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Thoughts on North Korean Diplomacy – Article by R. Nicholas Starr

Thoughts on North Korean Diplomacy – Article by R. Nicholas Starr

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R. Nicholas Starr


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this perspective from R. Nicholas Starr in accord with our strong opposition to weapons of mass destruction and to the threat of nuclear war – as, for instance, expressed in Section IV of our Platform. The U.S. Transhumanist Party thus welcomes the progress of negotiations that could considerably reduce the probability of a nuclear conflict between the United States and North Korea. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, June 13, 2018

I don’t like, trust, or support Trump. But his approach with North Korea might just work.

From 2004 to 2011 I was an intelligence analyst for the USAF. As such I spent a lot of time reading and briefing about North Korea, especially during my time stationed at Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan. While most of my knowledge was focused on specific aspects and activities, if you spend enough time reading about a regime, you begin to get a sense of their point of view.

The US military spends a lot of time and money on preparing for a North Korean threat. Constant simulations on how to destroy the North are a provocation. How would you feel if someone was practicing the best way to destroy you, every year, for decades? Not only does it present a clear military threat, we must remember that there are innocent lives at risk – innocent people that live completely in the dark and don’t really know why these exercises happen, Just extremely limited information, often paired with editorial fear mongering, that is distributed through Rodong Sinmun. Any objective observer would notice that the years of sabre-rattling have not created peace, but exacerbated the issue. A promise to limit or completely end these exercises seems like a rational decision.

Treating Kim Jong-un as an equal also seems like the right thing to do. After all, he is the leader of his country, a country tired of fighting to justify its mere existence, regardless of how he stepped into the role. He isn’t his father or grandfather, even though there is significant pressure to be so. He is only playing the hand he was born into. So coming into a summit with a positive attitude towards Kim just might do the trick into diffusing international tension.

From Kim’s point of view, he likely feels weakened now that seismic activity, caused by his underground testing, has made his nuclear program unsustainable, and so he is looking to come out of the situation in the best way possible. He may also see that the work of his predecessors has not had the desired effect. Kim, much like Trump, might believe that a new course of action is necessary. So if Trump needs to lose some military and political leverage to make it happen, then fine.

HOWEVER, if Trump steps out of the strict lines of total peace toward North Korea, we risk a swift decline into war. And let’s face it, Trump has a history of saying one thing and doing the opposite. He also tells people exactly what they want to hear and does what he wants anyways. So the risk of breaking whatever agreement was made is high and very real. If ever there was a time for Trump to be honest, it is now, because Kim Jong-un will hold him to it. The fate of peace stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and it will fail, to the ruin of all. I can’t imagine a better time for Tolkien’s wisdom than right now. This is the closest we have come to resolving the issue, and previous methods have proven ineffective. So maybe it’s worth a try.

Ryan Starr (R. Nicholas Starr) is the is the leader of the Transhumanist Party of Colorado and founder of the Transhumanists of the Sierras

Is Reality Winner “One of Us”? – Article by William Sims Bainbridge

Is Reality Winner “One of Us”? – Article by William Sims Bainbridge

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William Sims Bainbridge


This article originally appeared on the website of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) and is republished here with Dr. Bainbridge’s permission. 

Amidst the raging chaos in modern advanced nations, aggravated or rendered more visible by emerging technologies, an occasional individual person stands out, now notably Reality Winner.  Her Wikipedia page begins: “Reality Leigh Winner (born December 1991) is an American intelligence specialist employed by Pluribus International Corporation. Winner was arrested on June 3, 2017, on suspicion of leaking an intelligence report about Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections to the news website The Intercept. The report suggested that Russian hackers attacked a U.S. voting software supplier.”  Despite considerable journalistic attention, we cannot be sure we know exactly what Reality did, what its legal implications really are, and how her fate may be decided.  Yet today is not too early to consider the possible meaning of her remarkable story.

As soon as I learned about her arrest, I explored her Facebook page, and saw much that resonated with the humanistic values of future-oriented scholars and techno-visionaries, but soon that page vanished from public view.  Intense exploration of a host of online commentaries and information sources raised a profound general question illuminated by her specific case: Can futurists gently guide existing social institutions toward progress, within the context of conventional norms, or have we reached a grim point in history at which we must risk building a replacement for the civilization that is collapsing around us?

Reality Winner’s Facebook page was not awash in political radicalism, but presented a thoughtful person who was intensely dedicated to perfection of herself.  The five public Facebook groups to which she belonged were all real-world organizations promoting personal improvement in physical fitness.  CrossFitters of Augusta and CF 10-10 Members Group were local chapters of CrossFit, a network of organizations promoting a physical exercise philosophy advocating high-intensity training.  Another group was more specialized, GB Handstand Challenge, in which GB stands for Gymnastic Bodies.  The fourth of her public groups was vegetarian:  Vegan Recipes for Everyone.   During the brief time it was still visible, I checked Reality Winner’s Facebook page for “vegan” and saw that she used “#veganlifters” as a hashtag for an Instagram message she had posted at 6:10 AM on May 22, 2017: “Those days when you remind yourself the sacrifices you made to be here, now, every day.”  It struck me that her values seemed very similar to those of Transhumanism, seeking to attain human perfection, but through investment of personal effort and commitment to achieving difficult goals, rather than passively adopting some new technology.  Indeed, these four groups were technological, but advocating techniques that required well-disciplined human action, rather than taking some hypothetical nanotechnology vitamin pill.

The fifth group was a martial arts movement, Krav Maga Maryland, dedicated to “a military self-defense system developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli security forces (Shin Bet and Mossad).”  Wikipedia summarized the public information currently available about Reality Winner’s military career: “Winner served in the United States Air Force from 2010 to 2016, achieving the rank of senior airman with the 94th Intelligence Squadron.  She worked as a cryptologic linguist, and is fluent in Farsi, Dari and Pashto.  Winner was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.”  Farsi is the Persian language of Iran; Dari is a dialect of Farsi spoken in Afghanistan, and Pashto is the language of a major Afghan ethnicity.  Of course, we are not able to administer college advanced placement tests to Reality Winner, given her current incarceration, but she seems to invest the same energy and dedication into intellectual development, with respect to other cultures, as she does in physical fitness.

What about her humanity?  Many news websites copied the picture Reality Winner had posted on her Facebook on May 29, showing her overlooking Mayan ruins.  The day before, she had sent via Instagram another picture from the same archaeological site, with this comment: “Carved head at Lamanai, Belize, 100bc. This has been such a spiritual journey for me.”  We may all find spiritual significance in ancient ruins, but news reports mentioned that her father had died just a few months earlier, and she posted this touching paragraph on her Facebook page:  “There is nothing that can fix the hole in my heart that you left behind. I still don’t know who I am without you here or how to keep moving forward without the one person who believed unconditionally in everything I want to do in life. Old habits die hard, I still find myself making time to call you in the evenings or jotting down notes or stories to tell you next time we speak. Somehow, though, I feel like you are a little closer, here, among the pyramids you used to endlessly tell us about, and always hoped to see. It’s like I have a little piece of you here with me. I miss you, Dad. You would have loved to be here, though I’m sure you would have been bitching about the hot weather every minute.”

There is ample room to debate what punishment, if any, Reality Winner deserves for releasing classified US government information.  Many other people are currently leaking secret government information, and we may note that prominent people like former CIA director David Petraeus do not seem to suffer much when they commit similar acts.  There is some concern that Reality Winner will be given a harsh prison sentence, not because she deserves it, but to deter others from releasing damaging information, and to express the anger of the US President.  Her family seeks help in defending her through a Facebook group, named Friends of Reality Winner, and an online fundraiser at www.gofundme.com/2d9rnm64 that has not yet reached its modest goal to hire a good lawyer.

A number of political action groups briefly used her case in their campaign against the US President, and the document she made public is directly relevant to concerns about the election outcome.  However, it may be a mistake to blame one gang of politicians for our problems, investing false hopes in a competing gang who are not any better but employ different rhetoric and tactics.  Politicizing Reality Winner’s situation may only increase the harm she may suffer.  Following her family’s request to send her good wishes and contribute to her defense would seem to be the most immediately beneficial course, yet not satisfying our long-term ethical obligation.

