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.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Denial, Denial, Denial.



Everyone is in denial.  (Except perhaps the Pope?) The website “Organizing for Action” https://www.barackobama.com/climate-change-deniers/#/ lists conservative policy makers who believe climate change isn’t real.  But most liberals and conservatives alike remain in deep denial about a far greater threat to our security, prosperity, freedoms and our children’s future.  They continue to believe that independent nations using independent agencies and policies are capable of resolving entirely irreversible global interdependent problems with unenforceable treaties and agreements.
From migrants flooding out of Syria or Africa into Europe, or from Central America into the southern border of the US, some believe fences can hold back the rising tide caused by increasing economic, environmental, political, or ethnic instability.  Others believe we just need to find places for them all to go until things settle down.  That’s not going to happen anytime soon and most nations are already economically and ethnically stressed.  How easy we forget that it was an environmental pressure (3 year drought) that sparked a mass migration into Syrian cities where the existing regime was unable to cope with their needs or their frustration.  It may not be overreach to suggest we are witnessing a global migratory domino effect.
From WMD proliferation in the Middle-East to poverty or pollutants proliferating as a result of unregulated global capitalism policy makers are increasingly referring to ‘comprehensive’ policies or ‘whole of government’ approaches to addressing the increasing chaos governments are facing.  Unfortunately, they are unwilling to look to the ‘whole of world’ approach that is needed to comprehensively prevent or respond to the continued (and some would say – worsening) chaos.
The other major persistent hot topic besides climate change has been the Iran nuclear deal.  One side is in denial about the incapacity of the US government (with or without Presidential approval) to dictate to Iran what Iranian leaders can and cannot do regarding their goal of becoming a nuclear power -- without starting another war.  A war Americans can neither afford or win without committing mass murder ourselves.  The other side is in total denial about Iran’s capacity to secretly develop or buy a nuclear weapon.  Most people have easily forgotten how easily Iranians captured without physical damage our most sophisticated surveillance drone.  Both US political sides are in denial believing their path will bring increased security in a world flooded with increasing access to unimaginably powerful biological, cyber or even conventional weapons.  Is a nuclear bomb really necessary to bring chaos to US shores?  An oil tanker fully loaded with a mix of fuel oil and fertilizer-and wired like Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City truck bomb could cause a nuclear sized devastation without any radioactivity.  Now imagine one or more detonating simultaneously in two or more major US ports. Or a simple drone with infectious biological agents.
Nearly everyone is in denial about the unavoidable global consequences of this accelerating evolution of weaponry produced by the exponential growth of technology.  Every technology can increasingly be used for unprecedented good (vaccines to prevent Cancer or AIDS) or biological weapons that could target specific ethnic/genetic profiles or mass murder millions with Ebola like symptoms.  Bio, cyber, nano, chem, and robotic technologies are increasingly affordable and ubiquitous ensuring universal possession of WMD by anyone with a moderate bank account, average IQ and a real or imagined grievance.
Conservative GOP candidates are in denial believing US national security will be best assured by returning to a pre-9-11 mentality of “peace through strength”.  Some have stated  all we need to do to defeat ISIS is “Crush them”.  How will massive military power stop a biological attack?  A scud in a tub EMP event?  A cyber attack on our financial, energy or transportation infrastructure?  The collapse of the US dollar from our excessive military spending while skimping on the renewal of our infrastructure which is key to our economic growth?
Liberals are in equal denial believing we can achieve real security by waging peace through disarming fearful nations using diplomacy, sanctions (which can be more lethal than war and even start wars) or relying on unenforceable treaties.  ‘Love is the answer’ isn’t going to work with ISIS.  We can only trust them to keep doing what they are doing – trying to draw us into another war.  A move the 9-11 attackers were hoping for in their drive to break us economically and divide us politically.  We didn’t need help with either goal but the attacks on 9-11 lit a match. 
I’m a bleeding heart liberal.  The most exciting advocacy movement I’m aware of (the Pachamama Alliance) is effectively inspiring people around the world “to bring forth a thriving, just and sustainable world.”  But, here in the US they are directing inspired souls to activate their citizenship to join a constitutional amendment campaign to remove money out of our electoral system.  Good idea.  But they seem to be in denial about the power of getting more caring people involved in voting and empowering them in educating their elected official once they are in office.  For every dollar donated to a politicians campaign corporations spend forty or more dollars lobbying them in office.  Other Pachamama graduates are encouraged to lobby for a carbon tax.  Again, good idea!  But even if passed it would have negligible impact on reducing CO2 emissions if other non-democratic nations like China can easily undo whatever good the US legislation achieves. This small but inspired movement understands the need for systemic change but falls short of walking it’s informed and inspired talk by avoiding any real change to the dysfunctional nation state system.
Both US political parties are looking seriously for a personality they prefer for their 2016 savior.  Neither seems to realize that even if their favorite wins, and their party captures both the House and the Senate, and then goes on to pass every law they have ever dreamed of, our government will still be powerless to stop the global lawlessness increasing as a result of every other sovereign nation (or corrupt leader) looking out first, for its own economic interest.  In this ‘international system’ there is no global means of holding the nation or its leaders responsible for wars, genocides, pandemics or catastrophic environmental conditions they may initiate.
There is one other organization with promise.  The Citizens for Global Solutions.  Formerly the World Federalist Association, this new name intended to avoid any real talk about real global solutions and press on with business as usual, favoring or opposing unaffordable international treaties and agreements and paper strong demands for human rights.  Even CGS’s renegade anemic vestige, the World Federalist Institute, can’t decide if it wants to face the global reality, independent nations and policies cannot deal effectively with interdependent problems relying solely on unenforceable means.  World federation advocates within CGS are seen as naïve thinking there is any possibility of creating a world police force for taking on ISIS or world leaders who mass murder using chemical weapons.  Looking at the conditions in Syria or their domino effect reaching around the world it would seem naïve to think we will get a different result by doing the same thing.  Again, deep denial.  
If ‘we the people’ of the US, the world and key organizations can be awakened we will be face to face with three basic options of responding to this cascading global chaos that is increasingly threatening our security, freedoms, prosperity and posterity.
First, we can keep on doing the same thing thinking it will turn our different.  In which case this would be called ‘insane’ have moved way past denial.
Second, we can chose to follow the fundamental teachings of the Bible, the Torah, the Quran and other wise spiritual texts urging us to love one another, take care of one another, forgive our enemies, and take care of God’s creation. And then pray like hell everyone else does (and believes) the same.   
Or, we can follow the wisdom of our nation’s Founding Fathers and the wisest of our ‘greatest generation’ that created the UN after the horrors of the last World War.  In which case we would transform our current UN confederation into a democratic world federation.  No need to panic on how such a federation would be created or structured.  A mass of details and rational, reasonable plans can be found in one relatively recent publication, Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World:  By Joe Schwartzberg.  And if this book doesn’t float your boat, there are many others by equally brilliant authors.


