Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Ugly Carbon Footprint of American Aggression

When state paranoia runs deep, political hypocrisy cannot be far behind. And let's not forget the irony. And the profits, of course. Because in the end, this is all about the money wending its way from your pockets to the secret limitless Pentagon budget to the voracious war investors of Wall Street.

Only a few days after blaring the G-7's intent to reduce global carbon emissions (by century's end, when the planet could already be near death) Barack Obama is blaring his intent to ignore his own ecological prescription. He's escalating the never-ended Iraq War (now euphemized as a 30-year war against ISIS) by fast-creeping 450 more boots on the ground and building yet another global military base in that destroyed country. This is all so that the American imperium can "re-take" one more foreign city, even as the cities in the actual United States are crumbling and dying.

The US military already uses more than $20 billion of fuel a year, more than any other single American consumer.

Despite the fact that the military has managed, over the past several years, to slightly tweak its fuel consumption through the use of lightweight Predator and Reaper drones to kill people, that green policy is swiftly transforming back into greed policy. Big Oil can't make money and pay its investors unless big oil is extracted and burned on a global scale. The Pentagon's use of alternative fuel, as touted by a climate-conscious Obama administration, will only go so far in achieving the nirvana of proportionality (neoliberal-speak for cost-benefit measurements -- acceptable human casualties are weighed against acceptable pollution of the air that we humans are used to breathing.)

The more that Obama (and future salesmen and servants of the military-industrial complex) wage Permawar, the faster will come the death of the planet, despite all the sanctimonious and meaningless pledges of carbon emission reductions by this or that agency, or this or that luxury confab of world leaders.

And, as a Project Censored report has laid out, environmental groups rarely directly take on the military as the main culprits of worsening climate change. The burning of fossil fuels by the Pentagon is also virtually ignored by the media, despite the hideously-named "defense industry" being the worst polluter on the planet. Instead, activists rail against the Koch Brothers and the oil cartel serving the hegemon. Part of the reason is that the Pentagon is largely exempt -- thanks in large part to a Bush-era Kyoto Accord loophole and lack of Congressional oversight -- from revealing  the true extent of its dirty, filthy bestiality. The military is now responsible for 80% of all the energy consumed by government agencies.

From the Project Censored report:
While official accounts put US military usage at 320,000 barrels of oil a day, that does not include fuel consumed by contractors, in leased or private facilities, or in the production of weapons. The US military is a major contributor of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that most scientists believe is to blame for climate change. Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, reports, “The Iraq war was responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from March 2003 through December 2007. . . . That war emits more than 60 percent that of all countries. . . . This information is not readily available . . . because military emissions abroad are exempt from national reporting requirements under US law and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
How convenient does it get? Lack of transparency enables Barack Obama to concern-troll climate change, hypocritically scolding China and Russia out of one side of his glib mouth, and barking orders for ever-escalating American pollution out of the other.

And it's not just the carbon emissions continuously spewed by the biggest polluter in the world. It's all the leftover toxic waste, such as depleted uranium. It's US-made landmines and cluster bombs and poisonous chemicals that continue to kill and maim innocent people long after the Americans have left and cashed in.

Despite these ugly realities, the White House has grotesquely touted Obama as "the greenest president we've ever had." I suppose this could be true, but only if the shade of green we envision is of the harsh bilious variety. Or maybe this:

Greenest Prez Evah

To be fair,  the accolade is actually based solely upon Obama's announcement of an "initiative" (neoliberal-speak for bullshit) to write a report that highlights the harmful health effects of man-made climate change. Remember, though, that the Pentagon and all the other secret unaccountable agencies of aggression are conveniently exempt from any and all blame.

What we don't know is most assuredly hurting us.


Cirze said...

Thanks for the documentation, K.

Nowadays I cringe whenever I encounter/hear Hillary's, Bill's, or Obama's name anywhere.

With the jobs now disappearing to H1-B imports even more rapidly and the Disney(!) people crying out to reporters, is it beyond possibility that people will rise up soon thereby necessitating putting the martial law plans into effect looong before we even get into the real election ploys (national "reporting" on voting results)?

