Monday, September 2, 2019

Another mass shooting…and we still don’t get it!

(This needs a serious editing but I'm hopeful your mind will grasp the basic concepts and attempt to apply them to nearly every problem 'our nation' faces.)

The sickness of our culture is endemic.  And we still avoid the diagnosis that it is our worshiped individualism that has disconnected us not only from one another, and others suffering, but from virtually everything we need as humans to survive.

Our mind’s increasing tendency is to live within our head instead of the real world of profound and ubiquitous interconnections that when closely examined are essential to our individual, cultural, national, and global survival.  And even vital to our true happiness and joy in this increasingly technologically complex world.

We experience life through three venues.  Our 5 (or 6?) senses.  Our multitude of internal bodily emotions.  And finally, via our mental concepts. 

In this context…it is our minds concepts that are accidently killing us, leading us to kill other people, and even kill ourselves. 

We believe we can multitask then walk, bike, and drive while texting.  We think stress is bad and we avoid the physical stresses that our body and mind need to develop properly – and then die from heart attacks more than any other real threat.

We believe our ethnic group, our nation, our religion, our economic policy, even our skin color is worth killing and dying for.  

We believe that our individual life has no meaning or that our cultural, ethnic, societal, economic, or sexual orientation is just too difficult to accept -- and then kill ourselves, maybe even killing others as an act of revenge over real or perceived injustices.

Mindless animals my commit senseless murders out of a genetic abnormality but they don’t do it with thoughtful intention.  We should hope they never reach that level of global understanding or our species will become the hunted, endangered, and eventually extinct.  We need the natural world to keep in balance, protecting the many life forms that yield us food, clean water, fresh air, and other resources we need to live and sustainably thrive.  

Why have we largely been ignoring this?  A scientific argument can be made that our minds evolved as a problem-solving tool.  A very unique and powerful biological characteristic that is essentially no different than a giraffe’s long neck, a bee hive’s social cooperation, or the length of a male sabretooth tiger’s fangs.  

Our mind’s unique evolutionary power for survival was its capacity for pattern recognition, logic, tribal connection, and creativity for making tools and weapons to ensure the survival of our clan.   But like the Sabretooth’s long fangs (a male characteristic that females selected as ‘fit’ for yielding more viable offspring) that eventually reduced the male’s capacity for catching prey and eating.  Fast forward a few dozen human generations and our species cultural/social evolution reduced our need to cooperate in very large numbers.  We became comfortable no knowing those who produced our food, built our homes and cities, and even protected us from waring or genocidal tribes, ethnic or national groups, or concept extremists.   Today’s ‘US’ culture has virtually lost touch with everything…including our own bodies (see obesity rate).  I avoid using the word “American” culture because South, Central and even some North American nations have yet to devolve into lethal individualism.  Mental concepts in the US now divides families and even friendships.  And rarely do we know or closely associate with our neighbors.  It’s almost as if we disagree with someone’s concept, we threaten ‘who they are’.  As if their/our mind is really who we are.  Instead of our mind being a tool for our common survival, happiness, and bliss.

In 2018 a Rockville, Maryland teenager (Kyle Snyder) became the very first teenage Olympic Gold Metal heavyweight wresting champion, beating both the Russia’s and Iran’s most mature and experience contenders (always considered the best in the world).  Kyle’s father gave him the best coaching advice I’ve ever heard.  “Be the landlord of your mind”.   Kyle’s trained his own mind to punish his body as much as possible in training…so he would never have to fear any opponent. He stressed his body beyond any limit any ‘normal’ human or US citizen would ever consider.  He used is mind to determine how he could train his body to perform to its maximum, when it counted. 

Given the evolution of weaponry, war, and deterioration of our environment, democracy, and government capacity for addressing these changes, it is time we become the landlord of our mental concepts.  And use them to maximize our freedom and our security.

Getting rid of guns won’t do it.  Building walls won’t do it.   Engineering a more perfect union between all humans, the environment, and our mind/body/spirit connections is a idea whose time is very late.

Abraham Lincoln once said our Declaration of Independence is our “Apple of Gold” and our Constitution is its “Frame of Silver”.  Until we codify the fundamental principles in that Declaration our nation will never be truly exceptional.

It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.  In that context, the concert of ‘national sovereignty’ is literally, insane.  By refusing to put the protection of human rights over the rights of nations to do as they please globally, we will only continue the chaos and injustices that is driving the killings on our streets and between nations and religions.   

Our mind’s still possess our unique and powerful characteristics.  But allowing it to dominate who we think we are, and what our most basic desires are, is a receipt for Armageddon.   Thomas Paine in his pamphlet “Common Sense” asserted the two most basic human desires are “freedom and security”.  And, because of our collective inability to render “moral virtue” together by, we need government in the “world”. 

This has never been more important as advances in technology has increased our personal and national interdependence in our technologically hyper-interconnected world’.

Every major religion is based on the concept of the Golden Rule.  Knowing Lincoln’s words, this give an entire new concept in thinking about our nation’s “Apple of Gold”.

9-11: Any Lessons learned?

As the 9-11 anniversary nears it’s shocking if one considers the consequences of that event in terms of the choices the US government took after that horrific day.  The costs in blood and treasure continue to be unsustainable.  More on that later.

What’s most shocking however, or should be, is the fact that our government and ‘we the people’ never acknowledged what could have been done prior to 9-11 to undermine the motivations of Islamic extremists who butchered not only thousands of Americans, but the very fundamental tenant of their global religion. Peace.  

Christianity’s history is pocked with similar butchery.  Yet one fact remains globally indisputable.  The fundamental ideal of every major religion is the Golden Rule.  Not the corporate golden rule that profit is the only goal.  Or the government golden rule that campaign financing can influence policy decisions.  But the fundamental self-evident truth that all people are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights.  Rights that no government, no corporation, and no extremist group should be able to take away -- without prohibitive consequences.

Our US Constitution provided us with a second Amendment for irrevocable protection against any government diminishing our rights.  Unfortunately, the engineering of our constitutional federation also had fundamental flaws.  From the start (and even beyond the original sin of codifying slavery) our government’s blueprint was based on a delusional concept of 'independence'.  

Our government is based on the codified independence between states, federal agencies, and even between nation states.  And we never question the insanity of this idealized concept regardless of its monstrously bloody and budget breaking consequences.

Our Independence (or national sovereignty) didn’t protect us on Sept. 11, 2001.  It actually prevented us from detecting the conspirators organizing within our own borders, states, and training schools.

Independent state tax regulations resulted in lower cigarette taxes in Virginia than in Maryland.  The al Qaida’s operatives leveraged those price differences to buy in VA and sell in MD for a bloody profit. The hijackers used states with minimal regulations for acquiring driver’s license, enabling them to easily gain legal land and air transportation between all 50 states.

Federal legal walls between the FBI and the CIA prevented intelligence sharing that may have identified Saudi Arabia passport holders taking flying lessons (not for landings…. just take offs).

The international divisions between nation state’s various intelligence agencies added yet another barrier to exchanging insightful and vital cooperation that still largely exists today… and in some cases gotten worse where competing national interests arise.

Six months before 9-11 the third and final report from the bipartisan Presidential “US Commission on National Security in the 21st Century” was released.  It proposed combining a few federal independent agencies into one, to more readily detect threats to Americans.  In its final report release in March 2001 the 14 commissioners unanimously put “Terrorism” as the top threat to Americans. It warned that ‘Americans should prepare to die in large numbers on American soil’ from terrorism.  The report was ignored.  And it’s recommendations to combine independent agencies was rejected even after the attacks and after another commission suggested the same idea. 

Finally, 14 months later Congress passed the Homeland Security Act which  combined 22 independent federal agencies into one Department of Homeland Security”.  And a full two years after the first Commission release of its final report -- DHS finally opened its doors to ensure “a more secure America that is better equipped to confront the range of threats we face”.  But DHS remains an agency largely independent from the Department of Defense. 

This is the same DoD that launched a ‘pre-emptive’ attack on Iraq just one year later.  An attack that created more extremists and extremist groups than most Americans could even image.  But some did.  And they too were largely ignored. 

Ignored by a President that was elected by a questionable Supreme Court ruling on a balloting problem in the ‘independent state of Florida.  I’m not sure Al Gore would have responded any better than Bush did immediately after the horrors of 9-11, but I do believe he not have invaded Iraq and probably would have listened more to the findings of the 2001 Commission Report, and done more to ween the US from our addiction to foreign oil and our Saudi Arabia alliance, neither of which valued the protection of human rights.

