Thoughts on the book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
This topic. No real introduction necessary. Not new in terms of primary predictions but just a hell of a lot closer than 20–25 years ago. And it’s scary as shit. Naturally the U.S. is just one of a handful of countries that not only doesn’t give a shit (yay for our conservative “owners”) but stunningly STILL argues fantasy vs. reality. Of course those with brains know what is going on. The uber-rich, banks, massive corporations, the boards, top execs, etc., naturally know all of this is true and they have the whole time. But they fight bitterly to refute reality and the rest of the world — why? There’s a very interesting book out there (Bruce Cannon Gibney’s A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America)
with a premise that baby boomers are literally a generation of sociopaths so selfish and greedy, they’re willing to sell out their kids and grand-kids and, hell, the whole damn world, content to let the earth and all on it get destroyed — in large part due to THEM and actions and inactions. Why? What will this accomplish? They’re so unbelievably blinded by narcissism, greed and power that they somehow can’t see, even as they massively fund new institutes to research extending the (their) human life span and much more, yet these big, rich mini-kings are so unbelievably stupid (despite education, number of degrees, alleged or tested IQ, etc.) that they seem not have realized what every powerful peoples throughout history (Egyptians? Aztecs?) found out — you can’t take it with you! Yet they act like you can. If they’re not amassing wealth to pass down their family line or corporate descendants — and they’re not because in their continuing denial that the earth is not flat, that the galaxy spins, that humanity has set in motion and it’s already underway, the virtual complete destruction of the earth so there will be NO descendants to speak of to pass on billion dollar inheritances. And they’ve more than proven they’re just fine with that. So the net result is what exactly? Something as basic and juvenile as the race to reach the finish line and “win” because you’re the richest? That’s brain dead stupid.
But leave it to the Me Generation to not think rationally or for the good of others when considering the future. After all, half of them supported the Vietnam conflict (it was never technically a “war” in American history by definition and literally) — which tells me all I need to know — while virtually the other half protested to a degree rarely seen in the U.S. before nor since. I mean, American students got shot and killed by our own military (the Guard) while protesting what they claimed was an unjust and illegal war! (And by the way, if you think those murders were limited to Kent State, you might want to look into it because somehow it conveniently seems to have disappeared from the history books, video footage, documentaries, etc., — typically produced by impacted Boomers — that it WASN’T just the kids at Kent State who got shot and killed! Yeah, we still have historically black colleges, some well known, many quite good. How many of you know the Same Damn Thing happened for the Same Damn Reason on at least one of their campuses around the same time? Yeah, that’s what I thought. They don’t let that stuff get out, and after what we’ve witnessed the past few years in this country, even if it did get out, apparently the vast majority of people here still wouldn’t give a damn! Their pigmentation didn’t and doesn’t matter, right?)
By the way, if you do a basic web search for student Vietnam War protesters shot and killed by the government using most basic search engines including Google, good luck finding what I just mentioned. Fascinating how what are essentially the biggest databases in the universe can make certain facts conveniently hard to find. If you have a hard time, look up Jackson State College (Mississippi). Less than two weeks before Kent State. Same thing actually happened at South Carolina State a couple of years earlier, but not due to Vietnam War protests, but segregation protests. Targets. Whatever works, right?
— — — — — — — — -
<I’ve debated including this next part because it’s a long history lesson of the type I and others do enjoy, but others definitely do not and while it will help lead to support the overall thesis, I’m not sure it’s essential and don’t want to lose the few readers who venture this far, so … I’m putting this break here before and one after so readers will know the content in this section is optional but recommended. If you have neither the time nor interest, skip it. If you have the time, you might learn some interesting things though. Your call.>
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
So if you think what was just described is an isolated case in U.S. history, how many of us are taught American history while growing up that actually involves anything not handed down by rote for generations, anything new — to us — anything any of us never bother to think or wonder about? Because we’re sheeple, which is what’s desired by certain people. Like I said, that period of time, there was a lot of protesting going on, most notoriously about the Vietnam “War” as well as women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights — particularly our black citizens — etc. And many of us HAVE heard of or even know something about some of the more infamous groups protesting or accused of protesting, such as The Weathermen, the Black Panthers, the SDS, various alleged or avowed communist or anarchist groups. And, yes, there was violence, more bombing during a 15-year period than probably at any other point in American history. But what good did that do? I’m old enough to remember the ERA getting shut down — by conservative women. So much for that phase of the feminist movement. I’m recall the various leaders of the Black Panthers and the Black Power movement getting arrested, killed or murdered later. It’s been well established Hoover’s COINTELPRO program was