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The Storm is Coming: Disinformed is Worse than Misinformed

It was a totally nice day as I walked by a guy in a car with the engine running.  After I shopped and came out of the store, it was still running.  I wanted to grab him, take him to the tailpipe, and put his mouth on it.  “Breathe that, you irresponsible dope!” Instant car karma, he gets first what he otherwise sends to everybody else!

Unless his starter was broken, he was either misinformed and ignorant of our shared responsibility to not wreck our earthly weather, duped by deliberate disinformation (richly funded by the fossil fuel companies), or simply forgetful and oblivious to his needlessly wasting gas while adding a bit more heat and pollutants to our shared predicament. 

I wonder if he’d also blame Biden for the high price of gas.

When we first started hearing how burning fossil fuels (coal, gasoline, diesel, and natural gas) are creating global warming – the troublesome greenhouse effect that will last for centuries – I thought we’d all cooperate on restraining that and instead innovate cleaner ways to get and use energy.  We’d take this humanity-wide predicament, this global blunder in history that we’re now aware of, and we’d fix it.

What a naïve fool I was.  How slow and stumbling has our response been.

Too many are uncaring and selfish.  Too many will let their little fart in the face of Mother Nature and all her creatures, including our own children and theirs.  It takes hundreds of years to draw down the carbon we’re spewing into our air now.

The problem and the solution are hinted at in the old song “Little Drops of Rain,” (E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen, 1962, from Gay Purr-Ee; Judy Garland sang it).  I love this sweet song. 

Little drops of rain, little grains of sand,

Make a mighty ocean and a pleasant land.

The little things we humans have done to change the balance of carbon in our air, soil, oceans, and plants started far before the industrial revolution.  Burning wood and coal for heating, cutting the forests for homes and ships, burning it in steam engines, cutting trees down for railroad ties, cutting them down for oil derricks, sucking oil up for grease and lubricants (my dad’s dad helped drill some of the first oil wells in the nation near Oil City, Pennsylvania, burning off the “waste byproduct” of gasoline in the ditches), burning that gasoline and diesel in our internal combustion engines, etc. were all the “little drops” we humans did to create global warming. 

The chunks of wood out in my woodshed come from where mostly?  From our air.  Wood grows by the little drops of rain and sunshine taking in carbon dioxide and creating cellulose.  All of the fossil fuels were once little drops of rain and CO2 meeting in the sunlight.  All energy is ultimately solar energy.  It accumulates slowly over millions of years and can be returned to the air suddenly.

Little “drops” or Air, Condensed

Similar to the song, our “little drops” of innovative savings and gathering our energy from clean, renewable sources will help end our collective mistake to make for collective healing and improvement of Mother Nature. 

Little Drops of Rain Create Rainbombs When Powered by Global Warming

Clearcut in an Indonesian Forest

4 Million Solar Cells in China

Singapore Floating Solar Farm
Windmills near Sweden

To change our “little drops” to good ones, we need truthful information if ever there is hope we’ll care and change.

Disinformed is worse than misinformed.  Misinformation is inaccurate information – just getting the facts wrong.  Disinformation is deliberate misinformation – deliberately false or misleading information intended to deceive and cause harm.

We’re misinformed by our habits and the rationalizations we use to keep them going.  We guard our biases to maintain our identity and habits. 

We’re misinformed by our mufflers.  They mask what we’re really doing.  We don’t hear the roar of explosions that are contained in our internal combustion engines.  (Which engines, by the way, are so complex that at best they supply about only 25% of the energy they’re using to propel the cars.)

I’m guilty of “little drops” of trouble and remedy too.  I usually use my clean, quiet, inexpensive electric bike to get around town, but sometimes I use my good ol’ 1997 V-6 Taurus.  I don’t blame and resent Ford for the car or Exxon for the gasoline, but I use the heavy car only when really needed like long trips, heavy loads, and during inclimate weather.  

My ’97 V-6 Taurus

My Electric Bike

I sometimes imagine being on the 4th of July Parade committee and requiring all internal combustion engines used in the parade to go without mufflers, instead routing the roaring exhaust directly into the driver’s face.  Then we’d all see and hear what we’re all doing. 

I once witnessed a coal train headed towards Asheville, North Carolina.  It had one hundred huge cars loaded with black coal.  Many such trainloads fuel that one city for just one week. The image made its way into my song, “So Wrong.” 

A hundred-car coal train rolls rumble by.

No matter where it’s headed it’ll end in our sky.

There to linger for hundreds of years,

There to bring troubles, just as we fear.

Oceans are rising, corals bleach white,

Forest fires raging, fueled by bug blight.

Storms and tornados twist with more force.

Those who help cause it deny it of course…

The denial goes way beyond misinformation to disinformation.  Exxon helped research global warming back in the 1970s.  But in the latter 80s (remember “Greed is good” and Reagan?) they and other such companies started funding a long war on truth about it.  Using the same tactics and firms that the tobacco industry had earlier used, they strove to create FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt – about the known effects.

Here’s some of the stats to boggle your mind: Five U.S. fossil fuel companies spent about $200M per year in lobbying lately.  They spent $77M just in California.  Shell paid out $7M in 2021 on lobbying.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce paid Facebook $5M in 2020 alone.  The Koch Brothers spent some $145M in ten years up to 2018.  Want to counter them?  Send in your $5!  But just remember, the Supreme Court has not only declared corporations to be “persons,” they’ve declared their money to be “speech” that can be kept secret.

