Archive for August, 2011
I do hope everyone has noticed that the United States is being pelted with disasters from East to West. As reported in the news this week, surely you know that rivers and streams continue to overflow their banks, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses throughout the East Coast, that dozens of people are stranded, cut off from mainlands, with little food or fresh water and no electrical or cooking power, that hundreds of thousands more are without power, etc. And now new reports today tell of wild fires rage away, burning homes to the ground, in Texas and Oklahoma. Natural disasters multiply around us––hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, droughts, etc.––and still more hurricanes are forming in the southern Atlantic Ocean and may be headed this way.
As President of the International Association of Truth Telling Women Journalists (IATTWJ), I ask all believers in The Lord Jesus Christ, all IATTWJ members, and the local prayer groups headed by Brothers John and Jude, and other brothers and sisters across the nation, to take out their Christian prayer books and join me in this and other prayers for our nation: “Dear God, On bended knees and with tears in our eyes, we ask You to forgive the ways that we, as believers in the United States have sinned against You. We have not loved one another nor prayed for one another as we should; and we certainly have not prayed for our nation, and its leaders. Nor have we forgiven one another. We have not prayed for the lost, nor have we earnestly asked You for Your kind of true revival in our homes and churches. Instead, we have walked the pathways of this world, and now we, and our nation, are paying the backsliding piper.
“Father, in 2 Chronicles 7: 14, Your Word says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Father, we do humble ourselves now, and we earnestly pray for the people stranded in Vermont, New Jersey, New York and other states, as well as for those in danger’s paths in Oklahoma and Texas. Please get them to safety, Father. Please spare life and limb so that we all have new opportunity to serve you in righteousness and truth. And we pray for the President, his Cabinet, and all members of Congress and national, state and local governments––including, police, national guards, rescue workers and first responders––that you give them safety and wisdom. In the Holy Name of Our Only Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
For those strongly dismayed that local and federal governments made too much fuss over Hurricane Irene, several questions seem appropriate. Have the roads to their homes been washed out, leaving them stranded? Are their houses flooded on the first floor, the second floor, nearly up to the roof? Are they sick, in need of medicine, but suffering on an island town with no way of getting help from the mainland? Have they been without electrical power for the last 48 hours, and understand that power may not be on for at least another week? Are they stranded in a mountain retreat with no hope of rescue until water levels go down? Is the sewer system of their town inoperative because of invading flood waters? Are they struggling with insurance companies to receive full compensation for property loses? Do they have family members or friends among the 40 plus people who have died from Irene’s blast? Or do they understand that it may take years, for people and communities to recover from the effects of Hurricane Irene, or that some in Louisana and Texas have yet to recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita?
Can they comprehend the diseases that Irene leaves behind? Moreover, do they understand that a labyrinth of treacherous power lines, cracking trees, airborne and infectious diseases, toxic mold, and water logged homes and businesses surrounds them? As they try to clean out their home and rescue a few salvageable items, do they find it hard to breath because of the mildew and black mold now creeping up the walls of what little of their home they have left? Are they constantly scratching legs and arms because of microbes picked up from contaminated flood waters? And have they found some bottled water to drink, rather than the filthy water around them? After all there is no way to light a stove and boil water to drink. As the warming sun comes out and they breathe in the stinking air around them, are they now swatting at mosquitoes who have suddenly appeared. Do they know which of these annoying insects carries vector-borne diseases like West Nine Virus or Dengue Fever?
If the answer to these questions is “no,” instead of complaining, they should thank God, because they are among a very small percentage of those on the East coast not affected by Hurricane Irene, and that number gets smaller by the day. Regarding conclusions in the last edition of this blog, it is not a matter of politics or lack of fiscal responsibility for which God is speaking to the United States. It is a matter of the very future of the nation’s worldwide leadership, and even more importantly of the souls of some 400 million people. Nothing about the Christian message should be trivialized for political gain. Bible prophecies continually stress that “God is Love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4: 16). True Christians love all people. Thus, those who claim to know Him must repent for twisting His love in order to attain earthly glory.
