Thursday, November 3, 2011

Let's Cool Down a Bit

Occupy Wall Street has become the latest major people’s movement. The anger and frustration of millions over the financial system has led people all around the world to leave their homes and hit the streets to protest a system that seems to be working to their disadvantage. These protestors have proved their bravery in standing up to police and military intimidation in order to demonstrate their constitutionally protected rights to peaceably assemble and voice their opinions.
One of these protestors is Scott Olsen, a marine and veteran of two tours of Iraq. During the Occupy Oakland demonstration, Olsen was shot point blank, in the face, while standing still, with a high pressure gas canister gun. When other protestors, who had fled at the sight of these crowd control weapons, rushed to aid their fallen comrade the police responded by throwing a flash bang grenade into the crowd. Olsen is in critical condition and may yet die from injuries sustained during the incident.
The courage and willingness of people like Olsen to stand up for what they believe in is admirable. However, there is a danger of their movement being taken away from them. There is always the potential for this to happen whenever a group of people rise up. A leader or traditional source of power will claim to sympathize with the movement and attempt to ally their power with that of Occupy Wall Street. What they will really want to do is take the energy and enthusiasm generated by the people and bend it to their own means.
It’s a common sequence in the events of human history. The masses of people grow unsatisfied with the status quo and revolt against it. Outside help shows up to give them much needed aid against their domestic enemies. The influence of the outside groups begins to control the movement, usually because they are largely funding it. The real change the people fought for never comes and they just trade one corrupt and abusive institution for another. It happened in Russia and China where communism’s promises of communal sharing and cooperation inspired the people push out the old traditions of royalty and feudalism only to end up citizens of totalitarian states in the end. Recent revolutions in Egypt and Libya have given hope to a new generation, but it remains to be seen how much power changing hands in these countries affects the people’s quality of life.
This seems to be in the cards for Occupy Wall Street as well. President Obama has already talked about harnessing the energy of the movement. One of Barrack’s favorite slogans is ‘crisis is a great time of opportunity.’ The question is, is it a great opportunity for the President to lend his strength and the remnants of his credibility to the legitimate concerns of the occupiers, or is it a great opportunity for him to gain momentum in advancing his own agendas?
If you read my prior piece on how the President hurt me like I thought no one could anymore (, then you know that he has multiple people in his administration with intimate ties to Wall Street. By the way, three of the top six contributors to his 2008 campaign were major Wall Street financial institutions (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Citgroup). In the fall before his election, he urged fellow law-makers to man-up, do what’s right, and give the bankers their demanded ransom bailout they needed to save the economy and prevent martial law in America. Suffice to say, I would not trust the man to direct the Occupy Wall Street movement. He is at least sympathetic to the banking cartels if not bound to serve them.
Occupy Wall Street is reminiscent of another recent people’s movement that was, to me, taken to misguided ends. I am talking about global warming. Before I start talking about global warming I want to make a few things clear. First of all, as a philosophical Daoist, I hold our Mother Earth in the highest regard and I think we should all respect Her as we would God Himself. After living in a city of 20 million people in the heart of Chinese factory country, I know the all too real effects of air pollution. There were stretches of days and weeks where there would be no moon or stars in the night sky because it was so obscured by pollution. The Sun was usually just an ominous glow behind a gray screen. The air tasted terrible. I am not saying in any way that it is ok to pollute.
Second of all, I agree with the following statements about global warming:
  “(1) that global mean temperature is about 0.5 °C higher than it was a century ago; (2) that atmospheric levels of CO2 have risen over the past two centuries; and (3) that CO2 is a greenhouse gas whose increase is likely to warm the earth (one of many, the most important being water vapor and clouds)”
The previous assertions were made by global warming skeptic and climate professor at M.I.T Richard Lindzen. He went to express doubts that the primary driving cause of the recent climate change is manmade carbon dioxide. I likewise accept that the world has warmed and that greenhouse gases have played a part in that warming, but I still have a lot of problems with global warming theory, which remember, it, like evolution and the Big Bang, are just theories and not as yet proven facts.
First, let’s talk about this vile pollutant carbon dioxide. Global warming theory tells us that increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, produced by mass industrialization, is leading to an unnatural warming of the Earth. Carbon dioxide makes up less than half of a percent of our air. Out of this, the part that we produce is less than that of other animals and bacteria, decaying plant matter and CO2 emitted from the ocean. Carbon dioxide isn’t even the most prevalent greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. That honor would go to the gaseous form of dihydrogen oxide, also known as water vapor. These gases are natural to our atmosphere and necessary to sustain life. I have doubts that we are changing the chemistry of Nature as much as we think. Furthermore, a good deal of carbon dioxide is contained physically in plant and animal life and in the ground. This carbon dioxide is part of the natural cycle as well, but its effect is usually not accounted for with the CO2 in the atmosphere and ocean.
But Sam, you say, higher CO2 levels always coincide with higher temperatures over the history of the world. There was the “did they ever fit together” graph from “An Inconvenient Truth,” that showed the two are always linked closely together. Al Gore told us that the relationship is complicated but the single plain truth is that when carbon dioxide levels are high, the temperature is high. What he doesn’t say that in the data from the ice core samples he cites, the CO2 levels lag behind temperature by several hundred years. So, it appears carbon dioxide levels follow temperature variations and not the other way around. All I’m saying is that if carbon dioxide in the air is the primary driving factor behind our recent warming, then it is the first time it has ever happened in the planet’s history.
And I’m not saying it isn’t happening. Greenhouse gases trap sun rays and warm the planet. That is science. But I think this effect is negligible compared to other factors that influence global climate. Not so long ago, scientists were alarming us about the opposite threat. Temperatures steadily fell from the 1940s to the 1970s. This led to some in the scientific community to warn us about the possibility of the coming of a new Ice Age. They said pollution from factories popping up all around the world was blocking sunlight and could lead to a catastrophic cooling of the Earth.
It was when temperatures started to rise that the global warming movement emerged. The same pollution that was cooling the Earth was now warming it, they said. And they didn’t even dare discredit the previous alarmist propaganda. They said that smog did block sunlight and cool the Earth, but around the 1970s the greenhouse gas level reached a tipping point and started to overwhelm the opposite influence.   The same stuff is simultaneously cooling and warming the planet, but warming it slightly more than it is cooling it. They needed to defend the previous science because that explained why temperatures were falling during the post-World War II economic boom when industry was exploding in America, Western Europe, Russia and China and CO2 levels were skyrocketing.
And you can call me silly, but I also think that the Sun also may have something to do with temperatures here on Earth. The Earth and the Sun are locked together in cycles that span tens of thousands of years. Taking 30 years of data and stating with absolute certainty that we are driving the climate is narcissistic to me. There is a relationship between sun spot cycles and temperature change as well, and the Sun affects us in more subtle ways, like the stronger solar wind of an active Sun blocking cosmic particles that interact with water droplets in the atmosphere to form clouds which block sunlight and thus, cool the Earth.
Climate varies naturally and there is not enough evidence yet to say our influence is definitely altering the temperature in a significant way. It has been much hotter and much colder before in the planet’s history. CO2 levels have been much higher and much lower than they are now. The polar ice caps have waxed and waned but never disappeared and the polar bears have survived it all thus far. Medieval England saw both temperatures so warm that grapes flourished all over the island and temperatures just a few hundred years later so cold that the Thames annually froze over.  
My main problem with global warming is its presentation to us. We are asked to accept this without questioning as Gospel truth based on 100 years worth of data. Despite the Sun’s influence on our climate and the natural variance of the Earth’s climate, we are told that if we do not act now to reduce our carbon dioxide output, disasters of all kinds will ensue. At any variation in the climate that seems drastic or unexpected, we rush to find an easy explanation for it and how we can correct it. WE CANNOT CORRECT THE EARTH. Our byproducts may be influencing the climate and they may not be, but if we try to interfere with natural processes, we will all eventually be left in their wake.
This is a political movement and not a scientific one. Do you know how I know that? Science observes the natural world and makes notes. Then, science tries to reproduce the results that science sees. If science’s observations are consistent and easily reproducible by other science, then a law of the universe has been derived. Science does not look for the answers it wants. Science does not have agendas. Whenever one side of the issue has all the public support and funding, unbiased research becomes impossible, and science cries.
A lot of global warming defenders propose the line of thinking that even if manmade carbon dioxide isn’t causing unnatural warming, isn’t it best to be on the safe side? I hear the same kind of thing espoused frequently by devout Christians. Even if I’m wrong, they tell me, it makes no difference to me, but if you’re wrong you’re going to burn (kind of funny, no?) for all eternity. This is no way science is defended. This shows that the global warming and environmental movements are more religions, or at least ideologies.  This should be about the search for truth and not about fervently defending your stance and vehemently attacking dissenting voices. Again, science cries.
To me, it’s ok to say, “Hey, we really don’t understand all the factors behind climate change, but we think humans might be negatively affecting it,” but it’s not ok to say, “This is definitely what’s going on and it’s not ok to suggest otherwise.” Such strong, unbending assertions do not usually stand the test of time and scientific progress.
So, what’s the point of all this? What are the political agendas of global warming? The first objective is to limit the amount of pollution corporations and countries can produce. I am all for this, but there are darker sides to this altruistic measure. These imposed limitations have given rise to the carbon offset market where large industrial companies can buy carbon credits and pollute as much as they want. These carbon offsets are paid to companies that plant an acre of grass in Africa or some trees in Canada to cancel out the factories’ negative effects on the environment. Did I mention AL Gore is heavily invested in many of these carbon offset and green energy companies that benefit most from global warming provisions enacted by the government?
Another agenda of global warming still in the works is a global tax on everyone depending on how much carbon you produce. We will eventually be taxed extra for the gas we consume, for our pets and livestock, even for our children. Kids are notorious carbon dioxide producers. They actually exhale it from their mouths!
There is a third effect that is sinister if intended and still cruel luck if by coincidence. Based on global warming concerns, the UN is telling the 3rd world countries that if they want to develop they must do it with clean energy. Meaning, if Africa wants to industrialize their economy and make power available to some of the 90% of its people with no electricity, they will have to do it with solar panels and wind turbines. Harnessing these natural energies is a key to our future, but forcing the poorest people in the world to use power sources that as of now are expensive and unreliable is wrong.
It is my worry that the Occupy Wall Street movement will one day be used also for motives ulterior to the people behind the movement. Last week, the Vatican announced that it was siding with the protestors and advocated a “One World Bank” system that would regulate all others and prevent future abuses. This is what I’m talking about people. The Occupy Wall Street movement has to stay focused on the real problems and not be bought off by magical solutions that fall into their laps.
This bank of the world would have greater regulatory banks over its subsidiaries around the world and theoretically have greater powers to monitor them for corruption as well. So, the easy answer for the Occupy Wall Street movement is a consolidated super bank controlling all the world’s economies and run by the same crooks behind our current problems.
A central, global bank is exactly what these boogiemen want. If they ever came out and proposed it as their own idea, though, the public would see the obvious scam and react with outrage. Instead, they will trick us in to begging them for it, thrusting ourselves at their feet and begging them to save the world economy, then accepting only grudgingly, as if they’re doing us a favor. The people who control the power and the money in the world hate competition, and instituting a collective world bank would essentially eliminate all free market competition between banks. Elitist patriarch John D. Rockerfeller once quipped, “Competition is a sin.” This isn’t about preserving capitalism; it’s about preserving our economic freedom.
If a global regulating banking institution is an end result in the Occupy Wall Street saga, we will know this people’s movement was hijacked like the many before it. It is important to exercise our rights once in a while if only to remind the authority figures that we know we still have them. Anger and frustration and outrage can fuel the beginning of a movement, but these emotions aren’t good for sustaining progress.
It’s time to take a deep breath and reevaluate what this movement is all about. If there isn’t a focus on the real problems, if there is a lack of objectives or direction, then the enthusiasm and energy of the people will eventually be railroaded to fuel the causes and initiatives of another.  

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