Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Rising Cost of Idiocy

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The dumbing down of America began with Ronald Reagan who made idiots feel good about being idiots. Reagan proved that not only was intelligence not required to be President, it might even be a handicap.

Reagan proved that any politician ignoring the 'idiot' voting block [the GOP] imperils his/her political future. Thus, Sarah Palin, who became an expert on Russia by observing its coast line from across the Bering Strait, is assured a growing constituency: the legion of idiots! She is the poster bimbo of idiocy! Its champion!

'Dumbing down' implies that the US still has a way to go before bottoming out! But that observation smacks of intelligence and may safely be ignored. The real idiot i.e, a GOP idiot, does not know where the f_ck we are or how we got there and is not smart enough to care! The word 'idiot' summons up images of Ronald Reagan and, more recently, George W. Bush. Unlike Bush, Reagan had essential Presidential skills. He could read cue cards. Bush could not or did not read! Reagan taught the GOP that how you say something is much more important than what is said. Bush, by contrast, was challenged to speak. 

Reagan spouted racist crap about a welfare 'grandma' who drove a Cadillac. There was no such person. It was Reagan's kindly, grandfatherly head nod that sold it. Bush, by contrast, said: "Who cares what you think?"Had a smart person told that story, he would have been pilloried as a bald-faced liar. The story was untrue but Reagan's telling of it was not only tolerated by most of us but embraced by the increasingly stupid and psychotic GOP.  

Because of that and numerous other whoppers, the GOP was thus set free to roll out their every whopper. Reagan had taken the GOP into new and unexplored territory. Think of it: there was no whopper so outrageous, no lie so egregious, no bullshit theory so incredible that it could not be sold with help from a focus group, a head nod and a smarmy, 'grandfatherly' smile.  

Reagan's idiocy became an insurmountable political advantage, an advantage that would --one day --give us George W. Bush. Reagan was not evil, they said; he was just senile! Give him a break! With this bit of GOP-logic, we should all be thankful. We are --after all --still alive. The US survived eight years in a which a senile idiot might have plunged us into nuclear war. When he thought his microphone was off, he 'reported' that he had just ordered a nuclear strike on Russia. 

The US was as close to nuclear armageddon as during the Cuban missile crisis or the little publicized incident in which the Soviet Union mistook a research launch for a MIRV heading their way. Someone had forgotten to notify them. The hero was Yeltsin who wisely waited for confirmation before launching a counter-strike that would have obliterated the US. Indeed, there is a price to be paid for idiocy, and one day we will pay it.

Others have noticed what has been called the 'dumbing down' of America. Bill Maher decried the trend; blogger Tom Degan responded: 

"We weren't always like this. Inert. In 1965, Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law and 11 months later seniors were receiving benefits. During World War II, virtually overnight FDR had auto companies making tanks and planes only. In one eight year period, America went from JFK's ridiculous dream of landing a man on the moon, to actually landing a man on the moon."While I admire Bill Maher a great deal, I am forced to take issue here.

This pitiful America of which he speaks is very real - of that there can be little doubt to anyone who has bothered to pay attention. But like a lot of people on the Left (I am sorry to say) he totally ignores - whether by accident or design - the undeniable advantages of living in the America of the first decade of the twenty-first century.For example:I never finished High School. In fact I dropped out at the very beginning of my Junior year. In spite of this unfortunate fact, the I.Q. of my country has dropped to such a horrifying degree in the last thirty years, whenever I arrive at a gathering of, say, two or three-hundred people, I am reasonably confident that I am the smartest person in the room.Do you have any idea how utterly cool that is? Lighten up, Bill.

--Tom Degan, the Rant

The mass media must accept responsibility for often making idiocy cute, quaint, cool, or funny. Idiocy is none of those things. Idiocy is a clear and present danger. Idiots will impoverish us all if an idiot has not plunged us into a nuclear holocaust in the meantime.

