Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trump at the UN

It looks like Trump finally realized he needs the rest of the world to succeed in de-nuking N. Korea.
Yet he used the word “sovereign” or its variants 19 times in his speech before the UN yesterday (averaging nearly once every two minutes).  He also asserted that, for all the U.N.’s noble intentions, “the nation state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.”
Someone should remind him that it was not ‘the nation state’ that achieved the greatest improvement in our human condition. It has been the application of science and engineering.  Particularly when focused on public health and safety rooted in the context of the Golden Rule. 
When the nation state uses science and engineering to protect itself instead of all humanity, we get nations with increasingly powerful weapons that any state, and now any group or agitated individual, can use to mass murder millions.
Only when the nation state applies its powers to the fundamental principle of ‘liberty and justice for all’ instead of its own special interests will the human condition be improved -- and sustained -- for generations to come. 
To achieve this mission look to the words of the Declaration of Independence and rewrite any Constitution that ignores the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God”.
The UN does have many noble intentions.  Unfortunately, it has always maintained it’s prime directive; the protection of national sovereignty, not human rights.   The UN protection of human rights isn’t even a low level action priority, and that’s the way nation states like it.

Re-engineer this specific UN failing and the human condition will rise like the morning sun.  . 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Why I wanted Trump to be President.

TRUMP:  Why I wanted Trump to be elected.
People are going to think I’m crazy for the things I’m about to write (some already think I’m crazy).  But I want to go on record for recognizing the obvious.
Here’s the three reasons I repeatedly rationalized a Trump victory both before and after his election. 
Frist, without a radical transformation of our nation’s political systems and structures our comfy way of life will end catastrophically.   More than a year before Trump’s victory a U.S. Senator stated in a hearing on C-Span that US national security experts were surveyed to rank what they believed were the greatest threats to our national security.  Terrorism ranked #1.  But, second, above all other threats (Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Climate Change…) was our own “government dysfunction”.  
After three decades of my own detailed study of global issues, all national security threats, the US Constitution, and the behavior of politicians, I would suggest that the number one barrier to our own security is our own government‘s dysfunction. 
It continues to ignore the fundamental principle offered in our Declaration of Independence:  the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” and the “Self-Evident” “Truths” that all people are equally, and “endowed” with “certain inalienable rights” --  fundamental human rights that government must protect, and if ignored…will lead to catastrophic consequences.     The Civil are already cost more American lives than all other wars since then combined.  Combine our endless war against terrorism (an ideology that cannot be eradicated with weapons) with the evolution of weaponry…and we are quickly running out of time to get on the right course.  It may already be too late.  But the sooner we recognize the inevitable failure of our current course of action/inaction, the sooner we can get on the right course (“liberty and justice for all” just as all Americans have repeatedly pledged to our flag). 
 Any rational and well educated American today would have to acknowledge that our budget deficit, agricultural system, two party political system, aging infrastructure, health/medical care system …are each unsustainable. 
Our government (of, for, and by the people) relies primarily on reactionary measures to deal with most problems.  The Constitution was designed for slow responses.  Partisan rancor has made it almost unmovable.   Even predictable problems with inevitable catastrophic consequences like terrorism, WMD proliferation, pandemics, or climate change get little to no action.   Even under the best circumstances, and effective proactive efforts of our nation acting alone cannot deal effectively in stopping or preventing any of these.  Most global threats are immune to US policies because of a fundamental flaw in our U.S. Constitution.   It is based on an imaginary concept of independence.  A condition that exists nowhere in nature.   Every system and structure in our bodies is dependent upon multiple other systems and structures we depend on from our homes on out into the heavens. 
 Interdependence is the fundamental nature of our existence.  Global threats cannot be prevented from impacting ‘independent’ nations using ‘independent’ agencies.  This major flaw is at the heart of both our existing national and international political systems and structures.
I don’t believe it will be fixed without catastrophic consequences.  Trump was the best man to take us their quickly.    And, given the exponentially accelerating pace of the evolution of weaponry, its increasing affordability, availability, and unprecedented power from various combinations of dual use technologies (imagine bio weapons delivered by drones) … The sooner it happens the less lives will be lost and the better chance we will have of rebuilding while redesigning both our national and global systems and structures. 
I understand why others voted for him.  Many sensed the need for such radical change.  Trump was a logical gamble.  And, if I’m wrong about Trump, and he transforms himself into the perfect leader to deal with the interdependent global threats we all face, he will have single handedly destroyed the alt principles that have driven both the GOP and the Democrats to lock horns I a death match.  And, we will all benefit.   Trumps initial words at the UN today suggest he understands the need for a reformed UN.  I’m just not sure he will reform it in the way it needs to be reformed.  (See Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World:  By Joe Schwartzberg   http://unu.edu/publications/books/transforming-the-united-nations-system-designs-for-a-workable-world.html#overview  
The list of Trump errors and lies is long.  But he has done some things right. 
1.       He didn’t offer to the public or the world our strategy for continuing our war effort in Afghanistan.  A fundamental principle helpful in any contest is not telling your competition what you are going to do.   Babe Ruth confidence in combat is a strategy for failure.
2.       He is relying on good Generals to inspire our enemies to the negotiating table
3.       I believe the statues representing the Confederacy should stand… and become evidence of the foolishness of our nation not following fundamental principles.  That civil war cost more American lives than all wars since then combined.  If Germany can keep and learn from the Gates and ovens of Austwitz, Americans should be able to keep and learn from the statues of traitorous Confederate Generals.
4.       Sometimes being just a little crazy/unpredictable when squaring off against hostile opponent can reduce their interest in a hostile entanglement.   Being unpredictable to your opponents can have its advantages.
5.       His last words regarding DACA were promising.
6.       His initial words at the UN were promising. 
 With Trump in office we win in the long run either way.  Either his ineptness or his genius brings about the radical transformation of the US Constitution and the UN Charter to put ‘justice for all’ and a sustainable environment ahead  of short term national interests and corporate profits.  Or, he destroys the GOP and the Democratic Partys by offering radical policies neither would have adopted without his outside the box thinking.

