Tag Archives: politics

North Korea Please Stop the Nuclear Saber Rattling for the Sake of Humanity

5 Apr

In the 21st Century it is unacceptable to throw a tantrum by rattling nuclear weapons sabers.

It is time for every possible nonproliferation expert and international conflict resolution expert to come together to offer expert advice on how to turn down the temperature of the bizarre events happening in North Korea.

Why are North Korean Leaders Playing this Dangerous Game?

Whatever it takes, there needs to be an immediate effort to dialogue with North Korea.

President Obama Speaks at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies on Nuclear Disarmament March 26, 2012

Where are the Leaders Calling for Dialogue and Diplomacy for Nonproliferation Worldwide?

International Buddhist leader, Daisaku Ikeda, repeatedly in many annual peace proposals submitted to the United Nations over more than two decades, has called for concrete efforts on dialogue and diplomacy to reduce and abolish nuclear weapons. Here are links to his peace proposals that highlight the need for all world leaders and grass roots organizations to educate and move the world’s people and countries towards abolishing nuclear weapons together.

In Dr. Ikeda’s 2013 Peace Proposal:

Compassion, Wisdom and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence (2013)

On page 9 of the 2013 Peace Proposal, Daisaku Ikeda writes a section entitled:

Nuclear Weapons: the ultimate negation of the dignity of life

“Nuclear weapons do not distinguish between combatants and noncombatants; they destroy whole cities, killing vast numbers of people instantaneously. Their impact on the natural environment is severe, and the aftereffects of radiation exposure inflict long- term suffering on people. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made evident the indescribably inhumane nature of these weapons.”

As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pointed out: “The possession of nuclear weapons by some encourages their acquisition by others. This leads to nuclear proliferation and the spread of the contagious doctrine of nuclear deterrence.” [31] Unless we confront the fundamental source of that contagion, moves to prevent proliferation will be neither convincing nor effective.

Dr. Ikeda’s mentor, Josei Toda, made an impassioned speech on September 8, 1957 urging young people in Japan and worldwide to dedicate themselves to ridding the world of nuclear weapons which are a terrible danger to global peace.

The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research established in honor of Josei Toda is dedicated to helping to foster a “Dialogue of Civilizations for Global Citizenship.”

The Nuclear Club of Nations is a Club that Should be Disbanded and Become Obsolete through Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

In Dr. Ikeda’s 2013 Peace Proposal he mentions that he is “encouraged by the following words from President Obama’s speech in Korea

“But I believe the United States has a unique responsibility to act– indeed, we have a moral obligation. I say this as President of the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons.”

This, of course, restates the conviction he first expressed in his April 2009 Prague speech. President Obama then went on to say:

“Most of all, I say it as a father, who wants my two young daughters to grow up in a world where everything they know and love can’t be instantly wiped out. “[Pres. Obama’s speech to Hankuk Univ., Seoul Korea 3/26/2012]

These words express a yearning for the world as it should be, a yearning that cannot be subsumed even after all political elements and security requirements have been taken fully into consideration. It is the statement of a single human being rising above the differences of national interest or ideological stance. Such a way of thinking can help us “untie” the Gordian Knot that has too long bound together the ideas of national security and nuclear weapons possession. [2013 Peace Proposal by Daisaku Ikeda]

Whatever the concerns of North Korea, it is unacceptable that any pleas for attention by its leaders should be made by challenging the world with threats of nuclear war. In the 21st Century in this interconnected world, we need to work together to create an environment of dialogue and diplomacy that will insure these types of appeals for attention are never used or considered.

However, according to Reuters April 1, 2013 article by Jack Kim, “South Korea vows fast response to North; US. positions destroyer”:

“North Korea stepped up its rhetoric in early March, when U.S. and South Korean forces began annual military drills that involved the flights of U.S. B-2 stealth bombers in a practice run, prompting the North to put its missile units on standby to fire at U.S. military bases in South Korea and in the Pacific.”

Was the joint U.S. – South Korean military exercise a major trigger for the recent inflammatory rhetoric from North Korea and its threat to use nuclear weapons? If so, then it is time for the world community to reflect on how better to work together as a global community to improve dialogue among nations.