The city of Springfield, Massachusetts, is a bellwether example of the mounting effects of Global Warming on the planet. As she braces for Hurricane Irene, Springfield has barely recovered from a killer tornado that hit on the first day of June. While waiting for another tornado at the end of July, it was hit with a destructive microburst. Then residents braced as they felt earthquake tremors from the quake in Virginia cross its state line. Also, the state has sweltered under unusual 90 degree plus heat. Now Springfield citizens fight Hurricane Irene’s residues, including unprecedented flash flooding along all of the East coast.
What caught residents and officials off guard is that earthquakes and microburst are not expected in their part of the country. Wikipedia says that microbursts are often seen in the West, Midwest and Southeast, and defines them as “a very localized column of sinking air, producing damaging divergent and straight-line winds at the surface that are similar to, but distinguishable from, tornadoes, which generally have convergent damage.” Bringing high winds that can knock down huge trees, they can last either seconds or minutes. The microburst that brought the sudden, violent downdraft of wind to Springfield killed one person, destroyed dozens of trees and turned off power to some 20,000 homes. Now, because of record-high flash flooding that will wash out some roads, national, state and city officials are still asking people to stay indoors.
However, the multiple weather deviations attacking Springfield this year are a microcosm of national events. Considering floods and tornadoes ravaging the Midwest, and droughts devastating the Southeast and Southwest, Americans should start pelting governments about the possibilities that Global Warming is behind this “odd” weather. While the nation’s eye was on the East coast’s struggle with Irene, few noticed that several earthquakes rattled several parts of California, from San Francisco southward, including the Pinnacles National Monument area. The series of quakes began on the morning of the 26th, and included tremors as high as 4.6. While seismologists insist they are unrelated, earthquakes also struck Colorado at the same time that quake originated in Virginia last week.
Christians looking to God for direction, surely understand that through this extreme weather, God is calling America to repent. Bible prophecies indicate He is demanding the nation’s attention. Amos 4: 1-11 says: “ I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: . . . I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: . . . I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto Me, saith The LORD.” People cause Global Warming, but God uses it to remind Americans not to displace faith in Him with science, technology or politics. Discounting these “minor” weather anomalies courts lasting catastrophes.
Weather-watchers from the government to the private sector have been warning that 2011 would be an historic hurricane season, with more than the usual number of hurricanes, and untold numbers of these massive storms touching down on the inland United States––but apparently few were listening! Now emergency officials, on alert from North Carolina to Maine, while outwardly claim in preparation, mask chagrin at the massive tasks of where and how to keep safe or move millions of people. But they should keep in mind that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects three to five major hurricanes like Irene to hit the United States this year.
Governors are asking people to be responsible for 72 hours of supplies on their own. It may take at least that long for help to arrive as officials now expect everything from power outages, extremely heavy rain, flooding, downed trees, falling power lines, eroding coastlines, flooded air fields, etc. Even, New York City, the one urban community that is usually prepared to handle everything, may not weather this storm, as only five hurricanes have hit that city in over a 100 years. But now the mayor contemplates closing down all subway and bus systems, relocating hospital and nursing home patients, and evacuating some five million people––all with few exit routes going to safe directions, and little time to plan.
The 2010 hurricane season was in itself historic––with 19 named storms, 12 of which were hurricanes and five being of major force, making it the third most active season on record––but these storms had little impact inland. Even the usually conservative (NOAA) warned that the “2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook” had an 85% chance of being an above-normal season for four reasons: 1) Atmospheric and oceanic conditions are in place over the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; 2) Because of “the tropical multi-decadal signal” which has caused a high activity era since 1995, these conditions will persist, at least through October; 3) Sea-surface temperatures are the third highest on record; and 4) La Nina, a weather phenomena that enhances hurricane activity, may be redeveloping.
While FEMA has millions of gallons of water and meals for evacuees, the Red Cross prepares “safe” shelters, first responders plan rescue operations, residents build supply kits and follow suggested evacuation routes, it is also necessary for one to call upon God for help. In old-time Christian prayer books, the first line of a hymn says, “When the storms of life are raging, Stand by me.” With all of this preparation, everyone should also remember that God is “. . . a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat,. . . (Isaiah 25: 4). And He is never surprised or unprepared!
