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Saturday, April 23, 2011


This posting completes Book 2, SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity:

Live Earth and Global Warming
In 2007, Al Gore borrowed Bob Geldorf’s concept to stimulate the remediation of Global Climate Warming with Live Earth, which some reported as the biggest benefit concert ever, as the kick-off point for a three year campaign for Planet Earth. TV (in Hawaii on wide-screen high definition HDUNI) and the 
internet carried over a 22-hour period 150 acts from twelve locations, including, after beating off the Republicans, Washington, D.C., and from all seven continents (six, if you’re from Europe, for they combine North and South into one America), even Antarctica. This was an incredible carbon light rock spectacle, interspersed with Green messages from 60 short films. Geldorf, himself, labeled this as a “hollow spectacle,” Roger Daltrey of The Who (above left) said, “the last thing the planet needs is a rock concert,” and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals demanded that hot dogs and hamburgers not be served. Oh well, you can’t please everyone all the time. But this act helped gain Gore a Nobel Prize, and more importantly, provided a well needed galvanizing spark.

While Tipper has long served to censor music, Al, since the days of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind (this is the Bruce Springsteen version--can't find the original on You Tube, but Dylan's photo is to the right), has felt that music was an agent of change. But it was Kevin Wall (left), an American concert promoter, who really invented Live Earth. He was involved with Live 8 in 2005, the effort by Geldorf and Bono to pressure the G8 about African poverty. Wall saw that millions viewed Inconvenient Truth, so why not billions? But, maybe it was Wall’s secretary, or her son, who planted the idea. In any case, this is all good for Planet Earth. Listen to the critics, but move on from here. In the long term, the repercussions will be significantly positive.

Do You Believe in Miracles: The End of the Cold War

But the war on poverty has just begun and interest in the environment is only a budding concept. Many have called the end of the Cold War as the one most significant attainment to preserve civilization. Who was responsible for affecting this magnificent accomplishment? 

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (founded by a group of Manhattan Project scientists in 1945) created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 to draw attention to the potential for nuclear Armageddon. In the 60 years, the time has only been reset on 17 occasions. In 1947 it was initially placed at 7 minutes to midnight, clearly meaning that in the 
span of 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, we were then close to the end of civilization. Today it is at 6 minutes to midnight, so the situation is supposedly worse. However, I might mention that the clock advanced to 3 minutes after the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb in 1949, then to 2 minutes in 1953 when both the U.S. and S.U. tested hydrogen bombs. The time jumped to 12 minutes in 1972 when the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) was 
signed and to 17 minutes in 1991 when the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed. The time did not change when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. One would think, anyhow, that the world is now a far, far safer place, for Pakistan, India, the Middle East and North Korea do not evoke terminal fear or threat of MAD, mutually assured destruction.  Yes, there are still sufficient nuclear weapons potentially ready to be reactivated to end civilization, but the politics of the times are such that I think the clock should be reversed, to at least 15 minutes.

The clock was at 9 minutes in the Fall of 1979, which was not a good time for the American Nation. I arrived in the U.S. Senate. Well, that was the best part. Earlier in the year, China had invaded Vietnam, the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster occurred not that far from the national capitol, the YMCA sued the Village People over their song of the same name and the second oil crisis with those interminable gasoline lines made life tedious. Just around the time the USA hockey team was being selected by their coach, 
Herb Brooks, the Iranian crisis happened (President Carter suffering, left), with 66 Americans held hostage in Teheran, followed the next month by the Soviets occupying Afghanistan. National pride was at an all time low and we felt powerless, when a miracle came to pass.

Early in 1980, the USA ice hockey Olympic victory accomplished by a bunch of college students over the supremely dominant Soviet team triggered a return of will to the American people, embarrassed by the Vietnam War and weakened by the Iranian 
hostage crisis.  This indelible moment in all of U.S. sports history, it is said, inspired President Ronald Reagan to, two years later, confront the Evil Empire (Ronald Reagan, to the British House of Commons, June 8, 1982).  Actually, the real Evil Empire Speech was given on March 8, 1983, to the Annual Convention of National Association of Evangelicals (YIKES!!!) near Disney World in Florida.  Anyway, Coach Herb Brooks (left), who was the last cut on the 1960 American ice hockey team (which went on to win the gold medal in Squaw Valley that year), had this vision, delivered, and, perhaps, aided in ending the Cold War.  In my mind, this was the most crucial triumph for humanity, ever.

Maybe one other person set the stage for the end of the Cold War: Charlie Wilson. Charles Nesbitt Wilson went to Annapolis and graduated 8th from the bottom, going on to an assignment in the Pentagon analyzing the Soviet Union. A state legislator at the age of 27, he later served in the U.S. 
House of Representatives for 12 terms, and was known as “Good Time Charlie” for being an alcoholic womanizer. However, as a member of the subcommittee overseeing the Central Intelligence Agency, he single-handedly influenced the diversion of largely black (covert, secret) military funds to help the local patriots fight the Russians in Afghanistan, resulting in their ignominious retreat in 1981, the year Ronald Reagan first became president. You might have seen the movie: Charlie Wilson’s War, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Mike Nichols. Houston socialite Joanne Herring played by Julia Roberts, and Gust Avrakotos, the rogue CIA agent, by Philip Seymour Hoffman, might share some of the credit.

American actor Ronald Reagan played the most important role of his life as the 40th president of the USA, and is sometimes credited for ending the Cold War, as his purposeful confrontational defense budget beginning in 1981, particularly Star Wars, fundamentally terrified the Soviet Union into overspending on defense, leading to ultimate bankruptcy. But, should Edward Teller (right), who convinced Reagan about this strategy, be the hero? Or one of his staff members I earlier talked about at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory? It had to start somewhere, and inevitably this would be at some primary, if not lower, staff level. Remember, presidents, governors and legislators almost never have the time to think out simple solutions. You have to do it for them. Charlie, though, might have done it himself.

When Mikhail Gorbachev rose to power in 1985, his response to Reagan was glasnost (openness to public debate) and perestroika (restructuring) policies, followed by summit offers to reduce their nuclear arms stockpile. This initiative set the mechanism in motion for arms reduction, and also to the disestablishment of the Soviet Union. Cowed, inspired, whatever, Gorbachev in 1990 won the Nobel Peace Prize. Who in Russia had the ear and mind of Gorbachev?

It is an exceptionally rare situation when the individual who gets credit actually came up with the idea. It is the leader’s position and prevailing circumstances that were essential, but someone else out there started it all. I credit Ronald and Mikhail for making the critical decisions regarding the Cold War, but nominate Herb, Charlie, the guys at LLNL, Claire and Kevin as my heroes for finding and delivering on these simple solutions for peace, poverty and Planet Earth.

There are, of course, innumerable ways to undertake your personal mission.  Former president Bill Clinton wrote Giving in 2007. The book goes into vivid detail about how each of us can change the world. He wrote that six year old McKenzie Steiner (below) organized a beach cleanup club in San Diego. Yes, 6 years old. Who knows who she will be affecting or what she will do when she turns 7.

Now, go to the various web pages. Learn a little more about the ultimate matter of your greatest interest and begin to make a difference by coming up with just one simple solution. How best to get started? Reread this appendix. Or e-mail me at Together, with some dedicated others, we can save Planet Earth and Humanity! Aloha, and have a great rest of your life.



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