Can current laws be changed to provide better protection for “whistleblowers” and others who provide information to journalists, scientists, and the general public that is needed for careful decision making?  Perhaps the secrecy laws should be changed so that they are strict only during the period of a formally declared war, which has not been the case for the US since 1945.  Whether from incompetence or corruption, both major US political parties fed false information to the public in escalation of the Vietnam War and the Second Iraq War.  It is hard to know the extent to which current public debates are poisoned by the desperation felt within the dying old-fashioned news media, as the information technology revolution erodes their influence and profits.  Yet there seems good reason to believe that the general public really should not trust the government that currently holds Reality Winner captive.  We are all journalists now, in the era of Facebook, Instagram, and the IEET website, so Freedom of the Press should be defined much more broadly, now that printing presses are obsolete.

This brings us to the most difficult pair of questions: How can we design a better civilization?  How could we bring that dream to reality?  Perhaps the answers cannot be based upon a hope that somehow progress in science and technology will automatically achieve such goals.  We may need to work exceedingly hard, as Reality Winner did in her self-improvement campaigns, transcending our human limitations through directed personal effort as much as through collective technical innovation.  We will need to reinvent modem culture, which requires honestly experimenting with many alternatives, not merely marching in lockstep to a single drummer.

Information technologies are having uncertain impacts on human societies, and the case of Reality Winner raises a host of related ethical issues, while calling into question our ability to extrapolate from the past, and asking for new policies.  Oh, those are the four principal questions raised by IEET!

Yes, Reality Winner is One of Us.

William Sims Bainbridge, Ph.D. is an IEET Senior fellow, and a prolific and influential sociologist of religion, science and popular culture. Dr. Bainbridge serves as co-director of Human-Centered Computing at the NSF.

Are You Being Tricked into Voting for the System? – Article by Sandra from The Right Side of Truth

Are You Being Tricked into Voting for the System? – Article by Sandra from The Right Side of Truth

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Sandra from The Right Side of Truth


For years, we’ve been sold the idea that the political system of the United States is a choice between two very different parties. On the Left, we have the progressive-liberal Democratic Party championing forward thinking and social good, and on the Right, we have the conservative Republican Party, sometimes called the GOP (short for Grand Old Party), touting the ideas of less government and traditional values.

At least that’s what we’ve been told. These stark differences are pushed at every debate and every public event. However, what the parties rarely discuss is how similar most of their policies are in practice.

So exactly how is it that these two parties continually trick us into voting for one or the other? How is it they manage to stymy progress time and time again, thrusting us further into the past? Not surprisingly, their tactics are both extraordinarily basic and brutally effective. Here’s how they do it.

Drumming Up the Non-Issues

The favored tactic by public masters of deception is presenting non-relevant ideas to distract us from what truly matters. Every election we see it, and 2016 was a perfect example of this. Both candidates kept their audience focused on personal attacks and empty promises, constantly avoiding the real issues.

Take for example the issue of “the wall.” Democrats historically voted in favor of constructing a border wall with Mexico; Hillary Clinton, largely seen mocking Donald Trump on the topic, was quite in favor of it in the past. While the two candidates bickered over the wall and who should pay for it, there was never any real debate between the two about whether or not it was a good idea because under the surface both candidates supported it.

Yet if we return to the present, we can see very little being done in terms of large-scale action. The President—who is not a legislator—has not suddenly conjured up a solid concrete wall across the entire US-Mexico border. That it was suggested this would happen was absurd to begin with and little more than a distraction.

And it’s not the only distraction we see virtually every election. “Major” issues come up conveniently every four years regarding topics such as abortion, marriage, and military spending. Yet the moment the elections end, these issues become silent. No significant changes or votes are held because neither party ever intended to do anything in the first place.

The third-party candidates that seriously have an interest in changing our policies never receive a serious moment in the public’s eye. Debates are always between two parties, and the results are always the same no matter who wins. Alternative ideas are shut out, even when they come from within one of the major parties, as we saw in the 2012 election with Ron Paul’s repeated media blackballing despite a commanding voter base in the primaries.

