust in government plunges. Dangers are magnified manifold to wound constitutionally venerated freedoms. International terrorist suspects who have never attempted to kill an American are treated as existential threats to U.S sovereignty. Predator drones employed off the battlefield in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Yemen are spawning more enemies than are killed. Habeas corpus is suspended. Military commissions denuded of due process and which combine judge, jury, and prosecutor in a single branch of government are substituted for independent civilian courts. Time-honored privacy rights are trampled. Torture or first cousin enhanced interrogation techniques are endorsed. Congressman Peter King (R. N.Y.), slated for the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee, insists that prosecutions of alleged international terrorists in civilian courts are intolerable because guilty verdicts are not guaranteed. The worst violations are dared by few, willed by more, but tolerated by virtually all.
The nation needs a new birth of freedom dedicated to the proposition that the life of a vassal or serf — even in absolute safety — is not worth living.
At present, procedural safeguards against injustice are jettisoned for the counter-constitutional dogma, “Better that many innocents suffer than that one culprit eludes punishment.” A craving for a risk-free and comfortable existence fuels the nation’s war on individual freedom. Acceptance of risk, however, is the lifeblood of a free society. Every human sports DNA capable of anti-social behavior — even the saintly. The United States is headed for the same ruination as Athens for the same reasons penned by historian Edward Gibbon: “In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom. When…the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.”
Contrary to longstanding orthodoxies, civil liberties and national security are more aligned than opposed. Scrupulous respect for freedom works hand-in-glove with national security by evoking unbegrudging loyalty among citizens eager to risk that last full measure of devotion to foil opponents and to maintain government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Patriotic soldiers are superior to mercenaries. Hessians were no match for the Minutemen in the American Revolutionary War. A military that fights more for love of country than fear or money will triumph. And love of country is elicited by the government’s securing unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“If the expansion of the Human Terrain System gains traction at TRADOC it could kill any efforts to develop a cultural expertise construct by the Civil Affairs community, specifically the Civil Affairs Proponent at USA JFK SWCS. Everybody is looking to get as much money as they can for their organizations as the Defense budget begins to get squeezed. Naturally there could be a potential dog fight between TRADOC and any other Army organization making claims for HTS-like capability. Once something becomes institutionalized in the military it is difficult to change the new status quo.”
Phi Beta Iota: The US Army Civil Affairs Brigade got off to a very good start under Col Ferd Irizzarry, USA, and then he got sent to Afghanistan to punch his pre-flag combat operations ticket and it took a nose dive. HRT is the most badly managed–unethically managed–program in the DoD Human Intelligence inventory. While recognizing that the author above is on a vendetta against HRT, the bottom-line is that he is right, HRT is wrong, and TRADOC does not know the difference.
(actually, to steal a phrase from Alan and Bill, an advance. Retreat is too negative).
There’s a tremendous opportunity to create events where people connect. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to turn these events into school-like conferences, not the emotional connections that are desired.
You can create an advance with a team that knows one another from work, or even more profoundly, with a bunch of independent thinkers who come together to energize, inspire and connect.
I’ve been to a bunch and here’s what I’ve learned, in no particular order:
Must be off site, with no access to electronic interruption
Should be intense. Save the rest and relaxation for afterwards
Create a dossier on each attendee in advance, with a photo and a non-humble CV of who they are and what they do and what their goals are
Never (never) have people go around a circle and say their name and what they do and their favorite kind of vegetable or whatever. The problem? People spend the whole time trying to think of what to say, not listening to those in front of them (I once had to witness 600 people do this!!)
Instead, a week ahead of time, give each person an assignment for a presentation at the event. It might be the answer to a question like, “what are you working on,” or “what’s bothering you,” or “what can you teach us.” Each person gets 300 seconds, that’s it.
Have 11 people present their five minutes in an hour. Never do more than an hour in a row. The attendees now have a hook, something to talk to each presenter about in the hallway or the men’s room. “I disagree with what you said this morning…”
Organize roundtable conversations, with no more than 20 people at a time (so if you have more attendees than this, break into groups.) Launch a firestarter, a five minute statement, then have at it. Everyone speaks up, conversations scale and ebb and flow.
