Friday, March 30, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 3-30-07: A Call to Conscience and Common Sense from Gen. Wes Clark, and an Update on the War OF, BY and FOR Terrorism

Apocalypse Now

“We are in the midst of recovering right now from a constitutional crisis where you had the executive trump the other branches of government,” Eaton said. “Thank god” Congress changed hands in November, he said, giving us “a chance to unsort and figure out how to get out from under this.”
Eaton lamented that so many service members believe that conservatives “are good for the military.” “That is rarely the case. And we have got to get a message through to every soldier, every family member, every friend of soldier,” that the Bush administration and its allies in Congress have “absolutely been the worst thing that’s happened to the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps.”
Retired Army Maj. Gen Paul Eaton, who was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, in a recent appearance on HBO's Bill Maher Show, Think Progress, 3-10-07

Hard Rain Journal 3-30-07: A Call to Conscience and Common Sense from Gen. Wes Clark, and an Update on the War OF, BY and FOR Terrorism

By Richard Power

In 2002 and 2003, during the ramp up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, I wrote that although it was immoral (i.e., in violation of the principles of just war) and illegal (i.e., in violation of the UN Charter), it was something even worse, it was stupid. For the last two years, I have been writing that a preemptive, unilateral attack on Iran would be something worse than stupid, it would be insane.

Yes, the danger of a regional war in the Middle East, or even all out World War, is high. No one is doing more to prevent this potential catastrophe than retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander, who like Al Gore, has grasped that there is something more important than the business of politics as usual.

Gen. Clark has established and is working with in leading an effort to thwart the Bush-Cheney regime's plans to launch a preemptive, unilateral attack on Iran. His courage and clarity of mind are a welcome alternative to the babbling of the political establishment and the US mainstream news media -- particularly on this complex and treacherous national security issue.

Gen. Clark and are urging concerned citizens to view their latest video blog (click here), and then sign their petition demanding serious diplomacy instead of frivolous war. I also exhort you to do so.

In the video, Gen. Clark and Securing America blogger Reg join with Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz in articulating how wrong it is to assume that military conflict with Iran would benefit Israel in any real way.

Watching this Internet video of Clark discussing the national security of the USA and Israel with a young blogger and a young Iraq war veteran, I was reminded of President Dwight Eisenhower, who warned of the threat from an unchecked "military-industrial complex."

In a striking way, Clark has taken to the hills and is leading the resistance to the grim outcome of this society's failure to act on Eisenhower's prophetic warning.

Here is a brief excerpt from the transcript:

Reg: There's been a debate about whether striking Iran is good for Israel.

Jon Soltz: Well Reg, you know, obviously I served in Iraq. I served in Iraq as an American soldier, but also as a, as a Jewish-American. I wanted to join the Army. I went to Israel when I was sixteen, and I was very, you know, motivated by the fact that everybody serves. And even when I went to Iraq, I still, actually it's on my dog tags here "Jewish," and it's, it's, it's obviously a concern that I have. But I actually, I think, agree with General Clark, and I'll let him elaborate, that striking, I can't say it any clearer, that striking Iran will- is detrimental to Israel's security. And I'd like to ask General Clark his, his perspective on it from the strategic standpoint.

General Wesley Clark: Well, I wouldn't say that you never can use military force, but I can't see the circumstances right now where it would benefit Israel. It's far better if we can persuade Iran not to acquire nuclear weapons, and do it with all the positive incentives that are out there. We need to be shaping a new vision for the, for the region, and people in the region have to feel differently about each other. And the United States really is the power that can help bridge the gaps of mistrust if we ourselves have new vision. So, I think that I wouldn't say 'never' on military force in cases like this, because every President has said that he will fight to preserve the safety and security of the State of Israel. But I do think that in this case we got to lead with dialog and diplomacy and shaping a new vision. So, I don't see the, I don't see the talk on the striking in Iran right now as being productive. I think it's a distraction from what we need to be focusing on.

Under the delusional direction of the Bush-Cheney regime the war against terrorism has become a war in, of and by terrorism.

Consider Zbigniew Brzezinski's insightful remarks:

The events of 9/11 could have resulted in a truly global solidarity against extremism and terrorism. A global alliance of moderates, including Muslim ones, engaged in a deliberate campaign both to extirpate the specific terrorist networks and to terminate the political conflicts that spawn terrorism would have been more productive than a demagogically proclaimed and largely solitary U.S. "war on terror" against "Islamo-fascism." Only a confidently determined and reasonable America can promote genuine international security which then leaves no political space for terrorism.
Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, "Enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia"? Even in the face of future terrorist attacks, the likelihood of which cannot be denied, let us show some sense. Let us be true to our traditions.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Terrorized by 'War on Terror': How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America, Washington Post, 3-25-07

Please heed the call of Gen. Wesley Clark. Please take a few moments to view the video and sign the petition. Please lend your voice to the roar of conscience and common sense. I also urge you to click on the link to Zbigniew Brzezinski's Washington Post op-ed piece. It is also of great importance.


Words of Power #33: A Quarter-Century Ago, Jimmy Carter Warned of This Grim Period, His Prophetic Call was Not Heeded

Hard Rain Journal 2-22-07: Corporatist News Media Still Shields Bush-Cheney from the Savage Truth on Plame, Iraq, Iran, Al Qaeda and Walter Reed

Hard Rain Journal 2-21-07: This is Madness -- Bush-Cheney Target Saddam and then the Iranians -- Both Sworn Enemies of Al Qaeda, Meanwhile...

Hard Rain Journal 2-16-07: What Happens When a Whole Nation is Dragged into Room 101? Remember, 2+2=4

Hard Rain Journal 2-2-07: Forget about 2008, the Fate of the Republic could be Decided in the Next Six Months

Hard Rain Journal 1-19-07: The Hard Rain Falls Between PNAC and the PATRIOT Act, but the US News Media Sees, Hears, Speaks No Evil

GS(3) Thunderbolt 1-11-07: Do You Understand What He Really Said Last Night? These People Opened the Gates of Hell, Now They Want to Drag Everyone In

Words of Power #31: Ghosts of Christmas Past (Katrina) and Future (Iran)

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

, , , , , ,, , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 29, 2007

GS(3) Thunderbolt 3-29-07: Update on Darfur Crisis -- Mia Farrow Calls for Olympics Boycott, Demands Spielberg Not "Sanitize" Beijing's Image

Image: Mia Farrow in Sudan

GS(3) Thunderbolt 3-29-07: Update on Darfur Crisis -- Mia Farrow Calls for Olympics Boycott, Demands Spielberg Not "Sanitize" Beijing's Image

By Richard Power

There is much to write about in the news, in particular a burgeoning scandal concerning abuse of power and obstruction of justice on the domestic front, and the danger of a regional war in the Middle East on the international front. Words of Power will continue to address both of these vital issues, but the crisis in Darfur is of even greater urgency.

Mia Farrow has upped the anty for those great nations, like China, that enable the government in Kharthoum, as well as those in the US mainstream news media and entertainment industry, like Steven Spielberg, who want to look the other way.

American actor Mia Farrow has criticised film director Steven Spielberg and four corporate sponsors for supporting the 2008 Beijing Olympics as long as China fails to pressure Sudan over Darfur.
In an article in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, Farrow accused China of "bankrolling Darfur's genocide" and called on Spielberg and the sponsors to "add their ... voices to the growing calls for Chinese action to end the slaughter...".
Spielberg is on the production team for the Games opening ceremony next August, while Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric and McDonald's are among the sponsors of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"That so many corporate sponsors want the world to look away from that atrocity during the Games is bad enough," Farrow, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, wrote.
"But equally disappointing is the decision of artists like director Steven Spielberg to sanitize Beijing's image."
China supplies arms to Sudan and also has huge oil investments in the country. Rights groups say its engagement is frustrating attempts to stop the civil war and atrocities.
"Beijing is uniquely positioned to put a stop to the slaughter, yet they have so far been unabashed in their refusal to do so," she wrote.
"But there is now one thing that China may hold more dear than their unfettered access to Sudanese oil: their successful staging of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
"That desire may provide a lone point of leverage with a country that has otherwise been impervious to all criticism."
Farrow attacks Spielberg, Olympic sponsors on Darfur, Reuters, 3-29-07

If you want to help save Darfur, here are some sites that offer suggestions on how to participate:

Mia Farrow

Save Darfur!

