Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trade and Trump: National security consequences

Trade and Trump:  Potential national security consequences of Trump’s anti-trade policies:  1-29-17

Autarky is a word economists use to describe a country that is self-sufficient.   In reality no nation can clearly meet the definition of this economic term.   But some try.  North Korea is the closest nation to earning that title, but only if one don’t consider the number of its own citizens starving to death for lack of adequate food.
Chances are, the more developed an economy becomes, the less likely it is to be considered an autarky and, the more a nation depends on trade, the more it can affordably maintain its citizens lifestyle.  Even if that lifestyle is detrimental to both the individuals health and mental well being, and their local and our global environment.  But that’s another discussion (
The U.S and many other advanced developed nations are on the other end of this spectrum.  We all depend on resources from other nations to maintain our own quality of life.  Occasionally, some foreign commodities are vital our own national security.  Consider rare elements used in most of our sophisticated military weaponry and our cyber infrastructure that now organizes and facilitates most of our vital necessities.
Trump’s initiation of any new trade rules that run the risk of launching us into a global trade war may initially help small numbers of American manufacturers.  But in the longer run it will likely effect the quality of life for 99% of Americans.  The 1% who own offshore assets and can get there, won’t be much affected.  Worst case scenario for the rest of us is that it could be devastating to our nation in ways that few are talking about, and even fewer can imagine.
Anyone with a basic understanding of biological facts (fundamental principles or ‘self-evident truths’) knows that there are at least two commodities essential to sustaining life: adequate food and clean water.   Equally self-evident to any thinking person is the connection between these two.  Scarcity of one foreshadows scarcity in the other.
What is far less comprehended by some is that to ensure we have enough of both of these for our entire population of over 300 million people, is that we need resources from other countries to prevent chaos from within our own national borders.
And, the really bad news?   If others beyond our borders practice harmful environmental habits, the climate and weather patterns that nature freely provides us may result in extremely undesirable impacts on our own capacity to provide both food and water to all Americans.  Again, increasing the possibility of monstrously uncivil chaos within our own borders.
Consider water, the most essential component of life.  And, the one we take most for granted.   It is unlikely to be crated or destroyed in any significant levels but it is both increasingly contaminated by our quest for fossil fuels, and mal-distributed by climate changes accelerated by our persistent dependence on them.
The law of supply and demand predicts water costs will increase with time.  And, one peer-reviewed website PLOS ONE with Michigan State researchers confirm this is happening.  According to them the average U.S. household now pays $49 a month for water. That’s over 40 percent higher than five years ago.  That cost is expected to rise to $120 a month in the early 2020s.   According to the EPA over 11 percent of U.S. households already have to sacrifice other essential expenditures to afford clean water.  This meets the EPA’s definition of unaffordable.  At $120, the percentage rises to 33 percent.  They may leave most of American’s lower middle economic class struggling even more to make ends meet.
Fracking demands large amounts of water causing a ripple effect of shortages, polluted water, and even an increase in minor earth quakes.  But a larger cause is old and inadequate infrastructure. Most U.S. water infrastructure is over 70 years old.  Some even older.  In our nation’s own Capitol water runs through wooden pipes built before the civil war.
Experts estimate that restoring our existing infrastructure will cost $1 trillion, with another half a trillion needed to ensure that water is safe to drink.  Both political parties agree on the need to address this and other infrastructure deficits. Unfortunately, lack of political will to finance all them, means some will not get funded and risk even more national security weakness than insufficient clean water, which is linked both infectious disease and toxicity problems that will increasingly stress our health care system, now the single largest driver of our budget deficit and significant driver of political division between well-meaning Americans.
Advances in technology will allow us to overcome some, perhaps most of these infrastructure problems.  But the dual use nature of all technology brings other problems no autocracy and not economically dominant nation can hide from.  The increasing power, affordability and ubiquity of all technologies means unhappy entities anywhere in the world can cause unprecedented harm almost anywhere else in the world.  Cyber, bio and robotic technologies hold the potential to reek havoc or even mass deaths with viruses targeted for specific people, ethnic groups’ or even broad swaths of the planet regardless of commodity barriers.
But just focusing on commodities and critical US infrastructure we are irreversibly dependent on the rest of the world.  Particularly China.  Scandium, a metal completely sourced from China – is used in finding underground leaks in water and oil pipes -- and oil refining.
Natural graphite is also 100 percent sourced from abroad.  China and Mexico are its largest suppliers.  This commodity is vital in products ranging from batteries to steel.
Then consider fluorspar, another commodity that is 100 percent foreign sourced. Again, China and Mexico are leading exporters.  Its uses include stimulating oil and water wells, providing catalytic activity in oil refining, and reducing costs of water desalinization.
As water shortages and costs continue to climb while critical infrastructures compete for shrinking budgets and the global forces of terrorism, climate change, poverty, refugees, infectious diseases, WMD proliferation, prejudice and other environmental problems that have no respect for commodity blocking borders continue to sew political discontent, President Trump would be wise to reconsider is “America First” trade policies.
Good trade deals are desirable but unless they take into account the impact on all human lives, their rights and the essential life support system (the environment) the world will continue down a path that no US President, no US Congress, and no US Supreme court can remedy.   Not without passing US policies that take into account the fundamental “truths” that our nation’s founding fathers considered “self evident.” 
Like real war, no nation will go without tremendous losses in a trade war.  It would behoove all Americans to consider growing their own food and reducing their water waste, water contamination, and dependence on fossil fuels.  An energy source that harm damn near every element of our lives other than the immediate stock prices of those who deal in it.
For those who believe gold is the ultimate commodity for sustain ably acquiring essential resources I urge you to consider two other element that may have greater power.  Lead and steel.  Other minerals can be used in making bullets, guns, and shovels but I hoping they get the point. 
Economic wealth won’t protect them from the destructive and lethal forces now growing globally, and the growing political discontent that greed, hunger and other unchecked injustices create.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Build the Wall!!! Between Trump and Congress

Build the Wall!!!!      Between the White House and the US Congress       January 2017 ACTION Alert           
Stop Trump’s ‘executive orders’ from crossing the border and taking our civility, sensibility, and common security.   Cutting UN funding, torturing suspected terrorists, withdrawing from climate agreements, and increasing military spending will only exacerbate a world of increasing chaos and persistent injustices.
Congress is our only effective barrier now.    Congress can keep his Executive Orders from:
a)      Hurting people’s lives here and abroad.
b)      Increasing the security threats we face from a world of growing chaos and injustice.
c)       Costing billions of U.S. tax dollars reacting to harmful global forces (war, more extreme weather conditions, pandemics, refugee flows, WMD proliferation, loss of our anti-biotic arsenal, terrorism…) by investing in wise and effective global prevention efforts before problems reached our borders.  The key word:  PREVENTION!
"The Trump administration is preparing executive orders that would clear the way to drastically reduce the United States’ role in the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as begin a process to review and potentially abrogate certain forms of multilateral treaties. "   Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the USA,  1-25-17  referencing the New York Times.

Your mission, should you accept it:  (Write a Letter to the Editor to the NYT and/or…)

Call your Member of Congress immediately and repeatedly, until you get an answer regarding the following request.  If you don’t know who your US Representative is call the Congressional Switchboard (202-225-3121) and give them your Zip code. They will connect you.  Or visit:  . 

Talking script below (once you reach the right Legislative Aide that deals with Foreign Aid funding and/or National Security issues, or a recording where you can leave them a message).   Please feel free to adapt the words below to your own:

YOU:  Hi Jane!  My name is ________.  I’m a constituent of Congressman/woman ________.   Can you please relay an urgent message to him/her?  

(IF CALLING A REPUBLICAN office)  I’d like to support our new President but I’m a bit perplexed by some of his Executive Orders.   

Given our nation’s growing budget deficit … I urge you to resist any effort that would further reduce our nation’s already limited investments in funding ‘prevention’ efforts.  Many UN programs like WHO, UNDP, World Food Program, Peace Keeping deployments, and Refugee programs help keep threats like terrorism, infectious diseases, WMD Proliferation, and conflicts that end up costing Americans far more when they reach our shores.  
Please let me know what steps she/he will take to keep these cost saving investments in place, and do more to address the root causes of these growing problems.   I don’t believe building walls or weakening the UN any further will keep most of them from our Congressional District.  
The UN is nearly dysfunctional now given its lack of capacity to enforce human rights.  Cutting its funding more now will only cost us far more in the future.  I was really hoping President Trump would make changes that would really save US tax dollars AND make us more secure.

[make sure they have your Name, Address and phone/email…with your specific request to get back to you with an answer.]

