Utopian Dream

By Robert Raven

I woke up from my nuclear nightmare screaming.  I bolted out of bed, sprinted down the hall, and charged out the front door.  

Everything looked normal.  The houses still stood.  Neighbors were driving to work or walking their dogs.  The trees were green, the sky was blue, and the morning sun was warm.  I let out a shout of pure joy and hopped up and down, turning a few heads.

Back in the kitchen, my robot “Betty” was making breakfast.  The omelet is cooked exactly as programmed, toast is never burned, and the bacon is done just right.  Betty sets the table, and serves the food with its extended arm placing a plate in front of me.  The robot will clear the dishes, load them into the dishwasher, and later put them away.  Betty also cleans up the house and does the laundry while I’m at work.

I got into my auto.  Cars are again called autos because they drive automatically.  Computers guide autos along a magnetic line on the road.  GPS is also used, but it had issues with dead zones and deadly errors.  A magnetic line is much more dependable.  

To avoid accidents, the auto’s computer “talks” to all nearby autos and to the next intersection’s sorter, and also with the closest Traffic Central computer.  Since autos communicate with each other, they can drive faster and safer than human driven cars.  

Sensors on the autos detect pedestrians, animals or obstacles in the road.  The computer quickly activates the brakes and deploys soft bumpers to prevent harm to all involved.  There have been few fatalities in the new autos, saving thousands of lives, millions of injuries and billions in medical costs.

 Today’s autos run on sunshine.  Solar cells imbedded in their roofs and hoods charge their batteries while driving or when parked.  Electric filling stations are on the main roads, in parking lots and at homes.  To reduce energy use and light pollution, headlights and streetlights are dimmed because they are not needed as much for safety.

My auto’s computer plots the fastest route to my destination, and then follows the magnetic lines on the roadway.  Gasoline cars were fitted with computers to be street legal, but high gas taxes have reduced their numbers mostly to off road hybrids. 

The newest autos look like aerodynamic studio apartments.  They have a small bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, den and office all in a vehicle the size of an old RV, but sleek, electric and fast.  Driving long distances is easier with the auto doing the driving.

If I was tired, the window shades can be lowered, and I could either snooze in my command chair, nap on the passenger couch, or sleep soundly in the pull-down bed.  The auto will notify me when it’s ten minutes from arriving or if there is any serious problem. 

My car drives me to work, so my eyes and hands are free to read e-mails and surf the Net.  I can chat with friends in other autos or in other countries, play a variety of games, or watch a concert, show or movie.

I opened my personalized news site, and today was historic:

America's Parliament Opens

 Washington- After the opening ceremony of the new Parliament of the American People, built at the base of Capitol Hill facing the Mall, the assembled Members cheered and shook hands all around.  Then they convened as the third house of Congress.

Congress had long been controlled by wealthy campaign donors and corporate lobbyists who spent millions of dollars to get “their” candidates elected.  Congress was corrupted by money and it did not truly represent the Will of the American People.  

Businesses helped elect business-friendly politicians, who then passed tax breaks and voted for contracts that benefited the donors financially, often at the expense of their actual constituents.  Both major parties were drowning in money.  It was rare for third parties, independents or the poor to win any election.  That was not a fair Democracy.

America, despite its myths, has always been dominated by elites, a nation of, by and for the wealthy, from George Washington until a few years ago.  Money influenced all elections, from city council to presidential.  Big bucks won wins.  

Some of the wealthy owned slaves, or seized land from Native Americans, or ravaged our natural resources, or paid their workers poverty wages, or profited on war.  Some others had been smugglers, mobsters and embezzlers who laundered their illegal take through greedy banks into legal investments and businesses.  Dirty money bought politicians, which then bought the protection of the police and the muscle of the military.  

State violence, racism, sexism and discrimination against recent immigrants are all shameful parts of American history, sadly up to today.  First middle class and poor white men, and later minorities and women, demanded their Constitutional rights and a democracy where they share political power as true Citizens.  For years they petitioned their leaders who eventually passed Amendments and laws that made our democracy more inclusive than it had been previously.  

Andrew Jackson expanded the electorate to poor white men, Frederick Douglass helped expand it to black men, and Susan B. Anthony later brought suffrage to women.  Martin Luther King ended overt segregation, Cesar Chavez inserted Latinos into politics, while Harvey Milk led lesbians and gays to step out of the closet into society with pride.  

They all led radical movements in their day, but today they are rightly celebrated with statues and holidays.  There were thousands of lesser-known advocates, as well as millions of citizens who for over two centuries bravely stood up for their civil rights. 

According to John Locke, there is a Social Contract between the People and their Government.  When our Government fails to protect our Life, Liberty or Property, we may create a new Social Contract.  Thomas Jefferson added the Pursuit of Happiness to our Social Contract, perhaps because he liked to enjoy life’s pleasures.  

But America criminalized the Pursuit of Happiness with a decades-long “War on Drugs,” started by Nixon for racial and political reasons.  Ironically, this led to more and worse drugs, teenagers shot each other on our city streets, thousands died, the justice system was unjust and racist, and millions were imprisoned for non-violent crimes. 

