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Chuck W.

Dec 4: Surviving the Evolution of War and Weaponry

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For years we have lunged from crisis to crisis, reacting to what just occurred instead of planning for the next outbreak or attack. Instead of being reactionary, we must be pro-active with a new approach.  Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Solving our existing problems while preventing new ones requires a different approach.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. –Albert Einstein  

The evolution of weaponry has changed everything about war.  It should be abolished for one simple reason.  There can no longer be any winners.  And anyone who survives won’t consider themselves the lucky ones.

Summary: Everything in our bodies, houses, cities, nation and world consist of, and relies on, physical systems and structures that are engineered and maintained by following fundamental principles or the laws of nature.These systems and structures tend to function reliably well for extended periods of time and we too often take them for granted.

The human mind residing within one structure (our brain) can be considered a physical ‘thing’ because it is entirely dependent upon most other body systems and structures working reasonably well.  And all of our bodies systems and structures likewise rely on a variety of both human engineered and natural systems and structures immediately around our bodies.

By Chuck Woolery, Activist (not TV Host)   

Below are 25 relatively new factors, mostly a product of unprecedented advances in technology running into profound stagnation in government systems and structures that by their design are virtually incapable of responding effectively – yet remain resistant to change.

Maximizing human freedoms and security for the long run — is no longer (if it ever really was) a function of weaponry or disarmament.   Achieving sustainable ‘life, liberty and justice for all’ will be a function of acknowledging the changes below and then changing our government systems and structures to effectively address them.  

“A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.” –Aldous Huxley –

If Huxley were alive today I believe the trends/factors below would lead him to predict that ‘No country can survive the use of war as a problem solving system.  Given the modern advancements in relatively affordable, globally ubiquitous, and increasingly powerful dual-use technologies the capacity for mass murder and crashing any technologically dependent civilization is available to almost anyone with a serious grievance and access to a car, a bio lab, or a computer’.

Five overlapping trend lines intensifying increased chaos.

  1. Exponential growth of technology.
  2. Linear human thinking. .  
  3. Flat lined government change.
  4. Deteriorating political collaboration.  
  5. Existing ‘independent’ government systems incapable of solving globally interdependent problems.   Together these five persistent factors accelerate global chaos by preventing effective national or global response systems that are actually capable of preventing global threats, or fully recovering from events that cannot be prevented.  

Eight threat categories:  

  1. Human violence (war, terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, assassinations, unintentional ;
  2. Economic (Immigration/refugees, hunger, starvation, sanctions, trade war, recession, cyber incident, depression/recession, collapse of economic system;
  3. Environmental (global warming, species extinction, declining health of oceans and soils; 
  4. Biosecurity (new and re-emerging infectious diseases, pandemics, bioterrorism, loss of antibiotic arsenal, bio security accidents;
  5. Technology:  Artificial intelligence, Deep fakes, cloning.  Robotics. Anonymous weaponry; 
  6. Crime: (cyber, drug cartels, pirating, kidnapping, human trafficking, corruption, prostitution, small arms sales, WMD proliferation;
  7. Natural Disaster (volcanic eruptions (Yellowstone), earth quakes/tsunamis, Carrington effect, asteroids;  
  8. Human Cognitive dysfunction:  Capacity to believe anything regardless of contrary evidence.  Tribalism.  Greed and selfishness. 

Hybrid threats:

The threat assessments listed above are usually considered independent of the other factors.   But reality blends threats.  

  • A pandemic could spark an economic collapse.
  • An economic collapse could spark a war or a pandemic.  An international crime or terrorist attack could spark a WMD event or a war.  

See “The Dark side of globalization” (Washington Post) by James Stavridis, former Supreme allied commander at NATO 2009 to 2013,

What kept him up a night was the “convergence” of the dual-use nature of materials to develop WMDs, international crime, and terrorism

