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.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

T. Boone Pickens and Buckminster Fuller

Dear Editor,
It was good to read Jay Ambrose acknowledge the “400 percent increase in using wind energy during the Bush years”. That’s an annual average 50 percent increase for his Administration and could be one of the more positive and lasting legacies of Bush’s otherwise disappointing Presidency.
And, as Ambrose points out in “Wind beneath our wings?” (Jan 25, 2009) wind power won’t yield enough electricity to wean us entirely from oil, but no one I know, not even “T. Boone Pickens” suggest it could or should.
Ambrose unfortunately exaggerates the down sides of the large and wise investments proposed by the likes of Obama and Mr. Pickens in future wind farms. Building hundreds of windmills may cost about the same as a nuclear power plant but they will be far less of a burden to the environment, the scenery and our nation’s security than any nuclear facility. And, erecting them far from population centers isn’t really a problem. According to Michael Powers, spokesman for Global Energy Network Institute, southern California gets a hefty portion of its electricity from 1,000 miles away via a single high voltage direct current line connecting it to hydro power from Oregon. Enough to run 2-3 million homes. He assures us that “distance is not a barrier.” Our nation needs a new and comprehensive national electric energy grid that will ultimately serve domestically generated electricity to every square mile of our nation from a variety of alternative energy sources. Investing now in more wind only speeds us to that glorious day.
In the 1970s Buckminster Fuller proposed a global electric supply grid as a means of addressing many of our global problems. Any such grid would rid ourselves from the tyranny of oil dependence. If we had listened to Dr. Fuller back then and invested the trillions of dollars we gave to OPEC nations over the last 40 years into alternative energy sources our economy, our climate and our national security situations would be far better off today.
Ambrose says he believes that wind energy “may play an increasingly important role in our energy future”. It’s too bad he spent so much time hyping its minor drawbacks instead of documenting the astronomical costs to our future from our continuing dependence on burning foreign oil.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

CJCS no help in US future security

I love Obama but I hope he doesn't place much power in the hand of Admiral Mullen.

Admiral Mullen’s release of the U.S. national security strategy update in the form of his “CJCS Guidance for 2008-2009” fails America by promoting the three same “inter-related strategic priorities for our military” that got us into the current freedom, prosperity and security deficit.
Mullen says “First, we must increase stability and defend our vital interests in the broader Middle East”. As if supporting Iraq’s, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan’s status quo and defending our vital oil interests before 9-11 worked perfectly. “second” he says “we must reset, reconstitute, and revitalize our Armed Forces” as if having the most powerful, vital and constituted military prior to 9-11 was useful in stopping the mass murder of Americans. And “Third” he believes “we must deter conflict and be prepared to defeat foes globally by rebalancing our strategic risk”, as if deterrence worked well to prevent religious extremists from violently expressing themselves over the last few decades.
Mullen does later express the fact that military force is not sufficient to defeat terrorism but it appears his pre 9-11 thinking is more focused on the threat of China or Russia than the non state threats that actually put America’s future and our freedoms and prosperity at risk.

While he does mention the importance of increasing international cooperation US military force applications in most places have worked against such essential cooperation.
What our military needs is the moral force of protecting all human rights instead of focusing on our strategic interests.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

UCAV's are terror weapons.

While many Americans may still approve of the logic of Washington Times editorial views on targeted assassinations using CIA controlled “UCAVs”…which your paper even agrees are “true terror weapons” (“Judgment from the sky” editorial Jan. 15, 2009) it is a seriously flawed view that in the long run undermines our efforts to rid the world of terrorism.
Most serious policy makers have rightfully concluded that we cannot ‘kill’ our way to victory against terrorists. Terror is a ‘tactic’ used by the weak to overcome the conventional forces of their enemy. Our use of “real terror” demonstrates that we do not really believe that our most powerful ideal and force…the rule of law is too weak to defeat them. Worse yet, our waging ‘war’ against them only raises their status as legitimate forces on the global field of battle. In reality, they are illegitimate killers who use murder to terrorize their opponent. These killers are nothing more than murderers. Criminals of the worst sort. Criminals that blatantly disregard the sanctity of innocent life. By stooping to a level and accepts the loss of innocent life as ‘collateral damage’ we provide powerful ammunition to these murderers that they use recruiting more murders to their ranks.
Our war efforts could be reducing the number of terrorists but most intelligence analysis believe our war efforts are actually increasing their ranks. Either point is irrelevant given the fact that we will not eliminate all the terrorists before they acquire unprecedented destructive power from the exponential advances in technology, particularly biotechnology, and reek profound destruction on our lives, our nation, and our world view.
The Washington Times even agrees that “taking out senior leaders” vaporizes their “unique knowledge”, “surreptitious supporters” and other “irreplaceable…intangibles” necessary for their murderous acts to be effective. Unfortunately we also lose these valuable assets that could be used to role up entire terror networks while maintaining our own most valued asset, the legitimacy of the rule of law.
We may lose more of our brave soldiers in capturing such assets but they joined swearing to serve and defend the constitution. The same constitution that believed in laws instead of men as the only means to ensure freedom. Those who gave us the constitution were willing to sacrifice their lives. Our honorable military still exists for that reason.
We cannot out terrorize the terrorists and win. In the end God will pass judgment on us all. And we know what the Bible says about ‘those who live by the sword’. I don’t believe Christ wouldn’t approve of UCAV assassinations. We must summon the courage of our own convictions to defeat the murderers…not become like them.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Al Qaeda liked 2008