Properties were foreclosed by banks aided and abetted by laws, judges and local sheriffs who heartlessly threw poor people onto cold streets.  Cops could kill minorities with impunity.  Poor citizens were jailed for petty crimes, yet the wealthy rarely went to prison even for much larger crimes.  Americans lost their lives in distant wars begun by government lies, just so corporations could make billions off our taxes.  These all broke our Social Contract.  The People rose up and demanded that their Contract be amended.

The Declaration of Independence was a rebellion against King George III because he had violated our Contract Rights.  The new government was based on the “Consent of the Governed,” which has expanded over the centuries to include all adult Citizens.  We can “alter or … abolish” our government if it no longer truly represents the People.

The Constitution has been amended many times.  Most of the Amendments had a long non-violent political struggle, like for women’s suffrage.  It took a bloody Civil War to end slavery and to pass the 14th Amendment requiring “equal protection of the laws.”

A century later the Civil Rights laws finally ended unequal rights and segregation, after a long non-violent campaign that risked jail, beatings and death.  After another fifty years, racist inequalities and outcomes still existed throughout our society and economy.

Economic crises caused many Americans to lose their jobs, savings, homes, and hope.  But the rich got even richer. The old political system favored wealth and did not protect equally.  Our laws are supposed to equally protect all Americans from harm.

Americans across the political spectrum were being hurt by our economic system.  Liberals, independents, libertarians and conservatives joined True Democracy.  They came together to liberate our democracy from the powerful banks, big businesses and billionaires.  The People united to take political power in America.

True Democracy is a government by, of and for the People.  Not corporations but alive and breathing people of all races, rich and poor alike.  Only Citizens over 18 can participate in our democracy.  Organizations like businesses, unions and churches are excluded, as are other non-citizens.  There are also fair individual contribution limits.  

Furious about corporate control of our political system, violating our Constitution, the People finally rose up and took back our democracy.  True Democracy movements formed large majorities and out-voted the wealthy and their political allies.  First time candidates helped organize broad coalitions that defeated the well-financed politicians, winning local, state, and then national elections. 

Advocates ran for public office and they won with a grass roots focus, organizing a good campaign, lots of volunteers, social media, and word of mouth.  Citizens voted in record numbers, in spite of corporate money, disinformation and voter suppression.

Businesses were split over True Democracy.  Most banks and corporations were opposed to it because they wanted to maintain their control of our political and economic systems.  Large contributions every election bribed the legislators to vote for what their big donors wanted.  Heartless corporations and billionaires spent many millions on every election, which often corrupted politicians and thus our laws, taxes, and foreign policy.

But many business owners were tired of politicians squeezing them harder every year for more and more money, with no end in sight.  They had to pay to play, and gave to both sides to hedge their bets.  But most owners wanted to make a profit in a fair and free market, without sweetheart contracts and special tax breaks that benefit only a few.

Corporate power was often at the expense of small businesses, which were being driven out of business by the big corporations.  Many small businesses fought back by supporting True Democracy.  The People reciprocated by shopping at locally owned businesses.  Main Street needs happy customers, therefore empowering the People politically and economically was good for local businesses and their owners. 

The Old Order pushed back in an attempt to hold onto their political power and wealth.  Since most media was owned by huge corporations and by billionaires, they used their media empires to defend the status quo and to attack supporters of True Democracy.  

The media’s corporate profits depended on advertising by the biggest businesses, such as GM and GE, which influenced how the news was reported.  The media did not cover some stories, or they did not tell the whole story, to avoid offending their wealthy owners and their large advertisers.  Editors knew where their money was coming from.  

Instead of informing the People, corporate media distracted them with nonstop sports, sitcoms, soaps, movies and infotainment.  Five hundred channels and nothing on that truly informed or educated them.  News was reduced to headlines scrolling at the bottom of the screen, repeated repeatedly.

Conflicts were highlighted from Troy to today.  The news motto was: if it bleeds, it leads.  Violence anywhere was seen everywhere.  The corporate media had for over a century been complicit in starting wars with uncritical reporting of pro-war propaganda.  

Lies and misinformation were reported as truth to the People far too many times.  The media fell for political spin, again and again.  They swallowed and regurgitated the government or corporate press releases.  The real truth was often ignored, or buried so deeply in a story that few would ever see it. 

The Press should be free to report on government abuses of trust.  A few brave reporters dared confront those in power, but not most.  The corporate media attacked popular leaders for any minor flaws, but they gave a free pass to their political friends.  On occasion they’d reveal a scandal just to patch the media’s thin veneer of integrity.

People became fed up with media bias and lies.  An expanding boycott of the corporate media hurt their sales, ads and bottom line.  Lawsuits led courts to order the enforcement of our antitrust laws.  Telecom empires and local newspaper monopolies were broken up, which led independent media co-ops to sprout up in every city. 

Our government was spying on us without a warrant, violating our Constitution.  The ensuing Truth and Reconciliation process uncovered details of the once-secret NSA, CIA and FBI activities, from the Cold War to today.  This also exposed our government’s long history of very close ties with powerful banks, businesses and organized crime.  

Eye opening revelations woke up the American People.

Huge corporations paid no taxes but controlled our politicians.  That didn’t seem fair to most Americans who paid their taxes and struggled to make ends meet, yet did not feel well represented.  They old slogan No Taxation Without Representation rose across the nation, and many refused to pay their taxes.  People joined True Democracy and took back our government from Wall Street banks, big oil and the military industrial complex. 

