Tucson, Arizona ‘Christmas Lights’ in July – Illuminated Year Round

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light_color_storyline_cactus_cactus

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arizona_hotel_lights

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lantern_lizard

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lantern_quail

Tucson Christmas lights flickr link

Tucson Christmas lights

tucson illuminated

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Here’s the link to a bunch of pictures.

Bare with me in terms of the quality of the photographs. Some have managed to capture the essence, whereas others fall way short of what my eyes were seeing, because of the equipment (and lack of it) that I’m using. I mainly want to reveal that here in Tucson the ‘Christmas lights’ that I saw perusing around streets on my bicycle all over town in February, are still here in July. Tucson citizens and businesses have this creative decorative flair for their homes and businesses and downtown areas that are lit up, all year round. I love it. The most enchanting thing I found one evening, was a huge tree that looked like a fairyland with green laser pointed lights shining onto all of its branches. My camera just can not capture this, too bad. I’m using a Canon camera that is holding on and doing its best. And I’m doing my best without a tripod and all of the functionality of a fully working camera, with no special lenses. So I wince when I see a shot, take it, and it just barely captures in the darkness, what my eyes are seeing. In fact, I notice that in the viewfinder of the camera, the lights look more bright and then upon snapping the photo, it promptly dims. I’m also using an android phone for some shots that seems to function better for the dark shots, yet is obviously much grainier in texture, less dpi than the Canon.

 

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illuminated_tree_branches_closeup

people have a permanent giraffe almost full size

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corner_wall_dinosauer_closup

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lit house with tile piece

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blue_and_white_lights copy

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lantern_indian_flute_player_echo

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lantern_lizard

lantern quail

lantern_quail

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light_color_storyline_shotting_star_planets

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blue_pearls

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green_laser_tree_colored_string_lights

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illuminated_tree

restaurant column lights, Tucson, Arizona

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Carol Keiter blogger and photographer shiny in the above 100º temperatures

Carol Keiter blogger and photographer shiny in the above 100º temperatures

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the War on Terror is a malignant outgrowth of the Terror of War | Chilcot report: War on Iraq

Much is in the news about the recently released Chilcot report by Sir John Chilcot, chairman of the United Kingdom’s Iraq war inquiry. He was one of the bureaucrats in office during the time the United States and subsequently Great Britain governments’ decided to go to war on Iraq in 2003. The Chilcot report exposes the fact that there were no grounds to go to war on Iraq. There were lies, confounded by more lies that lead to this grave decision, which has subsequently ignited ISIS (whatever acronym you wish to call it), unleashing an insurmountable backlash of violence by groups coping with their own destabilization and horrors. Violence fueled by hatred in ever swirling spirals.

Carne Ross wrote for the New York Times July 6, 2016 Chilcot Report: How Tony Blair Sold the War

“Thus the invasion that was justified by an imaginary threat in Iraq helped create a crisis of global insecurity that will endure for a generation, at least.

The ministers and officials who enabled Mr. Blair to perpetrate this catastrophe must also bear blame. Brave after the event, many testified before Mr. Chilcot that they knew the war was a mistake — yet they went along with it. But without them, it could not have happened. The “threat” of weapons of mass destruction was repeated by many diplomats and officials even when they, like me, were well aware that the scant intelligence we had could not substantiate the claim.”

Matthew Schweitzer on the 8th of July 2016 writes in Mondediplio – the English version of Le Monde Diplomatique, Iraq’s trauma: the Chilcot inquiry

Schweitzer describes the history leading up to this, which has already been destabilizing the area years before. He mentions,

“In 1991, over 10 years before the events described by the Chilcot inquiry occurred, a United Nations report concluded that ‘the children of Iraq up to the ages of puberty are the most traumatized children of war ever described.’ The report arrived at the end of the first Gulf war, in which 20,000-35,000 Iraqi soldiers perished along with nearly 3,700 civilians.”