Genocide Intervention Network

Five Most Recent Darfur-Related Posts:

Hard Rain Journal 2-28-07: Human Rights Update -- Naming Names in Darfur and Ten Steps the USA Must Take to Redeem Itself

GS(3) Thunderbolt 1-29-07: Update on the Crisis in Darfur - What Must Be Done Isn't Getting Done

Hard Rain Journal 12-10-06: Human Rights Update -- Annan Speaks Out on Darfur, Carter Speaks Out on Palestine -- Have You? Has Your Representative?

GS(3) Thunderbolt 11-27-06: Update on Darfur -- UN Reports Crisis Worsens, HRW Urges AU to Get Tough with Khartoum

GS(3) Thunderbolt 10-23-06: Update on the Crisis in Darfur

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 3-28-07: Climate Crisis Update -- -- The Greatest Climate Crisis Challenges are Spiritual and Psychological

California has filed civil suits against six US and Japanese automakers for their alleged contribution to global warming, Sidney Morning Herald, 9-21-06. Photo: Air pollution over Downtown Los Angeles, AFP

"Our generation must be the one that says, 'we must halt global warming.' Our generation must be the one that says 'yes' to renewable fuels and ends forever our dependence on foreign oil. And our generation must be the one that builds the new energy economy. It won't be easy, but it is time to ask the American people to be patriotic about something other than war." John Edwards

[NOTE: Words of Power will not endorse a 2008 Presidential candidate until later in the political process, but if you consult our Short List, you will see that John Edwards is one of those handful of candidates and potential candidates who have the pulse of the streets and understand the state of emergency we are living in.]

Hard Rain Journal 3-28-07: Climate Crisis Update -- The Greatest Climate Crisis Challenges are Spiritual and Psychological

By Richard Power

Shouldn't shame or at least embarrassment kick in at some point for conservatives, libertarians and others influenced consciously (or unconsciously) by the corporatist attack on science in general and environmental science in particular?

Clearly, the greatest Climate Crisis challenges are spiritual and psychological.

I have organized some recent news and analysis to illustrate first the drastic impact of global warming on the planet as a whole, and then the contrast in response between the short-sighted greed and/or deep denial of those who refuse to acknowledge reality versus the altruism, practicality and optimism of those who embrace it.

The news related to global warming and climate change continues to compel the urgent attention on both collective and individual levels:

About 643 million people, or one-tenth of the world’s population, who live in low lying coastal areas are at great risk of oceans-related impacts of climate change, according to a global research study . . . “Furthermore, the world’s largest cities — those with more than five million residents — have on average one-fifth of their population and one-sixth of their land area within this coastal zone.” Srabani Roy, Climate Change: Coastal Mega-Cities in for a Bumpy Ride, 3-28-07

Many of the world's climate zones will vanish entirely by 2100, or be replaced by new, previously unseen ones, if global warming continues as expected, a study released Monday said. Rising temperatures will force existing climate zones toward higher latitudes and higher elevations, squeezing out climates at the colder extremes, and leaving room for unfamiliar climes around the equator, the study predicted. The sweeping climatic changes will likely affect huge swaths of land from the Indonesian rainforest to the Peruvian Andes, including many known hotspots of diversity, disrupting local ecological systems and populations. Sweeping changes to global climate seen by 2100: study, Agence France Press, 3-26-07

Rising sea levels and melting polar ice-sheets are at upper limits of projections, leaving some human population centers already unable to cope, top world scientists say as they analyze latest satellite data . . . “Observations are in the very upper edge of the projections,” leading Australian marine scientist John Church told Reuters . . . About 100 million people around the world live within a meter of the present-day sea level, CSIRO Marine Research senior principal research scientist Steve Rintoul said. “Those 100 million people will need to go somewhere,” he said . . . Michael Byrnes, Antarctic Melting May be Speeding Up, Reuters, 3-23-07

Climate phenomena like El Niño and global warming have a disproportionate effect on the poor. That is why meteorology has a crucial contribution to make in the fight against poverty, scientists say. "Vulnerability is greatest where there is least infrastructure and the population is poorest," Southern Pacific University Network (RUPSUR) expert Yesid Carvajal told IPS. Many losses could be avoided if science were involved in decision-making, said Carvajal . . . Constanza Vieira, CLIMATE CHANGE: Understanding Weather to Protect the Poor, Inter Press Service, 3-23-07

And yet ideologues in the Bush-Cheney regime continue to suppress the work of scientific researchers while their cohorts in the corporatist lobby blast anti-science propaganda into the twin-barreled echo chamber of the reich-wing media and the US mainstream news media:

Bush administration officials throughout the government have engaged in White House-directed efforts to stifle, delay or dampen the release of climate change research that casts the White House or its policies in a bad light, says a new report that purports to be the most comprehensive assessment to date of the subject ...The alleged interference took the form of "delaying, monitoring, screening, and denying interviews" between government scientists and media outlets, as well as delaying, denying or "inappropriate[ly] editing" press releases conveying scientific findings to the public. Political appointees also suppressed, delayed and inappropriately edited reports produced by government scientists for Congress and the public, the Washington, D.C.-based group concluded. Justin Rood, Exclusive: Report Charges Broad White House Efforts to Stifle Climate Research, 3-27-07

Inspired by Jonathan Chait's recent column in the LA Times, there's been some renewed commentary about why so many Republicans reject mainstream science on the issue of climate change. None of what's currently being said is wrong, particularly when it comes to the right's disdain for Al Gore and environmentalists, or its allegiance to industry.
However, the picture is more complicated, and I'd like to suggest that we consider some other factors:
1. The broad and longstanding conservative distrust of academia and "leftwing" campus intellectuals, including scientists. This allows many Republicans to dismiss large bodies of scientific research as essentially politicized and therefore safe to ignore.
2. The growth of ideological think tanks which provide alternative "facts" and alternative "knowledge" tailor-made for conservatives. It's not just that many Republicans reject mainline "science"; they actually have their own.
3. The growth of a rightwing media that quotes the think-tank "experts" and puts them on the air regularly--so that the sealed off alternative knowledge environment becomes complete and very hard for mainstream science to penetrate (especially when scientists themselves do not speak in a language designed to appeal to political conservatives).
Chris Mooney, Why Republicans Distrust Mainstream Climate Science, Huffington Post

Meanwhile, progressives speak out, with courage, compassion and common sense:

We are heading towards a train wreck, yet few in the public eye are raising the alarm about one aspect of this multi-faceted calamity. As our numbers increase, the human population could exceed our small planet’s ability to sustain it – in fact, we might have already passed this mark – we don’t really know.
The majority of scientists and the public now accept that global warming is an undeniable reality and there has been much discussion of its causes as well as various solutions. However, one area has not received much attention among policy makers and the public, and is the “elephant” in the debate – the contribution of overpopulation to the problem and what to do about it. The issue is, plain and simple, a hot-button and elicits passionate intensity from both the right and the left. It bridges many areas, from religion to civil rights to environmentalism. It is an issue for both sides because it affects us all and the future of our planet hangs in the balance. The time to address this is now.
The earth is heading towards an unsustainable point of no return in the growth of world population. The population is expected to increase from its current 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion by 2050, with some estimates predicting up to 12 billion. If we fail to act on both overpopulation and global warming, the outlook for humanity is bleak.
Arianna Siegal, Rockridge Institute, 3-22-07

Some key aspects of the Edwards Energy Plan include a cap on greenhouse pollution in 2010 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050 – consistent with the dictates of the latest climate science. He would use an economy-wide, cap-and-trade system and sell a portion of the pollution permits to raise $10 billion a year for a New Energy Economy Fund. The Fund would be used to pursue clean, renewable, and efficient energy technologies and create 1 million jobs in the process – along the lines of what the Apollo Alliance has outlined. One billion dollars a year from would go towards helping US automakers meet higher fuel economy requirements and utilize the latest technologies, including biofuels, hybrid and electric cars, hydrogen fuel cells, and ultra-light materials. Finally, Edwards' plan calls for opening the electricity grid so that small-scale renewable electric generation – by farms, factories, schools, and communities – can compete with large, central power plants. (This is something Academy Award winner and pre-Scalia President-elect, Al Gore, touted in hearings on Capitol Hill . . . Edwards might be winning the early frontrunner race when it comes to substance over flash – he has been clear and strong on health care, labor rights and now energy. Katrina Vanden Heuvel, The Nation, 3-22-07

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.


