Jean-Jacques Beineix Leaves Us

Jean-Jacques Beineix, the French movie director of such classics as ‘Diva’ and ‘Betty Blue’, has died. [1]

‘Diva’ (1981) and ‘Betty Blue’ (1986) are each brilliant. I see each as a take on people with few means trying to produce art in a hostile world, and with an uncomprehending populace from which you must try to draw your audience.

‘Dive’ is ostensibly a detective-crime-thriller-chase movie, and ‘Betty Blue’ is ostensibly an erotic psychological comedy-drama movie. But each is much more than its superficial genre characterization. These movies created a new look and feel for cinema in France, and by that had a lasting impact on cinema internationally.

In ‘Betty Blue’, the most insane person in the whole bunch is the only one to recognize the value of the work of art the hapless hero has produced. But, she is too out of touch with “normality” to survive in a world that eventually does accept that art as being worthy of commodification (a.k.a., publication).

Can an artist ever produce another masterpiece after he kills off his muse, to end her suffering in the normal world, and also to liberate himself for “normal” living? Can great art be produced by a consistently sane person? The movie ‘Betty Blue’ may seem to leave the answers to those questions ambiguous, but I think that for both Beineix and myself they are clearly: no.

Another wonderful feature of ‘Betty Blue’ is the music, by Gabriel Yared, a jazz-pop fusion that is fabulous, so totally French and so totally refreshing. There are a saxophone solo and an electric piano riff accompanied by harmonica, which are each an eternity of sunshine bathing a lush countryside in the human soul.

When I first saw ‘Betty Blue’, in 1986, it opened up a new feeling/attitude of “freedom” for me, via cinema. Despite the crises and disappointments the characters experience in ‘Betty Blue’ the entire thrust of the movie is motivated by a celebration of life: joie de vivre. And I thought: I could live that way, too.

How many people have been thunderstruck after some apparently trivial incident, to suddenly realize — like Zorg in ‘Betty Blue’ — that the lover they are so bonded to and enraptured with is completely nuts? That has got to be a very sinking feeling. Two of the couples portrayed in ‘Betty Blue’ show varieties of that. And yet, as Samuel Beckett urged, in ‘Waiting for Godot’ and ‘Endgame’, when the situation is hopeless you just go on anyway. You don’t quit.

‘Diva’ is the more comfortable movie, while still being edgy. The aria featured as the keystone of the movie (“Ebben! ne andro lontana” from act one of ‘La Wally’ by Alfredo Catalani, 1893) and sung by African-American soprano Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, is absolutely radiant. (https://youtu.be/2hsmoo97CVA)

But ‘Betty Blue’ is inherently subversive, and in that sense “punk”: the perceptive artistic individual against the dullards of a homogenizing bourgeois world. To be otherwise is to be “nuts.”

Beineix made numerous other movies, none as successful as these two, and one or two being clunkers. But throughout he was a consummate cinema artist, and that is an extremely difficult role to pursue in our too superficial and too commercialized world.

[1] Jean-Jacques Beineix obituary
16 January 2022
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/jan/16/jean-jacques-beineix-obituary

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Earth’s Biosphere Absorbs the Heat Equivalent of 32 Hiroshima Nuclear Explosions Every Second

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Earth’s Biosphere Absorbs the Heat Equivalent of 32 Hiroshima Nuclear Explosions Every Second

A recent news article states that Global Warning (GW) is heating the oceans with an equivalent amount of energy as from 7 Hiroshima atomic bombs every second. [1]

In May 2020, I calculated that the entire biosphere (atmosphere, oceans, land surface) was being heated by 32 Hiroshima-equivalent heat bombs per second.

While it is the atmosphere that initially captures the IR (infrared = heat radiation emitted upward from Earth’s surface) that produces global warming, soon enough about 20-30% of that captured heat is absorbed by the surface waters of the ocean — in a continuous process. One could then say that 6.4-9.6 [6-10, so ~7] of the continuous heat bomb output goes into the oceans and 22.4-25.6 [22-26, so ~25] into the atmosphere — and eventually into the oceans.

The total ocean mass is the long-term repository of global heating — it is a heat battery — and its natural heat leakage rate/time (characteristic cooling time by diffusion, for the exponential decay of ~37%) is ~10,000 years.

But, carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere might be so long lived — it is ultimately removed by rock weathering, a very slow process — and continue its IR trapping, that the final expulsion of excess ocean heat past the atmosphere and out into space could be delayed much longer. So, the return to pre-industrial atmospheric conditions, regarding carbon dioxide, could be ~100,000 years or more. [2]

Today, the Biosphere is warming at a rate equivalent to it absorbing the total energy used by the United States in all of 2019, every 9 hours and 40 minutes. [3]

The geophysics of all this is fascinating, the quantities of energy and masses, and the magnitudes of spatial dimensions and timescales are awe-inspiring, the implications for human society are beyond Biblically apocalyptic, and the impacts on civil discourse and government policies so far are trivial (beyond one good movie satire in 2021, which you are being instructed to ignore by the fossil-fueled privatized propaganda ministry).

I just wanted to remind everybody.

Notes

[1] Oceans absorbed heat equivalent to seven Hiroshima nuclear explosions every second, expert says
11 January 2022
https://thehill.com/changing-america/sustainability/climate-change/589187-oceans-absorbed-heat-equivalent-to-7-hiroshima

[2] Global Warming is Nuclear War
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2020/05/28/global-warming-is-nuclear-war/

[3] Biosphere Warming in Numbers
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2020/07/03/biosphere-warming-in-numbers/

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Earth’s Biosphere Absorbs the Heat Equivalent of 32 Hiroshima Nuclear Explosions Every Second
17 January 2022
https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/01/17/earths-biosphere-absorbs-the-heat-equivalent-of-32-hiroshima-nuclear-explosions-every-second/

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Vorticity

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Vorticity

VORTICITY, a beautiful fluid mechanics phenomena, but which can have devastating effects on human settlements, when of very large scale and very powerful.

The complete vortex has a “donut” shape. Fluid/wind sweeps in along a flat bottom (ground level, or sea level), increasingly curving as it converges to the central “funnel.” There, it spirals up and as it rises it also spirals outward, and the curvature of the “path lines” diminishes at further radial distances. “Out there” those pathlines (water flow, winds) cycle back down to the “bottom” plane, completing a circuit, and then flow in again.

Versions of vortices are everywhere: bathtub drains, river eddies, hurricanes, water spouts, airplane wingtip vorticies, Great Red Spot on Jupiter.

Herman Helmholtz (19th century physicist) published his conservation law of vorticity (Helmholtz Vortex Theorem), and the differential equation form of vorticity involves “the curl” (a differential vector cross product of the velocity field). Vorticity features in Boundary Layer Theory (for the thin viscous layers adhering to material bodies moving through fluid bodies, like airplane wings, and further explicated by Von Karman, in the early 20th century, about the trailing Von Karman Vortex Street behind airplane wings, a consequence of fluid viscosity).

The best (and still and forever likely to remain incomplete) theory/description of fluid turbulence is that it is a nested set of vorticies of increasing scale, from the nearly molecular up to larger and larger eddies until a macro-level of fluid mass circulation — like a tornado.

If the fluid is electrified, and consequently magnetized, like the atmospheres of the Sun and stars, Earth’s ionosphere and the Earth molten core, and so much of Space (nebulas, planetary rings, space plasmas: novas and supernovas and rarefied space dust), then electric and magnetic vortices can form: Earth’s magnetic field is one example of the outer “path lines” of Earth’s ‘magnetic tornado’ at its core.

Vorticity in its many forms is quite fascinating, but of course violent vortical weather like hurricanes and tornadoes can be so harmful to living creatures: plants and animals, including humans. The American Great Plains are a natural “Tornado Alley” because of the expanse of flatness allowing the geometry of the tornado vortex free reign to expand without restraint. Also, they form there because warm humid air from the Gulf of Mexico is propelled northward (by its contained heat energy = “high pressure”) and over the Plains it collides with strong colder winds sweeping down eastward from the Rocky Mountains (the Front Range), and that collision of low hot moist northward wind with high dry cold eastward winds creates a counterclockwise circulatory motion of atmospheric masses, with moisture rising (in the central “funnel”), chilling, raining out, freezing into ice crystals and hail, and the friction of that creating electrical charge separation (“static” electricity) which sparks over as lightning.

The point about Helmholtz’s Vortex Theorem is that the continuous threading of the “path lines” into the vortex “spool” makes of the whole an integral energetic structure, and that integrity is maintained — conserved — despite forces imposed on the whole of it: which is why hurricanes and tornadoes move, intact, across the face of the Earth because of the imposition of pressure gradients from “high pressure” regions to “low pressure” regions.

Another aspect of Helmholtz’s theorem is that, like a spinning ice skater, the slow gradual circulation out at vast distance (ice skater with arms extended, spinning slowly) represents an angular moment that is maintained close to the center by a very rapid rate of spin (ice skater with arms pulled in, spinning quickly).

So it takes quite a bit to dissipate the vortex, in fluids it is the result of the build-up of friction (fluid viscosity) gradually breaking up vortical motion into randomized turbulence (in the absence of strong external — collisional wind — forces causing a macro “stirring” into counterclockwise circulation — in the Northern Hemisphere). Stirring cream in your coffee is a nice way to observe vortical motion and vortical mixing.

Back in the 1980s I had a lot of fun working out a theory of electromagnetic vortices (all based on the work of famous physicists, like Debye, Alfvén, Cowling, and their MHD and plasma physics predecessors), which I found were produced by nuclear explosions in magnetized spaces, and in very high current and high power electrical transmission lines as used for fusion power and particle beam research.

If you have a poetic inclination toward reading about vortices, look into the book ‘Sensitive Chaos’ by Theodor Schwenk, an anthroposophist — influenced by Rudolf Steiner — about the many intriguing patterns in fluid flows of all kinds (as in our blood streams, the swirled forms of some of our blood vessel junctions and valves).

Nature is endlessly fascinating and instructive.

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On ‘Personal Memoirs’ by Ulysses S. Grant

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On ‘Personal Memoirs’ by Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American military officer and politician who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877. As president, Grant was an effective civil rights executive who created the Justice Department and worked with the Radical Republicans to protect African Americans during Reconstruction. As Commanding General, he led the Union Army to victory in the American Civil War in 1865 and thereafter briefly served as Secretary of War.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulysses_S._Grant

MEMOIRS OF GENERAL U. S. GRANT, COMPLETE
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4367/4367-h/4367-h.htm

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Personal Memoirs, Ulysses S. Grant

This is essential reading for understand the full scope of the Civil War. I consider Ulysses S. Grant to be one of the best U.S. Presidents (#2 or at least #3) because of his very intelligent and successful leadership of the Union armies in defeating the Confederacy, and his subsequent forceful leadership as 18th President (1869-1877) in advancing and upholding citizenship rights for Black Americans, and in breaking the Ku Klux Klan (with U.S. troops), establishing the Department of Justice, instituting the first Civil Service administration (for getting government jobs, instead of by patronage), prosecuting corrupt officials, and otherwise working to seek peaceful means of solving political disputes.