  • Evolution of weaponry: The destructive capacity and lethality of modern weapons is beyond our mental capacity to grasp.  Drone swarms, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, nano explosives, lasers, hypersonic projectiles…IEDs and WMD proliferation…  Nuclear weapons are the best-known threat, but not the only threat, or the most likely to be used.  Fortunately, nuclear weapons may be the only weapons technology that is increasingly easier to detect. (see ‘factor P.).
  • Dual-Use Technology:  Every technology can be used for good or bad, unprecedented benefit or unimaginable harm.  We cannot have one without the other.  Disarmament is no longer a credible, affordable, or even a peaceful option. Nearly all technologies are becoming cheaper, easier to use, powerful, ubiquitous, and some – anonymous.
  • Increasingly anonymous technology:  Increasingly stifles deterrence (a former ‘peace’ enhancing factor).
  • Increasingly complex technology increases vulnerabilities and exacerbates chaos:  As complexity increases in computer hardware/software, cars and other forms of transportation, communication, banking, energy production, sensors, robotics, weaponry, and medicines — we know less as individuals about how they work.  We know even less about how they may react to, or interact with, other new factors.  Increased complexity usually comes with increased vulnerability.  Thus our advanced civilization being increasingly dependent on these technologies becomes more vulnerable and dependent on those who actually know how to fix them.  Not all fixers will have our welfare in mind.   As the efficiency of complex things improve, we grow increasingly impatient with breakdowns and lag time in fixing them. And, our government officials become increasingly burdened trying to anticipate, prevent, or respond to regulating or mitigating such factors.
  • Our increasing dependence on increasingly complex systems increases our need for artificial intelligence…. Itself a concern to some regarding human survival.
  • Procurement system complications:  Weapons usually take seven to 12 years from concept to battle field application.  Key technologies within these systems however can become obsolete after one or two years. This forces cost overruns, delays, and reducing overall effectiveness against newer, simpler, cheaper weapons.  Imagine tiny, easy and cheap to manufacture drone swarms defeating our most sophisticated and costly weapons systems, like the F-35, before it gets off the runway. 