Very few US citizens could tell you the three primary motivations that Osama Bin Ladin claimed was his reasons for masterminding the 9-11 attacks, or, his two specific goals to achieve with the attack.

His motivations?

1.      US support for Israel at the expense of Palestinians.

2.      US military presence in Saudi Arabia before and after the 1st Gulf war.

3.      The deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children, as a result of the US sanctions on Iraq after the first Gulf War.  Few Americans know that the US intentionally bombed Iraqi water and sanitation facilities prior to kicking Saddam out of Kuwait, full well knowing that this would lead to the deaths of innocent Iraqis, but hoping that Iraqi suffering would result in the overthrow of Saddam.  A brutal dictator, that was our friend and ally before he turned on Kuwait.   A brutal dictator that we gave chemical and biological weapon precursors to, at US tax payers expense, when he was our buddy, and willing to gas Iranians, our sworn enemies.

Note that almost immediately after 9-11, Bush did three things.  He offered a two state solution to Israeli/Palestinian ordeal, he withdrew US troops from Saudi Arabia, and his administration started looking for new place to put US troops in the region so we could guard our access to Middle East oil, a critical element to our economy…thus our ‘national security’.  

All as if middle east foreign policy, human rights, environmental policy, and US energy policy were each independent of one other.

The two things Osama Bin Ladin wanted to accomplish was

1.       To break the US economically.  He believed his anti-Soviet efforts in Afghanistan helped lead to the fall of the USSR.

2.      To divide us politically.  He seemed to know that our privacy was connected to our security, and that by attacking us on 9-11, the fear it would generate would divide us between those who were willing to give up their privacy (and ease of air travel) and those who would resist such government controls.

Osama didn’t seem to understand that we ultimately didn’t need any help devolving our own political climate on either of these basic fronts.

Today, few Americans understand that our Constitution’s 4th Amendment that ‘prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures’ largely limits the detection of extremists (domestic or foreign) if it were fully enforced.  Most are more than willing to sacrifice our privacy for a little more security, but in the process realize that our loss of privacy has led to an even greater loss in our increasingly cyber world of personal economic and physical security. 

A recent Raytheon commercial touting its work on cyber security said “When everything is connected, security is everything”.    Notice that it didn’t say, ‘When everything is interdependent, the golden rule is everything’.  It should have.

Bio security (from pandemics, loss of antibiotic arsenal, bioterrorism, lack of access to affordable health care and healthy food) is a lot like cyber security.  DNA or bits, everything is information, and information is power. 

Here’s some information to consider if you would like to maximize your freedom and your security.

Security is an illusion.  With the evolution of technology offensive capacity will always be more affordable and faster to deploy than defensive technologies.  And our dependence on so many things (food, water, clean air, medicines, jobs, health care, energy, housing…) its virtually impossible to protect everything from all threats.

Independence is an illusion that is forcing is to sacrifice our freedom and our security.

Freedom is all we really have.  We (and our nation) is free to do (or not do) whatever we want. But we will NEVER be free of the consequences.

At this point in history, the smartest, wisest, thing we could do is fund and achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  This is the ONLY comprehensive global effort to address the fundamental drivers of most of the threats we face.   We will never eliminate terrorism (a tactic used by those without aircraft carriers, nuclear weapons, or unfathomable wealth) but we can ‘do unto others’ as we would like them to do to us…and greatly reduce those who want to do us harm. And make more friends in the process. Friend who will help us when we need it.  Like warning us of extremists who acquire unprecedented low tech and even high tech killing capacity for which no effective and affordable defense systems are available…unless we chose to live in very unfree and insecure world.  

I assert that it is our staunchly held belief that we are independent from one another, from the environment, from the quality of life of people in other nations, from their environmental destruction, and from the suffering even in our own cities, that is killing us at far greater numbers than terrorists (home grown or foreign).  That could change when (not if) they acquire biological WMD, but for now, the opioids, suicides, homelessness, loneliness, premature deaths by heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hospital infections, and drunk/distracted driving, is a far great threat to ourselves and our loved ones.

