Watch this. Watch it now.
Watch it again. Take it in to your heart.
Then go out and do something about it.
As I see the traffic on the highway increasing every day, I think: “Would that it were so.”
Although I am frequently accused of being a “denier” of various stripes, I don’t deny climate, climate change or Global Warming. I don’t even deny the so-called “consensus” of scientists/climate scientists and/or others who hold that climate change is real. On the other hand, while the consensus may be real, the conclusions drawn may not be an accurate reflection of reality.
As an archaeologist and dendroclimatologist, it is my experience and professional conclusion that human beings do not “cause” observed climate variation, but instead, humans may influence natural climate variation in various ways. Furthermore, climate variation is not uni-directional, unilinear nor predictable on greater than annual time frames and local geographic scales. Therefore, it is impossible to predict the effects both of human contributions to natural climate variation, and, perhaps more importantly, the effects of reducing or removing human influences on natural climate variation.
I’ve read a lot of the on-going literature on both sides of the climate change argument, popular and scientific, regarding the debate on the causes and effects of climate variation. In the following article,artfully echos my experience and my informed opinion on the nature and reality of climate variation and the human relationship to the future of our climates.
History and the Limits of the Climate Consensus
On November 22, 1963, I sat in my 9th Grade classroom in Jefferson Davis Junior High School in Hampton, Virginia, when the school Principal announced over the public address system that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been murdered in Dallas, Texas. Classes were let out and we all went home to the weekend that no one alive at the time will ever forget.
I was too young to understand the forces that were at play that resulted in the murder of President Kennedy. Just a little more than a year before, those of us sitting in those seats had confronted our imminent death, as the Cuban Missile Crisis played itself out internationally, while we who lived in the cross hairs in the largest concentration of military facilities in eastern North America went home from school to a blood red sunset that we knew for certain was to be our last.
Since 1962, an entire old growth forest of technical reports and popular books have been written about that day, the days before it, the days that followed and the effect of that one event on the history of the United States and the world. The technical details are myriad, hard to understand, poorly explained. Government officials immediately declared Lee Harvey Oswald as the “lone assassin,” before the dust had settled at Dealy Plaza, before any semblance of due process was even attempted. Jack Ruby’s bullet forever ended the opportunity for an open trial to discover the how and why of this terrible tragedy.
The killings continued. Malcom X was murdered in 1965. Then, in quick succession in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John’s brother Robert Kennedy were brutally murdered by so-called “lone assassins.” In 1969, Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were shot repeatedly by 14 Chicago police officers as they lay sleeping in their apartment.
The world seemed tipped over into madness.
Decades have gone by, my knowledge and perceptions of government and politics, industry and economics have increased and deepened. I now know there was indeed a connection among those horrible events of the 60s that transformed John Kennedy’s vision of a world of peace into the permanent war footing of the military/corporate oligarchy that rules the United States today and exports violence and economic oppression throughout the world.
What did John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Malcom X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Fred Hampton and Mark Clark have in common that made them all the targets of assassins within an astonishingly short period of six years? What was happening in the United States that triggered these insane killings, that forestalled any meaningful investigation and revelation of their geneses?
What these men had in common was their unwavering resistance to the growing power of the United States military (the Pentagon) and its corporate contractors, the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Vietnam, the burgeoning domestic security establishment (CIA, FBI, NSA, military intelligence), worldwide organized crime and the increasing influence of these forces in United States politics.
What happened to United States government policy after these men were murdered?
The United States government turned away from President Kennedy’s moves to pull out of Vietnam and work toward general disarmament in cooperation with Cuba and the Soviet Union. The Johnson administration accelerated the invasion and occupation of Vietnam and the expanded Pentagon budget. Pentagon contractors gained a windfall in government contracts for the manufacture of military equipment and supplies. The CIA and organized crime gained access to Southeast Asian drug sources and used them to fund further covert activities in other countries.
When the United States military was defeated in 1975 and forced to flee Vietnam, the “War on Drugs” replaced the War against Communism. At the same time the CIA and organized crime were actively engaged in building up illicit drug availability in the United States, as a source of continuing funding for covert CIA activities and for the pacification (a military term) of poor urban minorities.