  • Offensive advantage over defenses:  First strike now has the overwhelming advantage.  Especially in free, open, and trusting societies.  This motivates more offensive actions (terrorism) which motivates greater intrusive surveillance in society.   This factor also accelerates the ‘use them or lose them’ mentality accelerating ‘preemptive’ doctrine. 
  • Replicable weapons:  Traditional weapons were used up when they were used (bullets, missiles, tanks). Now some weapon types (bio, cyber, nano, robotics…) can replicate themselves. Some like bio and cyber do so with little to no additional economic or materials cost.  Consider 3-D or 4-D printing and its exponentially affordable destructive capacity. 
  • Cost and complexity of advanced weapons systems are increasing while cost and complexity of improvised offensive technologies are decreasing (think IEDs, cyber, drones…). War is NOT economically sustainable even by the richest nations.  A primary goal of Osama Bin Laden was to “Break us economically” (as if we needed help).  We must find new strategies/tactics that do NOT rely on expensive military force(s).
  • Super powered individuals:  Advancements in technology make individuals increasingly powerful. Which makes super power nations increasingly more vulnerable.  Trying to detect these individuals prior to their destructive actions requires rapid and increasingly invasive procedures that most people do not like and some will violently reject.  Investing in an environment where few people have the desire to destroy, and more people have the willingness to stop them, seems to be a wiser pathway.  
  • Corporate development of technologies:  The capacity to buy or abuse technologies cannot be controlled after they are sold on the global market.  Corporate priority to generate profits for shareholders often takes priority over national priorities or the protection of human rights.  Both US military and intelligence agencies are increasingly dependent upon private contractors blending into their operations. Secrecy becomes more difficult given the increasing international/global nature of corporations. The most recent example of this is US intelligence agencies working with Silcom valley behemoths with tens of thousand of employees who may have prosperity instead of patriotism in their heart.
  • Fungible weapons.  Weapons sold to one group or nation cannot be controlled when alliances change, those nations/groups are defeated in war, or are rife with poverty, corruption, or disloyal patriots. 
  • Technological advances effect 4 treaty categories differently:  There are four basic treaty types:  Arms control, Economic, Environment, and Human Rights.  In general, Tech advances are making it more difficult to detect violations in arms control and economic treaties. But the same tech advances are making it easier to detect and track violations in human rights and environmental treaties.  Given the urgency, limited time, and scarce financial resources — it seems prudent to invest most heavily in supporting enforceable human rights and environmental efforts — and backing away from disarmament or economic control efforts that could potentially lead to war (Iraq, Iran, N. Korea…).
  • Democracy in decline:  Many democracies allied with the West have slipped into authoritarianism, including Thailand, the Philippines, and Turkey.  Nations that briefly flirted with greater openness, such as Egypt, Bahrain, and Malaysia, have decided democracy is too dangerous and have cracked down on dissents. Freedom House, a nonpartisan organization, says the level of freedom has declined in 105 countries over the past decade and advanced in just 61. Real or imagined cyber threats to elections.   Freedom house reported in early 2015 “a disturbing decline in global freedom in 2014,” the ninth straight year in which the organization has documented democratic back-sliding. The US spearheaded a democratic wave to oppose the Soviet Union but after Sept. 11, 2001 reverted to supporting dictatorships to defeat religious extremism. Efforts to democratize Afghanistan and Iraq have failed.  One might question if democracy really has universal appeal. Even US democracy has suffered under virtually unrestrained campaign financing, a constipated Congress, repressed voting, depressed voters, divided parties, economic inequality, and the national hypocrisy of starting wars, torture, assassinations by drone, minority profiling, and erosion of privacy.  Even the Arab Spring devolved into sectarian violence and/or authoritarian leaders. Even the great EU experiment is now threatened by economic inequalities, Islamic extremists, refugees, Russian belligerence, and nationalistic politics.  Last but not least the rise of China and the election of Donald Trump.
  • Freedom/human rights in decline: Fred Hiatt says in recent years, “the leading authoritarian powers of the world—China, Russia, and Iran—have tightened the screws at home while becoming far more aggressive beyond their boundaries.” They’ve turned the internet into “a weapon of control and chaos,” smothered free speech, and “formed a loose dictatorships’ alliance, working together to undermine and discredit the principles of liberal economics and individual rights.” 
  • Objective truth is in decline:  Both liberal and conservative intellectuals discount everything reported in “the mainstream media” while conspiracy theorists on both sides help destroy the concept of objective knowable facts.  We increasingly distrust media gate keepers, polls, scientific studies or school book history.  No fix is in sight and the inevitable evolution of deep fakes suggest its going to get much worse.
  • Militarized police.  Increased likelihood of collateral damage, accidents, community violence in resistance to police operations.  Excess military tools provided to local police departments, particularly those coming up against drug gangs with money and motive to buy the most powerful weapons it can find.  And even profit from reselling them to anyone with the money.  
  • Problems are increasingly systemic – not direct.  Independent nations and agencies are incapable of addressing global or even national systemic problems.  ‘War’ is viewed as a direct problem but is in fact a systemic problem that weapons and government bureaucracy cannot resolve without a just justice system.
  • Bureaucratic systems:   Bureaucratic weapons procurement procedures and burdensome regulations and safety measures in weapons technology development cannot keep pace with terrorist’s capacity to adapt to each new technology, weapon system, policy strategy, or military tactic.    Personal empowerment technologies like the smart phone and the laptop can rapidly undermine a bureaucratic system.  Osama bin Laden used laptops and cellphones to guide a worldwide movement with no massive headquarters, virtually no paperwork, no military, and little bureaucracy.   ISIS and the Taliban continue to prove in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Mali that they can flex and mutate rapidly compared to the bureaucracy-bound Western coalition forces which can take months or years to agree on a ‘winning’ strategy or a new weapons system.  Al-Qaeda achieved military miracles by shredding bureaucracy.  Former CIA chief Michael Hayden said Al Qaeda is “a determined, adaptive enemy, unlike any our nation has ever faced.” When we raided al-Qaeda’s stronghold we found the secret—laptops and cellphones.  Bureaucracy drives up the costs and kills the flexibility in war fighting- as well as other key areas directly and indirectly related to national security.  Like health care, the justice system, corporate controls, education, and trade/travel.  Bureaucracy is too often painfully unresponsive to human needs — which compete financially with traditional national security expenditures.
  • Weaponization of Space: Satellite killers, proliferation of space junk, the Kessler Syndrome, and now a US Space force.
  • Peace is not the answer:  Most people say they want world peace.  But what they really want is to maximize their individual freedoms, security, and prosperity.   Maximizing freedom and security in an irreversibly interdependent world will require ‘justice for all’.  Enforcement of the UDHR or fully funding the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the only comprehensive, cross cutting initiatives that the nations of the world have already agreed upon and focused on maximizing sustainable ‘liberty and justice for all’ but are woefully underfunded.  
  • Old ways die hard:  Listening to any serious professional discussion to effectively address threats to our freedom and/or security you will hear certain words and phrases frequently repeatedly.  They all point to two things.   These words are “comprehensive”, “wholistic”, “whole of government”, and “resilience.”  The first three words recognize the futility of using independent agencies or actions to address systemic problems.  The last word recognizes that unless we take such an approach to resolving these problems, we’d better get damn good at surviving and recovering from the consequences.  The most recent commission hearing uses these key words and phrases repeatedly.  It even contains a few more factors that could added to this evolving list.  

 

“What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.” ~ John Ruskin

Things change.  Can minds change?  In the Peace movement?   In Congress?  In the White House?  In the general public?  Can we become masters of our minds and do the right things?

SOLUTIONS:   

  • Resolving the Freedom/Security Dilemma requires the realization it is a Trilemma:  We assume without close examination that we can have freedom, security, and independence.  In reality, we can only have two and need to pick wisely.  (Hint: Independence is a mental construct that exists nowhere in the universe.   Security is desired but iffy.   Freedom is all we really have.  The freedom to do anything we want.  But we will NEVER be free of the consequences.)  UDHR reflects our interdependence and our need to be responsible for how we use our freedoms, if we desire security.  Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is the closest we will come to the global protection of human rights.
  • The Rule of Law vs the Lawlessness of War:  the force of law…or the law of force.  Supreme Court Justice Kennedy offered three basic elements necessary for the “rule of law” to be effective.  “First” he said, “the laws need to be made and enforced by a democratic process”. People want to participate in the rules they live by. But he insisted that was not enough.  “Second”, the laws must be “applied equally to everyone”. An effort of justice.   And last “the laws must be protective of a certain set of inalienable rights”. Rights that we have because we are born. Not because of sex, skin color, wealth, religion, ethic group, or nationality.

Conclusion: “Connect the dots!   See the web of life!   Ensure Justice for all.   Or, prepare for the catastrophic consequences.”

“The strength of a civilization is not measured by its ability to fight wars, but rather by its ability to prevent them.” –Gene Roddenberry

Key Resource Materials for understanding Threats to US national security and our freedoms. 

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
  • Presidential Commission on World Hunger 1980:   In the final analysis, unless Americans — as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world — place far higher priority on overcoming world hunger, its effects will no longer remain remote or unfamiliar.  Nor can we wait until we reach the brink of the precipice; the major actions required do not lend themselves to crisis planning, patchwork management, or emergency financing… The hour is late.  Age-old forces of poverty, disease, inequity, and hunger continue to challenge the world.  Our humanity demands that we act upon these challenges now…”
  • CISET report on New and Re-Emerging Infectious Disease threats:https://clinton1.nara.gov/White_House/EOP/OSTP/CISET/html/3.html(Newest report:BioSheild Hearing. 2-12-16: <

  • Confronting the Crisis on Global Governance by the Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance (co-chaired by former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari).  
  • Global Catastrophic Risks 2018 
  • Over a dozen other (dust collecting) bipartisan commission reports on threats to US national security by various US Government agencies and nongovernmental think tanks are available upon request. Contact us here:  

Summary: Everything in our bodies, houses, cities, nation and world consist of, and relies on, physical systems and structures that are engineered and maintained by following fundamental principles or the laws of nature.  These systems and structures tend to function reliably well for extended periods of time and we too often take them for granted. 

The human mind residing within one structure (our brain) can be considered a physical ‘thing’ because it is entirely dependent upon most other body systems and structures working reasonably well.  And all of our bodies systems and structures likewise rely on a variety of both human engineered and natural systems and structures immediately around our bodies. 

Other systems and structures encompassing the rest of the world, solar system, and universe all interact with unavoidable impacts (solar energy, gravity, asteroids…).   We often take essentials for granted: clean air and water, safe sanitation, adequate nutrition, protection from the elements, and other threats to our body’s integrity like weightlessness or other human engineered systems and structures designed to kill us.

In this context our greatest threat now appears to the workings of our mind.  Its creative capacity has allowed us to visit the moon and return safely, to eradicated smallpox (the most lethal killer in the world) and compose symphonies and poems to move the soul. 

Unfortunately, that creativity is a double-edged sword.  It has also allowed us to create thoughts, ideas and alternative principles that have no helpful connection to reality, our physical existence, or our species survival.  For too long we have used such creative but harmful ideas to influence how we use our bodies and our resources.  Finally, we relate to the minds and bodies of others, as though they are separate from us.  We give them little consideration regarding the long-term consequences of our actions.

In this context, it should be ‘self-evident’ that – to the degree our thoughts and ideas jive with physical reality (the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God)– is the degree to which they are useful in avoiding the death of the body (and thus the mind) via any variety of systemic or structural failures at any level (cellular, organ, system, body, city, state, nation, world and beyond.  Systemic or structural failures at any level can have catastrophic consequences for us or anyone.  Consider the abuse of antibiotics, or the creation of a bioweapon.  

Thus, the degree to which our mind creates thoughts and ideas that do not correlate to the real physical world — and are given power, is the degree to which they become a detriment to the health and survival of the body, mind, home, city, nation, species and a more livable world.

National Defense Strategy:  NOVEMBER 27, 2018

The co-chairs of the National Defense Strategy Commission, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The two witnesses discussed the findings and recommendations of their commission’s final report. Mr. Edelman told members that the U.S. is “on the cusp of a national security emergency” due to declining military advantages and current global threats.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?455040-1/national-defense-strategy-chairs-warn-us-military-adequately-resourced 

Multiple uses of terms “whole of government, holistic, comprehensive….!!!

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Chuck W.

The United Nations system: What’s Gone Wrong? What’s Gone Right?

