Quick News 2 – The Deafening Silence of Democrats

March 23, 2007

Hillary Clinton. Barack Osama. John Edwards. Bill Richardson. Nancy Pelosi. Harry Reid. Democratic Masters of Silence. Three issues: Global Warming. The War in Iraq. The War on Terror. Silence. Utter Silence. Why aren’t these people speaking up? Why do they fade into the walls any time these three issues surface? They have the power, the means, the mandate and the obligation to act. Small decoys do not produce. Non binding compromises do not count. Token subpoenas are cute but then what? Hearings are nice if they go beyond grandstanding.

On the opposing end and without a mandate: George W. Bush, the Decider with his out of touch speech and army of crook lawyers. Dick Cheney with his gun. Karl Rove plotting in his closet. Joe Lieberman the traitor. John McCain the God-Knows-What. Rudy Giuliani – the Loose Cannon. Mitt Romney – the CEO with a Marketing Idea. A wealthy gang of Religious Righties and Neo Cons, enjoying less tax. Oil companies aching to drill the ultimate hole in the ground, tundra, sea board or wherever they fancy a trace of carbon emissions may hide. Talk show fascists. Fanatical bloggers and writers in magazines no one ever heard of. Ann Coulter. NRA. None of these people shut up. They yell. They demand. Silence is unknown. Take no prisoners. Just roll over them Democrats, mandate or not

The Problem

My recent post: Global Warming 6: Terror, Wars, Fears and Paralysis wondered why Global Warming is so hard a subject to deal with. I wondered why this particular issue, as deadly as it might be, is delegated to the back of the U.S. closet by every one in charge. I compared Global Warming to the sulphur dioxide crisis of the 1960s and the more recent ozone hole problem. Both of these latter issues were resolved with little fuss. Likewise, Global Warming can be successfully dealt with if the inertia of silence and mysterious resistance is dealt with. But the silence and inertia appears unlimited.

I wondered why Global Warming, which so clearly may be lethal, does not evoke past crisis spirits such as during WWII, Vietnam or 9/11. Then people closed rank and won. WWII was won. The US won by finally getting out of Vietnam. 9/11 was initially won. With dissidents in real low numbers, the World condemned the 9/11 attacks till Bush screwed up by 1) entering a vague, undefined War on Terror that made no sense to anyone sober enough, 2) invading and destroying two Islam countries, thus accelerating terrorism and 3) engaging in endless illegal maneuvers, lies and intimidations while suppressing truth, laws, treaties and ethical standards for self serving purposes.

Misguided as the Republicans, Religious Right and Neo Cons may be, the least their policies are clear, if devastating. But the Democrats say one thing and do another or, actually, do very little. If in fact they do something it makes little difference. Spineless? Fear ridden? You judge. Ask your favorite Presidential candidate some questions. Attend a town meeting with your Congressman. Speak up. Put a sign in your front yard or window. Take to the streets. It’s your country.

The People

In the post mentioned, I argued that there were essentially two reasons why the people of the US are not responding to these crises. The first reason is a total disillusion with, and apathy towards, its government and George W. Bush in particular. You enjoy his slaughter of language, lack of coherent thought and appreciate he is dumber than you are. It may be amusing as long as your kid isn’t an Iraqi statistic. Maybe you overlook the fact he may kill more than any President or national leader in history. Really.

The second reason for the inertia in us, the people, is plain fear due to all the uncertainties, mixed messages and storm signs. Add the confusion from an endless, mixed bag of information or disinformation floating around without pause. Never in the history of mankind has so much junk been forced on so many by so few, be it Global Warming, the various Wars, Swift Boats, faked Apple 1984 ads, VA hospitals, US Attorneys, undercover CIA agent disclosures, gun happy Vice Presidents or a totally in-over-his-head President.

Then we have the endlessly fascinating charades of Paris Hilton fully clothed or not, Anna Nicole Smith dead or alive, Britney Spears sober or not, Howard Stern, FOX, 360 Cooper, Newt Gingrich the Ladies’ Man, Rush Limbaugh the Viagra Guy and Ann Coulter the Marlboro Man grabbing the attention of the channels for a few minutes at the time. Are Jerry Springer, Ricki Lake and Jenny Jones still around? I hope not. It’s confusing enough as it is without worrying about twin-headed lesbian Ku Klux Klaners from Outer Space.

Every piece of fact or misinformation is printed, newscast, talk showed, blogged, spoken, podcast, voice mailed, YouTubed, downloaded, uploaded, emailed, serialized, falsified, water cooled, RSSed, bookmarked, chat roomed, iPodded, Ann Coulter faggotized, Photoshopped, eHarmonized, pdf’d, pirated, news released, multi mediated, socially networked, filibustered, Bluetoothed, SMS’d, invented by Al Gore or shared in any other of the thousands of ways humans miscommunicate these days. Amazingly, it’s only a few decades ago that the main channel was newspapers and newspapers only with some Evening News thrown in.