Hard Rain Journal (3-20-07): Climate Crisis Update -- Four Simple Truths to Advance in Your Dialogue with Those Still in Denial

Hard Rain Journal 3-13-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Seven Stories that Underscore Dangers and Highlight Proactive Efforts

Hard Rain Journal 3-3-07: Climate Crisis & UN Millennium Goals Update -- The Interdependence of All Life

Hard Rain Journal 2-24-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Our Greatest Planetary Threat is Our Greatest Planetary Opportunity

Hard Rain Journal 2-10-07: Climate Crisis Update -- It is a Strange Bird that Fouls its own Nest

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , ,

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 3-25-07: DoJ Purge Update: Four Blockbusters that Have Not Hit -- YET

Image: Themis, Goddess of Justice

The replacement of the eight fired U.S. attorneys through a loophole in the Patriot Act that enables the administration to evade consultation with and confirmation by Congress is a convenient element in the well-laid scheme. But it was not ad hoc, erratic or aberrant. Rather, it was the logical outcome of a long effort to distort the constitutional framework for partisan consolidation of power into a de facto one-party state. Sidney Blumenthal, All roads lead to Rove, Salon, 3-15-07

In the interview with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), [Keith] Olbermann referred to comments made previously on the show by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) about "really angry career employees," then asked if the Committee had any "rabbits in hats."
"He said that he hoped that the White House would let Mr. Rove and the others testify on the record," Olbermann related to Leahy. "If they did not, there really were enough really angry career employees, prosecutors in the Justice Department who would ensure that this information, the actual facts of the case would get out anyway."
Olbermann continued, "I'm wondering what we should infer from that. Are there rabbits in hats that you have that we don't know about?"
"Keith, I was a prosecutor for eight years," Leahy said. "I've always tried to have a few witnesses honing back in case we need them and I suspect we will have them.
Raw Story, 3-23-07

Hard Rain Journal 3-25-07: DoJ Purge Update -- Four Blockbusters that Have Not Hit YET

By Richard Power

Here are hints at four blockbusters that have not hit yet:

BLOCKBUSTER #1: Maybe Gonzalez Can't Resign

Consider this.

Alberto Gonzalez may not resign, or at least not for awhile.

Why? Who would replace him?

That person would be walking into the frenzied cover-up of a massive abuse of power.

If they sent in one of their shameless operatives, e.g., Ted Olson, Senate confirmation hearings, now under the control of the Democratic majority, could wreak further havoc.

If they sent in an actual Republican statesman, e.g., John Danforth, either the cover-up would end or he would resign. And if the cover-up ended, the trail of filthy footprints would lead to Karl Rove and probably W. Jong-il himself.

BLOCKBUSTER #2: Was Fitzgerald Pressured Not to Indict Rove?

Consider this.

If you look at Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the betrayal of US secret agent Valerie Plame's identity through the prism of the DoJ purge scandal, you get some fascinating hues and vectors:

We know that Rove was allowed to changed his story in five grand jury appearances. (It is unusual that a "person of interest" testifies five times before a single grand jury, it is even more unusual that the person doesn't end up getting indicted.)

What kind of pressure or restraints was Fitzgerald operating under?

Remember, he did not have the unassailable independence or unlimited power of Ken Starr or Lawrence Walsh. The Office of the Independent Counsel is long gone.

We already know that Rove didn't want Fitzgerald to be appointed to the post of US Attorney in Illinois, because he was concerned for the Bush-Cheney regime's cronies there. (See Sidney Blumenthal, All roads lead to Rove, Salon, 3-15-07)

We already know that in the ranking of all 93 US attorneys for their loyalty to Bush, he was not considered a loyalist. Indeed, it is a tribute to Fitzgerald's skill as a warrior that his ranking fell in the middle, as neither "strong" in exhibiting "loyalty" or "weak" for resisting "Administration initiatives" (Raw Story, 3-19-07).

But if Fitzgerald had been pressured or restrained, why wouldn't he have come forward himself?

Where would he have turned? To the then Republican-controlled US Congress which had forsaken all responsibility for oversight? To the US mainstream news media?

And perhaps of even greater significance, what would have happened to his investigation? Would Libby ever have been tried and convicted? Would Fitzgerald ever have gotten to stand there in his closing remarks before the jury, and all of Beltwayistan and the USA, and talk about the "dark cloud" over Cheney and the White House?

No, he wouldn't have.

At least, with the conviction of Libby on four counts, the issue of this treason has been kept alive.

The question is what would happen if Fitzgerald was subpoenaed and compelled to answer questions about whether or not he was pressured not to indict Rove or restrained in his investigation? I do not know the answer, but I do know he would tell the truth.

BLOCKBUSTER #3: The Real Reason Rove Wanted Democrats Investigated for Vote Fraud

Consider this.

There have been convictions for criminal activity by Rove-connected Republican operatives both in the 2002 election in New Hampshire and the 2004 election in Ohio.

More and more revelations are bubbling to the surface concerning both Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2006. (See Explosive New Vote Fraud Developments Continue To Rock Ohio and Florida, Common Dreams, 3-23-07)

We know that career DoJ lawyers in the Civil Rights division wanted to pursue allegations concerning DeLay-inspired re-districting in Texas. They were thwarted. (See Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting As Illegal, Washington Post, 12-2-05)

We know Robert. F. Kennedy and Mike Papantonio brought a Qui Tam lawsuit (which compelled DoJ to decide on whether or not to participate) concerning Ohio back in 2006. But what happened to it?

What will Leahy and Conyers find if they scratch below the surface? Will they find that there was an internal struggle within the US DoJ on whether or not to follow up on serious accusations election fraud orchestrated by the Rove machine? Will what they find lead to revelations that call into play the legitimacy of the last two presidential elections? What will they find out about the 2002 New Hampshire Senate race? What will they find out about F-13?

(NOTE: Brad Blog is on the cutting edge of the cynical and contrived "Democratic vote fraud" angle. Check out this post: EXCLUSIVE: New Details on the Phony 'Voter Fraud' Angle in the U.S. Attorneys Purge, Brad Blog, 3-15-07)

BLOCKBUSTER #4: The Scandal is Much Bigger than What These Eight US Attorneys Would or Would Not Do, It Reaches to Guam and even Redmond

Consider this.

As Krugman wrote three weeks ago, "the bigger scandal . . . almost surely involves prosecutors still in office . . . The Gonzales Eight were fired because they would not go along with the Bush administration's politicization of justice. But statistical evidence suggests that many other prosecutors decided to protect their jobs or further their careers by doing what the administration wanted them to do: harass Democrats while turning a blind eye to Republican malfeasance." (Krugman: Bigger scandal involves US attorneys still in office, RAW STORY, 3-9-07)

There is much more to be uncovered and many more revelations ahead.

For example, the Bush-Cheney regime's possible tampering with the DoJ case against Big Tobacco has hit the fan, but when will its possible tampering with the DoJ's anti-trust case against Micro$oft hit the blades? Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is going to investigate the Big Tobacco angle, I doubt he will overlook any issues concerning AG John Ashcroft and the Micro$oft anti-trust suit. (See Ashcroft's MS conflict of interest,, 2-15-02)

Remember, too, that in the early months of 2006, it was widely reported that six to eight members of Congress were in deep trouble and would probably be indicted on Federal corruption charges, including Tom Delay and Jerry Lewis (R-CA). But only Nye and Cunningham went down in the end. Why?

