Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Friday, July 25, 2008

McCain's 'exceptionalist' campaign strategy will fail

Obama supporters must be praying that Senator McCain takes Brett Joshpe’s campaign advice (America’s identity 7-25-08) in running for President. Mr. Josphe’s and his inspiration, Natan Sharansky’s ‘exceptionalist’ “identity” have done more to harm America’s future in the world, than any multicultural supporters. The only thing more damaging to our freedom and security in today’s hyper interdependent world is American’s unexamined identity of ‘independence’.

The US Constitution is an exceptional document forwarding basic principles like protection of inalienable rights and a sensible balancing of power that should be applicable to all the world’s people and nations respectively. Unfortunately that idealism hasn’t been applied in U.S. foreign policy and still isn’t practiced by the Bush Administration that often talks about freedom and democracy but continues to support domestic policies and foreign governments that undermine these universal ideals.

It is this profound hypocrisy that had Bush’s father in the late 1980s providing Iraq with WMD which our ‘ally’ Saddam Hussein used in warring against Iran and mass murdering Kurds. Even post 9-11 President Bush supported undemocratic governments in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China in hopes of gaining some short term US advantage like lowering oil prices, killing suspected terrorists or buying cheap manufactured goods.

The International Olympic Committee slogan “One World, One Dream” is closer to American idealism of “liberty and Justice for all”, than Joshpe/Sharansky exceptionalist ideology of ‘might makes right’ or ‘my country, right or wrong’.

Obama ‘multicultural’ types don’t “regard all nations and governments as equally righteous”. Most of us do believe however that all the world’s people are deserving of equal protection for a basic set of universal rights. To the degree that past or current US foreign policy ignores this fact is the degree to which people like McCain will justify attacking Iran yet refuse the use of US military force in stopping genocide in Darfur. We will apparently go out of our way, and risk Armageddon to protect ourselves and our exceptional ally Israel from an unlikely genocide -- yet won’t lift a single rifle to stop the ongoing genocide of poor black people with no oil under their feet.

Joshpe should realize that “E Pluribus Unum” means 'Out of many, One.' Not ‘one (or two) over many’. I’m guessing Obama sides with our founding fathers ideal that “we're all in this thing together' and any identity different than that is both un-American and un wise.

‘Yes we can’ do more to put into global practice what our founding fathers preached. Not because the United States or American’s are exceptional, but because the universal ancient ideals that were used to create this great nation are. McCain is a good man, but if he can’t make this simple yet profound distinction he doesn’t deserve any American vote.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

AIDS isn't exceptional.

Dear Editor,

The concerns regarding ‘exceptional response to AIDS” are valid -- even if their negative specifics aren’t. Increased funding and attention to counter the global HIV/AIDS threat has contributed overall to other health opportunities. But progressive advocates for other global health needs continue to waste time and efforts competing for a limited supply of insufficient Government crumbs. Three factors must be fully recognized and responded to before this persistent problem evolves into a catastrophic global health event.

First, a new source of funding adequate to the challenge must be found and seriously advocated for. A Tobin tax, a carbon tax, a global health security tax...something that will provide sufficient resources for a truly universal global health infrastructure. One that includes clean water, sanitation, nutrition and basic education along with a global network of primary health facilities adequately furnished and supplied and with adequately trained staff.

Second, basic health needs must be pushed within the context of national security -- instead of just meeting humanitarian needs. Pulling heart strings alone will never open sufficient purse strings that are now urgently needed. It took 4 dollar a gallon gasoline to get Congress serious about weaning our nation from oil. We can’t wait for the equivalent infectious disease ‘wakeup call’ for serious congressional and presidential leadership.

Last, only by pulling together in support of a truly comprehensive approach to meeting global human health needs (such as H. Res 1078 calling for a new Global Marshall Plan) will we achieve our progressive vision of health and a truly civilized and secure world.

As Nobel Laureate Dr. Joshua Lederberg once said “Pathogens change. Why can’t we”.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Deterrence is dead

Dear Editor,

Peter Huessy’s “deterrence” thinking (Playing Games with US Security, July 3, 2008) is based on lethally dangerous pre-9-11 logic that relies primarily on ‘feel good’ cold war policies that have no real relevance in protecting Americans from the current world catastrophic threats that we now face from both nuclear and non-nuclear sources.

How quickly Huessy forgets that our nation’s unprecedented and unmatched nuclear weapons and conventional weapons capacity was useless against a handful of determined mass murderers -- who only had a simple plan, minimal resources and access to everyday technology. Imagine what others can do with other even more powerful technologies that our civilization depends on and makes more affordable, available and powerful each daily.

Huessy’s fixation with the rogue state nuclear threat or reviving America’s fears of a Russian or Chinese nuclear attack ignores the destructive powers that these nations and even invisible rogue groups can now obtain using biological, chemical, cyber and even conventional technologies. An oil tanker filled with a ‘Oklahoma City Federal Building bomb mixture of fuel oil and fertilizer could yield a near nuclear size detonation capable of leveling the city of Baltimore -- or any other vital US port city. The direct damage alone is unimaginable, but the indirect damage to trade, our economy and our precious freedoms would be even greater. And, within a decade nano technology will likely yield even more catastrophic destructive power with minimal cost and like other means of destruction -- no return address.

Huessy also seems to forget that some murderous groups even seek death as their ultimate reward. This simple factor makes Huessy’s unyielding dependence on deterrence laughable. Given the additional fact that most forms of mass destruction (or disruption) are difficult to trace with absolute certainty means the tactic of deterrence should go the way of the Calvary charge. In summary, deterrence is dead.

Huessy is correct on one point. Going to ‘zero nuclear weapons” would be a mistake. They may actually prove useful in taking out a Earth killing asteroid or meteor. But as far as making us safe. Investing in measures to defend Americans against bird flu, weaponized smallpox, oil embargos and climate change…or making more friends in the world who can assist us in reducing these threats or more effectively responding to their catastrophic outcomes would be a fare wiser use of existing and potentially shrinking federal resources.