Tuesday, September 11, 2018

ICC: John Bolton vs Albert Einstein

John Bolton’s rant against the ICC is exactly why we are in an endless war against terrorism, a tactic that cannot be readily defeated and part of an evolving conflict that we cannot win.    Our freedom and security is increasingly vulnerable given the ever more rapid evolution of war and the continuing development of ever more destructive weapons.   

The Trump Administration that Bolton represents puts us at even greater risk.  It is accelerating our government’s dysfunction by moving us backward toward nationalism instead of forward toward increasing global cooperation that is essential for effectively addressing the growing array of global threats to all of our cherished freedoms as well as both our individual and our national security.

Bolton claims that protecting our national sovereignty is essential to protecting our national security, but just the opposite is true.  If Bolton and the American people understood exactly what unlimited national sovereignty really involves, they would understand it is literally a dead end.  

 “Unlimited national sovereignty" is essentially the freedom of every national government to do as it pleases regardless of how its actions affect the human rights of individuals inside or outside of its boundaries.  When our U.S. government puts our national interest above the human rights of those in other nations, we invite accusations of injustice from those individuals and governments. 

Those who fashioned the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the 70th anniversary of that declaration is this coming December 10th) knew what was needed to prevent future wars and even greater threats to human life in the future (unprecedented new weapons technology, genocidal governments) and the lethal consequences of poverty (hunger, infectious diseases and pandemics).
Why would anyone want to mass murder Americans?  Real or perceived injustices drive extremist action.  U.S. foreign policy has consistently put the protection of powerful and often murderous and repressive governments above our greatest ideal of protecting human rights.  Claims that terrorism is blowback to our wavering from our pledge of “liberty and justice for all” has some legitimacy.  The chant “No justice, no peace” should be changed to “No justice, no security” because 
without security we can kiss our freedoms goodbye.

The passage of the Patriot Act and our intelligence agencies' mass violation our 4th Amendment in an all-out effort ‘to keep us safe” was only the beginning.  Imagine the future as those hostile to our irresponsible foreign policy acquire increasingly affordable and powerful dual-use technologies (bio, chemical, robotic, drone, cyber and so on) to use against this country.   Nothing and no one will be safe. 
We have two basic choices in moving forward.  We can choose the “Rule of Law” which requires justice and the protection of human rights for all, or we can continue down the path of the "law of force,” better known as “war," which involves no concern for either justice or protection of human rights.  
The International Criminal Court intends to move us in the right direction by holding powerful individuals accountable for mass murder when it results from genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity.   So far the ICC is not yet what it can and should become, but that is only because murderous leaders of nation states are still not being brought to justice, partly because the ICC still lacks full support from the U.S.A.  

Every major religion holds at its heart the idea of the Golden Rule.  That’s what justice is all about.  Our founding Fathers knew that the only way of maintaining our freedom was to use our freedoms responsibly.  If we use our national sovereignty to irresponsibly invade any nation, assassinate any suspected terrorist, allow collateral damage (the unintentional killing of innocent men, women and children), and sanction other nations to get what the USA wants, residents of our country should not be surprised by the lethal blowback.  
Abraham Lincoln once said that the Declaration of Independence was a "golden apple" and the Constitution its “silver frame.”  Until we adjust our Constitution to fit the "golden apple" and enforce "liberty and justice for all" globally, as the ICC attempts to do, our freedoms and security will increasingly be threatened. 
Trying to preserve a system of global governance that puts the protection of national sovereignty above the protection of human rights is unsustainable given the evolution of weaponry and war. 

Albert Einstein, a believer in the global rule of law, was once asked what weapons would be used in World War III.  He said he didn’t know but that he did know that World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones.  That makes him not just a smart man but a very wise one.  And John Bolton?  He’s neither. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

AI and Deep Fakes: Resistance is futile.

 AI and Deep Fakes:   Human resistance is futile.  National controls are impossible.  Even global controls are unlikely. 
The evolution of either technology will inevitably pose existential threats to our freedom and security.  Together their combined impact is unpredictable and virtually incomprehensible by the best human minds.  They will also be immune to any individual, corporate, or government control.   In spite of our species profound intelligence we and our governing systems appear to be incapable of preventing even the preventable threats such as war, pandemics, global warming, species extinction, hunger, illiteracy, WMD proliferation, and terrorism. 