Here are some leads on important angles that need to be kept in the forefront over the next few weeks, as this historic struggle to restore the rule of law in the Executive branch intensifies:

In the fall of 2005 dominos were falling fast in the Jack Abramoff investigation. And they were falling in one very clear direction, closer and closer to Tom DeLay.
First DeLay's former communications director fell . . . Then DeLay's former deputy chief of staff fell . . . And it looked like the former Chief of Staff [Ed Buckham] was next . . . In June 2006 the Washington Post revealed this choice nugget: A registered lobbyist opened a retirement account in the late 1990s for the wife of then-House Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and contributed thousands of dollars to it while also paying her a salary to work for him from her home in Texas . . . Since then.....nothing. No Buckham plea. No indictments. Nothing.....was a U.S. Attorney fired to prevent the investigation from continuing to inexorably close in on Tom DeLay? Nope. But something very fishy did indeed take place. The lead investigator was given a Federal Judgeship, a new division chief with connections to the GOP machine was appointed (AND REPORTEDLY, TO THE DELAY DEFENSE TEAM ITSELF) and more momentum in the investigation. Why did the Tom DeLay investigation stop? Or, there is more than one way to skin a US attorney
, Burnt Orange Report, 3-22-07

A US grand jury in Guam opened an investigation of controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff more than two years ago, but President Bush removed the supervising federal prosecutor, and the probe ended soon after.
The previously undisclosed Guam inquiry is separate from a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia that is investigating allegations that Abramoff bilked Indian tribes out of millions of dollars.
In Guam, a US territory in the Pacific, investigators were looking into Abramoff's secret arrangement with Superior Court officials to lobby against a court reform bill then pending in Congress. The legislation, since approved, gave the Guam Supreme Court authority over the Superior Court.
Bush removal ended Guam investigation: US attorney's demotion halted probe of lobbyist, Los Angeles Times, 8-8-05

Last September, CREW named Rep. Rick Renzi as one of the most corrupt members of Congress in our report, "Beyond DeLay." Last October, the Associated Press reported that Renzi was under federal investigation for a land deal. In December, Paul Charlton, the U.S. Attorney in Arizona who was investigating Renzi, was fired. Speculation is growing about whether the Renzi investigation led to Charlton's dismissal . . . Was Renzi investigation a factor in dismissal of Arizona's U.S. Attorney?, CREW, 3-21-07

Washington D.C. defense contractor Mitchell Wade pled guilty last February to paying then-California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham more than $1 million in bribes.
Wade’s company MZM Inc. received its first federal contract from the White House. The contract, which ran from July 15 to August 15, 2002, stipulated that Wade be paid $140,000 to “provide office furniture and computers for Vice President Dick Cheney.”
Two weeks later, on August 30, 2002, Wade purchased a yacht for $140,000 for Duke Cunningham. The boat’s name was later changed to the “Duke-Stir.” Said one party to the sale: “I knew then that somebody was going to go to jail for that…Duke looked at the boat, and Wade bought it — all in one day. Then they got on the boat and floated away.”
According to Cunningham’s sentencing memorandum, the purchase price of the boat had been negotiated through a third-party earlier that summer, around the same time the White House contract was signed.
To recap, the White House awarded a one-month, $140,000 contract to an individual who never held a federal contract. Two weeks after he got paid, that same contractor used a cashier’s check for exactly that amount to buy a boat for a now-imprisoned congressman at a price that the congressman had pre-negotiated.
That should raise questions about the White House’s involvement.
Was Carol Lam Targeting The White House Prior To Her Firing?, Think Progress, 3-19-07

The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case.
Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's office began micromanaging the team's strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government's claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.
She said a supervisor demanded that she and her trial team drop recommendations that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. He and two others instructed her to tell key witnesses to change their testimony. And they ordered Eubanks to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her, she said. . . .
Two weeks before closing arguments in June, McCallum called for a meeting with Eubanks and her deputy, Stephen Brody, to discuss what McCallum described as "getting the number down" for the $130 billion penalty to create smoking-cessation programs. Brody declined to comment yesterday on the legal team's deliberations, saying that they were private.
During several tense late-night meetings, McCallum repeatedly refused to suggest a figure, Eubanks said, or give clear reasons for the reduction. Brody refused to lower the amount. Finally, on the morning the government was to propose the penalty in court, she said, McCallum ordered it cut to $10 billion.
The most stressful moment, Eubanks said, came when the three appointees ordered her to read word for word a closing argument they had rewritten. The statement explained the validity of seeking a $10 billion penalty.
"I couldn't even look at the judge," she said.
Prosecutor Says Bush Appointees Interfered With Tobacco Case, Washington Post, 3-22-07


Hard Rain Journal 3-7-07: Justice Not Just Blindfolded, But Bound and Gagged?

Hard Rain Journal 2-26-07: Is the Storm Yet to Come? Our Only Protection is An Old Piece of Parchment; Its Only Protection is Us

Hard Rain Journal 2-22-07: Corporatist News Media Still Shields Bush-Cheney from the Savage Truth on Plame, Iraq, Iran, Al Qaeda and Walter Reed

Hard Rain Journal 2-21-07: This is Madness -- Bush-Cheney Target Saddam and then the Iranians -- Both Sworn Enemies of Al Qaeda, Meanwhile...

Hard Rain Journal 2-16-07: What Happens When a Whole Nation is Dragged into Room 101? Remember, 2+2=4

Hard Rain Journal 2-13-07: Is the Mainstream News Media Ignoring the Biggest Obstruction of Justice in US History?

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

, , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 3-22-07: Sustainability Update -- World Water Day -- What Would You Do With Your Last Seven Drops of Water?

World Water Day

Hard Rain Journal 3-22-07: Sustainability Update -- World Water Day -- What Would You Do With Your Last Seven Drops of Water?

By Richard Power

When you turn on the faucet, you assume the water will flow. When you go to the store, you assume it will be stocked with bottled water. You do not expect the toilet to fail or the shower to run dry. You never wonder where it comes from or where it goes. It is just like the gasoline for your car, or the electricity for your appliances, or the dial tone for your telephone. You take it all for granted.

Imagine what it would be like if you had only seven drops of water left for yourself and your children. No rain, no relief workers, no drinkable well within walking distance. What would you do? How would you survive? And for how long? What awful decisions would you have to make? Difficult to think through isn't it. But, for many among us, too many, dying of thirst is not a mental exercise, it is a dire circumstance.

Even without the planetary emergency brought on by global warming and climate change, water, like overpopulation, deforestation, peak oil and other sustainability issues, would demand our urgent attention.

Today is World Water Day.

Here are some big picture facts and some specific examples you should share with your friends, colleagues and loved ones --

Over one billion people suffer from a lack of safe water. For over three hundred million of them, the problem is aggravated by armed conflict.

Indeed, there is a stark, undeniable correlation between drought and violent civil conflict.

Over two and a half billion people lack adequate sanitation.

Ten of the world's longest and best-known rivers are drying up.

Throughout the Sahel region of Africa, particularly in Niger, desertification, drought and food insecurity have brought a glut of disease and death.

Unless a lot of progress is made, sub-Saharan Africa will not meet the Millennium Development Goals of sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation will not be met either by the 2015 deadline.

In Sri Lanka, with its infrastructure destroyed by the 2004 tsunami, rain water collection is the lifeline for many families.

It does not have to be this way.

Furthermore, you may think you are safe, you may think that Sri Lanka and the Sahel are far away -- but you are wrong.

Disruption and distress are only a few bad decisions or a couple of bad breaks away at any moment; the infrastructure is fragile, brittle and over-stressed. And even without such mishaps, wherever you live, dire necessity is only a decade or two down the road -- unless these issues are dealt with.

What can you or I do individually and collectively?

We can understand the issues involved globally and regionally.

We can demand that our elected representatives and news media personalities understand the issues, and that they act on them too.

We can do whatever is appropriate in terms of personal conversation.

And we can prepare ourselves, our loved ones, and our organizations for emergency situations.

Here are excerpts from seven stories that highlight some of these issues. Think of them as drops of water. Imagine they were your last seven drops of water.

