Monday :: Mar 1, 2004

Is It Time To Take The Trash Out To The Dump Yet?


by pessimist

One of George Warmonger Bush's main claims to fame is security. His "War on Terra" is intended to be the issue that We, The Sheeple are supposed to remember, and thus forget all about the economy and whether the "reasons" for the GOP Crusade For Crude are really disingenuously verisimilitudinous. Instead, we are to remember that he's saving us from Muslim evil-doers.

There is another "War on Terra" going on - a war waged not against A nation, but against EVERY nation. One organization that takes both war and the planet seriously, interestingly enough, is the Pentagon.


The mother of all national security issues

Global warming may be bad news for future generations, but let's face it, most of us spend as little time worrying about it as we did about al Qaeda before 9/11. Like the terrorists, though, the seemingly remote climate risk may hit home sooner and harder than we ever imagined. In fact, the prospect has become so real that the Pentagon's strategic planners are grappling with it.

The threat that has riveted their attention is this: Global warming, rather than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies thereby upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.

Though triggered by warming, such change would probably cause cooling in the Northern Hemisphere, leading to longer, harsher winters in much of the U.S. and Europe. Worse, it would cause massive droughts, turning farmland to dust bowls and forests to ashes. Picture last fall's California wildfires as a regular thing. Or imagine similar disasters destabilizing nuclear powers such as Pakistan or Russia it's easy to see why the Pentagon has become interested in abrupt climate change.


Scared yet? Then try these points on for size:

Key Findings Of Pentagon Report On Future

* Future wars will be fought over the issue of survival rather than religion, ideology or national honour.

* By 2007 violent storms smash coastal barriers rendering large parts of the Netherlands inhabitable. Cities like The Hague are abandoned. In California the delta island levees in the Sacramento river area are breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to south.

* Between 2010 and 2020 Europe is hardest hit by climatic change with an average annual temperature drop of 6F. Climate in Britain becomes colder and drier as weather patterns begin to resemble Siberia.

* Deaths from war and famine run into the millions until the planet's population is reduced by such an extent the Earth can cope.

* Riots and internal conflict tear apart India, South Africa and Indonesia.

* Access to water becomes a major battleground. The Nile, Danube and Amazon are all mentioned as being high risk.

* A 'significant drop' in the planet's ability to sustain its present population will become apparent over the next 20 years.

* Rich areas like the US and Europe would become 'virtual fortresses' to prevent millions of migrants from entering after being forced from land drowned by sea-level rise or no longer able to grow crops. Waves of boatpeople pose significant problems.

* Nuclear arms proliferation is inevitable. Japan, South Korea, and Germany develop nuclear-weapons capabilities , as do Iran, Egypt and North Korea. Israel, China, India and Pakistan also are poised to use the bomb.

* Climate becomes an 'economic nuisance' as storms, droughts and hot spells create havoc for farmers. By 2010 the US and Europe will experience a third more days with peak temperatures above 90F.

* More than 400m people in subtropical regions at grave risk.

* Europe will face huge internal struggles as it copes with massive numbers of migrants washing up on its shores. Immigrants from Scandinavia seek warmer climes to the south. Southern Europe is beleaguered by refugees from hard-hit countries in Africa.

* Mega-droughts affect the world's major breadbaskets, including America's Midwest, where strong winds bring soil loss.

* China's huge population and food demand make it particularly vulnerable. Bangladesh becomes nearly uninhabitable because of a rising sea level, which contaminates the inland water supplies.

STILL not scary enough??? Remember all of those cheesy 1950s end-of-the-world movies? This ain't no monster movie! This is reality!


Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war

Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years

Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists [more below - ed] who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.

A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.

One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.

Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon?'

'It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.

'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'

So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.

The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.

Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'

Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.

If you aren't shaking in your boots yet, then your middle name is Warmonger.

OK, so we doubt that there will be any positive response from the Warmonger Administration. This author thinks positively and believes that the Congress will act. I'll wait until you stop laughing - this is SERIOUS STUFF!!!


Apocalyptic Pentagon report on global warming could spur action on Capitol Hill

A hair-raising Pentagon report [PDF] on the potentially imminent and colossal national security threat posed by climate change has been making its way around the Internet since its release in late January, and this week it picked up considerable speed. Fortune Magazine was the first major news outlet to cover the report; the "Climate Collapse" feature in its Jan. 26 issue raised many an eyebrow in business and Beltway circles. Then, this past Sunday, a somewhat more histrionic article on the report ran in the British Observer and has been swirling through blogs and listservs.

While The Observer sensationalized the story with its erroneous claim that the report was "secret" and "suppressed by U.S. defense chiefs" when in fact it had already been publicly discussed, the document is worthy of even the British press' flair for melodrama. After all, intimations of fast-approaching environmental catastrophe sound a lot different coming from the Pentagon than from the Ph.D.s who have been uttering these warnings for decades.