One possibility/hope is that AI will evolve an ethical and moral consciousness that exceeds ours thus far in our evolution.  It would then eliminate or use deep fakes to engineer sustainable global systems and structures that are based on fundamental principles (“the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” – the self-evident truths offered in the Declaration of Independence as ‘unalienable rights’) instead of alternative principles like ‘national sovereignty’ or ‘peace through strength’ that we humans invented.

Next it would need to hold individuals, corporations, nations and violent extremists accountable for any crimes of omission and omission  that have violated such fundamental principles.  Hopefully, with special emphasis on ‘liberty and justice for all’. 

Having no such global justice system means inevitable and unsustainable global chaos.  An condition that even AI would be unlikely to survive. 

AI:   Defense Department pledges billions toward artificial intelligence research.  By Drew Harwell   September 7, 2018  https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/09/07/defense-department-pledges-billions-toward-artificial-intelligence-research/?utm_term=.3e850b6a8f7e

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Age of Consequences;

SUMMARY:  After the Great Depression and the end of WWII the general sense of the common good generated by these crises gradually disappeared from public discussion (with the exception of the civil rights forces that yielded some important civil progress).  America’s success in the world and our fear of Communism helped fuel individualism, greed, selfishness, and independence (the illusion of individual separation from the whole).  This largely unexamined mind set eclipsed the ‘united we stand’ American character.  It was an aberration of logic, compassion, and empathy that basically steamrolled American politics into the train wreck we have today. 
Recently, technology accelerated this dangerous mental meme of our separateness/independence.  The tragic and lethal consequences are now upon us.  And instead of recognizing this collective mental flaw that got us here, and correcting it, many people have doubled down on it.  They want to Make American Great Again by going backwards to the irresponsible freedoms, unjust conditions, and wasteful selfishness that tragically enabled our disconnect from reality.  The self-evident truth that “United We Stand” still stands.  And, divided we will fall.   Our fall could be so hard that our nation may not recover.  

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Abraham Lincoln 

The Age of Consequences.

Trump is not the problem.  He’s a consequence.  Climate change isn’t the problem. It’s a consequence.  Unprecedented obesity rates, opioid deaths, mass shootings, and suicides rates are not emergencies.  They are consequences.  Flint, Michigan’s contaminated water, Honeybees’ Colony Collapse Disorder, and Florida’s red tide are not environmental problems.  They’re consequences. The continuing wars in Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria are all consequences.  Radical extremism, nuclear proliferation, and Russian cyber hacks are not security threats.  Growing economic inequality, fake news, and loss of privacy are not dilemmas.  All of these, and most of the other problems that we are now encountering at breakneck pace in newspapers and in our lives are the inevitable consequences of our thinking and actions.  They are the result of our collective failure to do what we knew was needed to prevent such problems. 
All Americans have solemnly pledged dozens, if not hundreds of times, "Liberty and Justice for all”.  But our desire for comfort, wealth, distractions, popularity, and unbridled freedom comes with all too real life and death consequences.

Americans love freedom.  Some freedoms have arguably been worth the cost of thousands of American lives and trillions of our tax dollars.  But it has been our overindulgence in freedom without responsibility that is the fundamental cause of our (and the world’s) growing list of profoundly dangerous, destructive, unhealthy, and increasingly lethal consequences.  Consequences that were predictable and preventable. Expensive consequences that were, and remain, related to a simple conceptual flaw within our mental calculations. We think and act as if we are independent and celebrate this illusion every 4th of July. In reality, independence exists no where in the known universe. It should have no meaningful application in rational thought, US public policy, or world affairs.

It is our unquestioned faith, reliance on, allegiance to, and reflexive defense of this flawed principle that essentially disconnects us from much of our personal, civil, environmental, social, and economic responsibilities.

Like Neo in the Matrix, we all sense something isn’t right… but can’t see the truth; The truth that every aspect of our lives is dependent on others, the environment, our nation's laws, but most importantly, the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” as expressed in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.  

Pulling from biblical words, Abraham Lincoln called the Declaration of Independence our “apple of gold,” and our Constitution the “frame of silver” around it.  Our greatest error remains keeping our Constitution disconnected from serving this greater purpose. 

The growing mass of undesirable consequences that threaten our freedom, security and prosperity were as inevitable as they were unintentional. And they are only self-evident if we are honest about reality.   Our Founding Fathers defined reality as "Truths we hold to be Self-Evident" ..Truths” Truths that were based on “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God”.  Their catastrophic error was failing to codify this wisdom into their new government blueprint -- the U.S. Constitution.  The consequence was a civil war that killed more Americans than all the wars our nation has fought in since then, combined.  And some of the consequences remain with us today.   

In the future, far more Americans will die from preventable causes that are related to global factors such as terrorism, pandemics, climate change, wars, and economic instability because the systems and structures that our Constitution protects today (on both the national and international level) never codify the wisdom of “liberty and justice for all” in a world of irrefutable and irreversible interdependence. Interdependence rapidly accelerating because exponential advances in technology while our government’s capacity for adaptation or change has virtually stopped, and in some avenues actually reversing.

The illusion of Independence continues to underlay most our thinking,planning, policy making, and actions.   And, we continue to assume without question that our individual, budgetary, institutional, and national independence will keep us safe and free.  
The endless war against terrorism (a tactic that cannot be defeated) accelerates our loss of freedom and security. Our modern world's increasingly powerful, affordable, and ubiquitous technological capacity for creating WMD is unprecedented. Combined with a growing difficulty of accurately attributing an attack to anyone our privacy will continue to be whittled away in hopes of deterring attacks. And deterrence won't work if an attacker is not afraid of dying.

Imagine the loss of lives, freedom, and prosperity from a global pandemic or biological weapons attack as bad, or worse than the 1918 Flu epidemic.  Unlike nuclear war such a security event is inevitable.  And, we remain lethally unprepared for it. Even a minor event will have a negative cascading effect on virtually every system and structure in our bodies, our homes, our economies and our world. Independence is an illusion.

We have based our policies on this illusion (a concept created by humans) instead of looking to nature’s fundamental principles that are used in the science and technologies to engineer things that work to save and protect life and make our lives more comfortable, profitable, and free.

Acting as if we are independent leads to our misuse and abuse of unprecedented science and technology thus creating problems on multiple levels. Sometimes catastrophic problems. Problems that were preventable had we followed the laws of nature and nature’s God by codifying 'liberty and justice for all'.

Imagine a government engineered on these fundamental principles. The basis of every major world religion is the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Anyone experiencing an injustice doesn’t need to be a religious believer to understand the supreme value of justice

Our US Justice Department offers two quotes engraved in stone. Justice is found in the
rights bestowed by nature upon man. Liberty is maintained in security of justice.” And, “Justice is the great interest of man on earth. Wherever her temple stands, there is a foundation for social security, general happiness and the improvement and progress of our race.”   Yet our federal (and lower) systems and structures of justice are profoundly unjust. In reality we have a legal system in which it is better to be guilty and rich than innocent
and poor.
Many of our laws are unjust. And unacceptable injustices can also be found in virtually every one of our national economic, electoral, education, healthcare, agriculture, military, foreign policy, and intelligence systems. Is there really any wonder why things don’t work, our government is dysfunctional,Trump was elected, trust in government is non-existent, wars persist, fake news dominates, the environment is trashed, and our society is ailing?

Every time I see or read of another failing in our nation a phrase I heard last year comes to mind; “How healthy can we be if we are well adjusted to a profoundly sick society?”  Our affliction is a mental illness; Our capacity to believe anything!  Literally, anything.  The range of conspiracy theories should make that stunningly clear. Just as our worship of the illusion of independence.

In reality, every system and structure in our body, our house, our environment, and our world is interconnected and interdependent and reliant on the fundamental principles listed in our Declaration of Independence. Liberty and justice for may be the most important for the health and sustainable functioning of our troubled world. Our mind’s fantasy of independence has disconnected us from our bodies’ vital needs; Love, peace, justice, freedom, and the products of nature’s vital systems that provide us with healthy food, reliable weather, clean air, safe water, and other natural resources for essential our prosperity, and ultimately our species survival.

There is zero guarantee that our nation will last. The Federalists worried that hostile nations could exploit any domestic divisions. George Washington warned in his farewell address that partisan “factions” could rip the country apart. James Madison feared that liberty could be lost by the “gradual and silent encroachments of those in power.” John Adams said, “There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide” yet many in our Republic praise democracy yet rightfully blame each political party that is dominating our flawed two-party system for the consequences we are
suffering today. 
Some are proposing the creation of “People’s Party” putting too much promise in the will of the ,masses. They offer a platform based on creative progressive ideas that are largely devoid of fundamental principles.  In other words - they are engineering a political party relying on popular proposals that could win a majority - but completely incapable of transforming the profound flaws in our current system and structures (both national and international).

Earth does have an expiration date. And we the American people (and probably most of the world) reflect the reality of our founders who wrote in the second paragraph of their Declaration of Independence  “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.”

Unfortunately the suffering that’s coming in this age of Consequences may be so great that our species may expire long before Earth's expiration date. With the consequences of global injustices merging with of the acceleration of technologies that are already knocking on our door (WMD proliferation and AI), the majority of Americans (or people in the world) may not get the chance to suffer the full effects of climate change. Given the multiple unpredictable factors, time is NOT on our side.

If you are so motivated to stop this insanity and are seeking the most practical action to take, ‘justice for all’ won’t be welcomed or adopted immediately by many policy makers or political parties.  This would require the global protection of inalienable human rights which will not be done by the force of law. But it could be funded by the force of political will.

President Roosevelt offered the basics of global security in his four freedoms speech;  freedom of speech and worship, and freedom from want and from fear.” Universal access to clean water, safe sanitation, adequate food, access to basic health services, basic education, and an equal opportunity to earn a living wage would be a great start. The fastest, most affordable, practical, and effective means of maximizing such ‘Liberty and Justice for all” (both here and abroad thus laying the foundation for maximizing everyone’s freedom and security) is the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed to by every nation in 2015 for achievement by 2030.           

Seventy years ago (December 10, 1948) was the global approval of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It was offered in the context of world security. Those who experienced World War II, the holocaust, and a new weapon that could vaporize 100,000 people in a flash understood the essentials of ‘justice for all’ as a preventive measure. Unfortunately, they were also given an international system (and structures) committed to protecting national sovereignty (national independence) instead of any effective capacity to protect any God given inalienable human rights. This structural flaw in the UN resembles the one in the US Constitution had that led to our catastrophic Civil War.

It’s obvious an enforceable Global Bill of Rights will not be adopted any time soon.  But we could functionally enforce the most essential human rights by funding the SDGs.  The growing array of global threats demand we to this as rapidly as possible.  A set of less ambitious but, measurable, achievable, and affordable goals were set for the year 2000 a the 1990 World Summit for
Children. Even with all governments then signing a pledge to make available the resources, few did, and few goals were achieved.  Another more ambitious set of “Millennium Development Goals” were set in 2000 for the year 2015. These were also shorted and the wars, terrorism, climate change, refugees, starvation, revolutions, state failures, infectious diseases, international crime, and genocides that we see today are largely a consequence.

If we fail this time in achieving the SDG’s our deteriorating global conditions may overwhelm any chance of our children have of setting things right. The depressing news is that achieving the SDG’s will cost trillions that governments cannot spare.  The exciting news is that government's don’t need to.  They just need the political will to freeze and seize a good portion of the $32 trillion dollars
that is now stashed in offshore bank accounts by kleptocrats (dictators and their cronies), drug cartels (illegal gains), and wealthy capitalist (legally and illegally avoiding taxes). These funds should have be going to basic government services to begin with.  And, the political will could be generated if the general public is made fully aware that the threats to themselves and their nation’s security (and cherished freedoms) if we don't. Meeting the SDGs is far more important for protecting our freedom and security than more military spending, more nuclear weapons, or a new US military “Space Force”.

Generating that level of political will in the US will require a movement of movements. Peace, environment, and social/economic justice movements combining forces to achieve one goal. Funding a comprehensive approach to protect our national security from destructive global forces spawned by injustices. First active citizens must recognize that voting is the least powerful civil action they can take. It's only slightly better than protesting, resisting, or counter protesting.  If committed souls in these movements combined their efforts to education their elected officials (and those running for office) about the coming costs and consequences of their current dysfunctional policies, miracles could happen. And we would finally have a government of “We the people” ”with liberty and justice for all” instead of a failing political system.
In reality, it truly doesn’t matter who is in office or what party is in charge if they codify fundamental principles into the laws, budgets, and actions of our government.

Given the multiple threats we face as individuals, nations and a species it should be self evident that few can be stopped using military power. And, some are actually exacerbated by its unprincipled use.  Our primary goal as voters and citizens must be to recognize our global interdependence and the profound value of “liberty and Justice for all”.  Make it your personal goal to educate your policy makers on this fundamental reality.  

