News of Declassifications through FOIA

The real news is not simply that stuff gets declassified. The real news is that every day scholars seek more declassification of information through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) without seeking fame. It is from their efforts that we have a chance to broaden our understanding and not simply our talking points.

Outsourcing Security: Does it really make us secure?

While many US citizens debate the issue of security versus privacy, they neglect to seek answers to the most important question? Is the US bureaucratic and military muscle doing the work of securing the nation or has it been outsourced to those whose loyalties lie in the $$$$ rather than the flag?


The following are some of the current discussions on the issue of outsourcing security and defense:

The outsourcing of U.S. intelligence raises risks among the benefits

How Spy Agency Contractors Have Already Abused Their Power

US Lawmakers Give Defense Contractors Reason to Sweat After PRISM Leak

U.S. Relies on Spies for Hire to Sift Deluge of Intelligence

What You Should Know About The Intelligence Community’s Contractors

Intelligence contractors on the rise since 9/11

News Articles from 

Who Will Survive Unscathed?

I just love it when a journalist tells it like it is… (see the link)

My favorite section was on the IRS and the difficult job they have.  Like any other government branch, the IRS is made up of humans and humans often make bad decisions, especially when there are new or complicated policies to manage.

What I find most odd about this latest round of “scandal” is the comparisons being made between President Obama and President Nixon. Nixon was a tightfisted president when it came to decision making and oversight. He trusted few.  Obama seems to trust many and seeks to let the professionals in each bureau run the day-to-day.  This is what causes him so many problems – he trusts people to do their jobs.

Mistakes happen in every administration, that is a given. There has never been nor will there ever be a “perfect” president, not even ole George Washington himself was without flaws. Sometimes mistakes get reported, sometimes they don’t, and in some cases mistakes are covered up – hopefully in all cases mistakes are motivators for change and better training.

Mistakes will happen but if WE THE PEOPLE keep going on witch hunts and continue on a path of losing faith every time someone makes a mistake – including the people in the Oval Office and in Congress – then WE THE PEOPLE will be making the biggest mistake of all. Our lack of faith in our system is the greatest threat to our nation! When bad things happen, when mistakes are made, and when threats are not halted at our borders, instead of rallying we gnash our teeth and rend our clothes in anger over our governments failure. But our government is of the people and by the people. People make mistakes  – some from good intentions and other from arrogance, but this is nothing new.  The only thing new is the speed and volume of information availability. Mistakes now become public fodder even before they are fully investigated. Human mistakes!

Just as the laws are made to protect the common man, those same laws protect the common man who works for the government whether they be elected, appointed, or hired by a bureaucratic supervisor. During a witch hunt, would you voluntarily give up your right to remain silent? So why then would you expect any public servant or employee to give up that same right? Instant news and the public outcry that follows instant news do not negate the right to a fair hearing.

Seeking change, disagreeing with policy, disliking personalities – these things may direct your voting choice but they should not cause you to distrust those who are elected, nor should they cause you to lose faith in the system. During the election cycle there is much complaint about mudslinging and the lack of truth, but where is the outrage and disgust over such underhanded politically motivated tactics during the non-election cycle (if there is such a period anymore)? Hiding political agendas and mudslinging behind demands for transparency and demands for instant details is appalling. Even when mistakes are less mistake and more intended actions, the rights of individuals and the protection of innocents must be considered. Even a witch hunt targeted at one, may cause unintended casualties and unintended consequences. People make up our government and their lives and their freedoms COUNT!

In the days of old, the witch hunt often targeted innocents, and just as often ended up targeting the very people responsible for the witch hunt’s origin. When January 2017 rolls around, who will have survived this latest witch hunt unscathed? Will it be WE THE PEOPLE or will WE perish due to our own mistakes rather than from those we perceive made by others?

Questions… Taking Sides and Losing Unity

Is there a danger in supporting YOUR TEAM rather than supporting OUR Team? Have we lost the OUR NATION and become irrevocably divided in a contest of finding fault? Has history become only the Myths and Legends with which we batter and attack the opponent? Or can history still teach us something about the reality of human fallibility and the imperfect nature of trying to do our best and falling short of expectations? Can truth ever be found if we only see what we want to see, only hear what we want to hear, and only perceive what we already perceive?

Are we still trying to learn, grow, evaluate, and improve – or are we simply taking sides?



“Note to Democrats and Republicans: This Is Not a Game” by Mathew Dowd

Saith Me… Myth or History – Which do you Study?

People keep talking about the ills of our government, about our liberties being at risk and about how bad the nation is now. But I really wonder how many of them have ever studied any history – real history, the kind that goes beyond even the freshman level American History course of most colleges. Before they spout off about the loss of rights, do they really do their very best to understand the basis upon which those rights were created or do they simply agree with the masses screaming foul?

I often wonder if the propaganda material of 1770s and 1780s is all the people of today know about and whether they understand that not all the Founding Fathers agreed on the propaganda. The one thing they did seem to agree upon was creating a Constitution that did not hem us in but rather grew with us, adapted as we adapted, and outlived the political rhetoric of any one generation.

Lastly, I wonder if the spouting masses of today have any real idea of how much compromise those Founding Fathers put into not just the Constitution, but into the governance which then had to follow in order to provide for the protections the Constitution promised. Or how many times it took the threat of war before they would step down from their soapboxes and agree to compromise.

Maybe it is our turn to set aside the soapbox and pick up a scholarly history book, one that challenges our notions rather than simply tells the mythical side of the story.

Saith Me and My Son… Fear

Fear is the easiest way to distract people from seeing issues clearly. It creates “something worse” and thereby allows bad to be perceived as good.






Is it a good thing when your kids start arguing with you as to whom the credit for pithy ponderings should go?

What history will teach us…

What history will teach us…

I recently saw a meme that defined treason as including giving aid to an enemy. It started me thinking about the debate over foreign aid and the role it plays in diplomacy. While I certainly agree that foreign aid must be scrupulously administered and should not be simply a default in the national budget, I disagree on the implication of who one might call our enemy*.

Interestingly, during the years between WWI and WWII the United States, while not enemies with Great Britain, saw Great Britain as being the greatest potential for threat to US security and prosperity**, second only was the rising threat of Japan. These threat assessments were based on the notion that with Germany having been weakened after WWI, a naval, and thereby commercial threat was only really viable by Great Britain and Japan.

Yet, when France fell and Great Britain became bombarded, President Roosevelt devised a scheme to aid Great Britain despite US isolationist rhetoric and congressional policy. So does that mean Roosevelt committed treason by helping a potential threat? Or does it simply mean that an unstable region, a region lacking a balance of power poses a greater threat to US security and prosperity than the potential threat of any one nation?

History teaches us that diplomacy and national policy is not as clear as political talking heads would like us to believe.  I really don’t think history will record much of the opinion of the talking heads, rather history will view the intent, implementation, and result of policy. Then history will most likely teach us we were fools to listen to the talking heads in the first place.



* enemy is defined as a hostile nation or state. The presence of hostile factions does not make the state an enemy.  Just as the US cannot universally control the ideas and actions of its citizens, the US cannot expect another nation to do that we cannot or will not do ourselves.

** National Security and Prosperity Interests was the terminology used prior to the Cold War when the language changed to National Security Interests.