What they are calling for, is a world government where the ‘rule of law’ effectively replaces the law of force.  A global rule of law that effectively puts the protection of human rights above the rights of states to wage war, genocide or other mass murder ventures.  It would be like our 50 state federal system with a constitution that limits the powers of government.   And it’s constitutional backbone would be a global bill of rights, like those inalienable human rights that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped scrip into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (unanimously passed in 1948)  that essentially acknowledges our global interdependence.  Effectively enforced globally, these rights would prevent most of the threats we face today and enable us to respond far more effectively to the horrors we cannot now prevent. 
I’m in denial believing any of this will make any significant difference in the hearts and minds of those who wield money and power in this increasingly troubled and lawless world.  This should be surprising given that such a revised global political environment would benefit business, people in power and all the world’s souls.
I’ve almost given up believing that my liberal compatriots who are feverishly working for a world we all know is possible will step back from their singular priority of ending hunger, improving literacy, waging peace, fighting racism, or campaigning for their favorite candidate and take a truly comprehensive approach to ensuring life, liberty and justice for all.   It’s most disheartening to witness even the most intelligent people with deeply committed souls can be so persistently hard headed.

When the Pope comes to town people should listen closely to his message.  He seems to be one of the few who is not in denial about the world ahead us all.  He calls for each of us to follow the basic teaching of our faiths or worldly beliefs.  He urges us to protect and restore God’s creation.  He calls for a world government that would put real power into the protection of human rights.
I chose to remain in denial believing that he could actually make that difference.  This planet and our experimental species has never been blessed with so much wealth, science and technology, power and genius ideas for three things.
1.      Meeting and joyously surpassing the most basic needs of all humanity,
2.      Democratically create and approve a global justice system, and
3.      Restoring our planets ecosystems which are also our own life support system.
If not now, when?  If not us, who?  If not the global rule of law, what?

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