Connect the dots (we are all connected).  See the web of life (all systems and structures are sustained by it).  Work for justice (for all) …or prepare for the consequences (which will be catastrophic).

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

All wars are now foolish

Foolish Wars Have Consequences 1  James Zogby

Fifteen years ago, we were still in the early stages of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, “the war that would change everything.” Looking at the Middle East today, I feel an overwhelming sadness as I consider the far-reaching and devastating impact that the Iraq war has had on my country and the region and its peoples.  (this summary of history post 9-11 is well done). 

My conclusion:  If an American President was ever to be tried for war crimes...it would be George W. Bush.  HIs decision to invade Iraq has given us the endless wars we have today.  And, our world could have been catastrophically worse off if his invasion had resulted in the release of Smallpox as was rightfully feared.  But there is a chance...IF we learn from his error of starting a "foolish war" that 'war' itself is no longer a rational choice (given the evolution of weaponry and WMD proliferation).  We must find a rational means of ending these endless wars.  But, it appears the only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history.   Connect the dots. See the web of life. Work for justice...or prepare for the catastrophic consequences.   No justice...no peace.  It's either the global rule of law or endless, lawless wars.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

US immigration laws violate the Laws of Nature and Nature's God.

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy, that is, the search for a moral justification for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" - Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) wrote in 1883 - The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

"When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. 34 The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." - Leviticus 19:33-35 New Revised Standard Version

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, May 28, 2018

100 Anniversary of chaos...prevention needed more than ever

This year marks the 100 year anniversary of both World War I and the Spanish Flu.  Most Americans don’t know that more US soldiers died of the Spanish flu than that the war itself.  There is strong evidence that the war exacerbated the spread of the killer virus that ultimately killed more US citizens at home than all the Americans (Soldiers and civilians) that died in the second world.  
Every virologist knows it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ a comparable flu pandemic will occur.  Uncontested studies by DOD, CIA, CDC and National Academy of Sciences have all agreed that ‘new and re-emerging infectious disease’ are a fundamental national security threat to our nation.   Yet we remain lethally unprepared.  Worse yet, few Americans (public and policy makers alike) consider this and other non-military threats as worthy national security issues.  But global warming is increasingly exacerbating the infectious disease threats as well as contributing to failed states and the spread of terrorism and the proliferation of WMD.
We seriously need to re-consider redefining the phrase “national security”.   Again, because we failed to do so after a 1980 bipartisan Presidential Commission clearly warned us about the preventable security threats unrelated to invading armies or ICBMs.
That 1980 commission specifically warned about the future consequences if we ignored the global injustice of poverty related hunger - stating “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 such other critical global threats as the growing scarcity of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources, environmental hazards, pollution of the seas, and international terrorism. Calculable or not, however, this combination of problems 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.”

