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​The Doomsday Clock is Broken

Gadfly | February 15th, 2024

By Ed Raymond

fargogadfly@gmail.com

MAGA Throwaways: helmets, reason, masks, regulations, seatbelts, and books

There was a time when troops in trenches and foxholes moved from killing each other to recognizing the enemy was also a human being. Christmas morning during World War II in Europe was one time in between firing artillery pieces and machine guns at each other. After the war when countries were divided up or added to, there was an incident between American and East German troops that was a bit unusual. Before the Berlin Wall was knocked down, guards on each side often watched each other during the “Cold War'' from their guard towers. One day American troops were playing poker while on duty. They noticed so were the German guards across the wall. An American picked up five cards and showed the hand through a window. An East German guard picked up five cards and showed them. Using binoculars, the two sides played one hand against each other. For a moment, they didn’t hate each other. But the times have changed. In 2024 hate is like oxygen in the air.

Big and little wars committed by war criminals are on several continents. Putin’s Russia is attacking and destroying homes in Zelensky’s Ukraine to Make Soviet Russia Great Again (MSRGA). Hamas leader Salah al Arouri and Bibi Netanyahu of Israel are still fighting the uncivil war started 76 years ago when a two-state solution was proposed for both ethnic groups. Today, more than half of the buildings and homes in Gaza have been destroyed by Jewish bombs—while 76 media reporters have been killed trying to notify the world. More than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed, including 260 babies less than one year old, and a total of 11,000 children under 15. At this point that “little” war in Gaza alone is like destroying more than half the homes in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Hate drives out the oxygen of empathy and forgiveness.

Muslim and Christian terrorists are creating nine levels of hell in at least a dozen African countries. Myanmar and China are killing off thousands of minorities or are re-educating them in concentration and work camps. Jews have been facing harassment and death from European countries for thousands of years. All fall under the Geneva Conventions and international treaties regarding acts of war. The horrible deaths by poison gas in trenches of WWI were added to war crime lists later, but gases were used again by Basher al Assad of Syria and Saddam Hussein of Iraq, both killers of thousands, in the last half century. Salman of Saudi Arabia is responsible for the killing of an American journalist. Name me one ruler in the Middle East who has not earned the title of war criminal.

Atomic scientists, not God, made the Doomsday Clock

J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of our Manhattan Project that built the world’s first atomic bombs, will be remembered for borrowing a dynamic quote from India’s “Bhagavad Gita” in describing his greatest work: “Now I have become death, the destroyer of worlds.” After the desert tests and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese, U.S. scientists, including Albert Einstein, founded the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1945. They decided on using an Atomic Clock, known later as the Doomsday Clock, to warn the world of the awesome power that could destroy the earth. Completed in 1947, the first setting on the clock was seven minutes to 12:00 midnight, with the thought it would only take seven minutes to blow up the earth. The time was lengthened only once. It was reset to 17 minutes when the U.S. and the Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1) in 1991.

The clock has been stuck on 90 seconds for a couple of years now. Scientists set the clock “based on existential risks to Planet Earth and its people, the nuclear threat, climate change, and other disruptive technologies.” The organization lists nine nations that possess 13,000 nuclear weapons: United States, Russia, North Korea, United Kingdom, China, France, Pakistan, India, and Israel. Four are involved in the Russia-Ukraine War, North Korea threatens South Korea every day, Pakistan and India have military encounters every year, and Israel always advertises it has nuclear weapons. China plays it cool. At the same time, we must remember that the world is filled with murderous leaders. Putin has journalists shot and political opponents poisoned and imprisoned, Kim Jung-un murdered his half-brother and thousands of his people who call him Dear Leader. Salman of Saudi butchers journalists who criticize him, and XI of China imprisons millions of Muslims and other minorities in re-education and work camps. I think the Doomsday Clock needs repair. The alarm set at midnight didn’t go off. New research on the Caribbean sponge says the world has increased global temperatures to 3.7 F instead of less than 1.5 C. Another study indicated the Greenland ice cap has lost 20% more ice than previously thought. The Domesday Clock should be set one second after midnight. Chances are slim to none that the earth can survive these combined colossal messes of wars and fossil fuels—and Slim is on his way to Mars on a Musk rocket to escape climate change.