I've been thinking so long about the Clown Car Cons with their wall-to-wall reporters' high seriousity (see the one emanating from Scott Walker today) that it makes sense that our "news" folks will just continue covering them as our borders are closed and we face what they've prepared for us en masse.

Anybody else getting a funny feeling?

Jay–Ottawa said...

Love that picture of The Man so intent on the green. An update of Nero fiddling while Rome burns? No, that’s too harsh. The Man must really believe everything’s going to turn out just fine, somehow, further on down the line. Quite simply, he is unable to visualize the outcome of what he is doing. And the consequences of what he has not done. The Sixth Extinction is too monstrous, too horrific, too unimaginable. The scientists must be off by dozens of decimal points. The climate change scenario is out of science fiction. Let’s be serious. The Sixth Extinction has no place in the real world. And The Man is a decent fellow. A good father. He has to play the cards he was dealt. Oops, wrong metaphor. He has to play the course his rich friends took him to. This course with its magnetic sand pits and its particular ponds. Alas, he’s only human. He may not be all that smart after all. Understanding that, I cannot be angry with him any longer. In fact, I’ve come around to feeling sorry for him. He’s a bumbler, reeling through life like the rest of us. The best he’s capable of doing is what he’s done. And his two fine daughters who will be around when we’ll know for sure about climate change later in this century, I feel sorry for them too. And all the others in their age cohort who will get to see 2050, 2070. Right now, let’s lower our voices while he’s concentrating on this shot.

Pearl said...

Jay: you are too kind. He is a man who is obsessed with importance along with limited ability to connect the dots to all the information at his disposal. He does not have a conscience and if you recall the circumstances of his background he turned away from the black friends who wanted to work for change and looked down on them. His books clearly spelled this out and those who knew him then realized his limitations and the ability to throw others under the bus to further his importance.
He never was able to learn from his family members of mixed backgrounds and lacking the usual experiences of African Americans in the United States never understood the real black psyche.
It is a very interesting character study which unfortunately has played itself out in damaging ways and lost the trust and support of many struggling blacks among many others.

Every appointment he has made tells you what his ambitions are and the monument of an obscene library while still in office describes his character.
Don't cry for him ; cry for all the things he could have accomplished and the people who are worse off as a result along with a disintegrating nation.

Worst of all are his pretensions of fighting for the people who voted him into office when his allegiance remains to those with money and power.

It will be interesting to see how he will be judged in the history books by honest writers.

Ste-vo said...

@ Jay. I attended graduate school a little later than maybe what is normal, meaning just a few years out of college. For me, it was like 18 years! And I made friends with some wonderful people, younger, who have gone on to start families of their own. When the birth announcements came out, I responded with a small gift and a letter and told them how amazed I was that they felt so comfortable bringing children into the world. And then I wonder what my own two children are thinking? I guess I should ask them! They do think I am a doomer, a la James Howard Kunstler of Clusterfuck Nation fame and The Geography of Nowhere/The Long Emergency. Our New Music on the Point Program is in full session and last evening at the Salon performance a piece was performed for mezzo-soprano and violin, in honor of an Inuit tribe in Alaska who was predicted to be the first culture to be obliterated by the rising seas. It was actually a group in the South Pacific. So it is on people's minds. And I have lost all respect for Barry Obama, Mr. President Peace Prize.

Pearl said...

Another point: The Republicans got his number early and knew they could wipe the floor with him and the false excuses he was then able to use to explain his failures
worked well and allowed democrats to defend him by accepting his false struggles as
legitimate. A win win for him with a loss for the rest of his believing supporters and the lesser of two evils philosophy holding sway.

Meredith NYC said...

Cirze....the funny feeling we get is nausea.
I wonder if any TV news talk show cited the Disney layoffs of US tech workers paid 100,000/yr, who will train their foreign import replacements paid 60,000 year. Will those new ones then train new replacements for less salary in a few years?