largely responsible for the FBI’s involvements in busting up these movements, as well as consistently targeting the more “traditional” student protestors. (Here is the FBI’s own site called The Vault which allegedly contains all that’s been unclassified and released on COINTELPRO largely due to FOI/PA demands. I actually need to go back and refresh my memory. Read this — it’s a treasure trove.) That’s out there, too late to put back in the bottle. But they’ve tried to keep the lid on the bottle for others, some considered more “dangerous” and in fact, in a certain case, representing as portion of America still fighting a century-old war against the government — literally. Did you know that? No, of course not. Know why not? The student protestors were Boomers who later turned into Reagan/Moral Majority prosperity gospel evangelicals and while it was groovy for THEM to protest, they didn’t want others to get the idea that it was okay for all. Here’s an easy one, a bone I’m throwing you. Raise your hand if you’ve heard of AND can explain the American Indian Movement? And how and why the FBI decimated it? We know about the infamous Black Panther Party leaders, but how many know of Leonard Peltier? Right, some, but not too many. Still, that was the easy one. But since this isn’t actually the subject of this article but merely a few examples to make a point I wish to make, just a couple of others, a little harder for a few extra points. Stepping back to black community leaders and organizers, most of us have certainly heard of Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver (even if not all of us know why). How ‘bout Fred Hampton? Some may, many don’t. I could keep throwing books, articles, resources your way all do but why should I have to do all the work? The info is out there, and not just printed media. Look up terms like “Fred Hampton,” “FBI,” “Black Panther,” “Chicago PD,” etc. (Stepping back, one controversial, largely forgotten earlier black leader was Stokely Carmichael. Guy was damn brilliant! Made me look like a total fool. An intellectual activist who coined the term “Black Power” and lived it. Look it up. Damn shame what happened to him and how’s he’s been rejected and forgotten.) The point of mentioning Stokely was to introduce the slogan Black Power into this article, and hence the next area I’m going. And because this is taking me too long to rewrite something I already wrote very differently and because I’m borderline offtrack here, I’m just going to trust the reader to do some research on some of these people, groups, etc., I’m mentioning.
Black Power was different from Black Panther. And while Black Panther means something somewhat nefarious to some white folks, Black Power meant a lot more … proactive civil disobedience during the 1970s and ’80s. In fact, this is one of those many movements of the era that made some use of the notorious Anarchist Cookbook, or its bombs. I won’t go into history, just going to mention a name and if ANYone reading this — possibly including any black readers — who know who this person is and their significance off the top of your head without having to look things up, a virtual blue ribbon to you! A name: Assata Shakur. Very, very interesting story. A person very feared by the establishment, the authorities. A person who is still alive, last I heard, living in another country under political asylum, having spent the majority of their life on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorist list. Bear in mind, we’re talking about the 1970s here, and I’m talking about how in the 21st century, this ghost remains such a threat in the Boomer mind that the name and any info, while accessible, is not something you’re likely to EVER hear in a standard American history, social or cultural studies, class, etc. Covered up. Too dangerous. But not the point of this large break. A mere bridge. I had to get from Black Panthers to Black Power to another virtually unknown, never mentioned but very feared and covered up group, not just by the Right, but the mainstream and even progressives. And these were women. You’d think that would carry some cachet in today’s Democratic and other progressive circles… Apparently not.
If you ever get your hands on some info, details, a certain book I may put a link here to, your mind may very well get blown. A 3-digit group name. Ready? M19. Yeah, that simple. Sounds like an apartment number, doesn’t it? But M19 was SO committed to social/cultural change, political change that, as the newest book about them describes them, they became the “first and only domestic terrorist group founded and led by women — and their violent fight against, racism, sexism, and what they viewed as Ronald Reagan’s imperialistic vision for America.” Ever hear of them? Of course not. Know why? Among other reasons, they’re the type of ghosts white, Right Boomer America has always and continues to fear, as led by today’s Alt Right no doubt. You see, these were “nice girls.” Many to most of them were smart, upper class Jewish prep school girls who went to or were supposed to go to either Ivy League schools or some of the well known traditional prep women’s colleges, like Smith, etc. And they became so Pissed at what they perceived their government was doing to minorities of all types, whether it was gays, Latinos, blacks, Indians, women, etc., that they started getting mixed up with some of the Weathermen, decided they were basically too tame, moved on to side with the Black Panthers and then the Black Power groups — which is where and why I brought Assata Shakur into this as an introduction, so to speak (Shakur was a major part of the Black Power movement, known by some of M19’s colleagues and an inspiration to the rest so thus, the bridge between the two— that they ultimately become responsible for some of the most outrageous bombings you’ve never heard of. For a reason. One of the most infamous? “Tonight We Bombed the U.S. Capitol!” If you’re interested, you can find out about them for yourselves. No, actually here’s a link for you.