The security establishment treated the United States internally as it had treated foreign governments that were uncooperative to United States “interests,” through manipulation, disruption and destabilization of the opposition. The CIA used assassination, disinformation and cover stories; the FBI used COINTEL-PRO programs, as well as outright murder, to disrupt and marginalize opposition members and groups who became “too effective.”
Cui bono? Just look at the world of January 20, 2016 compared to the world of November 21, 1963. In 1963, the Kennedy administration presided over a culture of optimism and hope for a future free from war, from the drain of military spending on social support for those most in need. United States science stood on the threshold of space, boldly going where none had gone before. Though still in struggle, human rights were at the forefront, with African Americans and Native Americans awakening to the possibility of a future of political and economic equality after centuries of oppression. The world was bright with promise.
Today, in 2016, social support systems and public infrastructure are crumbling as United States imperialism increasingly draws public money into the black hole of the Pentagon. The CIA has become a rogue agency, engaged in uncontrolled kidnapping, torture and assassinations. Local and state police forces are increasingly militarized and turned against the people, treating the very citizens they are dedicated to protect as guilty before proven innocent. A police culture of oppression and defensiveness has replaced the friendly policeman on the community corner. Fears of Global Warming have replaced concerns for conservation of critical habitat, as environments around us decline and degrade.
I live in a much poorer world today than I did in the 9th Grade. Quality of life for many has declined, not improved. A tiny minority are unfathomably rich and powerful while a growing majority sink into poverty and despair. This is not the world we dreamed of while listening to President Kennedy’s speeches.
Cui bono? and cui amittit? Who is in control now? Who benefits from the world the way it is today? Who loses and why and how?
How did those in control of the events of the 1960s effect our lives today? Who are the heirs of power today?
Most importantly, what can we do about it now?
When I lived in Alaska, I spent several years working with, but not a member of the Wolf Management Planning Team, who were responding to demands from hunters and hunting guides to allow Alaska state aerial hunting of wolves in a mistaken attempt to increase caribou and moose numbers.
The meetings I attended were frightening gatherings of yokel rabid hunting advocates, playacting their “rugged individualist,” conquer-the-wilderness roles, replete with wolf head hats, aggressive demeanors and the usual lack of science based information on real life predator/prey relationships.
That died down, finally, and has revived periodically since I left Alaska, but I had the impression that some degree of scientific reality had come to the fore in our state and federal fish and wildlife agencies.
Turns out I was wrong:
Idaho Fish and Game used helicopter landings to collar wolves inside the Frank Church Wilderness
I’ve been swimming upstream in the river of culture as long as I can remember. I once questioned my third grade teacher about the myth of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow in the Great Chicago Fire. She was not amused.
But at least she didn’t call me a conspiracy theorist or a history denier. She just smiled indulgently and went on with her story.
It seems to be a common reaction to perceived criticism to strike out against the critic with name-calling and meaningless pejoratives. Those who cast doubt on human causation of climate variation are labeled “deniers,” worse yet, “climate deniers” and “science deniers,” as if anyone could deny climate or science. Those who question the “Lone Nut” assassin claims for the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, Jr and Malcom X are called “conspiracy theorists,” thus denigrating conspiracies, which are very real, and theory, which is an important component of the scientific method.
It’s difficult enough to seriously research significant historical events and current cultural trends without constantly having to respond to such ignorant accusations. It would be bad enough if they were restricted to the unknowing and unwilling to learn.
In the volatile world of public information, the casting of conspiracy and denier labels can have a significant cooling effect on the acceptance of ideas alternative to those professed by official organizations and mainstream media. Don’t think that this hasn’t escaped the notice of those whose reputations, fortunes and access to power and control are at risk to self-enlightened, critical thinkers with their own ideas and who are willing to publicly express them.
Where does the extensive and coordinated campaign to label opponents of “Global Warming” as “climate deniers” (similar to Holocaust deniers) originate? Where did the idea of “conspiracy theory” come from, and how and by whom has it been used? James F. Tracy and Cass Sunstein have some interesting ideas about that:
Having read JFK and the Unspeakable several years ago, I’ve been thinking about assassinations for quite a while and I’ve seen how “conspiracy theory” is used to shut off debate, to signal that we’re entering “the unspeakable” zone. So I began to wonder if the use of the term Conspiracy Theory might be a conspiracy itself.
