Orwell Revisited

Click to listen to the show (24 MB MP3)

We were working on a show for tonight on the Kurds. Didn’t quite come together, so at 4:45 we decided to pull Who Owns Orwell off the shelf. Enjoy yourself for the evening; David and Chris are running the CD over to the station and the rest of us are catching up on email and hoping there’s something on TV tonight that is a winter sport but isn’t figure skating.

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  • rabscuttle

    When Chris mentioned that we all had to read 1984 in high school I just had to tell this story. In my high school, circa 1984, we did not read “1984” as a class and I had never heard of the book. When a book report was assigned I stumbled upon it in the school library and was immediately intrigued and began to read it for my report. My English teacher did not approve of my choice and tried vehemently to dissuade me from continuing, even threatening a failing grade. I read it, gave my report, and passed. I dont know if my teacher could fully appreciate the irony of his opposition to the book, or maybe he intended it that way all along. Either way it was a lesson I’ll never forget.

  • marcusinhopedale

    Hi,

    Great show.

    As a high school English teacher, I love Orwell and try to get my students to see Animal Farm as a warning against totalitarianism. In this light, I think Orwell would be screaming about the control of 80% of media outlets by a handful of companies. I see this as a huge threat to our society, I think he would too.

  • Yes, the Orwell show was timely and stimulating, but throughout the program I kept thinking of both the similariy and difference between Orwell and Aldous Huxley. For example, in Brave New World, Huxley satarizes both communism and capitalism, pouring shame on both the right and the left. And in Brave New World Revisited he offers an explicit contrast between his approach in Brave New World and that of Orwell in 1984 — positive reinforcement vs. negative reinforcement as the meas of political control. All of this leads me to suggest a program on Huxley whose extremely rich body of writing should provide plenty of food for thought.

  • Jimbyrne

    HUME: Was anybody drinking in this party?

    CHENEY: No. You don’t hunt with people who drink. That’s not a good idea. We had —

    HUME: So he wasn’t, and you weren’t?

    CHENEY: Correct. We’d taken a break at lunch — go down under an old — ancient oak tree there on the place, and have a barbecue.

    I had a beer at lunch.

  • Gizmo Logix

    >>>In my high school, circa 1984, we did not read “1984″ as a class and I had never heard of the book. When a book report was assigned I stumbled upon it in the school library and was immediately intrigued and began to read it for my report. My English teacher did not approve of my choice and tried vehemently to dissuade me from continuing, even threatening a failing grade. I read it, gave my report, and passed.>>>

    Lesson learned! 🙂 Great story.

  • cheesechowmain

    After re-reading 1984 a couple of months ago, I’ve concluded that The State and The Party are actually a modern version of the Iago character from Othello. O’Brien is that figure made flesh, and instead of covert whisper campaigns, Iago via O’Brien is now exposed and in control. Just my tangential puzzling over these types of matters. BTW, I highly recommend the centennial version of 1984 that has the Thomas Pynchon introduction.

  • cheesechowmain

    Actually The Party is fairly exposed and in control, O’Brien is working covertly…never mind, this made sense when I was thinking about it a few weeks ago. I had a kernel of insight, now, puff, evaporated…

  • David Weinstein

    I think the guests were too easy on the Orwellian tactics of the Bush/Cheney/Rove regime, perhaps in the spirit of being even handed. But nothing in my experience, which goes back to Lyndon Johnson in American politics, matches the Bush politico machine for sheer audacity and cynicsm in the corruption and pervesion of language and thought.

    Yes, the democrats take a weak stab at Orwelliann double speak, like, “help is on the way.” But it is really watered down advertising sloganeering in the the political sphere, and rather inept at that.

    I think Orwell would be smoldering once again. Rove/Bush/Cheney see us as sheep only good for chomping the grass of consumersism. This time in an insidious totalitarianism of the right through lies, deception, and fear mongering.

    I think we are living in a modernized Orwellian world with the wolves guarding the sheep in the name of freedom.

    The only hope is that these neo-fascists can’t shoot straight.

  • lwheeler

    It’s so pathetic for me to hear so many people misunderstand even the basics of what Orwell thought and what “Orwellian” means. “Orwellian” is not a synonym for everything evil. I only heard the last 15 minutes of the broadcast, but can’t we give the bash-Bush talk a rest — especially because we have no idea what Orwell would think of the modern world and the “New Left” and GWB.

    I’ll give you a good example of “Orwellian” — Pro-Choice. Think about it this way: there is a political element to Abortion, Catholics like Ted Kennedy and Mario Cuomo are uncomfortable, they come up with this political term, pro-choice, because they don’t want to offend the pro-abortion people. This is an intentional recasting of the debate and deliberately muddying of the polical waters — with the intent to mislead and avoid discussions about abortion itself, esp. vis-a-vis its obvious relation to murder, killing or vivisection.