Karl Marx applied Hegel's dialectic to economics and concluded that 'capitalism' would die of its own inconsistencies i.e, idiocies! Lately, it is only dyed-in-the-wool wingnuts who are blind to the inherent 'contradictions' that have now brought the world to the brink of yet another great depression.

Karl Marx was absolutely correct with regard to the class struggle which he believed followed inexorably from the division of the world into 'capital' vs 'labor'. Bush's America is the LAB study that proves Marx to have been absolutely correct on this point. Never has the the US been so divided. Just one percent of the US population owns more than about 95 percent of us combined. I have REAMS of official stats from the US Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Commerce Dept-BEA, and various think tanks and University Studies which PROVE --beyond any refutation --that following EVERY GOP tax cut, this increasingly tiny elite was enriched. If the trend continues, the ruling 1 percent will become just one half of one percent owning more than about 99 percent of the rest of the population. No nation can sustain that kind of inequality unless by the application of coercion and dictatorship incomprehensible to Americans.

Tax cuts for the wealthy --we are told --will stimulate investment and thus jobs. The official stats prove that that has never, EVER happened. Rather, windfall tax cuts wind up in offshore tax havens and other 'shelters' which HAVE NEVER INCREASED US jobs nor have they helped, in any way whatsoever, to diversify the US economy. 'Tax havens' --available only to the very, very privileged --are just one reason supply side or 'trickle down theory' has never worked and will never work. It was all a PR campaign, a focus group approved strategem --not a legitimate or valid economic theory. There is a name given the outflow of monies from an economy: contraction. Contraction of the money supply is not merely the cause of 'depression', it is the very definition of it.

The GOP rank and file told us that while US industries had all but vanished during the Reagan nightmare years, HI TECH and US expertise would save us. It didn't! IT is done in India and China. Steel is produced in Japan. Cars, it seems, are produced everywhere BUT in the US. The US boasts the world's largest NEGATIVE Current Account Balance; China --the world's largest POSITIVE Current Account Balance. Being at the bottom of that list tells me that if the US produces anything at all these days, the rest of the world does not buy it.  

China  literally 'owns' us. It is China primarily that props up the buck so that the impoverished US can buy Chinese made stuff at Wal-Mart. How smart is that? Was it intelligence that got us into this mess --or was it GOP idiocy? Don't answer; that is a rhetorical device!

Clearly, the Reaganite goppers --idiots to a person --lied to us and got away with it because we had become the bigger idiots for their cut backs in education, their domination of the mind-numbing media, the assaults made on logic and common sense. We are idiots for getting stuck with the tab run up by the idiots in power. Bottom line: idiocy is no longer an option. Get Smart!

Intrepid writer, communications expert and guest columnist Doug Drenkow observes:

As I read the -- surprised and surprising -- reactions to Pres. Obama's receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, I am reminded of something that happened ten years or so ago, when my father was still alive. I was complaining about one thing or another that then-Pres. Clinton had done. Dad, who had first voted for FDR and had years later become very embittered by Pres. Nixon -- in other words, he had seen and lived through the best and worst that our nation had to offer -- told me something I'll never forget: "A leader can't control everything. He has to work with what he's got. So he can't make everything right overnight. And he'll make some mistakes, too; he's only human. But the thing to watch is the direction he's taking us. It might be slower than you'd like, but are things generally headed the right way or not? That's how you judge a leader."

By the way, that was part of my dad giving his approval of Pres. Clinton's actions, in general and in particular for his achieving the first growth in real (inflation-adjusted) wages for American working people in a great many years. In awarding the Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee cited Pres. Obama's "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

Against the background noise of insane but persistent cries from the "birthers," Pres. Obama fulfilled his campaign pledge and spoke to the world's billion Muslims shortly after attaining office, to reassure them that -- despite what the bin Ladens (and some of the "crusaders" in our nation) say -- Americans want peace in the world, including with Islamic peoples. That was indeed "extraordinary." (Can one image Pres. Obama's predecessor making the same speech or impact?)

