‘Global Warming for Dummies’… or Duh-meez

by Ogi Overman

There are four words you will never hear come out of President Duh’s mouth. The first two, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are understandable, because he can’t pronounce them. He refers to him as the president of Iran but never by name. The words have apparently crossed that four-syllable threshold that renders even phonetics Herculean for Bush, so, rather than risk further ridicule (like that ever stopped him before) he chooses simply not to use them.

But the other two are a mystery. They’re English, fall within the four-syllable limit and don’t require his sycophants to write them out phonetically. As Clyde Crashcup would say: “Glow is for glow and bull is for bull – glow-bull; and war is for war (you know that one, don’t you, Mr. President?) and ming is for ming – war-ming. Global warming! Very good, Leonardo.”

He chooses not to utter that phrase for much the same reason he will not say Ahmadinejad; it would give it legitimacy, make it real, confer on it more status than Bush/Rove feel it’s worth. Plus, in the case of global warming, to admit that it exists would repudiate everything his train-wreck of an administration has stood for. Free-market capitalism, industrial expansion and imperialism all depend on an oil-based economy and he is incapable of admitting that something – anything – contradicts his narrow world view and rigid ideology.

Remember the pained look on his face when he finally admitted that the US is addicted to oil? Then, when he grimaced a few months later – and six years too late – the phrase “climate change” it reminded me of Fonzie’s contorted attempts to get out the word “ru-ru-ru-wrong.” Even then Duh could not bring himself to say global warming, because that would be an admission of fallibility. The man simply cannot admit that he is ru-ru-ru-wrong.

Early in his reign, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a report citing human activity as the only plausible cause for the rapid rise in the Earth’s temperature, and Bush dismissed it out of hand. Even then he could not bring himself to say “EPA,” calling it, instead, the four-syllable word “bureaucracy.” This was, as I recall, several months after he had pulled the US out of the Kyoto Protocols, the worldwide agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. This was before 9-11, mind you, and already he was resorting to the last refuge of the scoundrel, patriotism, saying he would not support anything that would “cost the US jobs.” What he meant to say was “cost his oil baron cronies profits” but that never goes over quite as well as the pulling the old patriotism card. Or lying.

Now, I take no solace in the fact that I was among the first calling for his impeachment, in August ’01, but the hard reality is that the time we’ve lost in the ensuing five-plus years may have been even more critical than we realized then. Had we acted to remove him and Cheney from office then, the environmental crisis we face today would not be nearly so dire. The problem has been multiplying exponentially, and the one person who could have put us on the vanguard of alternative energy research and development chose to ignore the problem entirely or dismiss it as the creation of the liberal media. (I won’t even get into how different the world would be today had the Supreme Court awarded the presidency to its rightful occupant in 2000.)

It’s beyond sad. It’s tragic. The consequences of our inaction will be put into focus in a piece that will appear in The New York Review of Books in March by Bill McKibben, the iconic scholar whose 1989 book, The End of Nature, was the first to signal the coming global warming crisis. McKibben correctly claims that we are paying a very high “procrastination penalty” that grows with each passing year of inactivity.

He states, “If world leaders had heeded the early warnings of the first IPCC report [in 1995], and by 2000 had done the very hard work to keep greenhouse gas emissions from growing any higher, the expected temperature increase would be half as much as is expected now.”

Chilling (no pun intended) words, indeed. But there’s more: “There’s reason to hope that if the US acts extremely aggressively and quickly we might be able to avoid an increase of two degrees Celsius, the rough threshold at which runaway polar melting might be stopped. … What the IPCC report makes clear by implication is that that legislation will be our last meaningful chance: anything less than an all-out assault on carbon in our economy will be rendered meaningless by the increasing momentum of global warming.”

Several pieces of promising legislation have been introduced calling for aggressive carbon reduction. Much of it has bipartisan support and it is expected to pass both houses of Congress rather easily. But – here he comes again – Duh will likely veto anything that reduces oil profiteering. In which case, that same Congress will be left no choice but to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Destroying the Middle East is unforgivable; destroying planet Earth is impeachable.

Four syllables. Im-pee-cha-bull.

Ogi may be reached at, heard Tuesdays 9:30-10 am on “The Dusty Dunn Show” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen Fridays 6:30-7 am on ABC45 and Sundays 10-10:30 pm on MVY48 on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth.