|Joe Barton: "A Flood is an example of Climate Change."|
In Ian McEwan's novel, Atonement, he uses a device I can't remember ever having seen before in a novel: he suggests to the reader a change in the ending from one that is happy to a more realistic, and sobering, one. A couple, the man, a son of the family's servant, the woman, the daughter of the servant's employer, grow up together in almost sibling familiarity. One day, while arguing over a trifle, they break the handle off a priceless vase, and the woman blithely disrobes to practically nothing and plunges into the fountain basin into which it's fallen in order to retrieve it.
Her precocious younger sister witnesses the scene, and, due to ensuing events, gets the young man thrown into prison on her testimony alone, her false testimony. But because it's on the eve of WW2, the man is able to get released from prison by volunteering to be sent to the front, without even getting the chance to see his employer's daughter, who, of course, is in love with him, beforehand.
He ends up in Dunkirk, struggling to get away before the Germans massacre them all, while she has become a nurse, faithfully writing to him and promising to wait. This all takes years, and in the meantime, her sister has become a nurse to help in the care of the war wounded, and, wandering in the London streets, decides to find her sister and see if she can't at least attempt a reconciliation. She does find her, and out of the bedroom, in the middle of their conversation, steps Robbie, the man she has so wronged.
And it's here that McEwan pulls the rug out from under us. He suggests that really, none of this happened (really? But this is fiction, none of it is real). He slyly suggests that perhaps his book is based on a true story, only that, in the real version, Robbie died in Europe of septicemia, and the sister he's in love with dies in a London air raid. The whole scene where her sister sees them together and remarks in the book's most haunting phrase that, "I remember how easy they were together", nurturing a picture of the possibility of happiness, despite terrible circumstances and horrible suffering all around them. But it has been a mere fantasy of the same girlish mentality that brought about the impossibility of it ever having a chance of coming true n the first place. A picture of bliss she uses to torture herself with the knowledge that her crime destroyed what could have been an island of love in a sea of hate.
I bring this up because I find analogies in trifles and parallels where they're not. This one has to do with the unmitigated evil of another Bush era, the possibility of it woven by a web of lies, being thrust upon us once again by that same Machiavellian monster, the conniving spider Karl Rove.
While Jebgeorge Bush claims that science is intellectual arrogance, his self-serving lies, as in Atonement, have repercussion that destroys lives. In just this week alone:
Fairbanks, Alaska, will Start the Weekend Warmer Than Phoenix.
Drought urgency hits rain country: Washington governor declares state emergency.
Arctic Sea Ice At Historic Low.
The Blob of hot ocean water now expands from Gulf of Alaska to Baja California.
Heat is Piling Up in the Depths of the Indian Ocean.
Glaciers in part of Antarctic thought to be stable suddenly melting at a massive rate, say scientists, causing a sudden onset of ice loss so large it affects Earth's gravity field (the likeliest impact being sea level rise along the northeast coast of the US).
May’s torrential rainstorms super-charged by strengthening climate patterns.
Americans are crowding into future heatwave zones, study says (ie, because of denial from liars who know better, citizens foolish enough to believe charlatans are moving to where they will need constant AC, burning ever larger amounts of fossil fuels, because, burning fossil fuels doesn't matter, and it's arrogant to suggest that it does).
Climate change is making California's epic drought worse (So that, like Chile is doing even now, more desalination plants will be built, burning fossils fuels to desalinate water, since snowmelt is already non-existent due to the warmer climate) just one more of the many positive feedback loops created by burning hydrocarbons, and spewing their carbonaceous constituents into the atmosphere.
Burning fossil fuels to generate energy contributes to climate change. Finding and exploiting additional fossil fuels is reckless abandonment of moral responsibility. It is arrogance to think that even Tea Party voters are so stupid they would believe a candidate who has profited, and wishes to continue to profit enormously from the rampant and spreading combustion of fossil fuels, when scientists, who have nothing to gain, and everything to lose, like their jobs, by sounding the alarm are called arrogant by this self-same mamby-pamby silver-spooned Fratbrat so that he can reap even more profits and enable his crony capitalist friends to continue to use the public's funds, to the tune of $5.3 Trillion, to befoul the public's air unabated..
But the Mother of all positive feedback loops is caused by another of the Bush family's and Oil Industry's Denial of Reality: Peak Oil. More and more of the fossil fuels we burn are burned in the search, excavation, and delivery of fossil fuels to where they can be used to do useful work. Like ethanol itself, another Bush crime family debacle, that used public monies to build coal-fired power plants throughout the Midwest, we will soon be at the point where it takes more energy to bring the fuel to market than the energy the market gets from burning the fuel that's delivered. That's why the free-market system is in freefall: denial of reality, the very reason Capitalism was supposedly superior to Communism. It uses demand to deliver supply to where it is needed, but supply-side economics turned all that on its head and mandates that whatever they decide to supply will create the demand for it, because any alternative has been purposely destroyed in the process.
And this is what the arrogant SOB wishes to continue to do, and, despite all his pettifogging denials to the contrary, for one overriding and totally obvious purpose: his own ascendancy. Nothing else matters. He cares not a dash what the hell happens to the rest of us, yet he is hell bent on convincing us that it is he, not those arrogant weasley scientists, who have our best interests at heart. That he has gotten even this far is testament, not to his cleverness, but to the pathetic marshmallow state of our brains.
Remember that repaired vase in Atonement? Well, because our lovelorn heroine must leave home, incapable of living in the same house with the person whose puritanical adolescent machinations got the only man she loved thrown into prison, his reputation forever destroyed, the vase gets moved, which results in this irreplaceable treasure being smashed to smithereens. Such is the nature of lies. They are like ripples on a pond that, once set in motion have consequences that can never be changed simply from the uncovering of the truth the lie was meant to hide. As in the first Bush Brother's Presidency, where even now, President Obama is blamed by the very people who lied to get us embroiled in that disastrous conflagration, knowing beforehand the tremendous profits that would flow to them and the horrific costs that would rebound onto us, asks us to once again, simply ignore the man behind the curtain, and vote for the fiend who panders to your wished-for version of reality instead of the one we're being confronted with everyday now. It is a tone meant to deceive, in dissonance with reality, in consonance with the evil dreams of a man who laughs in your face because he knows you are busily engaged in the process of your own extermination. While He, a member of the Master Class Aristocracy that owns America, need yield to nothing - least of all to the arrogance of the truth. And this continuation of his sibling's lie will have the same effect: it will smash something whose value we underestimate, our world, to bits. But, like the vase in Atonement, and unlike in 2008, it will have no possibility of being cobbled together again.