Sunday, July 19, 2015

Where have we all been?

This is from one of those crack pot environmental groups.

January 27, 2015
By Karuna Jaggar

Most people consider fracking a climate change issue. (click here) They are able to make the connection between a potent greenhouse gas like methane and its impact on warming the planet. But methane emission leaks at well sites are only one of the many concerns of the fracking boom. The toxic process also uses more than 700 chemicals, many linked to breast cancer. Fracking threatens the necessities of life, and just as this process drives climate change, it also increases our risk for breast cancer....

When I read this the first thing that came to my mind was "Silent Spring." Rachel Carson died of breast cancer on April 14, 1964.

Cheney did it. In 2005, he undid all the protections of The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Amazing. 

How many more Rachel Carsons are there going to be? 

These are maps regarding breast cancer statistics in the USA in 2005 and 2011. This is from the CDC website (click here).

At first glance one would say well there are less breast cancer incidence in 2011 than 2005 when the Cheney energy law was enacted. But, cancer of any type is not the common cold. It takes years and in most cases two decades to develop. So, while these statistics are immediately good news, the increase in incidence won't be noted much before 2025

Fracking chemicals are known to cause breast cancer. We can't wait for 2025 to decide this method of destroying rock to find natural gas is a problem. We already know it is a problem and it has to stop now.

The 2005 Cheney energy laws were designed to eliminate environmental safety to Americans. Before their enactment the practice was obscure and illegal in the majority of states. It wasn't obscure because it was outlawed, but, the methods and outcomes to the environment and induced seismic activity was outlawed. We need to return those protections to Americans and we need to do it now.

The statistics in the USA is not a comprehensive view. The CDC needs to record cancer incidence, but, they also need to record cancer deaths in the same graphic. There have been incredible discoveries that women have benefited from in the fight against a diagnosed case of breast cancer. The incidence rate is far different than the death rate. That doesn't make it okay, either.

This is the last entry of Pope Francis dialogue for tonight and it is the first time this evening "the poor and underpriviledged' is mentioned.


93. Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone. For believers, this becomes a question of fidelity to the Creator, since God created the world for everyone. Hence every ecological approach needs to incorporate a social perspective which takes into account the fundamental rights of the poor and the underprivileged. The principle of the subordination of private property to the universal destination of goods, and thus the right of everyone to their use, is a golden rule of social conduct and “the first principle of the whole ethical and social order”.[71] The Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property. Saint John Paul II forcefully reaffirmed this teaching, stating that “God gave the earth to the whole human race for the sustenance of all its members, without excluding or favouring anyone”.[72] These are strong words. He noted that “a type of development which did not respect and promote human rights – personal and social, economic and political, including the rights of nations and of peoples – would not be really worthy of man”.[73] He clearly explained that “the Church does indeed defend the legitimate right to private property, but she also teaches no less clearly that there is always a social mortgage on all private property, in order that goods may serve the general purpose that God gave them”.[74] Consequently, he maintained, “it is not in accord with God’s plan that this gift be used in such a way that its benefits favour only a few”.[75] This calls into serious question the unjust habits of a part of humanity.[76]

Well, this statement about private property rights will dissolve any alliance to Pope Francis by the Republican Party in the USA. They'll see him as a Socialist or worse yet, a Communist. Then they'll point to the fact Catholic Churches, including the Vatican own the property they have built their foundations. Literally, building foundations. They never discern the fact the Pope doesn't own the Vatican. The Pope resides in a central location to the other churches around the globe. Pope Francis will not pass the Vatican on to his kin, he will pass his private quarters to the next Pope. That hardly qualifies as private property.

94. The rich and the poor have equal dignity, for “the Lord is the maker of them all” (Prov 22:2). “He himself made both small and great” (Wis 6:7), and “he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good” (Mt 5:45). This has practical consequences, such as those pointed out by the bishops of Paraguay: “Every campesino has a natural right to possess a reasonable allotment of land where he can establish his home, work for subsistence of his family and a secure life. This right must be guaranteed so that its exercise is not illusory but real. That means that apart from the ownership of property, rural people must have access to means of technical education, credit, insurance, and markets”.[77]

95. The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone. If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all. If we do not, we burden our consciences with the weight of having denied the existence of others. That is why the New Zealand bishops asked what the commandment “Thou shall not kill” means when “twenty percent of the world’s population consumes resources at a rate that robs the poor nations and future generations of what they need to survive”.[78]

Well, lookey thar. I was waiting for something to crop up about the Monarch butterfly. There has been a lot of hate speech about this poor little butterfly within recent months. I plant Milkweed for the purpose of supporting this species of butterfly and I am not going to stop planting Milkweed because the Democratic Party has to be more "Wall Street Friendly."