The report wasn't penned by members of the "Chicken Little sky-is-falling crowd" (as Republican leaders like to call global-warming activists), but by Peter Schwartz, former head of planning for Shell Oil and sometime CIA consultant, and Doug Randall of the Global Business Network, a California think tank. Commissioned by esteemed Department of Defense planner Andrew Marshall, the report paints a scenario under which global warming could pose a threat to the world "greater than terrorism" -- complete with mega-droughts, widespread famine, and rampant rioting. But while it has sounded alarms on Capitol Hill, it hasn't provoked so much as a peep from the White House.

When Muckraker contacted White House Council on Environmental Quality spokesperson Dana Perino for a statement on the report, she responded,

"I haven't seen it, I haven't read it, and I don't want to make any comments on the matter. As I understand it, this is a 'what-if' scenario -- not a diagnosis, not a prophecy, and not a foundation for new policy."

Perino directed Muckraker to Navy Lieutenant Dan Hetlage, a Pentagon spokesperson who said, "We did not expect any White House response to the Pentagon on this report. Andrew Marshall is our Yoda, our big thinker who peers into the future. But it's all speculation. It was very ethereal, very broad in scope. It wasn't like, 'Oh, wow, that totally debunks the president's stand on global warming,' because it was merely a thought exercise. We don't have a crystal ball. We don't really know." When pressed to explain the point of a "thought exercise" that can have no policy implications, Hetlage said, "People should feel comforted that we are thinking about contingencies."

Cold comfort, one might think, in the absence of any plan to avoid such contingencies.

But even as the report fell on deaf ears at the White House, it's been breathing new life into congressional discourse on climate change. "This adds a powerful new voice to the global-warming debate in Congress," said Tim Profeta, senior policy advisor to Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.).

[Personal to Joe - a more pronounced stand on this issue might have helped your credibility - ed]

Profeta hopes the report will spur renewed interest in and support for the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, which he called "the most viable and promising global-warming legislation that has ever been introduced." The bill was defeated in the Senate last fall by a narrower-than-expected margin, and Profeta said it may be brought up for consideration again this spring. Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce Committee, through which the bill was initially introduced, is likely to hold a hearing on global warming in the next month, which will focus in part on the DOD report. Debbie Reed, director of climate change research at National Environmental Trust, said she has also been discussing the report with the staff of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which plans to hold its own hearing in the next month on global warming and the national security threat it may pose.

Though Reed was heartened by the attention the Pentagon report has been getting, she was less enthusiastic about another report released last week by the National Academies' National Research Council. The report applauded the administration's revised plan for climate change research, but questioned its commitment to fund and implement many of the new research proposals. "It's all well and good to advance the science on global warming. We all want that," said Reed. "But all the emphasis on research can't come at the expense of developing hard-and-fast policy initiatives to curb the underlying problem, not just the symptoms." Indeed, two of five sections of the administration's research plan focus on creating infrastructure to respond to the symptoms of global warming -- for instance, instructing water company directors to pump more resources into drought-stricken areas and electricity planners to direct more juice to areas that need additional air conditioning in higher temperatures.

[Didn't we see this sort of "help" from Enron, et al, and now from our "patriotic" oil companies??? - ed]

The White House was gleeful over the report's positive tone, however. Said CEQ's Perino, "They gave us really high marks. We got an A!" Cold comfort, indeed.

I'm shivvering!!! And not just from the climate change, but about the likelyhood that the following contention is likely to prove real.


BushCo just really, really loathes this planet

More than 60 world-class scientists agree

Today's question: What do you get when more than 60 of the world's top scientists, 20 Nobel Laureates among them, get together and write one of the most scathing, damning reports in the history of modern science, aimed squarely at BushCo's thoroughly atrocious record of cover-ups and obfuscations and outright lies regarding the health of the planet?

What do you get when those very scientists, a highly respected, nonpartisan group called the Union of Concerned Scientists, go on to claim that no other president in modern history has so openly misled the public or been so flagrantly disrespectful of scientific fact and mountains of irrefutable research, deliberately and systematically mutilating scientific data in the service of its rather brutal, pro-corporate, antienvironment agenda?

If you answered, "Why, you get even more painful polyps of sadness and disgust on your soul due to the BushCo onslaught," consider yourself among the millions who are right now rather horrified and appalled and who are wondering just what sort of human -- not what sort of politician, mind you, not what sort of power broker, not what sort of failed Texas oilman corporate lackey -- but what sort of human being you have to be to enact such insidious ongoing planet-gouging legislation, smirking and shrugging all the way.

It is not an easy one to answer, as you can only wonder what has gone so horribly wrong, what sort of line has been crossed so that not even the basic dignity of the planet, not even a modicum of respect for it, is the slightest factor anymore in modern American right-wing politics.

What, too extreme? Hardly.

The story about the scientist's report is here. It was broadcast over many major media channels, somewhat loud and mostly clear, though most media was far more eager to bury it under all those more hotly controversial pics of happy gay people smooching on the steps of S.F.'s city hall than they were to trumpet the dire claims of a bunch of boring genius scientists.

Such is the national priority. After all, no one wants to hear how badly we've been duped by this administration, again. Given the nonexistent WMDs and the complete lack of Iraqi nukes and the bogus wars and manufactured fear and a galling budget deficit and nearly 3 million lost jobs and a raft of BushCo lies so thick you need a jackhammer to see some light, no one wants to know that even the world's top scientists are disgusted with our nation's leadership.

We can, after all, take only so much abuse, can be only so karmically and ideologically hammered, before we become so utterly exhausted that we just stop caring.

And, in fact, BushCo would love nothing more than to cripple our outrage and deflect attention away from all the dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq and his overall atrocious record on the war, jobs, the environment and foreign policy, and center it all on divisive issues of God-centric moral righteousness, like all those sicko gay people trying to dignify their sinful love.

This is a president, after all, who truly believes he is doing God's will by turning this country into the most lawless, internationally loathed aggressor on the planet, something I'm sure is very reassuring to those countless thousands of dead Iraqi civilians.

Does it really matter anymore? After all, as any child can tell you, politics has always been a wildly corrupt and slimy profession, valued somewhere between professional wrestler and professional baby-seal clubber on the moral and spiritual scale o' delicious karmic significance. And, yes, it must be noted that there isn't a U.S. president on record who hasn't somehow deliberately mangled scientific data and covered up important reports during his term in order to further favored policies. Goes almost without saying.

But, as the Union of Concerned Scientists point out, never has the oppression of fact been so systematic, so widespread, so repulsive as that which Bush has wrought. Never has the abuse been so flagrant, the border marking what's morally acceptable so shamelessly crossed.

Maybe you don't believe the hippie environmentalists who are always spouting off about saving the whales and protecting the forests. Maybe you like to hiss at and dismiss, say, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s outstanding, powerfully researched articles in the recent issue of Rolling Stone and the latest issue of The Nation that carefully delineate just how Bush's enviro record is the worst in history, and call Kennedy just another typical left-wing liberal. You wish to be that small and boorish? Fine.

Not so easy, however, to dismiss a small army of nonpartisan, internationally respected scientists as just more agenda-thick political BS, as BushCo has done. To do so reeks of something far beyond mere name calling and dumb party maneuvering. It reeks of sheer heartlessness regarding the planet. It reeks of abuse. It reeks of hate.

This, then, is the gist of the BushCo attack on the planet: a hate crime. An intentional, ferocious dismantling of protections and guidelines, a view that Mother Nature is nothing but a cheap resource to be exploited, a giant oil can to be suckled, a hunk of toilet paper for Dick Cheney to -- well, let's not imagine.

Look at it this way. It's like music videos. Over and over again, endless droning shots of gyrating sweating booty-pumping faux-sexy bodies pretending to writhe in bogus orgasmic bliss, video after video and hour after hour where you watch and watch and go slowly numb and say, 'Jesus with a skimpy thong and a spray bottle of baby oil, how much further can they go?'

How much more naked and sexist and overblown and abusive can they get before they say oh screw it and just strip down and have sex with a live chicken as 50 Cent downs a bottle of Crystal and grins maniacally?

This is like the saturation level of BushCo.

Something's gotta give, you say. Surely some sort of ugly orgiastic critical mass has been reached wherein Bush and his planet-reaming policies simply cannot go any further without some sort of meltdown, some sort of massive international cosmic recoil whereby we finally see the Bush admin for what it is, quite possibly the most self-serving, egomaniacal cluster of enviro thugs in modern history.

But with the Union of Concerned Scientists report, this sentiment goes one step further -- this is not just hate for the planet, not merely a blatant right-wing revulsion for those much-loathed intangible New Age-y touchstones like earthly vibration, energy, true spiritual connection and a deep veneration and sense of profound awe for the raw divinity of nature. This is more sinister, and more disturbing.

BushCo's ugly rejection of not merely the "liberal" environmental politicking but also of the factual science of the natural world is, ultimately, a form of self-loathing. It is a snide and self-destructive rejection of the human-nature connection, of the very real and very direct correlation between how we treat our world and how we view ourselves, between what we choose to celebrate/annihilate in nature and what we venerate/devastate in own spirits. After all, the less regard you have for one, the less you care about the other. Simple, really.

Look. We reflect the planet. The planet reflects us. And 60 out of 60 scientists agree:

BushCo's time of reflecting nothing but cruel blackness and abuse needs to come to an end, right now.

From your keyboard to God's eyes.


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