We Don’t Want Panic
“I want you to panic. I want you to act like the house is on fire. Because it is.” Greta Thunberg
Growing up as I did in the warm embrace of the National Security State, it was a truism I heard often from my father and others around me that keeping some things secret from the public was necessary because, “We don’t want panic.” Yes, public panic was a dreadful thing, and “the public” couldn’t handle the truth— when it came to cold war warrior biz, especially.
As I grew older and more rebellious, this became a sore point for me. The idea that the public might panic began to seem more anti-democratic, more patronizing and manipulative than it was actually true. Did the public “panic” when the world wars began? Did the public panic during the Cuban Missile Crisis? I grew to despise the whole notion of public panic, honestly, as one more tool to control the people rather than protect them.
Once, at my friend’s wedding reception in Ohio, back in 1980, I was talking to some folks about Mt. St. Helen’s which had just blown its top. I’d hiked the lower parts of that mountain earlier in the spring, and I mentioned to the group that there was a nuclear power plant not far from the volcano. I looked over at my friend’s father– who I knew was a career diplomat– and said, (being pretty ornery, I suppose) “Funny, I haven’t seen that mentioned in any of the news articles.” He answered immediately, and exactly the way I expected, saying, “Well, we wouldn’t want people to panic.”
I let it go at that, ‘cause it was a wedding, after all, and it’s no good to get in a fight with the groom’s dad. But it irks me how deeply the fear of public panic is embedded in our thinking. Government secrecy, except in very special cases of ongoing military or investigative actions, is almost always a cover for some kind of crime. Public panic is just a fookin’ excuse, as far as I can see.
So, the idea that telling the truth about the environmental crisis could cause some kind of harm seems especially absurd to me. The only harm would be to the fossil fuel industry and others that are destroying our future. It seems obvious to me that the only reason to minimize the dangers of climate disruption is to cover up the on-going crime of ecocide by the fossil fuel biz.
Yet, the fear of public panic is embedded deep in the narrative of the Climate Crisis. Even scientists, but especially politicians and media pundits hold back on the truth about the environmental collapse now underway and the dangers the future holds for humanity, because, ostensibly, they fear some sort of public panic. I think they are just protecting their profits by hiding the truth.
So, I’m really curious what you all think about this. How much truth is too much? How much environmental reality can be revealed before the public “panics”? What do you think you would do, if you knew too much? Would you panic? Let me know below.
And it’s a fair question, I suppose, because, folks, the truth just isn’t getting any better. This article out of MIT describes a study of mass extinctions and climate tipping points, from which there is no return. The history looks grim, because the geological record shows abrupt tipping point moments before the previous mass extinctions. These dudes say over and over again that we could be near a similar tipping point. Now.
Daniel Rothman, professor of geophysics and co-director of the Lorenz Center in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, has found that when the rate at which carbon dioxide enters the oceans pushes past a certain threshold — whether as the result of a sudden burst or a slow, steady influx — the Earth may respond with a runaway cascade of chemical feedbacks, leading to extreme ocean acidification that dramatically amplifies the effects of the original trigger.
Rothman looked through these geologic records and observed that over the last 540 million years, the ocean’s store of carbon changed abruptly, then recovered, dozens of times in a fashion similar to the abrupt nature of a neuron spike. This “excitation” of the carbon cycle occurred most dramatically near the time of four of the five great mass extinctions in Earth’s history.
Mass Extinction is kind of a big deal, right? Because humans would be likely to go extinct along with everything else, right? The situation is dire, all right, and nobody seems to be doing anything about it! Yikes! Holy mass extinction, Batman!
Should we panic?
Keira Knightly thinks so, or at least she reads this script for Extinction Rebellion. Panic, and join the Rebellion.
But what if we didn’t panic? What if we used our democracy, to demand climate change politicians who will work to make this situation better? Instead of panicking, couldn’t we just elect Climate Politicians like Jay Inslee who would work to reduce the problems we face? Couldn’t we take the Climate Voter route, instead of plugging up our ears to the truth and going on with business as usual?
I know, I know, that was a whole lot of preaching from the Side. Don’t panic! Here’s a whole lotta links for you, and a whole lot of business as usual from P.R. Burn-em’s Two-Party Circus.
So, what about those candidates, anyway? Here is a somewhat predictable ranking from The Hill, except that Elizabeth Warren is on top! Jay Inslee doesn’t make this list, which is predictable, and which, of course, makes the entire list useless and stupid, from the Side. Add a few extra demerits for still including Joe Biden. Not recognizing that he is done— like soft-serve ice cream that has melted through the cone— is, well, useless and stupid. But otherwise, the Hill’s list is not so far from my own of a few weeks ago.
Elizabeth Warren’s campaign strategy has a plan.
I wasn’t the only one to see a message in the D.C. flooding.
And Need to Impeach dude, Tom Steyer, is planning to join the race for the Democratic nominee for president. I’ve become a fan of Steyer’s for his strong stand on impeachment, and for some of his comments about climate change. I’ll keep him in my list as a candidate.
I enjoy Salon’s take on Steyer’s candidacy.
In this video, Scott Dworkin, a Dem strategist, interviewed by The Hill on Tom Steyer jumping into the Dem race, and Amash’s potential run as a Libertarian or independent. Dworkin shows some truly stupid support for Pelosi, makes some good points along the way. If you want to see what’s wrong with the Dems, and a few glimmers of hope, this is worth a watch. Below are a few notes from my live viewing.
Sounds reasonable at first, but when morning comes, Scott Dworkin shows himself to be a dumb-ass, who calls himself ‘far left’ and then defends Pelosi. He says the Dems need a Twitter candidate. OMG, dude! He literally says “we need to dumb it down”. WTF! (though he stumbles over the word “dumb” as though his subconscious mind was giving him a little freudian kick for being so stupid.) Fook that shite! Writers like me need to dumb it down, I get that. But candidates for political office need to be smart! And then Dworkin says it’s “absurd and ridiculous” to say Pelosi should resign. Tell ‘em, Scott!… Wait a minute, I said Pelosi should resign… Holy dis, Batman! I think dude just called me stupid, and a Russian agent, and “not a real person”. Fook you, too, Scott Dworkin! You Pelosi suck-up, worse than DeFazio. Here comes another Irish poet curse, in rhyme if not in verse. Your toes will curl and muscles cramp, your skin turns pale and damp! She’ll never get near you again, sucker-face!
So, Dork-In here is an idiot, but he says some sensible things about the value of online presence. And at least he’s in favor of impeachment. He thinks Amash running will help Trump, which is stupid, but it does say something pretty bad about the Dems, if you think about it. And he’s right that some jokers like me might rather vote for Amash than the soft-serve candidate the Dems will likely serve up. Offer me Biden, and I just might vote for Amash.
Dworkin says this twice, “Brought a book to a Twitter fight.” Is that his cool phrase, or is that a thing nowadays? A quick googling attributes it to MSNBC’s Ari Melber the other day. So Dworkin is a sort of Parakeet, it seems. Once, I get it, but twice, dude? Come on. Just how dumbed down would you like your candidate to be? You get a full Side jeez loo-fookin’ wheeze!! from me.
You know, “brought a book to a Twitter fight” is a perfect description of View from the Side, now that I think about it. Thank you very much! Isn’t that also a bit like bringing a tank to a knife-fight? Like bringing an AK to a barroom brawl? Sorry, Scott, the books will win that one, hands down. Though my books do vary somewhat, from Doctor Seuss to Moby Dick. Still, I’m tempted to bring my books onto Twitter, and forget my chewing gum!
Since Dworkin, who is a fookin’ fool, scoffed at Justin Amash, let’s take a look at Amash for comparison. I’ve written about him before. Here’s an interview with him, and he doesn’t seem that clownish at all. He seems to have a clear head. And dude sounds really fookin’ sincere, doesn’t he? He makes some interesting comments about the power of the Speaker of the House position. He doesn’t say anything actually dumb. And this interview shines a little bit of light into the dark rooms where the House of (so-called) Representatives really operates. Well worth a listen to the end where Amash discusses impeachment and mentions how few members of Congress he thinks have actually read the Mueller report.
The Turks liked the Amash interview, too. Pretty good segment by TYT, but Cenk yells a little. I thought he was workin’ on that. Thanks for taking on Pelosi, bro!
More Pelosi bashing, this from Kyle Kulinski at Secular Talk. I don’t link to this dude much because, well, come on… But he calls Pelosi a Dinosaur which makes good sense to me. Thanks, bro!
Another round in the endless Blue Clown Paper Chase is beginning. But yet again, without impeachment as the stated goal, this won’t make it past the Supremes.
And Felix Sater is finally gonna chat with Schiff and a few folks from the House Intel Committee today.
Felix Sater, a former business associate of President Donald Trump who was the chief negotiator for the defunct Trump Tower Moscow project, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The closed-door interview will cap a protracted back-and-forth between Sater and the panel, which has rescheduled his appearance several times since he was first slated to appear in March.
Behind closed doors. Because…?
…because the topics also deal with highly sensitive national security issues related to Sater’s prior work with the government.
A federal judge confirmed for the first time in May, for example, that Sater helped the U.S. government track down Osama bin Laden.
Sater’s informant work stems from a 1998 case in which he pleaded guilty to participating in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the mafia in New York. As a result, Sater agreed to secretly collect information for the government, which described his cooperation as “extraordinary” in national security cases that were named in open court in May.
Trump did not disclose the ongoing Trump Tower Moscow negotiations while he was running for president in 2015 and 2016, and repeatedly claimed during the campaign that he has “nothing to do with Russia.” His former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, is serving a three-year prison sentence in part for lying to the Intelligence Committee about the timing of those negotiations.
Oh, yeah. I guess you wouldn’t want the public to learn about that sort of stuff. After all, we might panic.
Or, maybe it is time to panic. Check this out.
This last video for today is truly frightening. Mike Pompeo is putting together a commission to study human rights. What are rights for? Who should they apply to? A study group, you know. Sounds kinda okay, at first, until Pompeo begins to ramble a little, and starts asking questions like, “Are there any inalienable rights at all?” This gave me actual shivers, the beginning phases of a fascist takeover at work. What do you think about this? Let me know below.
I don’t want to end today’s View with panic, though, or any more preaching, either. I’d rather end with a little prayer, instead. It’s only fair, after all. A kind of in-kind pay-back kindness, for her sweet prayers for all of us the other day. I don’t really know to whom I’m praying, but I’m pretty clear about who and what I’m praying for. I’m praying for Nancy Pelosi, just like she prayed for us after abdicating her duty to protect us from an unlawful President. And just as she so kindly prayed for him. I’m praying for Nancy to see the light. I’m praying for her to do her part in saving us all, by opening the way for impeachment.
Amen. From the Side.