If the United Nations, and the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) that are suppose to serve the extremely poor people of Somalia didn’t know that the present devastating feminine was coming, scientists say that they should have known. Now that two droughts have hit that region in the past year, the expected seasonal rains did not come, crops have failed and all livestock has died out, and civil war, fueled by Western countries chasing militants for control of the horn of Africa continues––tens of thousands of people, mostly children and infants, have starved to death. For NGOs, and the comparatively wealthy donors they represent, not to have acted sooner to avoid such an unmitigated disaster is shameful. Surely, everyone knew that severe climate change from man-made Global Warming was leading to such death and devastation.
But John Sciccitano, the project manager for the Famine Early Warning System Network, which is part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) insists: “The US made some significant allocations of food, . . . [but] the magnitude of the crisis just got so huge that it just outstripped the ability of the international community to respond.”
Christian Parenti, author of “Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence,” as well as “ Reading the World in a Loaf of Bread, Soaring Food Prices, Wild Weather, Upheaval, and a Planetful of Trouble,” says of situations like Somalia: “Scientists believe this drought fits the pattern of climate change — increased drought punctuated by extreme flooding—that we will see spread across the world if emissions are not cut. But the famine is also the product of bad economic and military policies in the recent past, all of which helped cause state failure in Somalia and continue to cause famine to spread in other countries.”
Likewise Parenti, Solomon Ksiant of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, insists: “Forecasters two years ago predicted that there would be a famine in Somalia this year, but donors in the international aid community did not take that forecast seriously.” He explains that sudden climate cycle changes (leading to loss of crops), and extreme weather, such as hurricanes or floods, leads to water-borne diseases, starvation––all of which fuels community divisions leading to war.
Moreover, Chris Funk, a leading researcher on rainfall in East Africa, who calls himself a “drought detective,” told the Huffington Post, “droughts in the region are only going to get more frequent and more intense. As the time between them decreases so will the ability of the population to recover, creating what essentially amount to an accelerating cycle of drought and starvation.” Climate Change operates world-wide, confirming of the Four Horses of the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation when war, feminine, disease and death combine to kill more than three-fourths of the billions of people living on earth!
As this blog goes to press, the United States is reeling from a massive earthquake that reached far up the East Coast, and is simultaneously preparing for an approaching over Category 3 Hurricane, named Irene. Thus, more damage to property and life is expected. And, according to insurance industry records, by the end of 2011, this will be the most expensive year for weather-related damage claims the country has ever experienced. Moreover, weather scientists expect this year to be a very heavy hurricane season that will go far into the fall months.
Reuters News Service reported last week, “The United States has already tied its yearly record for billion-dollar weather disasters and the cumulative tab from floods, tornadoes and heat waves has hit $ 35 billion, the National Weather Service said.” According to casualty reinsurer Munich Reinsurance America, natural disasters in the United States have tripled since the end of last century, and 250 natural disasters last year broke all records. Already from January to June this year, there has been $ 20 billion dollars in losses from thunderstorms alone.
Deborah Netburn reports in the Los Angeles times that the most expensive disasters this year were “ the series of tornadoes that hit the central and southern states from April 25-30. States affected include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and Oklahoma. A total of 305 tornadoes swept through those states, causing total losses greater than $9 billion.” Over 327 people were killed in those tornadoes. She adds that droughts, heat waves and wild fires also caused loses in a wide swath of the nation.
The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) asks communities to better prepare by disasters by: 1) Increasing disaster preparedness drills; 2) Improving weather advisory wording to give better understanding so that people will stop taking unnecessary risks; 3) In addition to radio and television, using social media to spread the word about weather warnings; 4) And doing everything possible to let people know that more violent weather systems are “the new normal” and must not be taken lightly. Events his year also proven that if more communities had safe disaster shelters, fewer lives would have been lost.
However, casualty reporting companies and government agencies avoid ascribing blame to Global Warming. That is a pity, for it absolves public officials from acting more decisively against the destructiveness coming from man-made climate changes. In His Bible prophecies, The Lord Jesus Christ said it was best for people to know the truth for it would set them free (John 8: 32). He also said that the knowledge of Who He Is becomes the greatest truth anyone can have (John 14: 6). Because leaders refuse to deal with Global Warming, it is most important that everyone knows and believes in The Savior for all time on earth is running out.