July 17, 2015 
By Gloria Dickie

300 million pounds of glyphosate are used in the U.S. each year, but its impacts are largely unknown.  (click here) 

For more than a decade, milkweed, that tall green plant with purple or orange flowers, has been rapidly declining in Midwestern states. Little research has been done on the abundance of milkweed in Western states, though many scientists suspect it may be struggling as well. That’s because Western monarch butterflies, which depend on milkweed for food and habitat, have declined by nearly 90 percent in the past two decades. Both of these troubling trends — the decline of milkweed in the Midwest and of monarch butterflies —  have coincided with a rise in agricultural use of the herbicide glyphosate. 

While the impact glyphosate has on milkweed and monarchs is well-known, the damage it does to other plants and animals is largely a mystery. Now, the EPA has announced it will spend the next five years studying the effects of glyphosate (more commonly referred to by its trade name, Roundup), atrazine, and two other commonly used pesticides on 1,500 endangered species....

This is a big one, folks. 

It is spelled M-O-N-S-A-N-T-O.

I doubt it measures up to a Papal declaration of love of the natural world.

Ah, yes, superior control of every pest in life. 

Are all God's creatures a universal family?


89. The created things of this world are not free of ownership: “For they are yours, O Lord, who love the living” (Wis 11:26). This is the basis of our conviction that, as part of the universe, called into being by one Father, all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect. Here I would reiterate that “God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement”.[67]

90. This is not to put all living beings on the same level nor to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibility it entails. Nor does it imply a divinization of the earth which would prevent us from working on it and protecting it in its fragility. Such notions would end up creating new imbalances which would deflect us from the reality which challenges us.[68] At times we see an obsession with denying any pre-eminence to the human person; more zeal is shown in protecting other species than in defending the dignity which all human beings share in equal measure. Certainly, we should be concerned lest other living beings be treated irresponsibly. But we should be particularly indignant at the enormous inequalities in our midst, whereby we continue to tolerate some considering themselves more worthy than others. We fail to see that some are mired in desperate and degrading poverty, with no way out, while others have not the faintest idea of what to do with their possessions, vainly showing off their supposed superiority and leaving behind them so much waste which, if it were the case everywhere, would destroy the planet. In practice, we continue to tolerate that some consider themselves more human than others, as if they had been born with greater rights.

That is fascinating. Pope Francis sees the continued idea of one human being superior to another. I thought that was buried with WWII. But, he is correct. We live in an international society where designations are First World, Third World and Emerging Economies. There is the idea some folks have got it right while others just don't 'get it' at all. It is mostly defined in economic terms. That is a very scary reality. Have we placed a price tag on the national identity of countries? That is dehumanizing. "What are you worth?" 

These economic divisions are suppose to be an identifier of how improvements need to occur in order to bring all countries to the same prosperous platform with quality of life for it's people. My definition of those words is different than Wall Street's definition of those words, but, Pope Francis's definition removes labels and sees people while he measures hardship. That is important. If we assume the First World has it's act together, which in real terms of a hot planet is questionable, Pope Francis removes some of those identities. He applies responsibility differently. He finds the First World as limited in it's understanding and scope. 

"Are we our brother's keeper?"

If Pope Francis is dismissed as a global leader of 20 percent of the Earth's population, then diplomats are missing the mark and global policy has undefined hurdles of failure. 

91. A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings. It is clearly inconsistent to combat trafficking in endangered species while remaining completely indifferent to human trafficking, unconcerned about the poor, or undertaking to destroy another human being deemed unwanted. This compromises the very meaning of our struggle for the sake of the environment. It is no coincidence that, in the canticle in which Saint Francis praises God for his creatures, he goes on to say: “Praised be you my Lord, through those who give pardon for your love”. Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.

92. Moreover, when our hearts are authentically open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one. It follows that our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete (dole; ie: dole out) out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people. Every act of cruelty towards any creature is “contrary to human dignity”.[69] We can hardly consider ourselves to be fully loving if we disregard any aspect of reality: “Peace, justice and the preservation of creation are three absolutely interconnected themes, which cannot be separated and treated individually without once again falling into reductionism”.[70] Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth.

Does the USA dole out treatment of others in a way that is equitable to our morality? Some of that is the basis of the extremists in the Middle East. Then there are other countries, such as Jordan and Turkey that find alliance as a 'grace' between the two countries. The difference between the two is the impoverishment of the people or lack of it.

