The Paintings Of George W Bush May Help Save The Planet

by R J Adams     April 9, 2014 at 10:13pm



The future truly does bode ill for us all. As though to mock our disregard for climate change, fate this week delivered us – the paintings of George W Bush.


Bush Selfie


Most ex-world leaders cash in on their status by donning a tuxedo and smoking fat cigars in the company of similar, well-heeled, and usually well-oiled, members of the upper set.

Not for Bush the endless rounds of after-dinner speeches at $100,000 a go. No fat-salaried adviser position to a benevolent corporation for him. Instead, Bush sat comfortably at home, flicking the pages of Wikipedia for ‘official’ images he could copy onto canvas. It truly was a masterstroke, even if the maestro’s brush strokes lacked a certain…well, artistry?

Jonathan Jones, the Guardian’s art critic, recently described Bush’s work as:

…empty headed daubs [that] look the work of someone you wouldn’t trust to mow a lawn without cutting someone’s foot off.”[1]

No doubt, in time, they’ll sell for a fortune. After all, who wouldn’t buy a painting by an ex-president of the United States? Well, apart from me, that is. Or, possibly you. Rest assured, the art world will drag out their fat wallets and checkbooks en masse for the privilege, even while quietly vomiting on the Isfahan rug at the prospect of hanging a ‘Bush’ on their wall.

Back on the subject of climate change, a leaked United Nations report is suggesting that if we’re unable to cut CO2 emissions sufficiently over the next thirty years, we could move to burning wood, rather than coal, capture the greenhouse gases emitted, and store them underground.[2]

It’s not so much daft, as desperate. The science is simple. Trees capture CO2 from the atmosphere. If we burn trees for energy, presumably from ‘sustainable forests’, and hang onto the CO2 given off, we actually produce ‘clean energy’. It’s been advocated for years by the ‘clean coal’ brigade – otherwise known as the coal industry. Of course, the CO2 in coal was captured millions of years ago, so it’s not much help today, but in the minds of coal industry bosses it seemed like a good marketing strategy at the time.

There’s a minor problem with the whole issue. No-one has ever successfully ‘stored’ CO2 from emissions. The coal industry’s tried and failed dismally. The technology just isn’t there. And, even if we could, there has to be a limit to the amount of space available to store it in. After all, we emit three gigatons (that’s three billion tons!) of CO2 each year. Where on earth (literally) do you put it?

This whole report smacks of hopelessness, a grasping of the proverbial straw. And that’s a feeling shared by many other countries (though, admittedly, they’ve failed to come up with any better suggestions):

Government responses…

Some comments on the draft text of the forthcoming UN report:

Russia: “There are no CDR (Carbon Dioxide Removal) technologies by now. In the best case, they are pilot projects and small-scale experiments. [The idea] looks unrealistic.
UK: “[The] technologies [are] not proven and may not be available. There is a significant risk that the [summary document] misleads policy-makers into thinking that mitigation action (cutting emissions) could be delayed with little increased climate risk.
Germany: “Please indicate that CDR technologies are not currently available and would be associated with high risks and adverse side-effects.”

It may not yet be hopeless. Scientists at Yale are presently working on artificial trees…


synthetic_trees

Photo credit: Stonehaven Productions Inc.


…that could each ‘mop up’ a ton of CO2 a day.[3] (The image above is merely an artist’s impression). A mere eighty million or so of these would deal with all the CO2 humans produce yearly. I think they’re rather lovely. I’d just love a forest of these in my backyard. Perhaps planted in copses together with a couple of hundred of those bloody windmills!

And, guess what? The gas they catch still has to be stored somewhere.

Scientists really need to find a way to burn wood without producing CO2. Then our problems would be solved.

We could even begin by saving a few trees. We could burn those ghastly artworks by George W Bush.

[1] “George Bush’s paintings: this is the art of Forrest Gump” Guardian, April 4th 2014

[2] “World ‘needs Plan B’ on climate – IPCC report” BBC, April 8th 2014

[3] “‘Artificial Trees’ as a Carbon Capture Alternative to Geoengineering” Yale Climate Change Forum, February 13th 2013

R J Adams     April 9, 2014 at 10:13pm     2 Comments

Tweeting Is Most Popular Among Bird Brains

by R J Adams     April 8, 2014 at 12:04pm


twitter

I don’t ‘tweet’. I don’t do ‘Facebook’. Wild horses wouldn’t drag me into either. Frankly, I believe Twitter is one of the most obscene forms of communication ever invented. It serves very little purpose other than as an ideal medium for cyber-bullying and a platform for that more commonly virulent of low-lifes, the cyber-critic.

These are the people who spend their time homing in on other unfortunate folk who’ve run into difficulties, and then proceed to criticize their actions – as if it were any of their business.

Take the recent case of Charlotte and Eric Kaufman. This couple and their two children set sail from the US en route to the South Seas in their 36-foot sailing yacht. On board were their two daughters, three-year-old Cora, and one-year-old, Kyra.

Kyra had just recovered from salmonella, and was passed as fit to travel by a doctor. Unfortunately, she became ill again when they were nine hundred miles off the Mexican coast. To compound the situation, the yacht developed steerage problems.

The Kaufmann’s did the exact right thing in the circumstances by asking for assistance from the US Coastguard. The California Air National Guard parachuted four rescuers onto the yacht and Kyra’s condition was stabilized. Eventually a US warship was able to attend and take the sick child to a shore-based hospital.

Sadly, for the Kaufmann’s, it would appear from reports that their boat was sunk ‘by the authorities’ because it was taking on water. This was their home. As one who lived afloat for twelve years I feel deeply sorry for them. Maybe they can find another boat and continue their journey. I do hope so.

Meanwhile, the bird brains are filling the internet with their ignorant criticisms of the Kaufmann’s way of life.

It would be very sad if this deluge of opprobrium, ‘tweeted’ from every sad bastard with a Smartphone, condemning these parents for daring to take their young children on the journey of a lifetime, caused them to give up on their trip.

I’m not sure if (anti) social-media like Twitter has created this race of sad, moronic, individuals with no life of their own, whose only sick pleasure is to express their ignorance via arrogant opinions of others they’ve never met, and know nothing about. Or, whether they’ve always existed and only surfaced with the advent of digitized communication.

I fear it is the latter.

There was a time when folk were encouraged to ‘live their dream’. Now, it seems non-conformism is to be condemned.

As one who spent many happy hours sailing small boats on the open sea I can recognize the voices of those who are totally ignorant on the subject. Inevitably, they’re the ones who whine the loudest.

If you’re one of them, my only advice to you is – GET A LIFE! And leave alone others who are making more of an effort at living their’s, than you will ever achieve with yours.

[1] “Stranded Family With Sick Baby Defends Rescue” NBC, April 7th 2014

R J Adams     April 8, 2014 at 12:04pm     No Comments

Stop Press: Does Bill Maher Clone His Right-Wing Female Panelists?

by R J Adams     April 5, 2014 at 11:03pm



I really will have to stop watching Bill Maher if he continues to insist on booking women for his panel with voices that can only be described as resembling a recently castrated parrot choking on a walnut.

I have no idea who Carrie Sheffield is, but she’s yet another clone of last week’s, and the previous week’s – except this one is brunette and indoctrinated, rather than the usual blonde (dyed) and, of course, imbued with right-wing ideology.


Carrie Sheffield1


Apparently, Ms Sheffield (there’s a fabulous northern town in Britain which would rapidly disown her) was educated(?) – at Brigham Young University. Do Mormons actually educate their offspring? Does she really believe Joseph Smith was a prophet? If so, is anything she says worth – anything?

She then acquired a Master’s degree in “public policy”(?) from Harvard. Obviously, Daddy was very rich.

I would suggest Ms Sheffield might bear a passing facial resemblance to Morticia Adams of “Adams Family” fame, except I could not be so cruel to the wonderful, and sadly now departed, Carolyn Jones, who played the part so adroightly for many years.

To partner Ms Sheffield on the ‘right’ of his panel, Maher chose a geriatric republican ex-politician whose name escapes me. They made a perfect match.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that while Maher’s quick-fire jokes on the sad decline of the American middle class may be well meaning, the sad fact is that those about whom they were directed are no longer in a position to pay the exorbitant fees demanded by HBO to receive their programming, thus rendering his wit worthless and redundant.

It must be noted that those who laughed the loudest were sitting on the panel. It’s likely every one of them was a millionaire, or, at least well on the way.


R J Adams     April 5, 2014 at 11:03pm     1 Comment

Climate Change: Majority Of US Public Still Have Heads Up Backsides

by R J Adams     April 5, 2014 at 11:01pm



It was last Monday – March 31st – that the BBC ran a report quoting the US Secretary of State John Kerry:


John_Kerry_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait


“Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy. Denial of the science is malpractice.
“There are those who say we can’t afford to act. But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic.”[1]

Kerry was responding to the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Cimate Change) report, and while CNN and other cable channels ran generally negative responses, it had to be noted that, while recent reaction by Fox News to the IPCC report has been very negative, back in February FoxNews.Com published surprisingly neutral coverage of Kerry’s speech to students and government officials, during his tour of Indonesia.[2]

CNN, continuing its downwards trend towards becoming the favorite entertainment of morons, only managed two minutes coverage of the latest climate report, slightly less than Fox, substantially less than MSNBC and Al Jazeera.

ipcc-chart


Evening news media was equally apathetic. NBC was the only one to devote any time at all to the subject. CBS and ABC ignored it in favor of mundane matters. CBS Evening News closed on March 31st with a cute little story about migrating cranes from Nebraska’s Platte River, even roping in Jane Goodall for authenticity. It seemed designed to make us feel all was right with the world.

While acts of omission – so common with US media – are bad enough, the true termite gnawing away at the foundations of climate science must be the irresponsible and loathsome Newt Gingrich.


Newt Gingrich


Gingrich demanded Kerry’s resignation for daring to suggest that climate change represented “…the biggest challenge “of our generation.”

According to CNN:

“I think it’s very troubling that our secretary of state … believes that climate change is a greater danger than a nuclear war,” Gingrich said Tuesday in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.”[3]

Kerry was absolutely correct. What he actually said was (thanks to FoxNews.com):

“In a sense, climate change can now be considered the world’s largest weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even, the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

If Gingrich truly believes nuclear war is more of a threat than climate change he’s not only suffering delusions, but his power and position make him exceedingly dangerous to the world at large. Remember, he ran for US President in the last election.

Nuclear weapons are, at least to some degree, under the control of human beings. We, the species, decide on their use. The climate is totally out of control and we lack the power to tame it. Any attempt to do so, other than by drastically altering our lifestyles, would undoubtedly prove catastrophic.

Chucking tons of iron filings in the sea; rocketing giant mirrors into space, and other equally crazy notions put forward by quack pseudo-scientists, would likely throw the climate so far out of balance as to annihilate every living creature on the planet.

Much has been made since 9/11 of the ‘enemies of the US’ and, indeed, the world. There’s no shortage of media minutes devoted to any story of potential terrorism, however vague and tenuous.

It could be argued that Gingrich and his “Flat Earth Society” friends are substantially more of a threat to the world than any terrorist. A religious fanatic may kill some of us, but if Gingrich and Co are let loose in the powerhouse, they could be the death of us all.

To again quote the US Secretary of State John Kerry (FoxNews.com):

“We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts.

“Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits.

“The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”

The vast majority of Americans rely solely on US news channels for their information. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Americans are “…still unconcerned about global warming.”

The latest opinion poll (March 2014) shows that the percentage (35%) of US citizens worried about climate change hasn’t changed since 1990. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans say they worry “only a little” or “not at all” about global warming, while more than half the Democrats say they worry about it “a great deal.”[4]

Isn’t it time the US media began delivering news, rather than propaganda? Why is it left to outside news agencies like the BBC and Al Jazeera, organizations the average American never bothers to consult?

The rest of the world is informed about climate change. Foreign news agencies consider it more important than migrating cranes. For a nation that likes to consider itself in charge of the world, the US, with its media network of public misinformation, is leading us all into catastrophe.

Given the lethargy and ignorance of most Americans towards climate change, Gingrich could possibly regain his political career in the next election, leaving Democrats like John Kerry out in the cold.

If that were to happen, nothing could save us from potential oblivion.

[1] “Climate inaction catastrophic – US” BBC, March 31st 2014

[2] “Secretary of State Kerry lashes out at climate change skeptics” FoxNews.com, February 16th 2014

[3] “Newt Gingrich to John Kerry: Resign” CNN.com, February 18th 2014

[4] “Poll: Americans Still Unconcerned About Global Warming”USNews, April 4th 2014

R J Adams     April 5, 2014 at 11:01pm     1 Comment

Musings On A Sunday Afternoon

by R J Adams     March 30, 2014 at 10:05pm



If there’s one time I’d rather not be out in my yard (and I mean anywhere on our forty acres) it’s on a Sunday afternoon – particularly in the summertime. I live in a rural, forested, area with a scant population with even scantier employment prospects.

There’s a Christian church just half a mile down the road. It’s the sort of place where – to quote Philippians 4:7, “…the peace of God… passeth all understanding.”


church


Or, at least, it should. But not on a Sunday afternoon.

There aren’t too many parishioners. The local pastor and his flock are somewhat geographically diverse. Nonetheless, the little car park is full to overflowing most Sunday mornings as the faithful gather for worship.

Not being a believer myself, I’ve no idea with which sermonical subjects the pastor chooses to bewitch his flock each seventh day. However, despite my non-attendance, I’m quite certain he does not exhort his parishioners to “…go forth this Sabbath afternoon and slaughter every four legged creature sufficiently unfortunate to stumble into thy gunsights.”

Yet, this is exactly what they do. Church, home, Sunday dinner, gun, forest, commence blasting, though, not necessarily in that order. All one can be sure of is that “Church” comes first.

Welcome to Christianity, American style.


Christian Principles

Click to enlarge


On Sunday afternoons I prefer not to wander outside in case I catch a stray bullet.

According to Victor Tan Chen, a fellow of sociology at UC Berkeley, unemployed Americans blame themselves for their predicament and see themselves as failures.

According to a BBC report:

Experts tell the BBC that job seekers in the US are now, more than ever, blaming themselves for being out of work, due in part to misconceptions about what it takes to succeed in America…the American Dream thrived in the 1950s, a period of booming manufacturing and a burgeoning American middle class.

But new rules started to take shape in the 1970s with the rise of globalisation and automation, Chen says.

Companies faced greater competition and unions began to lose power. Manufacturing jobs were replaced by service sector opportunities with lower wages. And nearly overnight, factory towns – where employers lived among the men and women they employed – were replaced by global enterprises.

The isolation of elite managers grew, and their sense of public engagement diminished, Chen explains.

“Now it’s more by yourself, being on your own, sink or swim,” he adds.

It really doesn’t take a degree in sociology to work that one out. American life revolves around competition. Winning is all important. But for every winner there has to be x number of losers, otherwise the ‘winner’ simply couldn’t win.


competition-monopoly


The American Dream has never been more than a myth. Capitalism was sold to the world as the ‘Great Opportunity’. The sky was the limit. You could be anything you wanted to be, if you just worked hard enough, and there was no better place to achieve success than in America.

The truth was that America was no different than anywhere else. Entrepreneurs have arisen from every corner of the globe. Americans were educated to believe their country was the greatest, way better than any other, much as the British were during the days of Empire.

Capitalism must always be ultimately self-defeating. At its core is the doctrine of wealth by purloining money from the less well off. Take, for example, the Walton family of Walmart fame; they became one of the wealthiest in the world by coining their immense income from the wage packets of the lowest paid in society.


Walmart

Click to enlarge


To succeed as a capitalist you have to rise to a position where you can procure money from the masses. In essence, capitalism can’t thrive without vast numbers of ordinary working people. When it stops thriving, those poor people end up out of work, have no money to spend in Walmart, and the whole system spirals into recession.

Sadly, in that situation, the concept of the “American Dream” backfires, showering shame and a sense of failure on those who, in reality, are merely the victims of a capitalist society where greed is the sole motivation.

There is, however, one aspect of capitalism that appears a one hundred percent success. However poverty-threatened they may be, good Christian folks can still find the cash to buy the bullets to slaughter any creature sufficiently unfortunate to stray near my backyard on a Sunday afternoon.

“American Dream breeds shame and blame for job seekers” BBC, March 25th 2014

R J Adams     March 30, 2014 at 10:05pm     2 Comments

What The Hell Is The Matter With Bill Maher?

by R J Adams     March 24, 2014 at 5:06pm


BillMaher


This one-time satirical comedian, always happy to have a go at the US Establishment, prepared to stand up and fight for the ordinary Joe, appears to be slowly moving into the very circles he once lambasted.

Of course, despite his irreligious protestations, we all know he’s Jewish. Consequently, criticism of Israel is verboten in his company, and he’ll find any excuse to rail against the Palestinian cause. Despite this obvious character defect, in the past I’ve always been prepared to forgive his occasional rants on the subject, as on other matters we’re in agreement ninety percent of the time.

However, his last show (Friday, March 21st) left me scratching my head in sheer disbelief. His first guest was the documentary film-maker Errol Morris. Morris has recently completed, “The Unknown Known”, a documentary on George W Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

It’s hard to imagine that Maher would show anything other than utter contempt towards a man responsible for the deaths of four thousand US military personnel and an uncountable number of Iraqi civilians, in what must surely rank as the greatest US blunder in its history (though Vietnam came close!) – at least, up until the time of writing.

Contrary to my expectations, Maher positively leapt to Rumsfeld’s defense, leaving Errol Morris feeling decidedly uncomfortable. (Transcript below):

Maher: You know, I’ve got to say — I think, you know, if we’re ever going to get anything done in this country, we have to not hate everybody who doesn’t agree with us all the time. This is guy who to me is like the anti-Bush. Bush was the guy who said, ‘I don’t do nuance,’ remember? This guy does nuance on everything. I mean, the title of the movie, “The Known Unknown.” What is his quote there that you took and made a whole movie about? ‘There are things we know that we don’t know, things we don’t know that we’ — I couldn’t even fucking follow it. But Donald Rumsfeld is a guy who thinks about things.
Morris: I wouldn’t go that far.
Maher: Really?
Morris: Really.
Maher: He doesn’t think about things? He put out 20,000 memos in his time.
Morris: There is thinking about things and then there’s obfuscating and evading things.
Maher: Yeah, there’s some of that, but…
Morris: Some of that? What are you talking about? That’s all that there is. There is nothing more.
Maher: I disagree. I don’t see him as the worst. First of all, I don’t see him as a giant egomaniac. You asked him [about] the Iraq War. Would it have been better if we never went at all? He said, ‘time would tell.’ Most other people in the Republican Party say, ‘absolutely, no doubt. It was the greatest thing we’ve ever did.’ ‘I don’t know. We’ll see.’ That’s his view of a lot of things.
Morris: ‘Time will tell,’ what kind of an answer is that really?
Maher: That’s a real answer.
Morris: No, it isn’t. I’m very, very sorry.
Maher: Really, you mean history has never judged anything over more than 10 years?
Morris: Look, someone suggests that they may not like your policies, may not like the war. What do you say? You say, ‘well, let’s wait a while, say 100 trillion years and then maybe we’ll find an adequate justification for what we’ve done.’ Maybe it will all turn out. Maybe we won’t be here anymore.’
Maher: So there’s nothing in between 10 years and 100 billion years, you see?
Morris: A small amount.
Maher: Well, I mean, ok, I will not concede that point. But we can agree to disagree.

There was more, but you get the gist…

Nothing fades more rapidly in the public consciousness than recent history, and it seemed Maher had totally forgotten that Rumsfeld, his deputy, Wolfowitz, Cheney, and a number of others who found cosy employment within the administration of George W Bush, were all supporters of William Kristol’s….


Bill-Kristol


…and Robert Kagan’s…


Robert_Kagan


…”Project for the New American Century”.

Wikipedia lists eighteen PNAC ‘members’ who served in GW Bush’s administration.[1]

Only a few weeks ago, Maher had Kristol as one of his guests. The PNAC was never mentioned. When Maher railed generally about the cost of all the recent military interventions and wars, Kristol returned:

It’s the price we have to pay for being the world’s policeman.”

Since when has America been the ‘official’ world’s policeman? It’s not. Remember INTERPOL? No, not the band! The International Criminal Police Organization, into whose hands the tracking down and arresting of those behind the 9/11 attacks should have been squarely placed. They ARE the world’s policemen.[2]

Maher totally ignored Kristol’s comment, never questioned it, and changed the subject.

Among other nasty things, the PNAC supported US world domination by dramatically increasing military spending ($15 – $20 billion increase annually) in order to:

ESTABLISH FOUR CORE MISSIONS for the U.S. military:

Defend the American homeland;
Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;
Perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;
Transform U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs”.

Far from treating the 9/11 attacks as a horrible event deserving swift intervention by the FBI and other international police forces, the PNAC saw it as a great opportunity, almost God-given considering their written statement only twelve months previous, that their aims would be difficult to achieve “…absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor”.

I would not venture to suggest there was any collusion by the PNAC in the actual events of 9/11. Evidence for such, if there is any, is yet to be discovered, and the true facts of the attacks may well not be uncovered for decades, if at all. Indeed, it may well be the truth is already public knowledge.

However, there can be no doubt that Rumsfeld and associates cold-bloodedly used that horrific day to their own ends – resulting in the invasion of Iraq and the lasting devastation of that nation.

Not only was Rumsfeld complicit, he masterminded the whole show from his position as Secretary of Defense.

To this day he shows no remorse. Errol Morris indicated his view of Rumsfeld was that of an evil man: cold, deliberating, unfeeling and uncaring.

Maher describes him as “…a man who thinks about things.”

What Maher, perhaps, fails to recognize is that many of history’s most evil men were individuals who “thought about things.”

Despite my ongoing criticisms of Bill Maher I’ve not yet given up on him. His production company, “Bill Maher Productions,” has recently launched a new series on HBO, “VICE”. The first program laid bare the facts of Greenland’s ice-melt, and exposed the ‘bond’ system in Pakistan that keeps whole families in slavery.

There can be no doubt that Maher earns his money – $23million at the last count. Unfortunately, with money comes power, and a gradual consorting with others of similar fortune. This inevitably leads to a process of acceptance blinding to the shortcomings of those with equal, or even more, wealth and power.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” was a quote of the 1st Baron Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, in April 1887. We all know it.

Less well known is another of the baron’s quotations:

There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men.”

Donald Rumsfeld undoubtedly committed the most monstrous of errors. Is Bill Maher, perhaps, one of those ‘ablest men’ of whom the good Baron Acton was referring?

[1] “PNAC Associations with Bush Administration Wikipedia.

[2] “INTERPOL Wikipedia.

R J Adams     March 24, 2014 at 5:06pm     2 Comments