A Day That Lives In Infamy

OsmDd

copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or  BeThink.org

On this date, May 2, 2011, my thoughts are with those who lost a loved one in war.  Brutal battles cause such harm. Yet, curiously the seem never-ending.  It would appear that humans forget their history.  When attacked, people frequently attack back.  With a loved one lost in war, or other destructive engagement, rather than relate to the pain of another who has experienced as they do or did, a pained person often seeks revenge.  Combat starts a cycle; however, once commenced, it does not cease.  Perchance, we might ponder the past and the people the circumstances of those who are no longer with us. Instead, today, as the headlines herald Obama Calls World ‘Safer’ After Pakistan Raid and Osama bin Laden Killed by U.S. Forces countless celebrate in glee.

This much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation,

and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.


~ Robert F. Kennedy

copyright © January 7, 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

It is the seventh day of the month, a date that now lives in infamy.  On this occasion, she passed.  She was killed by an attack that was all too sudden.  Her physical presence on Earth did not end in the month of December 7, 1941.  This year is not that one.  The events at Pearl Harbor did cause my Mom’s heart to stop.  Indeed, she only ceased to exist in a form that I can see with my eyes or touch with my hand, less than a decade ago.  Truly, it feels as if Mommy just took her leave.  Today, I think of what it must feel like to all those in the United States and Middle East who are now characterized as the dearly departed.  To have lost their lives in the throws of war must  be awful.  

There is no time to prepare or to feel as though you had an opportunity to “properly” say your good-byes. In the instant that a loved one is brutally taken away, rarely is family there.  To know that someone so special was slaughtered in battle, or was a victim of “collateral damage,” must make a family member cringe.  The declaration of death must feel as a new unwanted beginning, not an end,

I know for me, in every second, Mommy is still with me.  All these years later, I mourn my loss.  Oh, if only I could bring her back.  She enters into my dreams almost daily.  Since childhood, I knew, if she were gone, I might not be able to go on.  Today, on the anniversary of her bodily discorporation, I mourn, as I trust she would, the casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Israel, and anywhere that war delays, defers, or denies family time, space, and a proper setting in which to grieve.

Unreported by United States Armed Forces, the Bush Administration, or the American free press, it was estimated that since the US-led invasion began, as of September 2007, over a million Iraqis were killed.  Opinion Research Business, a prominent British survey agency, approximated 1.2 million Iraqi residents violently realized a horrific conclusion to life.  At times, entire families were among the fatalities, survived by only friends, and relatives who lived.  That does not negate the notion, that someone, somewhere, suffered a loss when each one of those individual lives was snuffed out.

Unlike in my situation, those who loved the dearly departed Iraqis, had no warning.  The persons who live to lament were not able to visit their beloved before their final breath.  Opportunities to say good-bye were few, if they existed at all.  The bombs blasted.  The bullets pierced the delicate flesh of the persons now fallen.  Survivors were left only with their sorrow.  Sadly, some probably regret they could not save a cherished soul.  While I might relate to that feeling, at least I know my Mom passed quietly, safely at home, in the company of those nearest and dearest.  She went to her rest in peace.

In Afghanistan, the challenges are equal to those in Iraq.  Homes sit snugly in a war zone.  Soldiers, who are suspicious of Afghani natives, surround local communities.  Troops are also found within indigenous societal circles.  Weaponry is wielded.  No innocent man, woman, or child is out of harm’s way.  When a friend or family folk is maimed or murdered, neighbors may wish to send condolences, as those close to my Mom did.  Colleagues may yearn to congregate around a casket and cry.  People may seek closure.  Cremations, with a chance to offer ceremonial respects, might be as is customary.  Yet, again, since American and allies attacks commenced, citizens of Afghanistan cannot do as my relatives, and I had done when Mommy departed.

No one is certain how many have passed in the roughed terrain of Afghanistan.  The Pentagon does not release statistics of the insurgents killed.  Nor do they dare calculate the numbers of blameless civilian losses.  The United States Armed Services applaud the accuracy of air strikes.  American military speaks of the smart strategy.

(F)or all their precision, American bombs sometimes take out the wrong targets.  As U.S. air strikes doubled from 2006 to 2007, the number of accidental civilian deaths soared, from 116 to 321, according to Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon targeting chief who tabulates civilian casualties for Human Rights Watch (HRW), an independent research group.  By his count, the death toll among civilians so far this year [September 2008] is approaching 200.

The military dismisses such tallies as exaggerated, and their provenance is often murky.  . . .

Whatever the tally, officials both inside and outside the U.S. military say attacks that kill civilians occur with distressing regularity; they generate headlines only when dozens die.  Afghans vividly recall the July 2002 bombing of a wedding party–celebratory gunfire led to retaliation by an AC-130–that killed up to 48 civilians and wounded 117 in Oruzgan province; many were women and children.

This past July, 47 people were killed and nine wounded on their way to a wedding in eastern Afghanistan.  Among the dead were 39 women and children, including the bride-to-be, Afghan authorities said.

What of the families, and friends, of those who survived?  How must they reconcile the loss?  Joyous, the beloved went to a celebration.  Yet, they never returned.  They cease to exist, taken down by a missile.  How must the living feel?

For the people who were close to these sweet spirits and lived, July must be as January is for me, a reminder of what was, would have been, and will never be.  The difference is, for all the persons, perhaps hundreds or thousands in Afghanistan who were touched by those who perished while at a wedding in 2002 and on their way to nuptials in 2007, they know a life was cut short by unnecessary combat.  Beautiful beings were blow into oblivion.

Yet, all the while, people in the States, those who purchased and produced the deadly artillery, pay little attention to what does not affect them personally.  Indeed, on this January 7, 2009, the death toll on foreign shores mounts, and many in America think that fine.  As long as it is not their Mom, Dad, son, or daughter, citizens in this “civilized” country will continue to plan inaugural parties, propose to escalate combat in the Middle East, and sanction the strikes that ensue in Gaza.  

Oh, some may protest.  A few will state they cannot endorse the murders.  Others; however, will justify the cause for they will speak of Hamas as the enemy, evil, just as they do of those in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Justice is served, the American Administration will assuage, as they offer a convenient truth; terrorist must be eliminated.

In truth, as long, those who inhabit the world’s superpower do not suffer, do not experience the loss, the United States will do little to interfere, to impede, what through their dollars, and decades of support, they have endorsed.

Perchance, my Mom, today, yesterday, and forever gave me a gift that gives even when she is far away, one I wish every American might receive.  Mommy taught me to empathize, to truly place my heart in the being of another.  She modeled what most dare not muse.  

Mommy, who never wished to hurt any one or another entity, understood how bereavement affected me.  She knew; when the soul of someone is lost to this world, I ache.  Hence, she stayed on Earth so that I might see her one more time, hold her hand, and say all that we might.  When she knew I could, and would not regret, my Mom wished me well.  “Have a good trip,” the lovely Berenice Barbara said as I left her physical presence.  “You too,” I replied.

It was January 7th, a day that lives in infamy for me, and one that I trust will be tarnished for those in foreign lands who lost a loved one in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, or anywhere on this globe.

May we all rest in peace.

References and Resources for Reflection . . .

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A Day That Lives In Infamy

This much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation,

and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.


~ Robert F. Kennedy

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

It is the seventh day of the month, a date that now lives in infamy.  On this occasion, she passed.  She was killed by an attack that was all too sudden.  Her physical presence on Earth did not end in the month of December.  The year was not 1941.  The events at Pearl Harbor did cause my Mom’s heart to stop.  Indeed, she only ceased to exist in a form that I can see with my eyes or touch with my hand, less than a decade ago.  Truly, it feels as if Mommy just took her leave.  

In every moment, she is still with me.  All these years later, I mourn my loss.  Oh, if only I could bring her back.  She enters into my dreams almost daily.  Since childhood, I knew, if she were gone, I might not be able to go on.  Today, on the anniversary of her bodily discorporation, I mourn, as I trust she would, the casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Israel, and anywhere that war delays, defers, or denies family time, space, and a proper setting in which to grieve.