The “Outsider” Candidate

Those who genuinely believe the idea that the controlling parties would allow an outsider (that is, someone with different views than the status quo) to become a serious candidate are sorely deceived. This is another tactic used to mislead the public into thinking they have a real choice.

While it pains me to use the same example repeatedly, the 2016 election is just one of the best in a long time to truly demonstrate how good these parties are at fooling us. We were fed two choices—Hillary Clinton, the “safe, regular Democrat” choice (and trust me, the party never gave Bernie Sanders a second thought), and Donald Trump, the Hollywood businessman with a mouth.

Surely Trump, with his uncouth speech and disrespect for the Republican Party, was the outsider—right? Yet in office we see him making the same choices any GOP candidate would have made. He is still pro-War, pro-Keynesian economics, and shows no major signs of instigating any promised changes.

Other than speech patterns, nothing would have been different under any other GOP candidate or under Hillary Clinton. To begin with, the president is the head of executive power; he or she does not independently pass laws nor create funding for public projects. All of these faculties fall to the House and the Senate, which are also dominated by shills that vote nearly exclusively on the party line.

The running of candidates such as Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and even Ronald Reagan are simple feints to distract us from the real issues. And the real issue is the perception that there are no alternatives. By funneling our votes into a predictable “A or B” pattern, the parties work together behind closed doors to ensure they remain in power with no challenge to their plans or wealth.

The “Thrown-Away Vote” Fallacy

Dictating how things are from above with tools such as the mainstream media or political announcement is only so effective. On many levels, people can see through the deception of public figures and come to different conclusions. How is it then that so many of us continue to fall victim to this scam?

Surprisingly, the problem is truly at the root of our culture, and it’s been instilled in most of us basically since birth. It’s the idea that voting outside of the two choices we’re given (Red or Blue) is a wasted vote. We’re taught to think voting for a third or fourth party is somehow a vote for whichever candidate we don’t want to win.

This is a logical fallacy that’s been perpetuated for decades to discourage us from breaking away from the two-party system. If enough people believe it, it becomes true to some extent—people fear throwing away their votes and thus don’t vote for anyone outside the standard parties.

But we already know from the Senate and the House that this is simply incorrect. While no third-party president has served to date, several unaffiliated or third-party candidates serve or have served in Congress. Their ideas were different, and their voter bases were small enough to avoid widespread control.

Breaking the Illusion of Choice

If we truly wish to end the illusion of choice in the voting system, we need to recognize the inherent flaws within the system. From the outset, the American system was designed to discourage the illiterate mob from having final say over major candidates. It was designed back when few citizens had a formal education, thus the Electoral College that supersedes the popular vote.

Because of this, changes need to be made within and without the current major parties. We must collectively vote out the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties while simultaneously pushing for third-party representation. Not just for a single party such as the Libertarians either—we need multiple parties represented because not all interests overlap.

No single party could ever hope to represent the needs of conflicting groups. Farmers do not share the same values as corporate America, and manufacturers run counter to mom-and-pop businesses just the same as the interests of the wealthy conflict with the poor. And this is totally natural!

We the voters must take responsibility by researching the issues that are important and by seeking candidates that suit our needs. That means watching documentaries, reading books and blogs, and listening to podcasts. Even entertainment venues such as Netflix—when the content is locally available—have something to offer to help us broaden our perspective.

And as might be expected, no perfect political system exists. At the end of the day, the real enemy of freedom isn’t just some evil council of political masterminds striving for world domination. The biggest opponent of choice is staring at us in the mirror. Will you overcome your fear of uncertainty? Tell us in the comments.

About the Author: Sandra is a political activist and free thinker who’s never afraid to speak her mind. Despite the seemingly hopeless situation in Washington, she’s confident that by coming together we can make real changes for the better. See her website at The Right Side of Truth.