While the Great Sioux War, with the Plains Indians, occurred during his administration, and campaigns against them by Generals Sherman and Sheridan (and others) were prosecuted, he nevertheless had a less harsh attitude to the American Indians than was the overall consensus of the U.S. Government and the U.S. public (for example, he condemned George Armstrong Custer’s assault on the encamped assembled tribes under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at the Little Big Horn (river), resulting in the massacre of the 7th Cavalry column led by Custer); but he still had the view of bringing the American Indian way of life to an end and their integration into conventional American life as led by its White and Black citizens (and the exploitation of the “wild” Indian lands).

I realize it is unrealistic to expect a mid 19th century American general and politician to have had the more enlightened views of Native Americans that are largely (but not yet entirely!) the consensus today. So despite these anachronistic deficiencies, as seen from today, I think him a great President because he ensured that the Confederacy was defeated militarily, and then subsequently politically eliminated so far as possible (with passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments — in July 1868 and February 1870, respectively — and his other enforcement actions: “Reconstruction” — lasting from 1865 to 1877, and really still needed today!, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstruction_era). As president, Grant ensured the reunification of the United States without slavery actualizing Abraham Lincoln’s vision for the nation, and achieving Lincoln’s purpose in prosecuting the Civil War.

It was through the efforts of Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) that Grant was prompted to write out his detailed memoirs of his military career, and get handsomely paid for them, lifting his family out of bankruptcy (or near so). Grant completed his work on his memoirs one week before he died of throat cancer, in 1885. Grant’s ‘Personal Memoirs’ covers the first 43 years of his life, up to the end of the Civil War, in the summer of 1865.

‘The Coming Crisis’ (1856-1860)

Chapter XVI of the ‘Personal Memoirs’ of Ulysses S. Grant is 1/7th of the way through that work, and it is magnificent. It describes the politics and sociology behind the secessionist movement by the Southern States during 1856-1860. I am struck with how Grant’s analysis of the United States during that period is so resonant to the situation today, specifically during 2016-2021, the Trump Administration and the first year of the Biden Administration, 160 years later. The book up to that point had recounted Grant’s early life, and his experiences fighting in the Mexican War (1845-1846), which war was the first impetus for the American Civil War (12 April 1861 — 9 May 1865): “But with the inauguration of the Mexican war, in fact with the annexation of Texas, ‘the inevitable conflict’ commenced.”

“While a citizen of Missouri, my first opportunity for casting a vote at a Presidential election occurred. I had been in the army from before attaining my majority and had thought but little about politics, although I was a Whig by education and a great admirer of Mr. Clay. But the Whig party had ceased to exist before I had an opportunity of exercising the privilege of casting a ballot; the Know-Nothing party had taken its place, but was on the wane; and the Republican party was in a chaotic state and had not yet received a name. It had no existence in the Slave States except at points on the borders next to Free States. In St. Louis City and County, what afterwards became the Republican party was known as the Free-Soil Democracy, led by the Honorable Frank P. Blair. Most of my neighbors had known me as an officer of the army with Whig proclivities. They had been on the same side, and, on the death of their party, many had become Know-Nothings, or members of the American party. There was a lodge near my new home, and I was invited to join it. I accepted the invitation; was initiated; attended a meeting just one week later, and never went to another afterwards.”

“I have no apologies to make for having been one week a member of the American party; for I still think native-born citizens of the United States should have as much protection, as many privileges in their native country, as those who voluntarily select it for a home. But all secret, oath-bound political parties are dangerous to any nation, no matter how pure or how patriotic the motives and principles which first bring them together. No political party can or ought to exist when one of its corner-stones is opposition to freedom of thought and to the right to worship God “according to the dictate of one’s own conscience,” or according to the creed of any religious denomination whatever. Nevertheless, if a sect sets up its laws as binding above the State laws, wherever the two come in conflict this claim must be resisted and suppressed at whatever cost.”

“Up to the Mexican war there were a few out and out abolitionists, men who carried their hostility to slavery into all elections, from those for a justice of the peace up to the Presidency of the United States. They were noisy but not numerous. But the great majority of people at the North, where slavery did not exist, were opposed to the institution, and looked upon its existence in any part of the country as unfortunate. They did not hold the States where slavery existed responsible for it; and believed that protection should be given to the right of property in slaves until some satisfactory way could be reached to be rid of the institution. Opposition to slavery was not a creed of either political party. In some sections more anti-slavery men belonged to the Democratic party, and in others to the Whigs. But with the inauguration of the Mexican war, in fact with the annexation of Texas, ‘the inevitable conflict’ commenced.”

“As the time for the Presidential election of 1856—the first at which I had the opportunity of voting—approached, party feeling began to run high. The Republican party was regarded in the South and the border States not only as opposed to the extension of slavery, but as favoring the compulsory abolition of the institution without compensation to the owners. The most horrible visions seemed to present themselves to the minds of people who, one would suppose, ought to have known better. Many educated and, otherwise, sensible persons appeared to believe that emancipation meant social equality. Treason to the Government was openly advocated and was not rebuked. It was evident to my mind that the election of a Republican President in 1856 meant the secession of all the Slave States, and rebellion. Under these circumstances I preferred the success of a candidate whose election would prevent or postpone secession, to seeing the country plunged into a war the end of which no man could foretell. With a Democrat elected by the unanimous vote of the Slave States, there could be no pretext for secession for four years. I very much hoped that the passions of the people would subside in that time, and the catastrophe be averted altogether; if it was not, I believed the country would be better prepared to receive the shock and to resist it. I therefore voted for James Buchanan for President. Four years later the Republican party was successful in electing its candidate to the Presidency. The civilized world has learned the consequence. Four millions of human beings held as chattels have been liberated; the ballot has been given to them; the free schools of the country have been opened to their children. The nation still lives, and the people are just as free to avoid social intimacy with the blacks as ever they were, or as they are with white people.”

“Now, the right of revolution is an inherent one. When people are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to relieve themselves of the oppression, if they are strong enough, either by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and substituting a government more acceptable. But any people or part of a people who resort to this remedy, stake their lives, their property, and every claim for protection given by citizenship—on the issue. Victory, or the conditions imposed by the conqueror—must be the result.”

“The framers were wise in their generation and wanted to do the very best possible to secure their own liberty and independence, and that also of their descendants to the latest days. It is preposterous to suppose that the people of one generation can lay down the best and only rules of government for all who are to come after them, and under unforeseen contingencies… We could not and ought not to be rigidly bound by the rules laid down under circumstances so different for emergencies so utterly unanticipated. The fathers themselves would have been the first to declare that their prerogatives were not irrevocable. They would surely have resisted secession could they have lived to see the shape it assumed.”
— [‘Personal Memoirs’, Ulysses S. Grant, Chapter XVI]
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4367/4367-h/4367-h.htm#ch16

On reading this last paragraph, I immediately thought of the 2nd Amendment.

“There was no time during the rebellion when I did not think, and often say, that the South was more to be benefitted by its defeat than the North. The latter had the people, the institutions, and the territory to make a great and prosperous nation. The former was burdened with an institution abhorrent to all civilized people not brought up under it, and one which degraded labor, kept it in ignorance, and enervated the governing class. With the outside world at war with this institution, they could not have extended their territory. The labor of the country was not skilled, nor allowed to become so. The whites could not toil without becoming degraded, and those who did were denominated “poor white trash.” The system of labor would have soon exhausted the soil and left the people poor. The non-slaveholders would have left the country, and the small slaveholder must have sold out to his more fortunate neighbor. Soon the slaves would have outnumbered the masters, and not being in sympathy with them, would have risen in their might and exterminated them. The war was expensive to the South as well as to the North, both in blood and treasure, but it was worth all it cost.”
— [‘Personal Memoirs’, Ulysses S. Grant, Chapter XLI]
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4367/4367-h/4367-h.htm#ch41

“Unconditional Surrender” Grant

The Battle of Fort Henry was fought on February 6, 1862, in Donelson, Stewart County, Tennessee, during the American Civil War. It was the first important victory for the Union and Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the Western Theater. The surrender of Fort Henry opened the Tennessee River to Union traffic south of the Alabama border. In the days following the fort’s surrender, from February 6 through February 12, Union raids used ironclad boats to destroy Confederate shipping and railroad bridges along the river. On February 12, Grant’s army proceeded overland 12 miles (19 km) to engage with Confederate troops in the Battle of Fort Donelson.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fort_Henry

The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11–16, 1862, in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. The Union capture of the Confederate fort near the Tennessee–Kentucky border opened the Cumberland River, an important avenue for the invasion of the South. The Union’s success also elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant from an obscure and largely unproven leader to the rank of major general, and earned him the nickname of “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fort_Donelson

Before daylight General Smith [U.S.A.] brought to me the following letter from General Buckner [C.S.A.]:

HEADQUARTERS, FORT DONELSON,
February 16, 1862.

SIR:—In consideration of all the circumstances governing the present situation of affairs at this station, I propose to the Commanding Officer of the Federal forces the appointment of Commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation of the forces and fort under my command, and in that view suggest an armistice until 12 o’clock to-day.

I am, sir, very respectfully,
Your ob’t se’v’t,
S. B. BUCKNER,
Brig. Gen. C. S. A.

To Brigadier-General U. S. Grant,
Com’ding U. S. Forces,
Near Fort Donelson.

To this I responded as follows:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Camp near Donelson,
February 16, 1862.

General S. B. BUCKNER,
Confederate Army.

SIR:—Yours of this date, proposing armistice and appointment of Commissioners to settle terms of capitulation, is just received. No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.

I am, sir, very respectfully,
Your ob’t se’v’t,
U. S. GRANT,
Brig. Gen.

To this I received the following reply:

HEADQUARTERS, DOVER, TENNESSEE,
February 16, 1862.

To Brig. Gen’I U. S. GRANT,
U. S. Army.

SIR:—The distribution of the forces under my command, incident to an unexpected change of commanders, and the overwhelming force under your command, compel me, notwithstanding the brilliant success of the Confederate arms yesterday, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose.

I am, sir,
Your very ob’t se’v’t,
S. B. BUCKNER,
Brig. Gen. C. S. A.

