Friday, May 30, 2008


I have to wonder how protesters could manage to interrupt Senator McPain just as he’s trying to defend the Iraq occupation. How could it be that they get through the infamous Republican sieve? Has the party decided to change tactics, and open up candidates’ appearances to just anyone? Is there a fissure in the Fascist front?

Of course not. This is Tricky Dick’s 1968 campaign tactic warmed over: allow some noisy protesters in during a recorded appearance, so that it seems as if the pro-war candidate is a victim of anti-free-speech forces. Nixon got all sorts of sympathy out of that trick. Maybe it’ll work for McPain—who knows.

Meanwhile the occupations just get meaner. Imperialism isn’t on the table for the Presidential elections—the US will go on menacing the globe with 200 or so military bases. Nor is accountability for imperial crimes an issue. Our representatives have made it manifestly clear that we are not going to see any break in their collaboration with war criminals. We’re not even allowed to talk about it—even supposedly liberal congress members will rebuke the interviewer if impeachment even comes up. The clock has pretty much run out, and the message from the Democratic and Republican ruling corporate parties is clear: Shut up, America. We heard you ask for impeachment, and we said no. We don’t represent you, we represent corporate stability. You want impeachment? Earl Blumenauer and every other Democrat says “shut up.”

And I hear that message, too, which is why I’m here to call for complete destruction of corporate rule, revolution in our time, and the construction of a transparent, participatory system of cooperation, in place of the fascist oligarchy that is now destroying freedom with one hand and the entire planet’s ecosystems with the other.

Let’s start by destroying the legitimacy of corporate capitalism.

Capitalism is not synonymous with economic activity. Economic activity is fun, satisfying, and vital to our survival as interacting humans. Capitalism is deadly. When a corporation asserts that it—meaning usually a collection of wealthy men—has the right to keep its doings secret, generate pollution, destroy the commons, and maintain a class of inferiors called “employees,” it is asserting the illegitimate rule of capital. Basically, this means that if you have money up front, you can tell people what to do forever. It’s an extension of feudalism, which asserted that God gave the rulers power. Replace God with money and you get capitalism. Expose a corporation’s secrets, distribute its wealth according to worker input, force it to cooperate with society, and you destroy its capitalism along with its parasitic class of rulers. Capitalism is the opposite of democracy. If you love this Earth, and if you love people enough to want to see their full potential in an educated, participatory, transparent society, then you hate capitalism.

Capitalism, and especially corporate capitalism, depends on secrets. That is why we have corporate media. Secrets can be cleverly kept by simply distracting attention, which is why a killdeer runs around its nest as if wounded. It is also why you may have forgotten that there is, for example, a ten dollar minimum corporate tax in the State of Oregon, which the legislature conveniently forgets to do anything about year after year. Enron’s parasite puppet PGE, famously bankrupt but still raising your power bills, has paid ten dollars per year in State taxes for many years. How much to you pay in State taxes? That’s because you don’t have puppets doing your bidding in the State House. What happened to the investigation to those 9 billion dollars in bundled hundred dollar bills that disappeared en route to Iraq? Anyone?

What about capitalism-induced global warming?

From the BBC:
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Damage to forests, rivers, marine life and other aspects of nature could halve living standards for the world's poor, a major report has concluded.
Current rates of natural decline might reduce global GDP by about 7% by 2050.
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) review is modelled on the Stern Review of climate change.
It will be released at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Bonn, where 60 leaders have pledged to halt deforestation by 2020.
"You come up with answers like 6% or 8% of global GDP when you think about the benefits of intact ecosystems, for example in controlling water, controlling floods and droughts, the flow of nutrients from forest to field," said the project's leader Pavan Sukhdev.
"But then you realise that the major beneficiaries [of nature] are the billion and a half of the world's poor; these natural systems account for as much as 40%-50% of what we define as the 'GDP of the poor'," he told BBC News.
[more at]…………………………………………

The Press-Enterprise

Global warming could release long-dormant stores of methane gas trapped beneath the Arctic permafrost, causing an abrupt and catastrophic climate change like one that occurred 635 million years ago, UC Riverside researchers have determined.

Back then, the sheets of ice that covered Earth started to collapse, releasing methane gas that warmed the planet and caused the ice to retreat over a period of 100 to 1,000 years, said Martin Kennedy, a geology professor in UCR's Department of Earth Sciences. Kennedy led the research team.

"It was the greatest global-warming event of Earth's history almost certainly," he said.
The researchers' findings are published in today's issue of Nature.

They suggest that methane ice sheets still exist beneath Arctic ice sheets that are being degraded by rising carbon-dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere.

Recent research indicates that the ice sheets are melting and methane gas is being released at a much higher rate than previously thought, he said.

"It doesn't make one feel a lot better about the future," Kennedy said.