I think we are on solid ground when the USA can point to it's generosity and how it has brought about quality of life for the people when it's policies fall short in other countries. I can only guess, but, Pope Francis might say that if our policies are not pointing to benevolence in all counties, why accept the USA's mission is complete?

Gregor Johann Mendel was a German-speaking Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar.

Born: July 20, 1822, Hynčice, Czech Republic
Died: January 6, 1884, Brno, Czech Republic
It is amazing where history carries not only the story of religion, but, also in tandem science. Be it the Greeks or Romans or the Middle Ages through to the acceptance of genetics long after the death of it's first documentation. Darwin was the same way. His work wasn't accepted until after his death. As a matter of fact the story goes that he told his wife not to reveal his findings until his death or later. He was worried about falling out of favor with the kingdom of man.

1866 Mendel's paper is published: units of inheritance in pairs; dominance and recessiveness; equal segregation; independent assortment. These ideas are not recognized for 34 years.

Scientists have worked in the extremes of social acceptance for nearly their entire existence. Science is complicated and government frequently believes it is best to have life simple and explainable. Science rocks that boat. It carves a new path for belief. It is challenging to most folks on their best day to understand why it is snowing with subzero temperatures while Earth is still warming. The INNOCENCE of the society that is governed is exploited for control and outcomes to elections. 

For thousands of years farmers and herders (click here) have been selectively breeding their plants and animals to produce more useful hybrids. It was somewhat of a hit or miss process since the actual mechanisms governing inheritance were unknown.  Knowledge of these genetic mechanisms finally came as a result of careful laboratory breeding experiments carried out over the last century and a half....

Yet, the truth is, scientific investigation happened within religious orders long before it was secluded to laboratories.

The religious should be unafraid of science as Pope Francis certainly is.

Simple pleasures. Much of the gifts of God are based in the simple pleasures of life. Pope Francis honors St. Francis of Assisi.

87. When we can see God reflected in all that exists, our hearts are moved to praise the Lord for all his creatures and to worship him in union with them. This sentiment finds magnificent expression in the hymn of Saint Francis of Assisi:

Praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
who is the day and through whom you give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour;
and bears a likeness of you, Most High.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather
through whom you give sustenance to your creatures.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night,
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong”.[64]

88. The bishops of Brazil have pointed out that nature as a whole not only manifests God but is also a locus of his presence. The Spirit of life dwells in every living creature and calls us to enter into relationship with him.[65] Discovering this presence leads us to cultivate the “ecological virtues”.[66] This is not to forget that there is an infinite distance between God and the things of this world, which do not possess his fullness. Otherwise, we would not be doing the creatures themselves any good either, for we would be failing to acknowledge their right and proper place. We would end up unduly demanding of them something which they, in their smallness, cannot give us.

The double headed coin of Republicans never loses. Except. Maybe. If it was standing on it's side.

Should the natural world be protected by a flip of the coin?

The curiosity of the belief in creationism and intelligent design demands respect for God's natural world, however, the Republicans do not recognize it's importance unless there is a profit margin that accompanies it.

The Republican's moral model of government is two faced and convenient to their cronies.

Gallup (click here)

We are connected to the natural world regardless of how humans refuse to recognize it.


84. Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. The history of our friendship with God is always linked to particular places which take on an intensely personal meaning; we all remember places, and revisiting those memories does us much good. Anyone who has grown up in the hills or used to sit by the spring to drink, or played outdoors in the neighbourhood square; going back to these places is a chance to recover something of their true selves.

85. God has written a precious book, “whose letters are the multitude of created things present in the universe”.[54] The Canadian bishops rightly pointed out that no creature is excluded from this manifestation of God: “From panoramic vistas to the tiniest living form, nature is a constant source of wonder and awe. It is also a continuing revelation of the divine”.[55] The bishops of Japan, for their part, made a thought-provoking observation: “To sense each creature singing the hymn of its existence is to live joyfully in God’s love and hope”.[56] This contemplation of creation allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us, since “for the believer, to contemplate creation is to hear a message, to listen to a paradoxical and silent voice”.[57] We can say that “alongside revelation properly so-called, contained in sacred Scripture, there is a divine manifestation in the blaze of the sun and the fall of night”.[58] Paying attention to this manifestation, we learn to see ourselves in relation to all other creatures: “I express myself in expressing the world; in my effort to decipher the sacredness of the world, I explore my own”.[59]

86. The universe as a whole, in all its manifold relationships, shows forth the inexhaustible riches of God. Saint Thomas Aquinas wisely noted that multiplicity and variety “come from the intention of the first agent” who willed that “what was wanting to one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another”,[60] inasmuch as God’s goodness “could not be represented fittingly by any one creature”.[61] Hence we need to grasp the variety of things in their multiple relationships.[62] We understand better the importance and meaning of each creature if we contemplate it within the entirety of God’s plan. As the Catechism teaches: “God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other”.[63]

Imagine that. How lucky the environmental groups in Australia are to actually be given a special place to protect wildlife.

In the USA conservation and environmental protections (click here) are viewed as pesky and an inhibition to profits by Wall Street. The political conversation in Washington, DC has even invaded the Democratic Party in stating efforts are too problematic when the economy is paramount.  

The report above is from 2010, five years ago. I am sure the dollars have increased since then. The day the USA kills the Endangered Species Act is the day the USA suffers incredible loss in economic strength that survives economic setbacks. Americans turn to recreation areas and activities close to home when belt tightening becomes important.

A kangaroo stands on ground blackened by a bushfire near Coonabarabran, about 350 km (217 miles) northwest of Sydney January 19, 2013. Reuters

July 20, 2015
By Darwin Malicdem

The Australian Government (click here) has set the new strategies to save its threatened wildlife. The Department of the Environment recently launched the new Threatened Species Strategy on Thursday, July 16, at the Threatened Species Summit in Melbourne in partnership with the local and private groups to protect Australia’s extinct animal and plant species.

During the summit at Melbourne zoo on Thursday, federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt  announced the proposed plans for the five-year Threatened Species Strategy to save its wildlife from possible extinction due to declining number.“

The strategy aims to save species that are at risk of extinction, including 20 mammals, 20 birds and 30 plants. The environment minister stated that the government will improve the lives of local wildlife through killing two million feral cats and creating safe havens to improve habitat and intervene in emergencies.

Australia is recorded as one of the countries with worst extinction records in the world, with 29 mammal species lost and nearly 1,800 species nationally listed as being under threat. The government cited that feral cats, pests and weeds, altered fire regimes and the expansion of the agricultural industry are the major causes why native animal and plant species decline....

Balance. Do governments and peoples seek a balance with the natural world?

79. In this universe, shaped by open and intercommunicating systems, we can discern countless forms of relationship and participation. This leads us to think of the whole as open to God’s transcendence, within which it develops. Faith allows us to interpret the meaning and the mysterious beauty of what is unfolding. We are free to apply our intelligence towards things evolving positively, or towards adding new ills, new causes of suffering and real setbacks. This is what makes for the excitement and drama of human history, in which freedom, growth, salvation and love can blossom, or lead towards decadence and mutual destruction. The work of the Church seeks not only to remind everyone of the duty to care for nature, but at the same time “she must above all protect mankind from self-destruction”.[47]

Excitement is used as a single measure of human emotion surrounding the drama of history. Excitement focuses the mind and hopefully the emotions. The conscience which Pope Francis relies on in much of his dialogue so far is a realization that the mind is not alone capable of being moral, but, the entire human experience builds and enforces moral content of a society. Reasoning away within a political dialogue all that is moral and best is dangerous and deadly.

80. Yet God, who wishes to work with us and who counts on our cooperation, can also bring good out of the evil we have done. “The Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, including the most complex and inscrutable”.[48] Creating a world in need of development, God in some way sought to limit himself in such a way that many of the things we think of as evils, dangers or sources of suffering, are in reality part of the pains of childbirth which he uses to draw us into the act of cooperation with the Creator.[49] God is intimately present to each being, without impinging on the autonomy of his creature, and this gives rise to the rightful autonomy of earthly affairs.[50] His divine presence, which ensures the subsistence and growth of each being, “continues the work of creation”.[51] The Spirit of God has filled the universe with possibilities and therefore, from the very heart of things, something new can always emerge: “Nature is nothing other than a certain kind of art, namely God’s art, impressed upon things, whereby those things are moved to a determinate end. It is as if a shipbuilder were able to give timbers the wherewithal to move themselves to take the form of a ship”.[52]

"The Holy Spirit" is the ethereal definition of the presence of God in the lives of people. Dare I make a synonym of "The Grace of God" as the Holy Spirit. While that statement chooses to make one in the same as a definition, it is not. The Holy Spirit, and not the Grace of God, is the third person in the triangle of definition of God. "The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit/Ghost." The Holy Spirit is the transcendence of God to the experience of human life. Catholic receive the Holy Spirit during communion. But, that is more of a study of the faith and not the message. Pope Francis also refers to "the divine mind." 