The People peacefully assembled to demand a redress of their grievances, as is guaranteed in our Constitution.  Advocates marched in protest, first in the hundreds and then in thousands.  They asked for a new Social Contract that protects all of us equally, as stated in the 14th Amendment, and also to exclude businesses from our democracy.  

Corporations and the wealthy refused to yield their power, doubling down with tactics seen in banana republics.  They sent agents to infiltrate the movement to instigate violence and make the movement look bad in the corporate media.  Most demonstrators remained non-violent, and violent people were shunned or even exposed.  Following in Gandhi and Martin Luther King’s footsteps was the only way to defeat a more powerful and armed adversary.  Using violence only leads to a violent repression.

The wealthy ordered their political puppets to send police forces to attack True Democracy, as they had done against Occupy camps and many other times.  Cops shot protesters with tear gas and projectiles, and beat them without provocation, sent hundreds to hospitals, and a dozen died.  Bystanders were indiscriminately rounded up, swelling the ranks of furious jailed Citizens courageously defending their Constitutional Rights.

Teachers and nurses went on strike to protest the brutality that they witnessed against their communities.  Police are all union members and they were not happy to be ordered to violently break up the strikes.  Police take an oath to defend the Constitution, and the majority of cops refused to beat up the peacefully protesting teachers, nurses, moms and kids.  Instead, most peace officers decided to serve and protect their neighbors, friends and families who were demanding a True Democracy.

The military came largely from the poor and middle classes, and they had racially diverse backgrounds.  Many military families were struggling financially, and felt used and abandoned.  They had also taken an oath to defend our Constitution, and they knew that the corporate control of our government was unconstitutional, and it could kill them.  Most military families joined the True Democracy movement, and this ensured a largely peaceful revolution in our political system.  

Advocates were the first to demand change.  In just a few years, a large majority across America united under True Democracy.  They registered millions of new voters, then they voted in record numbers using People Power to take control of our government.  True Democracy candidates won most of their local, state and Congressional elections. 

Our Democracy is now by, of and for all of The People!

The newly elected Representatives and Senators passed the 28th Amendment, which forbids any corporate or union funding of candidates, elections or political parties.  Businesses cannot spend money to influence politicians and PACs are banned.  There is now a strict separation of Corporation and State.  Companies can make honest profits in markets free from unfair political advantages, helping local small businesses compete. 

Only adult Citizens can participate in our Democracy.  Citizens may only donate money to their own district’s campaigns, or to political parties, but within financial limits.  Contributions and expenditures over $100 are reported and released online each month, and those reports are audited both during and after the election. 

The 29th Amendment made all election officials non-partisan civil servants.  The old system of partisan officials running the election and counting the votes was obviously a conflict of interest.  Voting procedures and counts are open to public scrutiny.  Voters receive a printout of their ballot to check before putting it into a sealed box for recounts.  Election Day Tuesday is a half-day national holiday to encourage people to vote.  In the last election, over 90% of eligible Americans voted, reaching a goal of True Democracy.

The 30th Amendment created the American Parliament to be the third house of Congress.  All three houses have to agree on a bill for it to become a law, plus it has to get the president’s signature.  This added another check against wasteful spending, while the third leg balanced Congress.  The Senate represents the states, and the House local districts, but the Parliament speaks for all of the People. 

Adult Citizens vote for their favorite political party, with 1% needed to win a seat in the Parliament, and gaining seats with each percentage of the vote total.  There are a dozen liberal, centrist and conservative parties in Parliament, thus voting for a smaller party is no longer a “wasted vote.”  Parliament must compromise and form a majority coalition to pass needed legislation to govern America. 

The 31st Amendment created the 51st state of Columbia, the 52nd state of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and the 53rd state of Pacifica with Guam, American Samoa, and other U.S. islands.  They all were already American Citizens, but they did not have voting representatives in Congress because they were not a state.  

With the 32nd Amendment, America joined the North American Parliament and its trade area, which stretches from Alaska to Panama.  This Parliament is based on districts of ten million adults each, the same ones as for the World Parliament.  

Having a forum to discuss common issues was good, and they made agreements on the environment, immigration and trade.  But a near consensus 90% is needed to pass a binding Continental Treaty.  U.S., Mexican and Canadian national and state legislatures may have joint committees as needed, while border towns could become free trade zones.  

The 33rd Amendment made the United States a member of the World Parliament and its treaties.  Americans joined the rest of the planet as partners in peace, survival and sustainability.  Some of our taxes go to the United Nations and to the World Parliament to supervise elections, pay for Peacekeepers, fight diseases, save critical ecosystems, and reduce poverty, pollution and global warming. 

True Democracy Changes the World

 New York- Throughout history, most political systems taxed people to protect and enrich their elites.  Taxes built large palaces, taxes funded armies to defend those palaces, and taxes paid police to repress the people.  Their taxes were used to rule them. 

Laws were written by those in power to benefit themselves, at the expense of everyone else.  It was good being the king or a noble, but not so good being a peasant.  The opulent lifestyles of the elites were made possible by the impoverishment of the lower classes.  A merchant class and priests benefited by supporting their rulers.

Roman emperors knew that providing their citizens with bread and entertainment, or more recently with fast food and 500 channels, kept most of them docile.  It was wiser than starving or oppressing them, because hungry or angry people might rebel.  Taking away too much Life, Liberty, Property or Pursuit of Happiness could lead to a revolution!  