— [‘Personal Memoirs’, Ulysses S. Grant, Chapter XXII]
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4367/4367-h/4367-h.htm#ch22

Appomattox (9 April 1865)

Chapter LXVII, General U. S. Grant (commander of the National Army) describing General R. E. Lee (commander of the Confederate Army), meeting at McLean’s House at Appomattox Courthouse, VA, 9 April 1865, for the surrender of the Confederacy (p580):

“Whatever his feelings, they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.”

Reconstruction

CHAPTER LXVIII.
MORALE OF THE TWO ARMIES—RELATIVE CONDITIONS OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH—PRESIDENT LINCOLN VISITS RICHMOND—ARRIVAL AT WASHINGTON—PRESIDENT LINCOLN’S ASSASSINATION—PRESIDENT JOHNSON’S POLICY.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4367/4367-h/4367-h.htm#ch68

“There has always been a great conflict of opinion as to the number of troops engaged in every battle, or all important battles, fought between the sections, the South magnifying the number of Union troops engaged and belittling their own. Northern writers have fallen, in many instances, into the same error. I have often heard gentlemen, who were thoroughly loyal to the Union, speak of what a splendid fight the South had made and successfully continued for four years before yielding, with their twelve million of people against our twenty, and of the twelve four being colored slaves, non-combatants. I will add to their argument. We had many regiments of brave and loyal men who volunteered under great difficulty from the twelve million belonging to the South.

“But the South had rebelled against the National government. It was not bound by any constitutional restrictions. The whole South was a military camp. The occupation of the colored people was to furnish supplies for the army. Conscription was resorted to early, and embraced every male from the age of eighteen to forty-five, excluding only those physically unfit to serve in the field, and the necessary number of civil officers of State and intended National government. The old and physically disabled furnished a good portion of these. The slaves, the non-combatants, one-third of the whole, were required to work in the field without regard to sex, and almost without regard to age. Children from the age of eight years could and did handle the hoe; they were not much older when they began to hold the plough. The four million of colored non-combatants were equal to more than three times their number in the North, age for age and sex for sex, in supplying food from the soil to support armies. Women did not work in the fields in the North, and children attended school.

“The arts of peace were carried on in the North. Towns and cities grew during the war. Inventions were made in all kinds of machinery to increase the products of a day’s labor in the shop, and in the field. In the South no opposition was allowed to the government which had been set up and which would have become real and respected if the rebellion had been successful. No rear had to be protected. All the troops in service could be brought to the front to contest every inch of ground threatened with invasion. The press of the South, like the people who remained at home, were loyal to the Southern cause.

“In the North, the country, the towns and the cities presented about the same appearance they do in time of peace. The furnace was in blast, the shops were filled with workmen, the fields were cultivated, not only to supply the population of the North and the troops invading the South, but to ship abroad to pay a part of the expense of the war. In the North the press was free up to the point of open treason. The citizen could entertain his views and express them. Troops were necessary in the Northern States to prevent prisoners from the Southern army being released by outside force, armed and set at large to destroy by fire our Northern cities. Plans were formed by Northern and Southern citizens to burn our cities, to poison the water supplying them, to spread infection by importing clothing from infected regions, to blow up our river and lake steamers—regardless of the destruction of innocent lives. The copperhead disreputable portion of the press magnified rebel successes, and belittled those of the Union army. It was, with a large following, an auxiliary to the Confederate army. The North would have been much stronger with a hundred thousand of these men in the Confederate ranks and the rest of their kind thoroughly subdued, as the Union sentiment was in the South, than we were as the battle was fought.

“As I have said, the whole South was a military camp. The colored people, four million in number, were submissive, and worked in the field and took care of the families while the able-bodied white men were at the front fighting for a cause destined to defeat. The cause was popular, and was enthusiastically supported by the young men. The conscription took all of them. Before the war was over, further conscriptions took those between fourteen and eighteen years of age as junior reserves, and those between forty-five and sixty as senior reserves. It would have been an offence, directly after the war, and perhaps it would be now, to ask any able-bodied man in the South, who was between the ages of fourteen and sixty at any time during the war, whether he had been in the Confederate army. He would assert that he had, or account for his absence from the ranks. Under such circumstances it is hard to conceive how the North showed such a superiority of force in every battle fought. I know they did not…

“This was characteristic of Mr. Stanton [Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, 1862-1867, 1868]. He was a man who never questioned his own authority, and who always did in war time what he wanted to do. He was an able constitutional lawyer and jurist; but the Constitution was not an impediment to him while the war lasted. In this latter particular I entirely agree with the view he evidently held. The Constitution was not framed with a view to any such rebellion as that of 1861-5. While it did not authorize rebellion it made no provision against it. Yet the right to resist or suppress rebellion is as inherent as the right of self-defence, and as natural as the right of an individual to preserve his life when in jeopardy. The Constitution was therefore in abeyance for the time being, so far as it in any way affected the progress and termination of the war.

“Those in rebellion against the government of the United States were not restricted by constitutional provisions, or any other, except the acts of their Congress, which was loyal and devoted to the cause for which the South was then fighting. It would be a hard case when one-third of a nation, united in rebellion against the national authority, is entirely untrammeled, that the other two-thirds, in their efforts to maintain the Union intact, should be restrained by a Constitution prepared by our ancestors for the express purpose of insuring the permanency of the confederation of the States…

“Mrs. Grant was with me in Washington at the time, and we were invited by President and Mrs. Lincoln to accompany them to the theatre on the evening of that day [14 April 1865]. I replied to the President’s verbal invitation to the effect, that if we were in the city we would take great pleasure in accompanying them; but that I was very anxious to get away and visit my children, and if I could get through my work during the day I should do so. I did get through and started by the evening train on the 14th, sending Mr. Lincoln word, of course, that I would not be at the theatre.

“At that time the railroad to New York entered Philadelphia on Broad Street; passengers were conveyed in ambulances to the Delaware River, and then ferried to Camden, at which point they took the cars again. When I reached the ferry, on the east side of the City of Philadelphia, I found people awaiting my arrival there; and also dispatches informing me of the assassination of the President and Mr. Seward, and of the probable assassination of the Vice President, Mr. Johnson, and requesting my immediate return.

“It would be impossible for me to describe the feeling that overcame me at the news of these assassinations, more especially the assassination of the President. I knew his goodness of heart, his generosity, his yielding disposition, his desire to have everybody happy, and above all his desire to see all the people of the United States enter again upon the full privileges of citizenship with equality among all. I knew also the feeling that Mr. Johnson had expressed in speeches and conversation against the Southern people, and I feared that his course towards them would be such as to repel, and make them unwilling citizens; and if they became such they would remain so for a long while. I felt that reconstruction had been set back, no telling how far…

“The joy that I had witnessed among the people in the street and in public places in Washington when I left there, had been turned to grief; the city was in reality a city of mourning. I have stated what I believed then the effect of this would be, and my judgment now is that I was right. I believe the South would have been saved from very much of the hardness of feeling that was engendered by Mr. Johnson’s course towards them during the first few months of his administration. Be this as it may, Mr. Lincoln’s assassination was particularly unfortunate for the entire nation.

“Mr. Johnson’s course towards the South did engender bitterness of feeling. His denunciations of treason and his ever-ready remark, ‘Treason is a crime and must be made odious,’ was repeated to all those men of the South who came to him to get some assurances of safety so that they might go to work at something with the feeling that what they obtained would be secure to them. He uttered his denunciations with great vehemence, and as they were accompanied with no assurances of safety, many Southerners were driven to a point almost beyond endurance.

“The President of the United States is, in a large degree, or ought to be, a representative of the feeling, wishes and judgment of those over whom he presides; and the Southerners who read the denunciations of themselves and their people must have come to the conclusion that he uttered the sentiments of the Northern people; whereas, as a matter of fact, but for the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, I believe the great majority of the Northern people, and the soldiers unanimously, would have been in favor of a speedy reconstruction on terms that would be the least humiliating to the people who had rebelled against their government. They believed, I have no doubt, as I did, that besides being the mildest, it was also the wisest, policy.

“The people who had been in rebellion must necessarily come back into the Union, and be incorporated as an integral part of the nation. Naturally the nearer they were placed to an equality with the people who had not rebelled, the more reconciled they would feel with their old antagonists, and the better citizens they would be from the beginning. They surely would not make good citizens if they felt that they had a yoke around their necks.

“I do not believe that the majority of the Northern people at that time were in favor of negro suffrage. They supposed that it would naturally follow the freedom of the negro, but that there would be a time of probation, in which the ex-slaves could prepare themselves for the privileges of citizenship before the full right would be conferred; but Mr. Johnson, after a complete revolution of sentiment, seemed to regard the South not only as an oppressed people, but as the people best entitled to consideration of any of our citizens. This was more than the people who had secured to us the perpetuation of the Union were prepared for, and they became more radical in their views. The Southerners had the most power in the executive branch, Mr. Johnson having gone to their side; and with a compact South, and such sympathy and support as they could get from the North, they felt that they would be able to control the nation at once, and already many of them acted as if they thought they were entitled to do so.

“Thus Mr. Johnson, fighting Congress on the one hand, and receiving the support of the South on the other, drove Congress, which was overwhelmingly republican, to the passing of first one measure and then another to restrict his power. There being a solid South on one side that was in accord with the political party in the North which had sympathized with the rebellion, it finally, in the judgment of Congress and of the majority of the legislatures of the States, became necessary to enfranchise the negro, in all his ignorance. In this work, I shall not discuss the question of how far the policy of Congress in this particular proved a wise one. It became an absolute necessity, however, because of the foolhardiness of the President and the blindness of the Southern people to their own interest. As to myself, while strongly favoring the course that would be the least humiliating to the people who had been in rebellion, I gradually worked up to the point where, with the majority of the people, I favored immediate enfranchisement.”

CONCLUSION (U. S. Grant, 1885).
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4367/4367-h/4367-h.htm#conclusion

“The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United Status will have to be attributed to slavery. For some years before the war began it was a trite saying among some politicians that ‘A state half slave and half free cannot exist.’ All must become slave or all free, or the state will go down. I took no part myself in any such view of the case at the time, but since the war is over, reviewing the whole question, I have come to the conclusion that the saying is quite true.

“Slavery was an institution that required unusual guarantees for its security wherever it existed; and in a country like ours where the larger portion of it was free territory inhabited by an intelligent and well-to-do population, the people would naturally have but little sympathy with demands upon them for its protection. Hence the people of the South were dependent upon keeping control of the general government to secure the perpetuation of their favorite institution. They were enabled to maintain this control long after the States where slavery existed had ceased to have the controlling power, through the assistance they received from odd men here and there throughout the Northern States. They saw their power waning, and this led them to encroach upon the prerogatives and independence of the Northern States by enacting such laws as the Fugitive Slave Law. By this law every Northern man was obliged, when properly summoned, to turn out and help apprehend the runaway slave of a Southern man. Northern marshals became slave-catchers, and Northern courts had to contribute to the support and protection of the institution. — [Sounds like ICE today. — MG,Jr.]

“This was a degradation which the North would not permit any longer than until they could get the power to expunge such laws from the statute books. Prior to the time of these encroachments the great majority of the people of the North had no particular quarrel with slavery, so long as they were not forced to have it themselves. But they were not willing to play the role of police for the South in the protection of this particular institution.

“In the early days of the country, before we had railroads, telegraphs and steamboats—in a word, rapid transit of any sort—the States were each almost a separate nationality. At that time the subject of slavery caused but little or no disturbance to the public mind. But the country grew, rapid transit was established, and trade and commerce between the States got to be so much greater than before, that the power of the National government became more felt and recognized and, therefore, had to be enlisted in the cause of this institution.

“It is probably well that we had the war when we did. We are better off now than we would have been without it, and have made more rapid progress than we otherwise should have made. The civilized nations of Europe have been stimulated into unusual activity, so that commerce, trade, travel, and thorough acquaintance among people of different nationalities, has become common; whereas, before, it was but the few who had ever had the privilege of going beyond the limits of their own country or who knew anything about other people. Then, too, our republican institutions were regarded as experiments up to the breaking out of the rebellion, and monarchical Europe generally believed that our republic was a rope of sand that would part the moment the slightest strain was brought upon it. Now it has shown itself capable of dealing with one of the greatest wars that was ever made, and our people have proven themselves to be the most formidable in war of any nationality.

“But this war was a fearful lesson, and should teach us the necessity of avoiding wars in the future.

“The conduct of some of the European states during our troubles shows the lack of conscience of communities where the responsibility does not come upon a single individual. Seeing a nation that extended from ocean to ocean, embracing the better part of a continent, growing as we were growing in population, wealth and intelligence, the European nations thought it would be well to give us a check. We might, possibly, after a while threaten their peace, or, at least, the perpetuity of their institutions. Hence, England was constantly finding fault with the administration at Washington because we were not able to keep up an effective blockade. She also joined, at first, with France and Spain in setting up an Austrian prince upon the throne in Mexico, totally disregarding any rights or claims that Mexico had of being treated as an independent power. It is true they trumped up grievances as a pretext, but they were only pretexts which can always be found when wanted.

“Mexico, in her various revolutions, had been unable to give that protection to the subjects of foreign nations which she would have liked to give, and some of her revolutionary leaders had forced loans from them. Under pretence of protecting their citizens, these nations seized upon Mexico as a foothold for establishing a European monarchy upon our continent, thus threatening our peace at home. I, myself, regarded this as a direct act of war against the United States by the powers engaged, and supposed as a matter of course that the United States would treat it as such when their hands were free to strike. I often spoke of the matter to Mr. Lincoln and the Secretary of War, but never heard any special views from them to enable me to judge what they thought or felt about it. I inferred that they felt a good deal as I did, but were unwilling to commit themselves while we had our own troubles upon our hands.

“All of the powers except France very soon withdrew from the armed intervention for the establishment of an Austrian prince upon the throne of Mexico; but the governing people of these countries continued to the close of the war to throw obstacles in our way. After the surrender of Lee, therefore, entertaining the opinion here expressed, I sent Sheridan with a corps to the Rio Grande to have him where he might aid Juarez in expelling the French from Mexico. These troops got off before they could be stopped; and went to the Rio Grande, where Sheridan distributed them up and down the river, much to the consternation of the troops in the quarter of Mexico bordering on that stream. This soon led to a request from France that we should withdraw our troops from the Rio Grande and to negotiations for the withdrawal of theirs. Finally Bazaine was withdrawn from Mexico by order of the French Government. From that day the empire began to totter. Mexico was then able to maintain her independence without aid from us.

“France is the traditional ally and friend of the United States. I did not blame France for her part in the scheme to erect a monarchy upon the ruins of the Mexican Republic. That was the scheme of one man, an imitator without genius or merit. He had succeeded in stealing the government of his country, and made a change in its form against the wishes and instincts of his people. He tried to play the part of the first Napoleon, without the ability to sustain that role. He sought by new conquests to add to his empire and his glory; but the signal failure of his scheme of conquest was the precursor of his own overthrow.

“Like our own war between the States, the Franco-Prussian war was an expensive one; but it was worth to France all it cost her people. It was the completion of the downfall of Napoleon III. The beginning was when he landed troops on this continent. Failing here, the prestige of his name—all the prestige he ever had—was gone. He must achieve a success or fall. He tried to strike down his neighbor, Prussia—and fell.

“I never admired the character of the first Napoleon; but I recognize his great genius. His work, too, has left its impress for good on the face of Europe. The third Napoleon could have no claim to having done a good or just act.

“To maintain peace in the future it is necessary to be prepared for war. There can scarcely be a possible chance of a conflict, such as the last one, occurring among our own people again; but, growing as we are, in population, wealth and military power, we may become the envy of nations which led us in all these particulars only a few years ago; and unless we are prepared for it we may be in danger of a combined movement being some day made to crush us out. Now, scarcely twenty years after the war, we seem to have forgotten the lessons it taught, and are going on as if in the greatest security, without the power to resist an invasion by the fleets of fourth-rate European powers for a time until we could prepare for them.

“We should have a good navy, and our sea-coast defences should be put in the finest possible condition. Neither of these cost much when it is considered where the money goes, and what we get in return. Money expended in a fine navy, not only adds to our security and tends to prevent war in the future, but is very material aid to our commerce with foreign nations in the meantime. Money spent upon sea-coast defences is spent among our own people, and all goes back again among the people. The work accomplished, too, like that of the navy, gives us a feeling of security.

“England’s course towards the United States during the rebellion exasperated the people of this country very much against the mother country. I regretted it. England and the United States are natural allies, and should be the best of friends. They speak one language, and are related by blood and other ties. We together, or even either separately, are better qualified than any other people to establish commerce between all the nationalities of the world.

“England governs her own colonies, and particularly those embracing the people of different races from her own, better than any other nation. She is just to the conquered, but rigid. She makes them self-supporting, but gives the benefit of labor to the laborer. She does not seem to look upon the colonies as outside possessions which she is at liberty to work for the support and aggrandizement of the home government. — [Here, Grant is far too kind to British Imperialism. — MG,Jr.]

“The hostility of England to the United States during our rebellion was not so much real as it was apparent. It was the hostility of the leaders of one political party. I am told that there was no time during the civil war when they were able to get up in England a demonstration in favor of secession, while these were constantly being gotten up in favor of the Union, or, as they called it, in favor of the North. Even in Manchester, which suffered so fearfully by having the cotton cut off from her mills, they had a monster demonstration in favor of the North at the very time when their workmen were almost famishing.

“It is possible that the question of a conflict between races may come up in the future, as did that between freedom and slavery before. The condition of the colored man within our borders may become a source of anxiety, to say the least. But he was brought to our shores by compulsion, and he now should be considered as having as good a right to remain here as any other class of our citizens. It was looking to a settlement of this question that led me to urge the annexation of Santo Domingo during the time I was President of the United States.

“Santo Domingo was freely offered to us, not only by the administration, but by all the people, almost without price. The island is upon our shores, is very fertile, and is capable of supporting fifteen millions of people. The products of the soil are so valuable that labor in her fields would be so compensated as to enable those who wished to go there to quickly repay the cost of their passage. I took it that the colored people would go there in great numbers, so as to have independent states governed by their own race. They would still be States of the Union, and under the protection of the General Government; but the citizens would be almost wholly colored. — [Even today most people prefer living in same ethnicity and same race and same class enclaves, even if they all enjoy equality under the law. The truly Bohemian are a small minority. — MG,Jr.]

“By the war with Mexico, we had acquired, as we have seen, territory almost equal in extent to that we already possessed. It was seen that the volunteers of the Mexican war largely composed the pioneers to settle up the Pacific coast country. Their numbers, however, were scarcely sufficient to be a nucleus for the population of the important points of the territory acquired by that war. After our rebellion, when so many young men were at liberty to return to their homes, they found they were not satisfied with the farm, the store, or the work-shop of the villages, but wanted larger fields. The mines of the mountains first attracted them; but afterwards they found that rich valleys and productive grazing and farming lands were there. This territory, the geography of which was not known to us at the close of the rebellion, is now as well mapped as any portion of our country. Railroads traverse it in every direction, north, south, east, and west. The mines are worked. The high lands are used for grazing purposes, and rich agricultural lands are found in many of the valleys. This is the work of the volunteer. It is probable that the Indians would have had control of these lands for a century yet but for the war. We must conclude, therefore, that wars are not always evils unmixed with some good. — [The multi-race, multi-ethnic “diverse” population of the reunified United States of the 19th century was not accepting of the American Indian — Native American — way of life. — MG,Jr.]

“Prior to the rebellion the great mass of the people were satisfied to remain near the scenes of their birth. In fact an immense majority of the whole people did not feel secure against coming to want should they move among entire strangers. So much was the country divided into small communities that localized idioms had grown up, so that you could almost tell what section a person was from by hearing him speak. Before, new territories were settled by a “class”; people who shunned contact with others; people who, when the country began to settle up around them, would push out farther from civilization. Their guns furnished meat, and the cultivation of a very limited amount of the soil, their bread and vegetables. All the streams abounded with fish. Trapping would furnish pelts to be brought into the States once a year, to pay for necessary articles which they could not raise—powder, lead, whiskey, tobacco and some store goods. Occasionally some little articles of luxury would enter into these purchases—a quarter of a pound of tea, two or three pounds of coffee, more of sugar, some playing cards, and if anything was left over of the proceeds of the sale, more whiskey.

“Little was known of the topography of the country beyond the settlements of these frontiersmen. This is all changed now. The war begot a spirit of independence and enterprise. The feeling now is, that a youth must cut loose from his old surroundings to enable him to get up in the world. There is now such a commingling of the people that particular idioms and pronunciation are no longer localized to any great extent; the country has filled up ‘from the centre all around to the sea’; railroads connect the two oceans and all parts of the interior; maps, nearly perfect, of every part of the country are now furnished the student of geography.

“The war has made us a nation of great power and intelligence. We have but little to do to preserve peace, happiness and prosperity at home, and the respect of other nations. Our experience ought to teach us the necessity of the first; our power secures the latter.

“I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the Federal and Confederate. I cannot stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy; but I feel it within me that it is to be so. The universally kind feeling expressed for me at a time when it was supposed that each day would prove my last, seemed to me the beginning of the answer to ‘Let us have peace.’

“The expression of these kindly feelings were not restricted to a section of the country, nor to a division of the people. They came from individual citizens of all nationalities; from all denominations—the Protestant, the Catholic, and the Jew; and from the various societies of the land—scientific, educational, religious or otherwise. Politics did not enter into the matter at all.

“I am not egotist enough to suppose all this significance should be given because I was the object of it. But the war between the States was a very bloody and a very costly war. One side or the other had to yield principles they deemed dearer than life before it could be brought to an end. I commanded the whole of the mighty host engaged on the victorious side. I was, no matter whether deservedly so or not, a representative of that side of the controversy. It is a significant and gratifying fact that Confederates should have joined heartily in this spontaneous move. I hope the good feeling inaugurated may continue to the end.”

After the Civil War

In his ‘Memoirs’, Grant only gives a few comments about his post Civil War political activities, and those have been included above. For details about his presidency, a good place to start is the Wikipedia article about him, noted at the top of this article. Beyond that, one has to read the books by historians on Grant’s biography and 19th century American history.

I now see the history of the United Stated of American as a contest between movements to strengthen White Supremacy, and movements to weaken and eliminate White Supremacy. My own view on how White Supremacy in the U.S. would have to be eliminated are as follows

Freedom versus Slave Mind

White Supremacy will end with human extinction. The angry rage of conservatives and fundamentalists, in the face of godless skepticism, is really an anguished cry of: “don’t make us question our bigotry!” For working class people who can’t think better, White Supremacy is a psychological compensation for an inferiority complex. That complex is learned from infected parents, and indoctrinated into one by a capitalist class society intent to exploit and enslave people by controlling their minds with a programming for obedience to higher authority, a sense of inadequacy and neediness, and with race- and ethnicity-based prejudice, to cause disunity among the great mass of the working class. Working class white supremacists are simply abused children passing on their abuse to younger generations and lower seniority workers and employees: ignorant slaves seeking to compensate for their hidden lack of self-respect by trying to depreciate and enslave others “below them”. The capitalist upper class propagates this mass psychology illness of low self-esteem, neediness and bigotry, because it is the method by which the union of the rich few control the disunion of the poor many. “Divide and conquer” was how the Roman Empire was ruled, and so with America today. Ending White Supremacy before human extinction occurs would require a Marxist Revolution to full Communism. A first step to that political goal is Labor Union organizing so the Labor Union Movement expands to the point of controlling the national economy. Then a Social Revolution can occur, which ends all interpersonal prejudices. Such a political-social progression is the only way militarism-imperialism can be overcome, and Climate Change finally seriously confronted. Such a Paradigm Shift is deemed “impossible” by capitalist indoctrination in the Slave Mind. And it may be unlikely in your lifetime, but that does not prevent you from working toward that Paradigm Shift — The Revolution — beginning with your own transformation out of Slave Mind, and then with the activism and organizing you may choose to do. The Revolution is not merely a desired socio-political event at some time in the future during the course of human history, it is a living process carried within the individual lives of people who have freed themselves from Slave Mind, and by their living examples push back against the oppressors’s imposition of Slave Mind and its White Supremacy illness, even onto the last day of human existence if that is to be our collective fate. Be joyful in your freedom.
— [Freedom versus Slave Mind, 16 December 2021]
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2021/12/16/freedom-versus-slave-mind/

I see specific political and economic and social policies emerging from a root of White Supremacy as those of:

  • slavery (legally ended in 1865),
  • virulent anti-Black racism (Ku Klux Klan and similar groups and individuals, violence and lynchings),
  • Jim Crow laws (legally ended between 1954 and 1965),
  • racist police practices (today: ‘driving while Black’, and if so don’t have a busted taillight),
  • apartheid/segregation (overtly in the Confederate States into the mid-late 20th — supposedly ended with the 1954 legal desegregation of public schools, and 1964-1965 Voting Rights and Civil Rights Federal legislation — and much less so in the ‘North’, and covertly practiced as with real estate “red lining”),
  • Black and minority vote/voter suppression (mainly in the former Confederate States, but also now enthusiastically championed by the current Republican Party everywhere in this 21st century America!),
  • anti-socialist, anti-Communist, anti-union, anti-labor politics and McCarthyism style persecutions (socialist and labor union movements are inherently anti-racist, and now increasingly sympathetic to immigrants),
  • anti-immigrant (since many are not White or rich, immigrants often being political asylum seekers and refugees from wars, foreign economic collapses and environmental collapses — and usually the American Capitalists — Wall Street — are benefiting from those foreign disasters and injustices),
  • anti-economic equality/equity (the signal feature of racism such as White Supremacy is gaining as much economic advantage (wealth in comparison to) as the people of the disfavored (bigoted against) populations.
  • anti-expansion of popular national publicly funded benefits, such as Medicare-For-All, Social Security (Basic Universal Income for all); it is fundamentally a racist/classist/White Supremacy policy for the U.S. Government to favor corporate profits over equitable taxation (raise corporate taxes as in the late 1950s and tax Wall Street transactions, and do not publicly bail out Wall Street and Banking speculation of no material use to the public) over the expansion of maternity and paternity leave, and the significant raising of the legally set minimum wage,
  • pro-militarism, pro-imperialist (the obscene excess of military spending in the U.S. is a gross theft from the public good just to lard very wealthy special interests and their selected “industries.”)

The 46 US Presidents we have had so far could imperfectly be divided into three categories:

  • actively pro White Supremacy (seeking to expand and perpetuate that regime),
  • merely managing the existing national status quo (traditionally, some degree of White Supremacy),
  • anti-WS, actively seeking to diminish White Supremacy relative to its level at their time.

My initial estimations of pro White Supremacy US Presidents are (chronologically):

  • George Washington (#1, 1789-1797)
  • Thomas Jefferson (#3, 1801-1809)
  • James Monroe (#5, 1817-1825)
  • Andrew Jackson (#7, 1829-1837)
  • James K. Polk (#11, 1845-1849)
  • James Buchanan (#15, 1857-1861)
  • Andrew Johnson (#17, 1865-1869)
  • William McKinley (#25, 1897-1901)
  • Woodrow Wilson (#28, 1913-1921)
  • Richard Nixon (#37, 1969-1974)
  • Ronald Reagan (#40, 1981-1989)
  • George W. Bush (#43, 2001-2009)
  • Donald Trump (#45, 2017-2021).

My initial estimations of the anti White Supremacy US presidents are (chronologically):

  • John Adams (#2, 1797-1801)
  • John Quincy Adams (#6, 1825-1829)
  • Abraham Lincoln (#16, 1861-1865)
  • Ulysses S. Grant (#18, 1869-1877)
  • Theodore Roosevelt (#26, 1901-1909)
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt (#32, 1933-1945)
  • Harry S. Truman (#33, 1945-1953)
  • Lyndon B. Johnson (#36, 1963-1969)
  • Jimmy Carter (#39, 1977-1981)

I provisionally place the 24 presidents not named in the above, in category #2: mere managers of the status quo. Clearly, partisans of each of the presidents named and not named, as well as people impressed with their own qualifications as historians, could (and would if they chanced to read this) challenge my assignments to these three categories. Also, some presidents had some admixture of pro-WS and anti-WS actions and attitudes during their administrations. My assignments to the two categories above is based on my estimation of the predominant tendency of the individual, and the longevity of its effect.

Presidents after Jimmy Carter not named so far: George H. W. Bush (#41, 1989-1993), Bill Clinton (#42, 1993-2001), Barack Obama (#44, 2009-2017), Joe Biden (#46, 2021-), are so besotted with capitalism that they have been indifferent at best (and even often unhelpful) to any concerted anti-White Supremacy effort.

I have found it interesting to use Ulysses S. Grant’s anti-slavery and unionist attitudes, and his Presidential Administration, as a relative standard with which to gauge presidents before and since as regards moving the United States away from White Supremacy and toward a truly non-racist egalitarian and popularly diverse and most desired socialist society and political economy.

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Obsession: Climate Change Russian Roulette

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Obsession: Climate Change Russian Roulette

“Vaisala, an environmental monitoring company that tracks lightning around the world, reported 7,278 lightning strokes occurred last year north of 80 degrees latitude, nearly twice as many as the previous nine years combined. Arctic lightning is rare — even more so at such far northern latitudes — and scientists use it as a key indicator of the climate crisis, since the phenomena signals warming temperatures in the predominantly frozen region. Lightning occurs in energetic storms associated with an unstable atmosphere, requiring relatively warm and moist air, which is why they primarily occur in tropical latitudes and elsewhere during summer months.” [1]

Global Warming creates more humidity in the air to form droplets and ice crystals, and with more heat in the oceans and in the air there are more and stronger updrafts — forming clouds, being storms — to loft and freeze that humidity. The rapidity of that process (thunderclouds) is the source of the charge separation that results in lightning: static electricity created by friction and held by ice crystals high and low.

How about geo-engineering to reflect sunlight back into space, and cool the Earth? A friend asked: Is Dr. Ye Tao’s mirrors-on-the-ocean-surface scheme to reduce solar influx and thus reduce global warming reasonable? [2]

My initial reaction: It’s like wearing a thicker helmet so you can keep playing Russian Roulette.

My pal reacts: Indeed, but it appears to buy time. Would you agree with that?

My testy reply (and, he is a good guy) is based on my entrenched anti-geo-engineering bias (if you want to call it a bias), and my pessimistic assessment about “us” really ever responding to global warming climate change (GWCC):

I have no doubt that every technological scheme possible will be tried, and that no reason will ever be found for curbing CO2 emissions or ever ending our fossil fuel extraction (a.k.a. “business as usual”). In fact, those technological ideas will be used as justifications for continuing to emit CO2 (and greenhouse gases) at current and even higher levels.

As long as CO2 is in the atmosphere, it will act as an absorber of infrared radiation (IR, heat energy) radiated upward from the Earth’s surface — land and water — day and night.

Water vapor and organic vapors also capture IR, and there are increasing concentrations of these with continuing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and consequently increasingly higher biosphere temperatures: regional, planetary average, and very (very) long-term.

Reducing sunlight shining down to the ocean means reducing light energy used by plankton for photosynthesis, and they are the largest generator — larger than land-based plants — of oxygen (O2) for our atmosphere, and our breathing:

“Scientists estimate that 50-80% of the oxygen production on Earth comes from the ocean. The majority of this production is from oceanic plankton — drifting plants, algae, and some bacteria that can photosynthesize.” [3]

Also, plankton is the base of the food chain in the oceans, and all higher forms of life depend on them for survival (even us, for seafood). Baleen whales, rays and whale-sharks scoop up plankton directly, and are thus huge repositories of captured carbon, whose bodies after death sink to the ocean bottom and slowly become part of the chalky seabed rocks (“sequestration” done automatically by Nature). Since oceans are about 3/4 of the Earth’s surface, if we kill them we die quickly (geologically speaking). Life on land will not survive with dead, acidified oceans.

As I said, I do not see “us” ever cutting back on our CO2 emissions (so, keep shooting ourselves in the head), but I do see “us” using every conceivable scheme — especially if it can be patented and someone can make big money on it, like with COVID vaccines — to “mitigate” (thicken up our Russian Roulette protective helmets) so we can keep on burning up the fossil fuels, making the big bucks, having the profitable wars, and having an exponentially growing capitalist “good life.” Until it isn’t.

So, yeah, “it buys us time.” It’s so hard not to keep shooting ourselves in the head, isn’t it?

Notes

[1] Another sign things are getting weird: Lightning around the North Pole increased dramatically in 2021.
Rachel Ramirez, 5 January 2022
https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/05/world/lightning-increased-north-pole-arctic-2021-climate/index.html

[2] Mirrors for Earth’s Energy Rebalancing (MEER:refEction) | Dr. Ye Tao | 2019NSSUS.
Dr. Ye Tao, 2019
https://youtu.be/fwvPJnPP9KI

[3] How much oxygen comes from the ocean?
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/ocean-oxygen.html

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MGjr Climate 2012-2013

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MGjr Climate 2012-2013

Just because it is all hopeless
does not mean that you give up.
You go on —
to save your honor —
so to keep your self-respect.

Everything that I believe about humans facing Climate Change is stated here.

Earth’s climate was sacrificed in the 40 years from 1973 to 2013,
thereafter was the Kali Yuga.

Honor:
“By protecting others, you save yourself.”

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The Righteous And The Heathens Of Climate And Capitalism
[Swans.com – March 12, 2012] 

Can humanity unite to stop Climate Change?

No, and it is too late. The time to have changed industrialization to halt global warming was 1973 in response to the first Arab oil embargo, but that opportunity was spurned. (1)

There is a thirty-year lag between the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and its effect on climate dynamics. Today’s climate is being affected by 1980s emissions. Today’s emissions will alter the climate of the decade of the 2040s. The climate system is a myriad of interwoven processes described by nonlinear differential equations; so, the evolution of climate could have a sudden shift from its current global pattern of stability to another as yet unknown and possibly quite undesirable pattern of stability, when the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide rises above an as yet unknown triggering threshold. (2)

Humanity will not alter course. You can bank on every graspable barrel of oil, and every accessible cubic meter of natural gas being burned. There will always be someone somewhere who will not want to miss out on the advantages of possessing and using fossil fuel immediately to increase their power and wealth (in all the forms in which those two temporal quantities can be accumulated). The impossibility of global cooperation to arrest the anthropogenic emission of heat-trapping gases and vapors is the psychology described by the Prisoner’s Dilemma. (3)

We do not have a Climate Change problem, nor even an unregulated capitalism problem. We have a human development problem. Humanity is insufficiently developed to conduct itself equitably and in harmony with nature. Species come and go, and humanity’s prospects of long-term survival are as uncertain as its likelihood of developing the advanced social behavior needed to adapt to an emerging new climate. Nature will continue.

Just as the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous were insufficiently developed to anticipate the arrival of extraterrestrial rocks, and to devise rocket-borne interceptors to destroy the 10-km-wide bolide that would fall to earth creating the Chicxulub Crater and an environmental catastrophe lasting years, which caused their extinction 65 million years ago, (4) so humanity today is psychologically underdeveloped to anticipate the emergence of a new equilibrium state of earth’s climate, which will result from shifts of atmospheric and ocean currents, the quantity and distribution of ice, the degree of humidity, and the abundance of liquid water. This climate shift will be (is being) caused by the accommodation of excess heat trapped in vaporous organic compounds and molecular gases released into the atmosphere primarily during the 20th century as waste products of industrialization and as a consequence of natural outgassing from warming oceans, tundras, and land masses. (5)

Our problem is one of revising an entire system — industrialization — by which modern human society exploits exosomatic energy. Industrialization may seem as complex and convoluted a system in the realm of human affairs as the earth’s climate is in the natural realm (to which humanity also belongs, though it usually forgets this). It is the sophistication and extent of our exploitation of exosomatic energy (i.e., energy from outside the human body), rather than our use of tools, that distinguishes humankind from the other forms of life on earth.

We know humanity has a direct impact on climate — industrialization heats the biosphere — but our quantitative knowledge of the sensitivity of climate dynamics to anthropogenic inputs is never exact, though it is extensive, highly detailed, of increasing precision, and compellingly persuasive. It is beyond a reasonable doubt. (6)

New knowledge always confronts psychological resistance to altering human inertia: we resist thinking and behaving differently, especially religiously, politically, and economically.

People are accustomed to assuming that climate and weather are constants, that environmental conditions have long-term stability with known regional variations, known seasonal cycles, and which occur within known short-term fluctuations. Our economic activity is based on a traditional and limited set of expectations about local weather and climate, in the same way as we walk with unthinking assuredness on ground we always expect to solidly support us. We do not wish to change our industrialized economic behaviors to “pay more,” or even “pay for” the consequences of our many forms of self absorption called “business,” until forced by external conditions that no longer support our preferred assumptions.

There is a certain moralistic resentment here. Those who are willing to sacrifice “pleasure” today in order to contribute to the “good of society” resent those who remain profligate and “liberal.”

Climate moralists resent the selfish capitalists, the Republican climate-change deniers and the modern “drill baby, drill!” neoliberals. These latter in turn hate the climate evangelists for trying to force their climate religion down neoliberal throats, and for calling to cut off capitalism’s rapturous resource exploitation orgies.

The resentment of climate missionaries by heathen capitalists is mirrored by the resentment of religious fundamentalists and political reactionaries, who seek to forcibly evangelize the atheist and “liberal” masses to “conservative” psychological repressions and monetary obsessions, instead of having their orgies of free sex, free thought, free drugs, free abortions, and socialist politics. Like an American Taliban, these atavistic fundamentalists resent missing out on all the good fun the unrepressed leftist sinners are having; they can only find satisfaction by shutting down the good times for everybody.

I believe a transition to a post-coal and post-nuclear future could be a very exiting and rewarding national effort, one that would offer many young engineers (as I can remember being) fulfilling lifetime careers, and energize the unfolding of a new Renaissance. (7)

However, for minds mired in reactionary and regressive attitudes, either because of religion, or an attachment to money, or xenophobic fear born of willful ignorance, the entire discussion triggers instant panic, as in an earthquake with the ground giving way beneath them. So, I am pessimistic humanity will anticipate climate change, though I expect it will try to adapt after the fact.

Science has given us enough information to “verify” the anthropogenic climate effect; yes, we can always add more data and make our simulations more precise, but we already have more than enough information. Our globalized problem now is simply to arrive at a decision: either act to modify our climate karma, or consciously accept becoming the victims of nature’s future circumstances. At the typical level of current public discussion about climate change politics, the question “what are we going to do about it?” boils down to “who is going to pay for what has to happen, and how do I get out of it, or make money from it?”

All of the “controversy” today about climate change is just the verbalization of the psychological resistance of human inertia: “I don’t want my world to change,” “I don’t want to miss out,” “I don’t want to pay,” and “I don’t want to stop what I like doing.” All these are expressed in class- and group-specific ways, disguised in terms of economic harm and scientific doubt.

And so, like a dinosaur chewing its cud on a lazy humid summer day on the savannas by the Tethys Sea, we may sense a momentary chill as the shadow of a doubt about a dark future lurking unseen among the clouds crosses over us like a bolide streaking across the face of the sun, but that apprehension instantly evaporates as the warmth of our sunny expectations returns to flood our consciousness once again. What we can’t imagine can only erupt as surprise.

The best way to face an uncertain future is joyously, wide-eyed with enthusiasm, like seven samurai united for battle: “This is the nature of war. By protecting others, you save yourself.”

The real challenge for us, humanity, is learning how to consciously evolve.

Notes

1.  “1973 Oil Crisis,”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis

2.  “Carbon Dioxide In Earth’s Atmosphere,”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth’s_atmosphere

3.  M. García, Jr., “Bayesian Bargains: Jail, Shopping, Debt, And Voting,” 30 January 2012,
http://swans.com/library/art18/mgarci39.html

4.  “Chicxulub Crater,”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater

5.  “Huge Methane Leak In Arctic Ocean: Study,” 4 March 2010, Agence France Presse,
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g6NkTJSt40nZs4lXD-gLdCZdSndQ

6.  M. García, Jr., “Climate and Carbon, Consensus and Contention,” 4 June 2007,
http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/06/climate-and-carbon-consensus-and-contention

7.  M. García, Jr., “The Economic Function Of Energy,” 27 February 2012,
http://swans.com/library/art18/mgarci41.html

The Righteous And The Heathens Of Climate And Capitalism
12 March 2012
http://www.swans.com/library/art18/mgarci43.html

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Changing Climate For Unchanging People
[Swans.com – January 28, 2013]

Climate Change is the entropy of industrialized civilization. It is Nature’s fever from its infection by viral capitalism.

In early January 2013, the National Climatic Data Center in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded in the contiguous United States, with a mean temperature of 12.9º C (55.3º F). The average for the 20th century was 11.2º C (52.1º F), and the scatter of the yearly data points about that century average lies within the band defined by 10º C (50º F) and 12.2º C (54º F).

The globally averaged temperature during 2012 was described as follows in the National Climatic Data Center’s “State of the Climate” announcement:

“The globally-averaged temperature for 2012 marked the 10th warmest year since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 36th consecutive year with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average annual temperature was 1976. Including 2012, all 12 years to date in the 21st century (2001-2012) rank among the 14 warmest in the 133-year period of record. Only one year during the 20th century — 1998 — was warmer than 2012.”

NOAA also estimated that there were eleven extreme weather and climate events in the U.S. during 2012 that caused losses of more than one billion dollars each. Extreme weather events included the drought extending over 61% of the nation (the Great Plains and Hawaii), the heat waves in the Northeast, the extensive wildfires in the Southwest, and the storms along the Gulf and East Coasts: Hurricane Isaac and Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy.

At the same time as NOAA was issuing its “State of the Climate” announcement, a bushfire catastrophe was declared by the Australian government. In December 2012 and early January 2013, during an austral summer with unprecedented high temperatures, fires raged across so much of the states of New South Wales (in which the cities of Sydney and Canberra are situated) and the island state of Tasmania that the smoke plumes massed into a blanket obscuring daylight at ground level, and the view of the landmass beneath it to astronauts orbiting above.

Also appearing in early January 2013 was a massive draft report on climate change in the United States, by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) of the US Global Change Research Program. After a three-month period of public review and comment (ending April 12, 2013), and review by the National Academies of Sciences, NCADAC will revise its draft report and submit it to the Federal Government for approval as the Third National Climate Assessment Report. The previous NCA Reports were issued in 2000 and 2009.

The draft NCADAC report is detailed and unequivocal about the many specific manifestations of ongoing climate change occurring within the territory of the United States. The purpose of the NCA Report “is to establish a scientific and credible foundation of information that is useful for a variety of science and policy applications related to managing risk and maximizing opportunities in a changing climate.”

The atmosphere today holds more moisture because it is warmer than in previous centuries. That enhanced fluid mass can be cycled with greater intensity because of the added heat energy, as storms and floods, or withheld with more enduring pitilessness as drought. As global warming continues, we can expect a higher frequency of droughts, heat waves, wildfires, downpours, and tropical storms like those of 2012, and of greater intensity.

Despite the stark assessment of ongoing climate change in the new US Government reports, a multitude of fresh memories of extreme weather events and associated personal tragedies in 2012, and the greater publicity about climate change in mass media today, the issue of implementing a broad and immediate national response to climate change, and then an international response, neither dominates the attention of the American public nor perceptibly impacts the formation and conduct of national policy. Why is that?

Many concerned with the ominous potentialities of climate change believe that the corporate stranglehold on mass media throttles the flow of information to the public about the links between climate change and political economy, as part of a management of the public mind by a national elite so as to preserve popular attitudes of consumption that continue to support, acquiesce to, or be fooled by profitable schemes of finance, commercialism and resource exploitation. To some of the people deeply concerned about climate change, it may seem as if censorship is being practiced out of elite fears of awakening the public and then overturning the economic order.

It is not a matter of censorship, but of mental inertia. For most people, behavior is habitual, ingrained by training through indoctrination (TV, advertising, peer pressure; thought molded by an external agency), and thinking is fashioned after the fact to align with behavior (“I’m cool because I own this desirable stuff,” or “I have substance and status because I am recognized by this class of better people”).

Changes to behavior are fiercely resisted by any person who takes the pattern and style of their learned and imprinted behaviors to define them, to be their self-image. To “force” someone to change their behavior is to force them to re-think who they are, and that is nearly always experienced as a demotion, a degradation: psychological death.

Confronting people with your anxiety about Climate Change as an emergency they must respond to immediately and irrevocably can be received as a demand that they commit psychological suicide: Climate Change means that all your implicit assumptions about the world on which you base your life and self-image are wrong, you must kill your present psychological self (your idea of who you are and how you should live) and accept a new one that fits in with the new climate-change-altered reality coming into being.

One segment of the population will flat out deny the existence of the threat to its psychological continuity, and this is simple climate change denial.

The more liberal resistant people will accept the logic describing Climate Change as a physical reality, but see it as external to their lives. They will block the Climate Change imperative to live differently, to exist differently, by moving the issue of Climate Change far away from their immediate spheres of thought and action, and onto remote domains controlled by forces and institutions they hope will save them. So, they will look to cap-and-trade economic schemes, geo-engineering schemes, anticipated “new” and “hybrid” and “carbon-free” technologies, so they can continue with existing behaviors despite the changing externality of climate, and continue to believe they will be shielded from Climate Change harm. This is why so many affluent people drive the Toyota Prius automobile, with a hybrid electric-combustion propulsion system. The sought-for mental oasis is: “It will cocoon me from the external threat to my inflexible behavior.”

To be clear-eyed about Climate Change requires accepting three facts:

[1] Human-caused Climate Change is real, accelerating rapidly, and inevitable; human restraint on greenhouse gas emissions can only make it “less bad” in the future.

[2] People who are fully prepared to alter their ambitions and their conceptions of how to live, to both adapt to ongoing Climate Change and to mitigate its future development, will be in the minority.

[3] The climate-change-accepting minority will be condemned to live in a world, and in most nations, in which the change-resistant majority will determine the economic, industrial, energy-use and environmental exploitation practices.

The idea that we can globalize a climate-change-accepting mentality into species-wide group-think, and species-wide equitable group response, is illusory. What is real is that indeed psychological globalization has occurred, in that sense our world is smaller, or perhaps more accurately, “condensed,” but the controlling character of humanity’s globalized mind is the simple and primitive brain-fever of self-centeredness, the clutching of acquisitiveness and for control.

Climate will change; people won’t.

Changing Climate For Unchanging People
28 January 2013
http://www.swans.com/library/art19/mgarci61.html

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A Review of ‘DON’T LOOK UP’

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A Review of ‘DON’T LOOK UP’

‘DON’T LOOK UP’ is a 2021 deadpan movie satire on human stupidity in ignoring Climate Change by the popular obsession with social media and “fake news,” and by the extreme narcissism of government leaders and their billionaire patrons. This movie is in the same spirit as Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ was about human stupidity regarding nuclear war.

However, since the full arc of the Climate Change story is several decades long, for dramatic punch DON’T LOOK UP has compressed that timeline down to six months — from first detection to final impact — by being an allegorical satire where the real problem of Climate Change has been substituted for in the movie’s story by a planet-killing comet larger than the Chicxulub bolide of 66Mya heading straight toward Earth.

Mass media, Trump-style American government, Gates-Zuckerberg tech fantasy grandiosity and Bezos-Musk-Branson billionaire space privatization fantasy (the last two types of fantasts being wrapped up in one character), are all deliciously eviscerated in this movie.

The serious message at the heart of this movie is quite simple: pay attention to reality. That was also the same message in ‘On The Beach’ (1959) and ‘Dr. Strangelove…’ (1964). The cast is made up of A-list players, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence playing the scientists who discover “the problem” and try to alert the public, and the government to take action. But, the tech billionaire and the bought politicians see a potential profit-making opportunity instead. The character of Milo Minderbinder embodied the same idea of greed blinding the perception of reality in the struggle for and precariousness of survival, in the novel ‘Catch-22’ (1962) and its great film version (1970). The satire in DON’T LOOK UP is exquisite right up past the credits (hint, hint). Enjoy it.

There are so many inside and throwaway jokes in DON’T LOOK UP (many about Trump and trumpians) that I even thought of seeing it again for a 3rd time, in stop motion, to be able to catch them all and write them all down (at least the one’s I can recognize) for cataloguing in a subsequent encyclopedic “like and subscribe” article of my own, as a do-it-yourself-without-tuition-payments master’s thesis in film studies. But I decided to leave that huge task to the future alien archeologists who will land on Earth to sift through the ruins of our so-called civilization, and decipher our remaining media recordings like today’s Mayanologists have deciphered the glyphs inscribed at Tikal, Uxmal, Chichen Itza and many other Central American archeological sites.

So then, here is just one example. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character — the astronomy professor whose student played by Jennifer Lawrence has discovered the comet — is called “Randall Mindy”. In 2004 during the G. W. Bush Administration there was a big scandal because while Bush and his people (Republicans) and their allied media were all saying that Global Warming Climate Change did not exist, the Pentagon had commissioned a secret study of its worst possibilities — which potential consequences turned out to be something approaching the story used in the 2004 movie “The Day After Tomorrow”: the Gulf Stream Atlantic Current could shut down because of the Greenland icecap melting and flooding into the North Atlantic, diluting the salinity of the cold North Atlantic waters thus preventing the conveyance of Caribbean heat to Western Europe, which in turn could result in an Ice Age type of rebound globally (I’ve described the physics of all this elsewhere: trust me, I’m a scientist).

The Pentagon had commissioned this report in 2004 because they wanted to plan ahead “for the worst”, which is always what they use to get them the most money from Congress (also, there is another sly joke in the movie about a money shystering Pentagon general). Word of that secret Pentagon report leaked out quickly in 2004 and there was a public furor, so the Pentagon declassified it and made it public (you can find it online somewhere). That report was call the “Schwartz-Randall Report”, after the surnames of the author-researchers contracted to produce it. RANDALL = warning the world despite official efforts of being muffled.

Maybe “Randall” is just a coincidence, but I’m inclined to think that the writers of the movie’s story and screenplay, David Sirota and Adam McKay, are much more crafty than just simply haphazardly lucky.

For me another chuckle is the whole idea of framing the social phenomenon of Climate Change denial as if we are all like the dinosaurs 66Mya not looking up at their extinction triggering comet/meteor streaking in, to plunge into the Yucatan then and into the Pacific in the movie.

I wrote that exact idea (climate change = our extinction meteor, ignored) explicitly in an article in 2012, and implicitly in 2013 (they were published at Swans.com). So I figure Sirota, McKay and Leonardo all owe me BIG — but I won’t get paid because that’s not how success works among humankind. And — I admit — it’s even possible that somebody else might have had the same idea before me. But remember, when you do know of a prior statement of “your” idea, that never giving credit for it and successfully disguised plagiarism of it are the essence of career advancement in “the intelligentsia” of our advanced society. (I may be using a little bit of irony here.)

So for sure I love the movie, everyone in it did an absolutely superb job, and I can see every actor got a kick playing their characters, and played them to the hilt. I particularly like the Jennifer Lawrence character, not because of the young cutie pie factor the movie marketeers undoubtedly wanted her to bring into the picture, but because she spits flaming bullets at all the usual culprits, shredding those assholes, and she does right by her portrayal of Millennials, who are always being dumped on with betrayals by media depictions of them, and by the “old fuck” financial string-pullers vampiring off them.

My wife says I am like the “Randall Mindy” astronomy science guy (I do have an expired science Ph.D., from Princeton no less, and a Millennial kid), but I’m not such a nebbish, I don’t need mood pills, and there’s no way some Cate Blanchett type (the old people’s cutie pie for this movie) is going to gush on me, as shown humorously in the movie with Leonardo and Cate (I most definitely am not gush-worthy).

So all in all, a great great movie (because I agree with it), worthy of a Stanley Kubrick had he’d been alive to make it (call this one Dr. Strangelove II), a credit to all the multimillionaires and Oscarites who acted out the parts with verve in front of the cameras, and will get to crow about it in their charity foundation websites or hit songs, later — not a tax writeoff I can get, but oh well — and there is even a self-parody joke about this movie within this movie! DON’T LOOK UP is especially a credit to the story and screen writers, however-much they stole ideas from others or thought them up all on their very own (as if we all really lived in an intellectual vacuum).

So, great film, and great that we’ve at least gotten this far in really doing something “actual” on climate change. The sky’s the limit and we’ve now finally almost gotten to liftoff. The alien archeologists will really love this show.

DON’T LOOK UP (trailers)
https://www.netflix.com/title/81252357

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Don’t Let It Get You Down

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Don’t Let It Get You Down

Let me tell you something. You may have a wife, or husband, or somebody you’re legally married to, and maybe also parents, and children, or family people you have dependent on you, and you fret, you worry, and anticipate that they may tangle you up in another drama or crisis or legal or emotional mess, and it may drag on and on and on, and weigh you down, and suck up your time, and drain your bank account, and eat up your paychecks, and gobble up you house, and you just want to figure out how to plan for a smooth getaway without sacrificing your love of your needing ones or making you feel guilty about betraying them, and no government, or bank, or church, or relatives, or EMTs, or hospital, or friends, which don’t actually exist, are going to land johnny-on-the-spot like Superman or Batman and rescue you when the disaster finally strikes and knocks you flat, because everybody else is in the same suspended hazard as you are and has no slack in their lives to worry about anybody else, or they are filthy rich and making book on the general misery so no way are going to be sympathetic to nobodies like you, and so you ask yourself: will I and my people be okay?, will we make it smoothly all the way?, can I just get a clear sign not to worry?, can I know that all will be safe?, can I be sure that they won’t wig out? So, let me tell you the truth: everybody — is — fucking — nuts. Count on it. Best you can do is be ready to jump to it when the shit hits the fan, and to dance with the disaster without freaking out, and let go of what you’ll need to accept is being ripped off from you, and forget having anyone care about your personal emotional drama on it all, or about getting the right mood pills and needles to cocoon you in evaporating amnesias, because there’s no out from the zone for you however much you would like to think there is, and you’ll need to do all that letting go so you can keep going on and keep as much of your sanity as you can manage, without giving up. So that’s the truth: there’s no hope and don’t give up. Maybe you’ll win life’s lottery and all will be fine, just don’t plan on it. Maybe it’s all part of God’s Plan for you to bring you a deeper truth out of a world of pain, well that’s all bullshit for suckers so forget it: nothing good comes out of pain and suffering, at best there is only relief if and when it stops. And after that, recovery?, well that’s just good luck; bad luck is called “relapse,” end of parole, back in the slammer, yeah you were framed, wasn’t everybody? But aren’t some people guilty because they’re stupid? Yeah well, everybody’s stupid to some degree or other, and face it we have all decided that we have to die way sooner than we really have to because we have to stay stupid, we must, because that is who we are. We call that freedom, rights, comfort, even religion. See what I mean: stupid. So there you have it: everybody’s fucking nuts, you live in their insane asylum, there’s no way out and we’re all going to die alone together from now until the cows come home. There’s no hope, just don’t let it get you down, and don’t give up. Might as well enjoy the show. Now, can I get an “amen?” Oh, and don’t forget to “like” and “subscribe”!

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Anthropocene Joyride

National Research Council, 2011: ‘Understanding Earth’s Deep Past: Lessons for Our Climate Future.’

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Anthropocene Joyride

The Anthropocene geological epoch began when human activity first had a GLOBAL impact on the planet’s environments. That was in late 1965, when the first evidence of a human-caused effect was detected EVERYWHERE, indicating a simultaneous global impact by human activity.

That evidence was the signature of radioactivity (Carbon-14) from nuclear bomb test fallout incorporated into tree rings for the year 1965 (within October to December) at all latitudes and longitudes. Atmospheric nuclear bomb explosions were set off from 1945 to, primarily, 1963. The peak of such activity was an orgy of bomb tests by the U.S. and USSR in 1962. [1]

Prior to 1965 many species had had geographically limited impact on altering environments, like pre-columbian humans in North America making pastures out of forests in Appalachian valleys, herd animals making permanent migration trails, and grazing animals nibbling bush down to grasslands.

But all previous geological epochs were set by planetary geophysics, such as with the coalescing of continents into the supercontinent Pangaea (335Mya) and then its breakup (from 175Mya), and the comings and goings of the Ice Ages, the last one starting 2.58Mya, and ending 11,700 years ago.

While we now know that human activity can have a simultaneous global impact for setting off a planetary geophysical process — global warming climate change with biodiversity losses — we do not yet know if human activity can set off a different planetary geophysical process to counter global warming climate change and biodiversity losses.

It is obvious that the only credible global climate stabilizing process available is the socio-economic revolution of abandoning nationalistic fossil-fueled capitalism, and replacing it with an international democratic socialism whose industrial and technological elements are powered by renewable energy, which does not emit greenhouse gases. [2]

Such a necessary transformation of organized human society is most definitely a challenge to the political processes of Earth’s 193-odd nations, and to the ambitions and prejudices of their political classes, their wealth elites, and their general populations. The practical problem facing climate stabilization activists is to overcome these political difficulties as soon as possible. Admittedly, this is a monumental task, and some fear it impossible. Even so, defeatism here is ignominious while engagement in this cause will at a minimum salvage personal honor, and most optimistically secure humanity’s long-term future.

So for now it is best to think of humans as in the driver’s seat of the Anthropocene Earth Car with the foot mashed down on the gas pedal connected to a powerful fuel-injected engine, but with the brake lines cut. Time of impact is unknown, but terminal speed will be high.

Notes

[1] The Anthropocene’s Birthday
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2018/02/23/the-anthropocenes-birthday/

[2] The Improbability of CO2 Removal from the Atmosphere
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2020/08/09/the-improbability-of-co2-removal-from-the-atmosphere/

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Answering Job Today

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Answering Job Today

Evil is a refutation of God. The existence of the former indicates the nonexistence of the latter. That is, of a caring, good, loving, all-powerful God. This fact has been recognized since the days of Job, if not earlier. Real God either is not caring, or is not good, or is not loving, or is not all-powerful, or any combination of these, or does not exist at all.

The tortured replies to Job since Biblical days, which try to reconcile the contradiction of the existence of evil in the world and the undeserved sufferings inflicted on innocents, with the simultaneous existence of a caring, good, loving, all-powerful God, are simply not credible. What is credible is an atheism that accepts the statistical workings of chance to sprinkle the world of human experience with good and evil, bad breaks and lucky breaks, which often are completely independent of a person’s supposed merits — if lucky — and supposed just deserts — if a victim, or a convict in the eyes of others.

The fact that those statistical workings are not perfectly random has been recognized as the concept of karma, and with Biblical epigrams like: “those who live by the sword, die by the sword,” and with real world statistics showing that your likelihood of being killed or injured by a gun are much higher if you live in close proximity to a gun, regardless of who owns it.

But neither the idea of karma, nor the idea of retribution for sin, which is espoused by Biblical apologists and other religious fundamentalists, can justify an inflexible assignment of guilt worthy of earthly punishment allowed by a Supreme Divinity onto clearly innocent people who are visited by undeserved evil. Victims of genocides, mass bombings as terrorist attacks or in campaigns of war, victims of epidemics or who contract fatal diseases like cancers in young children, are not guilty and do not deserve a punishing evil.

There is no “good” or divinely guided “lesson” that comes out of the experience of suffering the visitations of evil into your life, there is only relief if you survive. The people who walked out of the Nazi concentration camps, and lived on, did not deserve the punishing evil they went through; and their subsequent freedom and new resolutions about how they would conduct themselves thereafter, if they had any such new resolutions, were not “a good” or “silver lining” or surprising and compensating benefit that came out of their punishing experiences, that renewed freedom was just simply the relief of surviving. So, the idea of “a good” coming out of “an evil” is pure bullshit.

In this world we have people who do evil, and people who do good, and for each category not all of those in them may do whichever all the time. A fair generalization is that most “normal” people have times in their lives of doing evil — of varying degrees — and times of doing good — also of varying degrees. A dramatic example easily visualized is that of the military veteran who was a killing machine during a war and became a devoted humanitarian after. Billions of simple examples are all of us “normal” people who have at times hurt others with intentional cruelties, and at other times been caring, nurturing helpers selflessly relieving the pain and suffering of others.

There are really only three kinds of people: those who are suffering, those who inflict suffering, and those who relieve suffering. The nature of human society is determined by the relative proportions of these three populations, and we must recognize that any particular individual can be in two of those categories simultaneously at any given time, and maybe even all three. If I were tasked to state just one rule that each person was supposed to follow, as the purpose of individual life, it would be: spend as little time as possible causing suffering. What I would wish is for human society and its governments to be designed entirely for the relief of human suffering. As we know, today human society is designed for the few to profit from the sufferings of the many. And the workings of that design are increasingly killing off the species of the designers. The aspects of those sufferings that are projected into Nature have produced a blunt counterattack by Nature, a fever called global warming climate change, to disinfect Planet Earth from the human pathogen causing the planetary illness, a broad-spectrum disinfection that includes the sacrifice of many harmless organisms.

Even in the hypothetical ultimate world-society designed entirely for the relief of human suffering, we would still have the occurrence of natural disasters and eruptions of diseases, to visit evil — bad luck and cruel fates — upon undeserving victims, but we would also have minimized the reach of what can be termed “evil” into the continuation of human existence. That would be so much better than any orthodoxy about God, and any organized fantasy with restrictions and prejudices, called “religion.”

I am a great believer in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, proclaiming a freedom of expression, which also means a freedom of religion. Every individual should have the freedom to fashion their own belief-system for mediating their personal relationship with eternity, basically the story they tell themselves to console them for having a finite lifespan with a certainty of death. No one else should be allowed to compel you to live under the restrictions — called religion — that they proclaim as preeminent and under which they say they live (for there is so much hypocrisy here) and to which they want everyone else to submit.

So, I don’t care what you believe in order to assuage yourself to the inescapable eventuality of death, I only care about how you act as a member of our joint civil society. We can craft purely secular just laws to specify the limits of acceptability on human actions in civil society, and we can do our duty as members of human society to obey those laws for each other’s benefit. Ancient traditions have recognized this obvious principle as ahimsa with karuņá, and the moralistic Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It was also recognized in the early 20th century by the anti-capitalist Spanish Anarchists of the CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo) as: “no property, no god, no bosses.”

It is by having communities of people committed to their mutual relief of unavoidable and haphazard suffering, as the design purpose of human societies, that we most effectively confront evil and limit its extent in the world. And that is Paradise in reality.

God and Country
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2017/02/15/god-and-country/

Darwin’s Living Legacy
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2017/02/13/darwins-living-legacy/

Asian Philosophies, Oppenheimer, & the New Age
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2017/03/28/asian-philosophies-oppenheimer-the-new-age/

An October Sunday Reflection
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2021/10/18/an-october-sunday-reflection/

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