. . . . . . .

All this came blaring in a newspaper someone sent me.  The Epoch Times Bulletin was half stuffed with self-promotions about its “return to honest journalism,” declaring itself as rated “Most Neutral Compared to NYT, AP, BBC, Bloomberg,” claiming, “This is true journalism.  This is what the Founding Fathers meant by ‘freedom of the press.’” It charges only $139 a year for a print/digital version.  It rails that those vaccines are a dangerous plot, that the “raid” on Trump’s Florida house is the erosion of justice, etc. 

Most notable to me was the full-page article claiming “1,100 Scientists and Professionals Declare: ‘There Is No Climate Emergency.’”  The so-called Independent Foundation Climate Intelligence (CLINTEL) claims to have gathered such scientists and other professionals to declare that the “…increase in CO2 and increase in temperature [are] not harmful for us or for nature and therefore the climate hysteria surrounding the topic is totally unjustified [and] the ‘cure’ of getting rid of fossil fuels asap and replacing them with renewables – probably will be worse than the ‘disease’ [of climate change].” 

Instead, their World Climate Declaration (WCD) is deceptive enough to assert the science of climate change is “far from settled” and that the “Earth’s climate has been in flux for as long as the planet has existed.”

Well, yes, complex scientific theories and forecasts are not “settled” if anyone comes up with an irrelevant gripe or Red Herring, and yes, the weather has always changed.  How trite.  How irrelevant.  How disinforming. 

They act as if providing information, saying, “CO2 is plant food…”  Well, yes, it is.  The firewood in my shed comes mostly from the air.  Plants change CO2 into cellulose.  Should we, therefore, increase CO2 to bring back gigantic lizards?  They then assert, “There is no statistical evidence that global warming is intensifying hurricanes.”  I’ll have to send their report to my sister Christina, reassuring her that Hurricane Ian swamping their Port Charlotte, Florida community with 12-foot tidal surges and 150 MPH winds is ordinary.  Nothing to see here, folks.  Pay no attention.  Keep electing those deliberately and stubbornly ignorant Republicans.

About a Mile from my Sister Christina’s House

You’d have to wade through many top pages of a Google Search occupying the “research” some try to discover that only a handful of the 1,100 was at all credentialed to comment on these issues.  The report has long-since been discredited for that, yet they continue to lie, charging that “climate science has degenerated into a discussion based on beliefs, not on sound self-critical science,” projecting on others what they’re doing. 

Calculated, highly financed disinformation is far more detrimental than mere misinformation.  Deliberately lying to mislead is more powerful than merely getting something wrong. 

We were played in 2016!  Our emotional divisions were amplified to increase profitable internet traffic and to sow discord. The New York Times series “Operation Infection” investigated Russian manipulation of our people during Trump’s rise to power.  The KGB spends only 15% of its budget on “active measures.”  It spends 85% on “ideological subversion.”  There were 15,000 KGB workers (more than our entire Department of State after 9-11) involved.  When the Soviet Union dissolved, the KGB didn’t.  Vladimir Putin trained with them.  They’d plant a simple lie or an outrageous one in some gullible or willing foreign press, which would be picked up and promoted in our news media reports and Facebook feeds.  Then we’d get riled and send the disinformation along. 

Hence, alarming stories of pedophiles abusing children in the basement of a pizza parlor led to someone shooting up the place, so mad was he at their evil, even though the place didn’t have a basement and there were no pedophiles. 

Putin knows it’s better to win a war than to fight one.  He and his use seven rules: look for cracks (divides) to exploit; create a big false lie and repeat it; wrap a lie around a kernel of truth; conceal the planning (make it look like it comes from elsewhere); make use of a useful idiot (anyone come to mind?); deny everything; play the long game. 

Those who study this subversion of our social relations and resulting democracy warn the worst is yet to come.  We’ve been trying to analyze 2016 by looking in the rear-view mirror; we need to look through the windshield.  Congress had allocated some $120M to address the issues.  Trump sat on the money, then released only 1/3rd of it.  Sean Spicer, his then spokesperson, claimed his inauguration was, “the largest audience to witness an inauguration ever. Period!”

Obviously  (but sarcastically) all that seemingly empty white space at his inauguration was white people blending into the white backdrop.  Squint your eyes and join a tribe to see them.

Any questions?  “This is your brain on drugs.”

Grassroots Tea Party Spokesperson

I would counter with this chant, “The news will not replace us!”

Democracy falters by the very mechanisms that make it function – free speech and a free press.  They try to scare us by saying a storm is coming. It is, but which sort? Highly financed, skillful deliberate liars would have us riled into a needless civil war against the ominous backdrop of an ever-worsening climate. Meanwhile, real storms magnify. We’re challenged.  We need each other in more honest and humane ways than has been typical of late.  We’ve other songs to sing, like more from Little Drops of Rain:

Never let a minute lie there on the shelf,

For there may be in it, all of life itself.

You’re a citizen.  Live up to yourself.  We need each other. 

Little smiles of hope, little drops of tears,

Make this thing call love go

Dancing down the years.

Little words of love, from each heart and mind

Makes a happy family of our humankind. 

My Family

Byron has been using his writing and public speaking to engage, challenge and inspire audiences for over 40 years. Reverend Carrier's mission is to rescue and revive our earthly Eden, including our human worth and potential. If you enjoy his work, consider supporting him with Patreon.

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1 year ago

“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

George Orwell

1 year ago

Excellent article.

Brilliant point about the mufflers.

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