Friday, March 23, 2007
Memo No 2
Yesterday I downloaded the list of the 946 world's billionaires in the Forbes recent mag. Maybe it had to do with a naive incredulity mixed with a vague sense of mission. In any case, I wanted to see the actual names. It took over 2 hours to print out the 38 pages, one by one.
Certain names stood out: Steven Spielberg, ($3b), Steven Jobs, ($5.7b), George Soros, ($8.5b), Rupert Murdoch, ($9b), Henry Ross Perot, ($4.4b), Richard Branson, ($3.8b), George Lucas, ($3.6b), George Mitchell, ($2.6b), Jeffrey Skoll, ($4.2b), Gerald J. Ford, ($1.7b) (He has a World Passport).
Only twenty-two are older than me (85) though many ages are left out. As to countries, the USA has 415 billionaires; Russia is next with 53 billionaires worth $282 billion. India has 36 worth $191 billion; Japan has 24 worth $64 billion; the UK with 26, Hong Kong with 19 and so on.
As I viewed each billionaire's "Rank," "Name," "Citizenship," "Age, "Net Worth $BIL," and "Residence," a dawning realization came into sharp focus that these bare paper notations were not merely of two-dimensional cardboard cutouts but of real flesh and blood people, our fellow humans! Amazing! Our planetary neighbors not some alien species in a far-off galaxy. Moreover, like us, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, etc. as well as captains of industry and stewards of immense largess. Were they reachable given the right message and channels? Because as the figures of their worth in billions were revealed in page after astounding page, I began to realize the mind-boggling POWER they possessed, that is, financial power. If "Power follows property" as the proverbial axiom states, the inevitable question fairly screamed at me: Why doesn't that immense global financial power-$3.2 trillion-translate into its requisite political power? Obviously if it did the world would not be in the mess it is in.
What's the missing link?
If indeed the nuclear sword, WWIII and environmental devastation is hanging by a thread above all our heads-billionaires to the contrary notwithstanding-there is an overwhelmingly disastrous lack of GLOBAL systemic coordination in spite of the Universal Postal Union, flights to Mars, instantaneous communication-like this blog-and the "flat world" permitting giants like Walmarts to prosper.
Then it became transparently obvious, at least to me.
These 946 billionaires are as yet unaware that they desperately need us!
To save them!
And by "us," I mean, WE WORLD CITIZENS. We have the experience and programs for survival!
But don't take my word for it. Read excerpts from an August 23, 1970 speech to a World Congress of World Federalists in Ottawa, Canada from former UN Secretary-General U Thant who, contrary to his "establishment" duties to Member-States, also witnessed the global scene from his privileged perch:
"The sense of belonging to the human community must now be added to, and become dominant over other allegiances. Man has not only the possibility but the necessity for recognizing and for demonstrating his essential unity. This has always been the vision of the great religious teachers, philosophers, sages and wise men of the past. Today it is a basic requirement for progress. For mankind cannot proceed, or even survive at all, as a divided and warring species. If we accept this concept, then there is no aspect of world affairs and national affairs that does not require the attention of world citizens as they work steadfastly to usher in the new world order. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has set a planetary norm for the treatment of human beings. (Emphasis added).
While on another and deeper level, Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. reminds us that "The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions. Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things. [It] needs to be both defended and fed constantly. People will often enter into a compulsive pursuit of ego-gratification and things to identify with in order to fill this hole they feel within, a deep-seated sense of lack or incompleteness, of not being whole, constant feeling of not being worthy or good enough. It will only be felt indirectly as an intense craving, wanting and needing. So they strive after possessions, money, success, power, recognition, or a special relationship basically so they can feel better about themselves. Feel more complete, But even when they attain all these things, they soon find that the hole is still there. That it is bottomless. Then they are really in trouble, because they cannot delude themselves anymore."
My bottom line is it is shamefully apparent that our world's billionaires are not yet cognizant of the founding, evolution and practice of our 54-year-old world government since not one of them has yet proffered any appropriate financial support to it.
Is that about to change?
The reason is obvious. We need each other in order to survive.
One disastrous result of the phony Iraq war is the more than 2 million Iraqis who have fled their land seeking asylum because of its violence to civilians both from the U.S. military and the Shia-Sunni civil war. Flooding into Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iran as "refugees," (More than 18,000 are now seeking asylum in Europe, half in Sweden). As "aliens" they face a life without resources of health care, education, work security or basic life support. "Washington and the U.N. do not acknowledge the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis," according to Ken Bacon of Refugees International.
Even procuring a passport to leave Iraq has become a frustrating and even dangerous problem. Sebastian Usher of BBC News Middle East reports that "The desire to get out of Iraq increases in line with the violence." New nationality cards are required in order to apply for a new passport series. Lines in public places and delays are long often requiring bribes to unscrupulous Iraqis. Usher concludes that "For those struggling to find a way out of the most violent areas in Iraq, the passport obstacle course is not just a cause for frustration but potentially a matter of life and death."
Since its inception in 1954, the World Service Authority has been issuing its human rights documents to individuals in the Middle East as in the rest of the world. From its inception, all national governments have been advised of its documentary service to refugees and stateless persons. (See "Documents" section in main web site). But the World Passport has a precedent.
The history of the Nansen Passport, the original "refugee" passport, is little known today. But Norwegian explorer Fritjof Nansen, Norway's delegate to the League of Nations, was commissioned in 1918 to open a passport office for refugees, mostly "White Russians" who had fled to Europe following the 1917 Communist revolution in the Soviet Union.
With the League's sanction the passport was recognized by all European countries proving an indispensable identity and travel document for hundreds of thousands of refugees, and stateless persons, up to 1939 when WWII started thereby scrapping the League of Nations itself.
Its successor, the United Nations, however, failed to continue Nansen's mission, (he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922) yet the refugee population had expanded exponentially following the war. Instead it proposed a treaty to be signed by Member-States defining refugees rights. This effectively placed the refugee within the jurisdiction of each state adhering to the treaty. But paradoxically, even before the treaty went into effect, 1956, the UN in 1948 proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations."
Article 13(1) provided that "Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" while article 13(2) provides that "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."
There was no UN document publicly issued identifying these human rights concerning freedom of travel and residence. The WSA was therefore born out of sheer necessity in 1954, fully two years before the Convention on the Rights of Refugees was finally ratified in 1956 by the requisite number of nations for it to be effectuated. The first World Passport was designed, printed and obtained its first national visas by this writer in 1955 on my trip to India at the invitation of Nataraja Guru, a South Indian sage. (The full story is in my first book, My Country Is The World, (Putnam, 1960, see "Catalogue," WG site).
The 4th edition of the World Passport conforming to the identification codes authorized by the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal for travel documents began issuance on January 1, 2007. Upgraded information has been sent to all UN Member-States on a specially-edited CD-Rom disc also available to the general public. (See "Catalogue" in WG site).
The new refugee population fleeing Iraqi's civil war once again exposes the dire anarchic condition dominating the entire world community despite lip service to fundamental human rights by national leaders.
We at WSA continue, however, to serve the general public as our slender means permit, a further reason for increased and major funding to cope with the immense and desperate problems the world's refugees face in increasing numbers.
Memo To The World's Billionaires
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Memo To The World's Billionaires
According to Forbes Magazine, you number 946 in the world. Joining your elitist club this year alone were 178 newbies "including 19 Russians, 14 Indians, 13 Chinese and 10 Spaniards,"plus the first billionaires from Cyprus, Oman, Romania and Serbia. Quite a mixed-bag, eh?
Now in the name of the 6 billion, 6 hundred million, 9 hundred thousand, etc., etc. of us poor bumblers gazing at you with unmitigated envy, I have a few questions. First off, do you ever feel poor? I mean, FEEL not think poor. For instance, in your dreams at night, are you ever desperate for a handout, or say, you can't get "home" because you lack the carfare? Or you just barely miss trains or boats? Dreams do tell, you know. Then, when you wake up in the morning, do you shake off the poverty ghost and think, "Ho ho, another day, another million!"?
Then who actually counts your money? Isn't that a continual but tedious problem? Must cost a small fortune in itself too. Are your billions in ten, twenty or hundred dollar bills? That must weigh a ton. Especially in tens. Having a billion dollars (or worse, lots of billions) seems to me to have a humongous mountain resting on your head. What about headaches? Isn't that a problem too?
But the major drag, I imagine, is how to spend your day with a billion bucks increasing by the hour while we workers struggle to improve our sorry lot by the year. I mean you don't have to work, do you? That would be redundant. Heck, you've already made it, right?. And besides, personal luxury is a pretty limited business. I mean how many meals can you eat at a time? Or sleep in beds per night? So what's left to accomplish? Sure, the world is in a mess. Plenty of people, and I do mean PLENTY OF PEOPLE are having a hard time just surviving. I suspect you know all that. But does it ever cause you to ponder about what you could do to help? Oh, I know about Bill and Melinda's foundation and Warren's gift to it and Oprah's academy in Africa for young girls and Angelina and Brad's adoptions in far-away lands, etc. and all those other non-profit foundations, all to the good, no doubt.
But according to Forbes, the combined net worth of you all increased just this year by $900 billion to reach a mind-boggling $3.5 trillion while most of us got poorer. That's enough to wonder that the heck life's all about on our troubled world, stuff like equality, human rights and the 'rule of law' and such.
I tell you what. Let's start a World Citizens' Billionaire's Club and you can all become members. The membership fee will be a paltry $50 million. That'll give it a starting net worth of $473,000,000. Then we'll start a bank, a world bank, and use the fees as capital, minus expenses and overhead, to print and issue world money against national currencies. (A Bucky Fuller idea, incidentally, who wrote that money was only 'crystallized energy' and proposed 'kilowatt dollars' as the world currency*). After all, national currencies are 'floating' out there between nations anarchically with no real solid base like goods and services. Billionaires like Soros have made theirs by speculating on the national currencies' daily worth against each other. No problem with global electronic synchronization. But that's no way to run a railroad. Or a planet.
Then there's wars to get rid of. Who can afford them anymore? Nations need plenty of national moola to keep that killing machine well lubricated. (You could say that all national currency today is blood money). And besides, if WWIII starts, your billions won't be worth the paper they're printed on.
Change the currency from national to global and, voila! wars will cease. We could even buy everyone a hybrid. Now that's something worthwhile for you all to think about, right?.
How about it Bill? Why don't you start the ball rolling since you're number 1 on the chart?
You wouldn't want Warren, Carlos or Ingvar or even Oprah to beat you out on such a noble mission. My cell is (802) 598-3211. Give me a call and we'll work it out.
Me? I only want to help.
Hey, I went to high school in a Rolls-Royce, too!
*Critical Path, St. Martin's Press, 1981
Human Rights & the United Nations - Geo-dialectics in Microcosm - The Territory Game - World Government in Paris, Again!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Human Rights & the United Nations
The NYT story of March 11th speaks volumes about the hypocrisy of national politicians as well as underscoring the general ignorance of the public when the issue of human rights is raised.
"Dismay Over New Human Rights Council" headlines the three-week session in Geneva of the embattled 47 member UN Human Rights Council which replaced the Human Rights Commission after being "widely discredited for allowing participation by countries like Sudan, Libya and Zimbabwe."
I was in Paris on December 10,1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was first proclaimed by the General Assembly as a "common standard of achievement for all nations and all peoples." We world citizens were thrilled and ecstatic after the horrendous destruction of World War II which had left Europe in ruins and millions dead and refugeed.
Because the declaration's emphasis was on people, not nations, it defined our rights not state's rights. "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.." was clear and unequivocal. "Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law;" and "Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized."
"Everyone," "everywhere." That's us, humanity, on planet earth. Our global government was finally mandated. That excludes and bypasses nations. Given an anarchic world they are principally war machines, divisive. And the United Nations itself? A mere successor to the League of Nations which blew up in our faces in 1939.
"I interrupt in the name of the people not represented here," were our opening words to the GA on November 22, 1948 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. So how and why is the United Nations even involved in a "human rights council" ? After all, aren't nations the chief violators of human rights? What else is a national frontier but a violation of freedom of travel? There's a kind of madness here.
The sad fact, however, is that the average person-in-the-street is ignorant of his/her fundamental rights. I have queried thousands of adults and students throughout the years as to whether they had even heard of the UDHR. And even if they admitted, "Oh, sure, that's a UN document isn't it?" few could quote any of the 30 articles. "How can you practice human rights if you don't even know them?" I would ask. Embarrassed or uncomprehending stares.
A sub-heading on the NYT article is "A voting bloc stymies an effort by the U.N. to toughen up on abusive governments." The implication here is another monstrous falsehood: that the U.N. is a sort of sovereign interim government enjoying legislative, executive and judicial power on its own whereas its Member-States constitute a mere league of independent sovereignties. The new Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a human rights gathering in December that he "was worried by its disproportionate focus on violence by Israel." It appears that the human rights council had passed eight resolutions against Israel and the Islamic group was planning four more for the coming season. Group against group; state against state. Where oh where are we humans? And humanity?
Bottom line: The so-called human rights council is nothing more than another upmanship artifice for blocks and states to gain power over their competitor state and/or groups, a total abnegation of fundamental human rights where "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
Let's wake up, for heaven's sake!
Geo-Dialectics in Microcosm
Every morning on my daily walk, I conduct a fascinating experiment. I walk on the side of the road facing the traffic. As the cars approach and I know the driver can see me, I wave. Always, well, mostly always, the driver waves back.
I have analyzed this simple event. Why does the driver inevitably return my wave? I don't know the driver and he or she doesn't know me. You might rightly say, "But that's normal." I agree. Rather like the kids at the back of the school bus waving at the cars driving behind. But upon reflection, I think there's more to it than that and even connotes a universal principal based on the new science of Geo-Dialectics .
First of all, we share the same environment, the road. Second, we are both in action, me walking, the driver, well, driving. In other words, it is a dynamic situation. Third, when I raise my hand in greeting, the driver, who I know is watching me to be sure he/she doesn't hit me, acknowledges my greeting in precisely the same way. A dialectical "opposite." Four, we share The Present Moment, the eternal Now together.
In geo-dialectical terms, we are at opposite poles of the same event rather like a stretched rubber band, equal and opposite at both ends. In short, we are "joined." (A geo-dialectical equation: hunger/food; up/down; in/out; good/bad, pain/pleasure: interdependent, a "pair of opposites"). Five, we are acknowledging each other's welcoming gesture, the dynamic part. The meaning is clear. We are friendly. Six, there is a sense of satisfaction and pleasure and even fulfillment or accomplishment, at least for me. It makes me feel useful and good. If only momentarily I have made contact with a fellow human and shown my goodwill toward him/her. In short, we have become a momentary human 'community' undivided, a recognition of unity-in-diversity, minor differences ignored, irrelevant. Seven, by initiating the gesture, I have offered to my fellow human the right and pleasure to respond in kind. How can he/she not also feel useful and appreciative? Eight, we are expressing to each other that we are at peace, both with ourselves and with each other.
And finally, overall awareness of this "Now" event was experienced by both parties.
Is there a moral to this seemingly innocuous blog item? You bet. First, I'm writing it and you're reading it, online. That's the first "wave." Hi! Second, every time you and I go online, we're "waving" to millions of our co-netizens also on the same cybernetic "highway." Indeed, super or global highway! This may be obvious to you but it's never happened before our present time. Third, and most awesome, that global "wave" is increasing exponentially bypassing all the antagonisms, fears, hatreds, divisions and, I'll say it, absurdities and childishnesses which dominate our national political world.
In brief, the global "wave," innocent, naive, heartfelt, ever mindless (thus eliminating the fear of death as Eckhart Tolle points out in The Power of Now, p. 44) is a powerful tool for a peaceful world.
So "Hi again!"
The Territory Game
Two of my children live in Montreal, Quebec. I live in South Burlington, Vermont. Between us is an artificial frontier separating two fictional nation-states (N-S) known historically as "Canada" and the "United States."
On May 28, 2006, after visiting with my kids, arriving at Highgate Springs, Vermont, the "frontier," I was "paroled into the United States after being fingerprinted.
On August 8, 2006 I wrote to the president of the latter N-S that "I occupy presently a sovereign planetary territory of 0.3 acres situated in the city of South Burlington, in the State of 'Vermont.'" I added that "According to your U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, I have been designated an 'alien' and 'paroled' into the United States for six months. I reject both the designation and its arbitrary 'authorization.'" and returned the I-94 parole document issued to me by Homeland Security "as evidence of [my] parole status in the United States."
My claim of "planetary territory" actually began on May 25, 1948 when I walked out of the Paris Embassy after having renounced my sovereign allegiance to the U.S.A. and claimed the status of "citizen of the world." In my first blog, I mentioned the 9th Amendment to the US Constitution which sanctions "political choice" as an "inalienable right." So world citizenship was my inalienable right of political choice.
The French government, however, did not take kindly to this claim and, after some bureaucratic jostling, ordered me "out" of its alleged territory. This presented a dilemma as all refugees and stateless persons can attest to. On what territory does a world citizen live? Either on world territory or paradoxically "within" an exclusive part of the earth's surface temporarily claimed or better, usurped by a particular group of tribal-minded humans called "national citizens."
Fast forward to the present. On December 10, 2006, I again visited my two children in Montreal for a pre-Xmas dinner. The next day, December 11th, I started back to my tiny piece of "world territory" adjacent to the International Burlington airport. My only travel document again was the World Passport, 4th edition., No. 334879, issued on January 25, 2006 by the Central Office of the World Service Authority, Washington, D.C.
In the interests of transparency, I had informed all authorities concerned that I would be arriving at the Highgate control center at around 11 a.m. (I actually arrived at 4:30 p.m. accompanied by Walter Miale, a videographer).
I drove up to the control box where a young man in a Homeland Security uniform and badge to match asked for my identity papers. I handed him my World Passport. After a cursory look, he asked me curtly to park and "Step inside."
After threatening me with a refusal to permit my "entry" as a "parolee" unless I agreed to be fingerprinted, which I in turn refused, insisting I was a World Citizen simply travelling from one part of the world territory to another, the officer in charge handed me back the World Passport - after photocopying the pages and reminding me smugly that the new U.S. passport would contain a microchip - and told me to "go home."
Postscript: On January 4, 2007, I received a letter from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security signed by Paul M. Morris, Executive Director, Admissibility Requirements and Migration Control, Office of Field Operations. He thanked me for my letter of July 6, 2006 to President Bush. Then, "Having reviewed our records concerning this matter, it is our conclusion that the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) Officers at Highgate Springs, Vermont, acted within the scope of their authority and in compliance with established law, regulations, policy, and procedures."
"No one," the letter concluded, "is allowed to enter the United States until he or she has satisfied the examining officer that he or she is either a citizen of the United State or an alien who has overcome all grounds for inadmissibility."
But I did. As a World Citizen! With passport to match!
The game continues.
The World Government flag is flying in Paris! At the Palais de Tokyo exhibit of "micronations."
Also our governments artifacts: world passport, world money, world human rights documents, application forms, even my book, Cher Monde, etc., are on display until May 7. Please go see it, Parisiens/ennes.
I have been invited by the organizers to attend but there is a problem. Our world governmental passport has been the object of several indictments by French courts in past years. I was charged with "confusing the public mind" by issuing it and spent time in France's local prisons. (Ironically, a friend recently traveled to France and upon her return had her World Passport stamped with a French exit stamp and a Homeland Security entry stamp!)
The irony is that the French Constitution of 1789 was the first to claim that the right to "aller et venir" were fundamental human rights. Only the slave was prohibited to travel freely. The World Passport is mandated by that very right updated by the UDHR in Article 13(2): "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." (As a computerized or MRTD*, it is filed with the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal).
I wrote to President Jacques Chirac enclosing our information CD-Rom disc concerning the upgraded 4th edition World Passport (which has been mailed to all heads of state: see note below) adding the announcement of the Palais de Tokyo exhibition in his capital.
Coincidentally, the Coordinator of the Film Commission of our government, Arthur Kanegis, emailed me a remarkable talk by Chirac on February 2nd given at a conference on the environment he had convoked in Paris where he claimed that "The planet is sick," and "We need a revolution in our thinking. Humankind must stop seeing itself only as the 'master' and owner of nature. We must move toward a new state, a state of responsible awareness; our intelligence must be devoted the protecting the planet. To ensure that we all become 'Citizens of the Earth', let us adopt a Universal Declaration of Environmental Rights and Duties at the United Nations." Bravo, Monsieur le President!
Attending the conference were representatives of States, international organizations, eminent scientists, heads of NGOs, business leaders and "committed citizens." Chirac concluded by acknowledging that "In your discussions and your work, you will be helping to mobilize international officials and international public opinion, a task that is more urgent not than ever before."
After reading his speech, I decided that President Chirac as a "Citizen of the Earth" merited receiving an honorary World Passport from the World Government of World Citizens. (See list below).
Today, March 11, 2007, I read that Jacques Chirac is retiring from active political life. Yesterday, in our local paper, the Burlington Free Press, I read that "European leaders agree on Energy Plan. EU proposes to cut one fifth of nonrenewable energy." President Chirac, at what was likely his last summit before leaving office, is quoted as saying "We assume leadership with this unilateral reduction. This is part of the great moments of European history." Esperons.
(A personal note to President Chirac: Now that you are properly identified as a 'Citizen of the (World) Earth,' may I respectfully request as a gesture of solidarity and good fellowship that Your Government accord its "bienveillance" as did former President Vincent Auriol on December 24, 1948 to this concitoyen, who lived for many years with his children (born at Strasbourg) on "world territory" at "Chaggarah" in Alsace, so he may join his fellow citizens at the Palais de Tokyo before its microstates Paris exhibition closes in May, 2007).
(Honorary World Passports issued to Heads of State: Emperor Akihito, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President Chen Shui-Bian, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President Gerald Ford, President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, President Vaclav Havel, Prime Minister Toshio Kaifu, President Vytautus Landsbergis, President Lee Teng-hui, Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru).
*Machine-Readable Travel Document
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