Bottom line:  It’s not Trump’s fault we are here. It is our own fault (we the people) because we allowed national and global conditions to deteriorate for decades without focusing on fundamental principles.   We were too comfortable and too busy doing other things besides being responsible citizens and voters. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution

"Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, of course, lays out the delegated, enumerated, and therefore limited powers of Congress. Only through a deliberate misreading of the general welfare and commerce clauses of the Constitution has the federal government been allowed to overreach its authority and extend its tendrils into every corner of civil society." -- Edward H. Crane, Founder and president of the Cato Institute.    Source: A Constitution of Liberty, Cato Institute 1995 Annual Report

This quote reflects the mental flaw/myth of believing specific systems and structures of American life are independent of one another.  In realty every aspect of commerce and the general welfare of ‘we the people” have an impact on “Every corner” of every aspect of our society and ultimately, the world.   Harmful elements emerging from either can threaten both the freedoms and security of the entire world.  Consider the risks fueled by antibiotic resistance exacerbated by unregulated cross border sales/distribution mixed with pockets of poverty, ignorance and/or violence.  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Words should mean something!

If an asteroid threatened earth and humanity there would be many things to discuss, design, and build.   We would obviously need to engineer sustainable systems and structures in space or underground that could mimic our planets current life supporting conditions for the necessary bout.  
For this vital task, the first and most important system needed would be an effective communications system.    A language (system) relying on flawless structures (words) that mean only one thing.  A definition that everyone agreeing on and understands.   Imagine trying to build any complex system with a large group of people, each with different perspectives using essential tools and/or materials lacking precise names, labels, or descriptions.   
Human survival would depend on all systems and structures designed from the fundamental principles of science, technology, engineering, and religious faith.   In the unforgiving void of space or the earth’s crust, failure of any system or structure caused by miscommunications could be an extinction event.   In this context, our nation’s founding Fathers words, “Self-evident” “truths”, and the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” become profoundly relevant.   Their failure however, to engineer these principles into our U.S. Constitution was catastrophic. Our failure to apply them today in our foreign policy will be even more deadly.
Imagine different groups of arguing about the meaning of ‘right to life’ or ‘peace through strength’.   Without using precise words with indisputable meaning -- productive debate would be impossible.  This is the exact dilemma we face today with multiple potentially catastrophic problems  (WMD proliferation, Artificial intelligence, climate change, or nuclear exchange to name a few).
Given this, our highest personal, national and global priority should be health.  The health of our bodies, environment, economy, legal system, cooperative culture, and communication’s systems. 
And, in this context, our current debate around “Health Care” will never be resolved.  This two word phrase has no precise definition or meaning.  And, each word misleads.   Real ‘Health’ is about prevention -- preventing illness and injury not just preventing death once our bodies systems and structures have been unconsciously or consciously abused.
Free access to clean air and water, nutritious food, vaccinations and medical checkups is a fundamental human right.  And, maintaining a healthy population and environment is essential to preserving our individual and national prosperity and security (promoting the general welfare and forming a more perfect union).    In my view, anyone who takes unnecessary risks with their health (or the health of others) by over eating, eating junk food, smoking, avoiding exercise, abusing drugs, or texting while driving should have no free access to medical attention.  There is not enough money in the world to accommodate the blatant human irresponsibility of even 10% of all Americans.   Our so called “Health Care System” is unsustainable.  It threatens our economic security, and thus our national security.

The many threats we face from nature (pandemics, antibiotic resistance, hurricanes…) and human nature (bioterrorism, climate change, opioids, war, genocide…) could be largely prevented with truly ‘universal’ access to real health care (clean water, sanitation, education, and basic health services).   This is not about economics.  It’s about justice.   No justice…no peace.   As Americans we have a ll pledged “Liberty and justice for all”.  It’s either that or health for none. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What's missing from David Swanson's of the Dunkirk film

What’s missing from David Swanson’s assessment of Dunkirk Film:

David’s assessment is correct.  But it is also lethally flawed and a grand disservice to those who really seek peace on earth.   David conveniently ignores the far greater killer of humans and other persistent threats to humanity, some of which are a prime driver of war.  Poverty related starvation and easily preventable malnutrition and infectious diseases take roughly ten lives the lives of those lost in war. 
The Spanish Flu killed as many as 50 million people around the world during the WW I.  Many historians believe it was the primary reason the war ended.  Armies could no longer fight and the nations that supported them were crippled in supplying them.  More US soldiers died from the Spanish Flu than from the war itself.  That flu killed upwards of 600,000 Americans in just two years.
Smallpox alone killed more people in 70 years of the last century than all the wars, revolutions and genocides combined in 100 years of century. 
Both the film and Mr. Swanson ignore the fact that poverty and hunger in Germany led to Hitler’s rise.  They both also ignore the genius of those who offered humanity shortly after Hitler’s defeat, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as the best means of preventing future wars.  
Today there are nearly 20 million people in danger of starvation, mostly a result of wars that could have been prevented if the peace movement had put the protection of human rights above their fantasy of disarming the world.
A majority of war deaths are caused by preventable infectious diseases.  But sanctions, a favorite means of governments to punish other nations for their behavior or weapons development-  can be more deadly than war to innocent people in those sanctioned nations.  And today, sanctions are the primary tool the world uses to discourage the production of nuclear weapons.  War remains an option.  The second Gulf War launched by the US in 2003 was to disarm another nation of WMD.  Prior to that US shock and awe invasion, Iraq had already used chemical weapons against another nation (Iran) and even its own people (the Kurds) using some US assistance (materials and intelligence reports) and zero US condemnation in the UN.
Using Mr. Swanson’s logic it appears that he and peace activists who think like him are more interested in outlawing or abolishing weapons than saving human lives or preventing war.  They actually believe that they can stop wars by reducing the human capacity to make weapons. This is as silly others who believe more weapons will stop war.   Both of these perspectives would be laughable if they weren’t so dangerous to human security and our fundamental freedoms. 
Global justice (the universal enforcement of human rights) is the only workable path to maximizing human freedom, security, prosperity and sustainability. 
One fundamental human rights is the right to protect one’s self (family and friends) from an abusive government (their own or someone else’s).  That is reason alone NOT to take the path of disarmament. But, given the dual use nature of every technology a far greater reason exists.  It’s impossible to eliminate the means of mass murder.  Disarmament is at a fool’s errand.   But it appears nothing will stop Peace activist from spending their limited resources (members, time, money, and energy) on trying to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile the average Joe’s capacity to create WMD from biological, chemical, cyber, robotics and even conventional technologies (IEDs)  is off the chart easy and affordable.  And all of these dual use technologies are increasingly powerful, affordable, and ubiquitous every day. 
Peace activists also tend to ignore the growing injustices (restrictions of freedom and gross violations of human rights) that drive lethal grievances. Human insecurity from poverty, illiteracy, repression, and gross ignorance push people in pain to seek the means of mass murder.  And everyday technologies (cars, trucks, knives, and house hold chemicals…) are easily acquired if the will is there to abuse them. 
If Mr. Swanson and other such peace activist put more emphasis on reducing that human will…by focusing on real human security through the global protecting the  most fundamental human rights (to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness via Justice) they wouldn’t need to worry about the pursuit of any weapon.
“Once the mechanics and the fundamental causes of wars – of all wars – are realized, the futility and childishness of the passionate debates about armament and disarmament must be apparent to all. If human society were organized so that relations between groups and units in contact were regulated by democratically controlled law and legal institutions, then modern science could go ahead, devise and produce the most devastating weapons, and there would be no war. But if we allow sovereign rights to reside in the separate units and groups without regulating their relations by law, then we can prohibit every weapon, even a penknife, and people will beat out each other’s brains with clubs.”    Emory Reves, The Anatomy of Peace, 1945
“People must bring a machete, a spear, an arrow, a hoe, spades, rakes, nails, truncheons, electric irons, barbed wire, stones, and the like, in order, dear listeners, to kill Rawandan Tutsis.” (A Hutu’s call to arms quoted in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 19, 1998, p. A-18)

The main focus of international attention must move beyond the symptoms of weapons proliferation to its causes. It may seem easier to control supply, yet it is demand that raises the tide of proliferation. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for Jan-Feb 1999, p. 76, "Book Note" on Kosta Tsipis and Philip Morrison's book, "Reason Enough for Hope."

"We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women."  Thích Nhất Hạnh

“What’s Missing from Dunkirk Film”.  By David Swanson

Monday, May 29, 2017

Flaws of the U.S. Constitution and growing threats they exacerbate

Robert J. Samuelson’s economic expertise offers little value in evaluating the stability of our democracy. First, it is technically a Republic.   Our U.S. Constitution was engineered from political principles that were didn’t always match fundamental principles (“Impeachment remains an uneasy choice” Washington Post 5-29-17) like those the Founding Fathers identified in the Declaration of Independence.   All engineering feats (be they bridges, buildings or bureaucracies) must adhere to fundamental principles in their construction to avoid catastrophic failure. 
All systems and structures (natural or man-made) depend on the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” to survive the inevitable stresses of the real world pressures that will inevitably stress them.  And when systems or structures fail it can lead to catastrophic consequences across other systems and structures. 
When Haitians followed an economic principle of not using rebar in building construction to save money, more Haitians died in 15 minutes from the earth quake than both Bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   The catastrophic consequences of that fatal error reverberates today in multiple systems and structures in Haiti’s economic, political, health, education and foreign policy arenas.   
Our linear human minds which are mostly dominated by western and religious thinking usually fail to grasp that all systems and structures are inherently dependent on dozens of other systems and structures (both natural and man-made).
Our nation’s founding fathers stated in the Declaration of Independence the most fundamental principle in sustaining peaceful human relationships .  Then they failed to incporate them into the construction of the our Constitution.  It failed to follow the “ Laws of Natures and Nature’s God’s” “self-evident truths” ‘that all people are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights…’  This flaw eventually cost more US lives than all other US wars combined.   That flaw was mostly corrected in application to national affairs.  But, it remains a catastrophic flaw today in impacting billions of human beings beyond our indefensible borders.
George Mason (ally of James Madison and George Washington) who drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights recognized this fatal flaw early on and was one of three who refused to sign the U.S. Constitution.  His wisdom is reflected in his words:  "Now all acts of legislature apparently contrary to natural right and justice, are, in our laws, and must be in the nature of things, considered as void. The laws of nature are the laws of God: A legislature must not obstruct our obedience to him from whose punishments they cannot protect us. All human constitutions which contradict His laws, we are in conscience bound to disobey. Such have been the adjudications of our courts of justice."
The list of recent reports below documents both the threats we face now and in the future (some preventable and others inevitable).  Some reports offer means of threat prevention by recommending transformation of both national and international systems and structures based on fundamental principles such as ‘justice for all’.  These will be essential in forming a more perfect union capable of preventing some threats, and responding to, and recovering from others that cannot be prevented.