And yes, Pres. Obama has inherited wars in the heart of the Islamic world. But I believe he is doing everything humanly possible to not fight a "dumb war" -- as he said in his famous speech opposing intervention in Iraq -- while securing the safety of Americans, and others, in uniform and at home. He is drawing down our forces in Iraq, and even somewhat faster than had originally been thought possible, while trying to retain some sense of stability in the "Pottery Barn" we broke.

The strategy he is formulating for Afghanistan is admirably being based first and foremost upon helping everyday Afghan people stabilize their own economic and political situation (despite the apparent corruption of their leaders), which unavoidably requires security -- by our forces for now and by Afghan forces being trained -- as to protect otherwise defenseless humanitarian assistance. At the same time, American drones, special ops, and other forces are as surgically as possible disrupting and destroying al Qaeda command and control centers, leaders, and networks, now based primarily in Pakistan, which of course poses dicey problems and limitations of its own. There is no easy fix.

Whether or not we agree with his decisions, I think all of us should appreciate that Pres. Obama and his national security team, including Secretary of State Clinton, are doing their very best to be responsible, for all concerned. Remember, our allowing al Qaeda to have a safe haven previously cost us dearly, and led to the situations we are in now. Preventing further disaster prevents further war. Pres. Obama's efforts to curb nuclear proliferation are also being cited for his receiving the Peace Prize.

Every day the catastrophic potential of this threat becomes more real, as nuclear materials and technology are being disseminated and developed at an increasing rate, by nations and groups that openly and clandestinely threaten us and our allies. Pres. Obama's working with all parties -- including making agreements already with Russian Pres. Medvedev and holding the first (tentatively promising) talks between our nation and Iran in decades -- is a mark of good faith on the part of the American people in the world, after years of our -- disastrously -- "going it alone."

Pres. Obama is trying to regain -- re-earn -- for America the international good will that the previous administration squandered in the wake of 9/11. Pres. Obama has dispatched George Mitchell, who helped make the peace in Northern Ireland, to help make the peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, another conflict that has persisted stubbornly for decades, and that inflames and complicates all the other issues in the Middle and Near East. Like Al Gore (and unlike the previous administration), Pres. Obama has taken leadership and agreed to cooperation in alleviating global climate change, another problem too big for one nation to solve alone.

And finally, remember that Pres. Obama's "extraordinary efforts to strengthen ... cooperation between peoples" does not just apply to international efforts. Like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pres. Obama I believe has won the Peace Prize for his leadership in helping make peace between people of different races -- and every other description -- here in our country, where such differences have long divided us and thus weakened us, socially, economically, and morally. America is more at peace with itself because of Pres. Obama's leadership -- and really, for what he represents to so many of us. The Peace Prize often helps give impetus to international movements that are gaining momentum, such as the fight against Global Warming. As Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said of Pres. Obama's award: "He got the prize because he has been able to change the international climate. ... Some people say, and I understand it, isn't it premature? Too early? Well, I'd say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now. It is now that we have the opportunity to respond -- all of us."

It is obvious that Pres. Obama represents a new face, ethnically and figuratively, of America -- the most powerful nation -- to the world: a vision of hope through working together with, not against, one another. And that indeed is the only road that leads to peace. Pres. Obama says he is "humbled" by the Prize; I am proud of the honor he has brought to America. And I'm sure my dad is smiling down on us all.

--Doug Drenkow, Communications Consultant, Columnist

In another time, before we were 'dumbed down', someone winning the Nobel Prize would be lauded for his/her achievement. Not so, today! Since 1980, the US has entered a world on the other side of the looking glass. Idiocy is preferred over intelligence; screw ups are 'cool' and real achievement just means you're a nerd.

We used to hear a lot about 'values' from the party that now flouts every 'value' worth having,  affirming or  nourishing. If the media --Fox and CNN particularly --seem shallow, obnoxious, stupid, it's because they are but mirrors held up to this cowardly retreat from excellence.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Psychologists Conclude: the GOP is Nuts!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The GOP is not a political party; it's a crime syndicate! It is also described as an irrational, kooky cult that cannot deal with facts or logic but is freaked out by 'scary images', 'boogiemen' and vague or even non-existent threats like terrorists, commies, liberals or normal sex.
"Conservatives respond instinctually [sic], not rationally, to scary images, "facts," and institutions. Whether this is innate and biological or cultural seems still up in the air. Democrats can't win with logical arguments or even appeals to the innate rightness of concepts like "diversity" and "tolerance," because those aren't considered essentially good and important by the voters they're trying to appeal to. This does suggest that an appeal to old New Deal institutional concepts like the Welfare State might actually be effective, if they're wrapped in the flag and a sense of duty. Also scientists still consider the majority of Americans to be like a fascinating exotic backwards tribe and the fucking country is doomed."
--Scientists Explain Why People Vote For Republicans
Much of this new research is consistent with Carl Jung's 'The Undiscovered Self" in which he said that about one third of any population is certifiably psychopathic.
Psychopaths are often defined by their 'utter lack of empathy', a phrase used by Dr. Gustav Gilbert who was given the task of keeping Nazi war criminals alive until they could be hanged.
Conservatives Are Scared A Lot
Rice University Political Scientist John Alford published some research in the creatively named journal Science about a possible biological basis to liberalism and conservatism. Basically, "46 mostly white Midwesterners who self-identified as having strong political beliefs" were shown "threatening images" ("a large spider on someone's face, a bloodied person and maggot-filled wound"). The conservatives were more scared, of all of the images. Or, as Newsweek puts it, "illegal immigrants may = spiders = gay marriages = maggot-filled wounds = abortion rights = bloodied faces. " Liberals were not sensitive to the scary images. Which means they're [conservatives are] biologically inferior, because they'd die if a gay spider tried to abort their faces to death.
--Scientists Explain Why People Vote For Republicans
Republicans are more sensitive to the 'scary images' which they equate with political issues -immigration, gun control, gay marriage, abortion rights and pacifism. As a result, the 'conservative mentality' is more likely to support greater levels of military spending, warrantless searches, violations of Constitutional rights and/or protections. Conservatives readily believed the pretext for war on Iraq: WMD. None were found yet many still believe the lie.

The rise of Ronald Reagan, a comforting, 'grandfather figure', confirmed this principle on a grand scale. It was a Republican, interviewed on the floor of the GOP national convention in Houston in 1992, who gave the game away: "He [Reagan] made us feel good about ourselves'. They were quite right. Reagan, indeed, made them 'feel good' about being greedy, bigoted, selfish and self-centered, and psychopathic.

It was shortly thereafter, as I recall, that Stanford University released its study indicating that conservatives, the GOP in particular, have more and more terrifying nightmares and night terrors than do normal folk. Nightmares are believed to be the manifestation in dreams of one's fears and irrational anxieties. [Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams]

John Dean's Conservatives Without Consciences, inspired by some very serious research, asserts that the conservative mind-set is characterized by the recurring qualities of 'the unbridled viciousness toward those daring to disagree with them' as well as by big business favoritism that has cost taxpayers billions. Dean's book is inspired by other studies identifying an 'authoritarian, conservative mindset', specifically Robert D. Hare's now-standard text on psychopaths, Without Conscience of 1993.

As I have charged, this 'type' is challenged to make valid inferences from premises. Observations by professional psychologists and psychiatrists repeatedly confirm my allegations that 'psychopathic' Republicans work backward from conclusions. A mentality that reverses logic cannot be expected to ever get anything right. This mentality may be expected to deny science, evolution, or pragmatic approaches of any type. This mentality may be expected to support wars of aggression against Iraq and elsewhere and for all the wrong reasons. This group has embraced or has inherited from authoritarian parents an ideology into which it will 'shoe horn' the evidence of science, experiment or statistics. Anything not conforming is discounted. It is not surprising, therefore, that every GOP politcial program has failed; that's everything from 'trickle down' theory to wasteful military spending which has made the US less safe, more vulnerable in fact to terrorist attack or foreign aggression.

This group will never admit its failures; it will rationalize even worse atrocities if it is believed they will cover up past mistakes. It is a moral and psychological black hole. The American Psychiatric Association's 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' description of antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders, for example, provides a diagnostic context for behaviors that Dean describes as characteristic of "social dominants" and "double highs." Anti-socials, for instance, "show little remorse for the consequences of their acts.... They may be indifferent to, or provide a superficial rationalization for, having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from someone (e.g., 'life's unfair,' 'losers deserve to lose,' or 'he had it coming anyway')... They may believe that everyone is out to 'help number one' and that one should stop at nothing to avoid being pushed around." Conservative defenses of George W. Bush were most often of these types.

Conservatives were often encouraged to believe and overtly told that Iraq was somehow involved in the events of 911. If a survey were conducted now, I suspect that about half the GOP 'base' still believes Iraq had something to do with 911. Some will still repeat the WMD lie despite the facts that proved Bush a liar.

How Bush got away with it: conservatives refuse to believe facts
The conservative mentality will often label a 'fact' a 'theory' if it happens to be one they don't like. But conservatives are not opposed to all theories. In fact, the GOP still embraces the kookiest and least believable of all theories --Bush's official conspiracy theory of 911, more full of holes than Swiss cheese.

Evolution, on the other hand, is not believed because it is seen as a threat. The most prominent, text-book example is Sarah Palin, the poster bimbo for idiocy! Palin believes early man walked with Dinosaurs less then 10,000 years ago. I propose that we put Palin and Richard Dawkins, avowed atheist and evolutionist, in the same room!

Roll the cameras!

We've just produced a hot new series.
I think there is a certain justified irritation with young-earth creationists who believe that the world is less than 10,000 years old. Those are the people that I'm really talking about. I do sometimes accuse people of ignorance, but that is not intended to be an insult. I'm ignorant of lots of things. Ignorance is something that can be remedied by education. And that's what I'm trying to do.
--Richared Dawkins, Darwin's Rottweiller: Richard Dawkins' Tense Relationship with those who believe in God
Sarah Palin's only rival in idiocy is Joe, the Plumber! Alaska leads the US in global warming! As for Polar Bears --Alaska's entire population of Polar Bears will be killed off by the year 2050 unless Palin's policies are stopped now. These developments are concurrent with the increase of oil exploration and drilling in Alaska. Palin is lying about Alaska, about oil, about Polar Bears and about Global Warming. [See: Washington Post, Polar Bear Population Seen Declining; ]
As a result of these efforts, polar bears are more numerous now than they were 40 years ago. The polar bear population in the southern Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s North Slope has been relatively stable for 20 years, according to a federal analysis.
In fact, there is insufficient evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct within the foreseeable future — the trigger for protection under the Endangered Species Act. And there is no evidence that polar bears are being mismanaged through existing international agreements and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.
--Sarah Palin, New York Times
In fact, the polar bear population in Alaska is declining.
Two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be killed off by 2050 _ and the entire population gone from Alaska _ because of thinning sea ice from global warming in the Arctic, government scientists forecast Friday.
Only in the northern Canadian Arctic islands and the west coast of Greenland are any of the world's 16,000 polar bears expected to survive through the end of the century, said the US Geological Survey, which is the scientific arm of the Interior Department.
--The Associated Press, Washington Post, Polar Bear Population Seen Declining
Palin denies that human activity --including the drilling, production and refining of oil --has any effect on environments, a position that puts her to the right of George W. Bush. In fact, Alaska is where it's 'at' in terms of global warming.
We have billions and billions of barrels of oil and trillions of feet of natural gas. We have so much potential from tapping our resources here in Alaska. And we can do this with minimum environmental impact. We have a very pro-development president in President Bush, and yet he failed to push for opening up parts of Alaska to drilling through Congress — and a Republican-controlled Congress, I might add.
I thought when we hit $100 a barrel for oil it would have been a psychological barrier that would have caused Congress to reconsider, but they didn't. Now we are approaching $200 a barrel. It's nonsense not to tap a safe domestic source of oil. I think Americans need to hold Congress accountable on this one.
Sarah Palin, Newsmax
Palin has put short term economic and monetary gains above the longer term concerns about quality of life, the environment, and renewable energy. It is not only her positions that are wrong, it is the attitude and mindset that places shallow and short-term values of this generation above those of the longer term concerns of future generations, indeed, life on earth.

Palin is either wrong or lying about Alaska and the harm that is done to the environment by an oil industry that she is in bed with. Palin should have talked with folk in Texas, an environment that has been raped and despoiled since Spindletop. Some parts of the world --like Iraq --are simply bombed and waged war upon for oil! But there is a word for those folk, like Palin, who just do it for the money.
Though warming is happening faster in Alaska than anywhere else in the US — average temperatures in the country's biggest state have risen 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 50 years — Palin is on record doubting that human action is the main driver behind climate change.
More pertinent might be Palin's positions on oil drilling in Alaska, where rich petroleum reserves paid each citizen over $1,600 in dividends in 2007. Though the McCain campaign has made much of Palin's willingness to stand up to the powerful energy industry in Alaska — last year she adjusted the state Petroleum Profits Tax to close loopholes exploited by oil and gas companies — on the whole she's been a staunch supporter of fossil fuels. She opposes strengthening protections for beluga whales in Alaska's Cook Inlet, where oil and gas development has been proposed, and she spent $500 million in state money to encourage the development of a 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport natural gas from Alaska's rich North Shore. When the Department of the Interior in May listed the polar bear as a threatened species due to warming—an action that could interfere with drilling in Alaska's coastal waters, where the polar bears live —Palin sued the Federal Government in response. "Our main concern with Sarah Palin's positions are that they are based on doing what is best for the oil industry, and not what is best for Americans," says David Willett, national press secretary for the Sierra Club.
--Time, Palin Far Right on the Environment
Conservatives Have a Different Moral Code

There is often a pragmatic, reality-based price to be paid for believing lies. If an architect or engineer gets the math wrong, a building or a bridge may collapse with tragic loss of life. Similarly, there is a tragic price to be paid for being wrong on issues. Because George W. Bush was wrong about both Afghanistan and Iraq, millions are dead. After two years of war, I stopped posting the rising body count, the tragic price paid daily because a 'conservative', a 'Republican' was dead wrong!

Unfortunately, then, these fundamental differences are not merely the topic of academic speculation. There is, for example, a reason terrorism increases during every GOP regime. The GOP is but the political of arm the ruling elites. The 'ruling elites' benefit from the exploitation of terrorism. Certainly, the level of terrorism, since 1980, has always increased during GOP regimes.

The specific manner in which these 'elites' benefit from terrorism is not so easy to pin down. The archives of the Houston Chronicle, however, provide a clue. I am referring specifically to the BCCI scandals and numerous revelations about the Bin Laden/Bush partnerships in West Texas. A key player in this extremely complex web of partnerships, conspiracies and swindles is Khalid bin Mahfouz who built a multi-billion dollar mansion of imported Cararra marble in Houston's posh River Oaks area.

US moneys financed the Bin Ladens and/or Al Qaeda by way of an intricate web that is clearly intended to deceive the American people and, of course, the world. For the moment it is enough to know that US Foreign policy is insane! It wages 'war' on terrorism as it finances it. Ronald Reagan, for example, laundered the US financial support of the Contras by way of Iran. It was a series of 'off the books' treasons! Certainly, someone put some serious pressure on Lawrence Walsh who, nevertheless, managed to write a very carefully worded conclusion to his report. Clearly --Walsh believed that Reagan himself had committed high treason. Reagan should have been tried for 'high treason' but was, in fact, let off the hook.

Is the GOP Evil?

Hannah Arendt, a New School (NY) founder who 'covered' the trial of Adolph Eichmann, wrote of the 'banality of evil'. Arendt's conclusions are consistent with what is lately called 'ponerolgoy', the study of evil. Dr. Gustav Gilbert, who was assigned the task of interviewing the Nazis on trial at Nuremberg concluded that 'evil' was the 'utter lack of empathy', a defining symptom of what we call 'psychopathy'. Carl Jung had likewise identified a sub-set of about 30 percent in every population that were, in Jung's opinion, certifiably psychopathic.

