Founder's Blog

 

 

Peter DuMont - Sun Apr 30, 2017 @ 06:55PM
Comments: 2

The following, with a new title, is a copy of my post to KQED-FM’s Forum on 2017 February 10th:

The Threat of Nuclear Winter and "Good Will as Defense"

The Public's Right to Know, & an Important Public Policy Recommendation

All-out nuclear war is definitely not necessary to threaten U.S. national security. 

Nuclear Winter is the much more likely and immediate threat.

Rutgers University climatologist Alan Robock and others have pointed out for years that even a relatively small number of initial nuclear explosions between India and Pakistan, for example, would start

huge, uncontrollable fires in their big cities. Heavy soot would spread quickly, darkening the entire planet. We could all freeze to death or, more likely, starve to death from massive crop failures over a slightly longer period.

Recognizing this totally unacceptable possibility --

Wouldn't it be good, precisely for America's self interest:

1) Straightforwardly to acknowledge this astonishing threat [to a broad global public] and the [worldwide] interdependence it implies.

2) Save substantial overkill nuclear modernization resources, for example, and direct these instead -- as a matter of STRATEGIC DEFENSE -- toward proactive efforts for global peacemaking?

These efforts should include using interactive mass media for promoting good will and achieving better mutual understanding, conflict resolution and transformation worldwide; and helping meet basic human needs everywhere:…again as a matter of U.S. defense…to reduce despair and increase hope, cooperation and yes (shock) even joy!!

Honestly, this GOOD WILL AS DEFENSE strategy could generate a level of good will effectively overwhelming to the now nearly overwhelming level of negativity which is manifesting as terrorism -- a very clear early warning sign.

It will prove far less of a gamble than we have been taking for decades, everyday.

It will be our best, most COST-EFFECTIVE form of American defense.

Peter Bruce DuMont

STAR ALLIANCE

FOUNDATION FOR ALL

Berkeley

www.staralliance.org

Comments: 2
Peter DuMont - Thu Mar 30, 2017 @ 05:27PM
Comments: 0

  • The following message about tackling "Economic Discrimination Before the Law" with a "Universal Right to Civil Counsel" (Please also see the coalition website supporting that ideal.) was first published as a comment at KQED.org's FORUM with Michael Krasny on 2017 March 29th.  The original show/page is entitled: "'The Meaning of Citizenship' with the ACLU's Abdi Soltani.

  • Listener comment by Peter B. DuMont:

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    A Universal Right to Civil Counsel would address the endemic problem of Economic Discrimination Before the Law — which applies every bit or more so to civil cases as to criminal ones.

    One hopes the ACLU will devote a portion of its impressive new funds inflow to tackling these comprehensive problems. They are intimidating by their very nature and scale, but all the more important to address — whether through specific cases, legislation, raising public awareness; creative community-building solutions; or preferably all of the above.

    One idea for both impact and creative financial project-sustainability is this:

    1) Establish a proof-of-concept capital fund, sufficient for ongoing support to a small band of attorneys and support staff in a given community. 2) Advertise for civil plaintiffs who cannot afford paid legal representation, and whose cases do not qualify for contingency representation.* 3) Carefully select a (doable) caseload, and represent these cases toward quick settlements whenever possible. 4) With every successful case, use a portion of the winnings to increase the capital fund, gradually building a more powerful organization with greater reach and stamina.

    This process will benefit not only direct damage award recipients.  It will put the whole community on notice that routine systemic abuse of the poor will, increasingly, no longer be tolerated.

    * An educational note for the honorable naive:

    Legal marketplace contingency representation typically requires ALL FOUR of the following: 1) Actionable damages sufficient to attract the "strictly business" interests of lawyers regardless of noble intentions. 2) Deep pockets to sue against (and having won, actually to collect!) 3) A slam-dunk provable case to minimize risk. 4) An opposing force which is not too well-funded or otherwise intimidating.

    No wonder so few of poor people's civil cases — outside of personal injury — are represented under the contingency system. There is seldom enough money involved to trigger an attorney's business interests alone, much less to fulfill all the other conditions simultaneously.