Our government took people’s lives, freedom, and home ownership, making us unhappy.  The rich got richer, while the middle class and poor were poorer.  People rose up against their unfair political and economic systems with Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, and Black Lives Matter protests.  The True Democracy movement built on them.  

True Democracy became a political wave that swept around the planet.  Nations empowered their People to organize and vote in record numbers.  Within a few years, autocrats fell hard, countries updated constitutions, the World Parliament was founded, and the World Peace Treaty was signed and ratified.

In a True Democracy, all adult Citizens share political power from the bottom up.  They vote on issues and for representatives.  They decide what brings them the greatest Happiness at the lowest cost.  Governments only did what individuals, communities and businesses could not do by themselves, such as providing a free quality education, universal health care, or building our common infrastructure like bullet trains.

A True Democracy has many layers of decision-making, from the local to the global, as needed.  Social, environmental, economic and political decisions are made by those who are most affected and by their elected representatives.  Issues are voted on democratically in free and fair multi-party elections, giving legitimacy to results.

Non-partisan civil servants run all elections, so that the Will of the People is accurately tallied.  Registration at 18 is now automatic.  Ballot receipts are printed out, like at stores, checked by the voter, and placed into a sealed box to verify the computer tally.  Ranked choice voting and other reforms encourage more citizens to vote.

The tax system was simplified to make it easier to file and to audit.  Everyone pays a flat tax of 25% of their incomes, split by local, county, state, federal and world governments.  Most tax deductions and loopholes ended because they distorted economic decisions, and they did not protect taxpayers equally, as required by the 14th Amendment.  

Businesses pay a 5% tax on their incomes, plus a 25% tax on their profits, while deductions and loopholes mostly ended.  Yearly audits and truthful disclosure are required, with tax dodgers getting fines and jail time.

True Democracy bans businesses from any involvement in our political system.  Owners and employees can contribute their own money to fund campaigns, but within limits for electoral fairness.  They can no longer buy the election of puppet politicians.

States passed new charters requiring that businesses stay out of politics, and to do more than maximize profits, but also to be good stewards of their communities and of the environment.  Government laws and policies that favored corporations and the wealthy were voided.  Every person is now equally protected, as per the 14th Amendment. 

Media empires and news monopolies were broken up, allowing diverse voices to be heard by the People.  Ownership was limited to only one media outlet in each market to encourage more competition.  Independent co-ops and teen media are popular.

True Democracy also came to workplaces, from IBM to IHOP.  Workers are now sweat equity partners in sharing corporate profits, with a say in their working conditions.  Owners make decent profits, but no longer make millions while workers live in poverty.

Teachers run their schools along with administrators, students and parents, and they all have representatives on school boards.  Together they decide on school rules and policies, and hire the principal and other staff.  All stakeholders are valued and respected.

High school students choose the classes that they take, ranging from college prep to career prep to GED prep classes.  A student could take AP history, easier High School history, or GED history.  Art and music are offered in every grade, while electronics, robotics and cooking are popular.  This has increased attendance and graduation rates, leading to record numbers enrolling in the free public colleges and universities.

Celebration of World Parliament’s Opening

Malta- With a stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea, Delegates gathered in the Great Hall to celebrate the opening of the World Parliament.  The Parliament started with the formal roll call of Delegates, who represent every adult on Earth.  

A long line of Delegates snaked up to the podium for their five-minute speech in front of an international audience of millions.  They were scheduled to be live during the prime time in their home countries, so the speeches went around the clock for two days.   They talked about the place that they represented, and also spoke passionately about their principal issues and ideal solutions.  All speeches were available to watch later online.

The translation computers enable each language spoken in the Parliament to be translated instantly into every other language.  The “World Parliament Channel” is very popular because viewers can hear all speeches in their own language.  Delegates and the voters that they represent can post their ideas and comments on the lively World Forum.

Each Delegate is elected from districts of ten million adults, as of the 2020 census to prevent a birth race.  Turnout in the election was 76% worldwide, and it was over 90% in many countries, reaching a goal of the True Democracy movement. 

Delegates come from across the political and cultural spectrum, and have heated debates about most issues.  But they must compromise and build a majority coalition just to pass a non-binding Resolution.  They need 67% to pass a People’s Agreement, and they have to get a near consensus vote of 90% to pass a binding Planetary Treaty. 

Malta was chosen because of its location between three continents.  The World Parliament has transformed Malta and grown the local economy.  High-speed ferries now come and go, while the airport was expanded and modernized.  The International City is world famous for its fusion cuisine with its mix of ingredients from everywhere.

The World Peace Treaty Turns Two

 Malta- The second anniversary of the World Peace Treaty joyfully reminded the People of Earth how far we have come in a short time.  Last century witnessed both World Wars and dozens of other wars, while the past few millennia saw countless conflicts. 

Warfare and militarism rose with the first civilizations as they defended their city’s walls or stormed a rival’s walls.  Nomadic clans also fought each other fiercely, while murder is as old as Cain and Abel.  The World Peace Treaty is a bold attempt to transform our blood-soaked past into a peaceful, harmonious and sustainable future.  

The turning point was the year-long war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that torched each other’s oil producing facilities, ending oil shipments from the Persian Gulf.  This doubled fuel and food prices in just a month and sent the world economy into both inflation and recession.  A series of clashes between China and Taiwan disrupted trade with East Asia, putting a lot of people out of work worldwide, and into the streets.  

