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.