"Over one billion people worldwide lack access to safe water, in particular the poor. For some 300 million of these people, the problem is exacerbated by armed conflict and internal violence," said Robert Mardini, head of the water and habitat unit of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 3-21-0

A strong link between droughts and violent civil conflicts in the developing world bodes ill for an increasingly thirsty world, say scientists, who warn that drought-related conflicts are expected to multiply with advancing climate change.
"Severe, prolonged droughts are the strongest indicator of high-intensity conflicts," said Marc Levy of the Centre for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University's Earth Institute in New York. . . . Such conflicts tend to occur about a year after a "severe deviation in rainfall patterns", he said.
Levy and colleagues used decades of detailed precipitation records, geospatial conflict information and other data in a complex computer model that overlays all this onto a fine-scale map of the world.
"Major deviations from normal rainfall patterns were the strongest predictor of conflicts," he said. "I was surprised at how strong the correlation is."
Stephen Leahy, Thirstier World Likely to See More Violence, Inter Press Service, 3-16-07

Safe drinking water and sanitation are key to global public health, yet across the world 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.6 billion—more than one-third of the earth’s population—lack adequate sanitation. Combined, these two problems kill between two and five million people a year—or a population the size of the city of Los Angeles—and sicken billions more. Panelists will discuss how individuals from all walks of life are expanding efforts to address this challenge.
"Diseases spawned by unsafe drinking water and inadequate sanitation can be prevented. The world knows how to do it. What is lacking is funding and political will. Clean drinking water and basic sanitation underlie every aspect of development—from good health and education to economic growth and environmental sustainability." said David Douglas, President of Water Advocates.
U.S. Leaders To Speak Out On World Water Day, Water Advocates, 3-18-07

Some of the world's largest and best-known rivers are at risk of drying up as a result of climate change, pollution and bad planning, a report warned today.
The study by the environment group, WWF, focuses on the ten rivers most danger of drying up or dying, and warns that, without action, the world faces "a freshwater emergency".
Five of the 10 rivers listed are in Asia, including the Yangtze, the Ganges and the Salween, highlighting the profound problems facing the region.
Europe's Danube, the African Nile and South America's Rio Grande are among other rivers under serious threat.
Hilary Osborne, Eco group warns of freshwater crisis, Guardian/UK, 3-20-07

Halfway to 2015, the year when the globally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are supposed to be reached, the crisis in water and sanitation as well as in water resources management remains among the great human development and environmental challenges . . ."The state of the world's waters remains fragile," stressed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Available supplies are under great duress as a result of high population growth, unsustainable consumption patterns, poor management practices, pollution, inadequate investment in infrastructure, and low efficiency in water-use." There is enough water in the world for everyone, but only if it is properly managed, according to the U.N . . . If the present trends are allowed to continue unchecked, UN-Water warns that regions such as sub-Saharan Africa will not meet the MDG of halving, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. The MDG target of halving the proportion of people without basic sanitation will not be met either. Mithre J. Sandrasagra, Key Development Goals Stagnating, Inter Press Service, 3-19-07

The vast landlocked West African country of Niger faces an increasing demand upon its scarce water resources, the lack of which - when added to poor sanitation and hygiene - results in high levels of death and disease among its 13 million inhabitants . . . Niger is one of the countries that form the Sahel Region which has seen recurring drought, food insecurity, and increased desertification over the last 30 years, a result - at least partly - of global climate change and overuse of scant natural resources . . . During the last two years, food insecurity and drought reached abnormally high levels, prompting a response from the international community and an intensive food security operation undertaken by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Robert Fraser, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), 3-21-0

Dr. Juergen Clemens, Senior Desk Officer Sri Lanka of Malteser International: 'The access to clean water is a basic need and basic right of every single person. By means of collecting and filtering rain water from their own roof, we can sustainably improve the quality of life of the families, especially of women and young girls who play a key role in ensuring the water supply of their families. The system provides up to 20 litres clean water per person per day.' On the one hand, the rain water harvesting system serves as a supplement for the water supply that had been destroyed by the tsunami at many places. On the other hand, these tanks collect 5,000 up to 8,000 litres and, thus, help to bridge the seasonal water supply shortages the population in the south of Sri Lanka has to face each year after the monsoon.
The staff of Malteser International also trains the families in the proper use of the rain water harvesting system, especially how to clean it, and informs the population on general questions concerning health and hygiene. They distribute so called H2S test kits that enable the families to test their rain water on bacterial contamination.
Rain water harvesting - because every drop counts!, Malteser International, 3-20-07


Hard Rain Journal 1-13-07: UN Millennium Goals and Sustainability Update -- Does Burkina-Faso Offer a Glimpse into Our Urban Future?

Hard Rain Journal 11-10-06: Sustainability and Climate Change Update -- Water, Its Unhealthiness and Its Increasing Scarcity, Demands Urgent Attention

Hard Rain Journal 9-29-06: Sustainability Update -- Freedom to Flourish and Water to Survive, Both are Vanishing...What Will You Do?

Hard Rain Journal 9-18-06: Update on Sustainability -- There is Peril Ahead, Whether Water is Privatized, Militarized or Simply Ignored for Too Long

Hard Rain Journal 8-18-06: Water, Water Nowhere, & Only A Few Drops to Sell --- An Update on the Water Aspect of the Global Sustainability Crisis

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

, , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

GS(3) Thunderbolt 3-21-07: Another Way to Celebrate the Northward Equinox


The dews drop slowly and dreams gather; unknown spears
Suddenly hurtle before my dream- awakened eyes,
And then the clash of fallen horsemen and the cries
Of unknown perishing armies beat about my ears.
We who still labour by the cromlech on the shore,
The grey cairn on the hill, when day sinks drowned in dew,
Being weary of the world's empires, bow down to you,
Master of the still stars and of the flaming door.

W.B. Yeats, The Valley of The Black Pig

GS(3) Thunderbolt 3-21-07: Another Way to Celebrate the Northward Equinox

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The northward Equinox for 2007 has come and gone. In San Francisco, it is the first day of Spring. In Sydney, it is the first day of Autumn.

Life is a oneness. Divine truth is paradoxical. The Equinox is both the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end.

It is New Year's in the Bahá’í and ancient Persian calendars.

It is significant that today, the first day of Spring in the USA, former Vice President Al Gore brought his personal campaign to raise awareness and mobilize humanity into corridors of power that have been submerged in a shameless and politically expedient denial for too long:

Testifying before a Joint Committee hearing this morning in the House of Representatives, former Vice President Al Gore warned of a 'planetary emergency' resulting from the warming of the Earth's climate [Gore will testify before a US Senate hearing this afternoon]. But he also told the Congress members assembled at the hearing that there was "sense of hope in this country that this US Congress will rise to the occasion," and take action to respond to global warming. Raw Story, 3-21-07

"The planet has a fever," Gore told the House committee, sounding incredulous at Barton's skepticism. "If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says, 'You have to intervene here,' you don't say, 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that says this isn't important.'" Washington Post, 3-21-07

(To download Gore's remarks, click here; for some video highlights, click here).

To celebrate this turning of the wheel, I ask you, as I did on the December Solstice, to consider contributing to the work of Words of Power.

We accept contributions via credit card or Paypal. Just look for the VISA/Master Card and "Donate" logo in the upper right-hand corner of this home page.

Subscriptions and on-line access to Words of Power will continue to remain FREE of charge, of course, BUT...

If you value of alternative news and analysis and want to support this work, and you can afford it, please contribute $25, $50, $100, $500 or $1,000 (your contribution is not tax-deductible).

Funds received will be used to continue and expand the service and evolve the infrastructure required to deliver this vital content to a broader audience.

Words of Power delivers alternative news and analysis on geopolitics, risk, security, the environment, human rights, religion, philosophy, culture and US politics and media; in particular, Words of Power focuses on mitigating and adapting to the impact of Global Warming, achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, and strengthening democratic institutions in the USA and throughout the world.

Two recent studies highlight the cravenness and complicity of the US mainstream news media, and underscore the vital role of Words of Power and other alternative resources from the bastions of the Internet-based Information Rebellion and the Blogosphere, not just to get the news to you but to aggregate it and provide the context and continuity you need --

The Media Matters report "If It's Sunday, It's Still Convervative" reveals the ongoing disparity on the propapunditgandist news shows that frame the national debate:

Since the 2006 midterm elections, NBC's Meet the Press and CBS' Face the Nation have provided less balance between Republican and Democratic officials than Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday despite the fact that Fox News Sunday remains the most unbalanced broadcast overall both before and after the election.
During the 109th Congress (2005 and 2006), Republicans and conservatives held the advantage on every show, in every category measured. All four shows interviewed more Republicans and conservatives than Democrats and progressives overall, interviewed more Republican elected and administration officials than Democratic officials, hosted more conservative journalists than progressive journalists, held more panels that tilted right than tilted left, and gave more solo interviews to Republicans and conservatives.