Unreported by United States Armed Forces, the Bush Administration, or the American free press, it was estimated that since the US-led invasion began, as of September 2007, over a million Iraqis were killed.  Opinion Research Business, a prominent British survey agency, approximated 1.2 million Iraqi residents violently realized a horrific conclusion to life.  At times, entire families were among the fatalities, survived by only friends, and relatives who lived.  That does not negate the notion, that someone, somewhere, suffered a loss when each one of those individual lives was snuffed out.

Unlike in my situation, those who loved the dearly departed Iraqis, had no warning.  The persons who live to lament were not able to visit their beloved before their final breath.  Opportunities to say good-bye were few, if they existed at all.  The bombs blasted.  The bullets pierced the delicate flesh of the persons now fallen.  Survivors were left only with their sorrow.  Sadly, some probably regret they could not save a cherished soul.  While I might relate to that feeling, at least I know my Mom passed quietly, safely at home, in the company of those nearest and dearest.  She went to her rest in peace.

In Afghanistan, the challenges are equal to those in Iraq.  Homes sit snugly in a war zone.  Soldiers, who are suspicious of Afghani natives, surround local communities.  Troops are also found within indigenous societal circles.  Weaponry is wielded.  No innocent man, woman, or child is out of harm’s way.  When a friend or family folk is maimed or murdered, neighbors may wish to send condolences, as those close to my Mom did.  Colleagues may yearn to congregate around a casket and cry.  People may seek closure.  Cremations, with a chance to offer ceremonial respects, might be as is customary.  Yet, again, since American and allies attacks commenced, citizens of Afghanistan cannot do as my relatives, and I had done when Mommy departed.

No one is certain how many have passed in the roughed terrain of Afghanistan.  The Pentagon does not release statistics of the insurgents killed.  Nor do they dare calculate the numbers of blameless civilian losses.  The United States Armed Services applaud the accuracy of air strikes.  American military speaks of the smart strategy.

(F)or all their precision, American bombs sometimes take out the wrong targets.  As U.S. air strikes doubled from 2006 to 2007, the number of accidental civilian deaths soared, from 116 to 321, according to Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon targeting chief who tabulates civilian casualties for Human Rights Watch (HRW), an independent research group.  By his count, the death toll among civilians so far this year [September 2008] is approaching 200.

The military dismisses such tallies as exaggerated, and their provenance is often murky.  . . .

Whatever the tally, officials both inside and outside the U.S. military say attacks that kill civilians occur with distressing regularity; they generate headlines only when dozens die.  Afghans vividly recall the July 2002 bombing of a wedding party–celebratory gunfire led to retaliation by an AC-130–that killed up to 48 civilians and wounded 117 in Oruzgan province; many were women and children.

This past July, 47 people were killed and nine wounded on their way to a wedding in eastern Afghanistan.  Among the dead were 39 women and children, including the bride-to-be, Afghan authorities said.

What of the families, and friends, of those who survived?  How must they reconcile the loss?  Joyous, the beloved went to a celebration.  Yet, they never returned.  They cease to exist, taken down by a missile.  How must the living feel?

For the people who were close to these sweet spirits and lived, July must be as January is for me, a reminder of what was, would have been, and will never be.  The difference is, for all the persons, perhaps hundreds or thousands in Afghanistan who were touched by those who perished while at a wedding in 2002 and on their way to nuptials in 2007, they know a life was cut short by unnecessary combat.  Beautiful beings were blow into oblivion.

Yet, all the while, people in the States, those who purchased and produced the deadly artillery, pay little attention to what does not affect them personally.  Indeed, on this January 7, 2009, the death toll on foreign shores mounts, and many in America think that fine.  As long as it is not their Mom, Dad, son, or daughter, citizens in this “civilized” country will continue to plan inaugural parties, propose to escalate combat in the Middle East, and sanction the strikes that ensue in Gaza.  

Oh, some may protest.  A few will state they cannot endorse the murders.  Others; however, will justify the cause for they will speak of Hamas as the enemy, evil, just as they do of those in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Justice is served, the American Administration will assuage, as they offer a convenient truth; terrorist must be eliminated.

In truth, as long, those who inhabit the world’s superpower do not suffer, do not experience the loss, the United States will do little to interfere, to impede, what through their dollars, and decades of support, they have endorsed.

Perchance, my Mom, today, yesterday, and forever gave me a gift that gives even when she is far away, one I wish every American might receive.  Mommy taught me to empathize, to truly place my heart in the being of another.  She modeled what most dare not muse.  

Mommy, who never wished to hurt any one or another entity, understood how bereavement affected me.  She knew; when the soul of someone is lost to this world, I ache.  Hence, she stayed on Earth so that I might see her one more time, hold her hand, and say all that we might.  When she knew I could, and would not regret, my Mom wished me well.  “Have a good trip,” the lovely Berenice Barbara said as I left her physical presence.  “You too,” I replied.

It was January 7th, a day that lives in infamy for me, and one that I trust will be tarnished for those in foreign lands who lost a loved one in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, or anywhere on this globe.

May we all rest in peace.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights



Universal Declaration of Human Rights animation

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

The day arrived with little fanfare.  As the world waits to hear of how history will treat those who authorized torture in recent years, few ponder the prominence of this date.  Sixty years ago today, on December 10, in reaction to the most horrific of human abuses, forty eight [48] of fifty-six [56] United Nations States ratified what would come to be known as The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

This document was meant to provide protection for all people planet-wide.  Post World War II, as throughout the globe, the public learned of what occurred amongst the innocents, it became clear, as one, something needed to be done.  Allies and adversaries realized unforeseen exploitations were inevitable if together, the superpowers did not define what was considered cruel and unusual punishment.

Three score ago, a United Nations Commission, chaired by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s widow Eleanor, carefully crafted a paper that addressed what were thought to be collective freedoms. Privileges not formally inscribed in previous centuries, were penned to reflect a reality no one thought needed to be stated.  

In a time of battle, it was learned mankind can be beyond brutal.  People unconstrained can be extremely callous.  Carnage when in combat can be expected.  What was not anticipated before World War II was how man could and would mistreat his fellow man.

In order to avoid what no one intellectually wished to ever see again, a proclamation was established.

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”

Preamble

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore The General Assembly proclaims This Declaration of Universal Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

While few would want these self-evident truths to be other than honored, history shows us that even though the words are etched in the stone of our shared experience, they are not easily enforced.  Nor do the people of this planet ponder the profundity that preceded us. Perchance, it is time to commemorate an occasion and our common concerns.

America is One of Three



TrueMajority Nuclear BB Demonstration

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

“America is one of three.”  Some might say the United States is one in a million.  Surely, the superiority of this western nation is rarely questioned.  The “land of milk and honey” is frequently referred to as a Superpower.  Most think America might be considered truly supreme.  Politically, economically, and militaristically the United States excels.  This democratic nation has clout.  America is able to control a situation, or a strategy.  Citizens here consistently prove they are strong.  This is the “home of the brave.”  It is well known, Americans are courageous enough to take a stand, and they have.  The United States is one of three nations that, regardless of outcry, refuses to support a United Nations resolution which would abolish the manufacture and use of all nuclear weapons.  

Cries from citizens in Hiroshima do nothing to change the minds of Americans.  The 63rd anniversary of the atomic blast that annihilated the Japanese city does not move residents of the United States.  People who inhabit this Superpower do not recall the intensity of a moment that instantaneously killed 140,000 people.  Perhaps, that is why here, in the States, few think it essential that we all remember that power, nuclear, or absolute destroys.

On a bright and beautiful August morning, on the 6th, in 1945, America with the assistance of its allies, dropped an enormously powerful explosive on an entire community.  Innocent inhabitants of Hiroshima did not awaken.  The sound, while deafening, did not cause those still asleep to stir.  People, out and about, did not dare run for shelter.  There was no time.  Immediately after the blast, bodies flew through the air aimlessly.  The blameless could not scurry.  There was no escape from the explosion the one of three initiated.  Ultimately . . .

An estimated 140,000 people were killed instantly or died within a few months after the bombing.  Japan’s official death toll of nearly 260,000 includes injured who have died in the decades since.

The scars still linger.  Today, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba announced a two-year study would commence.  Researchers would estimate the psychological toll of the August 6, 1945, attack.  It is obvious to the Mayor and to all who reside amongst the survivors, invisible, invasive thoughts have been difficult to calculate, although for too many these are palpable.

Much discovery, and documentation of the physical toll the atomic ammo took, is available.  However, the horrendous effects from an explosive too brutal to speak of sadly, remain hidden in the recesses of many a mind.  Pronounced affects, early on, were perhaps more apparent then they are now.  Nevertheless, what occurred in the final days of World War II continues to have an effect, evident and precarious.  

Perchance that is why at 8:15 Ante Meridian, three-score, and three years later, an assembly of 45,000 people gathered beneath the spot where the one in three detonated an atomic bomb.  Modern-day mourners recall too vividly the lives lost, the family’s devastated, the history that could haunt all people planet wide if only everyone chose to be aware of it.  Most, at least in America, prefer to forget, and perhaps have.  History for those in the States does not endure in the present.  In this nation far removed from a reality so grim, few recall, in that fateful month of August 1945, those drunk with absolutism pounded again and again.

Three days later, another U.S. airplane dropped a plutonium bomb on the city of Nagasaki, killing about 80,000 people.

The total number of deaths in a single week was staggering.  The effect on generations of Japanese citizens is no less stunning.  Yet, here in the United States, the ability to ignore, or excuse what was, and is, endures.  Perchance, the capacity to remove an event from consciousness enables the luxury of repudiation.  Thus, the United States continues to reject the United Nations resolution to eliminate nuclear weaponry.  

People in the States rationalize.  Some say these brutal bombs ended the war.  Indeed, the nuclear explosives did nothing to bring peace to the people in Japan, or elsewhere for that matter.  Today, the same nation that aggressively assaulted Far Eastern enclaves continues to threaten the sanctity of life everywhere.

American leaders intent on dominion, arrogantly demand that all other countries relinquish nuclear weaponry.  Nuclear energy endeavors also must be eliminated if they exist on foreign territory.  After all, the capability to crush an enemy is a concern.  The one of three, or one in a million superpower maintains only the United States need have this command.  Might we inquire; is conquest the manifest destiny of a democratic nation?

It seems the answer is yes.  For decades, each Administration demands only allies can make use of fission.  Foes must cease, and desist.  Development of nuclear power could lead to another atomic attack, and not by the world’s most dominant force.  That, in the mind of many Americans must not occur.

Therefore, any research in the realm of nuclear energy must be restricted, that is except if the Americans do the investigation.  Development that might advance an ability to build such a dangerous arsenal need be forbidden, outside the United States.  The risks, say American officials are too great.  We must stop potential enemies at any cost, just as we did in 1945.  Money spent at home is not a problem.  Funds for fission is essential if we are to remain safe.  Nuclear power is our protection.  Hence, cost is no object and currently, in this country, the stockpile of explosives is vast.

  • 1 Cost of the Manhattan Project (through August 1945): $20,000,000,000
  • 2.  Total number of nuclear missiles built, 1951-present: 67,500
  • 3.  Estimated construction costs for more than 1,000 ICBM launch pads and silos, and support facilities, from 1957-1964: nearly $14,000,000,000
  • 4.  Total number of nuclear bombers built, 1945-present: 4,680
  • 5.  Peak number of nuclear warheads and bombs in the stockpile/year: 32,193/1966
  • 6.  Total number and types of nuclear warheads and bombs built, 1945-1990: more than 70,000/65 types
  • 7.  Number currently in the stockpile (2002): 10,600 (7,982 deployed, 2,700 hedge/contingency stockpile)
  • 8.  Number of nuclear warheads requested by the Army in 1956 and 1957: 151,000
  • 9.  Projected operational U.S. strategic nuclear warheads and bombs after full enactment of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty in 2012: 1,700-2,200
  • 10.  Additional strategic and non-strategic warheads not limited by the treaty that the U.S. military wants to retain as a “hedge” against unforeseen future threats: 4,900
  • 11.  Largest and smallest nuclear bombs ever deployed: B17/B24 (~42,000 lbs., 10-15 megatons); W54 (51 lbs., .01 kilotons, .02 kilotons-1 kiloton)

The list of facts and figures continues.  Perhaps, the numbers that might cause Americans ample concern, were they not so emotionally removed from events in the Far East, and from the effects of nuclear explosives are these.

There are bombs in most every backyard.  From Alabama to Wyoming, Americans face potential hazards.  Nuclear waste, nuclear weaponry, and or navel nuclear propulsion fills our fields and oceans.  This inventory is thought to be safely stored.  Yet, in truth, it is not and biologically cannot be.  Still, leaders of the one of three, tell citizens of this country not to worry.  All will be well.

Administrations in this one in a million Superpower surmise and then suggest to civilians, we must consider the priorities.  Americans need energy to support the economic system.  Nuclear explosives will ensure our nation’s safety.  What is not said to inhabitants in the one of three is the use of nuclear energy or explosives are a crisis waiting to happen.  With either, there is waste.  The destruction from a detonated bomb is bad.  What is worse is the damage, discarded rods can cause.

“The spent [depleted] fuel rods from a nuclear reactor are the most radioactive of all nuclear wastes.”  Ninety-nine percent of the toxic atomic emissions come from radioactive rods.  Currently, there are no permanent storage sites, internationally, for spent fuel rods.  Not even a Superpower can construct what may never be viable, physically or psychologically.

While the public is reassured, temporary storage facilities are being used until a stable site is searched for and secured, indeed, that truth may never be.  Certainly, in the lifetime of any citizen worldwide the hot rods will not expire.  Only people will perish, people in the Far East, the West, and throughout the planet.  Time is not on the side of man, no matter how super his power might be.

High-level radioactive wastes are the highly radioactive materials produced as a byproduct of the reactions that occur inside nuclear reactors.  High-level wastes take one of two forms:
  • Spent (used) reactor fuel when it is accepted for disposal
  • Waste materials remaining after spent fuel is reprocessed

Spent nuclear fuel is used fuel from a reactor that is no longer efficient in creating electricity, because its fission process has slowed.  However, it is still thermally hot, highly radioactive, and potentially harmful . . .

Since the only way radioactive waste finally becomes harmless is through decay, which for high-level wastes can take hundreds of thousands of years, the wastes must be stored and finally disposed of in a way that provides adequate protection of the public for a very long time.

However, hundreds of thousands of years is longer than most of us can fathom.  To date, humans from Hiroshima and Washington District of Columbia have not been able to produce a product that lasts that long.  People seem only able to destroy what was created that long ago.  Perchance, Americans do this best.

Nevertheless, politicians and pundits in this, the one of three, tell the citizens, who are intent on creature comforts, nuclear energy will provide us with power.  Nuclear weaponry will secure American shores.  Indeed, leaders in this prosperous nation say, if Americans continue to invest in fission, the economy will flourish.  Citizens in United States will retain the claim, World Superpower.  In the most power-full nation on the planet, we are one in a million, and we can take people out, or we can take on more nuclear power   As evidence, we remain one of three unwilling to relinquish our atomic strength.

Sources of Energy and the Enigma . . .

Please Consider Recent “Accidents.” . . .

The Audacity to Hope is a Dream From My Father



Barack Obama in Berlin

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

It is the day of my father’s birth, July 24th.  The man who taught me to dream of unity gave me the freedom to aspire.  Leon inspired and inspires me today.  Since earliest childhood, Daddy ensured I saw no walls and created no barriers.  My father, through his actions, helped me to understand the importance of fellowship.  He demonstrated the need to build bridges in federations with those we call foreign.  Whether Daddy spoke of companions or countries, he emphasized the strength of coalitions.  Lee, as others might label him, taught me the value alliances, in every association.  With thanks to Daddy, I have the Audacity to Hope.  Barack Obama also has the courage of conviction.  Illinois Senator, and Presidential hopeful Obama communicated this commitment to a broader community, today, on July 24, 2008, in Berlin, Germany.

Barack Obama spoke of the belief he holds dear, and the one my father shared with me.  Perchance, Dreams From My Father, and his, were evident in a speech given this afternoon on distant soil. Citizen Obama expressed a belief in the power of partnerships.  He advanced the notion, when we come “together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life, all is finer.  

The presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, and potential President of the United States, declared, as a community, large or small, people connected can strive to achieve for the commonweal.  Individually and as a culture, we thrive when we are united.  Divided, we worldwide will fall.  Whether it be in Berlin, or at an American border, when people build walls, society is weakened.