If we and our government continue to react to crisis (like 9-11, Katrina, 2008 recession, climate change, mass shootings…) instead of addressing the systemic flaws that lead to them, we are committing a crime against future generations, both here and abroad.

As Thomas Paine said in “Common Sense” pamphlet in 1775, “The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind.  Many circumstances have, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all lovers of mankind are affected, and in the event of which, their affections are interested. The laying a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all mankind, and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the concern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling; of which class, regardless of party censure…”  … “Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz., freedom and security”.

Abrama Linclon, reaffirmed this sentiment when he wrote about our Declaration of Independence being our “Apple of Gold” and our Constitution being the “frame of Silver” around it. 

‘All people’ are deserving of the inalianble rights according to the ‘self-evident’ truths inherent in the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”

Our founding fathers separated them-selves from tyrannical rule of the King.  But our nation will never be independent from other global factors.  If we can’t correct our Constitutional dysfunction in effectively dealing with the hyperglobalization of our modern world and it’s profoundnly powerful and affordable technologies… what happened on 9-11 will be forgotten in the coming chaos. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Trump "An existentail threat to our very existance"?

Letter to the Editor:

It isn’t President Trump that poses “an existential threat to our existence” as Dr. Frances questionable psychiatric diagnosis suggests (Why psychiatrists take sides, 8-30-19).  Our greatest threat is from two other factors.  First, it is the evolution of weaponry that is accelerating with the exponential growth of the power and affordability of most technologies – and the fact that every technology has the capacity for multiple uses -- to create unprecedented good or unimaginable (and sometimes unintended) harm.  Consider genetically targetable bioweapons or Artificial Intelligence realizing the existing flaws in the human mind.  

This is the second factor.  The sickness of our hate filled culture is accelerated by the human mind’s capacity to believe anything --while also keeping us from doing what we know needs to be done. 

We need to form a more perfect union. We need to apply the fundamental principles of our Declaration of Independence to every living soul on this planet.  Anything less and our species is unsustainable, regardless of weather conditions, political parties, religious beliefs, or economic policies.  

Someone’s comment on WTimes Website:

"I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied.” – Dr. Charles
Krauthammer, Medical Doctor, Psychiatrist, Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Columnist,
August 5 2016

Saturday, August 3, 2019

2020 Elections won't safe us.

The next election is over a year away, yet voters and candidates are already hoping and believing if just the right candidates are elected they will be able to fix things.  Most conscious or unconscious maintain economics and wealth as their highest value.  And it drives their choice of party or candidate… That will not end well.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again…expecting a different result.
Too few voters and candidates grasp the unrelenting truth that the greatest long term determinant of a nation’s wealth is its citizens health and education.  From all that I’ve learned in over four decades of living, reading, listening, and learning is that the foundation of any sustainable civilization starts with an unswerving prioritization of, and investments in, the twin engines of development …  health and education.
But most American’s measure wealth in dollars.  So we end up with a gross National Product.
So gross it should be diagnosed as terminally sick.   Examine our nation’s suicide rate, opioid death rate, obesity rate, divorce rate, rise in mass killings from gun violence, debt accumulation, involvement in endless war and weapons production, loss of species, graduation rates, math and science scores, rate of extreme weather events, loss of antibiotic arsenal, vaccination rates, political dysfunction, and social fragmentation… then ask yourself, how healthy can we be if we are well adjusted to a profoundly sick society?
Real health requires that move from simple thinking (direct causation as George Lakoff coins it) into deeper thinking (systemic causation).   It is not the guns, the drugs, the technology, the media, the advertising, the terrorists, the corporations, or the politicians that are the real problem.  What we value is the problem.  Compare teacher pay to CEO pay.   If you want to know what you really value…look in your check book, driveway, refrigerator, and calendar.  Do you spend your wealth on the immediacy of looking good and feeling good?  Or being good and doing good…for others and the environment that sustains us.  
Our way of thinking about things that happen to us… as if we didn’t know the outcome of overeating, smoking, texting while driving, selfishness, or disconnecting from politics…has got to change.  We are defending our concepts as if they were more important than the survival of our species and the natural world that we all depend on …until we can safely leave this planet to its ultimate demise when the Sun turns into a red giant, an asteroid catches us off guard, or AI figures out humans are more influence by stories and emotions, than logic, wisdom, and our children’s survival.
How many times have we said the pledge of allegiance to our flag…pledging “liberty and justice for all” yet rarely take any action that would suggest we are serious about this pledge?
Our politicians, military and police swear to protect the Constitution -- as if it (with its independence agencies) can protect us against the loss of our freedoms and our security in an irreversibly interdependent world.   It’s as if we think we are somehow disconnected from the billions of other people we share this planet and environment with.  And then think weapons and wall will protect us.
We need to think way beyond these ancient technologies.  I’m not sure we can.  Our minds seem glued to the same old, same old.  And it’s going to cost us dearly. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Declaration vs the Constitution: What is the 4th of July really about?