The Fairness and Accuracy in Media (FAIR) report, "Iraq and the Media: A Critical Timeline," provides a damning reminder of how the US mainstream news media abandoned truth and conscience in the lead-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq:

This timeline is an attempt to recall some of the worst moments in journalism, from the fall of 2002 and into the early weeks of the Iraq War. It is not an exhaustive catalog, but a useful reference point for understanding the media's performance. The timeline also points to missed opportunities, when courageous journalists—working inside the mainstream and the alternative media—uncovered stories that should have made the front pages of daily newspapers, or provided fodder for TV talk shows. By reading mainstream media critically and tuning into the alternative press, citizens can see that the notion that "everyone" was wrong about Iraq was—and is—just another deception.

I commend these reports to you, I urge you to support the work of FAIR and Media Matters, but I also ask you to support the work of Words of Power. This site delivers a unique perspective on how to survive the 21st Century crisis of security, sustainability and spirit.

And don't be concerned about perpetual fund-raisers, I will only reach out to you four times a year -- on the Solstices and the Equinoxes.

All the Best,

Richard Power
GS(3) Intelligence & Words of Power

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hard Rain Journal (3-20-07): Climate Crisis Update -- Four Simple Truths to Advance in Your Dialogue with Those Still in Denial

Stop Global Warming

Hard Rain Journal (3-20-07): Climate Crisis Update -- Four Simple Truths to Advance in Your Dialogue with Those in Denial

By Richard Power

NOTE: Stay tuned for a GS(3) Thunderbolt on Al Gore's US Senate testimony tomorrow.

The climate crisis impacts everything, and everything impacts it -- including global crop yields, mosquito-born disease in Latin America, the German car industry, the G-8, and giant pension funds -- everything.

The climate crisis can be mind-boggling and will-sapping, but there are four simple truths to bear in mind -- repeat them to yourself when you are at a loss, and articulate them at every opportunity to those who are still avoiding reality:

The evidence continues to mount, and the case is compelling.

There is a clearly defined and realizable alternative to the paralyzing triad of apathy, despair and complicity.

The way forward demands that the governments, industries and financial institutions of the great nations take responsibility and lead, and so far they are not doing so.

Meanwhile, the delusional denial and wanton dissemination of disinformation continues.

Here are brief excerpts with links to the full texts of some news and analysis that corroborate these four simple truths.

The evidence continues to mount, and the case is compelling:

A catastrophic collapse of the Arctic sea ice could lead to radical climate changes in the northern hemisphere according to scientists who warn that the rapid melting is at a "tipping point" beyond which it may not recover. Steve Connor, Collapse of Arctic Sea Ice 'Has Reached Tipping-Point', Independent/UK, 3-16-07

Global warming over the past quarter century has led to a fall in the yield of some of the most important food crops in the world, according to one of the first scientific studies of how climate change has affected cereal crops. Steve Connor, World's Most Important Crops Hit by Global Warming Effects, Independent/UK, 3-19-07

Climate change, which has resulted, for example, in heavier and more persistent rains in South America, is forcing countries to take more proactive measures to prevent the spread of diseases like dengue fever.
Paraguay has been struck by an epidemic of the more dangerous variant, dengue haemorrhagic fever.
Marcela Valente, Climate Change Fuels Spread of Dengue Fever, Inter Press Service, 3-19-07

There is a clearly defined and realizable alternative to the paralyzing triad of apathy, despair and complicity:

Cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases can mute the worst impacts of global warming, such as water shortages for billions of people or extinction of almost half of Amazonian tree species, a draft U.N. report shows. The report, due for release on April 6, foresees ever worsening damage to the planet as temperatures gain, including rising seas that could swamp low-lying Pacific island states or declining crop yields that could mean hunger for millions. . . ."We can make a big difference by either choosing a low emissions scenario or a high emissions scenario," said Gunnar Myhre, of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo. Alister Doyle, Global warming action could curb nightmare impacts, Reuters, 3-19-07

The way forward demands that the governments, industries and financial institutions of the great nations take responsibility and lead, and so far they aren't doing so:

"The United States must adopt a carbon emission control policy," John Deutch, head of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1995-96, said in a report to the Trilateral Commission, a grouping of business and opinion leaders from Europe, the United States and Asia. "If the United States or any other OECD country that is a large producer of greenhouse gas emissions is to retain a leadership role in other areas, it cannot just opt out of the global climate change policy process," he wrote. Paul Taylor, Ex-CIA chief says U.S. must act on climate, Reuters, 3-19-07

“We have 13 years at most to avert the worst impacts of climate destruction, and yet there is not even a glimmer of a breakthrough on the horizon at present,” says Greenpeace International Climate & Energy campaigner Stephanie Tunmore. “On the contrary: Global greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise, up to one quarter coming from the destruction of forests. The G8 states are also reporting rising emissions, although the industrialized nations are in fact committed to curbing emissions by 2012.” “This means that the ‘leading industrialized nations’ are miles away from their binding Kyoto targets,” continues Tunmore. “If something does not happen soon, we will be heading straight towards a climate disaster. The G8 Summit in June must deliver the breakthrough.” The World’s Climate Being Betrayed by G8 States, Greenpeace, 3-16-07

The German automotive industry, which exported 3.9 million cars in 2006 -- a large portion to Latin America -- is coming under criticism for its inability to produce engines with lower carbon dioxide emissions and for its refusal to accept ambitious environmental targets. In early February, that stance prompted Renate Künast, who served as agriculture minister until 2005, to urge consumers to "buy Japanese cars with hybrid engines, instead of German cars that pollute the environment." Julio Godoy, German Car Industry Not Doing Its Part, Say Critics, Inter Press Service, 3-17-07

Under the [Kyoto] Protocol, Russia is set to cut emissions to agreed limits relative to 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. It has not gone far in that direction. The Russian Carbon Fund, Merrill Lynch and Dresdner Kleinwort, the investment banking arm of Germany's Dresdner Bank, have said in a report that they would assist Russia trade some of its carbon assets and play an active role in reducing emissions . . . . Experts say Russia has much cleaning up to do, especially in the oil and gas industry. The Russian Carbon Fund has 82 projects in hand that could lead to emission reductions of the equivalent of 140 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in the 2008-2012 period . . . Inter Press Service, 3-19-07

Speaking at the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) investment conference in Edinburgh, Gore urged pension fund managers to look for ways to "systematically integrate" sustainability into their investment-making decisions . . . "I believe very deeply that we're now in an era of history that has suddenly rushed upon us, that has some very different characteristics including a number of challenges that we would in the past have associated with very long-term cycles, but are occurring much more quickly than we expected," he said. "The climate crisis is, in my view, by far the most important of those." Jennifer Hill, Pension Funds Must Heed Climate Change: Gore, Reuters, 3-14-07

Meanwhile, the delusional denial and wanton dissemination of disinformation continues:

In When Climate Message Is Strong, Attack the Messenger!, Joe Brewer from the Rockridge Institute dissects a hit piece on Al Gore, which appeared in the Science section of the NYT (3-13-07).

In an Open Letter to Channel 4 Head of production of "The Global Warming Swindle", Prof. Carl Wunsch reveals that he was conned by the producers of this reich-wing propaganda

And on Capital Hill, the relentless Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) pressed his attack on the Bush-Cheney regime's Orwellian efforts to suppress scientific discourse: The House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing Monday on the Bush Administration's control over scientific findings regarding climate change. The hearing centered around claims of censorship by Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
"In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it has now," Dr. Hansen testified. "Review and editing of scientific testimony by the White House OMB (Office of Management and Budget) seems to now be an accepted practice."
Top NASA Scientist: Bush is Politicizing and Screening Global Warming Science, Buzzflash, 3-19-07

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.