  • Pro-choice is only mildly orwellian; and maybe not at all. Kennedy did not ‘come up’ with the term pro-choice. The term is derived from the Roe Vs. Wade verdict which affirmed that a woman had the right to choose- the point is not that these people are ‘for abortions’. They are for leaving the decision to the mother.

  • Potter

    “Pro-life” is just as “Orwellian”. The other are by inference anti-life.

  • calling torture “being rough” is certainly newspeak:

    Milano, Italy: Judge Posner, you write “being rough on suspect terrorists”. I believe that would have been the choice of words by an SA man in 1934 for describing torture. What makes your choice different ?

    Richard Posner: Democracies and dictatorships do many of the same things. It’s the differences that count.

  • David Weinstein

    Hi IWheeler,

    I’d love to give the bush-bash talk a rest. I think humor and satire is the best approach at this time anyhow.

    Of course, Orwellian is not a synonym for eveything evi. I do think we could take a plausible guess at what Orwell might think of the New Left, or what’s left of the left, and the Bush right.

    Orwell, in his most famous works, 1984 and Animal Farm, darkly dramatized and satirized the totalitarian left in the form of the Stalanist USSR. But as a reformed Marxist, I think what rankled him the most was the double betrayal of truth within the state totalitarian apparatus. The first betrayal was of the egalitarian/communal ideal of a Marixist state (“all animals are equal). The second is the repressive nature of that state, crushing individual rights and freedom (“but some animals are more equal than others”) with a gangster elite taking over. This is probaly the logical evolution of a violent, revolutionary ethos that goes back to Lenin and Marx himself.

    Marx and Lenin were Dr. Frankenstein and murderous Stalin the Frankenstein monster.

    But remember that Orwell took aim at fascism as well and fought against it in Spain. Fascism didn’t survie the 1940’s, thank God, but Stalinst USSR did. From the late 1940’s on is when Orwell was most productive. No doubt he would hae tried to skewer fascism if they had won the war — if he had lived to see it.

    Now in our dark times today in America, it is Norvel Norquist, the king of K Street, and the language man for W. and company who proudly admits that he studied Orwell not so much to learn a moral or political lesson but on how to make the English language say its opposite such as in the so-called healthy forests and clears skies initiatives tht would strip mountainsides of forest and spew more particulates and mercury into the air.

    But for me, what is the most cynical and damning of the double speak and brainwashing of the the Norquist/Bush/Cheney apparat is that Norquist informed Bush and Cheney that the science on global warming was fast becoming massive and conclusive and the strategy should be to try to deny the science as long as they could get away with it by setting up dummy scientific groups and paying scientists to write books and articles either denying or shedding doubt on what is nearly a global consensus.

    This is exactly what the Bush adminsitration has done while pushing fossil fuels and squelching clean energy development and production. And knowing full well where the scientific truth lies (except for Bush perhaps who is a master of self deception).

    Orwell brillantly took aim at massive deception and repression of the Marxist left. Now it is as if Bush, Cheney and the neo cons have taken a page from what what Orwell decried aand have said, “great, now it’s our turn.”

    With global warming, it is only the fate of all living creatures on earth that is at stake.

    Do you think Orwell would have had an opinion about this?

  • Pingback: Sam's Thoughts()

  • cheesechowmain

    I was thinking about the idea of John Stewart as a contemporary Orwell-esque figure. I don’t entirely agree with this proposition. Before getting to my blather, let me state up front that I’m a fan of The Daily Show and I think they do a fine job of social commentary and ironic muckracking.

    John Stewart makes liberal use of satire and black humor to show the folly of public figures. For me, he’s closer to the tradition of H.L. Menken, except he is a primarly a comedian and produces critiques of the cultural milieu through the delivery vehicle of humor. What Stewart, Menken, and Orwell all share in common, is a keen intellect, coupled with an insightful BS detector, and very importantly, an honest and sincere willingness to state what they are seeing. Which in cynical terms is often mendacious behavior. In some ways, The Daily Show employs a Frank Capra approach to dismantling mendacity and megalomania. The technique is simply to show the person(s) in front of the camera making their self-evident, foolhardy statements. A great example of this was the Jean Schmidt speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives regarding Jack Murtha. Capra employed this technique beautifully in crafting the case made by Ally propaganda with regards to Hilter and Mussolini . Where Stewart and Capra diverge is in the use of satire and irony. Just an opinion, and, I’m always willing to entertain the idea that I’m completely and utterly incorrect in my assessments.

  • lwheeler

    Mr. Weinstein,

    Heavy handed propoganda as practiced by Hitler was also practiced by the Soviets. What Orwell was talking about was what the western Left fell prey to from the Soviets (the Soviet citizens didn’t fall for it) — i.e., calling something black that is actually white and having those to whom this is taught actually believe it. Orwellian ideas require credulity that only intellectuals and utopianists are capable of.

    Orwell did take on Fascism, too. But, the term Orwellian is not used in talking about direct military action and his straight talk against brutality. Why are you confused on this? Don’t forget, also, about Lenin and Stalin’s other monster: Hitler, the National Socialist, whose totalitarian state was heavily inlfuenced by what he learned from the Soviets. (Stalin also helped him get elected, don’t forget.)

    You are mixing facts and your own surmising in your discussion of Bush and Cheney. Try again after sorting that out.

    By the way, in 20 years we will all know that this latest “emergency” of global warming is just piffle — just as we now regard the 1970s global cooling. For the left, there is always a crisis to exploit. But, when Lenin said this, he didn’t expect that people involved in exploiting this crisis (as a means to power) would actually believe it themselves. The fact that you believe this crisis (and probably the one on CFCs) shows you are not going to be in the power block of the new state, but slated for the gulag. For now, your gullibility will be relied on heavily.

  • Gizmo Logix

    >>>lwheeler wrote: I’ll give you a good example of “Orwellian� — Pro-Choice.>>>

    lwheeler, I agree that “pro-choice” is Orwellian in the sense that it’s a play on words. And anything that redefines meaning (or redirects it) should be considered Orwellian. But also note that Orwell main point is that we should never trust authority. Always question authority; IF YOU CAN! 😉

    But when you break down what pro-choice means you’ll see that the reason the focus was put on choice rather than abortion is because they wanted show the reason that freedom, liberty and a woman’s decision was important.

    I give you another example. The term “war in terror.” Does that also mean a war on my liberties too? I think this is more a play on words than “pro-choice.” Because “war on terror” implies giving more power to guess who? The Government, that’s who.

    Remember, that liberals and libertarians should always fight for their individual freedoms. If conservatives can’t see this. That’s their fault.

    It’s ironic that the Republican voters have always been against “big government.” But by showing acquiescence towards the government to “keep me safe (war in terror)” they are in essence saying, “We trust you. What do you need from us? Some of my freedom? No problem…here ya go…”

    Less freedom? More power to the government? Hmmm, is that small government? I think not

    Anyways, I do agree that both any type of play on words should be scrutinized.

  • Gizmo Logix

    >>> lwheeler wrote: in 20 years we will all know that this latest “emergency� of global warming is just piffle>>>

    In 20 yeaars we’ll hopefully be moving away from oil fuels and on to solar, ethanol, natural gas, propane, hydrogen, biodiesel, electricity, methanol, and p-series fuel types (not only dependancy M.E. reasons, but also for efficiency reasons).

    So, it might be a moot point.

    If we don’t. Then we’ll find out.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll have massive “global catastrophes.” But at the least it would mean more polutition. And that’s something that I don’t want regardless if more tornados, huricanies, heat/cold spells happen or not. And lets hope not the later.

    Because I would rather you be right and we survive than I be right and we die.

  • lwheeler

    Very deep thinking, indeed!

  • David Weinstein

    IWheeler:

    Gee, I guess I won’t be “in the power block of the new state,” whatever that means. And if I am slated for the gulag, doesn’t that mean I’m on the right side of history?

    As for gullibility and reality, I suggest you take a ride on Airforce One with the so-called president and see for yourself if the polar ice caps are not melting. While you’re up there also take a look at the glaciers in Greenland that are also melting at an alarming rate.

    I don’t think this is happening from because of all the hot air that is eminating 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, although it is considerable such as the prevarications of why Cheney won’t dislose who he met with in his task force on the energy policy and what they discussed.

    If you haven’t donated enough to the prez for that perk, take a sober look at the serious science that you can find with little effort if you are serious about the subject. Then we can have an intelligent discussion about this, if you desire.

  • lwheeler

    Mr. Weinstein,

    1) The gulag was used to house a) good, innocent people, b) dupes who supported the formation of the Communist state and for whatever reason ended up being selected for purging and c) evil co-conspirators who ran foul of whatever monstrous tyrant ends up ruling in every single Communist state.

