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, February 28, 2016

Apple vs FBI: Open source data is the answer!

Cell phones verses terrorist cells?  The most powerful information has always been open source.
There is only one number you need to know to determine why encrypted devises and those who want them, will win this legal battle between the FBI and Apple.  And it doesn’t matter what that number is as long as it’s more than ‘one’.
The fact is even if the FBI, CIA and NSA win every Supreme Court case to open encrypted devises in their quest to detect terrorist cells before they strike, there are over 500 devices/programs offering encryption by foreign companies -- where US courts have no jurisdiction.

And the Apple phone can easily use a foreign encryption app that our Supreme Court has no juridiction over.

It appears computer encryption will always be ahead of those who want to break encryption, even if there were a world law forcing companies to do so.  Why?  Because an app can be created and distributed in someone's car using a cell phone, with virtually no possiblity of being caught in the act.

Unless someone creates a ‘truth machine’,  a scenario explored in a late 1990s science fiction novel by the same name, there is only one effective means of preventing future terrorist attacks.  Stop making terrorists!  Not just religious extremists, but extremist of any kind (environmental, racist, political, economic…).  
Given the exponential growth of potential WMD capability of any nation, group, or highly motivated individual – combined with the large number of human vulnerabilities, and the increasing complexity of our world (which makes it increasingly vulnerable to disruption) we must finally accept what we have been told repeatedly by our religious prophets, genius scientists, moral lawyers, political philosophers, prized generals, and wisest souls.  
Love your enemy; we are all interconnected;  pledge life, liberty and justice for all; combine love with power; chose the rule of law instead the law of force; advance education for all; and, united we stand - divided we all fall.
These are not just national, spiritual or global ideals.  They are profoundly selfish rules to follow.  Without them, no level of armaments or grandiose efforts at disarmament will keep us safe from mass murders who have revenge burning in their hearts or warped ideologies polluting their minds.
Maximizing humanities freedoms and security will never be a function of armaments, disarmament, or computer encryption.  It is a function of ensuring global justice for everyone.   But only if justice is defined as the global enforcement of an obvious set of inalienable human rights, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.   Only then will humanity experience real peace for the first time instead of intermittent periods of economic suffering while nations reload.  
And, there will always be other threats to our security besides violent people or nations.  Some of these threats are even more deadly than war, like pandemics, natural disasters, or unearthly events.  But a global government, created 'of, for and by' ‘we the people’, with the primary function of protecting our inalienable human rights, will also yield our best chance of preventing these, as well as recovering from those we cannot prevent. 
And, with this global justice system we have the possibility that our species “shall not perish from the earth” or even our solar system. 
I believe artificial intelligence will figure this out soon.  I'm just hoping it will be before super human denial does us in.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

From root causes to grass roots: It's self-evident. Happy Birthday Jake.