People are completely overloaded with too much nonsense served too fast to be able to focus on any particular issue. The whole bloody world is at our door step, forcing its way in over our battered bodies. The people can’t deal with the overload and the politicians don’t dare, every one maintaining their deafening silence. And the tragedies just keep coming and coming.

The Powers

Early 2007, the Democrats took over both US Houses after a strong showing in the 2006 elections. The people clearly spoke – stop US involvement in Iraq. The new Democratic majority is not truly responding. Yes, there are some ineffectual attempts. Non binding this or that, adding addendums here and there, a few toothless hearings and, gasp, subpoenaing so and so. Supposedly the concern is “not to be weak” and to “support out troops”. How is putting the troops in deadly danger for no good reason “supporting them”? Get real. In what way does spending 100s of billions on a hopeless cause benefit the troops, the American people or the world? Do get real.

It is not just Congress ducking the issues and effectively letting Bush destroy the world. I started out by mentioning four 2008 Democratic challengers for the US Presidency. Hillary Clinton – trying desperately to hide her earlier support for Iraq and Bush. Barack Osama – “I wasn’t around so don’t blame me”. John Edwards – “I’m the Domestic Guy and my wife is sick”. Bill Richardson – still around? Al Gore – patiently waiting for the call with an Oscar and plenty of $$$ in his back pocket.

None of these Democratic candidates offer a clear strategy for dealing with Global Warming, the War on Terror or the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They do not begin to deal with the nuclear threats of North Korea or Iran. They ignore Putin’s strategy of using energy to blackmail Europe. None of them offer believable answers to health care, social security or budget deficits. They apparently have no more clues about what to do than the intellectually challenged George W. Bush or the devious pair of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

The Spirit

Where is the spirit of the Revolutionary War, the Alamo, D-Day, Iwo Jima or Rose the Riveter? Where are the forces of the Civil Rights and Anti War movements of the 1960s and early 1970s? There isn’t even a decent Woodstock any more. The police and fire fighters responding to the WTC catastrophe did not change the world. Nor did the few heroes of Katrina drum up a national effort to rebuild New Orleans, leaving it to a hapless government.

Today March 22 2007, Howard Fineman of Newsweek published “The Timid Politics of War” with the byline “A generation ago, Vietnam blew up politics as we knew it. Why isn’t that happening now?” He asks the same questions I do, more or less. Read the article, the link is above. A major point is negative power of the silence, rather than the babble of the rhetoric. The silence on these issues is stupefying and earth shattering.

So what am I saying? We really are facing serious issues that will define our future. It is inconceivable that politicians be allowed to default on the outcome by being, of all things, silent. Likewise, it is without excuse that we the people stay quiet and let these politicians get away with it. In the past, there were overwhelming demonstrations of the power of ordinary people in the face of crisis. We need that power now.

Remember the Londoners during the Nazi Blitz. Think about the Hamburgians during the Allied fire bombings. Did you ever experience the Hungarian or Czech barehanded uprisings against the Soviet tanks? What about the struggles of the campuses in the late 1960s, early 1970s? Consider the Tiananmen Square protests in face of massive troops and tanks. Did you see Boris Yeltsin single handedly preventing the return of Soviet hardliners? Do you remember the Civil Rights workers in Mississippi just 40 years ago or the courage of Rosa Parks 50 years ago? Or may you recall the fire fighters heading UP the stairs of the WTC?

The Obstructions

Many of us suffer from tensions, ignorance, pressures, greed and envy, lies and deceptions, inertia and overloading and, simply, Modern Life. Too many need unparalleled amounts of antidepressants, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, Yoga, recovery centers, rehab, therapy, marathon runs, hypnosis, relaxation exercises, self help books, face lifts, tattoos, anti harassment rules, exercise machines, weight programs – pills – food and diets, subconscious tape messages, reality shows, Tums, herbal treatments, nail enhancement, health spas, bleached teeth, botox treatments, Viagra, breast enhancement, Internet porn, perfect abs, alcohol, drugs and a lot more from the billions of dollar “Coping Industry”.

Most of these items were completely unknown just 50 years ago, now they are crucial to our well being. Our brains truly must be cooked. Can the pills be beaten so we get on with surviving? Clearly, society has changed in a way that is detrimental to facing important issues – such as the three I mentioned. Such as survival. Such as a will to confront Wrongs.