Solve problems. Get into small groups and have the groups build something, analyze something, create something totally irrelevant to what the organization does. The purpose is to put people in close proximity with just enough pressure to allow them to drop their shields.
Have a moderator who is brave enough and smart enough to call on people, cut people off, connect people and provoke them in a positive way.
Invite a poker instructor or a horseshoe expert in to give a lesson and then follow it with a competition.
Challenge attendees to describe a favorite film scene to you before the event. Pick a few and show them, then discuss.
Don’t serve boring food.
Use nametags at all times. Write the person’s first name REALLY big.
Use placecards at each meal, rotating where people sit. Crowd the tables really tightly (12 at a table for 10) and serve buffet style to avoid lots of staffers in the room. Make it easy for people to leave boring tables and organically sit together at empty ones.
Do something really interesting after 10 pm.
Serve delicious food, weird food, vegan food, funky food. Just because you can.
Don’t worry about being productive. Worry about being busy.
Consider a tug of war or checkers tournament.
Create an online site so attendees can check in after the event, swap email addresses or post promised links.
Take a ton of pictures. Post them as the advance progresses.
Here’s the goal: new friends. Here’s the output: a new and better to-do list.
4) Organize citizens to do participatory legislation and participatory policy and participatory budgeting and participatory regulatory and propriety oversight in relation to specific issue areas, zip codes, countries, or states, and empower them as a group that cannot be ignored.
GroupOn has done what all others have failed to do: harnessed citizens in the aggregate. They have just begun. When combined with the emergence of digital natives as a political force whose outrage is now maturing (see Jon Lebkowsky’s “The Kids Are All Right“), GroupOn is the game changer–not MoveOn.org, not No Labels, not Americans Elect, not IndependentVoting.org–all “old” models dominated by apparatchicks and not at all open to the collective. GroupOn. As in Group ON, dude!
When you think about who might topple a software giant like a Microsoft or a Google, you might be inclined to think of Goliaths like, well Google and Microsoft. The same is true of any industry, you probably think of a company of similar size or larger as being the type of company that would win a battle, or a war.
Actual battles and wars end up being an interesting analogy. If you think if big battles like World War I and World War II, that’s exactly what happened – giants fighting giants from big, knowable centralized points of command. But there are some other wars that have been fought where the little guy won (or hasn’t lost in the case of one ongoing war) and there’s a common element in all of them. No centralized physical location to “take out” to win. When everything is dispersed and there isn’t any one thing to take out, it’s hard to really know how big or how small opposing force is, and they can be substantially more agile. In this situation, an organization of any size can pose a major threat to an enormous organization. The war on terror is an ongoing war that fits this profile – it’s virtually impossible to know how big or small the opposition is, or where they are at any given time, so it’s very hard to be ready for an attack from them. Viet Nam was a tough one for the US to really stand a chance in because it was in unfamiliar territory and there was no central location to take out to declare victory. One could even make the same argument (at a high level) for why the British lost the American revolution.
So if you don’t know who Rovio or CCP are, I have already made significant progress on the path of making my point.
A new movement called “No Labels” is hoping to help tone down the heated rhetoric in Washington. Headed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a veritable ‘who’s who’ of moderate politicians are participating in the No Labels launch in New York City. Among the participants are: retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Republican-turned-independent Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
Phi Beta Iota: These folks mean well, but they are totally without a clue when it comes to actually embracing, empowering, and exploiting (in the positive sense of the word) the collective intelligence of the Republic. This is an apparatchik move through and through, and the manner in which it has been organized, the money behind it, and the total absence of any intelligent structure (e.g. electoral reform, virtual cabinet, online participatory policy-budget exercise) make it clear that it is a dead end. Preliminary voting suggested that most are not fooled and see it for the negative it is–another theatrical display lacking in authenticity.