Comments: 0
Peter DuMont - Fri Mar 24, 2017 @ 01:12PM
Comments: 3

Relative to the current rush to "replace Obama Care with something better," I am reminded of an old, wise joke neatly printed on the walls of many print shops I have seen over the years:

"If you don't have time to do it right...Where do you find time to DO IT OVER?"

Truth to tell, that is a major reason why your STAR ALLIANCE — a foundation of knowledge and inspiration for all — has taken so long (about thirty years to be exact) — carefully to draft our Highest Civic Ideals documents set that we are offering to the world — and it's still not 100% finished yet!  But we hope this slow process will prove well worth the wait.  We feel that by getting it right in this generation, we can establish a baseline civic values system that will stand the test of time and be relevant anywhere, to anyone who wishes to establish and enjoy productive, sustainable relationships at every level of life and society.  

It is increasingly the time — if not past time — to put our careful work to the test with a broader public.  Would you like to help?  How would you like to help?  

You can start simply by reading some, most, or all of the documents linked on the page: Good Will Wisdom Documents Offered for All. 

If you like the gist of what you read, tell your family, friends and colleagues — maybe even someone you have a conflict with...

It might help a lot, because attitudes determine much of what happens in any relationship, and apart from specific values, our documents tend to culture broad-minded attitudes of good will and common sense.

You may also have specific feedback to share, whether positive or negative.  Either one is a significant way to help.

Please also feel free to contact us about how you might like to help in other ways.   Since we are still essentially unfunded and unstaffed (Believe me, it's been a long and winding road...There are reasons that will make an interesting story!) please be persistent to make sure you get through and get a response.  

Yours in service to a world that works for all people of good will — especially those who do their best to learn and practice all our Highest Civic Ideals, 

 Peter.DuMont@STARALLIANCE.org.  510-540-8887.


Comments: 3
Peter DuMont - Mon Mar 20, 2017 @ 05:16PM
Comments: 3

2017-3-20:

Hello readers.
Stimulated by current events, I'm going to attempt to blog more frequently. Even little things can trigger commentary on big topics.
Today, for example, I called a technical support person at Sonic.com (and got through like lightening, which is typical at that outfit.)  Scott was great, and we both invoked Benjamin Franklin's wisdom in context of today's Congressional Hearings on national security and espionage. Scott quoted Franklin to the general effect: 'If you give up your freedom in favor of security, you will end up with neither.'  
According to a couple of sources I checked, Franklin's exact words were:
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
To Scott, I recalled the marvelous PBS documentary on Franklin I saw years ago and often remember.  When he was in Paris, wooing pivotal support for the American Revolution, Franklin was the toast of the town.  He noticed that spies were everywhere, but took this in stride, commenting to the effect:
"I would never think of dismissing a valet simply because he is a spy...
...Provided, however, he is a good valet!"
To Scott I commented in essence: Maybe we should all accept that everyone is spying on everyone else in today's world, make friends anyway and prevent Nuclear Winter together!
He said he couldn't agree more, but he hoped there would be enough others "who agree with us."
I referred Scott to STARALLIANCE.org for our Declaration of Highest Civic Ideals (under the Good Will Wisdom Documents Offered for All page) and his interest was enthusiastic. I invited him to check at least the first two links on the page and to contact me at my priority email: Peter.DuMont@STARALLIANCE.org if he wants to volunteer personally or help link us up with his company, for example.  I also encouraged him/them to be persistent and call if necessary, since we need both volunteer tech and staff support [or the funding to pay for it!!] I would not want to miss his inquiry, and the same applies to you, readers of the world! — PBD
Comments: 3
Comments: 9

Immediately following is my abbreviated tip to world leaders (offered from a humble place, figuratively and literally) who are faced with the chaos and confusion that is Syria right now.  This comment was stimulated by the discussion of former United States Ambassador to Russia, Dr. Michael McFaul at Stanford, with star radio host Dr. Michael Krasny, under the headline appearing at KQED.org/Forum on 2016 October 4th:

U.S. Ends Cooperation with Russia on Syrian Civil War

1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8 • 

Russia needs a glorious role to fulfill in the world, just as the United States does. The U.S. would do well to provide leadership and enlist Russia and other major players' support to jump up to a true world democracy.  In the context of that bigger discussion [and one hopes: result], many intractable smaller issues could get cleared up, perhaps not easily, but certainly more easily.