A few more reasons we are doomed “to walk the night” as Shakespeare wrote

The Fargo Forum has Trumpers who keep pushing the Great Leader to be anointed again for another four years of cult mania and nonsense. Bette Grande, in her latest “The Tide is Changing,” has this remarkable sentence: “Of course, half of the U.S. population is all in on government solutions, these are the people still masking up in fear of COVID and lining up for boosters.” First, I thought her title was revealing. Yes, Bette, the tides are changing—getting deeper and faster because of climate change-and the Koch political machine. Second, North Dakota Trumplicans had one of the lowest vaccination records and one of the highest death rates for COVID in the U.S. during the first pandemic. The state, by denying vaccinations, masking, and social distancing, helped the United States have the highest rate of death by COVID in the world—and the highest number of deaths—in the world. Science can be useful. In the second COVID pandemic starting in the fall of 2023, only 38% of nursing home residents received the COVID vaccine. More than 170,000 residents have died of the virus because they were not vaccinated.

Ken Sims of Moorhead pushes his 13th Century Roman Catholicism on us with his antediluvian ideas about abortion, racial discrimination, and education. Abortion is not a religious decision, although politicians are trying to make it so. Abortion is a personal, medical, economic, and emotional decision. There are thousands of reasons why 20% of pregnancies fail to produce a live child. Every man should know at least a few of them. Writer Susan Caskie was ready for a normal birth, and later wrote: “Childbirth is fraught under the best of circumstances. A woman can be laboring in a hospital surrounded by medical professionals and still have something go seriously wrong, necessitating a 2 am. emergency C-section (ask me how I know).” Ken, eat eight pounds of watermelon in half an hour and then ask her questions. You have expressed concerns about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. Does every American have the same opportunity? Think homeless children and Bill Gates’s children. Does every high school in the country offer physics and chemistry, courses necessary for college entrance? Some high schools with a majority of black students don’t.

To Forum columnists Scott Hennen, Mike Hulett, and Ross Nelson: Scientists employed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just changed the annual soot standard to nine micrograms per cubic meter of air, down from the standard of 12. Approved by the EPA, the new standard will save 4,500 premature deaths and 290,000 workdays a year. Trumplicans want to cut regulations and expert “bureaucrats” from working at government agencies. How many experts in air pollution have been elected to Congress who could recommend this change in standards? More than half are millionaires without a clue about polluted particles. And keep writing those love letters to the dictator. He can file them next to the love letters from another dictator-Kim Jung-un.

Why the Doomsday Clock’s alarm went off announcing the end of our empire

1. While 60% of American families are living paycheck to paycheck in the world’s worst economic inequality, Trumplicans refuse to increase taxes on the superrich to lower the inequality. In fact, cutting taxes is the priority of the dictator running for president in 2024. The Roman Empire collapsed after the Senate rich sponsored bizarre and expensive events in the colosseum. It can happen here--in Las Vegas. The average seat for the NFL’s 2024 Super Bowl in the 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas costs $10,026, while the VIP skybox and club seats average $60,000. The 32 NFL teams have raised their prices for the regular 2025 season. The average seat for all NFL stadiums will cost the average fan $7,273.67.

2. The second biggest issue to solve for the American people is the ever-increasing cost of healthcare which is more than $13,000 a year for every man, woman, and child. That’s twice as much as countries where healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and have universal care. Even for those with health insurance, care is priced so high it has become the number one cause of family bankruptcy in the Divided States of America. Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Here are a few examples: a major drug company charges DSA diabetes patients $6,900 for a Januvia prescription, but the same can be purchased in Canada for $900 and in France for $200. Why? Because Congress allows them to commit robbery in plain view. A Stelara prescription for arthritis manufactured by Johnson & Johnson sells for $79,000 in the DSA, and for $16,000 in the United Kingdom where they have the National Health Service founded in 1945. Why does the richest drug company in the world charge so much? Because it can. Bristol Meyers Squibb sells the drug Eliquis for $7,100 in the DSA, for just $900 in Canada and $650 in France.

Why can you get an MRI in Japan for $98 while American hospitals and clinics charge as much as $2,000 for one? The answer is: drug companies have donated $700 million to congressional campaigns over the last 25 years and have spent $8.5 billion over the same time lobbying the same people. The drug companies have hired 1,800 lobbyists to patrol the halls of the capitol to make sure single-payer universal health care is never brought up for a vote. Three lobbyists on one congressperson has never been fair. Remember the old crime families in the Mafia mob who sold “protection?” The doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies now take 31 cents out of every health dollar spent to “administer” their programs and finish years with 20% profit.

These two issues have been so avoided and neglected by Congress the Doomsday Clock’s alarm is worn out from ringing. Watching Congress in action is like having Laurel and Hardy fight the Three Stooges over Stratford-on-Avon.

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