The last straw was when Pakistan and India fought yet again.  But this time, the war escalated to exchanging two dozen nuclear explosions.  Millions of human beings were horribly killed, and many more were hurt.  Both countries were crippled, and then they collapsed.  A big cloud of radiation swept around the planet, and into our bodies.  

A small war could damage every economy, while a major war might devastate nations and regions.  A nuclear World War III would destroy our advanced civilization, and threaten Homo sapiens and most other species with extinction.  

This existential nuclear threat had to be ended before it ended us.  Terrorists stole a device and came close to detonating it.  Nuclear weapons are just too deadly if ever used.  The U.N. Atomic Weapons Abolition Treaty was signed in a final push to put the nuclear genie back into the bottle.  Nuclear weapons were abolished worldwide, like chemical weapons were abolished after the horrors of World War I.

Warheads are being removed from their delivery systems and within a decade will be dismantled.  The tons of stored nuclear material are being turned into inert glass and kept in cement casks in sealed bunkers until better technology arrives.  Nuclear reactors and research labs are being shut down around the world and their materials secured.

The risks of a war were too high, and the benefits if any were too small.  Thus, all warfare had to be stopped.  The People of Earth rose up and joined the True Democracy movement, and they demanded to have a future.  They organized in every country, and then voted for new leaders who created the World Peace Treaty and World Parliament.

Peace!  Peace on Earth!   

Power is to the People.  In a True Democracy, political power is held by citizens.  Political power is no longer in the hands of the military industrial complex who profit from war by benefiting financially from their enormous government military contracts. 

The elite attempted to divide and repress society, as per usual.  But this time it was the rich who were divided, because a war could hurt their businesses.  Many wealthy families and businesses joined and helped fund the True Democracy movement.

Saber rattling throughout history had been used to instigate wars, but today most people reject militarism, nationalism and racism.  The Internet, world travel and trade make borders not worth fighting over.  The European Union is an example where trade and people cross with ease borders formerly fought over, and this is now seen globally.

Reducing military spending has made us all richer.  Tax payers got rebates, which helped to revive local economies.  Our taxes are now being used to retrain ex-soldiers and retool assembly lines for electric cars and bullet trains, and to pay down the national debt.  

Military spending, personnel and weapons worldwide will be cut 90% over ten years, going down by 10% per year for a decade.  This disarmament is closely monitored by satellites and video feeds posted for all to see online.  Compliance is verified by teams of U.N. Inspectors assigned to every country, so far with only a few minor issues that were quickly resolved.

Older missiles, warplanes, warships and tanks are being taken out of service first, stripped down, and then they will be cut into pieces.  Eliminating big offensive weapons worldwide made people feel safer.  New arms sales are forbidden, which quickly dried up the fuel for proxy conflicts around the world.  Foreign powers had instigated wars just so that they could sell more weapons.  Now everyone solves their problems peacefully.

America’s military finally came home from their bases in over 100 countries, and from Germany and Japan decades after the end of World War II.  Soldiers overseas were expensive to maintain, and they often made enemies because people don’t like having a foreign military on their soil.  Americans no longer wanted to pay for, or die in, another distant war.  They wanted loved ones to be home, not on the other side of the world.

America’s superpower domination of the planet for about a century was over.  

The global British Empire eventually ended, as did the French, Nazi, Soviet, Ottoman and Roman empires.  Today, England, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey and Italy are all modern nations that are doing quite well without their old empires.

America will likewise survive the loss of its global empire.  It will still be one of the biggest, richest and most powerful nations on Earth, but now will have to share power with the rest of the world.  The United States will be able to easily defend itself, but it will be harder to attack other countries, as America has done repeatedly.  Rivals are also slashing their militaries by 90%, which ends most threats to the U.S. and to our allies. 

In ten years, the Navy will have only two carrier battle groups, based in San Diego and Norfolk.  Fleets are coming home, and sailors are retraining to take apart the ships.  The Air Force will be a tenth of its former size, with fewer bases and flying mostly interceptors, transports and drones.  Orders for new ships and planes were cancelled. 

The Army will have just five combat brigades- one armored, one mechanized, one air assault, one special forces, and a combined brigade in Alaska, plus a Marine brigade in Hawaii.  There will also be six reserve brigades, along with the states’ National Guard and various police forces.  Small units are rotated overseas as U. N. Peacekeepers.  

Former military bases are being converted to civilian housing and industrial uses, and preserved as open space.  National security now includes protecting America from the effects of climate change.  The Army Corps of Engineers is building sea walls around cities and dikes around farm land, while FEMA is scrambling to help the nation recover from repeated natural disasters associated with our warming planet.

Popular Sovereignty Solves Conflicts

Malta- Almost all borders were drawn after a war of conquest.  Today, the lines on the maps are being re-drawn, based on popular sovereignty.  Dozens of new nations have emerged, while regions gained more local autonomy, thus ending most conflicts.

The World Peace Treaty defuses border issues by requiring elections to determine true popular sovereignty to resolve the issues.  If a majority in the affected area vote to change the border, it will be changed to reflect how people voted, sometimes leaving a zig-zag line.  The affected area then votes on the final plan.  If the vote is close, then local autonomy would be granted for those areas.  U. N. Peacekeepers and Election Monitors, and non-governmental organizations, observe and certify that the voting was done fairly, and that it was free of violence and intimidation. 