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To better understand the inner workings and problems with the U.N. system, we asked a few poignant questions of “The Other” Chuck Woolery. The one who was elected by his peers to Chair the United Nation’s Association Council of Organizations (over 110 US based NGOs representing a collective membership of over 25 million Americans) and the Action Board of the American Public Health Association (membership of 120,000 US Health Professionals).  He had spent three decades working with non-profits and other NGO’s advocating for a stronger United Nations for addressing global issues.
 

Many people have put hope on the U.N. systems to solve our ongoing crises. Why is this not a good idea, and how and why is the U.N. platform ineffective?

Ideas can be hopeful. The U.N. was a good idea. The prevention of problems is something everyone knows needs to happen. But that requires long-term thinking and effective action. Unfortunately, the U.N. was never given any power other than providing a peaceful gathering of nationals to work on problems they agreed on.  Any UN solution depended on the voluntary action and funding of those nations. The UN can help coordinate practical efforts but then takes the blame when things go wrong.

 

The UN lead the global campaign that eradicated Smallpox. It succeeded because of truly universal cooperation, coordination, and adequate volunteer funding.  I believe the most recent UN success story was in 2015.  Back then stakeholders on many issues at every government level from every nation came together and worked out a plan to maximize preventive efforts that could get humanity to the year 2030 with minimum difficulties/crisis. The bad news on these 17 Sustainable Development Goals is that few people in the U.S. have ever heard of them. If they have, they fall into four basic categories.

  1. Those who favor their particular goal believing it is the most important of the 17.  Unfortunately, each of these 17 goals requires equal, sustained, and urgent efforts.  And each is underfunded.
  2. Those who don’t believe they are sufficient.
  3. Those who don’t believe they will ever happen.
  4. And some who are suggesting the only rational means of achieving them.  These rapidly hit mental constructs in other’s minds that make effective action unlikely if not impossible.

 

Year after year progressive advocates focus on one sector or another.  Climate, water, peace, human rights, democracy, health, etc.

Why are these ineffective? What would you do to create an effective system that could detect problems before they start and invest in efforts that prevent it from occurring? 

From a U.S. perspective…Events are ineffective even if they are large. Ultimately, they are competing for limited resources with other movements for media attention, donations, access to policymakers or other influential people.

This strategy cannot effectively generate sufficient political within a majority of U.S. Congressional Districts and states.

 

Do egos get in the way of effective coordinated actions? I think it’s more a paycheck or cognitive dissonance issue. Leaders are hired to produce results in a particular arena. They can make a big splash.  But what is urgently needed is a movement that brings other movements together into one. A movement of all movements.  Otherwise singularly grand impacts by one movement (like Climate Change) will continue to distract from the importance and urgency of other vital movements.  Note how quickly the emergence of COVID19 muted every other movement (pro-democracy, regional wars, the evolution of weaponry, US debt…) or quickly exposed our failures in others (health care, infrastructure, pay gaps, supply chains).    Now the increasing urgency on vital action to address increasing climate emergencies are muting those.

We need a comprehensive, holistic, and global approach to human, environmental, economic, and political health. And sustainability.

 

What is the U.N. good at accomplishing?  Bringing together interested parties focused on global concerns/issues.

 

What is your greatest dissatisfaction through what you have experienced in organizing? Your biggest satisfactions?

The greatest dissatisfaction is knowing that all of the comprehensive studies that have been done by bi-partisan Presidential/congressional commissions, prestige entities like the National Academy of Sciences, and intellectual think tanks from multiple nations have always given us wise recommendations. Humanity knows what to do. But we don’t do it.  Short term thinking, national interests, political partisanship, and flawed political systems won’t allow it.

My personal awakening and satisfaction came from discovering how open our political system actually is.  Citizens simply don’t grasp the fact that a well-organized, informed, and lovingly persistent movement can create political will to achieve specific ends. My hopes are that Mobilized can spark such a movement.  That enough progressives, moderates, libertarians, and even conservatives will finally grasp the reality that things are going to get much worse…unless we unite under the realization that everything is interconnected!  Everything is interdependent!  And everything, including all of us, are vulnerable.

 

How would you title the editorial we are creating here with your words in a way that would lead people into concerted actions?

  • “Connecting the Dots. See the web of life. Doing what’s needed.  Or prepare for catastrophic consequences.”
  • Disobeying he Laws of Nature and Nature’s God will not end well.
  • We face a Trilemma:  Freedom, Security, and Independence. Which two do you want?
  • Human Rights and the environment vs national sovereignty.
  • Government openness and accountability. Or oblivion.
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“We hold” this truth “to be Self-evident.”

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Our U.S. Constitution has not formed a perfect union.