On July 7th, George Monbiot published on the Guardian’s website The Judgement of History: The Chilcot report is utterly damning; but it’s still not justice

“Mr Blair, the co-author of these crimes, whose lethal combination of appalling judgement and tremendous powers of persuasion made the Iraq war possible, saunters the world, picking up prizes and massive fees, regally granting interviews, cloaked in a force field of denial and legal impunity.

The crucial issue – the legality of the war – was, of course, beyond Sir John Chilcot’s remit…Justice is inseparable from democracy. If a prime minister can avoid indictment for waging aggressive war, the entire body politic is corrupted. In the Chilcot report, there is a reckoning, firm and tough and long overdue. But it’s still not justice.”

George W. Bush,  Tony Blair, Guardian, Chilcot report, Trevor Timm

George W. Bush and Tony Blair the Guardian The US needs its own Chilcot report Trevor Timm

As a United States citizen born and raised in this country, who protested going to war in the streets back then, it occurred to me that I had read an indictment a few years ago from someone within the United States government exposing the US government’s ill conceived decision to go to war in Iraq. I googled, and came up with this article The US needs its own Chilcot report, written by Trevor Timm

“The former US president most responsible for the foreign policy catastrophe has led a peaceful existence since he left office. Not only has he avoided any post-administration inquiries into his conduct, he has inexplicably seen his approval ratings rise (despite the carnage left in his wake only getting worse).”

And in the politics of injustice, in which corpocrisy rules, it is really up to all of us to actually make a difference.

I beckon comments and suggestions regarding answers on ways to deal with the conundrum of hatred and violence. Perhaps if a large part of the citizens of the United States and Great Britain – for starters – would have the will and courage to make our voices heard and actually demand prosecution for the Crime of War, the consequences could be felt worldwide. That is, rather than passively watching this, actively making clear that you are behind persecuting these criminals – behind which are a bunch of corporations whose goal certainly was to invade Iraq for their own profit motives.

If the message sent to the rest of the world is that we care about other peoples lives who are embroiled in war and the injustice of it – rising above the political veil of democracy – to actually send clear messages of humanitarian love and peace, this in itself could begin wakening quite different responses from people who have only felt desperation and experienced hopelessness and horror.

I will promptly write in my digesthis blog about the concept of ‘othering’ (distancing oneself); a concept of Edward Said, mentioned by Naomi Klein in a larger context, together with the inspiring words of Akala regarding status quo racism built into Empire.

Another means of extracting ourselves from the rather undemocratic government we are in which is ensconced in the politics of money, as politicians are placed by corporate powers to parlay their wishes, is to have a GREEN SUSTAINABILITY REVOLUTION.

Perhaps as one person recently commented, the more that we involve ourselves in our own communities in DIY Doing it Ourselves: to grow our own food, actively engage in community building, build inexpensive systems to collect your own rain water, collect energy from the sun with solar, build community projects such as community gardens and windmills or whatever renewable technology is available and adaptable to the climate and geography of place…the more we will be energizing ourselves without paying into a corrupt system that is bent on continually receiving fees. And the more that people grow their own food and acquire energy from their own self sustaining systems, the healthier and happier and more independent they will be, so that they won’t need to support industries which are reaping huge monetary gains while delivering little. As people take responsibility for their own health and happiness, they will less and less need to buy into a system that keeps them locked into it: i.e. pharmaceutical industry.

Here I go again. Moved to create a blog, pulling together content from a variety of sources by established journalists who have done their rigorous investigative journalism, scrutinizing information to put it out there. I float these out to consecrate their points and add some of my own. I considered researching which print or online publication I could send a query to, to submit an article for which I’m paid, and I guess two factors are dissuading me.

The first, that I want to immediately get this information out there. Secondly, I realize that I am for the most part reading and re-circulating other peoples’ dredging labor involved in investigative journalism. Nevertheless, the more the information is circulated, the better.