1.      How Western Civilization could collapse: (April 18, 2017)  Some possible precipitating factors are already in place. How the West reacts to them will determine the world’s future, says Rachel Nuwer.  http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170418-how-western-civilisation-could-collapse 
2.      Global Catastrophic Risks 2017:  (May 2017) Global Challenges Foundation’s Annual Report  https://globalchallenges.org/en/our-work/annual-report   (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GA8VmYLhEs)

3.     Peril and Promise: Emerging Technologies and WMD (May 2017)  By Natasha Bajema and Diane DiEuliis |  Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction.   http://wmdcenter.ndu.edu/Media/News/Article/1181150/peril-and-promise-emerging-technologies-and-wmd/

4.      2017 Global Risk Report: (January 2017)   https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2017  The Global Risks Report 2017 features perspectives from nearly 750 experts on the perceived impact and likelihood of 30 prevalent global risks as well as 13 underlying trends that could amplify them or alter the interconnections between them over a 10-year timeframe.
5.      Pulling Together: The Multilateral System and Its Future:  (September 2016) By the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM):   This report  is put out by the successor to the International Peace Academy, renamed International Peace Institute.    https://www.ipinst.org/2016/09/icm-final-report

6.      Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance: (June 2015)  Co-Chairs, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Nigerian Foreign Minister and UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari.  Report: http://www.stimson.org/programs/global-security-justice-and-governance    Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKmucDk_6Lo&feature=youtu.be
7.       One Young World Summit: Ron Garan keynote talk. (Oct 2012)  Pittsburg  PA/Johannesburg South Africa  http://www.rongaran.com/speaking/

President Trump’s (or any President’s) commitment to put America first instead of human rights first in US foreign policy literately locks Americans into a perpetual war - the war against terrorism.  Terrorism is a tactic that can never be eliminated and its evolution is easily predictable.  No one should doubt that it will eventually cost millions of American lives, our most basic freedoms, and our cherished prosperity as violent extremists gain access to, and increasing willingness to use, the growing variety of WMD’s detailed in the 3rd report above.
Either we transform our U.S. Constitution and all of our nation’s systems and structures to protect the inalienable rights of all the world’s people (and our specie’s life support system) or we will face the devastating consequences of continued global injustices. 
Time is running out.  The acceleration of technology advancements and global events far outpaces our national and global system’s capacity to deal with them.   Our linear thinking must make a revolutionary leap, the same that our Founding Fathers took when they began walking down the path to a ‘more perfect union’.   Short of this transformation, the next best thing we can do is bring all of our existing systems and structures to bear on quickly, holistically, and comprehensively achieve the 17 Sustainable Development goals before the year 2030. 

We must train our minds to:
1.       Connect the dots (systems  and structures). 
2.       See the web (of our global interdependence). 
3.       Work for justice (“Liberty and Justice for all” is a fundamental principle).
4.       Prepare for the catastrophic consequences (of systems and structural) if we fail.  
Political principles (‘Peace through Strength’ or ‘America First’) must never override the fundamental principles of the” Laws of Nature and Natures God” that all people are created equal and deserving of certain rights that no government should take away.

Faith in science, engineering, and our common origins is our only means of maximizing freedom, security and future prosperity for all.    

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cyber Security is an oxymoron

Robert Samuelson’s view confirms the fact that ‘cyber security’ is an oxymoron (America’s Dangerous Internet Delusion”  Washington Post 5-22-17).   The fact is all technologies are a “double edged sword”.   The concept of dual use technology has been around since the invention of fire.  Our greatest risk may be from bio technology which shares many of the same characterizes as cyber.   There is a solution.  A solution that we are in greater denial about, even though sages and profits of been promoting it for thousands of years – the ideal of justice.  
Given the trillions of vital systems and structures inside and outside our bodies that we depend on every second of every day for our safety and survival, the very concept of security itself is an problematic.   But ‘justice for all’ is something that can greatly improve our chances – and with minimal loss of our freedoms (privacy, seeking comfort, ease of task, and prosperity). 
We need a global justice system.   ‘No justice, no peace’ is not just a slogan.   It’s a fundamental essential to improving any hope of maximizing human security everywhere.  

The dual use nature of all technology means security will never be achieved via disarmament (liberal view) or more armaments (conservative view).   Perhaps it’s time to rid ourselves and our U.S. Constitution of the illusionary concept of ‘independence’.   This is an illusionary concept that only exists in our minds and in our government policy.   Our increasing dependence on cyber and other forms of powerful technology, all globally available, means our American ideal of putting human rights over states’ rights must include the whole world.   Our persistent denial and refusal to institute this fundamental principle is the greatest threat to both our freedom and our security. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Our Common Oceans and Seas

Our Common Oceans and Seas
Our Common Oceans and Seas
by Rene Wadlow
2017-04-24 09:59:53
The people of the earth having agreed that the advancement of man in spiritual excellence and physical welfare
is the common goal of mankind...therefore the age of nations must end, and the era of humanity begin.”