Worst case conservatives often see no evil where 'liberals' are appalled. The meeting of Nazi bureaucrats at Wannsee, for example, never addressed whether or not the mass murder of European Jews was right or moral. The issue, rather, was how efficiently the genocide might be accomplished, what technology should be set up to the task, and, at last, how many could be 'exterminated' in a given time period and at what cost! It was all very businesslike, not unlike a GOP luncheon. The pate de fois gras was superb; the wine was of an excellent vintage, I am quite sure.

Between Wannsee and Nuremberg, a 'state'' murdered millions in order to make bigots feel good about themselves. At Nuremberg --top Nazis were tried for their very lives. As in a classical drama, the 'right wing' blind spot --its fatal flaw --would, in fact, convict them. I refer those who are interested to the 'film' (now transferred to video) of Justice Robert Jackson's examination of Hermann Goring. Earlier, Goring had already condemned the proceedings. 'Victor's Justice', he called them.


Facts About Global Warming
What we know:
Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas. It allows light to pass through but traps heat. Here’s how it works: CO2 absorbs certain wavelengths of energy. This means that radiation from the sun can enter the atmosphere as light. Once this radiation hits the ground, it turns into heat. This heat then radiates back into the atmosphere and out into space. CO2 traps some of the heat.
  1. CO2 has gone from roughly 280 ppm (parts per million) in the atmosphere before the industrial revolution to about 380 ppm now. Each year humans pump out about 6 billion tons of CO2 with an annual growth rate of about 1.9% predicted between 2001 - 2025 (although actual emissions growth was 3.2% per year from 2000 to 2005).
  2. CO2 remains in the air for about 100 years, so even if we stopped emitting it right now we would still feel the effects for decades.
  3. CO2 and temperature have increased and decreased together over the history of the planet.
  4. There is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than there has been in 650,000 years. The rate of increase is unprecedented over the same period.
  5. Svante Arrhenius estimated 100 years ago that a doubling of CO2 would create a 4 degree C rise in temperature. In 1979 the Charney report predicted global warming of 3 degrees C if CO2 doubled in the atmosphere (we are a quarter of the way there). In 1988 James Hansen of NASA predicted to Congress that temperature would increase over the next decades.
  6. Temperature has increased since those predictions were made. The top 5 hottest years according to NASA are, in order, 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003, and 2004.The World Meteorological Association claims 2005 as the second hottest year on record. The difference is because NASA includes data from the Arctic. The top ten warmest years have been since 1990.
  7. Since 1850, we have seen temperatures increase at a rate of 1.1 F per century (about 1.5 - 1.8 F total). The rate increased to 3.2F per century since the mid 1970s (click here for more information).
  8. Species around the world are reacting to climate change: Since 1950, species distribution has shifted to the north 4 miles per decade, shifted to higher altitudes by 20 feet per decade, and Spring has advanced by 2.3 days per decade. In America, butterflies have moved their ranges north. They are no longer found in the southern parts of their old range. Costa Rican birds have extended their range northward. Tropical fish have been seen for the first time off the British Coast, and animals such as the Pied Flycatcher and the Winter Moth are finding their food supply affected by earlier Springs.
  9. Climate has changed rapidly in the past. The common example of rapid climate change is the Younger Dryas, when temperatures suddenly plunged, interrupting the warming trend at the end of the last ice age.
What we think we know:
  1. Temperatures are most likely warmer now than they have been at any time in the past 400 years. They are probably (slightly less certain) warmer than in the past 1200 years, perhaps (less certain) warmer than in the past 12,000 years, and new evidence suggests that we are approaching the warmest temperatures this planet has seen in a million years.
  2. Models predict that Earth’s average temperature will rise somewhere between 2 to 4.5 degrees C in the 21st century.