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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

GOP Debate misses fundamental issue. Our Government isn't just broke. It's broken.

Our Federation is in crisis.

In 364 days American voters will get the chance to choose our nation’s next President.  As usual, nearly half will not vote (the US is now 120th in the world for average voter turnout – well below Tunisia, Yemen and Iran).   These ‘not political’ players have several reasons for not casting a vote, and few care that not voting is actually a vote ‘in favor’ of  the status quo. 
But, just doing the math, they figure their one vote in 150 million doesn’t really matter.  So why bother?  And, while it can certainly boost one’s pride (stepping out of voting booth, even knowing your favorite might lose) having done your civic duty, it is astronomically remote that your vote will make any difference outside of your own emotions.  Some know the Constitution’s electoral college system effectively cancels every vote for the most important person in our land.
Some potential voters have become so jaded by their party, or disgusted by dirty politics, they rationalize ‘why bother?  It only encourages them!  Then there are the spoilers who know their favorite independent candidate won’t win, yet cast a vote for them simply out of principle.  And now, with so-called ‘independent’ voters out numbering voters in both major party’s independent voters could actually be a game-changer.  But only if a truly independent candidate appeared with enough appeal to draw independents who have defected from the extremes or moderations of both parties. Don’t hold your breath.
But there is one other increasingly valid and monstrous reason why voting for any Presidential candidate is a farce.  Our federal government is not only dysfunctional.  It is fundamentally, broken and even fatally flawed. 
Dysfunctional?  It goes beyond the extremist party’s refusal to compromise, and the lack of civility between parties.  A recent survey of US national security experts were asked to rank the top threats to our National Security.  They put “government dysfunction” second only to terrorism.  Russia, China, Climate change, North Korea, Cyber attacks…all less threatening.
Broken?   Some have claimed that since 9-11 the US Constitution has become a suicide pact.  Keeping Americans safe from another mass casualty terrorist attack or even a series of smaller mass murders, is no longer deemed possible without infringing on our prized Bill of Rights.  Even Obama’s recent decision to put 50 special forces troops into Syria is a violation of our Constitution and international law. But how else can he demonstrate a commitment to fighting ISIS and/or gain a negotiating lever in dealing with Russia and Iran in ridding Syria of Assad?
Lethally flawed:  The monstrous reality is that the US government, regardless of who is President, or how much money it spends on the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, the NSA or CIA it is incapable of stopping or preventing some increasingly likely (some say inevitable) catastrophic consequences that will come from beyond our borders.  Or even some of those within.
A pandemic?  A flu strain comparable to the Spanish flu that killed nearly 500,000 Americans during World War I.  A comparable virus today could kill several million healthy and productive Americans and destroy an already sluggish economy.
Collapse of our Electrical Grid:  For a society dependent upon communications, refrigeration, lighting, and electrical security systems the US is immediately vulnerable to solar flares, nuclear Electro Magnetic Pulse Events, cyber destruction of our electrical grid, or covert conventional attacks on multiple power stations. A commission studying this issues predicts that a worse case scenario could result in the deaths of up to 200 million Americans in a year.  Those who study the sun, believe there is a 10 percent chance that in the next ten years the US will take a serious hit by a coronal ejection that could take out some of our electrical grid or communication satellites.
A bioweapons attack or accident. An intentional or accidental release of weaponized smallpox would change civilized life on earth as we know it.  Natural small pox had a 3% kill rate and killed more people in the last century than all the wars and revolutions combined.  Weaponized smallpox was designed to kill over 90% of those infected.  Other bioengineered pathogens are plentiful and increasingly easy to manufacture…and very difficult to control.
A cyberattack on our financial system could send the world into a recession that would make 2008 look like a cake walk.
And continued CO2 emissions are moving us into a world of historically unprecedented climate chaos and weather extremes that will have a variety of national security impacts from floods, to floods of refugees, to the spread of deadly diseases. The Syrian civil war was sparked by protests of hungry farmers in Damascus who had left their farms due to a 4 year draught that left them hungry and poor.
The one thing all of these interdependent threats have in common is the incapacity of any one nation, let alone any one person, to stop them from catastrophic consequences on our nation and most Americans.
The Millennial generation is shifting conventional wisdom on political engagement. They are more skeptical of institutions and less likely to identify with political parties but they are also more progressive then previous generations.
Unless the Baby Boomers and Millennials discover the value of effective global institutions, and even more important, the need for these institutions to focus on the global protection of human rights, humanity will face these and other increasing threats to our freedoms, security, prosperity, and most important our sustainability.
So no need to get all wrapped up in the 2016 US Presidential election….unless you find one individual willing to tell the American people the truth.  They won’t be able to handle the truth…but at least you have voted your conscious and did what was needed.


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