In a world where several nations still possess nuclear weapons, we must use dialogue and diplomacy to address tensions first, especially when dealing with countries that want to prove how strong they are through flexing their nuclear muscles. It is time to create a world where it would be unthinkable to flex any nuclear muscle. The United States and other nuclear nations can begin by concretely taking steps to fully implement all articles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In the mean time, the United Nations should help cooler heads prevail in the Korean Peninsula to lower the temperature and encourage calm and dialogue through all possible channels.

Theatre with Purpose for Dialogue about Fracking

22 Feb

Strike Anywhere (SA) is an ensemble of actors, musicians, dancers and visual artists that creates powerful works to raise awareness about issues that affect people and the environment. Their piece “Same River” is an interdisciplinary performance built upon interviews with members of a community about water.

According to their website, performers of Strike Anywhere “collaborate through an ensemble-based, improvisational process to create politically-charged, original works that addresses socially relevant issues. The permanent ensemble is comprised of world-class musicians, dancers, visual artists and actors.”

Fracking Affects the Community in Different Ways

David L’Heureux, Senior Editor at Rodale News, wrote a piece, “Fracking Takes Center Stage in New York Show,” about the New York-based performance group, Strike Anywhere and their upcoming performances of their show, Same River, which deals with the controversial issue of fracking. Fracking is a technique used by Oil and Gas Companies that forces chemicals and water into the ground to bring out possible gas reserves. The theatre piece addresses the potential environmental degradation to water resources as a result of the fracking process.

Towards a New Sustainable Economy: The Role of Education

12 Feb

What is Wealth?

Hazel Henderson, Futurist and founder of Ethical Markets Media, LLC  advocates for new thinking on what constitutes wealth and how we measure it.

Hazel Henderson was interviewed by “The Money Fix” below. In this video Ms. Henderson says:

“The real wealth of nations are the population and its talents and resources and of course the resources of the earth. Those are the real assets of any nation.”

The Money Fix podcast #1 Hazel Henderson

Henderson claims that money initially was a way of tracking various transactions between people. However, when the system grew people equated money with wealth. This philosophy of wealth and money according to Henderson created problems in “every local social system on the planet.”

More Paper Assets than Actual Goods and Services

One of the major problems with our current economic system is that we have 9 times more paper assets than people on the ground producing useful things like clothes and food according to Henderson. Before the major 1929 Depression Henderson said that the huge mountain of paper assets piled on top of paper assets resulted in eventual economic collapse. She predicted that there would be a similar collapse of the economy based on the imbalance in the economic system.

Hazel Henderson was interviewed for the above video in 2007. Her prediction about the U.S. economy tanking occurred. The U.S. economy went into a deep recession starting in 2007 and 2008 primarily due to wild speculation by Wall Street on exotic CDOs related to mortgage backed securities. The securities were packaged to appear healthy by major brokerage firms like Goldman Sachs. In reality these “securities” were toxic waste dump booby-traps waiting to go off. Companies like Goldman Sachs deliberately encouraged some of their clients to purchase these toxic waste dump financial products knowing that they would most likely fail. They bet against the very securities they sold to their clients in order to reap profits.

How Do We Achieve A Sustainable Economy in Harmony with the Environment?

Hazel Henderson says that 50% of all countries have a cooperative economy not necessarily based on money transactions. Instead it is based on caring and sharing. She calls it the “Love Economy.” In developing nations, 75% of their economies may be considered “Cooperative” economies.

How do we measure national well-being? The Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators include a systems approach that takes into account the dynamic state of our social, economic and environmental quality of life. Henderson promotes “Ethical Markets.”

Hazel Henderson offers 21st Century Strategies for Sustainability. In her article she says:

Reintegrating human knowledge, systems thinking and multi-disciplinary approaches to public and private decisions are widely recognized as necessary to address the human condition in this new century.

Why is our equal genius for bonding and cooperative behavior – even altruism not taught in business schools as the true foundation of all human organizations and our greatest scientific and technological achievements?