The Declaration offered the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” for guiding mankind’s law making.  The other codified the laws of rich and powerful men, largely ignoring the laws offered in the Declaration of Independence.

Codifying the Declaration could maximize humanities freedom and security.  The Constitution can only accelerate local and global chaos.  (Stop blaming Trump!  He is a consequence…not the cause.)
Most people celebrating this profound day seem to believe that the Constitution is worthy of worship and a natural extension of the Declaration.  That is a monstrously unexamined assumption.

The 4th of July should be a global holiday.  It’s first three paragraphs contain the most profound pro human words and concepts ever expressed first in the English language.  And they are needed today more than ever in our increasingly troubled era of fake news, alternative facts, and emerging deep fakes. 

The first eight words in the second paragraph “WE hold these Truths to be self-evident…” are only doubted, ridiculed, or rejected by mechanical intellectuals, ignorant supremacists, or Russian bots.
In early 1861 Abraham Lincoln spoke in Independence Hall saying “I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence…I have often inquired myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this confederacy so long together.  It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the motherland; but something in that Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but to the world, for all future time.  It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men.”

It would probably be an embarrassment to most Americans grilling hot-dogs and burgers on this day to really grasp what the Declaration was actually about.  It was not about ‘independence’ -- a word that has zero practical application in the real world where everything, literally every system and structure known to the human mind, is interdependent.  It was a declaration that human freedom was more important than security under the unjust laws of a powerful government.  It was intended to separate us from unjust rulers. 

"We the people" and our governments since then have never lived up to this profound ideal.

We may separate ourselves politically in our minds and with lines on paper (or walls on land) but nature (both human nature and mother nature) will inevitably shred these mental and physical barriers.   The accelerating exponential growth of technology combined with our failure to abide by the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” will not end well. 
Far from forming a more “Perfect Union” our nation and world is increasingly troubled and divided under the illusion of national sovereignty (the concept of political independence).  Our failure to keep our pledge of “liberty and Justice for All” will continue to wither both our freedom and our security…and thus our prosperity and leadership in a world that claims to worship ‘the Golden Rule”…the ‘law of Nature’s God”.  In one word… justice.  

Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote in Democracy in America [1835] “The Revolution of the United States was the result of a mature and reflecting preference of freedom, and not of a vague or ill-defined craving for independence. It contracted no alliance with the turbulent passions of anarchy; but its course was marked, on the contrary, by a love of order and law.”    

What has been clear since then for far too many people both here and around the world, is that ‘justice’ was not on the American menu.  Our nation’s policies have never offered justice.  Ask the indigenous Indians or imported slaves. Or, even the freed slaves.  

Our so called “Justice Department” enforces laws…not justice. It is a legal system…not a justice system. 

The US Constitution was profoundly flawed from the start.   State Sovereignty (the freedom of states to do as they please) was codified to dominate the “unalienable rights” of people.  A forced error that resulted in more American deaths in a civil war than all of the wars our nation has fought in since then…combined.

Abraham Lincoln once wrote that our “Declaration of Independence” is “our Apple of Gold”.  And, our “Constitution” is it’s “Frame of Silver”.    Our nation’s leaders, political servants, and defending soldiers swear an oath to protect the Constitution.  Not us.  Not “We the People”.  And certainly not ‘liberty and justice for all”.

Thus, the U.S. Constitution is a suicide document.  It is physically impossible to keep Americans free and secure with an unjust legal system that codifies institutions, U.S. states, and foreign nations as ‘independent’ agents of change in an entirely interdependent world.