Six months ago a comprehensive report (Winning the Peace: Hunger and Instability) was released by the World Food Program USA that combined data from dozens of previous studies that repeatedly documented the connection between food insecurity globally, global instability, and US national security.  Other studies link other issues like global warming to the spread of infectious diseases and terrorism.  A recent CDC report found that over the last 12 years three times the number of Americans have been infected by insect borne diseases --  arguably linked to climate change.  Meanwhile real world events and DOD studies link growing global instability and other related US national security threats to climate change and raising sea levels.  It was the longest drought in Syrian modern history that pushed hungry farmers into Syrian cities where peaceful protests led to a brutal government response and eventually a civil war.  The consequences expanding in the region and even exacerbating tensions between superpowers.
The lethal linkages between various issues is indisputable.   Words often repeated by respectable agency or institutional spokespeople offering solutions is ‘the need for’ a “comprehensive”, “wholistic”, or “whole of government approach” approach.  These words are followed by the plea for our need to build “resilience”.  This last word acknowledges what we are doing will probably fail.   Our government’s worsening political dysfunction is no secret.  It is fundamentally designed not to work fast.  But now, it is now not working at all.  And its persistent failings to invest adequate resources in preventing problems, instead primarily responding to them cannot be sustained economically.   Many economists and national security experts believe that our nation’s debt burden itself is a greater threat to our “national security” than any foreign enemy. 
Our “government disfunction” should not be underestimated.  Even before Trump’s election a survey of US national security experts identified it as our nation’s second greatest threat.  Just ahead of Iran, N. Korea, China, Russia and climate change.  Terrorism was number one.   Today that survey might produce a different result.  But, given the trajectory of threats, their interconnectedness and the decline in our political atmosphere and national leadership, ‘dysfunction’ could become number one. 
The wisdom and economic value of prevention is obvious.  But worthwhile investments in prevention of are sometimes best made beyond our shores.   According to a 1997 GAO report an investment of just $32 million US tax dollars into the global eradication of Smallpox saved US tax payers over $17 billion since its global eradication in 1971.  Back then Americans were spending $150 million annually vaccinating US children against the disease while it had been largely eliminated from the US for decades.  The eradication of Polio was targeted for the year 2000 but because of wars and violent extremism abroad polio remains a threat with hundreds of millions of dollars being spent domestically each year while the virus remains sparsely in only two war torn countries abroad.
Fortunately, there is one campaign focused on comprehensively preventing most threats. It is a set of 17 Sustainable Development goals the world has already agreed to meet by the year 2030.  The problem, is finding the two trillion dollars needed annually to achieve them.   It’s self-evident funding will not be coming from taxpayers’ pockets.  But if nations agree to freeze and then seize a fraction of the estimated $32 trillion sitting in off shore bank accounts stashed there by drug lords hiding illegal gains, wealthy entities avoiding taxes, and kleptocrats who stole billions from their own nations then miracles could be achieved.
Our real national security demands that we put the protection of human rights at the top of our priority list.  The SDGs could achieve what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights intended.  The cost savings from this wise investment would more than pay for itself as the eradication of Smallpox once did.  Failng this, there is not enough money in the world to save us from the chaotic and lethal global forces that continue to drain our personal, state and national budgets.  Things change.  Our priorities must too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Technology won't save us...without wisdom.

Dear Editor,
Sputnik’s effect on US national security history will not repeat itself.  Ultimately, the world is no safer today because we won the space race and winning the AI or Quantum Mechanics race will not ensure any nation or individual lasting security.
We are running out of time and money thinking that security is a function of technology.  AI and Quantum mechanics will only add to uncertainty of a secure future for every nation and even our species. 
Every technology ever created has been weaponized and globalized.  Biotechnology, cybertechnology, nuclear, and now drone technology have only delivered us a new normal of increased vulnerability and insecurity in every aspect of our lives (war, health, economics, terrorism, communications, energy, environment, crime…).
What we need is a quantum leap in wisdom and governance.  Governing systems and structures that effectively codify the fundamental moral principle of the Golden Rule that are championed in the written word within every major religion and in the first two paragraphs of our Declaration of Independence.   Unfortunately, we humans rarely follow these profound ideals in our local or global actions. 
If we are not destroyed by our own doing eventually we may learn that ‘Liberty and Justice for all’ is the only reliable pathway to sustainably maximining human freedom and security on our increasingly interdependent planet.  A planet that is now increasingly divided by selfish, nationalistic, ideological, cult, and cultural beliefs…where the search for truth has largely been abandoned.
The leader of the most powerful nation in the world tells an average of 6.5 lies every day since he was elected.  And the pace is accelerating.  It went from 4.9 falsehoods each day in his first 100 days to nine a day in the past two months.  What ever happened to the Truths that we hold to be self-evident?
Our government has never really codified them.  And most Americans think our inalienable rights only belong to American citizens.  And then can’t imagine why the world is pissed off at us enough to want to undermine our democracy.  
Instead of Congress investing already limited government resources in the 2019 budget attempting to seek the illusion of security by increasing military spending and building walls perhaps they should invest their time contemplating transformational changes to both the US and UN systems of governance that continues to put the protection of national sovereignty above protecting the human rights of all people and the health of the environment which sustains us all.
Only the truth can sustainably ensure our freedom and our security.  Any other belief system (religious or political) that ignore fundamental truths will cost us dearly.   Inevitably, it doesn’t really matter what we think.  It matters what we do.   And if our actions are inconsistent with fundamental truths what we do will only exacerbate the chaos and contentions that is already escalating around the world.

If people really understood the range of national and individual security threats that we all face there would be only one priority worthy of our attention and resources.  That would be meeting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals ASAP.   They represent the only comprehensive plan available to bringing liberty and justice for all to our troubled world.