U. S. Transhumanist Party Condemns, Protests Trump Executive Order Detaining Immigrants, Permanent Residents, and Naturalized American Citizens

U. S. Transhumanist Party Condemns, Protests Trump Executive Order Detaining Immigrants, Permanent Residents, and Naturalized American Citizens

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Gennady Stolyarov II


 

While the U.S. Transhumanist Party has generally exercised great restraint in the criticism of conventional political figures such as Donald Trump, a hard line must be drawn at violations of basic human liberties, dignity, and decency. The open, cosmopolitan world which transhumanism requires has no place for bigotry and irrational detainment of individuals – entirely peaceful travelers with no possible connection to terrorism – on the sole basis of national origin, religious affiliation, or skin color. Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration contravenes the ideals of transhumanism and directly impedes their realization. Scientists, university students, intellectuals, and other peaceful, productive persons who could have contributed to the realization of a future of technological abundance, have already been arbitrarily detained and subjected to humiliating conditions due to an unconstitutional, ex post facto executive order which has been enacted by an autocratic Executive Branch in defiance of multiple court-ordered stays. Numerous renowned academics, including winners of the Nobel Prize and Breakthrough Prize who have contributed key advances to biomedical sciences, have condemned the Executive Order on Immigration precisely for the reason that it will thwart scientific progress and punish many meritorious individuals.

As a result of this extra-legal detainment and deportations, in defiance of multiple court orders, of entirely legal immigrants, U.S. permanent residents, and even certain U.S. citizens, the U.S. Transhumanist Party is obligated by its own principles and member-adopted statements to condemn the egregious violations of both the United States Constitution and of basic, universal human rights by the Donald Trump administration.

Indeed, Article III, Section II, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, a part of our Constitution which was recently adopted by a democratic and transparent vote of U.S. Transhumanist members, condemns the types of restrictions entailed in Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration in the strongest terms. The full text of this platform section reads, “The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as ‘white nationalism’, ‘America First’, ‘race realism’, and the ‘alt-right’ – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.”

The Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 2.0, adopted by the members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, in Article XXV, extends to all sentient entities the protections of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Surely these protections for sentient entities encompass peaceful travelers to the United States, as well as permanent residents and U.S. citizens irrespective of national origin. Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” Furthermore, Article 11, Section 2, states that “No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.” Travelers currently detained at U.S. airports are being held in arbitrary detention, and they are being deprived of liberty and of precious hours and days of their lives for acts that did not constitute any manner of penal offense. Their visas, green cards, and U.S. passports were entirely valid and legally recognized when they boarded their flights.

Not only on the basis of transhumanist principles, but on the basis of universal human rights which have been recognized since the Age of Enlightenment, the actions of the Trump Administrations and U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement are contrary to the progress of humanity and transhumanity and decidedly on the wrong side of history. To be silent regarding the ongoing travesties now would risk future allegations of indifference to a great evil that is unfolding.

Therefore, on January 29, 2017, Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II and Secretary/Treasurer Wendy Stolyarov, participated in the Bridges, Not Walls protest in Reno, Nevada, adding their voices to a diverse gathering of over 500 individuals in an entirely peaceful and remarkably orderly demonstration which received overwhelming support from the residents of Reno in the vicinity. In the photographs below, you will see Mr. Stolyarov, wearing “Supporter of Indefinite Life Extension” and “No Hate” pins while he holds posters warning of the true motives of those who use the excuse of “security” to ruin the lives of peaceful, innocuous individuals. Who knows what great innovators in the field of life extension might be prevented from coming to the United States due to Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration? Let the potential innovators in!

U.S. Transhumanist Party Endorses the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017

U.S. Transhumanist Party Endorses the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017

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Note from the Chairman: In accord with Article III, Section IV, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, which recognizes the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth and advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible, the U.S. Transhumanist Party endorses the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, proposed by U.S. Representative Ted Lieu and U.S. Senator Edward Markey. While the proposal by Representative Lieu and Senator Markey to restrict the first use of nuclear weapons is much more modest than complete disarmament, it is also a basic and common-sense measure to prevent the United States Federal Government from acting as the aggressor in a potentially civilization-ending war. As such, the passage of this act would be a welcome first step on the path toward peace and nuclear disarmament.