Hard Rain Journal 3-13-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Seven Stories that Underscore Dangers and Highlight Proactive Efforts

Hard Rain Journal 3-3-07: Climate Crisis & UN Millennium Goals Update -- The Interdependence of All Life

Hard Rain Journal 2-24-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Our Greatest Planetary Threat is Our Greatest Planetary Opportunity

Hard Rain Journal 2-10-07: Climate Crisis Update -- It is a Strange Bird that Fouls its own Nest

Hard Rain Journal 2-1-07: Climate Crisis Update -- From California to Queensland, the "Inconvenient Truth" has Become Unavoidable

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , ,

Sunday, March 18, 2007

SPECIAL EDITION: Words of Power Interviews George Lakoff on Impeachment, 2008, the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy and Progressive Think Tanks

Not since the Civil War has America been more divided politically. The Civil War was fought over the question of what freedom in America was to be. . . .Over more than two centuries Americans demanded successive expansions of freedom — progressive freedom. Expansions of voting rights, civil rights, education, public health, scientific knowledge, and protections from fear and want: these all made us freer to follow our dreams. These were the ideals of freedom that I grew up with. They are now all under threat, not by guns or bombs, but an under-the-radar redefinition of freedom and liberty to suit right wing ideology. And it is taking place under our noses, with the complicity of the media . . .The mechanism of redefinition is cognitive. It is in our brains. . . .Whose Idea of Freedom Will Shape America’s Future?, Boston Globe Editorial, 7-4-06

Lakoff is a deeply serious thinker, with a firm handle on what the Republicans are up to. He knows exactly what consultants like the GOP focus-group driven master of the soundbite, Frank Luntz, are up to. We avoid listening to Lakoff at our own peril as far as the political future of our nation is concerned. Buzzflash

Words of Power Interviews George Lakoff on Impeachment, 2008, the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy and Progressive Think Tanks

By Richard Power

I have been haunted by a vision over these last few years. It is the image of a juggernaut rolling on toward a point of no return.

For decades, this juggernaut just kept picking up speed. But over the last few years, three forces have converged to slow it down: the movement of History, the power of Mother Nature and the conscience and common sense of many individuals.

History moves forward, the juggernaut moves backward; Mother Nature is a oneness, the juggernaut is fueled on a false ideal of separateness. Both History and Mother Nature are inexorable forces, they function on a planetary level, and they ensure that sooner or later the juggernaut will be smashed to smithereens by the pressure of its struggle against them.

Nevertheless, there is, as I mentioned, a point of no return -- for our lifetimes and perhaps for the very existence of our country. The juggernaut is hauling the USA toward that point of no return.

We have not crossed over it yet (although a convincing argument could be made to the contrary). It is not too late. Nevertheless, it is perilously close, and even if we were to shut down the engines that propel us toward it, our forward motion itself could carry us over.

And this is where the third force, that of human conscience and common sense, comes into play.

In this waking vision, I see human beings throwing themselves against this juggernaut (and not worshipfully as ancient devotees did), but as resisters -- allowing themselves to be crushed under its wheels, just to loosen one bolt or disengage one spoke. Some of the human beings scramble up to the cabin and attempt to make "citizens' arrests" before they are hurled back to the earth, others jump on to affix explosive ideas and images, which make big dents in the juggernaut's steel hull of mind control. Some of the human beings erect high barricades, others dig big ditches. All of these people have one goal, to shut down the engines and slow down the forward momentum of the juggernaut -- before it crosses over the point of no return and we are plunged into an abyss.

The struggle to slow down, stop and dismantle the juggernaut is not really an ideological or political one, it is a spiritual and psychological struggle.

Many writers, thinkers and enterainers have confronted the juggernaut, and dealt it powerful blows. Many whistleblowers and other dissenters from the US military, intelligence and law enforcement communities have paid a steep price (their careers) and spoken out at great personal risk.

Even some a few brave conservatives, true conservatives, have thrown themselves at the juggernaut.

But primarily, this broad-based resistance has gotten its amplification and contextual meaning from some remarkable new institutions that have sprung up over the last decade or so: e.g., Media Matters, Center for American Progress, Air America and MoveOn; and of course, from the Blogosphere and the Internet-based Information Rebellion led by Buzzflash, Crooks and Liars, Truthout, Brad Blog, Talking Points Memo, and many other dynamic sites.

George Lakoff and the Rockridge Institute, too, have contributed something profound and unique to this resistance.

Indeed, what Lakoff is constantly directing our attention to is one of the most vital aspects of the struggle to shut down the juggernaut -- i.e., the mind game, or as a friend and colleagues who is a retired US Army PSYOPS officer terms it, the "mind war."

But Lakoff's work, I wager, is a little like that of Sun Tzu's. Many people have bought the Chinese philosopher's Art of War on impulse, or received it as a gift, but too few have read it or applied its lessons in their own lives. Likewise, many people in this resistance know who Lakoff is and that what he is saying is important, but too few have taken the time to read the body of his work and adapt it personally and organizationally.

I recently interviewed Lakoff on some pressing and important issues (this is the first Words of Power interview conducted since the Democrats took control in the House and the Senata). I hope that our brief Q&A serves as an intriguing introduction to those who are not familiar with his work, and a convincing reminder to those who already know it but have not groked it fully.

Words of Power: Impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as we all know, declared that impeachment was “off the table.” But others, RFK, Jr. in particular, argue that if impeachment should be seriously considered for no other reason than as “a civics lesson.” Not impeaching Bush and Cheney (it would have to be both of them) would be be politically better than impeaching them and having them acquitted in the Senate (as they almost certainly would by the current headcount). But what could be worse than allowing those who have committed such flagrant abuse of power go unchallenged in the way that the Constitution provides? Is there some middle path? What is your view on impeachment? A moral imperative? A political trap? Or both?

Lakoff: "The question is: How can we best move the country (and the world) in a progressive direction? Is impeachment the best way to do this? Impeachment has problems:
First, it uses the Bad Apple Frame — it suggests that Bush and Cheney were just bad apples, that if we get rid of them, everything will be okay. But the real problem is not them, per se, but Radical Conservatism itself as mode of thought and of governance.
Second, there is the public reaction — the people who voted for Bush will move to defend him. This would be the opposite of what you want to accomplish.
Third, it takes up an inordinate amount of time and energy from the Congress. The Democrats want to accomplish positive things, and that will take all the time and energy they have.
Fourth, congressional hearings can have the effect we want, if they are held and framed properly — and properly publicized. The hearings should not be about who the bad apples are, but rather what conservative ideology leads to. So far, the hearings have not been that.
Fifth, Bobby Kennedy, Jr. (who I both like and respect enormously) is caught in the rationalist trap (See the Rockridge Progressive Manual, Thinking Points). He thinks that if you present people with the facts, they will reason to the right conclusion. Give them a civics lesson and they will function as wonderful citizens. It’s just not how people work. That was done with Nixon in 1974, and by 1980 we had Reagan.
Sixth, what you need is a narrative in which conservatism itself is the villain and progressivism is the hero — and that means making it clear what the philosophies are, what’s wrong with one and right with the other. That takes more work over a longer time than just prosecuting the bad apples.
Seventh, a lot of progressives will support impeachment simply because Bush and Cheney deserve it — even if the Dems in Congress don’t support it. All that energy should not go to waste. A professional-quality case should be put together on a single central website, including only evidence that would stand up in a court of law and not speculation, circumstantial evidence, hearsay, guesswork, etc. The website should be run by someone with a solid legal background, preferably with excellent credentials. It should be easy to navigate and journalist-friendly. That would take the case before the people, even if the Dems don’t."

Words of Power: 2008? I am not endorsing any candidate, at least at this juncture. And I am certainly not fishing for your views on anyone in particular. But what does strike me is that there is a disconnect between the front runners, Clinton and Obama, and what is really going on in the country. Many of us look at what has happened to the Bill of Rights, to the US military, to our prestige in the world, to our intelligence community, to our infrastructure, to our economic security, to our environment (vis-à-vis climate change), and to our continued (indeed, aggravated) exposure to 9/11-style terrorist attacks, and say we are in a state of national emergency, particularly those among us who feel as I do that Bush-Cheney were installed illegitimately). But Clinton says she wants to have “chat” with America and Obama says he wants to change the tone in politics (something Bush said BTW). These approaches seem very out of touch to me. My question to you is looking ahead to 2008, what are the challenges that the Democrats face in regaining the White House in the aftermath of the Bush-Cheney regime? What are the pitfalls that the candidate whoever he or she is must avoid? What are the opportunities they must seize?