Keep a log of who you spoke with, the date and issue you talked about.   Start to organize others in your Congressional District to do the same.   If you are not already a Global Justice Hill Corps volunteer with our ‘435 Campaign’, consider becoming one.
“If there were just 10 people in every Congressional District, who really pushed on the issue…we could literally change the world”.  Senator Paul Simon (as a U.S. Congressman)

We will never ask you for money.  Just your time and willingness to build a working relationship with your own U.S. Representative and with loving persistence, educate them on how global injustices are the primary source of threats to our own nation’s security as well as our individual freedom, security, health, and prosperity.
We invite you to document specific examples that you see or read about within your own Congressional District, where global forces are having a negative impact.  Zika, HIV/AIDS, Soldier suicides from PTSD, some extreme weather conditions, crop losses, exported jobs, terrorist attacks, crimes committed by troubled illegal immigrants, contaminated food, antibiotic resistant infections, and some counterfeit drugs that don’t help and may even cause harm, can often be linked to injustices beyond our shores. 
We will soon have a website where you can post these examples so others in our Congressional District can start to make the connections, and hopefully join with you in educating your own U.S. Representative.
There are only 435 U.S. Representatives.  We already have close to 70 covered with individuals taking on this mission.   Even if your Congressperson is good on these issues…we need more who are leaders.   We now know the cost of apathy in voting.  The great news is that we actually have far greater power in petitioning our elected officials with every phone call, letter, letter to the editor, and meeting with them personally.  
Make your citizenship really count by uniting with others between elections to influence policy direction before they become law.
"What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do." -  John Ruskin (1819 - 1900) 

If you would like to write a Blog or ‘Letter to the Editor” on these global justice issues please let us know.   

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Brave local volunteers wanted!

If you are going (or even thinking about going) into Washington, D.C. for Inauguration Day and/or the Women’s March this Friday and Saturday (Jan. 20, 21), or, can be talked into going either of those two days, please continue reading.  If you are not going, just pass this along to someone else who may be going, or looking for a good excuse to go.

The '435 Campaign' seeking a few kind and brave souls who are willing to talk to people who might be bored…and face to face invite them to take a survey on important issues. 

Volunteers for this mission will be working in pairs, asking visitors (on one or both days) to fill out a one page survey regarding “US National Security Threats” (see survey below) and then returning the completed surveys to me sometime soon.

The first and most important purpose of this survey is to engage event participants in a brief discussion on the topic.  Hopefully they will answer the survey honestly and return it on the spot.  It is a ‘no-pressure’ ask (if people appear to have no interest in ranking national security threats, just smile, thank them for their time, and walk away).   We will use the survey results for three things soon after:

1.      1)  Personally contacting those individuals who expressed interest in addressing threats before they reach the US…to invite them to participate in our ‘435 Campaign” advocating in all 435 US Congressional Districts for a ‘life, liberty and justice for all’ US foreign policy.  This is a project primarily sponsored by, funded by, and endorsed by a growing list of other organizations supportive of the US full engagement in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030.  (  We are mainly looking for event attendees who not from the Washington Metro area (This information and the weblinks are for you. No need to learn them or to share them with people taking the survey (unless they threaten you and can run faster than you).

2.       2) Using the results of the survey to generate media coverage of the participants’ views/levels of concern about various US national security threats.
       3) Educating those who chose to take the survey about the growing array of increasingly urgent threats that put both our security and freedoms at risk -- and the lack of political will for addressing the root causes of many of the threats listed.

Thank you for your attention to this request if you got this far!  If you are interested in participating in any other way in preventing Armageddon please let me know…before it’s too late. J.

Chuck Woolery, Leader of the 435 Campaign

FYI:  We will be doing most of our ‘asking’ in warm and dry places like Metro stops, coffee shops, or anywhere else people are standing around in lines looking bored.   Below is a sample ‘introduction’ scripts to use or just great them with a friendly smile, apologize for breaking their train of thought, and ask if  you can talk with them for a few minutes regarding the future concerns they may have.  If they have no concerns…their zombie food…move on.

SHORT Scrip:    Hey!  You look like some who’s interested in national security issues.  Ya wanna kill a few idle minutes ranking them on a one-page survey?  The results are gonna be shared anonymously with the media?  

More formal scripts are available if you decide to join with us.

If you can join with us this Friday and/or Saturday for 2, 3 or 4 hrs, please email or call.  240-997-2209

You can pick your own time, location, and partner…or we can suggest some. 
US National Security Threats survey
Inauguration weekend            January 20-21, 2017

Global forces are increasingly influencing our lives and elections.  Regardless of whom you voted for - your views are now important in determining the priorities for US policies ahead.  Stopping, deterring, or preventing a growing range of threats from reaching our loved ones, our jobs, the environment, our economy, or our nation is increasingly urgent.
Results of this survey will be shared with the media to encourage fair and accurate coverage of the motivations of those attending and their concerns about security threats to the U.S.  Please rate these consistent with your personal view.

At this event I consider myself:   ___ a participant.  ___ an observer.  ___ a challenger

My primary organization/institution affiliation is:  ____________________________________

My Motivations for involvement:   Rank using (3 = High.    2=Moderate.    1= low.    0 = zero). 
___ expressing my patriotism                                ___ expressing my support for the President
___ protecting the environment                             ___ protecting human rights   
___ to watch the event                                           ___ expressing my religious faith                            
___ reducing poverty /income inequality             ___ limiting corporate power
___ expressing my global citizenship                   ___ ensuring access to health care
___ protecting indigenous people’s rights            ___ commitment to justice           
___ concern about the future                                 ___ (Other)  ___________________
Rank risk level the US faces from each threat below (3 = High.  2=Moderate.  1= low.    0 = zero). 
___ Drugs, trafficking, money laundering, political corruption, and other int'l criminal activities.
___ Genocide or other mass atrocities sparked by ethnic, religious, or economic differences.
___ Global warming, loss of species and habitats and/or other environmental problems.
___ Loss of jobs and general prosperity as a result of bad trade, investment, or immigration policies.
___ Economic recession/depression caused abroad but creating US economic, social or political instability.
___ US wage stagnation, shrinking middle class, and greater disparity between rich and poor.
___ Genetically modified organisms released without adequate, research, regulation and control.
___ Mass casualty terrorist attack (cyber, biological, chemical, nuclear…) from foreign source.
___ High casualty terrorists attack from home grown violent religious extremists.
___ Natural disaster (asteroids, solar flares, volcanic eruptions, earth quakes...).
___ Our own government dysfunction.  
___ Polarization of our electorate.  
___ Lack of public trust in government.
___ Pandemics, loss of anti-biotic arsenal, new &re-emerging infectious diseases (Ebola, Zika,..).
___ EMP event from clandestine nuclear blast above US hidden within inbound civilian or commercial air liner.
___ Refugee flows from failed or failing states like Venezuela, North Korea, Sudan, Syria...
___ Proliferation of WMD.     
___ US Budget Deficit.       
___ Global injustices driving some of the threats above.
___ Other  ___________________________________________________________________

I believe the most effective means of making change is: (3 = High.  2=Moderate.   1= low.   0 = zero)
___  Supporting our President                                  
___  Boycotting companies doing harm
___  Adequate funding and support for our US military and intelligence agencies.
___  Educating U.S. Senators and Representatives between elections.
___  Generating media attention on important issues.
___  Democratizing/strengthening the UN system to protect human rights and prevent problems.
___  Voting in the next election                                                ___  Running for elected office myself

___ Please email me the results of this survey.   Email:    ______________________    ZIP code:  _____________    NAME (optional) ___________________________               State:  ________

This survey is being conducted by the 435 Campaign.  For more information contact:

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK "Justice" quotes

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere... there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." - Martin Luther King Jr., "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" (April 16, 1963)
…one of the great problems of history is that “the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites, polar opposites, so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. MLK 1967

"Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. ... No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."  - Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” MLK
"First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
MLK — Letter From a Birmingham Jail1963 [13]

3. "But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?...It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity." MLK —  “The Other America,” 1968 [8

MLK Day should be about justice for all.

MLK Day 2017:

What would MLK really want us to remember him for on this day—and perhaps every day.  I believe it is six words “Life, liberty and justice for all”.   In a single word, “justice”.  This one word rings out in many of his speeches and most of his quotes. As valued, through the ages, by many other wise souls.

"Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. ... No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." MLK

President Obama’s farewell address only days earlier referenced our Declaration of Independence.  He said that “these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing.”  What Obama didn’t mention is the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people around the world who were included in the words of our declaration, but were executed.  Millions of people literally killed for expecting their governments to abide by this fundamental principle that our founding fathers recognized as ‘self-evident truths’ 230 years ago.  The President did mention “justice” three times, but none in the context of ‘justice for all’ globally.  Could this be why the world appears to be heading toward increasing chaos?  His failure, and the failure of every President before him, except Lincoln, was in not putting ‘justice for all’ as the highest priority. And we wonder why the future looks bleak.

President Obama did reference George Washington’s final farewell address regarding his warning about the dangers of hyper-partisanship, excessive debt, and foreign wars.  Each a caustic factor that toppled other democratic republics before ours.  Washington at least advocated “justice towards all nations” in his last address.

The purpose of the “435 Campaign” is to address these threats George Washington warned about. And, underlying each threat is injustice. Whether it is the injustices in our streets, our economy, our foreign/military/intelligence policy, or the gross injustices that our nation has ignored throughout our increasingly and irreversibly interdependent world.  

Our hyper-partisanship is driven largely by our collective failure to differentiate between flawed American principles and the fundamental principles our nation was founded on.  Pride of patriotism, of borders, or political party instead of pride in putting ‘life, liberty and justice for all’ above all else, is our most lethal flaw. Our misplaced pride has weakened the very foundation that our government’s systems and structures depend on - trust in the media, in science, and our election process. And, having never really applied this fundamental principle to our foreign, military, or intelligence policies we have created, exacerbated, and/or ignored problems abroad that have cost American taxpayers trillions in dollars, millions of Americans lives and war related disabilities.  Our debt burdens in blood and treasure may break the back of our nation yet.  

World War II should have taught us the value of putting the ‘rule of law’ (something we always pride ourselves in) over the ‘law of force’ (something we use too often in foreign policy).  Few Americans recall that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights globally agreed on after the horrors of WWII were intended as a global bill of rights.  It was a rational means of preventing future wars if it were made enforceable.  Much of our nation’s financial debt, debt that could undermine our freedom and security, came from ignoring that profound document at home and abroad.

Like with our own Declaration of Independence, ‘we the people’ failed to insist that our government leaders incorporate its fundamental principles into our global affairs.  In creating the United Nations Charter, a document similar to our original Constitution, the designers failed the justice standard of treating all people equally.  Failure to include the fundamental principle, in creating our Constitution, cost our own nation more lives than both World War I and World War II combined.  Failure to infuse that principle into an enforceable UN Charter, is responsible for most wars and infectious disease related deaths and disabilities worldwide.  

I believe President Lincoln understood what George Washington recognized and what MLK knew well.  That if we as Americans fail to apply the universal standard of ‘justice for all’, to all, we will never know or experience real freedom and real security.  Read the greatest speech in history, The Gettysburg Address.  It begins with its author referring to the fundamental principle used in the creation of our nation with that profound line that “all men are created equal”. He began his speech with “Four Score and Seven years ago” which doing the math, adds up to the Declaration of Independence.  Lincoln wasn’t referring to the U.S. Constitution.  Even more important is his conclusion.  We should forever remember what he said, and didn’t say.   He declares that “the great task remaining before us” is “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…”.  Then, he did not say ‘and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth’.   Instead he stated, “that government... shall not perish from the earth.”  We will never know if he meant ‘this’ government. We do know exactly what he did say, “that government” [the concept - fundamental principle of every government?] “… people shall not perish from the earth.” 

It is our task before us in 2017 and beyond to insist that government, at every level (local, state, national and global) be ‘of the people, by the people for the people’, so ‘we the people of the world, shall not perish from the earth.  That will require most of us keeping our word regarding the first two words and the last five words that all American’s have spoken with hand over heart to our flag.  “I pledge”… “liberty and justice for all”.   I’m confident MLK would agree.

Monday, January 9, 2017

1-1-17 National Human Trafficking Awareness Day 10th year of forgetting.

January 11:  National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Tomorrow is a special day.  Not because of the numeric coincidence of 1-11-17.  But because of the large number of human beings who remain victims of human trafficking, one of the most degrading, harmful and illegal injustices known on earth, and we have to be reminded of it. 

In 2007, the U.S. Senate designated January 11 as the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day --  making it the 10th year the world has virtually ignored it.  If we knew the real costs of this global injustice we would not need to be reminded.  This crime is not just costly.  It has deadly and potentially catastrophic consequences for us all.

The Senate marked this day not just to generate awareness, but to generate action. Now they need to take it.  Remind them with a phone call, email, tweet, hand written letter, or personal visit.  Why?  Because the only thing that remains missing is the political will to end it.  The political will to create a global structure and system with the means to dismantle trafficking networks and assist survivors in rebuilding their lives, and sometimes their nation.

There are three fundamental ‘self-evident truths’ that will persist in our new ‘post-truth’ era when dealing with nearly any global problem.
1)   A comprehensive approach is required - no nation alone can effectively address the underlying conditions of global poverty, war, injustice, discrimination, and ignorance that drive most problems.
2) A new source of adequate funding is required.
3) Sufficient ‘political will’ to do both of these requires more than compassionate motivation. It will require our knowledge that protecting our own national security and fundamental freedoms requires global justice.

Why? Because international human trafficking is often linked to ‘networks’ trafficking in drugs (growing globally), arms (think WMD proliferation and terrorism), and money laundering (involving kleptocrats, banks, offshore accounts and protected entities even within the US).  Some gangs are involved in all of these.  Some specialize and avoid expanding into the specialty of other criminal groups or institutions. A few violently compete with or eliminate them.  Innocent lives are rarely protected.