    2) I’m grateful that Michael Crichton used his considerable writing skills — in his book, “State of Fear”, to illustrate something simple about this complex subject: there is an intelligent, scientific opposing side to the debate on global warming. We laymen need to know this from someone, because you sure won’t see it on the news. He shows (in the footnotes) that it is debatable a) whether global warming is actually occurring and b) if it is happening, whether humans are in any way connected to it. Your examples are right out of the Chicken Little school that is fostered by the environmental left.

    Did you know that a) Greenland used to support the growing of grapes just a few hundred years ago. b) there are 150,000 glaciers in the world and only 80 have been studied in depth and some glaciers are growing, some are receding. c) The Ross ice shelf in Antarctica didn’t exist 4000 years ago. d) temperature sensors around the world show a very mixed picture and the only clear indication is that the ones near large cities are influenced by thermal effects from the cities. (b and d, above I got from Crichton’s book.)

    Interesting thing is, though I’m tired of being paniced into some anti-capatilist “solution” for global warming, I take comfort in realizing that as long as the left has the power that dupes give it, we will have to have some made-up crisis to respond to. It might as well be global warming as anything else.

  • The word “Orwellian” has become Orwellian, ba-rum-cha!

  • Gizmo Logix

    I’ve most debated most of the points regarding global warming.

    It’s important to realize that oil companies have vested interest into making sure that global warming stays a “myth.” That alone should be a flag. There could also be vested interest in the other side too.

    When vested interest are put in perspective in the trillions of dollars. There is a good reason to be skeptical about any view point. But I would be more skeptical for pro-oil view points because we are living in the STATUS QUO of the oil industry. Keeping things the same could also mean protecting vested interest as long as possible; regardless of evidence that there are dangers. That’s just the way companies work. The bottom dollar is put before everything else.

    The common people will never have the time to trudge through all the data and information. This is why it’s important for science to look at all factors.

    Are we in a peak or valley regarding global cooling or heating? How large is that graph? Is it natural? How much effect do humans have (burning fossil fuels) at any given time? If it’s true that there is a normal global change that we are experiencing is it also true that the amount of fossil fuels burnt over a long period of time don’t necessarily effect the earth that much but could effect HUMAN life very much.

    For example. What the earth thinks as a “blip” on the radar could be disastrous for human life. Why help it along? So, humans might not have *that* much effect on the earth as a whole. But humans might have enough effect on the earth to effect HUMANS!

    In the grand scheme of things. The earth probably treats it’s human hosts as an annoying fungus that is tolerated. If we were to kill our selves either by nuclear war or by chemical pollution; worst case scenario: The humans would suffer (eek! egads! Armageddon!), but the earth would go on (yawn…).

    As history has tough us (Communism vs Capitalism). Greed is more powerful than a desire for the common good. That’s can lead down a dangerous path.

    Well, only one thing trumps greed and common good. It’s called common sense.

  • David Weinstein

    Thank you Gizmo Logic for stating the obvious about who has to gain by continuing to rely on fossil fuels for our energy needs.

    IWheeler: You are ascribing me assumptions that I do not have. I am not trying to panic anyone into an “anti-capitalist ‘solution’ to global warming.” Let me quote you from a national leader who is by no means a member of the new left or whaterver you imagine: “We have a growing crisis on our hands… one that seldom gets the attention it deserves. I’m speaking about global warming. And left unchecked, we can expect glaciers and polar ice caps to melt, severe storms to become more frequent, prolonged droughts to devastate agricultural lands, sea levels to rise and entire ecosystems to be thrown out of balance.”

    This quote is from senator John McCain. Far from being an anti-capitialist, he put his life on the line fighting communism in Vietnam, and suffered many years as a prisoner of war. I woulnd’t exactly label him a dupe of the left.

    He is co-sponsoring The Climate Stewardship Act with seantor Liberman, a conservative democrat. I think both of these leaders are doing what we want and expect of our represeantatives. They are acting pro-actively to address serious challanges to our nation. So far W. and the extreme right have been blocking the legislation.

    “Global warming is indeed a large and complex problem,” senator McCain writes. “But inaction is just not an option – because the longer we wait, the worse it gets.”

    What would have transpired if president Bush took seriously and pro-actively the direct verbal warnings he got from the outgoing presdient Clinton and his secretary of state about the intention of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in 2000? Would there have been a 9/11? As far as having “some made-up crisis to repsond to” by a left put into power by ‘dupes,” my response is that Bush the junior has used 9/11 and the fear of terrorism to try to pass all kinds of legislation, inculding tax cuts for the rich, and to keep himself in power. And by the way, the left is not in power, the right is, at this very moment, controlling both houses of Congress and occupying the White House. The right also controls the media.

    Who is being duped?