Off topic: Pope Francis also mentions childbirth and it's cooperation with the Creator. It is this definition used by political figures to bring a far different definition to biblical content to the US Constitution. Child birth is not viewed the same across Christianity or other religious systems of belief. It is for this reason religion has a different authority in a person's life.

81. Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open systems. Each of us has his or her own personal identity and is capable of entering into dialogue with others and with God himself. Our capacity to reason, to develop arguments, to be inventive, to interpret reality and to create art, along with other not yet discovered capacities, are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology. The sheer novelty involved in the emergence of a personal being within a material universe presupposes a direct action of God and a particular call to life and to relationship on the part of a “Thou” who addresses himself to another “thou”. The biblical accounts of creation invite us to see each human being as a subject who can never be reduced to the status of an object. 

Interesting. Evolution. He is correct. It is a leap of faith that defines evolution of the human being. There is no profound species of "Homo" that one can easily point to and state this was the direct ancestor previous to the human being. I am not going to discuss evolution of the human being because of it's length and complexity. There are species of great apes that point to their potential to evolution, but, does not directly point at the evolution of humans. So, I'll leave it there. Human beings are unique to Earth. 

82. Yet it would also be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination. When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all. Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus. As he said of the powers of his own age: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant” (Mt 20:25-26).

"Might is Right" is an interesting focus by Pope Francis. Another way of stating it is "Survival of the Fittest." This idea came into practice during Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism came out of Western Europe as an intellectual argument to colonialism. The idea that Western Europe had advanced in far greater measure than native tribes of the West Indies or Africa brought about the idea of genetic superiority. At the time genetics was in primitive understandings and ridiculous compared to today. But, genetics was not considered a valid science at the time. However, explaining superiority as a form of innate greatness provided a focus of amusement to the discoveries of land and that land's content to justify the ruling class with a basis of legitimacy. 

83. The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things.[53] Here we can add yet another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures. The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator. 

Harmony. Do human beings live in harmony with the natural world?

Just because I am reviewing Pope Francis Encyclical Letter does not mean this is his sole focus for his visit.

July 19, 2015
By Emily Ngo 

Pope Francis (click here) will seek to emphasize the importance of interreligious relations during his September visit to New York City and will hold up the city as a prime example of harmony among faiths, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Sunday.
Dolan said the pontiff will reflect on and grieve about the use of religion as a vehicle of violence during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and then meet with clerical leaders who are working toward a peaceful path together.

"Pope Francis has been amazed at the interreligious friendship and harmony in the United States and especially in New York," Dolan told 970/AM host John Catsimatidis during a radio interview.

His busy schedule while in the city includes a Sept. 25 address to the General Assembly of the United Nations that will be "a ringing call for religious freedom, the protection of all religions around the world, particularly religious minorities," Dolan said.

Immediately afterward, Francis will "be in tearful silence at the Sept. 11 memorial where religion was used in a perverse and viciously evil way to justify an act of terror," Dolan said. "What he's telling the world is this is not the way religion should be used."

He will next visit the underground museum at the memorial site where 500 leaders representing the city's diversity of faiths will gather, Dolan said.

This is a contingent of clerics "who love one another, who get along well and who work together for the betterment of this great city," the cardinal said. "He's more or less saying this is the way that religion should get along, so I think it's going to be powerful."...

76. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the word “creation” has a broader meaning than “nature”, for it has to do with God’s loving plan in which every creature has its own value and significance. Nature is usually seen as a system which can be studied, understood and controlled, whereas creation can only be understood as a gift from the outstretched hand of the Father of all, and as a reality illuminated by the love which calls us together into universal communion.

And indeed that spiritual assessment by Pope Francis is quite astounding. For as long as biological study has existed there is an underlying law in that all creatures are indeed important to a food web or ecosystem if you will. From primary producers in plants and microscopic single cell plants to high end predators considered cornerstone species. 

77. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Ps 33:6). This tells us that the world came about as the result of a decision, not from chaos or chance, and this exalts it all the more. The creating word expresses a free choice. The universe did not emerge as the result of arbitrary omnipotence, a show of force or a desire for self-assertion. Creation is of the order of love. God’s love is the fundamental moving force in all created things: “For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it” (Wis 11:24). Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, who gives it its place in the world. Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of his love, and in its few seconds of existence, God enfolds it with his affection. Saint Basil the Great described the Creator as “goodness without measure”,[44] while Dante Alighieri spoke of “the love which moves the sun and the stars”.[45] Consequently, we can ascend from created things “to the greatness of God and to his loving mercy”.[46]

78. At the same time, Judaeo-Christian thought demythologized nature. While continuing to admire its grandeur and immensity, it no longer saw nature as divine. In doing so, it emphasizes all the more our human responsibility for nature. This rediscovery of nature can never be at the cost of the freedom and responsibility of human beings who, as part of the world, have the duty to cultivate their abilities in order to protect it and develop its potential. If we acknowledge the value and the fragility of nature and, at the same time, our God-given abilities, we can finally leave behind the modern myth of unlimited material progress. A fragile world, entrusted by God to human care, challenges us to devise intelligent ways of directing, developing and limiting our power.

So, what is this paragraph all about? It is about monotheism vs polytheism. For every aspect of ? mystery ?, ie: sun, moon and stars or the ethers of love and hate or pre-life and post-life, the Romans had a god and godess that explained the understanding of life to it's citizens.

The Romans believed in many different gods and goddesses. (click here)

Through science humans have been able to define their world far better than any other ordered society. Pope Francis also references how human's should care for their world in the presence of the human desire to unlimited material progress. Basically, Pope Francis calls up a conscience to exist in modern life to equate importance to the natural world to human's material world.
"It's Sunday Night"

This is not porn. Now, if she stood up and turned around it would be. Maybe. Depending on what is exposed by her long hair and bikini.

"Soul" by Matchbox 20 (click here for official website - thank you)

Hang out my window and over your head
Stare at your feelings to see where they end
You're waiting here for someone else to break you from the inside
You've been so composed

We all know there's always something tearing you apart
It's always so much longer than you counted on
And it hits you so much harder than you thought
But you don't worry, you don't worry
Cause you've got soul

You're so heavy, you're so misunderstood
And I spent all my wishes wishing times were good
When I still could
Wait around here for someone else to take me past the good side
You've been here so long now

We all know there's always something tearing you apart
It's always so much longer than you counted on
And it hits you so much harder then you thought
But you don't worry, you don't worry
Cause darling, you've got so much soul
Darling, you've got so much soul

Well, there's always something tearing you apart
It's always so much longer than you counted on
And it hits you so much harder then you thought
Then you ever thought it would

But you don't worry, and you don't worry
Cause you don't worry, you don't worry
Cause you don't worry, you don't worry
Cause you've got soul
Australia has been reporting shark attacks nearly as often as the USA. Weather conditions has nothing to do with it. The southern hemisphere is in winter and the northern hemisphere is in summer. It is about the number of sharks and the abundance of prey. There could be a recovery of the species, but, more than likely the fisheries are in trouble.

It needs research, but, in the USA there are frequent assessments of fisheries. I am not sure what is done in Australia in regarding the monitoring of their fisheries. I know the fisheries off Thailand has collapsed and that was a few years ago. The majority of fish harvested today off Thailand is squid. That is why all those large monstrous fish are being caught. They are swimming at higher depth as they search for food, too. 

How many suicides does the sherrif have to his record?

Texas treats their law enforcement as angelical and above the law. They aren't questioned. So, for Texas to even state there are violations of procedures is a good beginning.

July 19, 2015
By Ryan Carey-Mahoney

The Texas Department of Public Safety (click here) announced that the trooper who pulled over, and later arrested, Sandra Bland violated procedures. Bland was later found hanging in her jail cell. VPC

She didn't deserve her treatment and she never committed suicide. Where is the record of her depression and treatment? Suicide does not happen overnight. Was she raped while in custody? I am sure it would have showed up in autopsy. 

I am also somewhat upset the dialogue focuses on the events and not the fact she was a person with interests and basically a life. The national dialogue is somewhat depersonalizing. It isn't fair to discuss the problem with her death without appreciation of her life.

The hashtag shares its sentiment with #BlackLivesMatter, which has appeared throughout the last year in response to the police-involved deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and more.

Of the tweets, many expressed their frustrations over the perceived lack of value their lives have just because they are African Americans.

If she was an activist of any kind she could have been a target as well. Easily. There is a long history in the USA that targets those engaged in changing injustice. It doesn't matter the subject, racism or otherwise, African-American or otherwise; hatred results by those without power to stop it and there are prices to pay.

I am somewhat curious about the street she was stopped on. It appears as though it was a residential, quiet street. You mean to tell me there are so few infractions in the law that police have incentive to pull cars over for obscure reasons? "Neglecting to use a signal when changing lanes" is usually cited in car accidents, not routine traffic stops. If trends in ticketing (court cases that provide points to a license) shows lane change as a real problem I would be very surprised.