Dear Editor,
Harlan Ullman correctly summarizes 2008 as a “watershed year for Al Qaeda” (Washington Times 1-7-09). His list of the events and conditions that made it so however was incomplete. If we want Al Qaeda to have a bad year in 2009 and beyond we must recognize at least four factors that profoundly contribute favorably to Al Qaeda’s future.
The most powerful and troubling is the exponential growth of powerful and affordability dual use technologies (cyber, bio, nuclear and eventually nano and robotics). Al Qaeda will increasingly adapt these to its intention of mass destruction and disruption. And as Ullman observes “society’s unlimited fragilities and vulnerabilities”…”can never be fully protected or made fully secure against a few…committed jihadist”. Limiting global access to these technologies will only limit our own economic growth that is essential to maintaining our freedom and the wealth needed for maintaining other means of our own security.
The second factor is our brains limited capacity for understanding the significant of ‘exponential’ growth. Albert Einstein called it the most powerful force in the universe. When we combine this with the third factor, the limit of our existing ‘independent’ government to deal with the irreversible interdependence of increasingly hyper globalized and lawless world – the future is painfully clear. Chaos will rule.
The solution lies in overcoming our mental limitations and grasp the significance of exponential growth of powerful technologies and then clearly understanding the increasingly vital need for enforceable global standards, effective global intelligence gathering and a capable global response system that improves the lives of all people -- including Muslims -- instead of improving Al Qaeda’s recruiting propaganda. Such an effective ‘global’ capacity would require that we overcome another key factor aiding Al Qaeda. Our fear of world government. Government should be feared. Over the last 100 years governments have been responsible for wars that have killed over 100 million people -- and dozens of genocides that killed over 160 million of their own citizens. The only thing more destructive is global lawlessness that allow other powerful forces to run free – like pandemics. In the last 100 years smallpox alone killed over 300 million people. That disease was globally eradicated because every world government participated. If just one had not, smallpox would still be around today. Weaponized smallpox or other equally destructive WMD will be created if conditions in any nation fosters the hatred created by global injustice today. Al Qaeda like smallpox favors world chaos. A federated world government is the only effective antidote.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The math of greed.

The paragraphs below come from a writing by David Korten responding to the current global economic crisis. There is a silver lining to this crisis....the transformation of our context for living…

Speth quotes psychologist David Myers, whose essay "What Is the Good Life?" claims that Americans have:
big houses and broken homes, high incomes and low morale, secured rights and diminished civility. We were excelling at making a living but too often failing at making a life. We celebrated our prosperity but yearned for purpose. We cherished our freedoms but longed for connection. In an age of plenty, we were feeling spiritual hunger. These facts of life lead us to a startling conclusion: Our becoming better off materially has not made us better off psychologically.
This is consistent with studies finding that beyond a basic threshold level of about $10,000 per capita per year, equity and community are far more important determinants of health and happiness than income or possessions. Indeed, as Speth documents, economic growth tends to be associated with increases in individualism, social fragmentation, inequality, depression, and even impaired physical health.
Speth gives significant attention to social movements grounded in an awakening spiri-tual consciousness that are creating communities of the future from the bottom up, practicing participatory democracy, and demanding changes in the rules of the game:
Many of our deepest thinkers and many of those most familiar with the scale of the challenges we face have concluded that the transitions required can be achieved only in the context of what I will call the rise of a new consciousness. For some, it is a spiritual awakening-a transformation of the human heart. For others it is a more intellectual process of coming to see the world anew and deeply embracing the emerging ethic of the environment and the old ethic of what it means to love thy neighbor as thyself.

The article can be found at:

Welcome to the new year…