    But there is data that is incontravertible. I will quote you from a Febraury 17 article from the San Francisco Chroncile, reporting a study that came from satellite imagry in a paper in the scientific journal Science: “Greenland’s glaciers are meting twice as fast as previusly beleived, the result o a warming trend that renders obsolete predictions of how quickly the Earth’s oceans will rise over the next centry, scientists said Thursday.”

    “The new data came from satillite imagry and gives fresh urgency to worries about the role of human activity in global warming. The Greenloand data is mirrored by findings from Bolivia to the Himalayas, scientists said, noting that sea-level rise threatens widespead flooding and severe storm damage in low-lying areas worldwide.”

    “The ice sheets in Greenland and Antartica are among the largest resevoirs of fresh water on Earth and their fate is expected to be a major factor in determining how much the Earth’s oceans will rise. Rignot and University of Kansas scientist Pannir Kanagaratnam, who publsihed their findings in the journal Science, declined to guess how much the faster melting would raise sea levels but said current estimates of around 20 inches over the next century are probably too low.”

    “‘The implications are global,” said Juian Dowdeswell, a glacier expert at the University of Cambridge in England who reviewed tyhe new paper for Science. “‘We are not talking about walking along the sea front on a nice summer day, we are talkign about the worst storm settings, the biggest surges… you are upping the probability that major storms will take place.”

    “Most scientists believe a major cause for Earth’s warming climate is increased emissions of greenhouse gases as a result of burning fossil fuels, largely in wealthy, industrialized nations such as the United States, and in Western Europe, but incresingly in rapidly developing nations such as China and India as well. Carbon dioxide and several other gases trap the sun’s heat and raise atmospheric temperatures.”

    You can go online and read the entire article for yourself.

    They were not mapping only 80 glaciers worldwide but the entire glacier foramtion in Greenland as well as extensively in South America and the Himalayas. As for temperature readings only being taken near big cities, that truly is an ‘urban’ myth.

    It is precisely the mechanism of free enterprise and market economics that is the answer to this clear and present danger that you can see with your own eyes. Let me quote to you from that left wing dupe, Jeffry R. Immelt, the CEO of GE in launching a 1.5 billiion annual investment”Ecomagination,” in developing clean-energy technology and commits the company to improving its energy efficency 30 percent by 2012: “We see that green is green.” He said that he is launching this intitiative “not becasueit is trendy or moral, but because it will acclerate our growth and make us more competitive.”

    U.S businesses know that they will be paying in the end for the Bush administrations head-in-the- sand approach. Cinergy utilty chair, another pinko dupe, I suppose, whose firm is developing and implemting coal gasification technology, wrote this to shareholders in a letter last March: “Avoiding the debate over climate change and failing to understand its consequences are not options for us.”

    But ironies of ironies, even W. is coming around to seeng the virtue of clean energy technology, if you have followed the press releses today, although he gives national security as he reason, which is also true. One major reason for this conversion on the way to Damascus, so to speak, is the pressure of, yes, the Christian Right, who have been putting pressure on the prez to protect the environment and life on earth form global warming. Sort of the biblical admonition “Choose life so you may live,” kind of thing.

    I’ll see you in the gulag with America’s CEO’s, scientists, and responsible leaders. Or maybe in a future of hope, industry, ingenuity, prosperity, and good will — which is the real American way.

  • lwheeler

    1) John McCain is probably electable nationally, but he will never get there because he is not liked by conservatives nor by most Republicans — he can’t get through the primary. Dick Morris just wrote about this recently. Maybe McCain will run as a Democrat.

    The media like him — that’s enough for me to know that he isn’t going to be my candidate. He’s an unstable maverick, not a movement conservative and not trustworthy. If you had even a passing acquaintance with conservative opinion, you would know that presenting McCain as any kind of a conservative is absurd. For some weird reason the media presents him that way — probably in the hopes that they can influence the moderates. And just for completeness sake — McCain is not an expert in global climatology, but he is a media hound.

    2) Regarding global warming, you don’t even address my second issue which is just as important as the first: if there is global warming (and you say there is) you must still address the issue of what man contributes to it. Don’t you understand why I mentioned Greenland? We could be just naturally recovering from a recent mini-ice age. But, look, in order to connect man to these natural events, you must be able to tell me what happened in Greenland 300 – 400 years ago, which man did not cause (did we?) and then show how we are responsible in some major way for global warming now. This is not rocket science and for some reason these basic reasonable issues are NEVER addressed. Instead it’s a stampede – oh my god, oh my god.

    Also, the ice still continues to pile up in Antarctica (while melting on its edges) — I thought this was GLOBAL warming, not local warming.

    And also, the sea level still has no measurable rise…

    But, even if it was rising — man’s involvement has to be more than circumstantial — it must be shown to be causal AND at a significant level.