If you are paying attention to expert solutions offered in Congressional testimony or fact based forums there are at least four terms you will hear repeatedly from experts and leaders within independent government agencies who are seeking workable solutions to the problems under their watch.  “What we need is a” 1) “comprehensive” 2) “holistic” 3) “whole of government” or 4) “whole of society” … “approach to solve” __x, y, or z___.    You name the problem…. Immigration, terrorism, climate change, debt, health care, education, housing, toxic waste, opioids deaths, gun deaths, obesity, cyber security, invasive species, extinction of species…  

Next you will hear another word, “Resilience”.  ‘We must build resilience’.    Apparently, those who know what is needed to solve a problem also knows that their solutions can never be effectively implemented using independent agencies or governments. 

The one sentence in the Declaration that should stand out with immediate and relevant concern to us all… “accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.”

Do we really need to wait for the pain and suffering to reach a potentially irreversible crescendo before addressing the root causes of our most pressing problems - the illusion that we are separate from one another, from the environment, from the suffering of others beyond our borders, and even from the soil, air and water that nourishes our bodies and our brains? 

For a truly comprehensive solution that would remedy many of the global forces that are making our lives more chaotic look no further than the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  Whatever it costs to achieve them by the year 2030 is far more affordable than paying the consequences of ignoring them. 
Nothing short of this global approach to putting human rights above the rights of nation states will sustainably maximize both our freedom and our security for ourselves and future generations.  

We can pay now, or we will pay dearly later.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Einstein's Birthday: Ideas worth celebrating...and legislating on.

On March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein is born, the son of a Jewish electrical engineer in Ulm, Germany. Einstein's theories of special and general relativity drastically altered man's view of the universe, and his work in particle and energy theory helped make possible quantum mechanics.

But it was his application of his insights to sustaining civilization on earth that remains most vital to maximizing human freedom and security in our irreversibly interdependent world.  

"A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe'; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security."   -Albert Einstein.  As quoted in Quantum Reality, Beyond the New Physics, p. 250.

Our ‘grand illusion’ is that we are independent and separate from one another and nature.  This will be our inevitable undoing -- unless we come to a consensus that the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” as expressed by our nation’s founding fathers (in the Declaration of Independence) are codified into all laws engineered by human minds in every nation.

FYI:  The US Constitution and the UN system of international law…are both based on the fundamentally flawed concept of ‘independence’.   Do the math.  These ‘systems’ of government and governance are simply unsustainable as long as states’ rights and the rights of government and corporations are protected above the protection of human rights.

Democracy has nothing to do with it as long as a majority of people believe humanity can survive under human laws that are simply delusional, unjust, and unenforceable.  Reality is simply and ultimately impervious to majority rule or opinion.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Panama Papers: The tip of an un-melting Iceberg.

The un-melting iceberg consists of 1%ers, crime cartels, kleptocrats, oligarchs and terrorists and it threatens every ship-of-state and all passengers, rich and poor.  There are no lifeboats on spaceship earth and no rescue teams.   This killer iceberg of corruption and illicit money has been sinking capitalism, socialism, democracy, and global development efforts for decades.   The rich and criminal have rigged the global economic system to hide their wealth.   More than enough wealth to fund the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that much of their illicit resources were originally destined for good use (education, health care, vital infrastructure…).  The SDGs are the only comprehensive, globally agreed upon plan to address humankind's most fundamental needs.  Needs which are essential to prevent the growing number of threats that are now killing millions of people a year - with the growing possibility of killing hundreds of millions as well as crippling our global life support systems that we have largely taken for granted, and the others have taken for profit.

If anyone doubts these assertions or the depth and severity of their implications, encourage them to use the resources below (a report and two documentary movies) to challenge whatever cognitive dissidence their minds may be harboring.

1.    Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2018  This 160-page report by civil society experts explores new policy pathways for overcoming obstacles (and contradictions) in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The main message of this report (the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda) is that “The world is off-track in terms of achieving sustainable development and fundamental policy changes are necessary to unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs.”