Police that care about the public are more interested in the safety of a person and stop cars when that is an issue. Improper lane change when it is done unsafely would bring a police officer to cite a person than that of a simple lack of turn signal. I suppose a police officer would address a lack of signal as an inspection violation, but, I would never expect the stop escalate to the extent it did. The entire scenario is disturbing.  

The cases involving the death of African Americans are turning up as an interaction because of a traffic or pedestrian issue. That is harassment. The length of the interactions is significant. There is something occurring that citizens recognize as beyond the simple incident. In the case of Michael Brown the community was traumatized by living in a fish bowl. The community could not carry out their lives without tripping over a law of some kind and end up in a cycle of financial abuse.

There are problems beyond the simple interaction of police and citizen. In this case the policeman had a young woman involved in recognizing police abuse that led to inappropriate deaths of African Americans.

Let me say this, there is such a thing as a social police stop than one that is based in the law. Most of the deaths have resulted because of personal judgment by the police officer. Time and again the country is witnessing deaths of ordinary citizens that is a complete surprise. I have to remind that we now have a President that has received acts of racism on a right regular basis. It is somewhat better now, but, the six years or more that preceded his election were hideous when it comes to expressions of racism. There is a racism overlay to the lives of African Americans in the USA.

But, to Sandra, this was a violation of human rights as well as civil rights. That is important. If African Americans are to live their lives without noticing skin color the entire focus has to include human rights. An American should walk through life without racial overtones. That isn't occurring with African Americans in the USA. Human rights has to begin with a sense of understanding a person is safe to live a life promised to them at birth. In the case of the USA there are all kinds of reasons parents have expectations of their beginning a family. Many of those reasons have expectations of quality of life and a promise to rise above a social position of their parents. That is just the beginning of the expectations of a birth of a child.

Sandra was a victim. From the time she was stopped she was a victim. Her words on the film I saw is that of caution to the police officer. She stated he was being treated her wrongly.  The police officer never stopped his determination of Sandra being less than a 'good person.' If a "good person" is stopped in a perceived violation of which they might be innocent they don't expect rough treatment at the hands of a police officer. The determination to bring a woman to arrest from what might be a mechanical failure of a car is outrageous. What is hanging in the balance of many of these deaths is the fact the person is a criminal. There is a stereotype of 'bad person' facing Americans when interacting with police. Add to that idea of being a bad person the fact African Americans will run into being 'a bad person' with a police officer far easier than any Caucasian person. The gun is already loaded to carry out justice at the curbside. I suppose it is profiling, but, it isn't really. It is determination of guilt before any interaction occurs.  

The police officer, in this case, should have realized Sandra was traumatized by his behavior and he should have moved away from it. The police officer is self-righteous. Enforcing the law is not about self-righteous behavior, it is about law enforcement that sees the person over and above the law. That is why a police officer hands out warnings or simply points out a danger to the driver's life because a tail light isn't functioning or their tail light cover is broken. The THREAT by police officers in the African American community is real. Threat by police officer should not exist, especially in such an interaction over a lack of signal of changing lanes.

Sandra felt threatened. She felt as though she was a victim. Her feelings were never respected. The "I can't breath." of Eric Garner was never respected. The only defense a person has when dealing with a police officer is their voice, their words, their understanding and in time and again those words mean absolutely nothing.

The danger to citizens by police should never exist. The weapon of a police officer is an act of defense, not apprehension of a suspect. A police officer should never reach for their gun simply because a person runs away. In the case of African Americans running away from police is an act of understanding there is more before them than a simple interaction of a broken tail light. 

The action the police had to take in regard to Walter Scott was to impound the vehicle when he didn't return to it. The police officer never had to chase him. All that had to occur was to wait for Walter Scott to return to his car. If the police officer didn't treat him as a bad person needing to be dealt with, Walter Scott would still be alive struggling to pay his child support.

The 'policing' in the USA is way out of line with the reality of citizens. White people are suits when they run into the law. White people automatically are 'not guilty' and they don't deserve the ticket. White people are good people that happen to run into a bad situation in their lives, such as not turning on a signal. Black Americans have a far different reality realizing parents of African American sons have already told them police see their skin color and not the person. 

If White people in the USA had the predetermined racism to a traffic stop, there would never be a death from texting because I guarantee you there are plenty of times turn signals aren't instituted while texting.