    I love this: “Avoiding the debate over climate change and failing to understand its consequences are not options for us.” I, too, can’t avoid the DEBATE over climate change but I can avoid believing stupid things contained in the debate. When he says “failing to understand ITS consequences” does he mean climate change or the debate itself. Because I find myself agreeing with the statement if read in a certain way….

    Mark my word — in 20 years global warming will go the way of global cooling, fresh water crises, the end of oil, food shortages — we’re way overdue for those stupid predictions of the 70s.

  • David Weinstein

    Hi Iwheeler,

    I mentioned John McCain and the CEO’s of these major corporations as a response to your assertion that the idea of global warming is some conspiracy of the left to regain power. As far as John McCain being unable to prevail the republican presdintial primaries, I think he is a strong candidate in the post Bush era because he is a moderate and thhink for himself. I think you’ll find Bill Frist is the dog who can’t hunt. But we’ll just have to see about that.

    If you are also trying to make the argument that John McCain does not represent the true conservative view on anything, including global warming, and so discount his thinking because he is a maverick or should run as a democrat, then I have to answer that Micahel Crichton does posses the bona fides as a reactionary conservative, and should aslo be discounted because of his exteme political bias if I ma to follow your logic. He also is not a climatologist. He is an M.D., I believe, which gives him some credence in science. But he is also a successful writer of fiction (I enjoyed those Hollywood dinasaur movies). This being said, I will look at his book anyhow in the spirit of informing myself as well as possible.

    You know General Electric, Ford Motor Company, Duke Energy, Exelon, and JP Morgan Chase are among a growing number of Fortune 500 companies that in recent months have voiced support for a federal crackdown on carbon dioxide emissions. In June, executives from firms including DuPont, United Technologies, and the utility ginat Cinergy appeared before the House Science Committee to testify in favor of such mandated reductions.

    What do you believe these executives (and their boards) know, what do you think their motivation is to ask for carbon dioxide reductions? Do you still assert that that global warming is a scare tactic of the left to regain power?

    In terms of measurable science, the ice is not still piling up in Antartica while melting on its edges. The polar ice caps are thinning in the middle and disappearing at the edges. In the last tne years the ice caps have receded 9.5 percent.

    You ask what is the cause and effect between human activity, man-made machines and industry, green house gases, and global warming, in my opinion.

    I am curious to know how you define, within the paraminters of the scientific method, the notion of casue and effect?

  • lwheeler

    My response on McCain was directed at your assertion that McCain was a conservative who had seen the light. Almost to a man, conservatives do not believe that mankind is the cause of global warming (if there is warming, mind you). McCain is first a media hound and only secondarily, when it suits him, a conservative.

    Realize that this is your time now — you must make this charge of global warming stick and you must get your politicians elected now. This latest of environmental scares can’t last — but there is no doubt that many believe it. Due heavily to the media black-out on any data that denies it. McCain may be your only chance — remember Kerry wanted him for the VP slot in 2004.

    Big corporations support Democrats as much if not more than Republicans and they are very sensitive to poplular opinion. (Republicans’ only reliable block in the business community is small and medium sized businesses.) NASA, too, has got on the enviromental left’s bandwagon because it helps its funding to do so. This is politics as usual — nothing to be surprised at.

    Although Crichton is not a climatologist — I agree — he is scientifically trained and has studied the science and the data in this field (as he has done in so many fields). He became outraged when he realized what a house of cards this whole global warming thing is. He especially hates it that it redirects energy and money from real environmental concerns that are less sexy and can’t get anyone elected.

    I challenge you to show any evidence that Crichton was considered a conservative before he wrote “State of Fear”. I certainly didn’t ever see him portrayed in that way.

    Your last sentence is kind of like Clinton’s wondering aloud about the meaning of “is” — surely, you don’t mean this. (I assume you mean “parameters”?) Nothing could be more basic than cause and effect — CAUSE in our discussion is mankind’s significant contribution to the EFFECT of GLOBAL environmental change. I’m not surprised that you are confused by this, because one never reads about this causal issue — only correlationship is even implied. But, remember cause does not matter in this because (oh my god, oh my god) it’s probably already too late — we’re all going to die. And Cheney just keeps getting richer and richer…. oh my god oh my god oh my god — what are we going to do?

  • Gizmo Logix

    >>>David Weinstein wrote: Thank you Gizmo Logic for stating the obvious about who has to gain by continuing to rely on fossil fuels for our energy needs.>>>

    Not sure you were being facicous. But the “obvious” can be obfuscated by all the strawman debates we hear in the media today. Accusations from the oil lobbyist of “pseudo-science” against global warming seems to be their technique; i.e. attack the messenger.