The Consequences

The inertia will have consequences. I’ll just point to one issue: Global Warming. Derided by some, ignored by almost every American politician from George W, Bush to Osama Barack, here is what the upcoming UN report has to say (Follow this link for more – “The Bleakest Outlook Yet“):

Geography, Areas and Life Styles

  • The effects of Global Warming are happening far faster than believed earlier. Climate changes are now impacting physical and biological systems on every continent. Global Warming will affect everyone’s lives, in particular the lives of the poorest. Life styles across the world will change, mostly for the worse.
  • Africa and Asia will be hit the hardest followed by small island communities. On a relative basis, North America, Europe and Australia face the least impacts. Yet, hurricanes and wildfires already cause major disruptions to North American social, cultural and biological ecosystems. Australia is experiencing a drought partly blamed on Global Warming.

Agriculture, Starvation and Forestry

  • The agriculture sector will face major upheavals as their ecosystems move north (south in the Southern Hemisphere) and existing farm land cannot follow. The forest sector faces the same issue.
  • The forestry sector will see temporary improvements due to a longer growing season. It will face major upheavals later as its ecosystems move north (south in the Southern Hemisphere) and existing forests cannot follow.
  • There will be temporary relief in some agricultural areas, such as soybeans and rice production in Latin America, due to longer growing seasons. Later, 200-600 million people will suffer starvation as agricultural ecosystems are destroyed.

Health and Fresh Water

  • Health issues will result in higher death rates. Malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria and dengue fever will grow dramatically. Human allergies are mushrooming due to increased pollens. Smog in the US will cause severe health hazards.
  • Hundreds of millions of Africans, tens of millions of Latin Americans and more than a billion of Asians will lack sufficient fresh water.

Ecosystems and Extinctions

  • We are truly standing at the edge of mass extinction. Species’ habits and habitants are changing rapidly. Half of Europe’s spaces are vulnerable to extinction.
  • Polar bears will only be found in zoos, their northern habitat melted into oblivion. Other polar animals will follow into extinction. Half of Europe’s species are threatened. Pests such as fire ants will thrive.

Oceans, Flooding, Coasts, Arctic and Ice

  • Oceans and coastal ecosystems face the most damages. Wetlands will be lost. 100 million people may be flooded out of their lands because of rising sea levels. Coastal flooding might eliminate millions of homes.
  • Coral reefs are killed by bleaching. The Great Barrier Reef could become functionally extinct in less than 20 years.
  • Transportation, e.g. the Northwest Passage, will “improve” in Arctic regions. This alone may lead to major ecological problems as newly accessible areas are exploited.
  • Alpine glaciers in Europe and elsewhere will disappear. Greenland ice sheets decline. The North Pole is no longer under a solid ice pack in the summer.

European and Other Events

In a striking difference to the White House version of the US, EU and Europe are acting on Global Warming by creating mandatory, binding ceilings on emissions. In the US, California ignores the White House and plan similar measures as do other states.

This is an update of Quick News #1

The UK is getting real about Global Warming by outlining binding legislation to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050. The Bill also sets targets of 26-32% cuts by 2020. Parts of the opposition favor 80% cuts, or even 90%. Government assistance will enable insulation of 8 million homes over the next ten years. UK is on track to meet all Kyoto Protocol goals. Government officials stressed the UK’s leadership in the War on Global Warming with a clear eye towards the lack of leadership or action from the US.

Simultaneously, The UK enters direct cooperation with California, bypassing the inertia of George W. Bush. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Californian maverick, called Tony Blair an action hero for inspiring the introduction of a law committing California to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Mr. Schwarzenegger said: “It is very clear the Prime Minister has been a great inspiration to many, many countries all over the world… I think he is a pioneer, because he has had the guts to sign the Kyoto treaty and to show to the world that you can protect the environment and protect the economy at the same time.” California introduced its first Global Warming legislation in 206 – this is the second step.

Have the Blair or California Governments gone insane? Won’t this madness bankrupt the whole world (or the US as Mr. Bush claims without proof)? Of course not, the UK hopes to make big money on its leadership. They have key parts of the technology to make reductions of this magnitude possible. So do others, including the EU, US and California in particular. If you view these emission reduction plans as some form of misbegotten charity, you are very much on the wrong track. Incidentally, California is not the only state bypassing Bush to enter overseas cooperation and to pursue independent Global Warming and energy policies.