***********************

Here, in addition, on this blog: are some followup comments showing a clear path towards true world democracy. 

***********************

The sense of security now held by the few historical United Nations veto holders is an illusion, masking the underlying, inherent DYSFUNCTION and WEAKNESS of the current global system, which violates the essential democratic principle of power vested proportionately in the people.

Where is it fair that only one of five nations sitting permanently on the 15-member Security Council (the other ten members rotate in and out) can completely block security action of the whole global governance of 200-member states?

The five historic veto-holders have the FREEDOM of this choice at the awesome global level of public affairs. So they should also properly bear the RESPONSIBILITY of making the system more fair and functional.  It is they most of all who should provide the necessary leadership!

Therefore, we issue a challenge to: Mr. Obama, (Barack Obama), Mr./Ms. U.S. President-Elect, Mr. Xi (Xi Jinping), Mr. Putin (Vladamir Putin), Mr. Hollande (Francois Holland), and Ms. May (Theresa May):

Please accept The Challenge of Peace: Please lead our world to structure a new, fair and functional representative global democracy. Support calls for a timely U.N. Charter Review / Global Constitutional Convention.

If you do not, the day and hour may come soon, right here on Earth, to wish bitterly you had tried your best.

If you do choose to use your freedom and power to make this happen, you will be on the right side of history. And the thanks of the world's people, all of whom will ultimately benefit, will be with you always.

***********************

Below we explain a few U.N. Basics for the general public, repeat some of the key admonitions above, and then add the easy way out that is, fortunately, already encoded into international law.

* * * * * * * * * *

There are approximately 200 nations in the world. 193 are member states of the United Nations.

The United Nations, chartered in 1945 at the end of the Second World War, is structured with an executive Secretariat, headed up by the Secretary-General. There are two main legislative bodies: the General Assembly and the Security Council. The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court are the two United Nations courts.  The latter are finally starting to get a real foothold in public consciousness and compliance.  

The General Assembly is a kind of Senate of Nations, in the sense they are not based on population, but soley on entity.  Every nation has one vote in the General Assembly, cast by one Ambassador, who is typically appointed by one Head of State.  And that Head of State may or may not be democratically elected. (Out of the 193 member nations, 123 are currently considered democratic. This is huge progress, because in 1900, there were only eleven democracies! [See source.]) 

To upgrade the United Nations, we need two big changes:

1) a sensible legislative override on the currently unfair, disproportionate power of the historic U.N. veto mechanism.

The effectiveness of the Security Council is seriously hampered by the current veto. President Putin loves it. He openly touted the "stability" factor of the Veto in a published OPED piece in the NY Times several years ago. And frankly, he has a good point from a historical perspective. There are times when everyone needs a good bridge. But stability, like anything, can be taken too far and go over-limit, in this case creating paralysis time and time again.  The world needs to move beyond its own history and embrace the future now.  

We are all at risk of Nuclear Winter if things spin out of control at any time.  Most people don't realize it would only take in the order of tens of the Big Ones to light enough uncontrollable fires in big urban areas to shadow out our vital sunlight worldwide with smoke. Temperatures would plummet and stay there. Crops would fail.  The End. 

[Please reference Nature Journal, 2011 May 19, p. 275; Comment piece by Alan Robock, PhD Climatologist at Rutgers University; and/or his website.]

The other four nations who hold the veto since the U.N. was created —  the U.S., China, U.K., and France — love it, too.  Why shouldn't they?  They have this unfair power also!  

Remember, too, that as a practical matter, it's not only five nations who wield the veto.  It's the individual national leaders who "call the shots."  This is concentration of power run amok.

