Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Adventures of Sandy the Storm

As a storm of apocalyptic proportions barreled toward a population center with millions of bodies, with damage already forecast to be in the billions, President Obama today addressed the nation on..... Personal Finance! Forget about stocking up on bread and batteries. Drop everything and check your credit score, right this very minute!

I get it that climate change denialism is an unwritten plank in both rotten sides of the Uniparty, but this is too much. Although President Obama disingenuously expressed mild surprise that the looming catastrophe of man-made global warming just wasn't brought up in any of the debates, it apparently never occurred to him to actually act presidential and proactively bring it up himself before audiences totalling well over 100 million.

Instead, he went on MTV to let MTV fans know that's he cool enough to occasionally ponder global warming.

“We are not moving as fast as we need to, and this is an issue that future generations, MTV viewers, are going to have to be dealing with, even more than the older generation is,” he admitted, obviously putting the onus on the crumbling, irresponsible Geezer Generation.

As "Frankenstorm" threatens to hasten the demise of a huge chunk of the also-crumbling infrastructure here on terra firma, it turns out that even though we landed a rover on Mars, we haven't been maintaining the aging satellite system designed to keep track of the megastorms of the future. A combination of bureaucratic inefficiency and deficit hawkery has spelled a gap of at least a few years in which the tracking of storms will be grossly impeded. Starting as early as next year, we may be reverting back to the time when hurricanes took coastal areas by complete surprise, resulting in thousands of deaths.

This is what austerity does. It endangers lives in the name of saving a few bucks. But even that rationale is a lie. Austerity is the excuse given so that the rich can get richer and the poor can get screwed. The mega rich apparently have not yet learned that megastorms can destroy their seaside estates, yachts and manicured lawns just as effectively as they flatten mobile homes in trailer parks. And the two candidates of the mega-rich, says The New York Times,"have seemed most intent on trying to outdo each other as lovers of coal, oil and natural gas — the very fuels most responsible for rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."

None of the debate moderators brought up climate change because the oil and gas industry is a major sponsor of TV news shows. We've all seen those incessant "I'm Beavis, and I'm an energy voter" pro-fracking and drilling commercials sponsored by the industry. This propaganda attempts to convince us that what is good for their bottom line is good for the average Joe. We are not told that Big Energy is not in the profit-sharing business, that increased drilling does not ease the pain at the pump. Prices are set by international cartels. What's extracted in this country doesn't necessarily stay in this country. The much-touted jobs are temporary and dangerous, the damage to the earth and our health is incalculable.

The talking heads are not about to bite the oil-soaked hand that feeds them. The corporate-run Commission on Presidential Debates is itself owned and operated by lobbyists and CEOs, for whom climate change is the inconvenient truth that must not be told. Regulations attempting to ameliorate the effects of climate change eat into corporate bottom lines. Politicians daring to introduce climate change legislation will find the corporate wealth funding their billion-dollar campaigns drying up faster than a fracked community's water supply.

Maybe if we can overturn Citizens United and get the money out of politics, our voices will become louder than their dollar signs.

Oh, and speaking of dollar signs, don't forget to log on the internet and check your credit score so you can run up more debt and enrich the bloated banks and buy a ton of junk that you don't need and can't afford. It's the new economic patriotism.

I believe that the free market is one of the greatest forces for progress in human history, and that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not the government.-- Barack Obama, pre-Sandy presidential manifesto.
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A Mighty Wind

10 comments:

Marie Burns said...

@Will. A Sardonicky reader told me you had apologized to Kate Madison & me for language you used to describe us in a long-ago "dust-up." Thank you for being so gracious.

Apology gladly accepted.

Best wishes,
Marie

Valerie said...

How can reasonable people deny global warming - even as the erratic weather SHOWS them that all the predictions by climate scientists are coming to pass? It is hard to feel sorry for people who insist on living in denial.

Michael Fish said...

You would have thought that the drought in middle America might have dried some sense into the mindset of Republicans especially but Democrats too.....or no ice in the summer Arctic ocean. Even catastrophe doesn't work.
Do we have to suffer some mega-death natural disaster to wake people up... ? I guess so.

John in Lafayette said...

Headline on Yahoo News today (an AP story): "Storm Scrambles Presidential Contest." Thank goodness they have their priorities straight. As the winds blow and the waters rise, I hope you will put your petty concerns behind you and take time to reflect, Karen, on just what this means for Barack and Mitt.

Stay safe, and please let your readers know if there is anything we can do to help people out in your area.

James F Traynor said...

I've been thinking of 'science' a lot in the past few years. Few years hell, a lot of years. And it's 'science' the word, not the activity. It has come to represent something other than what it is - a tool, a method, used to investigate natural phenomena. I've never considered myself a 'scientist' while using it in my work. It struck me as a conceit. I was an ecologist who used 'the scientific method' in my work, as an investigator. "You'd have made a good detective." That was said to me by a superior once - and it wasn't meant to be a compliment. But I'm really proud of it. You see, he was a scientist - just ask him.
That's why I'm so pissed off at the attack on climatologists, glaciologists, wildlife biologists, ecologists etc., etc., by the politicians. For doing their goddamn jobs for Chrissakes! There, that felt good.