Instead, it has created an increasingly dysfunctional and stubbornly divided people within a collection of 50 unique and troubled states. With the continued contempt on Capitol Hill, it would be hard to find any U.S. citizen with the opinion that our government is doing what’s needed to “insure domestic tranquility.” Covid19 crushed the intent to “provide for the common defense.” And our cognitive divisions make it impossible to “promote” our “general welfare.” Our Constitution has allowed our military to enter into endless wars because we have valued the law of force instead of the force of law to end violent extremism. These efforts to preempt attacks instead of preventing them are at the core of our Constitution’s failure to secure the “Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” The absence of justice in our laws combined with our 4th Amendment (our unyielding desire for privacy) makes our Constitution a virtual suicide pact.

By  “The Other” Chuck Woolery

How will we stop corruption from undermining our economic system, a white supremist engineering a bioweapon targeting Blacks or Jews, a cyberattack on our nation’s critical infrastructure, or a spy from exposing any other vulnerable aspects of any system vital to our nation’s security? Can we drone strike suspects? We do this in other countries.
Do we really believe that will make us sustainably safe?

Trust is the glue that holds any relationship, civilization, or democracy together. It depends on truths we can all agree on. Today, however, we believe firmly in different realities. Facts about our political party, religion, economic philosophy…that we are willing to kill and die for. And there appears to be no means of reversing this polarization. It may even be growing as gun sales have skyrocketed and bullets are now hard to find.

“We the people” have never been more divided since our civil war. The consequences already include a drop in life expectancy approaching that of World War II. This was mainly due to an elected President that could have prevented it. And he still believes (along with millions of followers) that the election was rigged, and he should still be President.

But it’s worse than that. Even before Trump’s presidency, our nation’s top national security experts ranked our own government’s dysfunction as our nation’s second most significant security threat (terrorism was #1). And before Trump, the U.S. Surgeon General stated that our nation’s most significant health risk was “loneliness.” This suggests there is something even more dysfunctional than our Constitution.

Understanding the fundamental cause of each of these problems (and others) is now more valuable than winning any partisan debate, tweaking any budget lines, or changing any particular law among the thousands that our Constitutional process has codified in the last 70 years.

Something needs to change fast, given the escalation of domestic and international threats. We need systemic change. A comprehensive change. A transformational change in the very fundamental operating principles of our Constitution and what we believe in.

This question keeps coming to mind. How free, secure, or healthy can we be if we are well adjusted to a profoundly dysfunctional political system and nationalist culture?

No sane individual would now wager we will make the needed changes anytime soon. Buckle up, buttercup! Things are going to continue to get worse. Much worse before we fix it.

A catastrophic collapse of our economy or our 245-year-old political system is no longer unthinkable. It is as predictable as a pandemic had been. Both, inevitable. Given both the structural and systemic flaws in our Constitution and its persistent failure to abide by the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” – another pandemic and our systems collapse are both inevitable.
How many people would ride on an airplane that they knew was engineered by a committee that understood the forces of gravity yet failed to abide by it during the aircraft’s construction? Our founding fathers understood the forces of nature and nature’s God. They all signed the document based on such self-evident truths found in the Declaration of Independence. Then they engineered a government that ignored them.

According to most former U.S. Presidents, Abraham Lincoln is the most popular U.S. President. This is because he presided over the correction of a fundamental flaw in our Constitution’s original design. A design flaw resulted in more dead Americans than all the wars our nation has fought in since then—Combined! Now a virus has killed even more than that in less than two years. Why? Because “we the people’ believed our powerful military, our economic system, our wealth would keep us safe. And we ignored history, science, the fundamentals of the faith (do unto others), and the flag pledge…” liberty and justice for all” that every American has said out loud hundreds of times with their hand over their heart.

Abraham Lincoln once wrote, our ‘Declaration of Independence is our “Apple of Gold.” Our Constitution is its “frame of Silver.”

Yet our elected officials, public servants, and military personal swear an oath to protect the Constitution. Not us. Not the environment on which we all depend. But on a fundamentally flawed document. A document that frames the codification of unjust laws and the protection of God-given inalienable rights. But only for U.S. citizens. And we wonder why tens of thousands if not millions of people in the world hate us enough to want to kill us. Murder us in large numbers.

Our only way forward as a united nation in this troubled world is to accept the pain and suffering our country has caused. We are asking forgiveness for our crimes against humanity. Slavery. We are not keeping our word “40 acres and a mule”. Stealing the land of ‘first Americans,’ breaking our treaties with them, then systematically destroying their cultures and heritage. Our interventionist wars are intended to protect our interests or preempt other nations without sufficient evidence, resulting in millions of civilian deaths in dozens of countries. Then, we re-engineered our Constitution to codify new laws. Laws and codes that effectively mirror those laws based on the “Truths” that ‘we hold to be self-evident.