This sentiment resonated within me.  People abroad responded as well.  

Possibly, we all have fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers that help us to acknowledge “the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.”  As the assembly in Germany applauded the words “this is the moment when we must” trust, give hope, come together, “summon that spirit [of promise] anew,” and “renew our resolve,” I choked back tears.  

I do not agree with the thought that any of us is, or has an enemy.  Nonetheless, I greatly appreciate the broader concept offered; compassion towards all beings is vital.  The thought expressed frequently in Barack Obama’s address that touched me is, empathy is essential.  I too believe that we must join as one.  As a whole we need to act on our spoken intention.  All individuals say they crave global tranquility.  If each of us embraces the “fierce urgency of now”  much will be achieved.

The time is upon us.  Each of us can choose to act on our hopes and our desires.  I have faith that if we recall, as my Dad taught me, no one person is our leader; no one is, or can be the person in charge, then, we can truly prosper.  (I thank you Daddy for the lesson.  ‘All are equal.  An egalitarian society is essential if humans are to live in harmony.  As you said today Daddy, we each must have an opportunity to shine.)

Today, and every day, the man with a dream is not necessarily a person of any particular gender, race, color, creed, or ethnicity.  He is you, me, my Dad, Barack Obama’s father, and yours.  The person with vision is a woman, a child.  He or she is every being.  If we are ever to end the nightmare of an era bent on destruction, we must join hands, extend our hearts, empathize, and endeavor to be one.

I offer an invitation, an inspirational speech.  May you peruse the text, reflect on the transcript, and live as a person with intent.  May I present, Barack Obama and his speech delivered in Berlin on the date of my Dad’s birth.

Transcript

Obama’s Speech in Berlin

July 24, 2008

The following is the prepared text of Senator Barack Obama in Berlin, Germany, as provided by his presidential campaign.

Senator Barack Obama: Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father – my grandfather – was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning – his dream – required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

That is why I’m here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

And that’s when the airlift began – when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city’s mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. “There is only one possibility,” he said. “For us to stand together united until this battle is won…The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty…People of the world, look at Berlin!”

People of the world – look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world – look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall – a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope – walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers – dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we’re honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe’s role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth – that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more – not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations – and all nations – must summon that spirit anew.

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century – in this city of all cities – we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.

And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust – not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words “never again” in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don’t look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin – people of the world – this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived – at great cost and great sacrifice – to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people – everywhere – became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation – our generation – must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin – and people of the world – the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.

Source of Inspiration; The Audacity to Hope . . .

International Affairs Budget; Billions Could Be Cut



One.org Ad – Live 8

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Just as Romans in an arena, Americans love a good fight.  Citizens of this country voice their pleasure as they witness the battle.  Nationwide, we watch look for blood as we advocate for peace in the Middle East.  Hillary Clinton has pulled ahead in some political polls.  The public, like the Romans have no empathy for the victim of merciless attacks.  Protests against the brutality, is as inconceivable today as it was in ancient time.  In 2008, people are as they were centuries ago, anxious for more atrocities.  Worldwide, people in dire need die, and Americans are busily, happily distracted by the political competitions.

Talk of unity today is as red meat to a hungry beast.  An “attractive” offering such as a Clinton/Obama ticket is meant to entice the few who are tired, the many who are tempted to follow in the footsteps of a very persuasive former President, or those who have lost their way in a tempest known as publicity.

The games continue.  The Gladiators rage on.  Unity in the United States does not seem a possibility.  While eyes are on the political prize Americans forget or do not see the threat on the near horizon.  In seven [7] days, without action from the public, the Senate may cut $4 [four] Billion dollars from the President’s 2009 International Affairs budget.  This money helps to provide most of the poverty-fighting funds.

The International Affairs budget (also referred to as Function 150 of the Federal budget) provides the funding to carry out U.S. foreign policy.  This funding supports the worldwide operations of the Department of State, maintaining effective American representation at embassies and posts in foreign countries, as well as the operations of the U.S. Agency for International Development.  This funding also supports a broad array of foreign assistance programs and other U.S. Government activities to achieve foreign policy priorities.  The formulation and implementation of funding requests are closely related to the Department’s and USAID’s planning and performance process.

If the dollars disappear so too would many of the millions of people throughout the globe who are working their way out of extreme poverty with America’s help.  Do citizens in a country where most are well-fed and cared for wish to further devastate those who are barely able to survive.  Would we wish to watch as our fellow man falls?

If you do not wish to be as the ancient Romans ready for the kill, please join your fellow citizens at One.org  Please read and reflect on what might occur without our attention.  Please consider . . .

While the presidential candidates were responding to your pressure and announcing their plans to visit Africa, Congress was putting together the 2009 budget.  And the numbers don’t look good.

As it stands today, the Senate is considering a $4 billion cut from the president’s 2009 international affairs budget.  What’s most shocking is that this would represent a cut of $1 billion from this year’s funding, a huge loss at a time when we are poised to do so much to combat extreme poverty and global disease.  Slashing this funding would be simply devastating to people like those surviving HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis thanks in part to the help America provides.

Thankfully, we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed the problem, and Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) have introduced an amendment to restore $2.6 billion to the international affairs budget, to match the House of Representatives funding level.

Here is where we come in.  We only have one week to get the majority of the Senate to support this effort.  It’s up to us to take action and make sure that our Senators pass a budget that reflects our values.  So we’re launching a petition asking the Senate to support this amendment:

You can add your name here:

http://www.one.org/2009budget/…

No one would wish to sign an appeal without full knowledge of the text.  Rather than trust a brief, please review the request.  Then, decide what you wish to do.  After all, you are your best advisor and the only one who can speak for you.

Petition text:

In the great American tradition of helping others help themselves, we, the undersigned, ask that the U.S. Senate pass the Durbin-Smith amendment to restore $2.6 billion to the international affairs budget.

Increasing the size of the international affairs budget is vital to increasing the amount the U.S. gives to poverty-focused development assistance.  The international affairs budget funds all the proven solutions that we call for time and again: lifesaving AIDS medications, basic education, access to clean water, and many more programs helping people work their way out of poverty.

If would like to ensure that poor persons throughout the planet have opportunities they may not have without the plans already in place, then you may wish to submit your signature.

To save these programs, we’ve set an aggressive goal of gathering 60,000 signatures before we deliver the petition to every senator next week.  Please add your name:

http://www.one.org/2009budget/…

People you may never meet in person, need you to believe in the power of unity.  Humanity cannot survive if we do not care for our brethren.  If our brother bleeds we may not witness his wounds or the see him hemorrhage.  Nonetheless, we will experience his pain, for we are one.

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space.

He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.


~ Albert Einstein [Physicist]

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another,

until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.


~ Frederick Buechner [Presbyterian Minister and American Author]

Sources . . .

World Refugee Day 2007; Mourn “Necessary” Migration


Celebrating World Refugee Day

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

I cannot sit comfortably in my cozy home, at my glorious computer [The Old Soul] without crying out in pain.  Throughout the world, today, more so than yesterday, or last year, we witness man?s inhumanity to man. 

Forty million persons, men, women and children crouch on street corners, squat in small rooms, sit in squalor, and wonder if they might survive.  Some are in better circumstances.  They have found homes; however, they remain in exile from their families, friends, and all that is familiar.

The United Nations Refugee Center tries to reach out; they have for more than half a century.  This organization works to promote awareness.  Yet, they need our help.  For those that remain as I do snug in my surroundings, it is difficult to relate to a life so challenging.  Nonetheless, I believe we must try and keep hope alive.

In Iraq alone the continuous flood of violence has left many homeless.  In December 2006 the Guardian Unlimited reported findings that were distressing then.

A report (pdf) by Washington-based Refugees International said an influx of Iraqis threatened to overwhelm other Middle Eastern countries, particularly Syria, Jordon and Lebanon.

Last month, the UN estimated that 100,000 people were fleeing the country each month, with the number of Iraqis now living in other Arab countries standing at 1.8 million.

Today’s [December 7, 2006] report came, as George Bush and Tony Blair were due to discuss the situation in Iraq, which the bipartisan Iraq Study Group yesterday described as “grave and deteriorating”.