I read in some companies, US workers trained people in India by telephone, and then find out these trainees are actually their replacements! See Hedrick Smith, Who Stole the American Dream for his chapter on the h1b visa program in many companies. That should be on the boob tube.

A reporter might ask Hillary what she thinks is the true purpose of the h1b visa program. It was sold s 'helping' business find workers not 'available' in the US.

How much in campaign donations did congress receive for approving the visa program to undercut US employees? Isn't somebody quantifying this sort of thing?

Funny, today Krugman's blogged about Walmart wages, but labeled 'wonkish'. Thanks a lot. Why not some columns that non economists can grasp on that topic?

Jay–Ottawa said...

@ Ste-vo. I hear you, Brother. They call us the Doomers. I take no joy in that label. Can we even find 1% within our own circles willing to engage seriously about climate change, TPP, the endless wars, political corruption, etc., etc.? For those of you still into Hope, here's an encouraging column by Ralph Nader that might just help the Doomful and the Hopeful to join forces.

Executive Summary: It takes a hell of a lot from only a damn few to make a big difference.

Part Doomer Pearl said...

Jay: We older citizens may see the realities more clearly and doubt the planet or humankind can survive the present onslaught but nevertheless must continue to speak out for our children and grandchildren in case miracles for change are possible. It is vital that any wisdom we have is shared and hopefully useful.At any rate we know we have done everything we could to share what we have learned and can hopefully sleep (and die) peacefully along with some enjoyment in our lives if possible.
And sharing our concerns makes it possible. I cannot praise highly enough, sad as it may be, the truths of Sardonicky writers and the example of a highly dedicated leader in Karen who continues her magnificent work despite health setbacks.
Many other citizens are becoming aware of the unhealthy issues that remain unresolved and we can encourage them as well.
With admiration to you all.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Maybe we have confirmation this hour that you're right. According to a NY Times News Alert just posted, Democrats in the House just returned TPP fast track legislation to Obama as toast.

But in looking for confirmation elsewhere (gloomer trust but verify syndrome), I see that Bloomberg says “not so fast.” TPP ain’t 100% dead yet. Wait till next Tuesday for the other shoe to drop before we crank up the windmills of hope.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Here’s a short backgrounder on the widening split over trade bills within Democratic ranks. Mayor de Blasio is shaping up as a consistent voice for the progressive agenda. To date, he has not endorsed the party’s front runner for 2016, the same lady whose senate campaign he managed back in 2000.

Would notes of positive reinforcement to our local reps be worth the time to write them?

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

What an exciting and refreshing interchange at the Sardonicky Salon. I am thrilled that the Democrats in Congress have handed the TPP Fast Track back to Obama on a plate, hopefully burned to a crisp. I am sure the corporations are on the phones trying to buy off the Congressmen and women who are balking as we write. Let's hope they don't get any traction. Here's to hoping that this is it for fast tracking the TPP.

It will be interesting to see whether the TPP gets tabled until a new president can try to fast track it or whether the treaty will see the light of day. As long as Obama maintains a veil of secrecy around the document, there won't be enough of an outcry to smash the deal for good. Hopefully, Warren et al. will be successful in their push to get the TPP out in the open and the spotlight will be on it.

In response to the discussion around Bernie Sanders that was a thread or two ago -
While I don't think Bernie will win the Democratic nomination and I won't contribute financially to his campaign, I am still glad he is out there giving a voice to issues like the TPP. He is an old man - He might very well do a Thomas Becket and turn on the DNC at the last minute and throw his support behind the Green Party or another Independent candidate as a way to end his career. By running as a Democrat, he gets the funding and exposure he needs to get the issues he cares about into the mainstream dialog. Up to this point, he has been pretty much marginalised by the press and everyone except the Left-Left. I cannot dismiss the man as going over to the dark side. While I disagree with his position on a few issues, he has, for the most part, spoken out for social and economic justice and voted accordingly.

Years ago when I was in high school in the mid 70's, I had a great Social Studies teacher who said, "Don't listen to what a candidate running for office says, look at his voting record." Never was better advice given.