DETROIT -- President George W. Bush and the other members of the criminal cabal now controlling the Executive Branch of our government deal in delusions. Reality cramps their style and has no place in their deliberations.
Their approach to global warming and the war in Iraq underscores just how easily they dismiss evidence and truths that don't fit into their corporate agenda and how quick they are to pounce on any shallow argument that sustains and justifies their doomed military adventure.
Global warming is "unequivocal," leading international climate scientists declared, adding that human activity "very likely" is the driving force behind the dramatic rise in temperatures in the atmosphere and oceans.
The United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded a three-year study, warning that the buildup of heat-trapping gases has already set the earth on a steady course of warming that will result in extreme storms, heat waves and droughts around the globe.
This is no surprise to people who could look at the evidence objectively and accept the data reputable scientists have been compiling since the 1950s. Achime Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, told the International Herald Tribune the report and the accumulating data on climate change "represented a tipping point" and "the focus will shift from whether climate change is due to human activity, to what on earth are we going to do about it."
Even the Busheviks can't lie their way out of this one, and the U.S. representatives on the scientific panel embraced the findings, but predictably the White House tried to downplay the significance and urgency of the report.
Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said of greenhouse gases, "We are a small contributor when you look at the rest of the world." Bodman pointed to the $5 billion the United States is spending on tax incentives and research for new technologies. That's less than the monthly bill in Iraq.
"It's really got to be a global discussion," Bodman added. No kidding. Even this belated recognition of the reality only comes after years of the administration denying human activity was harmfully influencing global temperatures.
They wrote off global warming as a liberal fantasy, something for people like Al Gore to worry about. One of the first acts of this vile administration was to pull the United States out of the Kyoto Agreement, aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Since we are the earth's No. 1 producer of carbon dioxide, we should have been showing leadership on the issue.
But Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, both oil men, wanted nothing to do with anything that would curb reliance on fossil fuels. They wanted to keep the automakers happy, as well as the big coal-burning utilities. You got to keep those corporate profits humming and those campaign donations pouring into Republican coffers.
At one point, the Environmental Protection Agency even expunged the term "global warming" from its annual report. Comedian Rush Limbaugh and the hallelujah chorus of right-wing blabbermouths spewed sorcery and pseudoscience to their gullible listeners, assuring them that humans causing global warming was a myth.
The soft crap of the Bushevik disinformation campaign faltered as people who can read and members of the reality-based community stuck to hard science. With truth on the march, the Bush soldiers of deception had to turn to another weapon -- their checkbooks, offering to bribe and pay people to lie for them.
That's what the American Enterprise Institute, an ExxonMobil-funded think tank with deep ties to the Bush administration, plotted as the climate-change report loomed. Great Britain's Guardian reports the AEI wrote letters to scientists and economists offering them $10,000 for articles critical of the findings of the UN's panel on climate change. Additional payments and travel expenses were also dangled before the experts.
The Guardian notes, "The AEI has received more than $1.6 million from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees."
The letter with the bribe offers sent to scientists in the United States, Britain and elsewhere attacks the climate-change report as "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by analytical work."
"It's a desperate attempt by an organization that wants to distort science for their own political aims," David Viner, a climate researcher at a British university, told the Guardian.
Viner argued the work and methodology of the climate-change panel was "probably the most through and open review undertaken in any discipline." Buying scientific conclusions -- as the AEI is seeking to do -- is aimed at undermining "the confidence of the public in the scientific community and the ability of governments to take on sound scientific advice," Viner told the Guardian.
ExxonMobil just announced 2006 profits of nearly $40 billion, the biggest in corporate history. For a company with those vast resources to give money to a lobbying group to distort the truth and attempt to perpetuate the lie that global warming is a myth shows us just what kind of scum are running ExxonMobil and its corporate kin.
If we had an attorney general who cared about the law, he'd be investigating the AEI slush fund for scientists willing to become whores. At least one Democratic Congressional Committee chairperson ought to subpoena records from AEI and ExxonMobil and order the boys at the Petroleum Club in Houston to put down their martinis and head up to Capitol Hill to discuss under oath the disinformation program they helped fund.
Since Bush and Co. won't hesitate to lie to dispel the findings of hard science, they certainly don't fret as they deceive about less precise and measurable ventures such as politics and war.
We are told escalating the war with more U.S. troops in Iraq will help stem the promiscuous violence and bring stability and "victory." Saturday, a bomb blast in a crowded Baghdad market killed 130 people and wounded 300. In spite of the horrible carnage happening every day, Cheney's latest assessment is that we are seeing "enormous successes" in Iraq.
Iraq is beyond civil war, and the invasion and occupation have shattered a society, fostered lawlessness and unleashed unthinkable suffering on the Iraqi people -- and worse may yet come. More troops mean nothing in the face of the volatile forces ripping the nation apart like jackals feasting on a zebra.
The new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq describes Iraq's descent into an entangled dark abyss: "The Intelligence Community judges that the term 'civil war' does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qaeda and Sunni insurgent attacks on coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence."
While Bush still delusionally refers to Iraq as a budding democracy, it is much more like a tribal anarchy evolving on the pillars of retribution and destruction, and certainly on the course for further deterioration. Bush will forever refuse to acknowledge the mess he created is well beyond any military solution. Only a diplomatic offensive that includes Syria and Iran, along with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, offers any hope of salvaging Iraq as a viable nation-state.
Bush will never recognize that reality. It's telling that one of the crazy ideals Cheney and the neocon war-mongers developed when they were in exile during the tranquil days of Bill Clinton's presidency was "the one-percent doctrine." Ron Suskind used the term as the title of his book and described how Cheney understood it: "If there was even a one percent chance" of a terrorist attack occurring, "we must act as if it's a certainty."
So we went to war in Iraq based on the 1 percent chance Saddam Hussein had forbidden weapons and he planned to give them to al-Qaeda. The major pieces of evidence to support that notion were -- as we all now know -- totally fabricated, and Cheney was the master lie-crafter.
On the other hand, the scientists looking at global warning concluded with 90 percent certainty that human activities adversely impact climate and imperil the planet.
Molly Ivins knew how bad Bush was long ago and warned us what we were getting into. With wit and wisdom, she cautioned us that "Shrub," the little Bush she'd known since high-school days in Houston, was hardly someone equipped to lead our nation.
Other than the numerous occasions when I have been in his presence and had to listen to him on the campaign trail and during the presidency, nothing has shaped my views of Bush more than Ivins' writings. We lost a national treasure when she died last week.
From her, I learned of Bush's wise-ass ways, sense of entitlement, oil company failures, bail-outs from his daddy's friends, his AWOL days in the Texas Air National Guard, the corporate welfare that provided him with his personal wealth, his comfort zone in gutter-based political campaigns, and his service as governor of Texas, where he allowed the state's major industrial polluters to write air-quality standards and where he relished being the executioner-in-chief.
Ivins had Bush's number way ahead of the pack. If only the nation had listened. She was especially tuned in to his machismo.
She presciently wrote in her 1999 book with Lou Dubose "Shrub:The Short and Happy Political Life of George W. Bush" about his cowboy arrogance: "For an upper-class white boy, Bush comes on way too hard-ass -- at a guess, to make up for being an upper-class white boy. But it's also a common Texas male trait. Someone should probably worry how all this could affect his handling of future encounters with some Saddam Hussein, but that's beyond the scope of this book."
Ivins richly merits her rest in paradise. The rest of us must worry about the hell we're in, and the madman she warned us of and what he might do next.
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||February 6 2007|