Refugees International said the acceleration in the numbers fleeing Iraq meant it could soon overtake the refugee crisis in Darfur.

“We’re not saying it’s the largest [refugee crisis], but it’s quickly becoming the largest,” spokeswoman Kristele Younes said. “The numbers are very, very scary.”

Ms Younes said the most pressing concern was to prevent other countries from sending Iraqis back to the violence that had forced them to flee their mother country.

The report revealed Iraqi refugees were facing tough restrictions in other Arab countries, preventing them from finding work or gaining access to healthcare and other public services.

That was three hundred and sixty-five long hard days ago.  Today, the situation is worse.  As the brutality increases so too do the numbers.  People are fleeing for their lives.  They leave the native soils they love.  Approximately fifty thousand Iraqis escape from what was once their sanctuary, their country each month.  The numbers of individuals internally displaced is innumerable. More than 2.2 million Iraqis have fled since the current American-led war began. Two million Iraqis have been displaced inside this Middle Eastern nation.

In the Republic of the Congo, another fifty six thousand refugees fight for a semblance of the life.  The good life that most Americans take for granted is far more than a step away.

Most of us are familiar, if only in words with the situation in Sudan.  However, might we begin to consider more than the numbers of persons in exile.  Let us attempt to place ourselves in the situation that envelops the émigrés. 

There are 116,746 refugees in Eritrea, 20,000 in Chad, 14,633 struggling to survive in Ethiopia, 7,895 fraught in Uganda, 5,023 burdened and begging for a sense of normalcy in Central African Republic.

In a May 2004 News Hour report Correspondent Fred De Sam Lazaro spoke of the conditions refugees in Sudan endured daily.

For 15 months, more than 100,000 people have trekked across some of Africa’s most forbidding terrain to reach safety in eastern Chad. They arrive in small groups, bringing stories of rape and other atrocities committed by people they call Arabs — allegedly supported by the Sudanese government — in neighboring Sudan’s Darfur region. Another one million so-called “black” Sudanese who have been displaced from their homes remain in Darfur. Human rights groups back up their accusations of ethnic cleansing even though Darfur has been mostly closed to the outside world.

In the relative safety of Chad’s refugee camps, the day usually begins around 5:00 am. Women like Jamila Numere start a daunting pursuit of life’s most basic needs. Water comes from a hastily dug, shallow well.

Behind the people at the well are donkeys, prized beasts of burden. But their needs must come second. There’s simply not enough water to go around. The stench of death is everywhere. One of relief worker Gillian Dunn’s top priorities has been to burn thousands of animal carcasses.

It is challenging to feel hopeful, to dream of a better life when there is not enough water to sustain oneself, let alone the animals.  To think, these were the conditions three years ago in this desert region.  In Darfur, two years later, there was evidence of a deepening decline.

A Loss of Hope Inside Darfur Refugee Camps
Over Two Years, a Genocide Comes Into View
By Emily Wax
Washington Post.
  Sunday, April 30, 2006; A12

NAIROBI — On a stretch of the austere desert in Chad, just across the border from the Darfur region of Sudan, signs of tragedy came into full view: tattered clothing caught on the branches of thornbushes, carcasses of camels and goats that died on the long journey out.

Then the people began to appear: haggard young girls with siblings on their backs, old men riding atop donkeys piled high with cooking pots, water jugs and mats, and elderly grandmothers, some with gunshot wounds, being pushed through the sand in wheelbarrows.

And then: a group of female teachers, squatting in a dry riverbed, trying to find shelter from sandstorms that were building over the horizon and turning the air into a wall of thick, orange dust.

It was a boiling-hot day in February 2004, and it was my first trip to investigate what were then vague reports of refugees streaming across the desolate border.

A woman came out from under some trees in the riverbed to greet me. Her name was Armani Tinjany, and she was a beautiful 29-year-old Sudanese teacher, tall and gracious in a flowing orange polka-dot dress tied to her thin waist.

She grabbed my hand and in clear English told me she had a college degree and taught Arabic and agriculture to high school students. She had lived a comfortable life with her family in a village of stone compounds.

A month before I met her, her village was attacked by Arab militias known as the Janjaweed — slang for devils on horseback. The militiamen galloped into town, burned homes and buildings, raped women and killed dozens of men while government aircraft bombed the area. The assault was a strike back at rebels who had risen up against the Arab-led government, claming economic and political discrimination.

In her rush to leave, Tinjany left her parents and her husband behind. Were they alive? She did not know.

“Are they going to leave us like this forever?” she asked. “My life, as I knew it, is finished.”

She answered all my questions slowly, and often referred to a wrinkled notebook in which she had recorded the atrocities. Even with people out to kill her entire family and her tribe, she softly apologized for not being able to offer me tea.

At that time, Darfur was just another confusing African conflict. Today, it is known as the site of the first genocide of the 21st century, a human catastrophe that has pushed nearly 2.5 million people off their land and into camp cities, some housing as many as 80,000 people.

Might we begin to believe that life is fragile; refugees were once as we are.  A college graduate, a teacher, who lived a ?comfortable life, now lives in dire need.  Today, this woman, Armani Tinjany exists, not much more.  Her circumstances cause her to question everything she ever believed to be true.  She is genteel, has the manners of a lady.  This graceful and generous soul apologizes for not offering her guest tea.  Yet, few apologize to Armani Tinjany.  Less even acknowledge her or her circumstance.

I know not how to honor those that have no real home, no sense of connection to their roots.  I only submit this invitation.  May we each endeavor to empathize, open our hearts and our minds to what we cannot and rarely do imagine. 

I offer this plea on behalf of the people and The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  If we do nothing else, let us remember the high cost of gas means little to those without a place to call home. The debate on whether to exit Iraq is not as vital as actually leaving this war torn nation whole.  Our presence in the Middle East has not been a humanitarian mission.  We have only served to increase the refugee crisis in that region. 

War inevitably does more to damage what was once a mother country for thousands now living in exile and fear.  Those in other nations feel this; they experience it.  Ethic cleansing dirties the landscape in Sudan.

Ignorance or ignoring those in other distressed nations does much harm.  Our choosing to disregard our connection to the quality of life for citizens throughout the globe does not benefit them or us.  While we  may worry about property taxes, few there have land to live on.  Often Americans focus on a topic, to the exclusion of others.  Currently, the war in Iraq dominates the news.  However, there is more we must attend to. 

Some battlefields are less visible; yet, equally critical.  I do not deny that caring for our fatherland is essential.  However, if we sacrifice others while attending to our own selfish needs, all will suffer.

Please, I implore us all, myself included; do not let another day go by without working to provide peace worldwide.  Let people live in the countries they love.  Fretting and flittering about in cyberspace is great fun.  However, we must do more.  Give, in whatever way you can, even if it is only discussing the conditions of your fellow man with your neighbor.  Speak to those that rarely mention or think about these issues. Let us raise consciousness and create harmony in every land. 

Bring all  boys and girls home, no matter what their country of origin.

I share this thought for your review.

World Refugee Day: Challenges of the 21st Century

GENEVA, June 20 (UNHCR) ? Today is World Refugee Day, a day when the UN refugee agency tries to focus worldwide attention on the plight of millions of refugees and displaced people around the world. To mark the day, High Commissioner António Guterres is visiting South Sudan to witness the rapid changes in the nature of the refugee challenge in Africa.

Some 40 million people worldwide are uprooted by violence and persecution, and it is likely that the future will see more people on the move as a growing number of push factors build upon each other to create conditions for further forced displacement.

People are forced to seek refuge for increasingly interlinked reasons. They do not just flee persecution and war, but also injustice, exclusion, environmental pressures, competition for scarce resources and the miseries caused by dysfunctional states.

The task facing the international community is to understand this new environment and to find ways to unlock the potential of refugees who have much to offer if they are given the opportunity to regain control over their lives.

“Our greatest satisfaction comes from helping a refugee family to go home. Their repatriation is a ray of hope in a strife-torn region. Working together with our partners and with the support of our donors we have made a difference. But we need to do more to help refugees once again become active players in society,” said António Guterres, who traveled with Sudanese refugees as they returned home from Uganda after years in exile.

Results on the ground show UNHCR is making progress. Last year, UNHCR helped hundreds of thousands of refugees return home. In Africa, in addition to stepped-up repatriation to South Sudan, bright spots include winding up of UNHCR’s operations in Liberia and Angola.

Working in partnership is key. UNHCR’s Council of Business Leaders, for example, is providing solutions to equip refugees with the tools and skills they will need for their future. One example of partnership in action is ninemillion.org, an online advocacy tool and fund-raising campaign aimed at providing refugee children with access to education and sports programmes.

Another is a programme supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is building skills and capacity among the returning population in South Sudan.

“We cannot do this alone. But with your support UNHCR can begin to turn the tide, giving refugees hope for the future and new opportunities for their families and their communities,” said Guterres.

Please join those that care; be a guiding light, a good neighbor, and a friend to peace, prosperity, and a long healthy life for all.  Remember the refugees each day.  Live your live as though it depends on the goodwill afforded your fellow man.  It does.

Please do not forget the homeless in America  they too are refugees. They are our internal displaced.  Only three years ago the numbers of American displaced was astonishing.

About 3.5 million US residents (about 1% of the population), including 1.35 million children, have been homeless for a significant period of time.  Over 37,000 homeless individuals (including 16,000 children) stay in shelters in New York every night.  This information was gathered by the Urban Institute, but actual numbers might be higher.

In my own home community I see more persons living on the streets each day.  As I read their signs, speak with a few, I am forever reminded, every man, woman, and child is my brother, my sister, and could be me or perhaps you.  I trust I cannot forget we are all connected. if one man is poor we all suffer.  If I contribute to the passing of another person through my ignorance, neglect, or through battle, I will take blame.

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

~ John Donne

References for World Refugee Day 2007 . . .

  • Basic Facts. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • World Refugee Day: Challenges of the 21st Century  The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • pdf Iraqi Refugee Crisis. Refugee International.
  • Warning over spiralling Iraq refugee crisis, By Matt Weaver.  Guardian Unlimited. Thursday December 7, 2006
  • The Iraqi Refugee Crisis, By Dahr Jamil.  The Nation. April 23, 2007
  • Iraq refugees chased from home, struggle to cope, From Arwa Damon.  Cable News Network. June 20, 2007
  • Refugee Crisis in Sudan. Online News Hour. May 13, 2004
  • Africa > Congo, Republic of the > Immigration statistics. NationMaster.com 2003-2007.
  • A Loss of Hope Inside Darfur Refugee Camps, Over Two Years, a Genocide Comes Into View. By Emily Wax.  Washington Post Foreign Service.  Sunday, April 30, 2006; Page A12
  • pdf A Loss of Hope Inside Darfur Refugee Camps, Over Two Years, a Genocide Comes Into View. By Emily Wax.  Washington Post Foreign Service. Sunday, April 30, 2006; Page A12
  • Violence in the Sudan displaces nearly 1 million.  MSNBC News. April 16, 2004
  • This Could Be You! Homeless in America. By Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.
  • Homeless in America.  Washington Profile.
  • Could Culture Clashes Cease?


    Stop the Clash of Civilizations. YouTube.

    Please compose your own missive.  Tell your tales.  Share your stories.  Does your narrative mirror the message seen in this presentation?  Why or why not.  We welcome a discussion, a dialogue, and discourse.  Agree or disagree, feel free to foment or speak favorably.  The choice is yours.

    Can we stop the crash of civilizations?  Must one culture be in conflict with another?  Might we quarrel no more and look at others as our mirror image?  Please offer your reflections.

    Mother Earth Is Not Well. Her Climate Changed. Did Your Notice?

    (As the ice melts, and animals struggle to survive in polluted waterways, the climate changes and we celebrate Earth Day. Mother nature may not have psychically lost weight; nevertheless, her profile is altered. We, her children, are just beginning to notice. Perhaps, we did not treat her well. – promoted by Betsy L. Angert)

    © copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert


    Please Ponder the Inconvenient Truth Trailer.  As you view this video, reflect on the trauma of today’s tornado in Florida.

    Please indulge me, allow me to make a comparison that may seem obscure to some.  Surely, the Bush/Cheney clan has yet to grasp what others and I have said for years.  Humans are harming the balance of nature!  We can choose to deny this.  Citizen of the world can see them selves as separate from nature; however, we are one.  A report released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, validates this “claim.”  I offer this analogy in hopes that a personal realization may make the point more profoundly. 

    Weight loss may be equated with global warming.  Those of us that have lost tonnage know that for years, months, or weeks few notice the pounds dropping away.  We are aware of the subtle changes because we choose to be.  When we work to be sensitive to the mind/body connection, when we work to honor each of these separate entities as one, we become aware of the nuances that surround change. 

    Long after we have lost substantial poundage, people begin to perceive what was occurring for quite some time.  They hesitantly say, ‘Haven’t you lost weight?’  They ask for they are still not certain.  They wonder if what they think they see is what is truly happening.  Meanwhile, those of us that are aware wonder, what took them so long?  Twenty of forty pails of blubber are gone and they are just beginning to notice.  The same is true of global warming.  I feel certain, for decades, the glaciers understood they were shrinking.  Polar bears were attuned; there was a definite reduction in resources.  All entities that live off the land grasped the Earth was in crisis.  Only those confined to their cushy, comfy lives had no complaint.  The self-aggrandized humans remained calm as all other beings suffered feeling the planet’s pain.

    Finally, when the world can wait no longer humans are beginning to acknowledge that maybe they are part of the planet.  Mankind has an effect on the Earth; in fact, s/he is ‘very likely,’ the cause of global warming!

    Today, the airwaves are flooded.  Two stories are on the minds of many, the tornado in Central Florida and the newly established “fact,” long denied by the Bush/Cheney clan, humans ‘very likely’ the cause of climate change and the ever increasing storms.  Conveniently, for the neoconservative tribe, confirmation is not certain.  The term ‘very likely’ allows polluting corporations, the public in their massive Sports Utility machines, and homeowners, ensconced in lifestyles dependent on burning fossil fuels to dismiss the claims that they might be responsible for the devastation we witness all around us.

    Those that want to believe the onus is on Mother Nature still can.  Humankind can continue to claim they are not to blame for the havoc we see throughout the planet.  Weather conditions ebb and flow; this is simply part of the natural cycle.  Nevertheless, I think today’s news may take us closer to the Inconvenient Truth Humans have a hand in what occurs in their habitat.

    Granted, we can continue to live as we have done and deny the certain correlations.  The Bush/Cheney clique has done so since they were first given the opportunity to do so.  Their subtle shifts in policy accelerated the deficit on a massive scale.  Companies were condoned for carelessly ignoring environmental needs.  However, just as with weigh loss, if we allow the process to continue much damage will be done.  Some of it cannot be corrected.  If we choose to be unaware and accept what we do not wish to detect all will worsen.  When a thin person becomes dangerously thin, eventually, they die, just as our planet is.

    While many have shared such facts before, me among them, little has improved.  Nevertheless, I wish to write to our Administrators again.  I doubt they care what the common man such as I thinks or feels.  They have expressed as much when speaking of “surge.”  They will “move forward” with little regard for the thoughts of others.  Bush/Cheney declare control is in their command.  Protests from Congress and citizenry fall on deaf ears.  Still, one can try.

    Dear Perpetrators, President George W. Bush, and Vice President Richard [Dick] Cheney . . .

    I struggle to begin.  While I think every human is to blame, as executors of the largest superpower, I place much of the onus on the two of you and of course, on your cronies.  I acknowledge and accept that the lifestyle sustained by Western cultures did not begin with the Bush/Cheney conglomerate; nevertheless, prior to your taking office, gains were made to restore a natural balance.  Since this Administration took the rein, that is what we have seen, torrential rains, winds, hale storms, and hurricanes.

    Flooding has devastated many parts of the country.  Snowstorms are abundant.  Icy downpours deluge the terrain.  Ice caps are melting.  Tornadoes are the tempest that awaits homeowners everywhere.  Today, there is Florida.

    On Christmas Day Florida felt nature’s surge and unlike the policy that “protects” Iraq, troops and dollars were not sent here.  The newly placed governor of this state, Charlie Crist, not your brother Jeb, wrote you of his concern only two days ago.  Cable News Network journalists spoke of this as they hurriedly rushed to report on the current conditions in Florida.  Just after the February 2, 2007, tornado tumult struck Central Florida the nation learned of your priorities.

