The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals do not question the role of human agendas and politics in the rise and spread of poverty
It has become a truism that the word “natural” should no longer be attached to disasters. We are living in the Anthropocene and these are human creations. This is the thought running through my head as I read George Monbiot’s riveting coverage of the fires in Indonesia. He clearly documents that this massive environmental calamity is the direct result of land use policies, fascist regimes and corporate exploitation of natural resources – all of which displace local peoples and create widespread human suffering.
The same is true for poverty.
We never hear how poverty is created. There is a lot of talk about how itrises and falls, that people get trapped in it, that it is in need of eradication. But no one says who created it. We don’t hear anything about the role of human agendas and work guided by political institutions in the rise and spread of mass poverty throughout the modern era.
Sen. Rob Portman should be applauded for his efforts to advance healthcare human rights and protect fresh bodies of water like Lake Erie (Victory for Ohio’s waterways, August 10, 2015). After all, clean water is a human right and a public health necessity.
If he’s truly concerned about protecting the water sources we all rely on, there’s another step he can take - work to defeat the Dirty Water Protection Act, now under consideration in the U.S. Senate.
Privateer corporations and their accomplices in the Senate, of course, are not calling their act Dirty Water Protection, but that’s what it is. Their so-called Federal Water Quality Protection bill would actually block the EPA’s recent Clean Water Rule, gutting the Clean Water Act, designed to protect rain-dependent and seasonal streams from dumping by privateer corporations.
Chuck Watts presented this testimony at the Town Hall Meeting, Monday, July 20, 2015, at the US State Department Marshall Building, Washington, DC, and is a member of the Health Working Group
Concerning healthcare human rights, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of chartering the UN in 1945, by 50 Rotarians in San Francisco. The Empathy Surplus Project is an emerging federation of neighborhood organizations modeled after Rotary International called Caring Citizens’ Congresses dedicated to expanding freedom and fairness for all. The Empathy Surplus Project has two policy directions: (1) Change the US legal metaphor of healthcare from a product to a human right; and (2) Change the US metaphor of our economy from competition to cooperation. To expand freedom and fairness for all, caring citizens must, in their ethical businesses, create a caring economy that maintains a caring society. Freedom expansion is a moral imperative and the strategic reason we need more empathy.
We strongly support, without reservation, Cuba’s human rights recommendation 5.314, which states: “Guarantee the right by all residents in the country to adequate housing, food, health and education, with the aim of decreasing poverty, which affects 48 millions of people in the country.”
Prepared by Joe Brewer, Culture Designer
Focus of This Report - - Exploring the "Cycles of Debt"
At the heart of our critique of the current system is the observation that morality is used to make those who suffer from global inequality complicit in maintaining the status quo. We are taught that it is wrong to take from others without giving back something of equal or greater value in return.
This simple notion of situational ethics is the prison that keeps billions of people locked in cycles of debt—a self-induced oppression that each of us places ourselves in every time we accept the “common sense” of debt morality.
In this weekly report, I want to explore the morality of debt to inform how we approach the World Bank, IMF, international trade agreements, and the role of the nation state in setting up and maintaining exploitative systems of financial power. The approach we will take is to treat the sentiment that repaying debts is a moral good as a meme that has “won” in the battlefield of ideas.
The memetic strategy I propose we take is to (a) deconstruct the semantic frames around debt morality in order to (b) better understand how the psychology of self-critique keeps us locked into systems of oppression and then (c) discover ways to break the cycle of social norms that perpetuate this condition among oppressed people around the world.
July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
When our founders, 239 years ago, weighed the values of obedience to the authority and discipline of King George and his corporations VERSUS the values of empathy, responsibility for self and others, and the strength to act on those values, they chose the human right to EMPATHY and the public good.
Our consultant, Joe Brewer, says, "Research in game theory makes it clear -- groups that cooperate better will out-compete groups that don't. This is the strategic reason we need more empathy!"
A Caring Society Needs a Caring Economy With Ethical Business
Without strong family farms, healthy food is at risk and American lives are at risk. We need to strengthen American family farms. President Obama's TPP trade deal is really a wealth extraction scheme that threatens Ohio family farmers' freedom to farm for themselves and their neighbors. Privateer accomplices in the US Senate have voted against family farmers. It's now up to the US House of Representatives to protect family farm freedom and keep us happy.
Call your Congressman NOW and demand she govern with care and responsibility for and to us and strengthen family farmers and Medicare. Demand they vote NO on Fast Track for TPP wealth extraction from America.
Ohio Farmers Union Against Fast Track of TPP
For centuries small family farmers have been caring for Americans, leading to freedom and fairness for all. We elect our representatives to care for us and take responsibility for us and our neighbors to keep us safe and happy. We don't send them there to conspire behind closed doors to hurt us and to steal our common wealth. Yet, that's exactly what's happening. When one branch of government violates our healthcare human right to transparency in government, we expect our elected leaders to check that abuse of power.
Ohio Farmers Union national president Roger Johnson is calling on Congress to check President Barack Obama's abuse of presidential treaty making powers and vote NO on granting the President a rubber stamp and blank check on TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. In a letter to all members of Congress, Johnson wrote,
“Trade promotion authority (“fast track”) would remove an important constitutional check on the president’s power to negotiate trade agreements. Trade agreements must be fair for all parties involved and should therefore be subjected to review by the Congress – not conducted secretly.”
“Congress should have full opportunity to review the provisions of a trade agreement, consistent with the authority and power endowed by the U.S. Constitution. The lack of transparency in negotiating TPP is particularly egregious, considering its expansive scope.”
US Senate Failed Family Farmers - It's NOW Up to YOU - Call Your Representative
Both parties in the Senate ignored Johnson and traded family farm freedom away to unethical multi-national corporations. See the full list here. It's now up to you and your Congress men and women to check this healthcare human rights violation. Please call your representative NOW.
As a Rotarian since 1981, I am especially interested in the work of the United Nations. Why? Because of the influence Rotarians had in the actual charter of the UN. In 2000, the Economic and Social Council to which Rotary International holds the highest consultative status as an NGO, created the Global Compact. In 2009, Rotary International partnered with the Global Compact and calls all its Rotarians, through clubs and districts, to collaborate more closely with the UN, and to consider how to align their own businesses around basic human rights.
The United Nations is preparing to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will replace their Millennium Development Goals (MDG). It’s a grand list but, ironically, it misses out on the root cause that has brought us all these issues -- not caring enough about basic human rights to expand freedom and fairness for all.
Tessa Khan, Programme Officer at the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), called for more care for human rights in her speech at the UN General Assembly Financing for Development hearings held on April 9, 2015. We need more and more people like her, especially Rotarians, calling out the un-empathetic and irresponsible logic at the heart of the development agenda. There are 20,000 Rotarians in Ohio, where I live. Two of our three co-founders are Rotarians. As more and more Rotarians embrace our UN heritage and decide to engage directly, I look forward to collaborating with them.
Below the fold and the 9 minute video is the transcript of Ms. Kahn's testimony. If you're a Rotarian, or know a Rotarian, share this with a friend and consider exploring our partnership opportunity with a Caring Citizens' Congress.