If a similar phenomenon occurred today, the most noticeable change would be a rise in sea level, he said. If the Greenland ice sheet collapsed, the sea level would rise about 20 feet, inundating major coastal cities. Accompanying drought could lead to crop failures and widespread famine, he said.

Mary Droser, chairwoman of UCR's department of earth sciences, said the world spends a lot of time and energy worrying about global climate change, and this is an example of an abrupt change through a process that could repeat itself today.
Kennedy said computer models cannot predict nor explain past climate changes. Those answers are available only by studying past geologic records, which is what Kennedy and his colleagues are doing.

They analyzed hundreds of marine sediment samples from South Australia looking for stable isotopes, a tool used in climate reconstruction. They found the greatest variation of the oxygen isotope ever reported from marine sediments, which they attributed to the melting ice sheets and methane gas release.

The next step will be to try to estimate how much of that temperature change was due solely to methane, a greenhouse gas that reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.

David Shukman, BBC Environment correspondent:

Dramatic evidence of the break-up of the Arctic ice-cap has emerged from research during an expedition by the Canadian military.
Scientists travelling with the troops found major new fractures during an assessment of the state of giant ice shelves in Canada's far north.
The team found a network of cracks that stretched for more than 10 miles (16km) on Ward Hunt, the area's largest shelf.
The fate of the vast ice blocks is seen as a key indicator of climate change.
Alexis Madrigal, blog

A new paper published appearing Thursday in the prestigious scientific journal Nature presents the worst-case scenario for runaway climate change that could leave the Earth entirely ice-free within a generation.
If global temperatures continue to rise, massive amounts of methane gas could be released from the 10,000 gigaton reserves of frozen methane that are currently locked in the world's deep oceans and permafrost. Passing this climate tipping point would result in runaway global warming that would be far worse and more rapid than scientists' current estimates.
The new paper suggests that exactly this type of cascading release of methane reserves rapidly warmed the Earth 635 million years ago, replacing an Ice Age with a period of tropical heat. The study's lead author suggests it could happen again, and fast -- not over thousands or millions of years, but possibly within a century.
[much more]....

Could our epitaph as a species be titled "methane clathrates?" They tend to pop up to the ocean surface when disturbed--and burst into flame. It's quite dramatic. Maybe our end will be known as "the Great Death Fart of 2012." Time will tell. But the corporate media won't.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Richard Cheney, the Chief Hegemon of the Oligarchy of the United States also known as the Vice President, is feeling a little off balance. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing…I know you’re thinking “Well we don’t want him getting cranky and sending in his sappers to plant thermate in the Sears Tower too,” which is understandable under the circumstances, but I mean that he’s off balance because it seems for once things aren’t going his way, aren’t going as planned, hence the headline in Raw Story this morning that reflects his statement at a Coast Guard grad ceremony—quoting here—“The only way to lose this fight is to quit. That would be irresponsible," Cheney said. "More than that, quitting would be an act of betrayal and dishonor. And it's not going to happen on our watch."

Betrayal? Dishonor? Disloyalty? Did somebody say the ‘q’ word?

Oh yeah, maybe I did, a few zillion times, and maybe you were with me chanting it past the robo-cop assemblies. Dick never took notice, though, because at that time we were rather isolated and ignored, weren’t we? But the times seem to be a-changin,’ and it seems some more politicians might be heading for office who have less enthusiasm for imperialism than Dick has. And he isn’t happy about that.

Of course, you might wonder why Dick was addressing the Coast Guard—don’t they guard the Coast? Well, yes and no. Being in the Coast Guard gives no guarantee of staying out of Iraq these days, as the Armed Forces in their desperation are likely to send you Over There with a gun and a pat on the back for good luck. Of course I’m kidding about the pat on the back.

That Darn-those-disloyal-whoevers attitude has been heard before, and yes I’m thinking about Tricky Dick Nixon bemoaning the lack of fervor for his doomed and violent machinations in Vietnam. That other Tricky Dick was rather alarmed at times that people just weren’t saluting when he said to, and he sensed that a seachange was afoot, long before he go shoved out of office. Well, maybe Tricky Dick Cheney is feeling that squeeze—though without progress towards impeachment, I doubt he stays up nights.

There’s a reason he rails about loyalty, though; American blind loyalty has been the stock-in-trade for Dick’s fearmongering Administration. And he has a rich vein of the stuff to mine, which is why he and his minions have elevated the fundamentalists and the military to their current favored status. Just to hedge his bets, fundamentalism and militarism have been increasingly combined, and veterans report that they were under constant pressure to give in to evangelical Christian chaplains while in uniform. Remember all those silly damned plastic flags that everyone displayed—well, almost everyone—in the months and years following September ’01? Maybe you remember how the flag was incorporated into every newscast thereafter, on lapels, on the screen, behind the podium, decorating the background—everywhere. And maybe you know now that the true meaning of the US flag is mind control. Or maybe you don’t.

My point is that there are certain US thought habits that are easily and constantly exploited by hegemons like Cheney. As long as we keep thinking in certain ways, we can be led around by our noses. Take the US judgmental attitude, for example. When we’re confronted (as we rarely are) with the fact that we have more people in prison –total- than Communist China, the usual response devolves towards blaming the inmates. Yet if everyone who ever broke a drug law was imprisoned, we’d have sixty million in prison, not 2.3 million. And if we could break away from judgmentalism, we’d collectively say “hold on, we’ve been duped, there’s no reason to plunge millions into misery for the sake of hypocritical drug laws.” And then we’d have that much more peace—because the Jim Crow drug war is a civil war, you know—and we’d have that much more strength. But we remain loyal to judgmentalism.

Or I could say, we’re passively loyal to judgmentalism—because passivity is an American thought flaw, too. Some of it comes from despair after all these years of trying to get change in a system that is designed to resist change, from corporate campaign contributions to the bicameral legislature. There’s progress, we sigh, and congress.

Certainly the corporate-owned media build up a mighty wall of passivity in every aspect of political decision-making. In part they do this by simply taking issues off the agenda, by not mentioning certain things like our absurd and horrifying prison state, our 2.3 or however many tortured souls in chains. Global warming is another example--quick, what’s the latest on clathrate releases, or what’s you position on the debate in the scientific community on emergency global sun blocking? I’ll bet you never heard of either issue, but they’re both real and are going to affect you soon, maybe affect you right into your grave. By finding quack scientists to obfuscate the issue, and mentioning the whole topic only rarely, you’re being led by that same nose into a catastrophe of—well—global proportions.

And there are other thought habits that imprison us. That is the nature of prisons, by the way—they’re not really made of walls, they’re made of fear and passivity. I remember a case a few years back in which an inmate convinced ten other inmates to slam a metal table –one, two, three, all together now—into a brick wall, which collapsed, liberating the lot of them. But what are those other habits? Well, have you ever noticed how much your femininity is insulted and degraded, particularly in times of war? And here I’m talking about the femininity of men as well as that of women. Suddenly it’s bad to be feminine, or rather worse than usual. It works so well that some of you men are already confused—did I say the femininity of men? Yes, I did. You were raised by a mother, weren’t you? You men have a feminine side, it’s part of your humanity. But if you can be made to fear and deny your own feminine feelings, you can be led straight into the boot camp. It takes a cattle prod to lead farm animals to slaughter, but you men are easy. All I have to do is insult you by putting down your feminine nature. As if you didn’t have any. Easy. Always works.

So since this is the News You’re Not Supposed To Know, let’s get right into one of those off-the-agenda topics, shall we?

Alan Robock writes in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that geoengineering has its drawbacks—twenty of them at least. What the heck is geoengineering, anyway? Well might you ask…it is the science of dealing with the global climate directly, on an emergency basis. Geoengineering exists because the corporate-owned media, responding to Dick Cheney’s fellow oligarchs in the oil industry, have succeeded in accelerating global warming to the point that we all face death by starvation, storms, or possibly by asphyxiation by ocean methane held in clathrates. Huh?—you say. What? –yeah, it’s like that.

To be more specific about your impending doom, Robock points out that the globe is rapidly approaching the 450ppm of carbon pollution that would signal rapid biosystem failure—moving up from the 385 ppm we currently measure. That’s up from 280ppm prior to the Industrial Revolution. So we’re moving rapidly towards what scientists like to call “screwed.”

Some of the proposals include dumping iron-based fertilizer into the oceans to create algal blooms, to suck up carbon. Others say there should be giant sprayers to create clouds from seawater. And there are proposals to launch mirrors into orbit, or to dust the upper atmosphere with sulfur to block the sun.

These proposals might make things worse, Robock notes. And I’m sure he’s right. No doubt you’ve seen the pros and cons of these proposals on endless lengthy television programs and newspaper specials. What’s that, you haven’t? Nothing at all? Funny that.

Maybe you haven’t heard that the oceans sit on to of a layer of methane-bearing substances called clathrates, and that once a certain threshold of temperature is breached, the clathrates will burst to the surface, releasing so much methane that it will displace oxygen in your lungs, simulating the amount of oxygen now available at sixteen thousand feet altitude. What’s that, you think you might have trouble breathing at sixteen thousand feet? Well, I know I would. It’s kind of a problem. I’d say it’s the sort of thing one would seek to avoid, something that one might take precautions against, whatever the actual probability. But that’s just me. I’m just kinda extreme in that pro-breathing sort of way.