Basically, there are three sources of people being trafficked globally today. The first is refugees fleeing armed conflicts. The second is “economic refugees” (people migrating from often lethal economic conditions, ethnic/racial tensions, and/or gender-based discrimination within their home country. A third category – or a subcategory of economic migration – is the sex trade.  Usually women, but also innocent children.

With ever-tighter immigration policies in many countries, would-be migrants seek “passers” - individuals or groups that offer services’ into other countries, facilitating cross border travel by assisting migrants in avoiding both legal and physical barriers. These passers are rarely nice people like those assisting black American slaves using the underground rail road crossing state border lines in the 1860s.

Modern human trafficking is lucrative and will continue to grow without strong globally enforced counter measures instituted everywhere.  Non-governmental organizations can help many but are virtually powerless to stop the flow, without joining with all of us in creating the political will here and abroad for concrete action.

There is another important need -- psychological healing. Too often women and children who have been trafficked into the sex trade have a disrupted or violent family life. And often have a poor image of their self-worth. This is where non-governmental, non-profit institutions can best serve those in need.  

But aside from human suffering there is another vital reason to shut down this transmission belt of migrants, drugs, weapons and illicit money.  Our national security.  Walls won’t stop the damaging and potentially lethal consequences of illegal drugs, infectious diseases, or the proliferation of WMD taking the same pathways as trafficked people.

This takes us back to ‘self-evident truths’.   U.S. citizens must advocate for sufficient economic investment in prevention of the conditions that fuel migration.  That means funding and achieving the globally agreed upon 17 Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030. Together, these goals represent the most comprehensive means of preventing most the problems we face.  

The single greatest barrier to overcome is funding.  More accurately, the ‘political will’ needed to find the financial resources and then most effectively apply them.  Most governments are in dire debt and unlikely to cut their own domestic programs to fund improvements in desperate global living standards.  Those of us who advocate for global justice need to get creative.  We don’t have to look far. 

The very problems driving migration often generate trillions of dollars for a powerful few.  The powerful few who aquire their ill-gotten gains and bank them in off shore accounts and/or shaded investments in more protected nations, including the United States.   Researchers at the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, Natalie Duffy and Nate Sibley, quote the International Monetary Fund which calculates “as much as 5 percent of the world’s gross domestic product is laundered money, and only 1 percent of it is ever spotted.”  These moneys could be preventing the unjust factors that drive migration and human trafficking across borders.  Instead they fuel “Illicit cross-border financial flows estimated at $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion per year. A 2012 study put the total private wealth held offshore at up to $32 trillion and suggested that, since the 1970s, elites from 139 low-to-middle-income countries had parked as much as $9.3 trillion in offshore accounts.”   The Hudson Institute researchers claim “Some of the money is hidden right here.”  That the US has been a “driving force behind global economic reform for the past three decades” but has also “played an important role in the rise of the globalized kleptocrat” and “become one of the leading secrecy jurisdictions.”  They state that Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming and other states do not require disclosure of corporate ownership, meaning that kleptocrats aren’t parking their assets just in exotic locations like the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands anymore.”

Our own government’s resistance to effectively addressing these global problems urgently and comprehensively is a serious threat to nearly every aspect of our nation’s security.  Waiting for problems to reach our cities, or trying to stop them at the border is reactionary and expensive -  ultimately depleting finite and precious tax dollars away from vital domestic needs like health care, critical infrastructure, and our national economic solvency (all vital to US national security).

We urge U.S. citizens this January 11 to use the crime of human trafficking to understand how our whole world is irreversibly interconnected and dependent on the ‘self-evident truths’ referenced in our Declaration of Independence. To fully grasp that the fundamental human right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is universal, and, that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights acknowledges this ‘self-evident truth’ by detailing the essential precursors to stability and sustainability.  Our nation is not going to outright institutionalize global justice putting human rights above states’ rights -- as we agreed to do after the Civil War within our own nation.  So, for now, the least we can do to prevent most threats to our national security is achieve the Sustainable Development Goals before 2030.  

And time is NOT on our side. The acceleration of change, largely driven by unprecedented and barely imaginable advancements in powerful dual-use technologies (cyber, bio, nano, robotics…),  These ubiquitous and affordable technologies capable of advancing grandiose objectives or monstrously horrific destruction, is NOT being matched by changes in national or global institutions or effective systems governance. 
Whenever systems and structures are not designed using fundamental principles -- expect catastrophic consequences. Before 2010 Haitians built most of their structures using cement without re bar.  That fundamental flaw costs more lives in 15 minutes than the both bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.  Those who built the US Constitution failed to incorporate the fundamental principle of ‘inalienable human rights’ into that foundation document.  That costs more US lives than both World War I and II combined.