James F Traynor said...

I've been thinking of 'science' a lot in the past few years. Few years hell, a lot of years. And it's 'science' the word, not the activity. It has come to represent something other than what it is - a tool, a method, used to investigate natural phenomena. I've never considered myself a 'scientist' while using it in my work. It struck me as a conceit. I was an ecologist who used 'the scientific method' in my work, as an investigator. "You'd have made a good detective." That was said to me by a superior once - and it wasn't meant to be a compliment. But I'm really proud of it. You see, he was a scientist - just ask him.
That's why I'm so pissed off at the attack on climatologists, glaciologists, wildlife biologists, ecologists etc., etc., by the politicians. For doing their goddamn jobs for Chrissakes! There, that felt good.

Denis Neville said...

Silence on global warming

http://climatesilence.org/graph/ is a website that tracks the Obama and Romney’s slow, collective descent into climate silence and toward the mute acceptance of global calamity.

See PBS Frontline's “Climate of Doubt” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/climate-of-doubt/ for a view of the tactics of the well-funded climate denial/anti-science machine that has been so successful in intimidating politicians.

Shawn Otto @ Scientific American, “Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy,”

“Today’s denial of inconvenient science comes from partisans on both ends of the political spectrum. Science denialism among Democrats tends to be motivated by unsupported suspicions of hidden dangers to health and the environment. Common examples include the belief that cell phones cause brain cancer (high school physics shows why this is impossible) or that vaccines cause autism (science has shown no link whatsoever). Republican science denialism tends to be motivated by antiregulatory fervor and fundamentalist concerns over control of the reproductive cycle. Examples are the conviction that global warming is a hoax (billions of measurements show it is a fact) or that we should “teach the controversy” to schoolchildren over whether life on the planet was shaped by evolution over millions of years or an intelligent designer over thousands of years (scientists agree evolution is real). Of these two forms of science denialism, the Republican version is more dangerous because the party has taken to attacking the validity of science itself as a basis for public policy when science disagrees with its ideology.”

“By falsely equating knowledge with opinion, postmodernists and anti-science conservatives alike collapse our thinking back to a pre-Enlightenment era, leaving no common basis for public policy. Public discourse is reduced to endless warring opinions, none seen as more valid than another. Policy is determined by the loudest voices, reducing us to a world in which might makes right - the classic definition of authoritarianism.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=antiscience-beliefs-jeopardize-us-democracy

“People wrap themselves in their beliefs. And they do it in such a way that you can't set them free. Not even the truth will set them free.” - Michael Specter

spreadoption said...

Interesting comment, James, and I concur on all levels, including your sentiment. As a health industry provider (they used to call us doctors) I think of it this way: I'm a scientist by education though not by occupation.

What has always interested me is simply getting at the truth, no matter the issue. What I cannot understand is what's so damn hard about that, or distasteful...nay, seemingly impossible... for so many people (read, Republicans especially, but Democrats and Independents, too).

Utterly confounding: In my congressional district we have a longstanding incumbent who is a mini-version of Bernie Sanders, a people's politician. He is being opposed for the second time by a Republican scientist. (How is that not an oxymoron?). The guy owned some kind of tech company and retired a multi-millionaire. He's a raving Tea Party/libertarian/Republican lunatic, reportedly supported by Big Money, possibly the Koch's. A "scientist" climate-change denier, school privatizer, tax-abolisher, de-regulator, etc.

Even more confounding: The sociopathic scientist might win this time! What's the matter with these people!?

After years, decades, of trying to understand all or any of this, I'm at a total scientific loss, as befuddled and ignorant as a 15th century serf.

Oh, wait... I am a serf!

Jay - Ottawa said...

Next Sunday (4 Nov) at 7:30 PM Ralph Nader will moderate a debate among the four major Third Party candidates. Invite friends over for a primer on American politics they never would get from the MSM. Make it a party. Details here:

http://nader.org/2012/10/25/ralph-nader-to-host-third-party-presidential-debate-in-d-c-114/

Valerie said...

@Michael Fish

I have thought the same thing over and over again. There is such a disconnect with reality.

I heard a story on public radio, here in Australia, about the drought in Texas. The story told of families that had ranched in Texas for over eighty years having to kill their "seed cattle" because weather they had never known in their lifetime or parents' lifetime made it impossible to keep their livestock alive. They all hoped the government would help them out - get them through these terrible times - yet they were Republicans through and through. Deny climate change exists, stick your hand out for a government hand out and then vote Republican. It is like common sense has left America.

Great quotes both yesterday and today, Denis. Keep 'em comin'.

@Jay-Ottawa
The ONE bit of good news and something to look forward to. A REAL debate about the important issues facing America. I hope news of it goes viral and those too discouraged to vote will consider voting for a Third Party.