Sunday, December 18, 2005

We are shareholders of brand America

We are shareholders of brand "America". It is our brand and our reputation.

How proud we were of brand America. The brand name on any product we produced set it apart from all others.

We were proud of brand America and all that it stood for. Our products were not perfect, but they were always improving. When a product was defective, we owned up to it and vowed to do better! Never satisfied with the status quo, we always demanded better of ourselves and everything brand America produced. Most of all, we took pride in the fact that our most cherished and sought after brand America products such as liberty, freedom of speech, voting rights, and protection of civil liberties, were available and affordable to all.

Five years ago, brand America was hi-jacked by a band of counterfeiters. They have robbed the company coffers, gutted the warehouse, and sold the contents on the black market. These interlopers refuse to provide the resources to produce brand America products, exploit the employees, and treat its customers with disdain.

For sure, the American flag is slapped on all brand America products. Indeed, the products are wrapped in the American flag. The counterfeiters still advertise "Buy American!" They point to brand America's "Glory Days" and the new management proclaims our stock is still the most sought after stock in the world. But the reality is brand America's most valuable products are now only "genuine imitation". And its most infamous products are produced and showcased by slave labor in third world countries, by prisoners in Abu Ghraib, and by "enemy combatants" in Gauntanamo Bay.

The new management is obsessed with the idea of "perceived quality" while having no regard for genuine quality. Concerned, loyal, life-long employees objecting to the handling of brand America are vilified, accused of working for the enemy, and quickly find themselves without a job. Customers who complain that brand America products do not function as advertised are ridiculed, labeled traitors to the brand, and threatened with lawsuits. Reports by consumer groups, critical of the quality and availability of brand America products, are suppressed. Paid marketers and consultants, posing as grateful and enthusiastic customers, flood the Sunday talk shows touting the wonders of the "new and improved" products now available from brand America.

More Americans than ever supposed eagerly buy the counterfeit brand America products at top dollar, proclaiming the changes absolutely necessary in these times of uncertainty. They are adamant that this is no time for criticism. Criticism is un-American and will destroy the integrity of brand America! Protection of brand America is wholly dependent on shielding it from any and all critics. The problem is not with brand America or its new management, but with the critics!

What will be the future of our brand, America? It is our brand and our reputation.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Our Country's New "Don't Ask. Don't Tell." Policy

FBI Is Taking Another Look at Forged Prewar Intelligence,0,4700538.story?coll=la-home-headlines

From December 3, 2005 LA Times

This LA Times article describes, in brief, the history of the forged Niger documents, the brouhaha over Joe Wilson’s Op-Ed piece in the New York Times and the results of the initial FBI investigation requested by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The lack of due diligence by the FBI screams out at the reader. The failure of the FBI to question Rocco Martino, the identified source of the forgeries, can only be construed as gross ineptitude at best, or, the more likely scenario, pressure by someone(s) to “not go there”. Is there anyone today over the age of 5 with an IQ over 50 and a body temperature of 98.6 degrees who couldn’t figure out that it might be a wise thing to interview the primary suspect in a case involving a crime somewhere above the level of littering?

It is beyond the imagination that the FBI had no interest in following your basic “Who-What-When-Where-and-Why” line of pursuing and resolving the case, even though that was the charge given the FBI by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The conclusion that the FBI reached that Martino was in it to make money (“end of story”!) stops midway in the line of answering the most basic of questions. Even if it were a money-making deal for Martino, why did Martino think he could make money by peddling these forgeries? And why would a national government that was contemplating GOING TO WAR based on documents such as these be so uninterested in authenticating them?

We’ve all watched the made-for-TV movies recounting the tales of real life police detectives, FBI agents, journalists and the infamous G-men tracking down and bringing to justice those people who have killed innocent victims. Those men and women “in uniform” who never gave up until they broke open the case and sent the perpetrators away for life believed in their duty to bring to justice those who would take the lives and liberties away from Americans. Here is a case of National Security. Here is a case where we are sending our sons and daughters overseas to die in a war based on this information. Here is a case where we went after the WRONG GUY! And, yet, there seems to be NO INTEREST in discovering WHY this guy thought he could (AND DID) sell these amateurish forgeries to the “best” intelligence agency in the world!

At the end of the day, this has become our country’s “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.” policy.