Last, while I don’t know everything in the world and while I know there were small cells of entities likely much more dangerous, Puerto Rico and its history as a part of the U.S. remains interesting, elusive and largely clouded in mystery, not because those on the island want it that way, but because those on the mainland have ever since we “acquired” it around 1898. And once we came to basically own and rule, rather than give them the freedom they’d wanted from the Spanish for so long, it didn’t sit well with a whole bunch of them, some of whom actually went on to “declare war” (of independence) against the U.S. government (M19 did too — it was a popular fad then). And it lasts to this day. Know that? Course not! Wonder why they’re still not a state while Hawaii and Alaska sailed right into statehood a good 50 years after Puerto Rico became part of the US territories? Of course not, no one wonders these things. But some people should. Might learn a thing or two. Maybe you should wonder why Hawaii became a state because the story is damned fascinating, if not a little horrifying, but that’s for a different time altogether (although here’s another freebie resource suggestion: Taking Hawaii: How Thirteen Honolulu Businessmen Overthrew the Queen of Hawaii in 1893, with a Bluff, one of a number of such resources out there), so to speed this up, there have been a host of pro-independence “terrorist” groups of PRs operating both in PR and the U.S. for over 100 years now. Some are fairly well known — the Young Lords, starting in Chicago during the civil rights era, to a certain extent. But one remains virtually unknown to the general public, not spoken of, continues to inspire horrific fear in most American leaders (Clinton is STILL taking shit for offering clemency to a dozen or so members nearly 20 years after their arrests.) Here is the name of (one of the) most feared domestic “terrorist” groups in American history — and you’ve never heard of them! “Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional,” better known as FALN. It’s almost certain you will NEVER hear or see that mentioned or printed nearly anywhere in this country, at least unclassified. For a pretty short duration during the 1970s through the mid-’80s, they set off more bombs than all of the other groups put together (over 130 U.S. military and government buildings bombed over a 9-year period alone)— and they were unknown, invisible, nameless, faceless, virtually uncatchable — except for their leader, Oscar Lopez Rivera, not only a leader but a figurehead and national hero to many back “home.” Try and find info on them, FALN. Substantial info, official info, current info. Quantity and quality. Good luck with that. And hope what I’ll hope after I hit publish — I won’t either get some hard knocks on the door later or maybe simply get the door kicked in at 3 AM. There are some documents out there, but not many. Believe it or not, one of the only substantial and available ones by the government — I think the ONLY one! — is the House Report on Clinton’s Clemency being a “Reckless Decision.” I shit you not! (H. Rept. 106–488- THE FALN AND MACHETEROS CLEMENCY: MISLEADING EXPLANATIONS, A RECKLESS DECISION, A DANGEROUS MESSAGE.) You can literally find it online to download and read, but it was considered so important, that it was literally made into a very nice, professionally published book that most anyone can purchase — I have a copy. The thing is, if you consider what it is — a Republican Congress chastising a Democratic president for granting clemency for less than a dozen U.S. citizens (Yes, they’re U.S. citizens.) two dozen years after being convicted while declaring themselves Prisoners of War. Feel free to agree or disagree. I’ve just always had a hard time believing that was the biggest, if not only, thing that damn Congress thought important enough to publish! Anyway, if you want a copy of the original Congressional document, you’re welcome. (Slightly different title. Going to try to embed a photo of the cover here.)
— — — — — — — — -
<Whether you jumped this last section or read it, as promised, we’re getting back to the point(s) I was trying to establish, with this section intended to help build a more firm foundation for the remainder. But now we move on, as originally intended.>
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
So. The point? The point? What WAS the original point? Oh yeah, the Boomers. And their Vietnam War protests. Because it was never about them so much as it was about their standing in solidarity their smaller, “yellow” fellow human brethren who were being oppressed by a historically colonial imperialist government in an illegal war that was killing ultimately millions of Vietnamese — whom we cared very much about — as well as endangering the future doctors and professors and stockbrokers and so on — at least those who didn’t flee the country, have great family connections, and who were legitimately ballsy enough to burn their draft cards. (And please bear in mind, in describing what they said back then, those are not my words, not what I came up with. I’m merely repeating commonly expressed grievances by tons of American student protestors who felt so strongly about the rights of the oppressed. By colonial imperialists. In far lands. I was young, but alive then and recall this. Interestingly, the same passion didn’t seem to be there for the minorities next to them at home, as they got slaughtered by the government and government-inspired infighting.)