‘We the people’ of the US, and the world cannot, cannot continue making this same fatal error.  11117 (Jan.11, 2017) is  our ZIP code for speeding the global delivery of ‘life, liberty and justice for all’.  It’s that, or prepare for the lethal, expensive, and sometimes catastrophic consequences of failing to incorporate this self evident truth. 

Finally.  Remember that most of our global problems from the threat of infectious diseases, war, genocide, climate change, species extinction… can be prevented, or more quickly responded to if we globally apply these fundamental principles.   They won’t change.  We must.

A grand Thank You! to Rene Wadlow, a Global Justice Corps participant, who alerted our ‘435 Campaign’ to this important issue and offered a first draft for inspiration.

Chuck Woolery, Volunteer Leader   240-997-2209
US Global Justice Corps
(the views expressed below are the authors and not necessarily the views of endorsing organizations)
435 Campaign Blog:
435 Issue Website:  (Under Construction)

·         Citizens for Global Solutions
·         Sustainable World Initiative:
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FYI: “Endorsement” represents an origination’s moral and verbal support (and active support when they deem it appropriate) to forward the 435 Campaign’s commitment to creating ‘political will’ in every U.S. Congressional District for “global justice” through achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

 “Science is my passion, politics my duty.”  Thomas Jefferson

"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."    -- George Washington   (1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country'

"A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular,
and what no just government should to rest on inference." -- Thomas Jefferson 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Funding Global Justice is NOT the barrier.

If you think there isn't enough money in the world to end hunger, provide universal health care, prevent carbon emission from worsening climate disruptions, provide clean water, safe sanitation, and basic education globally  -- without raising your tax dollars  -- THINK again.  Here's where to get the money...and addressing the injustices that generate it will actually make the world safer, more sustainable and more free for 99% of humanity.  The corrupt 1% needs to pay for kleptocracy.

Five myths about Kleptocracy, By Natalie Duffy and Nate Sibley.  Washington Post 1-8-2017,  About the authors: Natalie Duffy and Nate Sibley are both researchers at Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative. 

Every country suffers from corruption, but not every country is a kleptocracy. Kleptocracy, or “rule by thieves,” arises when a country’s elite begin to systematically steal from public funds on a vast scale. They do so by undermining democracy and the legal system, gaining control over vital economic assets (usually the banking and natural-resource sectors), and ultimately amassing unimaginable wealth. As political science professor Karen Dawisha recently put it, kleptocrats manage to nationalize risk while privatizing profits. Examples are as diverse as Russia’s oligarchs under President Vladimir Putin, China’s sprawling Communist Party and South Sudan’s violently failed state. Could the United States join these ranks? To answer that question, we need to dispel some common myths.

MYTH NO. 1   Kleptocracies exist mostly in the developing world.
The word “kleptocracy” often conjures Cold War imagery of despotic tyrants in poor, faraway places. And it is true that many of the world’s most corrupt countries are in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
But a kleptocracy is no longer a corrupt political system in a few poor nations: It is a sophisticated global network whose members include world leaders and powerful business people. Kleptocrats send money around the world with the click of a button, aided by unscrupulous professionals with the expertise to launder it through anonymous offshore companies and secure it in luxury assets in the West. According to the International Monetary Fund, as much as 5 percent of the world’s gross domestic product is laundered money, and only 1 percent of it is ever spotted. Illicit cross-border financial flows have been estimated at $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion per year. A 2012 study put the total private wealth held offshore at up to $32 trillion and suggested that, since the 1970s, elites from 139 low-to-middle-income countries had parked as much as $9.3 trillion in offshore accounts.
Some of the money is hidden right here. As the driving force behind global economic reform for the past three decades, the United States has played an important role in the rise of the globalized kleptocrat. America has become one of the leading secrecy jurisdictions.  Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming and other states do not require disclosure of corporate ownership, meaning that kleptocrats aren’t parking their assets just in exotic locations like the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands anymore.
U.S. real estate then provides an attractive conduit for securing and legitimizing the laundered funds. A New York Times investigation revealed that, of the properties purchased for more than $5 million in Manhattan in 2014, more than half were bought by anonymous companies that disguised the buyers’ identities.