Preamble to the Preliminary Draft of a World Constitution
The United Nations is currently preparing a world conference 5-7 June 2017 devoted to the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal N° 14: Conserve and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.  Non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the U.N. are invited to submit recommendations for the governmental working group which is meeting 24 to 27 April in New York.
wc00The Association of World Citizens has long been concerned with the Law of the Sea and had been active during the 10-year negotiations on the law of the sea during the 1970s, the meetings being held one month a year, alternatively in New York and Geneva. The world citizens position for the law of the sea was largely based on a three-point framework:
a) that the oceans and seas were the common heritage of humanity and should be seen as a living symbol of the unity of humanity;
b) that ocean management should be regulated by world law created as in as democratic manner as possible;
c) that the wealth of the oceans, considered as the common heritage of mankind should contain mechanisms of global redistribution, especially for the development of the poorest, a step toward a more just economic order, on land as well as at sea.
The concept of the oceans as the common heritage of humanity had been introduced into the U.N. awareness by a moving speech in the U.N. General Assembly by Arvid Pardo, Ambassador of Malta in November 1967.  Under traditional international sea law, the resources of the oceans, except those within a narrow territorial sea near the coast line  were regarded as "no one's property" or more positively as "common property."  The "no one's property" opened the door to the exploitation of resources by the most powerful and the most technologically advanced States.  The "common heritage" concept was put forward as a way of saying that "humanity" - at least as represented by the States in the U.N. - should have some say as to the way the resources of the oceans and seas should be managed.  Thus began the 1970s Law of the Seas negotiations.
Perhaps with or without the knowledge of Neptune, lord of the seas, the Maltese voted to change the political party in power just as the sea negotiations began. Arvid Pardo was replaced as Ambassador to the U.N. by a man who had neither the vision nor the diplomatic skills of Pardo.  Thus, during the 10 years of negotiations the "common heritage" flame was carried by world citizens, in large part by Elisabeth Mann Borgese with whom I worked  closely during the Geneva sessions of the negotiations.
Elisabeth Mann Borgese  (1918-2002)  whose birth anniversary we mark on 24 April, was a strong-willed woman.  She had to come out from under the shadow of both her father, Thomas Mann, the German writer and Nobel laureate for Literature, and her husband Giuseppe Antonio Borgese (1882-1952), Italian literary critic and political analyst.  From 1938, Thomas Mann lived in Princeton, New Jersey and gave occasional lectures at Princeton University. Thomas Mann, whose novel The Magic Mountain was one of the monuments of world literature between the two World Wars, always felt that he represented the best of German culture against the uncultured mass of the Nazis.  He took himself and his role very seriously, and his family existed basically to facilitate his thinking and writing.
ocean01_400_01G.A. Borgese had a regular professor's post at the University of Chicago but often lectured at other universities on the evils of Mussolini.  Borgese, who had been a leading literary critic and university professor in Milan, left Italy for the United States in 1931 when Mussolini announced that an oath of allegiance to the Fascist State would be required of all Italian professors. For Borgese, with a vast culture including the classic Greeks, the Renaissance Italians, and the 19th century nationalist writers, Mussolini was an evil caricature which too few Americans recognized as a destructive force in his own right and not just as the fifth wheel of Hitler's armed car. 
G.A. Borgese met Elizsabeth Mann on a lecture tour at Princeton, and despite being close to Thomas Mann in age, the couple married very quickly shortly after meeting.  Elisabeth moved to the University of Chicago and was soon caught up in Borgese's efforts to help the transition from the Age of Nations to the Age of Humanity. For Borgese, the world was in  a watershed period. The Age of Nations − with its nationalism which could be a liberating force in the 19th century as with the unification of Italy − had come to a close with the First World War.  The war clearly showed that nationalism was from then on only the symbol of death.  However, the Age of Humanity, which was the next step in human evolution, had not yet come into being, in part because too many people were still caught in the shadow play of the Age of Nations.
Since University of Chicago scientists had played an important role in the coming of the Atomic Age, G.A. Borgese and Richard McKeon, Dean of the University felt that the University should take a major role in drafting a world constitution for the Atomic Age. Thus the Committee to Frame a World Constitution, an interdisciplinary committee under the leadership of Robert Hutchins, head of the University of Chicago, was created in 1946. To re-capture the hopes and fears of the 1946-1948 period when the World Constitutions was being written, it is useful to read the book written by one of the members of the drafting team: Rexford Tugwell. A Chronicle of Jeopardy (University of Chicago Press, 1955). The book is Rex Tugwell's reflections on the years 1946-1954 written each year in August to mark the A-bombing of Hiroshima
Elisabeth had become the secretary of the Committee and the editor of its journal Common Cause.   The last issue ofCommon Cause was in June 1951. G.A. Borgese published a commentary on the Constitution, dealing especially with his ideas on the nature of justice. It was the last thing he wrote, and the book was published shortly after his death: G.A.Borgese. Foundations of the World Republic (University of Chicago Press, 1953). In 1950, the Korean War started. Hope for a radical transformation of the UN faded.  Borgese and his wife went to live in Florence, where weary and disappointed, he died in 1952.
The drafters of the World Constitution went on to other tasks. Robert Hutchins left the University of Chicago to head a “think tank”- Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions – taking some of the drafters, including Elisabeth, with him. She edited a booklet on the Preliminary Draft with a useful introduction A Constitution for the World (1965) However, much of the energy of the Center went into the protection of freedom of thought and expression in the USA, at the time under attack by the primitive anti-communism of then Senator Joe McCarthy.
In the mid-1950s, from world federalists and world citizens came various proposals for UN control of areas not under national control: UN control of the High Seas and the Waterways, especially after the 1956 Suez Canal conflict, and of Outer Space. A good overview of these proposals is contained in James A.  Joyce. Revolution on East River (New York: Ablard-Schuman, 1956).
After the 1967 proposal of Arvid Pardo, Elisabeth Mann Borgese  turned her attention and energy to the law of the sea. As the UN Law of the Sea Conference continued through the 1970s,  Elisabeth was active in seminars and conferences with the delegates, presenting ideas, showing that a strong treaty on the law of the sea would be a big step forward for humanity. Many of the issues raised during the negotiations leading to the Convention, especially the concept of the Exclusive Economic Zone, actively battled by Elisabeth but actively championed by Ambassador Alan Beesley of Canada, are with us today in the China seas tensions. While the resulting Convention of the Law of the Sea has not revolutionized world politics – as some of us  hoped in the early 1970s - the Convention is an important building block in the development of world law. We are grateful for the values and the energy that Elisabeth Mann Borgese embodied and we are still pushing for the concept of the common heritage of humanity.
Rene Wadlow, President and a representative to the United Nations, Geneva, Association of World Citizens