On the surface, the current political campaign for President of the United States looks like an inept and garish circus, a caricature of an election in a demented novel by a 60s, drug-besot author. Cartoon figures grimace and gesticulate from the pulpit, with earnest and eager supporters artfully arranged in the background. Meaningful content is minimal, emotive display is de rigueur.
If it weren’t so comical, it would be frightening. No, it really is frightening, especially when one considers that anything that appears on the political scene is as intended by those in control. There are no accidents nor coincidences in something as critical to power as elections.
Elizabeth Drew has written an interesting and potentially enlightening essay about the current political scene:
In the presidential campaign, both parties are so divided as to raise the question of whether any victor will be able to govern. The anger, fear, resentment, racism, and frustration that are playing into the current political climate make for a situation prone to undermining our democratic system.
I find it unfortunate that Drew used the word “fascism” to describe the potential effects of this trend. “Fascism” is a thoroughly misunderstood word, hanging out there in popular awareness with “anarchy” in the world of the misperceived. It’s difficult for me to equate the 1930s concept of political and economic fascism to today’s world. The United States is indeed a corporate oligarchy, but without the overt oppression and authoritarian zeal of World War II Germany and Italy.
Looking back over the past sixty-six years of my life, it’s clear to me that the United States has changed drastically in character since World War II. Harry Truman inherited a totalitarian military culture, and a power structure that sought to maintain the “military-industrial complex” as the basis for the US economy and political process. The Kennedy brothers were the first, and the last, politicians to challenge that power structure. With their murders, the power elite took hold of the reigns of power and has succeeded ever since in holding them in their velvet-mailed fists.
What we see on the garish stage of global media is the control system in action, carrying out its program of newsertainment in support of domestic pacification and international imperialism.
“What’s past is prologue…” William Shakespeare, The Tempest
In his Two Worlds blog, #16 / Acknowledge The Difficulties, Gary Patton references Robert Samuelson in his December 27 editorial, stating that “…regulating the world’s temperature is mission impossible.”
Samuelson is correct in his assessment. Humans do not have the power to control the world’s temperature, even if that concept had any meaning in reality. Humans may have the power, if we have the will, to reduce the effects of human consumption and production on natural climate variation. Switching to “renewable” energy sources is certainly a rational decision, if for no other reason than non-renewable energy sources are finite and will become much more dear as they diminish.
That does not mean that changing our energy sources will allow us to “stop global warming.” The concept is absurd. Allow me to explain.
The current over-fascination with global warming assumes that human CO2 emissions have resulted in “Global Warming” since the Industrial Revolution, around 1850. Observations show that yes, sure enough, global average surface temperature has increased, overall, since 1850, with some pauses and declines along the way.
But wait, why stop looking at 1850? What happened to global average surface temperature before the Industrial Revolution?
As it turns out, global average surface temperature has been increasing steadily since around 1600, 250 years before the 1850 target date. Humans were not producing CO2 in any appreciable quantity in the 17th Century, so what caused this “Global Warming?”
We can go back even further. The 950 − 1250 AD Medieval Warm Period featured Global Average Surface Temperature as high as today with no contribution from increasing CO2 levels. What caused this “Global Warming?”
Looking even further back, the Holocene interglacial, which we currently enjoy, is a period of “Global Warming” that began 12,000 years ago, arising of itself, through natural geophysical processes, from the Pleistocene glacial period.
Over the past 2.5 millions years, the Earth has gone through four additional glacial periods, each with their own “Global Warming” interglacial periods just as we see today.
“Global Warming” is nothing new, having been an essential part of human evolution since our earliest hominid ancestors first walked on their hind legs.
The point is that humans do not cause “Global Warming.” Therefore, by extension, humans cannot stop “Global Warming,” no matter how we change our socioeconomic relationships to the planet we inhabit.