OK.  Those who have it want to keep it.  It gives them a sense of some limited security and control in a scary world of change. 

But that sense of security, that partial control, is not based in wholeness of global consciousness or even what we call reality. 

Instead it is an illusion, masking the underlying, inherent DYSFUNCTION and WEAKNESS of the current global system, which violates the essential democratic principle of power vested proportionately in the people, and as such puts everyone at risk of tyranny manifesting in different forms.

The lack of true global democratic governance is like having a body without a fully functioning brain.

A sensible legislative override would get our adolescent world democracy off "stuck" and reduce the danger of a "clash of the titans" and more insidious and likely: continuing, chronically-unresolved conflicts stimulating, even from "smaller" actors, at worst: Global Suicide.

We at STAR ALLIANCE propose a two-thirds or four-fifths veto override.  If a very clear majority (10 or 12, respectively, out of the 15 Security Council members) favors a corrective action, then let it be.

*****

2) The other big flaw in the current U.N. System is: there is no population-based representation.  

Yes, The General Assembly is a Senate of Nations.  It provides dignity to each of the 193 member nations with one seat.  Fine and great.  What a wonderful starting development from all those who created it.  But just as with the U.S. Senate, the General Assembly bears absolutely no connection to the numbers of actual people represented!

This can be corrected with a Congress of the Earth that includes a population-based House.  We should have perhaps one voting representative for every five or ten million people represented. (Smaller nations could split single votes proportionately.)

That would make a body of about 350 representatives @ one for each 10-million population; or a body of about 700 representatives @ one for each 5-million population.

The good news is: all of this that would have been so difficult and relatively expensive to organize before, can now be organized largely over the Internet, cutting way down on the logistical challenges, start up, and operational costs.

*****

Now: How to engage the process of actually changing the current system?  (Or are We the People of the World just locked into it forever?)  

Answer: Easier than you may think!  

Article 109 of the U.N. Charter contains the necessary prescription for orderly change.  With a two-thirds majority vote, The General Assembly can call at any time a Charter Review Conference (aka: A Global Constitutional Convention!) Only nine members of the Security Council are required to approve, meaning a conference can be called without necessarily having support from any of the five veto powers. 

This is the peaceful way to create global structural change.

The Charter Review Conference can draft and pass the necessary upgrades suggested here, and one hopes: a few others that make good sense.  

Voila! 

Only one more hurdle: Ratification by two-thirds of the member countries, according to their respective constitutional processes, INCLUDING ratification by ALL FIVE permanent member nations of the Security Council.

That's where everyone who moves in or towards these high-minded circles, already, tends to get discouraged before ever getting started.  They assume that at least one: of Russia or China or the U.S., or France, or the U.K....will block the reform.

Well here's my suggestion:

Let's put these very folks in charge of the campaign!

After all, these important leaders and the nations and peoples they represent, to whatever democratic extent, have the legal SECURITY of knowing that they can nix anything that's not to their liking — right up until the final documents are agreed and signed!

Since they have the FREEDOM of this choice at the awesome level of global public affairs — they should also properly BEAR (sic!) the RESPONSIBILITY.  It is they most of all who should provide the necessary leadership!

Therefore, we issue you a challenge: Mr. Obama, (Barack Obama), Mr./Ms. U.S. President-Elect, Mr. Xi (Xi Jinping), Mr. Putin (Vladamir Putin), Mr. Hollande (Francois Holland), Ms. May (Theresa May): 

Please accept The Challenge of Peace:  Please lead our world to structure a new, fair and functional representative global democracy. Support a Charter Review - Constitutional Convention as soon as possible.

If you do not, the day and hour may come soon, right here on Earth, to wish bitterly you had tried your best.

If you do choose to use your freedom and power to make this happen, you will be on the right side of history.  The thanks of the world's people, all of whom will ultimately benefit, will be with you always.


