Create a Peaceful Global Community Benefitting from Technology
A Collaborative and Peaceful Global Community
U.S. defense spending is larger than the next seven largest defense budgets combined, most of which are allied countries. It’s time to realize the peace dividends that were promised at the end of the Cold War.
The Nuremberg Tribunals established aggression as the highest international crime. End wars of aggression, preemptive wars and regime change. Close Guantanamo and return it to Cuba. Prosecute officials who committed torture in violation of the Geneva Convention. Return habeas corpus and due process.
Whistleblowers have revealed that the overwhelming proportion of U.S. drone victims are civilians. Targets have included hospitals, weddings and first responders. Massacring innocent friends, neighbors, parents and children while destroying homes and communities is not only barbaric, but insurgents use the carnage of these attacks for recruitment. Stop invading sovereign airspace with drones. Ban the use of automated military weapons including automated drones. Halt the arms race on autonomous weapons by negotiating an international treaty banning their development and use as we did with chemical and laser weapons.
History books celebrate the dismantling of European colonialism after WWII. It’s time to scale back the sprawling empire of hundreds of U.S. military bases and black sites abroad. Deploy those funds to defend the American people against the lethal and merciless enemies that have invaded our shores: poverty, hunger and ill health.
Climate change is already creating resource conflicts and refugee crises, which is why the Pentagon has identified it as a threat multiplier. Lead the international community in addressing climate change.
Support a two-state solution that recognizes Palestine’s right to exist with self-determination and governance. Cut off military aid to countries that violate human rights and international law. Stop propping up unelected regimes abroad and meddling in foreign elections.
The U.S. is spending a trillion dollars upgrading our nuclear weapons over the next decade. This year the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists placed us at two minutes to midnight, the closest humanity has been to self-annihilation since the Doomsday Clock was created. The U.S. already has 7,000 warheads, enough to wipe out humanity many times over and far more than enough to deter attacks. The trillion dollars spent building nuclear weapons could be used to make universal pre-K and public college free across America.
A series of audits have found that the Defense Department can’t account for several trillion dollars in taxpayer money. There is also no elected oversight over parts of the black budget. End the complete lack of transparency and accountability at the Defense Department. Restore congressional authority over the Defense programs and the budget. Account for the trillions in missing funds.
While the Constitutional authority to declare war legally rests with Congress, the executive branch has effectively seized that power. Enforce the War Powers Act and restore that authority to Congress. Require Congress to vote on a formal declaration of war before funding can be allocated. Repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which the executive branch has treated as a blank check for endless war. Ban the use of overly-broad, ill-defined and indefinite AUMFs that place no constraints on the executive branch’s ability to wage war.
War should not be a business. It should only be waged defensively and as a last resort, after all diplomatic options have been exhausted. Pursue diplomatic solutions with North Korea and Iran and halt efforts to destabilize Venezuela. De-escalate tensions and proxy-wars with Russia and resume bilateral nuclear stockpile reductions. Join the global community in working towards a nuclear-free world.
The estimated cost of ending world hunger is $30 billion per year, about 4 percent of the annual American defense budget. The estimated cost of ending extreme poverty is $175 billion per year, about 24 percent of the annual defense budget. Providing for people’s basic needs relieves deprivation, suffering and conflict. It is the most effective weapon in our arsenal. Restore international goodwill, confidence and moral authority in the U.S. by ending world hunger and extreme poverty.
Strengthen and enforce the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Promise and Peril of Accelerating Technology
Modern technology is advancing exponentially and raising questions of tremendous consequence. What was once science fiction is becoming science fact. In the next few decades: Machine labor will replace human labor on a massive scale. Genetic engineering will allow us to create genetically-perfected children. Transportation will be driverless. Radical life extension technologies may give us the ability to end human aging. Blockchain will enable direct democracy. Interplanetary travel and mining will become possible. Computers will melt into our surroundings and become ubiquitous, as the internet of things matures. We will create fully-immersive virtual worlds that feel as real as our own. Neural interfaces will allow us to browse the internet and communicate with our minds. We will be able to digitally backup our consciousness and accelerate our mental processing. Machine intelligence will exceed human intelligence.
Wealthy people will gain access to these technologies first and exploit them in an effort to entrench their advantages. In order to avoid a dystopian future, it will grow increasingly important that technological progress be guided democratically, distributed equitably, and developed in the long-term public interest — rather than being guided by a few wealthy individuals for short-term private profit.
In the coming decades, the economies of scale that shaped the 20th century will give way to the distributed production of goods and energy on the household level with 3D printing. Additive manufacturing and open source design will make production much more resource-efficient and drive the marginal costs of creating each unit down to near-zero. Technology will dramatically increase our potential for global abundance, but the peril will skyrocket alongside the promise.
Nuclear weapons will be joined by a host of new existentially threatening technologies. With each passing year, bio weapons, nano weapons, artificial intelligence and other technologies with the power to wipe out humanity will grow more powerful and proliferate into more hands, just as nuclear weapons have. The risks they pose will compound.
Our economic and political systems will act as threat-multipliers. If we remain in a conflict-driven society characterized by soaring inequality, mass deprivation, and sectarian intolerance, the risk of a catastrophe will be extreme. We can only tempt fate for so long before she obliges our darkest impulse. Applying our potential to create an abundant and harmonious world is not just a moral imperative, it is now a matter of survival for our species.
For millions of years, humanity’s existence has been defined by scarcity, pitting people and nations against one another for limited resources. But today, we have the technology to easily satisfy every human need on the planet.
Our generation can achieve a stirring milestone that will be sung about for millennia to come. We can abolish the scarcity of human needs forever, ushering in an age of abundance for all. We can lift millions from suffering and survival to active contributors to science and the arts, allowing each person to reach his or her potential in a renaissance of creation and harmony.
Paradise or oblivion.
Take Care of Veterans
When members of the U.S. armed forces serving in Vietnam came back with PTSD, they were told that because a Section 8 discharge was “less than honorable”, they did not qualify for any healthcare benefits. As a result, these veterans were twice victimized by the system. It’s a national disgrace that veterans are often denied or given long wait periods to access benefits. It’s a travesty that many are homeless and sleeping on sidewalks, park benches and in gutters, or getting deported. Our government and society sends the message that service men and women are to be used and discarded.
Studies have shown that it is cheaper for cities and states to house the homeless than pay for the costs associated with their homelessness. Reduce veteran homelessness to zero with decent housing and jobs.
Thousands of young men and women die from physical and mental conditions that are a direct result of their participation in military campaigns. More than a million American military personnel have been injured in the ongoing wars in the Middle East. Ensure that all returning service members are fully aware of all benefits to which they are entitled. Give assistance to find out where and how to make use of them. The decision to engage in military conflicts should take into account all costs, including not only the active military and the hardware of war, but also the lasting human costs. The best way to support the troops is to keep them out of regime change and resource wars.
The military must remove the chain of command for investigating and prosecuting claims of rape and sexual harassment. It must also change the status of veterans who were discharged due solely to their sexual orientation from involuntary to voluntary.
Pass federal legislation mandating that no undocumented veteran can be deported after serving our country. Require that the Dept. of Veterans Affairs provide comprehensive healthcare and mental healthcare to all veterans and their families, including those with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
Provide assistance to all service people exposed to Agent Orange and other toxins including contaminated soils. Reduce backlog claims at the Veterans Administration. Ensure that all leases and use of VA facilities solely benefit veterans and their families. Establish a complete range of medical, housing, right of work return, free college tuition and post-service employment assistance.