A century after President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, self-determination for various ethnic groups in Europe has led to many small nations like Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia.  Now, small nations are being created around the planet.  Micro states can be very successful, like Singapore, Luxemburg and Monaco.  Many countries are small, or are island nations, with East Timor being on just half of an island. 

Iraq, Syria and Lebanon were each divided into three states along ethnic lines, joining Kuwait, Bahrain, Palestine and Israel as small states in the region.  Greenland and Scotland became independent countries, while Wales and Northern Ireland voted for local autonomy, as did Brittany, Corsica, Basque Region, Catalonia, Sardinia, Sicily and Crete.  The new Berber nation was carved out of four countries, and so was Kurdistan.

Mini-nations are popular in Africa, where borders were drawn without African participation on a map at the Berlin Conference in 1884.  There Europeans split tribes apart, or they put enemies into the same colony, the imperial policy of divide and rule.  Since independence, those borders have caused civil wars, violence and instability.  They are now being redrawn to reflect geography and ethnic, religious and linguistic groups. 

True Democracy has helped Africans form small independent nations, along with more local control within nations.  Zaire broke up into three countries, as did Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia.  Multiethnic cities and regions could vote for autonomy, or even independence, from the rest of their state or country.  Surprisingly, the process was mostly peaceful.  Divorce resolves many conflicts so both sides can move on and grow.

Taxes are split between local, state, national, regional and global, so the financial incentive to “own” a territory is diminished.  Meanwhile, large trade and political unions modeled on the European Union were created in North and in South America, while Africa has three regional unions, as does Asia and the Middle East. 

Minority rights are protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the U.N. in 1948.  All member nations are now expected to uphold it, with U.N. Inspectors making reports online.  Negative reports could lead to sanctions or even to a U.N. military intervention to protect civilians and their Human Rights.

United Nations Peacekeepers Arrive in Tibet

Beijing-  U.N. Peacekeepers entered Tibet to prevent violence when the Chinese province has its historic vote next month on whether to stay in China with more autonomy or to become fully independent.  Unarmed Peacekeepers joined the Election Monitors already there.  Dozens of foreign and local media were also reporting on the vote.

Peacekeepers and Election Monitors have defused conflicts in various European, Latin American, African and Asian countries by supervising the elections.  Peacekeepers help to reduce violence before, during and after elections.  There has been little electoral violence because only free and fair elections are seen as legitimate.

The Election Monitors document and report claims of voting rights abuses.  They verify registrations and observe Election Day and the counting of the ballots.  Then they certify whether the election was fair and legitimate.  If it was documented to be unfair, the U.N. can impose sanctions, and if necessary, the Security Council can use force.  

China has a UN Veto, so everyone is hoping this historic election goes smoothly.  Election Monitors have been registering every adult who has lived in Tibet for the last 18 years, excluding recent Chinese immigrants and Tibetans living in exile from voting.

China’s long repression of Tibet led to frequent rebellions and passive resistance.  Boycotts by concerned people around the world cost China millions of dollars in lost trade.  Tibet was very expensive to rule, and there were few benefits for China.

Tibet is expected to choose independence, except for lowland areas that are majority Han which will probably stay with China.  This election will be followed by votes in the rest of China.  Muslims in western China will mostly vote for independence, but Hong Kong, Macao, Shanghai and Manchuria will likely vote for autonomy.

The Chinese People had joined the True Democracy movement to end one-party Communism.  They had multi-party elections at every level of government.  The People’s Republic now represents the Chinese People from the bottom on up, rather than the top down authoritarian rule seen throughout China’s history.  Today, there is much more local and regional decision-making without first asking Beijing.  

True Democracy helped China’s relations with its neighbors, all of whom have empowered their citizens.  Solving issues with diplomacy and elections have lowered tensions throughout the region and led to more trade and tourism.  The East Asia Union brought former rivals together in peace and prosperity.

Taiwan voted for full independence from China a few years ago.  After a series of sharp clashes, China realized that an invasion and occupation of the island would be very difficult, and it could even be repelled.  America’s Navy had jumped in and blockaded China’s imports and exports to cripple its economy and society.  Neither side wanted to escalate.  Nuclear war could kill hundreds of millions throughout the Pacific region.

The U.N. worked out a deal where China recognized Taiwan’s independence and membership in the U.N. in exchange for Taiwan renouncing its old claim to the Chinese mainland.  Both sides are happy that they had not fought each other in a destructive war.

Instead, they turned to better relations and more trade.  Passenger jets, high-speed ferries and cargo ships cross the Taiwan Straits.  Families are reunited and tourists are welcome on both sides.  The improving ties between China and Taiwan, and the peaceful re-unification of Korea, has allowed the United States to bring its military forces home from Korea, Okinawa and Japan. 

Peace Treaty Signed Between Israel and Palestine

 Jerusalem- After years of improving relations, Israel and the young nation of Palestine signed a final peace treaty.  The treaty resolved the thorny issues of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the right of refugees to return to their old homes.  Both Palestinians and Israelis celebrated ending a century of war, terror and harsh military occupation.