Erase a few words from our political vocabulary. Words like independence, terrorism, and happiness. Replace them with “separation, mass murder, health. Imagine how different our culture and nation would be today if our Declaration of Independence had been called our Declaration of Separation. The concept of independence is so ingrained into our brains we believe it’s real. Yet, it exists nowhere in the known universe. Yet our Constitution considers our 50 states some level of ‘independence’ on some issues. And every nation in the world has a right to their ‘national sovereignty’ (independence) unless our Constitution is used to justify our nation violating it.

Then imagine what things would be like if Thomas Jefferson had listened to his friend Dr. Benjamin Rush (also a signer of the Declaration). Rush suggested that he change “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to the pursuit of “Health.”
We have thoroughly abused the word ‘happiness’ as it was meant in previous times. Those alive at this nation’s creation believed ‘happiness’ to be ‘finding one’s purpose in serving the community as ‘finding one’s bliss.

And what if the founders had followed Thomas Paine’s assertion that the only legitimate use of government is protecting human “freedom and security.” Our Constitution would have never allowed the slaughter of innocent people anywhere.

And the word we have worshipped yet butchered most is ‘freedom.’ We persist in ignoring the dozens of quotes that the founders and those before them they had thoroughly studied, that stress the importance of being responsible with one’s freedom – or it would be lost. Surprisingly, another word mentioned in their archived documents (over 120,000) said ‘virtue’ 6000 times. More times than freedom! Then, it implied that good men were needed to maintain God’s given freedoms.

Here’s another self-evident truth. We cannot stop the accelerating global forces that now penetrate our national borders effortlessly without breaking ourselves economically. No amount of money in the world can prevent the consequences of biological, cyber, environmental, criminal, or economic contagion from crossing our borders as if they were not there. In reality, our borders are political lines drawn on maps. But, unfortunately, the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God do not recognize map lines.
The exponential growth of technology – combined with its increasing affordability, availability, power, multi-use capacity, dependence building, norm busting, and unavoidable globally disrupting influences cannot be stopped militarily or with walls. And most are an inevitable and unstoppable assault on human privacy.

Our mind’s illusion that globalization on steroids can be stopped with hyper-nationalism will fail. And fail catastrophically. No nation can effectively address the escalating battery of globalized threats humanity now faces.

Our current global governance system ensures failure. And the costs in blood and treasure are nearly unimaginable. If we fail to reduce these risks, they will continue to relieve us. Instead, it will vastly increase us as refugees.

It is possible that our so-called ‘independent nations’ could rally and address the most popular environmental threat these days, global warming. But it’s not possible to stop pandemics, the evolution of weapons, and war – without every nation, village, and individual in the world being held accountable for any injustices or overt violations of inalienable human rights.

Since we have ignored or refused to codify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our only reliable path is to work as diligently as possible to fund and comprehensively achieve the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

This is quite possible if most progressive groups in the U.S. and around joined into one single movement. For example, a movement of movements as Naomi Klein called for in 2014 during the Climate March in N.Y. city and hundreds of cities worldwide. Together such a movement could convince most of the world’s governments to freeze and then seize much of the illicit funds stashed in offshore accounts exposed by the Pandora papers.

 

A 2014 study estimated that as much as $32 trillion had been stashed there by kleptocrats, oligarchs, crime cartels, extremist groups, and ultra-rich capitalists avoiding taxes. Corruption and privacy in those – and now in cryptocurrencies – undermine every aspect of humanity’s freedom, security, prosperity, and sustainability.

Connect the dots. See the web of life. Work for justice for all. Or prepare for the consequences. Know that no matter how much we invest in resilience – it will not be enough.

It is past time we shed the 400-year-old dysfunctional global governance system of national sovereignty. And put in place an international rule of law where the protection of human rights (freedom and security) and the environment is above the rights of nations and corporations to do as they please.

Mission impossible…yes. What else are you going to do? Build a bunker?

“The Other” Chuck Woolery (not the Game show host)

Chuck’s professional grassroots organizing and advocacy successes on global health issues led to his elected position on the respected Action Board of the American Public Health Association (membership of 120,000 US Health Professionals). Later he was then elected by his peers to Chair the United Nation’s Association Council of Organizations (over 110 US based NGOs representing a collective membership of over 25 million Americans). His focus has been connecting local and global issues to US national security interests and using non-partisan fundamental principles to advance public thinking and US policy on vital systems and structures essential to forming a more perfect union and sustainable environment.