And as I covered in the post “Sauerkraut, Bourgogne, Bangers“, the EU is continuing its path towards 20% emission reductions by 2020. An EU summit in early March 2007 approved the original proposal. More leaks of the upcoming April IPCC report about the consequences of Global Warming led to my post “The Bleakest Outlook Yet”. Optimistic those UN folks are not. Some of you might enjoy my take on Ann Coulter ” To Ann Coulter” after she used the Faggot word referring to John Edwards, who, by the way, is looking to define himself as a Global Warming advocate. Also recently published, the main post “Just Too Many Of You” deals with a variety of issues, most related to how Global Warming relates to populations or, more precisely, you and me.

If the world follows the initiatives of the EU, the UK and California, then the issue of Global Warming will be resolved in our – mankind’s – favor. If, on the other hand, the US, China, India, Indonesia and Brazil continues to screw the world, then we face extinction.

The Great Swindle of The Great Global Warming Swindle

The Skeptics’ favorite TV show “The Great Global Warming Swindle” lost all credibility after journalists and others proved beyond any doubt that the show knowingly presented false data. That included using data sources decenniums out of date, then falsifying “updates” to make it look like the data was recent. Of course, these fantasy (to use a kind word) “updates” were tailored to support the show’s claims. Actual and correct data was easily available but would not support the show’s conclusions, thus ignored by the producers in favor of their own famously fraudulent version.

Sir John Houghton, the former head of the Met Office who chairs the Scientific Assessment Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said: “Last Thursday’s programme purported to debunk the science of Global Warming describing it as ‘lies’ and an invention of hundreds of scientists around the world, who have conspired to mislead governments, and the general public. The material presented was a mixture of truth, half truth and falsehood put together with the sole purpose of discrediting the science of global warming as presented by the main world community of climate scientists and by the IPCC.” Sir John continues to thoroughly expose the show’s false claims.

Just a few of many examples:

  • The show claims that volcanoes emit more carbon dioxide than humans do. There is no correlation between total emissions and volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes
    can impact climates on a temporary basis mostly because of the masses of dust and particles thrown into the atmosphere. But their emissions of greenhouse
    gases pale compared to those of humans.
  • The show claims that natural causes such as sun irradiance cause more temperature effects than humans do. Research shows manmade emissions outpace such natural emissions by a factor of 10.
  • The show claims that a cooling trend between 1940 and 1970 proves global warming is a hoax. The cooling trend mentioned is well researched and linked to sulphur emissions. There is no link to Global Warming.

Carl Wunch, a scientist participating in the show, has threatened to sue the producers for misrepresenting his arguments. Here is a link to parts of his statement. The producers admit they used fabricated data and various other means to “simplify” the story.

In spite of the discredits and falsified data, the show is the darling of Skeptics everywhere. Newspapers, magazines and the Internet are filled with the TV show’s distortions. The Skeptics outnumber the publicity of the Believers by a factor of 10.

Cereal and Shellfish Grief

A major study shows that cereal crops are already hurt by Global Warming to the tune of millions of tons and up to $5 billion losses. The study indicates a temperature increase of 1 degree Fahrenheit reduces yields by 3-5%. According to the study, this reduction has already happened. The losses will accumulate as temperatures keep going up.

However, this is not a complete picture. If temperatures increase beyond about 35 degrees Celsius, then cereal production is no longer possible. Yields hit zero. Several major crops in hot climate countries such as India are near, at or even above such limits. The likelihood of major food shortages is almost certain.

Further, the agricultural effect of Global Warming is that growing areas move North (or South below the Equator). Unfortunately, farms are stationary and will not be easy to move. Nor is it likely the new growing areas are anywhere close to the productivity of the old lands. In India, for instance, it is unlikely the Himalayas will provide much farm acreage.

French and Dutch researchers recently reported shellfish such as mussels and oysters are at risk as the acidity of oceans increases. This is not really news; the effect of acidification of the oceans as they absorb more and more carbon is well known. Shellfish simply cannot produce sufficient calcium based shells, given the higher acidity. The study estimates shellfish have lost 25% of their shell making capability.

The ecosystems of the oceans really are composed of a huge number of local ecosystems, both geographically – north, south and so on, then surface systems versus deep water systems. There are currents and streams with their own systems. Coastal systems differ from open ocean systems, not least because of coastal pollution. Add temperature, rising levels, glacial runoff, coral bleaching, fish farming, salinity, cyclicality and plain randomness and you have the most varied and sensitive environment possible. Dumping a bunch of chemicals such as carbon into such a system is a real bad idea, especially since ocean currents alone carry more energy than the combined nuclear arsenals of the world by several orders of magnitude.

Anything catch your attention? Here is more:

Stay tuned!

Thanks, Karl

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One Response to “Quick News 2 – The Deafening Silence of Democrats”

  1. […] GlobalWarming:News – Quick News #2 – The Deafening Silence of Democrats […]

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