If a doctor makes a patient sick, a malpractice suit can be filed.  Economists’ bad advice can make whole countries sick – with impunity, as, for example, IMF economists’ advice worsened Indonesia’s economic woes in 1997.

How can we provide excellent education and jobs for the Youth of the World?

On Feb. 12, 2011 NPR had an interesting program from America Abroad Media, “The Arab World’s Demographic Dilemma: Young, Unemployed and Searching for a Voice,” about the problem in the Middle East of a majority of unemployed youth with little or no job prospects. There is a cycle of lack of good education for Youth in countries like Yemen, Jordan, and Egypt combined with a reduction of jobs provided in the public sector and small growth of jobs in the private sector. No wonder these youth are prime targets for extremist groups.

Where are the leaders of the world thinking about the future generations? The present generations have a responsibility to:

  • Educate the next generation to be well-prepared to tackle the realities of the world
  • Educate the next generation of youth to be critical thinkers who are problem-solvers
  • Provide dignified job opportunities for youth

This is a worldwide issue, not just something occurring in the Middle East. U.S. corporations have kept wages the same for over a decade and cut jobs. Many young graduates apply to hundreds of positions before getting even one interview. Is this reasonable?

It is time to rethink the economic ecosystem and create healthy economies that will employ the Youth of the World in every country. Simultaneously there is a need for providing better quality K-12, college and post-graduate levels of education to the world’s future generations. Creating a new sustainable economy involves preparing the next generation to meet the challenges they will confront. A healthy economy is based on good education of present and future generations.

The world is interconnected, we have a joint interest in helping the Youth of every country succeed.

What are your thoughts on the role of education and jobs in your country towards creating a new sustainable economy?

Egypt, Social Media Connections, Human Rights and Dialogue

30 Jan

"Seems like the whole world is a 'twitter...and it's starting to scare me," said Egyptian President Mubarek. Photo by Pete Simon from flickr on creative commons

Just a Tweet Away from Democracy

Twitter, Facebook and You-Tube are powerful democratic social media tools for mobilizing people around various causes. However, not everyone agrees on what really caused the large passionate demonstrations by Egyptians this past week. Even though social media is important, some analysts claim widespread unemployment and years of repression were the primary reasons Egyptian protestors took to the streets. Then, through flyers and word of mouth, from home to home, people urged each other to join the demonstrations.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet…

According to January 2010 statistics of the growth of Twitter, comScore said nearly 75,000,000 people visited Twitter worldwide. Those stats are from 2010. Twitter has continued to grow both in unique visitors and people visiting Twitter worldwide. Twitter makes it easier to connect with people, organizations and movements. The interconnections of people have unlimited possibilities.

In spite of the Egyptian government’s attempt to shut down social media sites and cell phone airwaves, the Egyptian people still found ways to circumvent anyone trampling on their human right to free speech about their dissatisfaction with the status quo in their country.

Movements.org offers suggestions on how people around the world can help Egyptians.

People returning from Egypt give their experiences to ITN News:

Tourists witness Egypt Protests

Egyptian protests enter fifth day


ITN News reports that 74 protestors are reported killed with more than 1500 people injured. The police also suffered casualties with 3 people dead and more than 700 police injured. It’s now reported that some military troops have joined forces with protestors.

President Obama urges Egyptian Leaders to Respect Human Rights:


President Obama urged President Mubarek to respect the human rights of his citizens, particularly the right of assembly and the right of free speech. He called upon the Egyptian government to prevent loss of live and allow its citizens to engage in peaceful protests. President Obama stated:

“The people of Egypt have rights that are universal, that includes the right of peaceful assembly and association. The right of free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights and the United States will stand up for them anywhere.

I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions they have taken to interfere with access to the internet, to cell phone service and social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st Century.”

President Obama urged protestors to protest peacefully without violence. He acknowledged the call of the Egyptian protestors for economic and other reforms.

President Obama urged Egyptian President Mubarek to create meaningful dialogue between the government and its citizens in order to creatively solve their problems together. President Obama stated:

“Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.”