The report stresses the “need for more coherent fiscal and regulatory policies and a whole-of-government approach towards sustainability… [and promoting] policies that are genuinely coherent in the interest of sustainable development, human rights and gender justice.”  The 17 “SDGs must not be hidden in the niche of environment and development policies but must be declared a top priority by all heads of government.”   “The national strategies for sustainable development should… constitute the overarching framework for all policies.” 

Seen in the context of worsening global conditions - humankinds meeting of these goals should be seen by every person and every nation in the context of sustainable human and national security.

If you read nothing else in this report please read pages 22-25 (Box 0.1) “The world needs to revamp international tax cooperation”.

2.      Panama Papers (2018 on Hulu)  1hr 40 min.  Producer Alex Winter   

3.      The Panama Papers (2016) available on Amazon Prime Video:  Rent or buy on iTunes:  .  Or Google Play: .

If an alternative source of funding for the SDGs is not found it is not a gamble to say the goals will not be achieved -- and that the consequences to humankind and the environment will be staggering.  We are gambling with our children’s future if we don’t.  Governments can no longer afford waiting for and then responding to pandemics, climate change, refugees, extinction of species, loss of our antibiotic arsenal, cyberthreats to our democracy, growing global economic inequality leading to instability, MWD proliferation, genocides, terrorism and other human rights violations (see 1980 Presidential Commission warnings below).   New and adequate investments in human capital and environmental protection are required for achieving the SDG’s.  We can pay now to prevent problems or pay dearly for the consequences in lives and dollars later.  As responsible citizens we can no longer accept the burdening of future generations with unsustainable debts (economic and environmental).  We must come together soon.

The Opportunity:  If one piece of federal legislation is created in the US to fund the SDGs (freezing and seizing illicit offshore funding and blocking more tax avoidance schemes) it has the potential to bring most progressive organizations together into an unprecedented ‘Movement of Movements’ (MoM).  Working together, instead of competing over federal funding for their favorite issue or movement) it should be possible to create sufficient political will to roll over any “America First” resistance.

Prevention must be a priority.  April 7, World Health Day is the perfect day make the case that it is ‘health for all (people, environment, democracy, economy…) or there will be security consequences for all. 

For more in formation on how to mobilize leaders in your community to begin building a MoM go to: 

 *“Health for all by the year 2000” was coined at the United Nations Alma Ata conference in 1978.  They intended for hunger and most diseases to be defeated by then.  In 1980 a US bipartisan Presidential Commission on World Hunger warned humanity about the potentially catastrophic costs to our national security in the form of terrorism, infectious diseases, refugee flows, environment problems, more wars and revolutions, if we failed to succeed on this fundamental task.  In the Commission’s words:
“In the final analysis, unless Americans -- as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world -- place far higher priority on overcoming world hunger, its effects will no longer remain remote or unfamiliar.  Nor can we wait until we reach the brink of the precipice; the major actions required do not lend themselves to crisis planning, patchwork management, or emergency financing... The hour is late.  Age-old forces of poverty, disease, inequity, and hunger continue to challenge the world.  Our humanity demands that we act upon these challenges now...”

“The most potentially explosive force in the world today is the frustrated desire of poor people to attain a decent standard of living. The anger, despair and often hatred that result represent real and persistent threats to international order…  Neither the cost to national security of allowing malnutrition to spread nor the gain to be derived by a genuine effort to resolve the problem can be predicted or measured in any precise, mathematical way.  Nor can monetary value be placed on avoiding the chaos that will ensue unless the United States and the rest of the world begin to develop a common institutional framework for meeting … critical global threats ... Calculable or not, [that] now threatens the national security of all countries just as surely as advancing armies or nuclear arsenals.”

The commission also stated “that promoting economic development in general, and overcoming hunger in particular, are tasks far more critical to the U.S. national security than most policymakers acknowledge or even believe. Since the advent of nuclear weapons most Americans have been conditioned to equate national security with the strength of strategic military forces. The Commission considers this prevailing belief to be a simplistic illusion. Armed might represents merely the physical aspect of national security. Military force is ultimately useless in the absence of the global security that only coordinated international progress toward social justice can bring.”   Presidential Commission on World Hunger, 1980.

Other UN, US, think tank, NGO reports and commissions since then have echoed similar warnings.   They can no longer be ignored.  Let me know if you would wish see the list of only the reports that I’ve found and studied over the last 4 decades.