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Rolla Peace News

October 22, 2023
Dear Friends:
Editor's notes:

As I continue to recover from surgery, I hope to put out the Rolla Peace newsletter on an occasional basis (perhaps monthly).

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) Palestine and Israel: Déjà Vu All Over Again
          b) 1.5°C of Global Warming is Now

Palestine and Israel: Déjà Vu All Over Again
“The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.” —Albert Einstein
All very predictable. Gazans have been under Israeli blockade since 2007, living with inadequate quantities of water, food and medicines. Over two million Gazans live blockaded on a small strip of land 25 miles long by 5 miles wide, one of the most crowded pieces of real estate in the world. Somehow, Gazans manage to put together a few primitive rockets or cross the border into Israel. Israel responds with overwhelmingly disproportionate force raining death and destruction from the air down upon this overcrowded enclave which has no air force or any other means to protect itself.

Gaza is the Warsaw Ghetto on steroids — reminiscent of how the Nazis treated the Jews 80 years ago. Israeli supporters in the United States parrot the mantra about Israeli's right to defend itself, as if such disproportionate force could be called defending oneself. They proclaim any criticism of Israel as antisemitism. The United States continues to send large quantities of military aid, to the tune of 3.8 billion annually, to Israel, much of which is used against unfortunate people with no means of defending themselves. The United States uses its veto in the United Nations Security Council to protect Israel from international indignation and accountability for its actions.

So what's different this time?

The world today is not the world of times past. The United States is no longer the all-powerful hegemon it was a few years ago. After 20 years of making war on Afghanistan the United States was forced to withdraw.

Russia has been able to defeat the US proxy, Ukraine, on the battlefield, gaining control of huge swaths of land in spite of many billions in Western military aid. US economic sanctions on Russia have been largely ineffectual.

But back to Israel: Israel may be pounding Gaza with bombs, paid for by the US taxpayers, and threatening a ground war, but they are losing the battle on the diplomatic front. Thousands of mostly young people, under the leadership of US Jewish organizations, like Jewish Voice for Peace, demonstrated in Washington for a ceasefire and an end to the war on Gaza. This level of support for Peace is unprecedented.

Cries of genocide and apartheid are heard everywhere. Taunts of antisemitism are considered laughable. Incidents of Hebrophobia are on the rise. The United States cast the only No vote in the Security Council and vetoed a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. A high level State Department official resigned over Biden's Gaza policy. Mahmoud Abbas has refused to talk to Joe Biden who has expressed his undying affection for Israel.

Biden has claimed to have seen photos of Israeli children beheaded by Hamas fighters where there were none. Biden claims that Israel is not guilty of bombing the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, when it is unlikely that Gazans have weapons capable of causing such destruction and would have certainly used them on Israel if they had them. The whole world laughs at Joe Biden; but lets be generous and say that he is senile rather than he is a liar.

So where do we go from here? Chris Hedges, echoing the Einstein quote with which I introduced this short snippet, ends his article, This Way for the Genocide, Ladies and Gentlemen with the paragraph.
“Israel taught the Palestinians to communicate in the primitive howl of hatred, war, death and annihilation. But it is not Israel’s assault on Gaza I fear most. It is the complicity of an international community that licenses Israel’s genocidal slaughter and accelerates a cycle of violence it may not be able to control.”
Indeed, the international community could end this slaughter today if it had the will. However, it chooses to tolerate or, in the case of the United States, actively encourage the slaughter, while crying crocodile tears.

And I too am fearful of a much wider conflagration. Dying empires can cause great damage in their death throes. The United States has sent warships to the Eastern Mediterranean. What if other countries send warships too? There may be other fronts opening up in the North. This could easily escalate into a regional or even a global war.

And don't forget that Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the region. Does Israel's so-called right to defend itself include using nuclear weapons on its neighbors?

I repeat what I have said many times in the past. The time for a one-state solution in Palestine and Israel is long overdue. It is time for a single state with equal rights for all. It certainly won't be easy. So much death, destruction, hatred and bitterness to be overcome. But it may just save the world from World War III.

1.5°C of Global Warming is Now

And while people continue to kill each other, Mother Nature gets in her licks too. September temperatures broke the 1.5°C above the 1850-1900 average barrier by a whopping 0.09°C. The last ten, 12-month periods ending in September were also the ten warmest on record. This is the first time that has occurred since record-keeping began.

The 12-month running average of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere has exceeded 420 ppm, 50% above the 280 ppm thought to represent pre-industrial concentrations.

According to UNICEF, with all this warming, an estimated 43 million children were left homeless in the last six years due to extreme weather, far more than from the wars in Gaza and The Ukraine combined.

The confluence of war and climate change is particularly dangerous. Tens of thousands died in Libya when two decrepit dams failed amid heavy rains from a mighty Storm Daniel, fueled by a warming climate. NATO's war against Libya led to a failed state which allowed the dams to deteriorate. Hillary Clinton famously quipped of Libya's Muammar Gadafi, “We came. We saw. He died.” She might have added, along with tens of thousands of others.

And 2022 was a dangerous year for environmental activists — at least 177 were murdered.

My Climate Catastrophe essay has been updated. Lots more highlights listed there.

And here in Rolla, it's almost Halloween, and we haven't even come close to a freeze. I've never seen so many green leaves in Rolla so late in the season.

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