Lincoln Journal Star
Letter to the Editor-08/19/16

Jay Schmidt-Nebraskans for Peace Board Member

On Aug. 3, the Journal Star had an article entitled "Scientists on planet: Earth's fever rises.'" Yes, the world keeps setting new record high temperatures. We know that people have difficulty with the 100 plus degree temperatures, especially if there is high humidity. However, our food crops can't handle it either. Other factors brought on by global warming, such as drought and floods, are also destructive of our food supply.

If your child had a high fever and the fever kept going up, you wouldn't sit and twiddle your thumbs! You wouldn't listen to people with no medical education telling you not to worry or that the science on high fevers is not yet conclusive! That would be irresponsible and foolish.

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My Telephone Calls to My Son

by Paul Olson, President Emeritus

About once a week, I call my son, Andrew, in Birmingham, England, where he and his wife teach and do neuropsychological research. I love my children and grandchildren, and we stay in touch across the thousands of miles. Past conversations usually concerned his wife, his kids’ athletic events and school work, his own research and teaching, and recent family junkets. However, in recent weeks, we have had the usual exchange briefly, then Andrew goes into a half hour or so rant about Britain’s departure from the European Union—the lies told in the campaign, the incompetent Tory leadership, Labor’s lackluster role, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) crazies, and the millions of people who, having voted themselves out of the European Union, Googled to find out what they had left!

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We Refuse To Be Targets in This Nuclear World

by Paul A. Olson, President Emeritus of Nebraskans for Peace and Kevin Martin, Executive Director of Peace Action

When Barack Obama was elected president, one of his stated hopes was the global elimination of nuclear weapons. Now that he is about to conclude his presidency, his hope (expressed in his visit to Hiroshima) is still that such weapons might be eliminated. But serious steps toward the elimination of nuclear weapons never happen. Almost a decade ago, four of our most powerful retired politicians—Sam Nunn, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and William Perry—called for an initiative to end nuclear weapons, and nothing happened. Now William Perry, President Clinton’s former Secretary of Defense has written a book in which he argues, “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War, and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.” And still, nothing happens.

Recently, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said, “Terrorism is spreading and the possibility of using nuclear material cannot be excluded” and argued for strengthened nuclear security against the use of fissile materials by terrorists. Indeed, Belgian police investigating the November 13 Paris terror attacks found ten hours of videotaping of a Belgian nuclear official located in the hands of known terrorists. What the jihadists would have done with the nuclear official or his information, had they gone further or been able to acquire radioactive material, can only be guessed. Today, we have over 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world and tons of fissionable material floating around—enough to destroy virtually all cultures. In addition, we have many scientists with the knowledge to provide nuclear weapons information to rogue regimes as did Pakistan’s Abdul Qadeer Khan, perhaps with the assistance of the Pakistani army.

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Help Us Keep the Death Penalty Out of Nebraska

We are excited that the Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing will be spending 10 days in Nebraska supporting the effort to RETAIN the end of the death penalty! From July 15 – July 23, murder victims family members, death row exonorees, and the family members of death row inmates will crisscross the state sharing their stories and why they support alternatives to the death penalty. Click HERE to check out the schedule to see who will be visiting your city!

During the 1990s, when the state of Nebraska last executed people, the executions were treated by some as a party. Senator Colby Coash, now a leading anti-death penalty advocate in Nebraska, recalls going to the Nebraska Penitentiary prior to an execution to find people “banging pots and pans and chanting ‘fry him, fry him.’” Recognizing the irony in celebrating the state-ordered murder of a convicted murderer, Coash first began to realize the death penalty may not be an upstanding institution. Motivated by a realization that the death penalty in Nebraska was an irreparably flawed institution, Coash and 29 other state senators—Republicans, Democrats and one Independent—came together in May, 2015 to replace the death penalty in Nebraska with life in prison without parole.

Unfortunately, some in Nebraska are trying to bring the death penalty back, making it important for Nebraskans for Peace to team up with the anti-death penalty movement to retain the state legislature’s decision to replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole.

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A Stark Nuclear Warning

Jerry Brown
The New York Review of Books
July 14, 2016 Issue

My Journey at the Nuclear Brink
by William J. Perry, with a foreword by George P. Shultz
Stanford Security Studies, 234 pp., $85.00; $24.95 (paper)

I know of no person who understands the science and politics of modern weaponry better than William J. Perry, the US Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997. When a man of such unquestioned experience and intelligence issues the stark nuclear warning that is central to his recent memoir, we should take heed. Perry is forthright when he says: “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”1 He also tells us that the nuclear danger is “growing greater every year” and that even a single nuclear detonation “could destroy our way of life.”

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