In spite of protests from both sides of the border, both the United States and Canadian Governments may be moving ahead with plans to build a tar sands oil pipeline capable of moving 830,000 barrels a day of oil from tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico. Even as this blog goes to press, demonstrators are in the midst of a two-week protest against the pipeline in front of the White House. And already hundreds of arrest have been made. At a cost of $ 7 billion, TransCanada Corp, would send the 1,702-mile pipeline, called Keystone XL, through several states––i.e. Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisana. However, the project would bring potential threats to aquifers, other water sources, farm lands, etc.
The U.S. State Department issued a first draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project a year ago, with a final draft expected by September. But the Environmental Protection Agency early rendered objections to the EIS, calling the State Department’s review superficial and lacking in scientific analysis. Moreover, because of the crucially important Ogallala Aquifer in his state, Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns, has already asked the State Department to reroute the pipeline further eastward. In addition 20 top research scientists have written to President Obama urging him not to approve the project because of its threats to the environment.
According to Dr. James Hansen, well-published NASA climatologist writing for ClimateStoreTellers.org, “The environmental impacts of tar sands development include: irreversible effects on biodiversity and the natural environment, reduced water quality, destruction of fragile pristine Boreal Forest and associated wetlands, aquatic and watershed mismanagement, habitat fragmentation, habitat loss, disruption to life cycles of endemic wildlife — particularly bird and caribou migration — fish deformities and negative impacts on the human health in downstream communities.”
While TransCanada has not had a very good record on preventing oil spills, both Canadian and TransCanada officials promise to increase monitoring pollution from the sands throughout the pipeline’s length. Protestors loudly decry these promises, equating them to British Petroleum’s promises before the recent Gulf of Mexico spills. However, the quandary for Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama is that the pipeline would bring thousands of badly needed jobs to this country. Christians must pray that God will give these leaders wisdom for the blessing of everyone. In Christian prayer books, Apostle Paul tells believers, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Timothy 2: 1-2).
In the last blog, IATTWJ reporter Maleekie Ambularie revealed the overwhelming destruction that Shell Oil Company’s drilling and pipeline operation has inflicted on Nigeria. But, as that company now wrestles with a limitless oil spill off the coast of Scotland, today’s report hits closer to Shell’s home. More properly called Royal Dutch Shell, that conglomeration is of Anglo Dutch origins, which reveals its vast historical roots of colonialism, including Scotland, a remaining part of the British Empire. And, of course, Nigeria goes back to those centuries-old colonialist roots as well.
As, unlike Nigeria, Scotland is now supposedly a free and equal Western nation, it has not taken this oil spill in the North Sea in stride. Of course, Shell has been reluctant to release information on the spill, insisting that leakage is minimal at best. But Tony King, head of policy at the Scottish Wildlife Trust does not buy the stall: “It seems clear that there has been a substantial oil spill in the North Sea, putting sea birds, whales and dolphins, fish and other wildlife at risk. Shell needs to come clean on exactly how much oil has entered the sea. This is an extremely serious matter and wildlife organizations need information in order to plan what, if anything, can be done to safeguard Scotland’s marine wildlife.”
Typically, both the governments of Britain and Scotland ridiculed such objections to this “small amount” of oil seeping into the North Sea. The guardian.com.uk, says “Government advisers also played down the risk to bird life, as the oil is unlikely to reach shore from the rig––112 miles east of Aberdeen––and said the risk to fish was also small as most of the oil should be cleared by natural processes.” But Scotland’s opposition political party would have none of these excuses. Sarah Boyack, the Labour Party’s environmental spokeswoman, decried the cover-ups: “I want to know from Marine Scotland what contingency plans they put in place to deal with major oil spillages. I also want information on the lessons they learned from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in relation to wildlife protection, protection of public health and protection of the fishing industry.”
Ahhh. It seems that the Deepwater disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is now the “standard” of what a truly dangerous oil spill is all about! Hmmm. Everyone else in the world––except in the United States––seems to know this! Why so little reporting on the American people and ocean wildlife still suffering from that spill?
Of course, God’s eternal records span all the ages of time, and they reveal all hidden sins, whether of oil spills, colonialism or anything else! The Book of Revelation says: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. . . And . . . were cast into the lake of fire (20: 11-14).