AND NOW WE FINALLY, FINALLY GET TO THE DAMN POINT OF ALL OF THAT HISTORY LESSON because this has ALWAYS said everything I ever needed to know about the Baby Boomers.
The U.S. “officially” sent its first troops to Vietnam in 1965 (hah!) and before the decade was out, the war fatigue and body counts were so bad, we just wanted out. (Not to mention that virtually all of our civilian leaders before, during and after later admitted they knew the whole time, including BEFORE, that it would be a completely unwinnable war — look up some of McNamara and McGeorge Bundy’s statements long after… [It was always McBundy’s fault!].)
So Nixon and Kissinger wanted to find a way to achieve a way out — “peace with honor,” (trying to save a little face, pathetically) which was why even though we entered into talks with the North Vietnamese long before, it didn’t end (for us) until 1973, when we finally fled, er left. Those of you, like me, old enough to have seen the NVA crush their way into Saigon in 1975 recall the hovering choppers above the embassy buildings as people fell to their deaths leaping to try to land inside a chopper. Did a number on a young kid’s head…
But this is the detail nearly everyone forgets.
Before we left in 1973, there were hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of American protestors out every day on behalf of our oppressed Vietnamese allies, with the U.S. “officially” saving their lives and the world from the communist “domino effect,” but because the protestors knew the value of human life, we stood in solidarity! (This civil war was a sham, perpetrated by the South Vietnamese presidential puppet the U.S. had put in place when, after studies and researched showed that Ho Chi Minh had possibly an 80%+ likelihood of being voted the new president of a unified Vietnam during internationally mandated elections in 1956, the likely losers [the U.S. and South Vietnamese[ cancelled the required election, with one of the lamest excuses in history. Look it up. I’m not going to tell you all everything. ;) The point being, everyone in the world with any brain at all, and certainly the student protestors [particularly those in danger of being drafted] knew it was a sham, knew the Vietnamese just wanted a damn country and to be left alone, but oh well — thus the well meant, very sincere humanitarian solidarity…)
So the protestors risked all to stand in solidarity with the oppressed Vietnamese being killed. Until we left. Then where were the protests, the crowds, the fights, the placards, card burnings, flag burnings, etc.? Yeah. Silence. Ghost towns. Memories. The endangered Boomer generation was out and safe and fuck solidarity — we left them to a fate we knew would happen, as some have suggested we recently did with the thousands of Afghan allies who worked with and for us who, as our military leaders said through gritted teeth that they would not be left behind (to face what our Vietnamese allies faced), the fact is many, if not most were. Which was never hidden with Afghanistan as it was daily stressed to the world how goddamn important it was to get the Americans out. I agree it was important to get the Americans out. If we had done this in a staggered, planned timely way, this likely would not have happened. We knew back in the spring when the deadline was. But we left even our traditional allies hanging out to dry. I have contacts around the world and I get all sorts of communications from companies, agencies, governments, militaries, individuals, fucking presidents and prime ministers of countries — every single day — and I can tell you, for one thing, the British government, military and people were none too pleased with us when we did this with no virtual warning to them, causing them to scramble like hell to get THEIR British citizens out before they were killed because of our mismanagement and lack of communication. And that’s just one other country. I’ll stop there.
The reason this is not a book review but rather initially a discussion but ultimately an indictment is because going by history, going by the evidence, going by facts as well as plainly the obvious, going by the well made points in Gibney’s book, among many other sources, as well as other sources, it’s an indictment on American Baby Boomers for having no excuse — unless useless greed and power count — for doing what they’ve done and continue to do, which is destroy the earth irrevocably years after action after action that was self benefiting but likely damaging to others, then and in the future — and with their full knowledge and assent.