    Tony Harris: Jeanne, I think that’s interesting.  We take a look at these pictures in the air, and we can see quite clearly, and, in our own mind, it certainly is a federal disaster that we are witnessing.  But you are right to point out that there is a whole process that has to play out here before the federal government declares it as such and makes funds available. 

    Jeanne Meserve, CNN Homeland Security Correspondent: That’s absolutely right.  There’s a very clear-cut process, which has to be followed.  There is a great anxiety on the part of federal officials not to step on the feet of Florida, but, on the other hand, if Florida is saying this is a major disaster, we want your help, they hope that the federal government will then apply it.  That doesn’t always happen.  apparently.  Someone handed me a letter written by the governor of Florida to the president on January 30th of this month, appealing the fact that after four — excuse me, tornadoes hit Florida on Christmas Day, the governor had requested a major disaster declaration for the state, and they haven’t gotten that yet.  So, they’re still waiting for that.

    Life was no better under Jeb; perhaps it was worse.  Hurricane Wilma came and Florida was virtually ignored.

    It seems that victims of Katrina received all the money and attention.  However, that too proved to be untrue.  Corporations capitalized on this catastrophe.  Oh, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, I know you have friends in high places.  I would not wish to think that you catered to their needs and denied compassionate concern for the people you swore to represent.

    Katrina Watch
    September 19, 2006
    A state judge in Baton Rouge has determined that Bourget’s, the politically connected custom motorcycle shop that has sold almost $120 million of trailers to FEMA, does not have to pay a fine for selling travel trailers without a license, according to attorneys who have read the judge’s unsigned ruling.  The Times-Picayune reports that the decision also appears to let Bourget’s off the hook for potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in Louisiana sales tax, the attorneys said.

    May 9, 2006
    Through a partnership with a smaller, minority-owned company, a multinational firm with ties to the Federal Emergency Management Agency has landed four re-bid deals that could be worth $400 million, federal records show.  The Times-Picayune reports that the contracts were awarded to PRI/DJI, a joint venture between Del-Jen Industries and the Asian-American-owned PRI Inc., therefore qualifying under the terms of a federal program for disadvantaged businesses.  However, Del-Jen is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fluor Corp., which held a mammoth FEMA disaster relief work contract that was up for re-bidding when Katrina hit.  FEMA then broke that contract up and awarded four $500 million deals for temporary housing work, but later agreed under pressure to re-bid them.  PRI/DJI’s success has angered competitors who say it’s outrageous that one partnership – especially one linked to the disaster relief giant – would win four of the 36 contracts awarded when no other company appears to have landed two.  FEMA insists the process has been aboveboard.

    George and Dick, if I may be so bold to speak to you simply.  I recall plain speaking is your preference.  It began with what is still not fully disclosed.  The Energy Task Force committee chaired by you, Dick.  An influential magnate, such as yourself, might be expected to have powerful connections, and you do Mister Vice President.  Many of your friends and followers are found in the energy field.  As Vice President, Mister “helpful” Halliburton Richard Cheney realized he could make friends and influence enemies.  Thus,

    In the spring of 2002, under order from a federal judge, the U.S. Department of Energy released to National Resources Defense Council [NRDC] roughly 13,500 pages relating to previously secret proceedings of the Bush administration’s energy task force.  (President Bush formed the task force in early 2001 to develop a national energy policy, with Vice President Cheney at the helm.)  Even though the government heavily censored the documents before supplying them to NRDC, they [the papers still] reveal that Bush administration officials sought extensive advice from utility companies and the oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy industries.  [Then they] incorporated their recommendations, often word for word, into the energy plan.

    It is a challenge to accept that those that profit from exploitive practices will serve our environment well.  When businesses speak on behalf of the public the policy must be questioned.  Economics 101 dictates, when corporations benefit the consumer likely suffers.  It would be nice to imagine that these two groups would or could work in tandem; however, rarely does this occur. 

    Thus, you may recall from your studies at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Wyoming, supposedly a system of checks and balances was established in this nation.  The government is an institute working in the people’s interest.  It is designed to function of, by, and for the people.  Commoners are considered the foundation.  However, this principle is often ignored.  Companies, in a Capitalist society, work on their own behalf.  Consumers are only a means to a lucrative end for entrepreneurs.

    Perhaps, this is where America went wrong.  We hired, elected, or more accurately selected a businessman such as the two of you to serve us.  Citizens might have known that commerce and Corporate moguls supply only what meets their demand.  Too often, the interests of the Band of Bush Renegades, conflicts with the wellbeing of others, the masses.  What works well for the Super-Rich frequently leaves those of lesser means behind.  Such is the current situation.  The abundantly affluent are ruling the infinitely impoverished.

    Nevertheless, that is our circumstance.  The results are revealing.  Immediately after the George W. Gang came into power changes were made.  Less than two months after taking office you, Misters Bush and Cheney saw fit to alter environmentally friendly policies.

    Bush withdraws new arsenic-in-drinking-water standard
    March 20, 2001

    The Bush administration announced it would withdraw a new standard for arsenic in drinking water, choosing the interests of the mining industry and some small water suppliers over protecting the health of millions of Americans.  EPA’s final arsenic standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb) would have lowered allowable levels of arsenic in tap water from the current standard of 50 ppb, an outdated standard established in 1942.  The 10 ppb standard was the result of more than a decade of public hearings, scientific reviews, and planning with health experts and industry representatives.  A few years ago, the World Health Organization and the European Union implemented a 10 ppb standard.  It would cost 90 percent of Americans living in areas with high levels of arsenic less than $3 per month to clean up the contaminant in their water supplies.

    On April 18, the Bush administration called for new studies on the impacts of arsenic standards ranging from 3 ppb to 20 ppb.  The move will mean at least a year’s delay in reducing levels of this cancer-causing poison, and may mean EPA will seek an unacceptably weak new standard.

    This proposal was quickly retracted; however, it was one of many blunders never rescinded, only strengthened.  For a time, globally countries were working together to reduce toxins in the air, the water, and on land.  The Kyoto treaty was signed.  The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated and signed in accordance with the principles established by the United Nations Framework Convention.  In 1992, Climate Change was considered a vital issue.  Former President and father to the current, George Herbert Walker Bush signed said treaty and the senate ratified the plan.

    The Climate Convention requires all countries, including developing countries, to establish programs to address greenhouse gas emissions and to report on progress.  The 1992 treaty also requires developed countries such as the United States to take the lead in limiting greenhouse gas emissions.  In particular, the 1992 treaty commits the United States and other developed countries to establish programs designed to return greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.  Current U.S. emissions are about 15 percent greater than they were in 1990.

    It makes sense that a nation that comprises one sixth of the world population; yet uses one quarter of the resources would work to set an example.  However, President Bush we know that you do not wish to enforce suffering.  I recall you also stated this is why you do not want Americans to sacrifice during a time of war.  You prefer that people prosper.  Therefore, the nation plunges into debt as billions are spent each week on a protracted war.  Mister Bush, I have heard of your benevolent desire to put money into people’s pockets.  You passed tax cuts to empower individuals.  However, sadly, the infrastructure crumbles.

    Perchance, more is effected, as we, in the United States cause great climate change.  Chaos abounds.

    Bush Administration Errs on Kyoto Global Warming Agreement  Opposing the international climate treaty the Unites States signed in 1997, President Bush and members of his administration have made misleading and erroneous comments.

    In March 2001, after reneging on a campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, President George W. Bush announced his administration’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 international accord setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions.  In renouncing the protocol, the president and members of his administration have used a number of seriously flawed arguments.

      Please refer to this article for a detailed accounting of the fallacies that pass for facts.  Misters Bush and Cheney I cannot help but notices that the economic needs of entrepreneurs play a major role in your rulings and reactions.  Might I introduce you to the concerns of citizen and of the creatures that inhabit this planet.  People, the little plants, animals, and us make your life possible.  Without us, there would be no one to buy the products you and your friends produce.  Without the plants and animals there are no resources.

    Effects of global warming already being felt on plants and animals worldwide

    Global warming is having a significant impact on hundreds of plant and animal species around the world — although the most dramatic effects may not be felt for decades, according to a new study in the journal Nature.