Under this treaty, Jerusalem will be divided along the 1967 lines, with West Jerusalem as Israel’s internationally recognized capital, and East Jerusalem as the new Palestinian capital.  Jerusalem’s Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a Council of the various Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders that runs the increasingly lucrative tourist trade and also settles Old City disputes.  

Every Monday people of any religion can pray on the Temple Mount to the Great Spirit/Jehovah/God/Allah.  Sundays the Dome is open as a Christian church, Saturdays as a Jewish temple, and Tuesdays through Fridays as a Moslem mosque.  Each religion had a Council to decide how to divide up their time between their faith’s sects.  All religious sites in the West Bank also must be open to non-Muslims on Mondays, which will bring tourists and their money to Palestine from Israel and from all over the world.  Hotels are already being built, and local grade school and college language classes are overflowing.

In the West Bank, the large Jewish settlements bordering Israel were all retained, but any isolated settlements had to be abandoned.  Those settlers were paid to move and offered free housing in Israel.  They departed quickly when the last Israeli soldiers left. 

The Security Wall became the new border.  While it runs close to pre-1967 lines, it also protects the big West Bank settlements.  As compensation for the settlements annexed by Israel, which broke international law, most Arab and Bedouin towns inside Israel were transferred to Palestine.  The Wall will now go deep into Israel, but this will ensure Israel having a Jewish majority.  Its Arabs will no longer be second class citizens.

Elderly refugees born before 1948 will be allowed to return to the Arab towns formerly inside Israel, but not to other parts of Israel.  Younger Palestinians living in exile can settle only in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.  Some of the refugee camps stayed together and took over abandoned Israeli settlements.  Money poured in from the Gulf and Europe to build homes, hotels, and a more modern infrastructure.

Palestine has a lightly armed police force that is monitored by IDF drones.  Israeli checkpoints inside Palestine are gone, so people are no longer humiliated visiting family and friends in other towns.  Checkpoints at Palestine’s borders have both Palestinian and Israeli inspectors and armed police.  Neither side wants violence so they cooperate well. 

Gaza is autonomous, with delegates in Palestine’s Parliament.  The new connector road between Gaza and the West Bank is a very popular trade and tourist route.  It has not had a breach in its tight security, paid for by Israeli fees on each vehicle.  Palestinians can now travel freely and trade with Egypt, Jordan and beyond, raising their incomes.

The Israel-Palestine Peace Treaty has spurred negotiations for a regional peace treaty between Israel and its neighbors.  The proposed treaty would cover issues around tourism, embassies, security, trade, social and cultural exchanges, and pollution.

Israel has already increased trade with North Africa, Turkey and the Middle East.  Trade is now worth billions of dollars, with Israel’s high-tech equipment sold for oil and other goods.  The planned oil and gas pipelines from the Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea would bring more jobs and tax revenues to both Israel and Palestine.  

Muslim Leaders Stop in Jerusalem on Way to Vatican

 Rome- Muslim clerics landed in Jerusalem to celebrate the Palestine peace treaty with top Jewish rabbis.  The rabbis, clerics and Palestinian Christian ministers and priests flew to Rome for the “People of the Book Summit” hosted by the new Pope.  The Pope, who is African, defused the bloody religious conflict in Nigeria, winning the Nobel Peace prize.

Orthodox Jewish Rabbis had visited Mecca last month for a meeting, but they did not enter any mosques.  The visit was historic because non-Muslims had been excluded from Mecca.  Non-Muslim reporters were not allowed to leave the airplane.  Last year, the new Pope went to Egypt and Palestine, both of which have large Christian minorities, and the Saudi King traveled to Jerusalem.  Muslim leaders then invited the rabbis to Mecca as a symbol of reconciliation between the religions.   

Orthodox Jews and Muslims share many cultural and religious customs.  Arabs and Jews are Semitic cousins through Abraham, and they have similar dietary traditions.  They both pray to the One Creator (Jehovah/Allah) and both are supposed to follow the Ten Commandments.  In recent centuries, Jews and Arabs had a mostly peaceful history under Muslim rule, until Israel’s founding as a Zionist nation led to a series of wars.

The reconciliation with Christianity may prove harder with so many conflicts from the Crucifixion to today.  In his first big speech, the new African Pope apologized for the Crusades and Inquisitions that killed many Muslims, Jews and other Christians.  He asked for forgiveness for the Church’s role in the slave trade, for the genocide of most Native Americans, for participating in the colonization of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and for the centuries of racism, sexism and homophobia. 

The Pope has recognized Judaism and Islam as equally valid religions alongside Christianity because they are all trying to reach the same goal (heaven) by devotion and worship of Jehovah-God-Allah.  This People of the Book Summit will encourage Jews, Christians and Muslims to reduce tensions and increase world peace, trade and tourism.

The Summit follows last year’s successful All-Christian Conference, also hosted by the new Pope in Rome.  Catholics and other Christian denominations affirmed their shared beliefs, but also honored their differences, which in the past had led to violence.

Shinto Leaders to Join World Religions Summit

 Tokyo- Japan’s top Shinto priests have agreed to participate in the proposed World Religions Summit to be held next summer.  Inspired by the Pope’s People of the Book Summit, the World Religions Summit will try to find common ground among the faiths on issues like spirituality, morality, individuality and community.  

Relations between various religions have improved recently.  The World Summit invited all religions to attend, including smaller sects.  Spiritual leaders who are not affiliated with any organized religion can apply to attend the Summit.