******************

Author's Note: I recall with gratitude: the late, great Dr. Lucille Greene of El Cerrito, California, and many aothers in the Bay Area Global Democracy Movement; the great Mr. Benton Musselwhite, Esq. of Houston; Dr. Alan Robock, of course; my instructors at U.C. Berkeley in Peace and Conflict Studies, particularly Ms. Rita Maran, who taught us about Human Rights Law; and particularly all those like First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt who helped spirit creation of the United Nations Bill of Human Rights, and the Organization itself, originally. On behalf of everyone, really: THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!! — PBD)

Comments: 9
Comments: 14

Tempting as it is for Turquia (Turkey) to re-institute the death penalty after the recent violent coup attempt, Turquia's leaders should resist this choice as a matter of principle.

It is important for States everywhere — which should be representing their people's highest and best interests including universal human rights — not to model or otherwise exemplify the very behaviors they are trying to deter!

The death penalty, when one stops to think about it logically, is in most cases the ultimate example of premeditated killing.  

Those who commit crimes against the state may have been subject to a mix of motivating factors during fast-moving events over which they had limited, little, or even no personal control.  But from the moment of incarceration, the state — representing its people (to whatever degree of perfection or imperfection) — has virtually total control and all the time it chooses to take under law.

Responsibility, therefore, for the just and ideally productive administration of justice goes way up at the moment of successful incarceration.

The ending of a life as punishment is clearly a destructive form of justice, not a constructive one.  It is furthermore not the ultimate form of punishment, is it?  Aside from generally un-provable theories concerning an afterlife, how is ending a life, once accomplished, causing the deceased any further suffering — or potential for further reflection and remorse — let alone transformation and contribution to victims, families, and a better society?

States themselves should not fall victim to failures of imagination — either in anticipating threats to the best interests of their people, nor by failing to invent and administer constructive and productive forms of justice beyond mere punishment.

Constructive justice could — and should — include a measure of restitution to victims, their families, and the People generally; including at least some study and work assignments of a positive, intelligence-building character.  Ideally, these will occur both during incarceration and afterwards during supervised activities and beyond.  Constructive justice can include participation in a creative process of Universal Civic Peace Values Education — starting with the subject, him or herself!

Study and discussion — to the point of a healthy understanding and on-the-record signing of the STAR ALLIANCE Good Will Wisdom Documents (Please see Good Will Documents Offered for All on this website.) will be excellent and relatively very low-cost components of enlightened criminal rehabilitation — perhaps even in the challenging context and process of recovering from a society-wide crisis like Turquia's right now.

Comments: 14
Peter DuMont - Mon Jul 11, 2016 @ 12:03PM
Comments: 9

Dear Readers:

Aside from the first line below, the following comment was first composed and sent to WNYC's "The Takeaway" with John Hockenberry 2016 July 7th in response to their text inquiry of listeners: "Does American law enforcement need a makeover? How would you fix America's police?"  I posted the same response 2016 July 11th, in Forum's online comments section, for their show with host Michael Krasny interviewing former Seattle Chief of Police Norm Stamper, author of the timely new book: To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America's Police.  A reminder to readers interested in gun control: Check out my earlier blog post on this subject on October 7th, 2015, under the title: Online Comments re Jimmy Carter, James Fallows, The Second Amendment, & Sensible Gun Control. [Please click "more" below.]

Hearty thanks are due Chief Stamper and Forum for this timely show.

Two aspects of training would make a huge difference to America's police and the citizens and communities they are charged to protect.
1) Training in the Highest Civic Ideals (Good Will Wisdom Principles) proposed for declaration by all citizens by the STAR ALLIANCE FOUNDATION FOR ALL (www.staralliance.org.)
2) Training and support to practice daily the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique — the most heavily researched and validated stress-reduction technique available — including at least one twenty-minute meditation period during paid hours.
These two social investments will likely pay for themselves in three to five years — in saved legal/claim costs and other crime-related public expenses alone, not to mention improved efficiencies and qualities of life throughout the cities and towns of America. After the payback period, it would be "pure gravy" for America.
Comments: 9
Peter DuMont - Wed Jun 29, 2016 @ 01:28PM
Comments: 10

The following is an online comment from yours truly posted at KQED-FM's Forum's remarkable show of 2016 June 29th, (star host Michael Krasny) on the daunting challenge of homelessness. Kudos to KQED for cooperating with some 60 news organizations on their current series. Now that's networking! The specific original show may be accessed at KQED Forum's archive  here.

