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, December 25, 2015

China role essentail in saving "The Martian".

Suzanne Fields’ memory of the sci-fi blockbuster movie “The Martian” missed some significant realities of the actual movie (“The challenge to get to Mars and Back”, 12-24-2015).  Her desire to highlight “the value of studying science and math” in solving our national and global problems is admirable, but somehow she missed another vital element essential in to resolving these problems.  The need for human cooperation internationally.    Fields’ failure to mention the role that the Chinese government’s space program played in the rescue effort of our nation’s stranded astronaut may be evidence of her seeing the world through red, white and blue tinted glasses.  But in reality, as in this fictional movie, we will need global cooperation to address both earthly and heavenly threats to our security.  That’s a scientific reality.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

International law is a fairytale.

International law is a fairytale.  It reads good and feels good, but changes nothing.
Legacy or Bust, Washington Post Opinion writer , 2015
Mr. Krauthammer said, even NASA retired scientist “James Hanson, America’s leading carbon abolitionist, indelicately called the whole [Paris Climate deal] ‘bulls---‘”.   He chided “Obama’s other great triumph, the Iran nuclear accord…[that] the Iranian parliament has never approved…that the Iranian president has never signed…not legally bound to anything.”   Then mentions the two likely violations of that agreement that were essentially immune to the “administration’s promise of ‘snapback’ sanctions”.    UN Ambassador Samantha Power stated in a congressional hearing the prior week that “discussions are a form of UN action”.  This was our nation’s response to “Iran’s first illegal launch in October” testing “a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in direct contravention of two UN Security Council prohibitions.”  There was another launch “on November 21”.
Mr. Krauthammer’s two examples of Obama’s foreign policy successes are ultimately failures because they have no real mechanism for becoming reality.  In fact no treaty or international agreement, constitutional or not, is bound by any means of just or fair enforcement other than war or sanctions.  Even the threat of war or sanctions (with sanctions often more deadly than war – or sparking a war), is usually the first option.
Krauthammer concludes “fictional agreements” do not bind “proliferators and polluters”.  But in the current world of international law no agreement binds any nation.  And those leaders responsible for breaking the agreements are rarely if ever held accountable.  Not even for ordering mass murder using chemical weapons or barrel bombs.   And if any attempt is made to hold leaders accountable, it is the people of the nations in disagreement that will pay the price in blood and/or treasure.   

 The irony is that Mr. Krauthammer would be one of the first fools manning the national sovereignty ramparts in opposition to any transformation of our intentionally lawless and increasingly unjust international system.  
If he or anyone else were interested in taking the first steps in reforming this consistently failing international lawless system, they need look no further than a report released this summer by the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance.  It offers 85 recommendations to put us on the path to increasing security at every level (personal, national and global).
If the world community of nations doesn’t find an alternative non-violent means of resolving disputes, the global chaos we are witnessing now will only accelerate.  The exponential growth in increasingly powerful dual-use technologies means more and more nations, groups and individuals will gain unprecedented access to horrifically powerful means of mass destruction or disruption.
This is no fairytale.  Our time is running out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

GOP Debates on Bill of Rights Day: December 15, 2015

If you listened to the GOP debates tonight there were many rational things they said that almost anyone could agree with regarding the threats we face.  Unfortunately, they consistently missed the one key element that is needed to keep American’s safe and secure, and vital to our own Bill of Rights.
They unanimously believed our nation’s security depends on controlling our borders and increased military spending.  But, our military is already larger than the next seven largest militaries in the world combined…and 5 of those nations are our allies.  And, no wall or abundance of military spending can protect us against a bioterrorist or cyber-attack, or a natural pandemic, any of which could kill more Americans than a nuclear detonation.
Some believe that declaring war and waging a massive campaign against ISIS will make us more secure.  It would likely rid us of ISIS but it won’t rid us of those who hate us because the collateral damage such a war would cause.  And those people know where we live.  Some even live among us and are not afraid to continue the fight.  And others still have plenty of ungoverned spaces in the world to gather and plan their next mass murder of Americans.
Some GOP leaders are comfortable sacrificing some of our Constitutional freedoms to protect American lives, declaring that protecting American lives will be their highest priority upon entering office.   Are they unaware of the oath they must swear to upon entering that powerful office?   That their highest priority as President is to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” and not American lives.  Their pledge to declare war would be another violation of that oath.  Declaring war is a function of Congress, not the Presidency.   
Two candidates said the most important element of security is leadership.  But many leaders have taken bold actions they believed were essential to our national security -- only laying the foundation for more insecurity.
Not a single candidate mentioned the conclusion of a prestigious report released this summer by the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance.  Former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari Co-chaired the Commission’s report titled “Confronting the Crisis on Global Governance”. 
This detailed report clearly documents the one element essential to achieving security on every level (personal, national or global).  It is the need for justice.   Perhaps the candidates have never seen the words Inscribed above the entrance to the US Dept. of Justice in Washington DC. 

Justice is the great interest of man on earth.
Wherever her temple stands, there is a foundation for social security, general happiness and the improvement and progress of our race.

Or heard the words of former Republican President Richard Nixon.  “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.   And moderation in the defense of justice is no virtue.”

Donald Trump has certainly cornered the market on both un-American and unconstitutional proposals.  It was just hard to believe that not a single GOP candidate even mention the word justice.