World of Thermo… Story 15… A Presidential Brainwashing

Story 15.                                 A Presidential Brainwashing

Despite the billions of carbon dioxide molecules that humans had already released from burning coal and gasoline, there still were not enough for Carbo.

“What can I do?” he asked himself. “My carbon friends have been asleep long enough. I want them freed!”

Carbo didn’t like the trends of the last few years. First there was the Arab oil embargo of 1973, making all that gasoline expensive for the United States.

“This is terrible!” said Carbo aloud, “The U.S. is the world’s number one user of energy, and its people are buying less gasoline, not more!”

Then there was the suggestion from President Jimmy Carter that the humans should conserve energy.

“Conserve! I hate that word!” cried Carbo helplessly.

And then to make matters worse, President Carter put solar panels on top of the White House in Washington, D.C.

“Imagine! On the White House!” It was more than Carbo could stand. “I’ve got to put a stop to this!” he shouted to the air around him.

Carbo and his minions Toasty and Roasty had been manipulating human history since the late 1800s. Like Carbo, Toasty could read human minds and exert pressure on them, and Carbo had been fairly successful at coaxing his mind-melding minion into convincing the humans to increase their use of coal and oil. Roasty was a willing but less able partner in the effort, but his heart was in the right place. Now it was time to up the ante.

“Toasty! Roasty!” Carbo called out to them. As usual, the eager Roasty arrived immediately, with Toasty trailing close behind.

“What is it, boss?” asked Roasty. “What can I do for you?”

“Actually it’s Toasty that I need this time, though you can help,” Carbo said, as the other companion made his appearance.

“Need me to read some more minds, boss?” Toasty asked.

“And I get to help!” Roasty celebrated.

“I’m going to help you both this time,” Carbo replied. “The United States needs a new President if we’re ever going to get more of our carbon friends released from their fossil prison. We’re taking a trip to Iran.”

Toasty didn’t ask why; he simply followed Carbo, with Roasty rushing to and fro, confusing activity with action, trying to figure out what the expedition might be about.

For more than a year, Iran had held 52 American diplomats hostage in the U.S. embassy in that country. But that was before the intervention of Carbo, Roasty and Toasty. The fearsome threesome were able to infiltrate the embassy, use their mind-messaging techniques on the captors and negotiators, and bring about the hostages’ release, all on the very day that Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as new President.

“Wow, that was some elaborate timing,” observed Toasty.

“Now, let’s put the other pieces in place,” directed Carbo. First, the price of gasoline needs to come down.”

“Done,” said Toasty. “I’ve already put the thought into the price regulators’ heads.”

“Next, said Carbo, ”is the 55 mile per hour speed limit. Bring it back up.”

“It’s history,” Toasty said. “No more energy conservation there.”

“Now for the tough one,” Carbo announced. “It’s time to get the solar panels off the roof of the White House.”

“Oh, can I help?” offered Roasty. “I’m good at moving things fast!”

“No need, Roasty,” said Carbo. “The new President will do it for us.”

Toasty hesitated. “Why do we need to do that, Carbo?” he asked. “Sure, it will help release a few more of our carbon friends, but not the numbers you’re looking for.”

“Oh, but it will, Toasty,” Carbo corrected him. “It will send a message.”

“Oh I love secret messages,” said Roasty. “What’s the message? Tell me, tell me. I can keep a secret!”

“It will be no secret,” countered Carbo. “When the solar panels come down, it will be a signal to the entire world that the United States has no intention of moving away from fossil fuels. The U.S. is a leader.”

This time, even Roasty began to understand.  “And the world will follow, right boss?”

“That’s the idea, Roasty. That’s the idea.”

Even while Carbo, Toasty and Roasty were floating around the Oval Office of the White House placing their agenda into the President’s mind, Thermo and Dr. Key were back at Mauna Loa watching their temperature readings continue to escalate. Dr. Key looked at the data with apprehension and pondered, “What forces could be at work to keep humans going down this destructive path? Cui bono?”

“Cui what?” asked Thermo.

“It’s a phrase that detectives and legal experts use when solving a crime. It means, ‘Who benefits?’”

As Thermo and Dr. Key contemplated the question, the answer lay close, but just beyond their reach, in the increasing number of carbon dioxide molecules that were rapidly populating the atmosphere.


In the real world, a group of Iranian students took over the American Embassy in Tehran in November 1979, holding 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days, the longest hostage crisis in history. A failed military attempt to rescue them in April, 1980 is seen by political analysts as one of the reasons for Jimmy Carter’s unsuccessful reelection bid and his opponent Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory a few months later. Negotiators finally secured their release on January 20, 1981, the same day Reagan was sworn in as new President. Meanwhile, there was no malevolent group of molecules manipulating oil interests from the late 1970s into the 1980s, nor was it the work of the U.S. Government. There is strong evidence, however, that the Saudis and other foreign oil-producing interests tried to keep oil prices low and the oil spigots flowing during the 1980s. The price of fossil fuels became so low that there was almost no need for conservation from Reagan’s presidency through the end of the 20th century. Due to a lack of consensus in the 1980s about how bad global warming could eventually get, Reagan may have had an excuse for his actions. Today’s leaders do not.

The text and artwork are copyright by Guy Walton. I would like to get this book published. Please drop me a note if you are willing to help.

To see the rest of the World of Thermo stories click:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *