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Rolla Peace News

January 28, 2020
Dear Friends:

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          In this newsletter is:

4. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Reset Your Clocks — It's 100 Seconds to Midnight
          b) Hooray for Paraguay
          c) Wuhan Corona Virus: This Could Be A Big One
          d) Chutzpahs



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office, THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, FROM NOON TO 1:00 PM (and most subsequent Thursdays until Peace is established). Please join us again this Thursday in saying NO WAR AGAINST IRAN. The temperature is predicted to be in the 30s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.


Help Bernie become our next President. Details here.


Citizens Climate Lobby will meet in the meeting room in the children's section of the Rolla Public Library.

4. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Reset Your Clocks — It's 100 Seconds to Midnight
          b) Hooray for Paraguay
          c) Wuhan Corona Virus: This Could Be A Big One
          d) Chutzpahs

Reset Your Clocks — It's 100 Seconds to Midnight

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has reset the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight — the closest we have ever come to Apocalypse. Mentioning, of course, Nuclear War and Climate Change as the two greatest existential threats to humanity, The Bulletin also mentions as a threat-multiplier “Cyber-based disinformation,” which sows distrust and undermines efforts to foster peace and protect the planet. (You can thank us computer scientists for that one!)

Hooray for Paraguay

Last week Paraguay became the 35th country to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and so far, the only country to ratify the treaty in year 2020. We are just 15 ratifications short of the treaty going into force. This treaty states in part
“Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;”
No nuclear power has signed this treaty and indeed, the five original nuclear weapon states (USA, Russia [formerly USSR], UK, France and China) have made ZERO progress in living up to their treaty obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: (in force since 1970)
“to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” (Article VI)
In fact they have taken several giant steps backward recently.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a really big deal and continues to make progress in spite of the lack of publicity from most media outlets. This is a treaty of small to medium-sized nations standing up and saying we will no longer be bullied by a few great powers armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons.

Wuhan Corona Virus: This Could Be A Big One

With all the existential threats the human race faces, lets not forget this one: Pestilence. The Wuhan Corona Virus (aka 2019-nCoV,) has so far killed at least 132, spread to over 6,000, and caused China to place at least 60 million people under quarantine. The virus is thought to have jumped to humans from a bat or possibly a snake in a live animal market in Wuhan, although no one is really sure.

While it's too early to know how far this epidemic will spread, one thing is certain: humanity is ripe for a major epidemiological catastrophe. There are many reasons: war, poverty, a changing climate and overpopulation are just some that come to mind.

The United States is perhaps particularly vulnerable. We've gutted our public health infrastructure in favor of for-profit health care. When people are afraid to seek medical help because they might end up paying for it for the rest of their lives, how are we to keep contagious disease from spreading?

So wash your hands often and well, cover your mouth when you cough, and your nose when you sneeze and if you don't know how disease is spread, Tom Lehrer explains it in song in this two minute video.


Reading the news as much as I do, I am quite used to reading, in their very own words, about the arrogance of the rich and powerful. But two things came to my attention this week that really made me livid:
Chutzpah I
Jair Boilsonaro, President of Brazil, claimed that the indigenous people whose forest he is burning and whose land he is stealing are “evolving and becoming more and more, a human being like us.”

Speak for yourself, chutzpah. If you are human, I'd prefer to be something else. Possibly a squirrel: I love to watch the squirrels jumping from branch to branch and playing in my yard. They seem to be having so much fun. Yes, Senhor Bolsonaro, I'd rather be a squirrel than be like you.

Or perhaps I could be a split-leaf philodendron. I have one that reaches to the ceiling in a large pot. I take him outside in April and bring him back in in October. He asks nothing more than water, sunlight, and a little fertilizer, and he seems so happy to be brought in out of the cold in the Fall and put out in the sunshine in the Spring. Yes, Senhor Bolsonaro, if you are human, I would prefer to be a split-leaf philodendron.
Chutzpah II
US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, in response to Greta Thunberg opined,
“Is she the chief economist? Who is she? I'm confused. After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”
Having spent so many years in academia dealing with colleagues who think their academic credentials give them license to dismiss folks who know far more than they do, I find this type of arrogance particularly maddening. While Thunberg at 17 has energiized an entire generation to work to save planet Earth, Mnuchin has left a trail of destruction wherever he has ventured: K-mart, Sears, Global economic meltdown of 2008, homes foreclosed... and more

Mr. Mnuchin has a BA degree in economics from Yale, a University that is famous for giving unearned degrees to the idiot children of wealthy donors.

Perhaps I should give up reading and commenting on the news. It can really get quite depressing.


Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Grassroots Rolla: at the top of rightmost column).

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Wage peace,
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