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Rolla Peace News

July 14, 2022
Dear Friends:
Editor's notes:

As promised: Rolla Peace News will continue to publish on an occasional basis.

The date for a July Vigil for Peace has not been set yet. It will be posted at http://tomsager.org/ when available.

Webperson's note:

If you are having trouble reading this, it is posted at
In this newsletter is:

1. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) From Our Readers: Bob Dylan and Chess
          b) From Our Readers: Ralph Nader
          c) From Our Readers: The Mitten
          d) From Our Readers: Brutality
          e) June Update to Climate Catastrophe Posted
          f) Writings on Russo-Ukrainian War Posted
          g) Addendum to Who is *REALLY* Responsible for Global Hunger?
          h) More European History: an Animation

From Our Readers: Bob Dylan and Chess

Our reader writes:
“I enjoyed your column, as usual. But thereís one thing that I really appreciated, namely, Dylanís routine about chess. I didnít even know it existed. I realize thatís not the main point of your remark, but still, thanks for bringing it to my attention. Thought I must say Iím glad the university didnít pay me in chess pieces!”
My response: I've heard that besides being the iconic singer/songwriter of the 1960s, Bob Dylan was also a pretty good chess player. I don't think he ever released the story of East Orange and the chess pieces.

Incidentally, Dylan's East Orange routine comes from the song, State of Arkansas, which, in turn, comes from traditional roots. Here's a 1940s recording of State of Arkansas by the Almanac Singers.
“Then I got me a job on a farm. But I didn't like the work, nor the food, nor the farmer, nor his wife, nor none of his children. So I went up to him one day and I told him, ‘Mister, I'm quittin' this job, and you can just pay me off right now.’

“He says to me, ‘OK, son, if that's the way you feel about it.’ And he handed me a mink skin.

“I told him, I said, ‘Hell, brother, I don't want this thing, I want my money.’

“He says to me, says, ‘Son, that's what we use for currency down here in Arkansas.’

“So I took it and I headed for a saloon to see if I could get me a pint of drinkin' whiskey. Put my mink skin on the bar, and durned if the bartender didn't throw me a pint. An' he picked up my mink skin, and he blowed the hair back on it, and he handed me three 'possum hides and fourteen rabbit skins for change.”

I'm still no closer to understanding economics and currency than I was last month; but, I found this quote from Chief Joey Dearling of the KhoiSan tribe helpful:
ďMoney divides communities and does not satisfy the needs of the people.Ē
From Our Readers: Ralph Nader

Our reader writes: “I worked so hard in 2000 to get Nader elected. We need viable new political parties that actually represent us. I lost steam after that loss; I need to find my spark again.”

My response: Ralph Nader was by far the most qualified presidential candidate I've seen in my entire lifetime. I worked hard for him in 2000 too. Given my age and the state of my health, I think my spark is gone for good. I leave it in the capable hands of my readers.

From Our Readers: The Mitten

Our reader writes: “The Mitten is one of my all time favorite Jan Brett books, and she has many that I like. I, too, hope you'll be writing about peace in your next newsletter.”

My response: When war expanded to encompass the entire Ukraine, one of the first thoughts to enter my mind was, The Mitten. Sadly, there is still no Peace in the Ukraine — not even close.

From Our Readers: Brutality

Our reader writes: “Nice piece, Tom. One comment: [you write] ‘gains won through excessive brutality tend to be short lived.’ Japan's gains in WWII certainly bear that out, but this statement would be hard to defend when applied to the European conquest of indigenous America”

My response I think ‘French’ Guiana and a few small Islands are all that's left of the brutal European colonizations of the Americas. Also Denmark has a colony in Greenland which is nominally a part of North America. If I've missed any, let me know.

Nowadays, we call US colonies, such as Puerto Rico and Standing Rock, territories or reservations instead of colonies.

And here is a wonderful two minute video of an Amerindian and his attitude toward some descendants of European colonizers.

There is a reason why Brazil, and now Argentina and other American countries traditionally in the Western economic sphere, are turning toward establishing strong economic ties with Russia, China and the BRICS nations.

June Update to Climate Catastrophe Posted

June saw flooding from Yellowstone National Park and Cuba to Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the southwestern United States and much of Africa, Asia and Europe experienced intense heat and drought.

NOAA rates June 2022 as the sixth warmest June on record, although NASA rates June 2022 as tied with June 2020 as the warmest June.

Other highlights are posted in Climate Catastrophe.

Nature Bats Last

And in the wake of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War, attacks on planet Earth by the fossil-fuel industry, such as this oil railway, continue apace. The Russo-Ukrainian War has certainly been a boon to the fossil-fuel industry and a disaster for planet Earth.

Writings on Russo-Ukrainian War Posted

I've put them all together in a single blog and posted them here.

Addendum to Who is *REALLY* Responsible for Global Hunger?

In addition to what I wrote last month, George Monbiot points out that land that could be used to feed people is being used to grow bio-fuel to feed our machines. He also notes that there is little if any savings from the point of view of emissions of greenhouse gases. Indeed, there may even be increased costs in carbon emissions to using land in this way.

More European History: an Animation
“I've seen the nations rise and fall,
Heard their stories, heard them all,
But Love's the only engine of survival.”

—Leonard Cohen (The Future)

This 12-minute animation of 2,400 years of European history is well worth watching. You can watch nations come into existence, change their boundaries and disappear.

In the February 28 newsletter I linked to a long list of European wars and discussed a few of them briefly. Besides the ubiquitous internal European wars, Europe gave the world centuries of wars of colonial exploitation, two world wars, a 45 year long cold war, and much more. The Russo-Ukrainian War is just the latest in a long list of dumb European wars.

To be sure, the other continents have their problems with war too; but not to the extent Europe does.

Some folks, such as our good neighbors to the South in Mexico, are smartening up and refusing to take part in this latest dumb European War.

Months ago, I suggested that Afghanistan, having been invaded by every major player in the Russo-Ukrainian War, and having driven out every last one of them, would be uniquely qualified to work out a peace deal in the Ukraine. This suggestion hasn't gained much traction. Still, I renew it again today.

Here's another question: Why would anyone, after watching this animation, expect the map of Europe not to change further in the future? Anyone out there in readerland have an answer?

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Wage peace,
yushasager (at) yahoo.com