I know Boomers, and others, who will see and read this and will be infuriated, at least a number of them, and for that I’m sorry, but just as I ticked off tons of people around the world the past couple of years online, in person, in debates, etc., regarding specifically A) the pandemic and B) American fascism and white christian fascist nationalists, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes the truth just fucking hurts, but life sucks so deal. Americans are pansies. We stick our heads in the sand because we don’t like to hear “bad” news, or even news that makes us uncomfortable or anxious. We’ve become entitled, lazy, selfish, dumb, ignorant, hedonistic hypocrites — the most violent nation on earth with more guns than people (and I have them too, but there are differences between plinking targets in a field and mowing down as many school children as possible and justifying it), and we like to beat our chests and brag about how bad ass we are, but as I’ve written before, we can’t take REALITY, so we see the bloody, naked bodies of two dead (white) U.S. servicemen being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu and we freak and even though any conflict results in unfortunate casualties and war is ugly, we couldn’t stomach even that so we cut and ran within weeks, safely back to the welcoming arms of our violent video games and movies and First Person Shooters (again, until it’s the real thing). Meanwhile over half the people around the world likely risk their lives daily just in going out to do basics, whether it’s go wash clothes, go to a job, travel to visit a relative, and often because of old Cold War era dangers still around (land mines for one) or because of newer tools various entities have available to them, things Americans haven’t had to worry about until … well, did you all see that Chinese hypersonic missile traveling around the earth last week? Scared the shit out of our military, and I mean the Joint Staff on down. Biggest navy, army, just about the biggest air force too. So many hypersonics on their coast they haven’t needed nukes because those were made to take out our carrier strike groups from a distance where you couldn’t see or hear them coming. But good ole President Xi apparently didn’t think that was enough, so the report from the US ODNI to Congress last month in which our intel estimates China is throwing together 1,000 new nukes AND ditching their eternal well advertised mantra of their No First Use policy (NFU). Rather convenient. Could our sins be coming back in various repayment forms? I’ve heard that but, no I don’t think so. I know a lot of people working on these issues and what more and more regional and global states have been doing to prepare in the South China Sea (SCS and ECS) and Indo-Pacific this year and for the future is very promising. (But that was before the 1,000 new nukes and ditching their No First Use pledge…)
To finalize things, since I went so far afield, I’ve tried for years to figure out the end game of these science deniers, and usually I’ve had a decent brain, but it’s embarrassing to admit this one has stumped me relentlessly. As far as I can figure, when you die, you *might* leave one or two things to prove you existed. First, a legacy of some sort. It doesn’t have to involve fame, wealth, anything. Families can pass on heirlooms, admiration for certain religious leaders and a variety of notable people (NOT as defined by Wikipedia’s criteria) might leave a famous legacy for a period of time. Writers, artists and musicians can leave various legacies, as can certain inventors, generals, scientists, etc. You get the picture. Do you want your legacy to resemble Donald Trump’s? Cause that’s basically what we’re talking about. People who are often quickly forgotten because they leave no legacy of any real value. Except in some cases, my second example of what people can leave. Wealth, property, investments, inheritances, etc. But we’ve already established those responsible for this crisis are in denial or don’t care about that. They’re willingly sentencing their grandchildren to death along with everyone else so the second example is moot. Yet surely some of them must know this. But apparently not care or we would be jumping to join the rest of the world to try to save the planet.
So the only answer is none. Pure selfish greed to amass as much money and power as possible despite the fact that A) they really don’t want to pass it on and B) they’ve already ensured that ultimately they won’t since 2–3 generations later, their destruction of the world will have been complete. (The US DNI annual threat assessment of the US Intelligence Community for 2021, given to Congress in April labels climate change as, after dealing with COVID-19 and its aftereffects, the second greatest transnational threat to America’s security and humanitarian threat that exists and it provides plenty of recent examples and near-term concerns. And this is not new. I recall one of the leaders on the Joint Staff as early as about 2005 stating that global warming/climate change posed one of America’s greatest national security threats — source forgotten, insufficient time to look it up, sorry. If you don’t believe me and want to see the report or if you DO believe or are on the fence or whatever, you can find it available through the ODNI here.) So this makes Reason A moot too, because what good is it if you leave a legacy of art, music, architecture, writing when it will encounter the same fate as Reason B thanks to the same cause for the same reason. Which again is what exactly? These people, Baby Boomers and others, are the new Egyptians, Aztecs, whatever, but they’ll be the first successful ones? Seriously? Yet that might seem to be the only feasible reason, which proves their brilliance and superiority are bullshit. The Me Generation, despite a glut of educated, successful faux geniuses, have never given a shit about anyone but itself, proven over the decades by all they’ve done and continue to do. Maybe they should be called The Worst Generation instead, cause Baby Boomers seems too generic a term for what they’ve been and done over virtually all of the decades of their existence. And honestly that’s a bit hard for me to say considering my spouse, friends, cousins and I myself (as well as other loved ones) are all either Baby Boomers or on the very cusp (technically I’m not a Boomer, but my wife is, as are most relatives, so I guess I am as well), so I’m indicting us as well (though I think a good argument could be made that it was the large percentage of Boomers prior to the last two years of that long generation who are mostly responsible, but that’s both biased and a subject for a different piece).
This book? Well written, important book. The subject is more of a horror story to me than simple nonfiction, but we can’t hide our heads in the sand. This is a necessary topic. Recommended.
[A first version of this piece originally appeared on my blog at the beginning of November 2021, but it was a substantially shorter go at a minor book review and bears virtually no resemblance to this article, which both grew to at least 3–4 times the original size as well as taking on a modified thesis.]