Carol Keiter in Tucson, AZ

Carol Keiter in Tucson, AZ

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Warm Welcome to Obama by Trudeau and Canadians | Obama stresses Pluralism and Tolerance

On June 29th, 2016, President Obama joined with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the North American Leader’s Summit. Obama was given a warm welcome at the event and his speech to the Canadian Parliament and Prime Minister Trudeau received a number of standing ovations. His reception was strong not only because he mentioned a number of Canadian icons, but also because of the resonance that the dignitaries felt when he mentioned that the US and Canada need to work together, leading the world in demonstrable ways to show racial tolerance and in committing to renewable energy.

US President, Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, North American Leader's Summit

US President Barack Obama Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto North American Leader’s Summit

Certainly there are transcripts, yet I’ve included the notes that I took, which are extracted highlights of Obama’s address. He stressed many of the values that our two countries share and went on to talk about international trade, security and climate change; mentioning that the latter is not an abstraction, but very real and happening right now.

President Obama stressed tolerance, pluralism and open arms to immigrants and refugees; specifically being inclusive with Muslim communities around the world to provide them with hope and opportunities.

Obama, warm response

Obama’s opening moments and warm response

He spoke of the need to respect the dignity of all people, especially those who are most vulnerable and of our commitment to a common creed. We must not waver in embracing our best values. Both of our nations are nations of immigrants who must continue to welcome people from around the world. The vibrance of our economies is enhanced through embracing refugees.

“We can’t label people as terrorists, who are the vulnerable people who are fleeing terrorism.”

Obama, Maryam Monsef, Canadian MP, member of parliament

Obama acknowledges Maryam Monsef Canadian (MP) member of parliament who is an immigrant from Afghanistan

With respect to his point of the obvious need to be tolerant and receptive to immigrants and refugees, Obama mentioned Maryam Monsef, an Incoming Liberal (MP) Member of Parliament sitting there in the session. “She was only three years old when her father was killed, caught in bloody crossfire at the border of Iran and Afghanistan. This link in the Ottawa Citizen includes an interview with her.”

Maryam Monsef, Afghanistan immigrant,  Canadian MP

Maryam Monsef Afghanistan immigrant now MP in Canada interview

Here are my highlights of his speech:

He started by claiming that the long border shared between Canada and the United States has maintained the longest period of peace of any border worldwide.

The transatlantic values we share as liberal based democracies are still strong.

The circumstances of Brexit may be unique to the UK, yet the frustrations people felt are not. Working things out on the short term is one thing, but the long term trends of inequality, dislocation and resulting social division can’t be ignored.

How we respond to the forces of globalization and technological change will determine the durability of an international order that ensures future prosperity for future generations.

We share the values of pluralism, tolerance and equal opportunity.

He referenced a quote; A country is something that is built every day out of shared values” and that.with respect to this, what is true of countries is true of the world.

If our recent financial crisis and recession taught us anything, it is that our countries do better when everyone has an opportunity to succeed.

If a CEO makes more in a day than an employee makes in a year, it is bad for the economy; that worker is not a very good customer for business.

If a young man in Ohio can’t pay his student loans or a young woman in Ontario can’t pay her bills, it tamps down on the possibilities of growth. We need to embrace policies that will lift everybody up.

The measure of an economy is how the people are doing.

We may think that drawing a line around our borders for more control is the way to go. However, restricting trade or giving in to protectionism in this 21st c economy will not work.

When combined with investment, research & development… we can spur the connectivity that makes all of us better off.

We need to look forward, not backward.

Thanks Canada for hosting the negotiations with the Cuban government.

Justin Trudeau, Obama

Justin Trudeau and his wife responding to Obama’ words

Wealthy countries like ours cannot reach our full potential when other countries around the world are mired in poverty.

With our commitment to new sustainable development goals, we have a chance to end the outrage of extreme poverty. Bring more electricity to Africa, banish the Zika virus, our goal of the first AIDS-free generation. Working to replace corruption with transparent institutions that serve their people.

Development is not charity, it is an investment in our future prosperity. Our own security is enhanced when we step up for all nations to have the right to security and peace.

Multilateralism is not a dirty word. (In 1990, Robert Keohane defined multilateralism as “the practice of coordinating national policies in groups of three or more states.)

We will continue helping forces to push back comprehensively against terrorist networks.

We will work with partners around the world, in contrast to the hatred and nihilism of terrorists. I looked up the word Nihilism = the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.

Being inclusive in particular with Muslim communities; to offer a better vision, path of development, opportunity and tolerance, because they are and must be our partners in this effort.

We will be more secure when every NATO member contributes all of its forces. NATO needs more Canada.

Our two countries are leaders in humanitarian aid. We are going to work as hard as we can to help Syrians to live in peace.

The threat of climate change is not an abstraction. It is happening now. Last year he was the first US president to visit the Arctic. The tundra is burning, permafrost is thawing.

Climate change is not just a moral issue, it is not just an economic issue, it is an urgent matter of our national security.

Carbon emissions in the US are back to where they were two decades ago, even as we’ve grown the economy.

Alberta is working hard to reduce CO2 emissions, while still promoting economic growth.

If Canada can do this, the whole world can do this. We can lead the world. We need to bring it into force this year. The whole world can unleash economic growth while still protecting our planet.

Paris just had the most robust Climate Summit and we need to follow through with implementing these goals.

Let’s generate half our energy from clean energy sources within a decade. This is achievable.

We need to save the planet, and America and Canada are going to have to lead the way.
(As I listened to this I thought to myself that actually Germany is already leading the way in terms of implementing renewable energy. They stopped all nuclear power plants following the Fukushima incident. And in their green revolution, the southern city of Freiburg gets 100 % of its power from renewable energy.)

Freiburg, Germany, 100 % renewable, green energy revolution

Freiburg, Germany is 100 % renewable, leads in green energy revolution

We believe in the right of all people to have the right to succeed in our society.

What a powerful message of reconciliation around the world when Justin, your government pledged a new relationship with the First Nations.

Democracy is not easy. There are those that offer a politics of “us verses them”, a politics that scapegoats others, the immigrant, the refugee, someone who seems different than us.

We have to call this mentality what it is: a threat to the values that we profess, the values that we seek to defend. It’s because we respect all people that the world looks to us as an example. Our Muslim friends who are our neighbors, serve in our government We need to stand up against the slander and the hatred of those towards people who look or worship differently. Obama mentioned that he has a bias (having two daughters) and wants all woman to have the same opportunities as men.

He professed to the audience not to shy away from speaking about these values of pluralism, tolerance and equality. These are universal values, inalienable rights, the rights of citizens to speak the truth, the rights of journalists to speak the truth.

A respect for the dignity of all people, especially those who are most vulnerable. Our commitment to a common creed. We must not waver in embracing our best values. Both of our nations are nations of immigrants who must continue to welcome people from around the world. The vibrance of our economies is enhanced through embracing refugees. We can’t label people as terrorists, vulnerable people who are fleeing terrorism.

We were all once strangers. Your grandparents were strangers; they fumbled with language, faced discrimination and had cultural norms that didn’t fit. At some point somewhere, your family was an outsider. We will continue to welcome refugees and ensure that we are doing so in a way that maintains our security. We can and we will do both.

Increase our support to central america.

The coming global summit this autumn on refugees, we must step up and meet the needs.

People of good will and compassion show us the way.

Obama, Canadian government, North American Alliance

Obama gesticulating in his speech to the Canadian government and North American Alliance

How blessed we are to have had people before us, day by day who built these extraordinary countries of ours.

Barack Obama ended his speech saying “What a blessing”…and what a positive and lovely, gentle way to end of speech, to communicate such a positive concept to let this ripple through the room and the world’s stage.

Thank you Barack!

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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