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day 2017 and the March for Science

C-span’s Washington Journal call-in program this morning asked its listeners “What do you believe the greatest environmental problem is today?”  The callers mentioned indoor air pollution, asteroids, water pollution, animal slaughter, over-population, fracking, and even the hype of global warming.  A much longer list exists (volcanoes, nuclear war, ocean acidification, deforestation, loss of top soil…) but the root problem is rarely mentioned.  That being what we think, value, and actually do or don’t do. 
Each of these human factors are largely driven by our examined acceptance of a single word - ‘independence’.  There should be no doubt that this single mental construct is the greatest threat to an environment that has sustained our species since our origin, but also the greatest threat to our freedom and security.  Historically, the very government we depend on to protect our freedom and security is based on this fantasy ideal.
In reality, everything, I repeat, EVERYTHING (organic, inorganic, or imaginary) is dependent upon a variety of other things. Yet we go about our lives as if what we do, or what we do it with, is our business and no one else’s.  We call this ‘freedom’.  Ultimately, we are all free.  Free to do anything humanly possible.  But we (and others) will never be free of the consequences.
We don’t need to worry about the Earth.  Fact is, in the long run (the next 4 billion years) the earth and the natural environment will be fine. There has been at least five mass extinctions, where 50 to 95% of all multi-cellular species were wiped out over the last 600 million years.  And, after each mass extinction, life returned to cover the planet with increasing abundance and diversity.  Humans arrived in the later part of last recovery.  And now, most scientists believe humans are creating the next mass extinction at a pace approaching 1000 times faster than any previous extinction.  Humans will likely survive, but not all of us.  And, unless we direct our sciences to mimic the powers of nature, and find a new means of surviving the end stages of our primary source of energy, the sun, all humanity will eventually go extinct.
There is a growing possibility that humans could go extinct long before our Sun goes red enveloping the Earth and its orbit.   And our extinction is most likely to be the result of our own advances in science and technology which currently serve national and economic interests not that of all people and the environment. Those at the Science March who were advocating  for more funding for science and technology seldom mention that science is only a tool. How it is used depends on the value system of the user, not the inventor.  Unless our collective value system puts the protection of human rights and the environment ahead of nationalism, patriotism and/or profit, our prospects for the future are grim.
Nationalism as it is now in the absence of ‘justice for all’.   It drives weapons development and the evolution of weaponry to unprecedented killing capacity and accountability.  We are creating artificial intelligence to give us a military advantage.  Its possible that AI will evolve beyond our control, and after attaining the insight that the human mind is fundamentally flawed in its capacity to believe anything and destroy everything, humans will be eliminated.  In our species arrogance we forget how fragile our life form is.   Thirteen organic systems and structures entirely dependent on each other and a far greater number of interdependent living and nonliving systems and structures makes for health and survival.   As individuals, families, cities, states, and nations we are infinitely vulnerable to a variety of microscopic and global macroscopic factors.  Factors no independent government can stop, no matter how tall the wall, or how powerful the military.
Because of our unchallenged worship of ‘independence’ “We the People” of the world still have no global democratic system or structures to assist us in protecting our valued lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness…each of which is entirely dependent on our God given life support system we call ‘the environment’.  These values used to be ‘self-evident truths’. 
We humans have always altered our environment for better or worse, mostly worse, but we in our technological power/arrogance continue to ignore reality.  The health of the earth’s environment has the last vote.  And, human freedom, security, prosperity, and perhaps our species survival rely on that vote.
If we cannot redirect our intelligence, creativity, science, technology, resources, and laws toward mimicking the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” (as our nation’s founding fathers stated in the first paragraph of our Declaration of Independence) we should prepare for the worse.  
So on this Earth Day remember that Earth and life on it will be fine for the next 4 billion years.  We may not.   Science will only prove valuable if it is applied in the long run to the value that ‘all people’ are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights.   Rights not limited to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’  But also the fundamental right to a sustainable environment and justice for tall.  
The more one reads, questions and thinks outside our dysfunctional culture/society one will increasingly conclude, beyond any doubt, that unless we apply science to the Golden Rule (promoted by every religion) human progress will be thwarted.   Ultimately we are free to do, and believe, anything we want. But without understanding and responsible actions in relation to our global interdependence, our security is not possible.

The most effective means of demonstrating our responsibility today would be our collective action in achieving each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030.  Read, question, think, and act responsibly.    The greatest power you have is educating your elected officials regarding the nature of reality.  

Friday, April 21, 2017

Science and Religion unification in The Gold Rule

Brahmanism: "This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you" : Mahabharata 5:1517
Christianity: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Matthew 7:12
Islam: "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself." Sunnah
Buddhism: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana Varga 5:18
Judaism: "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31:a
Confucianism: "Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you." Analects 15:23
Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." T'ai Shag Kan Ying P'ien

Zoroastrianism: "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good: for itself. " Dadistan-i-dinik
Justice for all, or security for none. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Measuring progress on SDGs. Atlas of information.

If you would like to monitor progress on the SDGs…which are essential indicators of global justice and security, this is the website to keep handy.

If you are interested in making the SDG’s important to your elected officials,  consider participating in the 435 Campaign for Global Justice.

Three things are vital to a peaceful, free, prosperous and secure future for humanity.

1.        A comprehensive approach to ‘justice for all’
2.        A means to fund it and/or enforce it.

3.       Motivating action in the context of enlightened self-interest…national security.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

100 Years ago Today. We chose a path we must now leave..

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the US entry into the first World War.  No one really knows why that war was fought but most agree that the way it ended set the stage for the World War II and nearly twice as many casualties.  There should be no dispute that the horrors of World War II set the stage for the Cold War and dozens of genocides, revolutions, and famines that followed that killed more people than both World Wars combined.
There should be no doubt that current global war against terrorism, now called violent extremism, is a direct result of the consequences of the global injustices perpetrated during the Cold War.
The most important question now, is how do we end war before it ends us?   Given the evolution of weaponry and the dozens of new factors that make a continuation of war by any means (bio, cyber, nano, space, robotics or AI) a form of insanity what are we to do?   Our freedom, security and prosperity will increasingly be lost.
The urgency of our era can be seen from multiple perspectives.  The evolution of weaponry. The evolution of pathogens.  And the failure of our political systems to evolve in response to these threats.
There is only one viable pathway to an alternative future where freedom, security and prosperity can be maximized for all the world’s people.   We the people must demand that our governments put the protection of human rights (see the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) above the rights of nation states to do as they please, without being held accountable.
After the horrors of WW II most people agreed we needed to prevent future war. From that view emerged the UN system and the most important document in human history -the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Then world leaders failed to make human rights a priority.
We now have what may be our last chance to end the trajectory of world war.  Replace it with world law.  We all know that’s not going to happen anytime soon, so the next best option is meeting the Sustainable Development Goals which is a close equivalent of enforcing the UDHR.
There is no shortage of money to achieve these goals.  It can be found in off shore accounts and even many US states where banks are now holding approximately $14 trillion in money that should have been put into the service of human survival instead of enriching less than one tenth of one percent of humanity.
Time is not on our side.  Our survival will depend on our capacity for adaptation to these changing times.  More military spending is not going to help.  More treaties and weapons bans will not help.   More hopefulness will not help.   

Only a movement of movements generating sufficient political will for our leaders to move away from war and toward world law will work.  Demand that our elected officials take this path.   There really is no other way.  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Myanmar Human Rights and the UN

UN pressure grows on Myanmar human rights conditions

on: March 25, 2017In: ASIAOPINIONPOLITICSNo Comments
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By Rene Wadlow
On Friday 24 March 2017, the 47-member UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution without a vote ( a consensus-type procedure) to create an international independent commission to study the human rights situation in Myanmar (Burma). The representatives of the Russian Federation and China, who do not like independent investigations anywhere, indicated that had there been a vote they would have voted against but that they would not block a consensus motion. The Ambassador of Myanmar, Hlin Lynn, indicated before the adoption that such a commission was not necessary and that his government would not cooperate. The resolution had been proposed by the members of the Council from the European Union who often have difficulty in reaching agreement among themselves. The fact of their joint action indicates that awareness of the dangerous situation in Myanmar has been growing in the past months.
The creation of an independent commission is the strongest form of pressure that the Human Rights Council has and is rarely used. The most noteworthy commission created concerned the armed conflict and resulting human rights violations in Darfur, Sudan. The government of Sudan did not let the members of the commission into Sudan, but interviews with refugees in Ethiopia and Geneva confirmed the information which representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had been providing the Commission on Human Rights, the ancestor of the Human Rights Council. As I had been the first NGO representative to raise the Darfur situation in 2004 in the Commission on the basis of information from sources that I trusted but without myself having been on the ground, it was a satisfaction to have the Darfur Commission confirm what I had been saying.
Since I have been addressing the Commission on Human Rights on human rights in Myanmar since 1989, I am not sure that there is much new evidence to be presented, but events can always be updated. In 1992, a Special Rapporteur (then the sharpest tool available to the Commission) on Myanmar was named, Prof. Yazo Yokota of Japan. The government of Myanmar did not cooperate with him but did not attack him either because the government of Myanmar needed trade and investment from Japan. Later Special Rapporteurs on Myanmar who came from less powerful States were attacked by name in the Commission ( a break in diplomatic practice as people are referred to by their title and not their personal name.) I had helped Prof. Yokota meet Burmese exiles in Bangkok. His reports were a model of fact-finding and calls for the appropriate measures of international law, in particular the Geneva Conventions.
In response to Yokota’s report the Commission expressed its “deep concern at the violations of human right in Myanmar which remain extremely serious in particular concerning the practice of torture, summary and arbitrary executions, forced labour, including forced portering for the military, abuse of women, politically motivated arrests and detention, the existence of important restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms and the imposition of oppressive measures directed in particular at minority groups.”
The then Foreign Minister of Myanmar, Ohn Gyaw, had replied to the Yokota report that the government’s aims were “our systematic endeavour towards establishing the democratic system in an atmosphere of peace, tranquility, prosperity and orderly processes rather than under anarchy, disintegration of the nation and tragic and senseless destructive acts. This democratic system we aim to establish will be on foundations that are within the parameters of our history, traditions and culture.”
In early 1992, there was increased pressure against the Rohingys resulting in their massive flight into Bangladesh. Due to pressure from Arab and Islamic States such as Indonesia and Malaysia, which had never been concerned with refugee flows of largely Buddhist “national minorities” to Thailand , a Special Representative of the Secretary-General was named. Thus the fate of the Rohingyas started to be discussed in the Commission on Human Rights.
It is not clear to me why there is the current flair up of violence in Rakhine State on the Bangladesh-Myanmar frontier. In a future article, I will try to set out the causes as I see them. The destructive situation was well set out to the Human Rights Council by the current Special Rapporteur Ms Yanglee Kee earlier in March and by the Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Human Rights Council but there was little discussion of causes or possibilities for mutual understanding.
My aim in this article is to welcome the creation of an independent commission on the model of that for Darfur-Sudan but also to warn that data collection is not an answer in itself as the continuing armed conflict in Darfur shows. There are long-standing obstacles to peace and development in Myanmar which require planning within a basic needs framework and then real international cooperation for socio-economic development.
Rene Wadlow is the President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation on and problem-solving in economic and social issues.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

One more injustice in US foreign policy - military aid to Honduras.

