Change We Can Believe In

June 24, 2011

Remember all those most-wonderful slogans bubbling up from Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, like ‘Change We Can Believe In,’ and ‘Yes, We Can,” which was chanted en-mass whenever the other motto ran out of steam.
The phrases were so effective and catchy, even Jackboot John McCain tried to get into the act, stealing Obama’s thunder and twisting it around to something really, really dumb-ass like, ‘A Leader You Can Believe In‘ — ha!

Of course, now we know (and not just believe) all that was just campaign trail bullshit — Obama is way-by-far the most disappointing president in US history, though, a bit right-on considering he followed the worst president in US history.
And, of course, Obama with all his faults and lies, was still a hundred-trillion-times better in 2008 than the alternative.

(Illustration found here).

Beyond the lack of transparency, beyond all the failed promises — Gitmo, Iraq, war in general, etc., etc. — the biggest let down is Obama’s seemingly nearly disregard of the entire planet’s biggest-by-far problem: Climate change.
Obama has never really seemed to have his heart in climate change.
He blew it on climate change legislation last year, and even with the BP oil spill in the gulf of Mexico, which could have been a watershed moment for global warming, Obama let the ball roll all away.
Instead, he’s out playing golf with The Boner, trying to patch together some consensus for the stupid debt ceiling bullshit, which won’t matter after a humongous F5 tornado wipes out the entire northeastern US.

Obama’s so bad, Al Gore, has lashed out at him.
In Rolling Stone magazine:

To sell their false narrative, the Polluters and Ideologues have found it essential to undermine the public’s respect for Science and Reason by attacking the integrity of the climate scientists.
That is why the scientists are regularly accused of falsifying evidence and exaggerating its implications in a greedy effort to win more research grants, or secretly pursuing a hidden political agenda to expand the power of government.
Such slanderous insults are deeply ironic: extremist ideologues — many financed or employed by carbon polluters — accusing scientists of being greedy extremist ideologues.
After World War II, a philosopher studying the impact of organized propaganda on the quality of democratic debate wrote, “The conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power has attacked the very heart of the distinction between true and false.”

Barack Obama’s approach to the climate crisis represents a special case that requires careful analysis.
His election was accompanied by intense hope that many things in need of change would change.
Some things have, but others have not.
Climate policy, unfortunately, is in the second category.
First of all, anyone who honestly examines the incredible challenges confronting President Obama when he took office has to feel enormous empathy for him: the Great Recession, with the high unemployment and the enormous public and private indebtedness it produced; two seemingly interminable wars; an intractable political opposition whose true leaders — entertainers masquerading as pundits — openly declared that their objective was to ensure that the new president failed; a badly broken Senate that is almost completely paralyzed by the threat of filibuster and is controlled lock, stock and barrel by the oil and coal industries; a contingent of nominal supporters in Congress who are indentured servants of the same special interests that control most of the Republican Party; and a ferocious, well-financed and dishonest campaign poised to vilify anyone who dares offer leadership for the reduction of global-warming pollution.

Despite all that still nothing.
And in a real-depressing, though, most realistic overview of the global warming problem was posted this week with Aljazeera English, detailing the plight of mankind.
A couple of snips:

Scientific research confirms that, so far, humankind has raised the Earth’s temperature, and the aforementioned events are a sign of what is to come.
“If you had a satellite view of the planet in the summer, there is about 40 per cent less ice in the Arctic than when Apollo 8 [in 1968] first sent back those photos [of Earth],” Bill McKibben, world renowned environmentalist and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences told Al Jazeera, “Oceans are 30 per cent more acidic than they were 40 years ago.
The atmosphere is four per cent more wet than 40 years ago because warm air holds more water than cold air.
That means more deluge and downpour in wet areas and more dryness in dry areas.
So we’re seeing more destructive mega floods and storms, increasing thunderstorms, and increasing lightning strikes.”
So far human greenhouse gas emissions have raised the temperature of the planet by one degree Celsius.
“Climatologists tell us unless we get off gas, coal, and oil, that number will be four to five degrees before the end of this century,” said McKibben, “If one degree is enough to melt the Arctic, we’d be best not to hit four degrees.”

Unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently revealed that greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year to the highest carbon output in history, despite the most serious economic recession in 80 years.
This means that the aim of holding global temperatures to safe levels are now all but out of reach.
The goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than two degrees Celsius, which scientists say is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change” is now most likely just “a nice Utopia”, according to Fatih Birol, a chief economist of the IEA.

And that’s change we most-definitely don’t want to believe in.

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