Any honest evaluation of nearly every earthly problem facing humanity today; from violent extremism to global warming to budget deficits – would come to the conclusion that is our collective failure to respect the value of fundamental human rights and their enforcement globally is at cause.  There is overwhelming evidence that the protection of human rights is the foundation for preventing costly reactions to many problems we’ve always had solutions for.   But that isn’t ‘the’ root cause.
The persistent global violation of human rights is easily overlooked because of a deeper root cause -- our automatically learned allegiance to a specific nationality, tribe, or religion.  It is a primal allegiance that is usually a function of where we were born, instead of a conscious decision driven by genetics, love or logic.
While there is no way to prove that the global protection of human rights would prevent most of the threats we see today (other than just trying it), this ideal was a global agreement 70 years ago shortly after the unprecedented horrors World War II.  It was the unanimous passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that intended to prevent future wars and protect future generations from other lethal and/or dehumanizing scourges that were self-evident then.   It should be self-evident now, that it was the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in our own Constitution that allowed the creation of our federated nation in the first place.  And, it was failure of the framers of our Constitution to apply it to all people within our nation that lead to the bloodiest war we Americans had ever engaged in.
It’s arguable but highly probable that if the world had made this profound document enforceable after WWII and created the global structures/institutions capable of its enforcement globally then as well, from that time forward, we would not see the level or acceleration of terrorism, pandemics, hunger, population growth, pollution, poverty, war, weapons proliferation, species extinction, refugees, and corruption … that we see today. 
No doubt, we would still have problems.  Problems are a function of life - with or without others around us.   Humans have always devised social contracts among us to limit and address these problems.  Today we call these social contracts ‘government’.   There should be no doubt that it is the absence of such a social contract on the global level that is yielding us the ungoverned world of chaos we see today -- a world teaming with problems that appear unmanageable, interconnected and posing a growing threat to our freedoms and security at every level (individual, national and global).  Some problems even threaten the survival of our species.  But this absence of a world constitution and enforceable global bill of rights is not the deepest root cause of our problems.
Seeking the primary reason that ‘we the people’ of the world have resisted this global transformation in human relations is our own fault.  We have left this key decision (by default or by force) to national rulers who without exception enforce national sovereignty as the highest priority on earth.  They claim nations as the ultimate source of sovereignty –  and ‘we the people’ have allowed it.    The root cause of this dominance of nation states over universal human rights is based on an mental illusion that they and we are independent.  Independence is a prized human concept that is nothing but a mental construct that has no relationship to the real world in which we all live and depend on for our sustenance.
There is a single word that best overrides this faulted global perspective.   Justice.   And, only one system that best delivers it - the Rule of Law.  Not, the law of force or the ‘rule by law’ where people are forced to follow arbitrary laws that serves those in power.  The Chinese people are dominated under China’s laws.  The Saudi people are dominated by Saudi laws.  Many Muslims are brutally dominated under ISIS extreme version of Sharia Law.  Each of these entities have enforceable laws, but their laws lack justice.  They have little to no respect for inalienable rights or fundamental human freedoms.  Their laws may temporarily reduce the instability and chaos their people have experience in the past. But their security won’t last.  Not when ensuring their immediate security violates fundamental universal freedoms of others, to life, liberty and justice for all.
The security threats that all nations face today have a direct and deleterious effect on individual rights and freedoms.  What all people have in common is a primal desire for maximum freedom and security.   If we intended on making our lives better and spiritually fulfilling and then passing this ideal state of existence on to future generations something needs to change.  And fast.
Change in our existing unsustainable paradigm will happen.  It will either come from the immense pain of yet more genocides, pandemics, extreme weather conditions, wars or uniquely catastrophic events -- or from political pressure by we the people.   We can no longer rely on the wisdom of our elected official or dictators to make this inevitable change.     
Thus, the only sane and effective means of change will be from the bottom up  -- a grassroots movement informing, inspiring and mobilizing the will of policy makers.  And time is not on our side --doing so before the elections in November should be self-evident.  But even more important will be keeping up the pressure for change once they enter office in 2017 and beyond.  Starting now will give us a critical leg up as those elected politicians enter their new terms.
In the past, American’s have largely sat idly by while elected policy makers rig the current system to the advantage of special interests between elections.  As long as we were comfortable, felt safe, and had confidence in our children’s future being better than ours, we were happy with ‘politics as usual’.  But politics that legally corrupted our social contract to will of moneyed interests.  But these special interests, no matter how wealthy or connected, cannot stand up to the will of ‘we the people” if we are organized, educated and properly using the political system our founding fathers created for us.  
After 9-11 experts talked a lot about ‘connecting the dots’.  As a result, many of the silos between independent US government agencies disappeared.  They failed to see that national borders are also silos that stand as barriers to effectively addressing the global threats we face today.  Experts on global warming are increasingly referring to the dangerous consequences we can expect from the disruption of the ‘web of life’.  Serious disruptions easily predictable as a result of rising global temperatures such as increases in infectious diseases, refugees, extreme weather conditions, and reductions in food production, national security and economic growth.  Connecting all the dots we begin to  see the web’ of life.
Regardless of any public policy there has always been only one universal constant, ‘things change’.   The most important and immediate question facing humanity and our relationship to government now is, “can we?”
Connect the dots.  See the Web.  Things change!  Can we?

It should be self-evident that a livable planet will be the best gift we can give to future generations.  Happy Birthday Jake.