    “Birds are laying eggs earlier than usual, plants are flowering earlier and mammals are breaking hibernation sooner,” said Terry L. Root, a senior fellow with Stanford’s Institute for International Studies (IIS) and lead author of the Jan. 2 Nature study.

    “Clearly, if such ecological changes are now being detected when the globe has warmed by an estimated average of only 1 degree F (0.6 C) over the past 100 years, then many more far-reaching effects on species and ecosystems will probably occur by 2100, when temperatures could increase as much as 11 F (6 C),” Root concluded.

    Climatic and biological changes
    In their Nature paper, Root and her colleagues analyzed 143 scientific studies involving a total of 1,473 species of animals and plants.  Each study found a direct correlation between global warming and biological change somewhere in the world.  For example, several studies revealed that, as temperatures increased in recent decades, certain species began breeding and migrating earlier than expected.  Other studies found that the geographical range of numerous species had shifted poleward or moved to a higher elevation — indicating that some plants and animals are occupying areas that were previously too cold for survival.

    Were these biological and behavioral changes isolated events, or did they reflect a worldwide pattern consistent with global warming?  After exhaustive statistical analyses of all 143 studies, Root and her co-authors concluded that global warming is, in fact, having a significant impact on animal and plant populations around the world.

    “Our study shows that recent temperature change has apparently already had a marked influence on many species,” they wrote, noting that a rapid temperature rise in combination with other environmental pressures “could easily disrupt the connectedness among species” and possibly lead to numerous extinctions.

    Then there is the study released only this morning.  Certainty for the influence of humans seems a foregone conclusion.

    Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change
    By Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew C. Revkin

    PARIS, Feb. 2 – In a bleak and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate change scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is “unequivocal” and that human activity is the main driver, “very likely” causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950.

    They said the world is already committed to centuries of warming, shifting weather patterns and rising seas, resulting from the buildup of gases in the atmosphere that trap heat.  But the warming can be substantially blunted by prompt action, the panel of scientists said in a report released here today.

    The report summarized the fourth assessment since 1990 by the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, sizing up the causes and consequences of climate change.  But it is the first in which the group asserts with near certainty – more than 90 percent confidence – that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities have been the main causes of warming since 1950.

    In its last report, in 2001, the panel, consisting of hundreds of scientists and reviewers, put the confidence level at between 66 and 90 percent.  Both reports are online at http://www.ipcc.ch.

    If carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reach twice their pre-industrial levels, the report said, the global climate will probably warm by 3.5 to 8 degrees.  But there would be more than a 1-in-10 chance of much greater warming, a situation many earth scientists say poses an unacceptable risk.

    Many energy and environment experts see such a doubling as a foregone conclusion sometime after mid-century unless there is a prompt and sustained shift away from the 20th-century pattern of unfettered burning of coal and oil, the main sources of carbon dioxide, and an aggressive quest for expanded and improved nonpolluting energy options.

    Even an increased level of warming that falls in the middle of the group’s range of projections would likely cause significant stress to ecosystems and alter longstanding climate patterns that shape water supplies and agricultural production, according to many climate experts and biologists.

    My fear is now that we are noticing what is, the speed of the slide will be far faster than predicted.  Consider the person loosing weight.  The progression from pleasingly plump to perfect is slow.  However, if a person continues to lose weight once they have reached an optimal mass, the transformation is swift.  A healthy hunk can become thin as a rail in no time.  Glaciers and ice caps are as people.  The decent from a firm and full frozen landscape to a terrain mapped by racing rivers and streams is rapid.

    Therefore, I plead; I beg.  Mister Bush you may not have ever struggled with a weight problem.  My dieting analogy may be beyond you.  Perchance Mister Cheney knows of where I speak.  Might the heavier persons in your life assist in your understanding?  President Bush, Vice President Cheney before it is too late, please look at what has happened, what occurs today.  Remember the devastation of yesterday and yester year.  Please begin to acknowledge your role and forego openings such as “humans ‘very likely’ cause climate change.”  Accept that we do. 

    Before it is too late, let us act together as one.  I ask you to acknowledge that what we refuse to see will not serve us well.  Let us look at our environment as a whole.  We are part of the world we inhibit.  May we honor it.  If we do, I trust it will respect us.  We are reaping as we sowed.  Let us propagate practices that help the Earth to grow and we with it.


    People in central Florida, our hearts are with you.  I only wish we had helped you before there was Massive Damage in Central Florida from Tornado(s)

    References for Global Climate Change . . .

  • Storms Hit Florida, Killing at Least 19, By Bill Brubaker.  Washington Post.?Friday, February 2, 2007; 5:42 PM
  • pdf Storms Hit Florida, Killing at Least 19, By Bill Brubaker.  Washington Post.?Friday, February 2, 2007; 5:42 PM
  • Panel Says Humans `Very Likely’ Cause of Global Warming. By The Associated Press. February 2, 2007.  Filed at 8:43 a.m. ET
  • pdf Panel Says Humans `Very Likely’ Cause of Global Warming. By The Associated Press. February 2, 2007.  Filed at 8:43 a.m. ET
  • Report: Humans ‘very likely’ cause global warming.  Cable News Network.  February 2, 2007
  • The Cheney Energy Task Force .  Natural Resources Defense Council.
  • Bush Administration Errs on Kyoto Global Warming Agreement  Natural Resources Defense Council.
  • Jeb Bush accepts blame for slow aid efforts, Some relief centers out of supplies; `don’t blame FEMA,’ governor says.  MSNBC News.
  • Florida Victims of Wilma Largely Forgotten.  National Low Income Housing Coalition.
  • CNN NEWSROOM, Jackson Place Center Evacuated; Florida Hit By Storms.  Cable News Network.  Aired February 2, 2007 – 10:00  ET
  • An Inconvenient Truth
  • An Inconvenient Truth – Trailer.  YouTube.
  • Katrina Watch.  The Center for Public Integrity.
  • Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change, By Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew C. Revkin.  The New York Times.  February 2, 2007
  • pdf Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change, By Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew C. Revkin.  The New York Times.  February 2, 2007
  • Hard To Hide Nuclear Bombs in Israel. “Secret” Slips Out ©

    Did anyone doubt that Israel has nuclear weapons?  The shadows are shortening.  Last week, soon to be Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates casually assured us, fusion weaponry is ample even in Israel.  Yesterday, in an interview on German television, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert exposed or confirmed the same.

    After his talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reiterated on Tuesday his country’s longstanding position that it will neither confirm nor deny having nuclear weapons.

    “Israel will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons to the region.  That is our policy and it has not changed,” Olmert told a press conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    “There is no need to explain it any further.”

    The Israeli prime minister sparked an uproar on Monday when he made remarks in an interview with a German television station that were interpreted by some as a break with Israel’s traditional nuclear “policy of ambiguity.”

    Vagueness breeds curious concern.  Frequently, what is not disclosed is scrutinized more closely.  People ponder.  Ultimately, secrets slip out and this one did.

    “Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map,” Olmert told N24 television.

    “Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as France, America, Russia and Israel?”

    The apparent blunder — coming less than a week after Israeli officials rounded on the incoming US defense secretary Robert Gates for the same slip-up — sparked outrage in Israel, with lawmakers from across the political spectrum calling on the premier to resign.

    Resign or resigned, oh joy; oh bliss.  We no longer need to look for that skeleton in the closet.  The dark secret has been revealed.  The Israeli government is as irrational as the rest.  All these powers can stand on the playground of our planet and say, “Mine is bigger or better than yours!”

    When the nuclear dust clears, will it matter.  It is more than likely no one will be around to gloat.  Perhaps Earth will be eliminated for all eternity!  Won’t we be proud!

    Bombs away and awry . . .

  • Israel’s Olmert Under Fire Over Nuclear Remarks, By Reuters. December 12, 2006
  • Olmert Warns Iran CBS News. October 20, 2006
  • Israel’s Ill-Kept Secret Is Finally Official, By Linda Heard. Arab News. December 12, 2006
  • Israeli Prime Minister Denies Change in Israel’s Nuclear Policy. Deutsche Welle. December 12, 2006
  • Slip of the tongue or a nuclear warning? TimesOnline. December 13, 2006
  • Nuclear Weapons.