Wednesday, September 18, 2019

It probably was not Iran

Even after the US pointed its finger at Iran, Saudi Arabia said it is not yet known who bombed its facilities. It is not popular among progressives, Democrats, liberals, to say a kind word about our dis-illustrious leader. But Trump has done much better at resisting the call to bomb Iran than I would have given him credit for. Now ABC News has said that Iran admits doing it, but Iran's words clearly said it was Yemen. And Saudi Arabia has offered "evidence" that it was Iran. Still Trump has not attacked. I hope he continues to resist.  

Friday, September 13, 2019

Big Brother getting Bigger


By Mike Adams | 2 July 2019
NATURAL NEWS — By late 2020, Google’s Chrome browser will automatically block all so-called anti-cancer, “anti-vax” and anti-GMO websites as part of Google’s collapse into a Monsanto/Pharma criminal cartel. Users who want to visit websites that expose the scientifically-validated risks and potential harm of vaccines, chemotherapy, glyphosate or GMOs will have to switch to alternative browsers and search engines, since the Google.com search engine is already in the process of eliminating all such websites from its search results.
Within a year or so, the Google Chrome browser won’t even allow a user to visit sites like NaturalNews.com without changing the browser’s default settings. The only websites accessible through Chrome will be those which are “approved” to promote mass medication, chemotherapy, pesticides, vaccines, fluoride, 5G cell towers and other poisons that enrich powerful, globalist corporations while dumbing down the population.
This is the conclusion from a high-level source that told Natural News months ago about the coming purge of organics and natural health websites from Google — a purge that accelerated last week with the removal of Mercola.com and thousands of other natural health sites from Google search results.
The situation has become so insane that now Google is pushing search suggestions like “organics is a lie” and “supplements are bad.” Google’s algorithm has already been trained to claim that “GMOs are good” and “chiropractic is fake.” See the shocking proof here[…]

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

If all you are interested in is restoring the status quo, which is "make it the way it was when Obama was pres," you might as well give up politics and flow with the tide. We are in the greatest struggle in human history, to determine once and for all who will control this planet. People of the ilk of Biden, Harris, and Warren will take you to 2011, or the most restorable version of it. In the meantime, the far-right agenda will continue to consolidate the world over. In a lot less time than most imagine, we will be as serfs, with a lot less say about our lives than historical serfs employed and the destructive acts of fossil fuel companies, military and enterprises like big pharma continue unchecked. Bernie Sanders is but the tip of a sword. Without a general awakening of enough people, the 2024 election likely will be a mere formality, even if Sanders gets elected in 2020. In my view, we get measurably nearer extinction by the day.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

From Bernie's newsletter

BERN NOTICE: CNN Climate Town Hall -- Compare Bernie's Green New Deal With Other Plans

Here are the specific ways Bernie's climate plan differs from all other candidates' proposals

Tonight is CNN’s climate town hall and all of the top polling Democratic candidates have now released their proposals to deal with climate change. That means we can definitively confirm what The Guardian has reported: namely, that Bernie’s Green New Deal “is much more aggressive than other candidates’” climate plans.
Bernie’s initiative is not a “middle ground” plan. On the contrary, as famed environmentalist Bill McKibben declared: Bernie’s plan “is remarkable — it shows what simply must be done to meet the challenge.”
Bernie’s plan differs from all the other candidates’ plans in some distinct ways. For example:
• Bernie’s Green New Deal is the only plan that bans all fracking:Vox reported that a “recent spike in global methane levels that’s putting climate targets at risk may be coming from US oil and gas fracking.” An EPA study “found scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing activities can impact drinking water resources.” Unlike other candidates, Bernie’s plan would completely ban fracking. Full stop.
• Bernie’s Green New Deal is the only plan that holds fossil fuel corporations and executives legally liable for knowingly destroying the environment: Bernie has said that “fossil fuel executives should be criminally prosecuted for the destruction they have knowingly caused.” While Sen. John Cornyn — whose top collective donor is the fossil fuel industry — expressed outrage at this idea, the Huffington Post recently reported that a new YouGov poll found “nearly 62% of voters said they’d support legal liability for energy companies or utilities ‘if it could be proven that they misled the public about the consequences of climate change.’”
• Bernie’s Green New Deal is the only plan that removes the corporate profit motive from electricity production — and makes it green and virtually free after a decade: Unlike other candidates’ plans, Bernie’s Green New Deal doesn’t rely on private utilities that have helped create the climate crisis. Instead, it is the only plan that will expand the federal government’s existing energy-production agencies and make their clean energy virtually free after a decade.
• Bernie’s Green New Deal is the only plan that does not rely on Wall Street schemes to fix the climate crisis Wall Street helped create: Studies show that Wall Street giants have for years been among the largest financial supporters of fossil fuel development. Bernie’s Green New Deal invests directly in renewable energy — and unlike other candidates’ plans, it does not rely on Wall Street behemoths to solve the climate crisis that they helped create and that they still profit from. Instead, it discourages fossil fuel investments by establishing new financial rules that will press hedge funds, private equity funds, insurance companies, and other institutional investors to divest their fossil fuel holdings. 
• Bernie’s Green New Deal is the only plan that explicitly details exactly how America will meet United Nations IPCC targets to avert climate catastrophe: Unlike other candidates’ plans, Bernie’s Green New Deal is the only one that shows precisely how it would actually meet emissions reductions that are consistent with the goals of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
• Bernie’s Green New Deal is the only plan that creates 20 million jobs: Bernie’s Green New Deal is not just a plan to fight climate change — it also is a full-employment program that will create far more jobs than plans put forward by any other candidate.
As you watch tonight’s town hall, remember the words of the Sunrise Movement’s Garret Blad, who told CNBC: “Sanders’ plan sets the tone…He sets the bar higher for the other candidates.”
Bern after reading,
Sirota

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Obama: a must read

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/american-history-for-truthdiggers-the-obama-disappointment/?fbclid=IwAR0KpyKjba5pxSe4p02T0tmToSXV4BT6S2aL16E_QwRFPs1HVmLpMmMvLvI

About the author of the piece:

Danny Sjursen, a regular contributor to Truthdig, is a retired U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, “Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.” He lives in Lawrence, Kan. Follow him on Twitter at@SkepticalVet and check out his podcast, “Fortress on a Hill,” co-hosted with fellow vet Chris “Henri” Henrikson.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


The key to Warren's rise among the Dem establishment and affluent white liberals is assuring them she will do enough to keep the pitchforks at bay, but not enough to actually shift power out of their hands. cc
#RISING FULL: youtube.com/watch?v=Xc4RML

Thursday, August 22, 2019

A Trip to the Drugstore

I went to the relatively new drugstore, just up the street, today. I was alone and the person at the front register was alone. She was brown-skinned, petit, pretty. She asked if I needed help. I asked her if she could help me find some empty spritz bottles. After she helped me get a couple of those, I asked if they had products for dogs. At the pet section, it turned out they did not carry what I was looking for. I was beginning to sense she did not trust me. So, I went straight to the register and let her ring up my purchase of nearly five dollars. She tried to toss the change into my hand and jerked her hand away looking like she might be trying to avoid touching me, or else afraid I would grab her if she moved too slowly. The change scattered. We rounded it up. Thinking about the circumstances that could make her so distrustful, including lustful men and the racially prejudiced, I wanted to say to her, "I'm sorry;" but I knew it would set off some kind of alarm within her and so I just left. It's a terrible world when we can't simply live, without constantly being on the lookout for those who would hurt us. I wonder how this person feels at the end of the day, after these random encounters with strangers. She probably needs lots of downtime to recover. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vote Blue No Matter -?

People saying vote blue no matter who will never grasp what is at stake here. It's necessary to actually move to undo the past thirty years before anything can get better. A deadhead like Biden or a Hillary clone like Harris can only place-hold until the next incarnation of Trump comes along. And only one candidate comes close to that description.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Racists

Racism is so deeply ingrained in cultures, or just pockets of cultures, because we evolved as territorial animals. Racists resent the presence of those too different, because it represents an invasion against their kind. Some of us have evolved beyond it, others not. In racist cultures, progressive thought is repressed and even stomped on. Unrelenting pressure to conform likely stifles many a potential progressive, to the extent the individual would not recognize themself, were their progressive tendencies pointed out. It is not possible, in my opinion to reform the true racist, but only to repress the need of the racist to act out their racism in public. The only way I know to do this is to beat them at the ballot box and push them down the scale enough to keep it to themselves.

Progressives are not immune to territoriality. Any dominant group has need to control a tendency to lord it over those of lesser influence. Yin and yang?

Friday, August 9, 2019

Joe Biden

Do actual voters really support this guy? If so, I would dearly love to know why.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

2020 is Make or Break

Our nation was formed by invading white men, who swept over the continent, where it became the United States, displacing and killing off Native American nations, importing black slaves and displacing Mexicans from vast tracts of land. Persons with dark skin were not worth much, in their view. The government was essentially conservative. During a few decades of the 20TH Century, liberalism took hold, but rather quickly became dislodged, by the same conservatism that ruled before the Great Depression. Liberalism had given The New Deal, which created public works and built infrastructure, as well as dealing programs for the public as a whole, making possible Social Security and Medicare, paid by taxes that even the rich had to pay. Passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Roosevelt wanted to push for more, but he died a sudden death, before he could get started on it.

The conservatism that began killing off the New Deal was fueled by corporate treachery that sought to not just kill off as much safety net as could be gotten rid of, but to bully and brainwash the nation, transforming the people into a sea of compliant animals, to be worked as cheaply as possible, to allow corporate interests to keep all of the profit the people's efforts could generate: a nation of livestock is the ultimate aim, with no will and no right to think and act independently. Anything challenging their right to maximum profit, in every line of endeavor, will eventually be stamped out.

A progressive movement, aggressively believed in by the people, might challenge this scenario. But, right now, people may be unhappy, but I don't see that enough are woke enough to get on board. We should rise up, as did the population of Puerto Rico; perhaps there might be some hope for us.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Truthdig one of the sane ones

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-demobilization-of-americans-is-a-surreal-tragedy/

As I turn 75, there’s no simpler way to put it than this: I’m an old man on a new planet — and, in case it isn’t instantly obvious, that’s not good news on either score.

I still have a memory of being a camp counselor in upstate New York more than half a century ago. I was perhaps 20 years old and in charge of a cabin of — if I remember rightly — nine-year-old campers. In other words, young as they were, they were barely less than half my age. And here’s what I remember most vividly: when asked how old they thought I was, they guessed anything from 30 to 60 or beyond. I found it amusing largely because, I suspect, I couldn’t faintly imagine being 60 years old myself. (My grandmother was then in her late sixties.) My present age would have been off the charts not just for those nine year olds, but for me, too. At that point, I doubt I even knew anyone as old as I am now.

Yet here I am, so many decades later, with grandchildren of my own. And I find myself looking at a world that, had you described it to me in the worst moments of the Vietnam War years when I was regularly in the streets protesting, I would never have believed possible. I probably would have thought you stark raving mad. Here I am in an America not just with all the weirdness of Donald Trump, but with a media that feeds on his every bizarre word, tweet, and act as if nothing else were happening on the face of the Earth. If only.

A Demobilizing World


In those Vietnam years, when a remarkable range of people (even inside the military) were involved in antiwar protests, if you had told me that, in the next century, we would be fighting unending wars from Afghanistan to Somalia and beyond I would have been shocked. If you had added that, though even veterans of those wars largely believe they shouldn’t have been fought, just about no one would be out in the streets protesting, I would have thought you were nuts. Post-Vietnam, how was such a thing possible?

If you had told me that, in those years to come, the American military would be an “all-volunteer” one, essentially a kind of foreign legion, and that those who chose not to be part of it would endlessly “thank” the volunteers for their service while otherwise continuing their lives as if nothing were going on, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had also pointed out that economic inequality in America would reach levels that might have staggered denizens of the Gilded Age, that three Americans would possess the same wealth as the bottom half of society, that a CEO would, on average, make at least 361 times the income of a worker, and that for years there would be no genuine protest around any of this, I would have considered it un-American.

If, in those same years, you had assured me that, in our future, thanks to a crucial Supreme Court decision, so much of the money that had gushed up to the wealthiest 1%, or even .01%, of Americans would be funneled back, big time, into what still passed for American democracy, I would have been stunned. That a 1% version of politics would essentially pave the way for a billionaire to enter the White House, and that, until the arrival of Bernie Sanders in 2016, protest over all this would barely be discernable, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you.

In sum, I would have been amazed at the way, whatever the subject, Americans had essentially been demobilized (or perhaps demobilized themselves) in the twenty-first century, somehow convinced that there was nothing to be done that would change anything. There was no antiwar movement in the streets, unions had been largely defanged, and even the supposed “fascist” in the White House would have no interest in launching a true movement of his own. If anything, his much-discussed “base” would actually be a set of “fans” wearing red MAGA hats and waiting to fill stadiums for the Trump Show, the same way you’d wait for a program to come on TV.

And none of this would have staggered me faintly as much as one thing I haven’t even mentioned yet. Had I been told then that, by this century, there would be a striking scientific consensus on how the burning of fossil fuels was heating and changing the planet, almost certainly creating the basis for a future civilizational crisis, what would I have expected? Had I been told that I lived in the country historically most responsible for putting those carbon emissions into the atmosphere and warming the planet egregiously, how would I have reacted? Had I been informed that, facing a crisis of an order never before imagined (except perhaps in religious apocalyptic thinking), humanity would largely demobilize itself, what would I have said? Had I learned then that, in response to this looming crisis, Americans would elect as president a man who denied that global warming was even occurring, a man who was, if anything, focused on increasing its future intensity, what in the world would I have thought? Or how would I have reacted if you had told me that from Brazil to Poland, the Philippines to England, people across the planet were choosing their own Donald Trumps to lead them into that world in crisis?

Where’s the Manhattan Project for Climate Change?

Here, let me leap the almost half-century from that younger self to the aging creature that’s me today and point out that you don’t have to be a scientist anymore to grasp the nature of the new planet we’re on. Here, for instance, is just part of what I — no scientist at all — noticed in the news in the last few weeks. The planet experienced its hottest June on record. The temperature in Anchorage, Alaska, hit 90 degrees for the first time in history, mimicking Miami, Florida, which was itself experiencing record highs. (Consider this a footnote, but in March, Alaska had, on average, temperatures 20 degrees warmer than usual.) According to figures compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), not just that state but every state in the union has been steadily warming, compared to twentieth-century averages, with Rhode Island leading the way. Europe also just experienced a fierce heat wave — they’re coming ever more often — in which one town in southern France hit a record 115 degrees. India’s sixth-largest city, under its own heat emergency, essentially ran out of water. The sea ice in Antarctica has experienced a “precipitous” fall in recent years that shocked scientists, while a glacier the size of Florida there seems to be destabilizing (bad news for the future rise of global sea levels). As a NOAA study showed, thanks to sea-level rise, flooding in coastal American cities like Charleston, South Carolina, is happening ever more often, even on perfectly sunny days. Meanwhile, the intensity of the rainfall in storms is increasing like the one that dumped a month’s worth of water on Washington, D.C., one recent Monday morning. That one turned “streets into rivers and basements into wading pools,” even dampening the basement of the White House — and such storms are growing more frequent. Oh yes, and the world’s five hottest years on record have all occurred since 2014, with 2019 more or less a surefire add-on to that list on a planet on which the last 406 consecutive months have been warmer than the twentieth-century average. (By the end of the month of January 2019, that same planet in only 31 days had already set 35 records for heat and only two for cold.) And that’s just to start down a longer list of news about climate change or global warming or, as the Guardian has taken to calling it recently, the “climate emergency” or “climate breakdown.”

In response to such a world, sometimes — an exaggeration but not too much of one — it seems as if only the children, mainly high-school students inspired by a remarkable 16-year-old Swedish girl with Asperger syndrome, have truly been mobilizing. With their Friday school strikes, they are at least trying to face the oncoming crisis that is increasingly our world. In a way the adults of that same world generally don’t, they seem to grasp that, by not mobilizing to deal with climate change, we are potentially robbing them of their future.

In that sense, of course, I have no future, which is just the normal way of things. Our lives all end and, at 75, I (kind of) understand that I’m ever closer to stepping off this planet of ours. The question for me is what kind of a planet I’ll be leaving behind for those very children (and their future children). I understand, too, that when it comes to climate change, we face the wealthiest, most powerful industry on the planet, the fossil-fuel giants whose CEOs, in their urge to keep the oil, coal, and natural gas flowing forever and a day, will assuredly prove to be the greatest criminals and arsonists in a history that doesn’t lack for great crimes — and that’s no small thing. (In those never-ending wars of ours, of course, we Americans face some of the next most powerful corporate entities on the planet and the money and 1% politics that go with them.)

Still, I can’t help but wonder: Was the Paris climate accord really the best the planet could do (even before Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of it)? I mean, at 75, I think to myself: Where, when it comes to climate change, is an updated version of the Manhattan Project, the massive government research effort that produced (god save us) the atomic bomb? Or the Cold War version of the same that so effectively got Americans onto the moon and back? It was possible to mobilize at a massive level then, why not now? Imagine what might be done in terms of renewable energy or global projects to mitigate climate change if the governments of Planet Earth were somehow to truly face the greatest crisis ever to hit human life?

Imagine being the Chinese government and knowing that, by 2100, parts of one of your most populous regions, the North China Plain, will likely be too hot to be habitable. Grasping that, wouldn’t you start to mobilize your resources in a new way to save your own people’s future rather than building yet more coal-fired power plants and exporting hundreds of them abroad as well? Honestly, from Washington to Beijing, New Delhi to London, the efforts — even the best of them — couldn’t be more pathetic given what’s at stake.

The children are right. We’re effectively robbing them of their future. It’s a shame and a crime. It’s what no parents or grandparents should ever do to their progeny. We know that, as in World War II, mobilization on a grand scale is possible. The United States proved that in 1941 and thereafter.

Perhaps, like most war mobilizations, that worked so effectively because it had a tribal component to it, being against other human beings. We have little enough experience mobilizing not against but with other human beings to face a danger that threatens us all. And yet, in a sense, doesn’t climate change represent another kind of “world war” situation, though it’s not yet thought of that way?

So why, I continue to wonder, in such a moment of true crisis are we still largely living on such a demobilized world? Why is it increasingly a Trumpian planet of the surreal, not a planet of the all-too-real?

Sunday, July 21, 2019

I never truly grasped tribalism

I know tribalism plays a big part in the divide between left and right. But, every week it seems, the gap widens. The more a figure like Trump shouts ignorance and bigotry, the more his supporters love it. The more he bears down on destruction of once workable programs, the more government caves, even if it means voiding the law. And his people approve all of it. He almost certainly has taken part in raping children, but you would never guess it in right wing circles. He and Bill Clinton, to name only two likelies, are barely mentioned in the same context with the law.

Facts bounce like rubber when presented to the tribal mentality. If they grasp the point at all, it makes no difference. That is why the Trump followers can only be stopped at the polls. The only way to ensure an accurate vote count is to return to the paper ballot. The only way to beat the far right is to vote out not only Republicans, but also the mealy centrist Democrats. For their part in the corruption they should be made to register as Republicans.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Charles Shrugged

When I was still in the Navy, I began reading Ayn Rand and even received the Objectivist Newsletter from her. For about two months, I was enamored of her. Gradually, in the final weeks of my infatuation, I realized I myself was the world she shrugged off. I had been uncomfortable with my fellow objectivist, also a shipmate, as he planned his city founded on Rand's philosophy. I never could see myself, in any capacity, but a manipulated worker, in his schemes. He thought it his right to offer workers anything he chose to offer and they were free to accept or reject, but not free to collectively bargain. He hurt my feelings when he called Bertrand Russell some kind of a hideously unsavory bastard. One day, I asked him if he couldn't imagine the flowers raging against human industry. He looked at me with the sudden cognition that Charles had shrugged off the yoke of Rand's objectivism and I don't recall that we ever spoke again.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Commenting on my last post

I am guessing that Google is unhappy that I am using Brave instead of something like Chrome. The hardware won't let me post a comment to an article on my own blog. I've tried repeatedly to sign in. I want to clarify that I am not advocating for war, just puzzling that so much killing has no real point that I can discern, yet they go on, year after year.

Monday, July 15, 2019

I once tried to follow events in Syria

Early on, I recall Obama urging the opposition to fight Assad's government, with reassurances we would be there for them. As the war cranked up and ground on for a long time, it seemed our focus shifted and eventually the rebels were on their own. "Policy" seemed to shift with the wind. Then, Trump and Putin were okay with Assad remaining in power and we read about final assaults on rebel held positions repeatedly. What am I leaving out of this saga?. Putin moves in, we essentially move out. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Short Strange Era of Human Civilization

Written in 2014
https://chomsky.info/20140904/

The End of History?
The short, strange era of human civilization
would appear to be drawing to a close
Noam Chomsky
In These Times, September 4, 2014
It is not pleasant to contemplate the thoughts that must be passing through the mind of the Owl of Minerva as the dusk falls and she undertakes the task of interpreting the era of human civilization, which may now be approaching its inglorious end.

The era opened almost 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, stretching from the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates, through Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to the Nile Valley, and from there to Greece and beyond. What is happening in this region provides painful lessons on the depths to which the species can descend.

The land of the Tigris and Euphrates has been the scene of unspeakable horrors in recent years. The George W. Bush-Tony Blair aggression in 2003, which many Iraqis compared to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, was yet another lethal blow. It destroyed much of what survived the Bill Clinton-driven U.N. sanctions on Iraq, condemned as “genocidal” by the distinguished diplomats Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, who administered them before resigning in protest. Halliday and von Sponeck’s devastating reports received the usual treatment accorded to unwanted facts.

One dreadful consequence of the U.S.-U.K. invasion is depicted in a New York Times “visual guide to the crisis in Iraq and Syria”: the radical change of Baghdad from mixed neighborhoods in 2003 to today’s sectarian enclaves trapped in bitter hatred. The conflicts ignited by the invasion have spread beyond and are now tearing the entire region to shreds.

Much of the Tigris-Euphrates area is in the hands of ISIS and its self-proclaimed Islamic State, a grim caricature of the extremist form of radical Islam that has its home in Saudi Arabia. Patrick Cockburn, a Middle East correspondent for The Independent and one of the best-informed analysts of ISIS, describes it as “a very horrible, in many ways fascist organization, very sectarian, kills anybody who doesn’t believe in their particular rigorous brand of Islam.”

Cockburn also points out the contradiction in the Western reaction to the emergence of ISIS: efforts to stem its advance in Iraq along with others to undermine the group’s major opponent in Syria, the brutal Bashar Assad regime. Meanwhile a major barrier to the spread of the ISIS plague to Lebanon is Hezbollah, a hated enemy of the U.S. and its Israeli ally. And to complicate the situation further, the U.S. and Iran now share a justified concern about the rise of the Islamic State, as do others in this highly conflicted region.

Egypt has plunged into some of its darkest days under a military dictatorship that continues to receive U.S. support. Egypt’s fate was not written in the stars. For centuries, alternative paths have been quite feasible, and not infrequently, a heavy imperial hand has barred the way.

After the renewed horrors of the past few weeks it should be unnecessary to comment on what emanates from Jerusalem, in remote history considered a moral center.

Eighty years ago, Martin Heidegger extolled Nazi Germany as providing the best hope for rescuing the glorious civilization of the Greeks from the barbarians of the East and West. Today, German bankers are crushing Greece under an economic regime designed to maintain their wealth and power.

The likely end of the era of civilization is foreshadowed in a new draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the generally conservative monitor of what is happening to the physical world.

The report concludes that increasing greenhouse gas emissions risk “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems” over the coming decades. The world is nearing the temperature when loss of the vast ice sheet over Greenland will be unstoppable. Along with melting Antarctic ice, that could raise sea levels to inundate major cities as well as coastal plains.

The era of civilization coincides closely with the geological epoch of the Holocene, beginning over 11,000 years ago. The previous Pleistocene epoch lasted 2.5 million years. Scientists now suggest that a new epoch began about 250 years ago, the Anthropocene, the period when human activity has had a dramatic impact on the physical world. The rate of change of geological epochs is hard to ignore.

One index of human impact is the extinction of species, now estimated to be at about the same rate as it was 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the Earth. That is the presumed cause for the ending of the age of the dinosaurs, which opened the way for small mammals to proliferate, and ultimately modern humans. Today, it is humans who are the asteroid, condemning much of life to extinction.

The IPCC report reaffirms that the “vast majority” of known fuel reserves must be left in the ground to avert intolerable risks to future generations. Meanwhile the major energy corporations make no secret of their goal of exploiting these reserves and discovering new ones.

A day before its summary of the IPCC conclusions, The New York Times reported that huge Midwestern grain stocks are rotting so that the products of the North Dakota oil boom can be shipped by rail to Asia and Europe.

One of the most feared consequences of anthropogenic global warming is the thawing of permafrost regions. A study in Science magazine warns that “even slightly warmer temperatures [less than anticipated in coming years] could start melting permafrost, which in turn threatens to trigger the release of huge amounts of greenhouse gases trapped in ice,” with possible “fatal consequences” for the global climate.

Arundhati Roy suggests that the “most appropriate metaphor for the insanity of our times” is the Siachen Glacier, where Indian and Pakistani soldiers have killed each other on the highest battlefield in the world. The glacier is now melting and revealing “thousands of empty artillery shells, empty fuel drums, ice axes, old boots, tents and every other kind of waste that thousands of warring human beings generate” in meaningless conflict. And as the glaciers melt, India and Pakistan face indescribable disaster.

Sad species. Poor Owl.