    I just wanted to refocuse back on motivations on why it’s more plausible that vested interest would be a flag of question. Not the other way around; the scientist that are bring forth evidence to the contrary.

    So, what is obvious to you and me. Might not be to others. I wanted to refocus back on the root causes; oil/money. Attacking the scientist redirects the focus.

  • Gizmo Logix

    MJR — Ross Gelbspan: Why Mainstream Coverage of Global Warming Has Failed

    http://www.airamericaplace.com/upload/aamj061905.mp3

  • David Weinstein

    Gizmo Logix,

    I wasn’t being facicious. Yes, there is an anit-global warming science lobby. In 1989fossil-fuel and other industries form The Global Climae Coalition to lobby politicians and convince the media and the public that climate science is too undertain to justify any action. Their main argument was that solar influences were the casuse of global warming. This assertion was proven fallacious. The coalition dissolves in 2000 but the oil lobby convinced the Bush admisitiration to deny the problem anyhow. In 1997 ExxonMobil and wealthy indicuals create the “Cooler Heads Coalition,” with the saem goals. Not here the revolving door between Exxon-Mobil and the Bush administration with Bush’s so-callled science officer denying global warming later joining Exxon-Mobile after hsi science is disgraced.

    And of course the profits of Exxon-Mobile and the oher major fossil fuel companies jumped stronimcally under the Bush adminstration with no competition from renewable energy that the Bush admin blocked.

  • David Weinstein

    IWheeler,

    I can see that you do not like McCain or his policies. I wonder if this is because he is a moderate on the political scene, and, in fact you are speaking for an extremistist right-wing position. If you want to know, I like McCain on a personal level because I feel he posseses that rare quality, honor. I do not agree with all his policies by any stretch of the imagination. Socially he is a conservative but not an extremist, strong on national defense, a fiscal conservtive. What party he should run in I don’t really care.

    Also you are very far form the truth when you assert that conservatives to the man (and I suppose there are some women there too) do not believe that human beings have anything to do with global warming. It is the extreme wing of the republican party, which is on the way out, tht denies this.

    But I am curious, how do you define yourself as a conservative in terms of major guiding ideas, principles, and policies?

    You assert that the only reliable republican block in the business community comes from small and medium size concerns, and that big corporations support the democrats as much or more than the republicans. Again, I wonder where you are getting your information. Large donations are a matter of public record. Large corporations supported Bush/Cheney about 70% to 30% in both elections. I agree that the business community votes republican on a personal level. But I challenge you to prove to me that business types in large corporations somehow magically vote more for democrtes than in smaller businesses.

    Now one of the largest contributers to the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2004 was Exxon-Mobil. Another large contributor to Bush/Cheney was Enron. Exxon-Mobil revenues rivals the GDP of several small European countries. To say that large corporations support the deomcrats as much or more than republicans is to believe in the tooth fairy.

    Of course if you were talking about Eisenhower, another man who i repect for his honor and integrity, I might agree with you. But let’s get real, the Bush junior adminstration has been the rule of the oil mafia. In the 2000 campaign alone, the oil and gas industry put $1,900,000 behind the republican presidential ticket versus $320,000 for Gore. The gift to Bush was nearly matched by $1,270,000 from the automobile industry. Exxon – the oil company which has most consistently opposed action to tackle climate change – gave over $1 million in political donation in he 2000 electin cycle, 90% to republicans… As Sargeant Friday says on Dragnet, “Just the facts, M’am.”

    Bush himslef, of course, is a former Texas oilman – albeit a rather unsuccessful one, having been rescued from near bankruptcy by his fathers connections. Ther president’s most favored lieutenants are also closely connected to the fossil fuel industry. Before joining the government, Dick Chney was Cheif Executive of Halliburton, the world’s largest oilfield company. It is thought that Cheney amassed some $50-60 million there, riches that stand out even in a cabinet dominated by millionaires. Bush’s commerce secertary Don Evans (whose brief includes oversight of the National Oceanic and Atmpsoheric Adminstration, home of government sponored climate science) was recently Chairman and CEO of Tom Brown, Inc. a $1.2 billion Denver based oil and gas company. Energy secretary Spencer Abraham has close ties to the automotive industry, and during his unscuccessful run for Seane in 2000 was the number one recipient of car company handouts. The president’s chief of staff, Andrew Card, was formally chief political lobbyist for General Motors, and before that headed the main car idustry lobbying group, the now -deunct, American Automobile Manufacctuers Association, Much of Card’s previous work has involved fighting on behalf of the biggest automobile auomakers against environmental standards. Former National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice (who’s Osama bin Laden?) now secretary of state, was formally on the board of directors of Chevron, and was so helpful to the company that it named a 130,000-ton tanker after her.