MYTH NO. 2  Kleptocracies are strong.
Today, some of the most powerful countries in the world are kleptocracies. Russia, for example, currently seems to be dictating global affairs. China, another classic, is the second-largest economy in the world.
Kleptocracy doesn’t necessarily make governments weak. But the skewed priorities of greedy autocratic rulers and the looting of resources that should be used for public services mean that the countries are much weaker than they should be. Russia, for instance, can’t afford to honor its obligations to impoverished pensioners , but there is apparently plenty of money available for Putin’s former judo partner to build a bridge to occupied Crimea and for a new Kremlin propaganda channel in France.
A 2016 report showed that developing countries collectively had lost $16.3 trillion to illicit leakages since 1980. While their people struggled, starved and died, exported corruption effectively made these governments’ net creditors to the world economy. In such circumstances, it is hardly surprising that people begin to see government as a criminal racket instead of a legitimate provider of public services. In extreme cases where elites have given up any pretense of government, this includes security: It is no coincidence that the world’s most corrupt countries are also the most internally divided and violent. In the long run, then, kleptocracy doesn’t just weaken governments. It destroys them.

MYTH NO. 3  The United States is already a kleptocracy.
“We’re living in a kleptocracy,” Salon claimed in 2015 . “America robs from its poor — while its infrastructure crumbles.” According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans believed corruption to be widespread in their government, a sentiment Donald Trump capitalized on with his promise to “drain the swamp.”
Few would argue that corruption doesn’t exist in the United States, but fewer seriously believe that it is the sole purpose of their government. Unlike the average Russian, Americans haven’t watched their president’s friends loot 5 percent of GDP in the past decade. Unlike one-quarter of Ukrainians, the average American hasn’t had to pay a bribe to get officials to do their jobs. And unlike the Chinese, Americans don’t feel impelled to send trillions of dollars overseas illegally.
The United States has strong constitutional safeguards that guarantee democratic participation, free speech and, most important, rule of law. Prosecutors wield a robust set of mechanisms to address official corruption when it does occur. The United States is far from perfect, but despite the uproar on alternative and social media, it is not a kleptocracy.

MYTH NO. 4    American institutions will shield us from kleptocracy.
In the wake of Trump’s election, major news outlets ran pieces on what U.S. institutions could do to protect the country from collapse. Vox told readers, “It’s now on America’s institutions — and the Republican Party — to check Donald Trump.” Slate argued that professional bureaucrats could slow Trump’s progress. Writing in the New York Times, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt reassured that “no democracy as rich or as established as America’s ever has” collapsed (though they said there’s reason to worry).
Unfortunately, key political, financial and cultural institutions have yet to be firewalled against new methods of interference and infiltration by bad actors. In Washington, well-remunerated K Street firms exploit weaknesses in foreign-lobbying laws to advance the interests of violent kleptocracies on the Hill (the Kremlin is currently hiring for $30 million to $50 million per year). In the financial world, major U.S. banks are routinely implicated in money laundering scandals and fined huge sums. Even Hollywood is not immune: “The Wolf of Wall Street” was allegedly produced partly with cash stolen from Malaysia’s 1MDB development fund.
We are making some progress. The Justice Department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative has frozen $2.8 billion in 28 cases since 2010. In July, the Treasury Department announced geographic targeting orders that make it impossible to complete anonymous all-cash purchases of high-value real estate in New York, Miami and four other key jurisdictions. And through the Magnitsky Act and other sanctions regimes, the U.S. government has made life so difficult for some kleptocrats that relief is consistently cited as a major Kremlin priority. At the moment, the United States is simultaneously the world’s leading enabler and opponent of kleptocracy.

MYTH NO. 5   Donald Trump is setting himself up to rule as a kleptocrat.
Alarm bells on this subject began ringing soon after Trump was elected. The Washington Post’s Plum Line blog warned of “the coming Trump kleptocracy.” New York magazine wrote that “Trump’s kleptocracy is so astounding it already feels like old news.”
There are reasons for concern. Trump’s personality-based populism, his refusal to release his tax returns or place his assets in a blind trust, the prominent roles played by his family during the transition, financial ties between some members of his inner circle and Russia, and his own stance toward the Kremlin have all raised questions about how he intends to conduct himself in office. On the other hand, Trump campaigned on the principle that his enormous personal wealth would insulate him from financial temptations, which made sense to the millions of Americans who voted for him to “drain the swamp.”
Ultimately, only Trump knows what his plans for the highest office are. But U.S. constitutional safeguards and institutions are significantly more robust than those in countries where corruption has taken over. If Trump really wants to establish a kleptocracy, there are easier countries to do it in.