Lakoff: "So far, Obama seems to have learned the Reagan lesson: he is the candidate of values, authenticity, trust, connections, and communication. He just takes it for granted that American values are progressive values. He understands that conservatives see themselves as moral and can state what their arguments are and why (progressive) American values are the better choice. He speaks of the 'empathy deficit.' He understands that progressivism requires responsibility, and responsibility requires pragmatism — that is, functioning within reality. That means he is not a knee-jerk progressive and is willing to make compromises. But since he stresses values, judgment, and trust, he for the most part is not running on specifics of the kind that change with time and context.
Clinton and Obama have very similar voting records overall. But they are very different candidates.
Clinton believes there is a 'center' and is willing to move to the right to get there, even before she has to. She is a policy wonk and is running on policies, believing that people vote for candidates on the basis of their policies. She believes in governing by incrementalism — making lots of small changes that get wide bipartisan approval.
She has a problem with looking both strong and caring (both sides of her are real). She has mastered the first but not the second (hence the 'chat'). Looking strong but not looking like she cares turns off a lot of women. She also looks and sounds inauthentic at times; her voice and body language don’t always fit what she is saying. I hope she can work this out."

Words of Power: "Vast right-wing conspiracy." This utterance of the phrase, “vast right-wing conspiracy,” for which Hillary Clinton was mocked back in the 1990s still sticks with me. After all, it was well-documented by Conason and Lyons in the Hunting of the President and then corroborated by David Brock’s insider confession (Blinded By The Right). But the experience of struggling against the radicalism of Bush-Cheney, Rove, Bolton and the rest of them has been so intense that many people have sort of forgotten about who is behind the curtain. The issue is further muddled by the fact that Murdoch has raised money for Hillary Clinton in NY. I am concerned that many of us have not come to grips with what is out there beyond and behind Bush-Cheney. My question to you is -- What’s next? What’s out there beyond Bush-Cheney? Is there something that they simply high-jacked, a deeper, broader, arch-conservative movement -- a faceless juggernaut -- which will simply keep rolling forward? Is the whole right-wing scene in disarray? Is the coalition of the corporatists and the Christian fundamentalists finished? Or are we underestimating its resilience and its real power?

Lakoff: "Right now, progressives are underestimating the real power of conservatives and conservatism. Bush is pushing on in the face of electoral defeat, and the Democrats are not stopping him. The right-wing think tanks are in place and grinding out their ideas, and the right-wing message machine is in place setting long-term traps for Democrats, which Democrats seem eager to fall into. The conservative coalition is ultimately based on the fact that there is a true convergence of values, based on strict father morality applied to issues across the board. Moreover, the culture of conservative populism has not been dented.
The Democrats have real opportunities right now, and are doing many things right, but the conservative infrastructure is in place and strong, while the corresponding progressive infrastructure is nowhere near as strong and is not being constructed as well as it should be.
Perhaps the greatest hold that conservatives have on America is their ability to frame issues their way in public debate. This is not merely a matter of better wordsmithing. It is because
they have already gotten many of their ideas accepted as commonsense and conventional wisdom, both by much of the public and much of the media. They have been working at this effectively for three to four decades, pouring four billion dollars into think tanks alone, not counting control of media.
Conservative think tanks start with conservative values, ideas, forms of argument, and language to fit those values and ideas. The policies follow later.
Progressive think tanks get it backwards. They start with issues, divide up into “issue silos” issue-by-issue, and start with policies and programs. They never quite come up with a unified vision that goes across the issues, that is based on a common morality that defines what it means to be a progressive, and that creates the general language of progressive thought that will serve the full range of issues. This leaves voters wondering what it is that progressives believe.
An overall progressive vision is a matter of 'deep framing' — values and ideas that go across all issues."

Words of Power: Nothing is more important in our current circumstances, than the alternative media, the blogosphere and the progressive think tanks and other institutions that have sprung in these dark years of resistance. Tell us about Rockridge Institute? What are you doing? Where does it fit in? And how can we help it and further its work?

Lakoff: "Rockridge is the only think tank wholly concerned with how issues are framed in public discourse, especially in the media. And we are the only think tank concerned with deep framing — with the values, principles, and forms of argument and narrative that underlie the use of language.
Since our first serious grant, four and a half years ago, we have come a long way. Don’t Think of An Elephant! summarized what we had learned in the first two years. It made framing a household word and alerted ordinary citizens, the media, social activists, and political leaders to the way framing works in language.
Since Elephant, Rockridge has had an enormous effect. Progressive political leaders have been shooting themselves in the foot a lot less and saying what they believe more effectively. A great many progressives have learned several important things: Don’t use the other side’s language and the frames that come with their language. Reframe the issues from your perspective. Don’t negate the other side’s frames — it just reinforces them. Speak about values and saying strongly and effectively what you believe. The ’06 elections reflected the fact that hundreds of thousands of politically active progressives bought Elephant, understood at least those things, and used that knowledge effectively.
Since Elephant, we have made further progress — especially in the deep framing area and have produced a progressive manual — Thinking Points, which is short, cheap, easy-to-read and surveys the full range of framing issues, both at the deep and surface levels. At this point we have finished our first phase of research: we have pretty much figured out the basics of framing and have written up and published our results in a progressive manual. We began an extended public discussion of it, chapter-by-chapter this week on the Rockridge Nation website.
Now comes the hard part:
• Applying our framing lessons both to short-term and long-term issue areas.
• Helping citizens, activists, and political leaders to use Thinking Points. Our interactive website, Rockridge Nation was established for this purpose.
• Running a Framing in the Media project to alert journalists, as well as the public, to the use of right-wing framing in the media, and to help train journalists in how to avoid right-wing frames that they may believe are neutral.
• Writing about the next generation of progressive issues and the framing problems they present.
What we need most right now is funding. Most of the progressive think tank money is going to policy think tanks.
And the big money is mostly going to organizations that already have big money.
Very little is going to framing research — working out the values, principles, ideas, arguments and narratives that will be essential to progressive victories in the future.
The right wing has supported values-based and idea-based research very well. Progressives still need to learn that ideas matter — and that the ideas that lie behind the policies are the hard part.
If every progressive would give $100 (or what they could reasonably afford) to organizations like ours, we could be many times more effective. Contributions can be made through our website: Contributions are tax-deductible."

As Buzzflash's book reviewer observes, Lakoff's Whose Freedom?: The Battle over America's Most Important Idea is "a brilliant reflection on the use of patriotic language by the Republicans."
"In particular, [Lakoff] explores the differing connotations of the concept of 'freedom' to the hierarchical, paternalistic Republican base on the one hand, and the maternalistic nurturing Democratic base on the other. One deeply resonant word so basic to the American essence has diverse meaning, depending upon who is hearing it. . . .'Whose Freedom?' is a challenging and rewarding book that explores the depths of the 'framing' issues facing us if we want to restore a Constitutional Democracy that is tolerant, inclusive and caring."

For more on Lakoff's published work, especially Whose Freedom?: The Battle over America's Most Important Idea and Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision -- A Progressive Handbook, I refer you to Buzzflash (click the links in the titles above) and I suggest, to support the resistance, you purchase the books from Buzz as well.

Words of Power Interviews

SPECIAL EDITION: US V. Bush, The Indictment Has Been Written, Words of Power Interviews Elizabeth de la Vega

SPECIAL EDITION: Words of Power Interviews Nomi Prins, Author of "Jacked: How 'Conservatives' are Picking Your Pocket

SPECIAL EDITION: Generation Debt -- Why Now Is A Terrible Time To Be Young, Words of Power Interviews Anya Kamenetz

SPECIAL EDITION: "The More Nefarious Form of Corruption is That Which is Legal" -- Words of Power Interviews David Sirota

SPECIAL EDITION: "Until this issue is burning on the mind of every citizen" -- Words of Power Interviews Mark Crispin Miller

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

, , , , , ,, , , , , , ,