Thank you for one of the most touching and informative shows we have heard to date on the challenges of homelessness. I am reminded of the only-too-true dark quip that "Being homeless is a full-time job!"

As a nonprofit leader (Star Alliance Foundation for All) who has worked with, and for, the disadvantaged for many years; it is my reasoned wish that:

1) Governments and agencies get help from trained economists (e.g.: Pro-bono Economists of London and one hopes: their networked affiliates) to analyze the enormous long-term waste created by avoidable human suffering, and to show how it is in the distinct financial interest of taxpayers (via savings on long-term Social Security disability, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, etc.) to:

2) Build flexibility into their rules to allow for the wiser application of human judgment in individual situations.

3) Fund teams of expert managers and social workers who, in turn, are "armed" and "handed" with public and private funds to overcome quickly and efficiently the all-too-typical financial hurdles which KEEP PEOPLE DOWN at critical junctures; and instead give them a decent chance for long-term cost-saving breakthroughs.

4) Provide more systematic, personalized follow-up, to encourage accelerated and long-term healing and productivity for the good of all: individuals and ultimately the entire social and economic environment.

Comments: 10
Peter DuMont - Mon Jun 13, 2016 @ 02:11AM
Comments: 13

Dear Readers:

The following message was texted on the evening of 2016 June 12th to NPR's radio show, The Takeaway, hosted by John Hockenberry.  I was responding to the show's question by text:  

Our hearts go out to those affected by the Orlando tragedy.  What is the best way for America to respond?  Where should our priorities be?  

My response: 

I'm so proud and admiring and thankful for those political and law enforcement officials in Orlando who spoke of responding to such a monstrous act of hate with (overwhelming) love in the community.

This is the great insight required for our times: for the successful, just, and nonviolent integration of global cultures: to fight ill will with a stronger will for good.

No matter the history and origin of different religious and value traditions throughout our nation and world, it is necessary — and perhaps more feasible now more than ever before — to identify, embrace, and promote a finite set of specific universal principles that We, the People can declare as constituting Our Highest Civic Ideals.

In the process, we will be defining those values that can guide us in the ongoing personal as well as social quest for genuine, sustainable peace and love.

For public offerings on this vital process, listeners [and readers] can go to www.STARALLIANCE.org. [Please see the page marked: Good Will Documents Offered for All.]

Peter Bruce DuMont • Berkeley, California




Comments: 13
Comments: 10

Greetings for sustainable peace and love!

This website and blog I consider an act of love for all humanity, but this particular entry carries an importance and urgency that I hope will be obvious. 

As a Universal Citizen*, I must vigorously request that all Nuclear Power leaders of the world, voluntarily and immediately, adopt the following policy or one which retains its essential purpose and meaning (assuming they have not already done so.)

Before imbibing in mind-altering substances of any kind (most commonly: an alcoholic beverage of any percentage) — or in cases of extreme fatigue, etc. — the leader must turn over launch codes and control of their nation's nuclear weapons to an appropriate, duly-qualified and authorized deputy officer, who must be well-rested and 100% sober for the entire duration until the leader is once again qualified in the same regards.

Brief commentary: What amazes me is that at age 64, I have never yet heard such a policy discussed or in any way publicly mentioned.

I would hope I need not elaborate further, here and now, at least, on the need for such a policy; that it would be "self-evident," once brought to sober (sic) attention and consideration.

Thanking all nuclear world leaders in advance for voluntarily and promptly adopting this recommendation in the interests of all, I am,

Peter Bruce DuMont, Founding President-in-Service

STAR ALLIANCE • FOUNDATION FOR ALL

Since 1985 

* Please see Good Will Documents Offered for All regarding the values that we feel define the role of a Universal Citizen.  Please also note that the term is not intended to negate the value of good boundaries.

Comments: 10
powered by Doodlekit™ Website Creator