Chuck credits much of his successes to his mother’s love, father’s violence, the study of Biology and wrestling (having qualified for the 1972 Olympic Trials only to find out he was seriously not qualified – but was honored to make it that far after a childhood of obesity and sloth.) “We are all”, he says “always wrestling with issues and concerns our entire life. Or we should be — given the persistent changes in our bodies and the world.” “Loving persistence” and “ruthless compassion” are two qualities his mentors offered him. Admittedly to his detriment he usually offers people what they need to know instead of what they want to hear. Chuck is an avid quote collector… one of his many favorites — “Science is my passion, politics my duty.” Thomas Jefferson

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Chuck W.

The Interconnected structure of reality

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Post 9/11: Truth or Continued Consequences?

What did 9-11, Covid19, the Covid variants, the end of our 20-year war in Afghanistan, recent extreme weather events globally, and a decline in democracy in many nations all have in common?  First, they were all predictable, predicted, and preventable. Second, more costly blood and treasure consequences are yet to come – unless we understand the root cause and urgently act on it.

By “The Other” Chuck Woolery

Everyone who was conscious on September 11, 2001, recalls the events of that day. But understanding both the origins and the results of 9/11 is far more important than any acts of remembrance that we might perform. If we truly care to honor those who died and suffered on that unforgettable day, we must use our powers of understanding to develop sustainable strategies for preventing the next terrorizing event that might occur. Understanding must matter more than body counts.

The Post’s lead editorial of 9/11 cites Abraham Lincoln’s statement that, when combating danger “the best defense (against the dangers of his time) …lay in cultivating robust ‘reverence for the Constitution and laws,’ ” as well as his hopes that doing so “would inspire and sustain the people’s commitment to liberty and equality.”

In his writings, Lincoln also described the Declaration of Independence as “our apple of gold” and the Constitution as its “frame of silver.” To my mind, these analogies reflect our foundational goal of equality for all people, as invoked in the Declaration.   But our “rule of law, as detailed in the Constitution ignores both the concept of justice and humanities inalienable rights.  The Constitution’s reliance on the proposition of independence — a deeply flawed concept rooted deeply in our minds has not delivered justice or consistently protected human rights since its creation.  From the start it was engineered into every level of our nation’s government.

Many Americans today proclaim their allegiance to individual liberty at the freedom to infect others in their communities.  For a significant portion US citizens “independence” has come to denote the license to act irresponsibly without regard for the medical, environmental, or economic consequences their actions on others (rejecting masks, refusing vaccinations, or denying climate change).

This prevalent fusion of “freedom” with “self-gratification” has long consequences for rest of the world too. For many decades our foreign and military policies have disparaged other cultures as unworthy of the respect and privilege that we ourselves take for granted; we’ve dismissed foreign casualties as “collateral damage”, communist or terrorist sympathizers, or humans irrelevant to our nation’s interests.

My studies as a biologist and student of the natural world have made the fundamental flaws in our Constitution to be “self-evident”.  They consistently ignore the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” expressed in the first paragraph of our “Apple of Gold” the Declaration of Independence.   Interdependence is at the heart of nature’s laws. Chief Seattle (1780-1866), the head of the Duwamish and Suquamish nations, saw this clearly: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”   Yet most of us ignore our irreversible global interdependence environmentally, economically, militarily, and health wise.   Without being responsible with our freedoms abroad we cannot expect to sustainably preserve our freedom, security, or prosperity here.

Until we grasp the wisdom and survival value of putting the global protection of human rights and the environment above the protection of national sovereignty and corporate power, our vulnerability to the kind of dangers inflicted on 9/11 will grow.  Sustaining what quality of life that remains and improving it for ourselves and our children we must abandon the illusion of independence.

 

Our interdependence within this nation and on this planet is accelerating and irreversible. Nearly every troubling trend we are experiencing today is a symptom of our delusion of separation. There is a medical term for this mental condition – anosognosia.  It is when someone is unaware of their own mental health condition.  In a world with the accelerating evolution of weapons, pathogens, failing democracies, and civil strife It’s time for a wake-up call.

Our human-created construct of independence is responsible for our persistent failure to understand and respond effectively to nearly every danger we face (pandemics, pollution, terrorism, cyber security, economic stability, drug trade, refugee flows, food insecurity, extreme weather events…), each with lethal and unfavorable consequences for all — both here and abroad.

We can no longer simply react when disaster strikes. We can no longer build back to what we had before. It’s imperative now that we build forward in ways that prevent dangers and conserve limited resources.  It is our only means of maximizing any sustainable prospects of freedom, security, and prosperity for ourselves and our posterity.  Most nations have agreed to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030.  It is the only comprehensive set of solutions we have, and humanity is not on track to meet them.  Time is not on our side…and e may not get another chance.

The truth of our interdependence can set us free.  Ignoring it will only have more unfavorable consequences.

 

Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”   -Albert Einstein.  As quoted in Quantum Reality, Beyond the New Physics, p. 250.

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