URGENT MESSAGE to every news outlet and all the ships at sea: This is IATTWJ reporter, Maleekie Amburlarie, bringing you news that the United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP) has finally issued its report condemning the horrendous devastation that Shell Oil Company’s drilling has brought to the African nation of Nigeria. In 2008, Shell Oil foisted two massive oil spills on the regions of Bodo, Ogoniland, home to 69,000 Nigerians, who now struggle with contaminated drinking water, oil-glutted lands, useless agricultural areas and other badly damaged ecosystems.
These ruptures of the Bodo-Bonny trans-Niger pipeline may well exceed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. And they may take at least two or three decades to clean up. But at least Shell has accepted responsibility for the spills which “should” eventually cost them hundreds of millions of dollars. However, the U.N. report calls for the oil industry and the Nigerian government to give some one billion dollars to a clean-up fund for the Nigerian region.
The UNEP report states, “In one community, at Nisisioken Ogale, in western Ogoniland, families are drinking water from wells that is contaminated with benzene––a known carcinogen––at levels over 900 times above World Health Organization guidelines.” Alleging that Anglo-Dutch Shell has for multiple years poisoned Nigerian lives, Amnesty International insists Shell’s pollution in the huge Niger Delta for the last 50 years, is actually “on par with the Exxon Valdez every year over the last 50 years.”
In 1993, continuing mass community demonstrations in Ogoniland against the poverty and environmental neglect that Shell’s drilling brought to the area finally forced the company to discontinue drilling in that region of Nigeria, but it maintained its pipelines. Now activists demand that Shell’s entire license for drilling in Nigeria be withdrawn. Fallaciously stating, “we clean up all spills from our facilities, whatever the cause, and restore the land to its original state,” Shell now asserts that Nigeria’s spills come from “sabotage, theft and illegal refining.”
Greetings from my IATTWJ sisters in Africa. Special blessings to Sister Jael and our president, Sandra Repriestly, who allow me to dispatch this message from Nigeria. The IATTWJ (International Association of Truth Telling Women Journalists) teaches us Bible prophecies describing the lowest levels of hell. These prophecies make clear that there is a special spot in hell for those who profit by robbing the poor. “ Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire.” (James 5: 1 – 3). Let us pray that Shell Oil’s owners, stock holders and purchasers will repent before that time.
Not only have sea levels risen to record levels, waters in lakes across the United States have also reached or surpassed their high water marks. Some officials have closed lakes adjoining along with public parks until water levels recede. And, because water levels are much more closer to lake front houses than ever envisioned, other areas have forbidden water skiing or any recreational activity that can make waves, further endangering property lines. Melting mountain snow waters, heavy rains and saturated grounds continue to keep water levels excessively high.
Last month in Lake Marion, Lake Gervais, Lake Byllesby in the Minneapolis-St. Paul twin-city area, water levels threatened shore lines, as well as houses built near shores. Water craft were restricted to the slowest possible speeds, because reeling waves “can start to cause erosion on the shorelines and with the people that live on the lake, their docks can eventually be damaged,” said Sgt. Jim Iliff, the head of the Dakota County Sheriff’s Parks, Lakes and Trails Division. Boaters were encouraged to find other “watering holes” if they wanted to speed.
In another part of that state, officials complained that water levels at severely high levels endanger properties. “A lot of the infrastructure was put in and the goal was to farm the land. Now,” County Commissioner, Doug Huebsch, said, “everything has changed and we’re at a 100 year high. We have so much property around all of these lakes that we need to protect.” He warns, “The high water has taken out township roads and reached the medians on county roads . . This becomes a public safety issue, property rights issue and a pollution issue when septic systems are under water. These lakes are really at risk.”
Today, Lake Tahoe is barely going down from its rise of 580 percent above normal water content, which is five feet above the lakes natural high water mark at 6,228 feet. Melting big winter snowfalls have resulted in nearly non-existent summer beaches. And, according to Adam Jensen of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, those summer beaches “may not be making a comeback anytime soon.” The U.S. Geological Survey reports that Lake Tahoe’s water level has been heavily increasing since March, and the snow the mountain snow is still melting.
These and other effects of Global Warming push the earth toward slow but sure destruction. As the present earth ends, Christian messages must do everything to reach the lost, telling them about The Savior, and the New Earth He promises––an earth full of joy, abundance and peace, an earth devoid of evil to thwart the full blessings of God: “And by the river upon the bank thereof,. . . shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, . . . it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine” (Ezekiel 47: 12).”