    As for NASA jumping on the environmental bandwagon for funding reasons, I think this one is right out of right-wing talk radio or Fox News. Again you can look it up, it was Bush the elder who first put serious money into NASA scientifically investigating global warming. Clinton followed through. But it was a moderate republican who started the ball rolling.

    You should also understand, that in NASA’s mandate, going back to its founding under presdient Kennedy, the value of space exploration for the improvement of life on earth was paramount. You can look one up too.

    Ascribing alterior motives the NASA when the science they uncovered came in support of global warming and the greenhouse effect, is a not so clever way to disguise the Bush adminstration’s attempt to squelch that governmental body and its science and scientists in the same reversal of fact that Orwell satirized. I think even Bill O’Reiily would be ashamed of this canard.

    The NASA study on global warming is called “MIssion to Earth.” NASA’s chief climatologist, James Hansen, publicly revealed his conclusion that global warming is a) supported by the data b) is chiefly a man-made problem. Bush adminstration officicals sought to silence Dr. Hansen. Finally, one of these officials thought it was so odious, that she came clean with this effort to suppress global warming science. Dr. Hansen confirmed this but stuck to his guns. In the end of the head of NASA told Bush et al that they could go take a space walk.

    Now you write that you deplore what you believe to be the over-exaggertion and sensationalism of climate change sceanrios, claims that much of life might become extict on earth and so on in the worst case. But I will tell you what I deplore more today at this very moment in time: that the politics of deceit of the Bush adminstration might make our democrcy extinct here in America.

    Now to reply to your attmept at sarcasm in comparing my query of what you believe cause and effect to be, to Clinton’s musing of what the meaning of ‘is, is,’ while under attck by that hysterical republican witch hunt, my answer is that I was indeed wondering if we were both talking abut the scientific method. Much of the attack on the science of global warming seems ot me like the Church’s attack of Gallileo’s theory that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice-versa in his time. I remind you that Bush gets much of his policy and ideas mainlined from very reactionary fundmentalist Christian leaders.

    You know Gallileo and Kepler’s theories, math and science proved not to be exact (humanity would have to wait for Newtonian physics for that). But the general idea was correct, that the earth did revolve around the sun.

    Which brings me to answer your “CAUSE in our discussion to mankind’s significant contribution to the EFFECT of global environmental change.” My only correction would be “global environmental warming.” I would simply bring to your attention the 2001report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which you can find in its entirety on the web. This is a body of over 1,000 leading scientists from around the world who gathered and synthesized data over a muti-year planetary study of climate change. It is very hard to get a handful of scientists to agree on anything. But the data was so compelling that they were able to reach an concensus on a few core conclusions.

    Let me quote you from the IPCC report: “Warming in the last fifty years due to anthropogenic (human caused) greenhouse gases can be identified.” Cause and effect.

    The panel said that temperatures could rise up to 5 degrees celsius this century. That would be twice the entire warming after the last ice age 12,000 years ago, and it could take place in 100 yeards, rather than a thousand, giving the natural world and human civilization little time to adapt.

    The scientific community also agrees that the current global warming is unprecedented in the last million years of global history, and faster than previously experienced by natural ecosystems. In other wrods, this rapid heating of the atmopshere (ten of the warmest years in recorded hisotry in the ast fifteen years with 2005 being the warmest) is not a natural phenomenon but casued by human actiity, cheifly the burning of fossil fuels.

    You might ask, how did they get this data, is it verifiable, how accurate are the predictive models? Even since the 2001 IPCC report, new technolgies have come on line such as improvements in infrared instrumentation that allows very precise measurements of atmsophere CO2, artic core samples, rapid improvement of computers and software making possible realistic climate models, Nimbus 111 (those pesky folks at NASA again) and other staellites designed cheifly for global data on weather prediction, and so on.

    To get a clear and comprehensive picture of the science of climate change over the last 100 years and how the scientific community has come to these conclusions, I would recommend you go the the American Institue of Phsyics website that has many readable and cogent articles on this subject for the layperson.

    The science is in, IWheeler. The questions that remains are 1) how fast and how high the warming will become and what effect that will have on life and liveability on the planet; conservatively scientists predict a warmning of 1.5- 2 degrees with the outside being 7.3 degrees. 2) What we as a nation, and globally want to do about what science is telling us.

  • David Weinstein

    IWheeler: For your reading pleasure and edification, the addresses for The Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change is http://www.ipcc.ch, the American Institute of Pysics is: http://www.aip.org