An old memory recently haunted me. I was moving and was driving a U-Haul. It was the early morning hours simply because that is what worked out with my helpers. That is a ridiculous scenario, but, true. People have multiple jobs these days and the time to actually move from one residence to another occurs at odd times. I was driving the U-Haul to my next residence and unloading it would wait until the next day. As I drove down a street fairly absent of traffic there were police lights that came on and I pulled to the curb. I picked up my wallet and took out my driver's license and waited. 

The police officer was taking his time in coming to the driver's door, so I got out of the truck with the documentation of the vehicle and my driver's license. I got to the officer's car and his first words to me were "What are you doing at my door?" He was a black officer. I simply stated I wanted to provide my information to him and thought it would be helpful in bringing it to him. I asked why I was being stopped and he stated, "Because it is very late and you are driving a U-Haul." No word of a lie. The vehicles that people rent are not suppose to be moving at night unless it was questionably legal. He never looked at the document and simply let me go. I don't know what he was expecting to happen, but, he didn't expect a white woman driving her household items to her new residence.  

That incident is more than laughable. That incident was expected to produce a behavior and it didn't happen. Since when are police officers required to carry out sting operations? The incident was quite some time ago. 

There are these identities with police officers that expect a certain behavior by African Americans, or Hispanics for that matter and when that behavior manifests the police officer becomes the judge and it is a 'good kill,' ie: Walter Scott and Michael Brown.

There are many problems in the USA with the behavior of police officers. Even the training of the police are rushed and inadequate.

What I think that police officer expected by putting his lights on was for me to increase my speed and a chase would occur. When that didn't happen, he was at a loss to know what to do next.

So. What happened to Sandra? She was a black woman. That is what happened to Sandra. And that is all that happened to Sandra. Her turn signal works even today.

The West has demonstrated no desire for war. Wasn't that evident. The rhetoric needs to stop.

There is only one enemy Iran needs to view as a threat and that is the genocidal Daesh.

July 19, 2015
By Thomas Erdbrink

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, (click here) the supreme leader of Iran, voiced support on the weekend for his country's nuclear deal with world powers while emphasizing that the agreement did not signal an end to Iran's hostility toward the United States and its allies, especially Israel....

...President Barack Obama has insisted that the agreement is "not built on trust - it is built on verification." Khamenei portrayed it as an acceptance by the West of Iran's commitment to go ahead with a nuclear program, which its leaders have insisted is being pursued solely for peaceful purposes....

The fact is no leader or citizen ever saw the nuclear program as anything but peaceful. That goes back to the beginnings of the Iranian Revolution. But, there is research Iran was pursuing that resembled an effort to move forward with missiles. For that reason, Iran needs to comply with all the inspections and insist on removing sanctions.

All too often in the USA there are political statements about 'the money.' It seems as though the Iranian nuclear program was not the issue so much as a fiscally stronger Iran and it's capacity for conventional war. 

Iran needs to address it's diaspora by talks with other leaders in the region to insure all Iranian citizens are regarded as citizens no different than any other ethnicity or religious preference. The sooner there is mutual respect among the regions nations, including Afghanistan the sooner Daesh will become a memory than an enemy. 

President Assad needs to welcome power sharing and Iran needs to stay out of it. 

The peace negotiations with Iran is a real problem for Republicans. War heroes beware!

July 19, 2015

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter (click here) is beginning a tour of the Middle East, as part of efforts to ease fears over the recent nuclear deal with Iran.
On Sunday, he will meet officials in Israel, one of the strongest critics of the deal.
Mr Carter then travels to Saudi Arabia, Iran's main regional rival.
Last Wednesday, world powers reached agreement with Iran on limiting Iranian nuclear activity in return for the lifting of sanctions.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the deal an "historic mistake" which would only make it easier for Iran to back its proxies in the Middle East.
That position may have hardened after Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country would continue its support for the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon after the deal....

"Good Night, Moon."

Waxing Crescent

15% Full

3.8 day old moon

July 20, 2015
by Rishabh Rajvanshi

A spectacular (click here) astronomical phenomenon was seen in the western sky on Friday night. Three astronomical bodies, the Moon, Venus and Jupiter appeared very near to each other forming a triangle. The view was divine to watch for star gazers. If you missed the opportunity, there’s still another chance to witness the divine trio meet on Monday.
Since, these three astronomical bodies, Moon, Venus and Jupiter are the second, third and fourth brightest objects respectively in our solar system after the Sun, it was very easy to locate them in the night sky.

Dr Abel Yang, who teaches physics and astronomy at the National University of Singapore has earlier explained that to watch the divine event, try to find clear location where you can see the sky clearly with least possible obstructions in the west and try to locate the three very close brightest objects in the sky....