For more information, please read the press release of January 24, 2017, from Representative Lieu and Senator Markey below.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, January 29, 2017

 


Congressman Lieu, Senator Markey Introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017

Press Release by Congressman Ted Lieu & Senator Edward J. Markey

WashingtonToday, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017.  This legislation would prohibit the President from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. The crucial issue of nuclear “first use” is more urgent than ever now that President Donald Trump has the power to launch a nuclear war at a moment’s notice.

Upon introduction of this legislation, Mr. Lieu issued the following statement:

“It is a frightening reality that the U.S. now has a Commander-in-Chief who has demonstrated ignorance of the nuclear triad, stated his desire to be ‘unpredictable’ with nuclear weapons, and as President-elect was making sweeping statements about U.S. nuclear policy over Twitter. Congress must act to preserve global stability by restricting the circumstances under which the U.S. would be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon. Our Founders created a system of checks and balances, and it is essential for that standard to be applied to the potentially civilization-ending threat of nuclear war. I am proud to introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 with Sen. Markey to realign our nation’s nuclear weapons launch policy with the Constitution and work towards a safer world.”

Upon introduction of this legislation, Senator Markey issued the following statement:

“Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival. Yet, President Trump has suggested that he would consider launching nuclear attacks against terrorists. Unfortunately, by maintaining the option of using nuclear weapons first in a conflict, U.S. policy provides him with that power. In a crisis with another nuclear-armed country, this policy drastically increases the risk of unintended nuclear escalation. Neither President Trump, nor any other president, should be allowed to use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack. By restricting the first use of nuclear weapons, this legislation enshrines that simple principle into law. I thank Rep. Lieu for his partnership on this common-sense bill during this critical time in our nation’s history.”

Support for the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017:

William J. Perry, Former Secretary of Defense – “During my period as Secretary of Defense, I never confronted a situation, or could even imagine a situation, in which I would recommend that the President make a first strike with nuclear weapons—understanding that such an action, whatever the provocation, would likely bring about the end of civilization.  I believe that the legislation proposed by Congressman Lieu and Senator Markey recognizes that terrible reality.  Certainly a decision that momentous for all of civilization should have the kind of checks and balances on Executive powers called for by our Constitution.”

Tom Z. Collina, Policy Director of Ploughshares Fund – “President Trump now has the keys to the nuclear arsenal, the most deadly killing machine ever created. Within minutes, President Trump could unleash up to 1,000 nuclear weapons, each one many times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Yet Congress has no voice in the most important decision the United States government can make. As it stands now, Congress has a larger role in deciding on the number of military bands than in preventing nuclear catastrophe.”

Derek Johnson, Executive Director of Global Zero – “One modern nuclear weapon is more destructive than all of the bombs detonated in World War II combined. Yet there is no check on a president’s ability to launch the thousands of nuclear weapons at his command. In the wake of the election, the American people are more concerned than ever about the terrible prospect of nuclear war — and what the next commander-in-chief will do with the proverbial ‘red button.’ That such devastating power is concentrated in one person is an affront to our democracy’s founding principles. The proposed legislation is an important first step to reining in this autocratic system and making the world safer from a nuclear catastrophe.”

Megan Amundson, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) – “Rep. Lieu and Sen. Markey have rightly called out the dangers of only one person having his or her finger on the nuclear button. The potential misuse of this power in the current global climate has only magnified this concern. It is time to make real progress toward lowering the risk that nuclear weapons are ever used again, and this legislation is a good start.”

Jeff Carter, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility – “Nuclear weapons pose an unacceptable risk to our national security. Even a “limited” use of nuclear weapons would cause catastrophic climate disruption around the world, including here in the United States. They are simply too profoundly dangerous for one person to be trusted with the power to introduce them into a conflict. Grounded in the fundamental constitutional provision that only Congress has the power to declare war, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 is a wise and necessary step to lessen the chance these weapons will ever be used.”

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) – “Restricting first-use of nuclear weapons is an urgent priority. Congress should support the Markey-Lieu legislation.”

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