One year ago today (March 2, 2016) environmental activist Berta Caceres was assassinated in Honduras. [1]

Leaked court documents suggest Berta's murder was planned by military intelligence specialists linked to the country’s U.S.–trained special forces. [2] 

Global Witness calls Honduras the deadliest country in the world for environmental activism. [3]

Today, Rep. Hank Johnson (GA) re-introduced the Berta Caceres Human Rights In Honduras Act, HR1299
calling for the suspension of U.S. military and police aid to Honduras until human rights violations committed by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice. [4]

Given the cuts President Trump has targeted in foreign aid perhaps this should be one of his first cuts he should make if he were sincere in the words he used before Congress on Tuesday night. 

“Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice — in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world.”

Urge your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor the Berta Caceres Human Rights In Honduras Act.  
HR1299  by calling 202-225-3121, give them your zip code and ask to be connected to your Congress persons office.  

You can also sign a petition generated by Robert Naiman, Avram Reisman, and Sarah Burns
from Just Foreign Policy that is at MoveOn

We can make U.S. foreign policy more just, or continue to suffer the inevitable consequences here in the US.  Consequences a wall at the border will not stop.

1. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/opinion/an-idealists-martyrdom-fails-to-move-honduras.html
2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/28/berta-caceres-honduras-military-intelligence-us-trained-special-forces
3. https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/environmental-activists/honduras-deadliest-country-world-environmental-activism/

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Pandemics/bioterrorism/infectious diseases NOT equal to threat of War or Climate Change

The threat of infectious diseases, pandemics and bioterrorism (“When nature is the terrorist” WPost editorial, 2-24-17)   [https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/when-nature-is-a-terrorist/2017/02/23/57bed82e-f942-11e6-bf01-d47f8cf9b643_story.html]    should not be held on the same “level as preventing nuclear war or climate change”.  Why?  Because they represent a greater threat to individual, national, and global security than wars or climate change combined.  Even if one considers the inevitable escalation of global interactions between war and climate change. 
Few people remember that shortly after the attacks on 9-11 former …Collin Powel told the UN that HIV/AIDS was a greater threat to national and global security than al Qaeda.  It was because that RNA based virus (with a 3% mutation rate) contributes directly to the failure of nation states which sustains the spawning ground for every strain of violent extremists.
Consider the inevitable emergence of a single pandemic that could be equal to -  or potentially greater than -- the impact of the so called “Spanish Flu” of 1918.  According to historians that pandemic played a major role in stopping World War I while killing more US soldiers than the war itself and killing nearly 500,000 Americans back home in about 16 months.  Imagine how such a pandemic today would freeze any ongoing war including the war against climate change.
Just the inevitable loss of our antibiotic arsenal alone (not mentioned in the Post editorial) could lead to an existential threat of civilization as we know it -- if it happens before breakthroughs in bioengineering new solutions to combat all infectious diseases.   But remember,  it is just such breakthroughs added to existing advancements in biotechnology that make bioterrorism a greater threat than a nuclear terrorist attack or a limited nuclear exchange.   Imagine a genetically engineered virus that would kill anyone who had not received the vaccine that was bioengineered by the same scientists intending to protect only their nation (N. Korea?), their terrorist group (ISIS?), or their environmental cult who feel threatened by the current dominance and trajectory of world powers.
There are at least three mental problems most policy makers and their electorate must overcome to rationally and effectively respond to all individual, national and global security threats.   First, we must stop thinking that these threats are independent of one another and urgently invest in global prevention and preparation efforts.   This could best be accomplished by enforcing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or fully funding and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals as rapidly as humanly possible.  These threats (pandemics, war, terrorism and climate change) that all nations face cannot be effectively addressed by independent national policies.   Independent government and institutional policies will fail in multiple aspects of offering a comprehensive global approach. 
Second, we must do what we know we must do.  Abide by that fundamental “Self-evident” “Truths” in our Declaration of Independence,  that all people are created equal (ie. With a body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Last, we must learn and persistently remember the greatest human achievement in history.  The eradication of Smallpox in 1977 (official in 1980).  Up until then nature’s smallpox had killed more people globally in the 20th century than both World Wars, all murders, revolutions, and genocides combined.   The US invested $32 million in this global eradication campaign which (according to a 1997 GAO report) had saved $17 billion dollars in US tax payer money by then.   No longer needing to pay to protect the lives of US children yielded these unbelievable health and economic returns to all Americans that continues today.  And here’s the astounding fact that needs to be remembered.  If just one nation, religious group, or remote family had rejected this global vaccination effort, this natural terrorist would still be circulating among us today.  It still exists in some laboratories.   And, given the natural evolution of all pathogens and human’s increasing technological prowess in changing them (google ‘Weaponized Smallpox’) means that Smallpox, or variations of any pandemic like virus, will remain a threat -- unless we are as indiscriminate in taking care of one another globally as viruses are to infecting us if our body temperature is 98.6 degrees.

In conclusion I offer the profound words of Nell Temple Brown, former head of the WHO office in Washington DC.  She said “Pathogens change.  Can we?”