Current fear-mongering about “Global Warming” is not aimed at a radical change in the way humans produce energy. It is an attempt to maintain socioeconomic control in a civilization in which the major economic source, the fossil-fueled “Global Economy,” is sputtering to its inevitable end, threatening the hegemony of the global economic control system set up at the end of World War II. The United Nations’ “Sustainable Development” program, the genesis of the IPCC, is an attempt to prop up development in poor nations, in the face of increasingly apparent environmental limits on economic growth.
Rather than attempting to frighten the world into belief that we can control climate variation that threatens continued growth and development, we should be helping all to understand and prepare for a world that will continually change beneath our feet, and that has unavoidable limits to human economic growth, consumption and production of wastes.
Pretending that we are apart from the natural world and not subject to natural cycles of resource abundance, climate variation and large scale geologic changes is ultimately futile and self-deceptive, as well as destructive to the rest of the world on which we intimately depend.
We must give up the idea of control of climate and instead develop social systems that are resilient and adaptable, and not rigidly demanding of finite resources, critical natural habitats and uncontrollable natural systems.
My original idea for this blog was to explore those things (events, people, assumptions, beliefs, myths, stories, news, etc.) that we take for granted, accept without question or just merely assume they are true without reflection. While I’ve undoubtedly stayed far afield already, my core interest remains in ferreting out the unseen and shining a light on its origins and implications.
Here are three examples of the Unseen:
I’ll deal with each of these in turn in a series of Wednesday blog posts. First, a word about “conspiracy theories.”
Whenever we write or talk about the above subjects, we often get the response, “Is that a conspiracy theory?” It’s as if a conspiracy is somehow something less than real, and any proponents of conspiratorial ideas can be dismissed out of hand. In the climate change world, the “conspiracy” label is often substituted with pejoratives such as “denier” and “alarmist.” In environmentalism, it’s called NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), as if everyone isn’t most concerned about what happens in their own back yard, and can do something about it..
This name calling serves to keep the Unseen in the dark, denying it any legitimate airing, and calling to question the integrity of the target. Michael Parenti has responded in detail to this propensity for defensive name-calling in his book Dirty Truths (1996). Read it HERE.
So for the purpose of this series, we’ll just turn the “Conspiracy Theory ” switch to “Off” for the duration and deal with documented evidence, data and facts. There’s enough of those to keep us busy for a long time to come!
Next up on Things Unseen Wednesday, “The Deep State and the 1960s Assassinations: Lone Nuts or Interlocking Agendas?
For my Monday Words Arranged posts, I’ll wander about aimfully among some of the news items I’ve come across over the past week that have led me to mumble and grumble about the state of the Unseen.
Chris Hedges’ essay about the importance of our cultural heritage is one of the most truthful and significant essays I’ve read in a very long time. Please read this and think about it.
Chris Hedges: The Great Forgetting
America’s refusal to fund and sustain its intellectual and cultural heritage means it has lost touch with its past, obliterated its understanding of the present, crushed its capacity to transform itself through self-reflection and self-criticism, and descended into a deadening provincialism. Ignorance and illiteracy come with a cost. The obsequious worship of technology, hedonism and power comes with a cost. The primacy of emotion and spectacle over wisdom and rational thought comes with a cost. And we are paying the bill.
The following is a significant paper demonstrating that the global rate of sea level rise is decreasing, not increasing as some, including NOAA insist. This is an important data set for interpretation of the relationship between global average surface temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration.
Rate of Sea Level Rise: Predictions vs. Measurements
Clearly, the more-rabid-than-the-IPCC-crowd has it all wrong when it comes to both sea level and climate, for as Boretti concludes, “the oceans are truly the best indicator of climate,” and what they suggest is not compatible with what those alarmed about climate change continually claim.
Bill Moyers is, of course, the dean of American culture. This essay tells how we made it through the 1930s through mutual aid and community.
The Fight For America’s Soul
One side pits winners and losers against each other in a race for the American Dream, while the other wonders what might be possible if we work together to form communities, build schools and create a culture of mutual respect.
COMING UP ON WORDS ARRANGED:
Things Unseen: A weekly series connecting the dots of Climate Change, the United States Corporate Oligarchy and the Deep State. Starts Wednesday, here on Words Arranged.
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