One of the goals of the World Religions Summit is to set up the framework to create a permanent Parliament of World Religions.  This would be a forum to discuss society, history, and the diversity and unity of our beliefs.  The Religions Parliament would be located in Jerusalem since it is a holy site for so many people, and it is centrally located.  Jerusalem might finally live up to its name as “Jehovah’s City of Peace.”

This Parliament would represent every major religion.  Adults vote secretly once a decade for their religious sect, and the more members, the more seats in the Parliament.  Spiritual, New Age, and Non-Affiliated adults can also vote and run for seats, and they are projected to win more than 10% of the seats.

Shinto priests had for centuries prized the Japanese religion’s uniqueness, so the announcement that they would join the Summit came as a surprise to many followers.  Some cried, and a few older members ritually committed suicide with their swords.  

Shinto devotion and racial purity are now less important in Japan.  Like their ancestors who long ago adopted Zen Buddhism, Japanese today have a global outlook.  Japanese live or travel overseas, and have married people of other races and religions.  The Internet, airplanes, food, movies and music, have made it a small world, after all. 

Fundamentalists believe that their religion is God’s chosen religion, and they have repressed, exiled and killed “non-believers” in God’s name.  But we have neighbors, co-workers and families with different faiths.  We live in a multi-cultural civilization that is becoming more tolerant of each other’s religious beliefs.  We are all children of God.

Many of us are searching for more enlightenment, knowledge and understanding of our spirituality, of our organized religions, and of their cultural and historical contexts.  But questioning long held beliefs and faith caused angst in many families and societies.  

 All religions try to explain the mysteries of life and death.  They are expressions of an ancient and universal spiritual quest, from Stonehenge to today.  Most religions call for peace, love, compassion and prayer.  We pray to the same One, whether called the Creator, Brahma, Jehovah, God, Allah, or Great Spirit.

People can worship God/Great Spirit in a variety of ways.  There are many paths to nirvana/heaven.  Everyone makes daily decisions on their soul’s journey through life, which will hopefully end in a heavenly after-life with God/Great Soul or in reincarnation.

Like the squares of a global quilt, every religion looks very different from close up, but they have much in common if viewed from a distance, from God’s perspective.  The quilt of religions has kept humans warm, but we sometimes overheat with religious wars.  That quilt is old and worn, it has holes and is frayed, and it needs to be replaced.  

From space, Earth has no religions, and now many people are turning towards a more universal spirituality.  We need a new spiritual quilt for a new spiritual age.

Einstein may have quantified God with his equation E = mc2.  God is the Energy that exists everywhere.  String Theory states that everything is made from vibrating strings of energy, thus God is everything in the Universe, from atoms to life to stars.  Furthermore, all mass is created by the Higgs Boson “God” sub atomic particle.     

More mass equals more spiritual energy.  The massive Sun and Earth were worshiped for millennia, and huge churches still attract awed worshipers.  Mountains have more mass and energy, and are spiritual places from Olympus to Moses to MLK.   

Nothing goes faster than light photons in our four-dimensional world.  The speed of light squared implies hyperspace and warp speed.  There are probably many other dimensions and universes yet to be discovered.   

Study Shows Environment Improving

San Francisco- The University of California’s new Presidio campus, which is perched next to the Golden Gate and dedicated to environmental issues, reported that planetary carbon dioxide levels have stopped rising and are finally trending lower.    

Scientists, pundits and politicians cheered the new numbers. They credited the big global effort to conserve throughout society, shutting polluting power plants worldwide, planting trees and hemp, plus high carbon taxes to encourage a low carbon footprint.

People realize that it is smart financially and environmentally to reduce threats to our ecosystem’s sustainability.  Most houses and buildings have both solar panels and micro windmills on their roofs, with excess energy stored and the surplus sold to the grid.  Autos run on solar electricity, saving both gas money and future climate calamities.

The Middle East, India and China have the largest increases in solar power, while Japan and New Zealand are leaders in generating geothermal and wave power.  Canada and Russia turned to wind power and small river turbines.  Farming areas use bio mass. 

The confirmed theory that urban lights add to global warming has darkened office buildings, roads and parking lots at night.  Light and other energy waves dissipate with distance, which transfers their energy to the atmosphere and heats up our planet.  Most communication networks are now routed through fiber optic lines underground.  

World peace is allowing governments to focus on preserving our environment.  Billions that used to be spent for questionable “national security” are today defending our nations from the real threats of extreme weather disasters, such as hurricanes and fires.

The military-industrial complex is being retooled from making tanks and subs to making the electric autos and bullet trains that are revolutionizing transportation.  Former soldiers are being retrained to build sea walls, solar arrays, and wave and wind turbines.  The sun’s rays became electricity rather than heat, and the turbines absorb wave and wind power.  This helped reduce temperatures, droughts and wildfires, and also reduced storm strengths and damage.  Human sprawl is now reversing with people moving back into towns and cities, while some rural areas are rewilding and reverting to Nature.

Earth has a very thin and fragile layer of life, surrounded by the airless vastness of outer space.  With nowhere else to go, we had to save the ecosystems that kept us alive.   Success is not assured, but we are moving towards a holistic and sustainable civilization. 

As I finish reading this article, my auto rolls to its parking place and plugs into the re-charger.  The auto’s door slides open.   

I step outside, walk to my classroom, and begin to teach.