Sunday, March 30, 2008

Can You Say "PIN-O-CHET"? Those Three Syllables Should Be a Sacred Mantra; Tear Up that Check to PBS, Make It Out to Alternate Media Instead

Image: Themis, Goddess of Justice


Can You Say "PIN-O-CHET"? Those Three Syllables Should Be a Sacred Mantra for Patriots; Tear Up that Check to PBS, Make It Out to Alternate Media Instead

By Richard Power


Three recent developments, largely ignored by news media pundits and political power brokers, offer fragile but encouraging signs of renewal and progress toward the restoration of the rule of law in the USA. Furthermore, those involved in alternative media and the progressive blogosphere should derive a great degree of personal satisfaction from these fragile and encouraging signs.

First, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D) has been released from federal prison, and clearly he is not playing with a weak hand: In an interview shortly after his release, Siegelman singled out former White House aide Karl Rove’s involvement in his case ... Mr. Siegelman said there had been “abuse of power” in his case, and repeatedly cited the influence of Karl Rove, the former White House political director. “His fingerprints are smeared all over the case,” Mr. Siegelman said, a day after a federal appeals court ordered him released on bond and said there were legitimate questions about his case. Think Progress, 3-28-08

Second, remember the Qui Tam law suit that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio brought in regard to the theft of US elections? Now that the Bush-Cheney DoJ has decided not to participate (are you surprised?), the details of the complaint have been made public and the case can proceed: Despite having some direct involvement in the case from the beginning, The BRAD BLOG has been unable to report any details on it for going on two years --- we haven't even been able to offer the names of the plaintiff or defendant in the case --- since originally reporting that it had been filed in federal court, due to the fact that it was under seal, waiting for the U.S. Attorney General to decide whether the DoJ would join the suit or not. ... In July 2004, Mr. Singer wrote the Secretaries of State for the States of Texas and Ohio, to alert them to [HartCivic]’s misconduct. He received no substantive response. Mr. Singer provided discrete bits of information to the press in hopes of attracting attention to Hart’s misconduct. Having “accomplished nothing” in Mr. Singer’s words, he decided to seek legal redress. ... An attorney close to the Singer case tells The BRAD BLOG today that "the fact that DoJ declined to join the case does not deter us for a moment." Brad Blog, 3-27-08

To download the full complaint click here. (Although Words of Power will continue to post from time to time on significant developments, for day to day coverage of the election security issue, I refer you to Brad Blog and also Mark Crispin Miller’s Notes from the Underground.)

And third, although the prison sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby (whose involvement in the betrayal of US secret Agent Valerie Plame was of no concern to James Carville) has been commuted, at least he has been disbarred: Former vice presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby has been disbarred, according to Washington, D.C. radio station WTOP. “A three-judge panel on the DC Court of Appeals stripped Libby of his ability to practice law after he was found guilty last year of obstructing the investigation in the CIA leak investigation,” according to the station. President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence in July 2007. Think Progress, 3-20-08

Can you say "PIN-O-CHET"? Those three syllabes should become a sacred mantra to US patriots.

Yes, Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Rice, Fieth, Wolfowitz and the others should be looking over their shoulders for what happened to Valerie Plame, for what happened to New Orleans, for what happened to the US military, for what happen to US honor and prestige, for what happened to the DoJ, the EPA, and other vital federal agencies, etc. Presidential pardons might be able to insulate the principals from US law, but they cannot insulate them from international law.

And what must we do to make sure that Bush, Cheney, et al, like Pinochet, have to look over their shoulders at potential legal woes for the rest of their lives?

Well, support the alternative news media.

And I suggest you start by tearing up that donation check to Public Broacasting Corporation (PBS); and write one out to Robert Parry, or one of the other bastions of the information rebellion (e.g., Buzzflash or Crooks and Liars).

I mention Parry in particular for this insightful dissection of US mainstream news media coverage on the fifth anniversary of Bush-Cheney's invasion of Iraq: In the news media, there were specials, including a much-touted PBS Frontline two-parter on “Bush’s War” which followed the mainstream line of mostly accepting the Bush administration’s good intentions while blaming the disaster on policy execution – a lack of planning, bureaucratic rivalries, rash decisions and wishful thinking. ...
An obvious reason why the mainstream U.S. press can’t handle this truth is that to do so would mean that President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, a host of other U.S. officials and even some prominent journalists could be regarded as war criminals. ...
Not only are Bush and Cheney still in office – and two of the three remaining presidential candidates, John McCain and Hillary Clinton, voted for the war – but the roster of top Washington journalists remains remarkably intact from five years ago.
Iraq War hawk Fred Hiatt still runs the Washington Post’s editorial pages where you can still read the likes of Charles Krauthammer, David Ignatius, Richard Cohen and a bunch of other columnists who pushed for the war.
The same is true for the New York Times’s op-ed page, where writers like Thomas Friedman have prospered despite their erroneous war judgments and where one of the few changes has been to recruit prominent neoconservative William Kristol, who has used his column to chide Americans who won’t hail Bush’s courageous war leadership. ...
Robert Parry, Consortium News, 3-28-08

Some Recent Related Posts

Economic Insecurity: Stiglitz on the Three Trillion Dollar War; Its Devastating Impact & Its True Winners

Unless there is some reckoning, the nightmare of the last eight years will never end, it will only seem to end

Siegelman, Plame, the Six Fired US Attorneys & the Deep-Sixing of Justice in the USA; You Can't Heal a Wound Until You have Cleaned It

William Pfaff: "A coup d’etat has taken place ... not as an act of law defiance, but by faithful execution of their duty as required by law."

"Live Free or Die" has New Meaning: Stolen Elections? Not Just 2000 and 2004, But Also 2002

Hard Rain Journal: The NIE and Its Implications for the 2008 Election and the Fate of the Republic

Hard Rain Journal 12-3-07: David Gregory Meet I.F. Stone and Tom Paine x 10,000

Hard Rain Journal 9-28-07: Ellsberg Says It, "A Coup Has Occurred."

Hard Rain Journal 8-31-07: "Tyranny is a Continuum" -- Robert Kennedy, Jr. & George Soros Debate Fascism, the News Media, & the Role of the People

For Words of Power's archive of posts on Corporate News Media Complicity, Power of Alternative Media, Propaganda & Freedom, click here.

For the Words of Power Archive of Election Security Posts, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on 9/11, Terrorism, etc., click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Climate Crisis Update: Three Powerful Acts -- Harness the Tidal Power, Turn Off for the Earth Hour & Acknowledge Peak Oil

United States of Climate Change, Sightline


Satellite images show that a large hunk of Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf has started to collapse in a fast-warming region of the continent, scientists said ... The area of collapse measured about 160 square miles of the Wilkins Ice Shelf ... The Wilkins Ice Shelf is a broad sheet of permanent floating ice that spans about 5,000 square miles and is located on the southwest Antarctic Peninsula about 1,000 miles south of South America. Reuters, 3-26-08

Cimate Crisis Update: Three Powerful Acts -- Harness the Tidal Power, Turn Off for the Earth Hour & Acknowledge Peak Oil

By Richard Power


Year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, hour after hour, moment by moment, the climate crisis is deepening.

Although, in general, both government and business are moving far too slowly, many people throughout the world are endeavoring to make a meaningful difference in the future of the human race.

A British firm has agreed to build a giant tidal power scheme - the world's largest - in South Korea, using underwater turbines that experts say could make the proposed £15 billion Severn Barrage obsolete.
The £500 million scheme proposed off the South Korean coast will use power from fast-moving tidal streams, caused by rising and falling tides, to turn a field of 300 60ft-high tidal turbines on the sea floor. ...
The joint venture between Lunar Energy, a British tidal power company, and Korean Midland Power Company, in the Wando Hoenggan waterway is expected to power 200,000 homes by 2015. ...
Telegraph/UK, 3-16-08

There are simple and powerful actions that you can participate in directly.

On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.
Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco and Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town.


To sign up for Earth Hour, click here.

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, NASA's legendary Dr. James Hansen shed light on two issues that some in high places would rather you just not think about, i.e., coal and peak oil. (Indeed, peak oil is a dimension of the 21st Century security and sustainability crisis that next to no one in the political establishment or the mainstream news media is willing to acknowledge.) --

DR. JAMES HANSEN: Well, the most important thing is—if you just look at how much carbon dioxide there is in the different fossil fuels, coal is the really big issue. The important step is to have a moratorium on any new coal-fired power plants until we have the technology to capture the carbon dioxide and sequester it. And if we would do that, that’s a good fraction of the solution. But we’re also going to have to use the other fossil fuels more conservatively. We’re going to need to emphasize energy efficiency. And eventually we have to find sources of energy that don’t produce greenhouse gases. ...
JUAN GONZALEZ: I mean, it seems that in terms of the reaction of many of the candidates to the increasing crisis in terms of supply of oil is that they’re looking at either—at nuclear energy or increased coal use to sort of deal with trying to get the country more energy independent, rather than the long-term prospects of actually having more efficient use of energy and reductions in terms of our society adjusting dramatically to a different use of energy in the future.
DR. JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, and they’re saying things like, “Well, we will reduce by 2050 the CO2 emissions by 60 percent or 80 percent,” but they really need to have a specific strategy, and that, I do think, has to start with coal. If we would phase that out—oil—we’re going to hit peak oil very soon, if we haven’t already.
AMY GOODMAN: Which means?
DR. JAMES HANSEN: Which means that we have used half of the oil that’s readily available. And so, the amount—the emissions from oil are going to start to decline just because the supply of oil is limited. So that’s why coal becomes the issue. Now we’re starting to use more and more coal, and we just can’t do that unless we have the technology to capture the CO2.
AMY GOODMAN: How dire is the situation right now?
DR. JAMES HANSEN: It’s becoming dire, because we have to start within the next few years on a track—on a different track. We have to realize that we have to get to energy sources beyond fossil fuels, and we need to do that sooner. The fossil fuel companies want you to believe that, well, let’s use up all the fossil fuels, and then we’ll worry about what we’re going to do after that. Unfortunately, we can’t do that unless we capture the carbon dioxide.
Democracy Now!, 3-21-08

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

Click here for access to great promotional tools available on The Eleventh Hour action page.

To sign the Live Earth Pledge, click here.

For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

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

Want to join hundreds of thousands of people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.

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Hard Rain Late Night: Alanis Morissette -- That I Would Be Good

Hard Rain Late Night: Alanis Morissette -- That I Would Be Good



Click here for Hard Rain Late Night Music Video -- Archive

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Don't Forget Darfur, Tibet or Burma This Summer, Don't Forget Men & Women of US Military Either; Reflections On Speaker Pelosi's Visit to Dharmsala

Photo: CBS News


Do Not Forget Darfur, Tibet or Burma This Summer, Do Not Forget the Men & Women of the US Military Either; Reflections On Speaker Pelosi's Visit to Dharmsala

By Richard Power


Speaker Pelosi’s recent visit to Dharmsala to express support for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people was an important moment. It was more than just geopolitical theatre, it was more than just a symbolic gesture.

Both of these leaders have been second-guessed a lot: Pelosi, since taking the gavel in January 2007, both for her declaration that impeachment was “off the table” and for not cutting off funding for the foolish military adventure in Iraq; the Dalai Lama, in recent years, both for how he has led the Tibetan government in exile and for his approach to dealing with Beijing and Beltwayistan.

I disagree with both of them on numerous decisions. But I do not second-guess them on any of it.

This is a bad time in the world.

(Look at the weird and destructive turn the race for the Democratic presidential nomination has taken. Instead of a tremendous competition between two worthy survivors debating the great issues of our time, we are being subjected to a blood-match fought over innuendoes, distortions, distractions and irrelevancies.)

It is a very dangerous period. It could well be that the end of the current regime in Beltwayistan is its worst moment.

There are no good choices. It is difficult to see very far ahead.

There is very little margin for error.

If history shows Pelosi and the Dalai Lama to have erred in their respective trials, and if it is honest (a big if), history will also show them to have erred on the side of caution. Whether that caution was indeed the better part of valor remains to be determined.

One can only imagine the threats and ultimatums that both have been confronted with behind closed doors; one can only imagine the potential chains of consequences that they have both run through their minds in the solitude of the night.

If, at the end of this struggle, Tibet is allowed to heal itself, and restore its culture, in some form of autonomy if not outright independence; then those who second-guess the Dalai Lama now may have cause to regret their arrogance.

If, in 2008, a Democratic who is truly opposed to the neo-con wet dream is sworn in as President of the USA (a much bigger if than it should be), and that President -- working with an emboldened Congress -- takes a new course both with regard to Iraq and Iran, thereby thwarting a wider regional war in the Middle East; then those who vilify the Speaker now may come to regret their heated rhetoric.

It is not easy to lead from conscience. It is much easier to lead from greed or anger.

But if you lead from conscience, there is a chance it will turn out right in the end; if you lead from greed or anger, it will almost always turn out wrong in the end.

Meanwhile, we must do what we can to articulate the truth and all the ways it must be served.

Do not forget the men and women of the US military. Do not be deceived. They deserve so much better from their civilian leaders. They are being held hostage. Blood and oil have turned the desert sand into a quagmire.

Do not forget the women and children of Darfur. The great nations are allowing a genocide to take place there.

Do not forget the monks of Burma and Tibet. They sing of the Buddha’s great compassion as they march, and their marching is the Buddha’s great compassion itself.

Here are three important items, one each on Tibet, Darfur and Iraq:

A group of prominent Chinese intellectuals has circulated a petition urging the government to stop what it has called a “one-sided” propaganda campaign and initiate direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
The petition, which was signed by more than two dozen writers, journalists and scholars contains 12 recommendations which, taken together, represent a sharp break from the Chinese government’s response to the wave of demonstration that have swept Tibetan areas of the country in recent days.
They come, moreover, at a time when the government is working hard to convey a sense of strong international support for putting down what is being depicted here as a civil disturbance by lawless people being instigated by the Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who Beijing denounces as a secessionist, or “splittist.”
New York Times, 3/23/08

In preparing to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, China has engaged in a massive campaign to dissemble its role in the Darfur genocide in western Sudan, now entering its sixth year ...
Why does China airbrush away Darfur's genocidal realities? Why has Beijing been Khartoum's largest weapons supplier over the past decade? Why has China repeatedly wielded a veto threat at the UN Security Council as the world body vainly struggles to bring pressure to bear on Khartoum? The answer lies in China's thirst for Sudanese crude oil. ...
Confident that China will block punitive actions, Khartoum recently resumed savage civilian clearances in West Darfur ... If China is to be a legitimate host of the 2008 Olympics, the preeminent event in international sports, it cannot be complicit in the ultimate international crime - genocide. The world community must respond more forcefully to this intolerable contradiction.
Eric Reeves, Boston Globe, 3-22-08

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a tragedy - for Iraq, for the US, for the UN, for truth and human dignity. I can only see one gain: the end of Saddam Hussein, a murderous tyrant. Had the war not finished him he would, in all likelihood, have become another Gadafy or Castro; an oppressor of his own people but no longer a threat to the world. Iraq was on its knees after a decade of sanctions.
The elimination of weapons of mass destruction was the declared main aim of the war. It is improbable that the governments of the alliance could have sold the war to their parliaments on any other grounds. ... They could not succeed in eliminating WMDs because they did not exist. Nor could they succeed in the declared aim to eliminate al-Qaida operators, because they were not in Iraq. They came later, attracted by the occupants. ... Increased safety for Israel might have been an undeclared US aim. If so, it is hard to see that anything was gained by a war which has strengthened Iran. ...
Hans Blix, Guardian, 3-20-08

I encourage you to follow events in Darfur on Mia Farrow's site, it is the real-time journal of a humanitarian at work; the content is compelling, insightful and fiercely independent.

Click here to sign the TURN OFF/TUNE IN Pledge.

For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.

Here are other sites of importance:

Dream for Darfur

Enough: The Project to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities

Genocide Intervention Network

Divest for Darfur.

Save Darfur!

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

Tibet-Related Posts

How About Making Hypocrisy An Olympic Competition?

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the World -- "Please investigate ... cultural genocide is taking place"

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the Chinese -- "address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people"

Global Press Freedom Update: China Tightens Screws on Press in Preparation for 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; Take A Look At Your Future

Words of Power #29: The Dalai Lama and The Blade Runner, Spiritual Challenges of the 21st Century Security Crisis, Part III

GS(3) Thunderbolt: Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Forty-Eighth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

World Water Day 2008: 1 Hamburger Requires 2,400 Liters of Water to Produce; Meanwhile, Children Walk 6 Meters Every Day for 6 Liters of Water

World Water Availability, Standard & Poors 2008


Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to it. People move when there is too little of it. People move when there is too much of it. People journey down it. People write, sing and dance about it. People fight over it. And all people, everywhere and every day, need it. Mikhail Gorbachev, Green Cross International

A scientist who developed a way to calculate how much water is used in the production of anything from a cup of coffee to a hamburger was awarded the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize ... Professor John Anthony Allan of the University of London ... won the award for introducing the concept of "virtual water," a calculation method that has changed the nature of trade policy and research. ... "For a single hamburger, an estimated 2,400 liters of water are needed. In the USA, the average person consumes nearly 7,000 liters of virtual water every day." It said that was more than three times the average consumption of a Chinese person. Reuters, 3-19-08

World Water Day 2008: 1 Hamburger Requires 2,400 Liters of Water to Produce; Meanwhile, Children Walk 6 Meters Every Day for 6 Liters of Water

By Richard Power


Our very survival is utterly dependent upon fresh water. But global warming and over-population threaten to leave us without enough to sustain life. It is imperative that we come to grips with the vital issues of water conversation and sanitation at all levels -- local, regional, national and global.

The children and their teachers know this.

In the Netherlands, thousands of children from 10 to 12 years old are walking 6 km with 6 liters of water, to experience what children in developing countries must do every day; along the way, they collect donations for water and sanitation projects in Africa and Asia.

In Visakhapatnam, India, children will gather and take this pledge: "I pledge to save water. I will never waste water. I will not contaminate drinking water. I will not pollute our precious water resources. I won't hesitate to tell my neighbors and others the sad state of our water in our holy rivers, lakes, tanks, wells, adn streams, and request them not to pollute them. I pledge to conserve every drop of water that I can every day of the week. ...

In Jakarta, Indonesia, one of the poorest areas of Jakarta, Indonesia, children trained by Clowns without Borders will perform circus acts with messages about water conservation and sanitation in a celebration of their new YEWP-built community rainwater tank.

In Monterrey, Mexico, children will participate in a contest of drawing, singing, acting, making histories and campaigns related to sanitation.

But of course the problem is not children or teachers.

The problem is government officials and business leaders who have neglected the Commons and allowed circumstances and culture to devolve to this point: i.e., some populaces live wastefully without the least care for tomorrow, and other populaces live desperately without the least hope for tomorrow.

By 2025, fully a third of the planet's growing population could find itself scavenging for safe drinking water, the United Nations has warned ahead of World Water Day on Saturday.
More than two million people in developing countries -- the vast majority children -- die every year from diseases associated with unsanitary water.
There are a number of interlocking causes for this scourge.
Global economic growth, population pressures and the rise of mega-cities have all driven water use to record levels.
Agence France Press, 3-21-08

Only a tiny fraction of the world's water – about 2.5 percent – is drinkable. That still would be an ample supply if it were clean and available where needed.
It's not. Today some 1.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion lack proper sanitation (adequate sewage disposal). ...
It's clear that competition for water "will intensify in the decades ahead," said Kemal Dervis, administrator of the United Nations Development Program in its 2006 report. "Water is the ultimate fugitive resource, traversing borders through rivers, lakes, and aquifers – a fact that points to the potential for cross-border tensions in water-stressed regions." ...
Christian Science Monitor, 3-20-08

Nor is water simply an African or Asian problem.

A U.N. study released on the eve of World Water Day Mar. 22 says the lack of safe drinking water is not confined to the world’s poorer nations; it also threatens over 100 million Europeans.
The result: nearly 40 children in Europe, mostly in Eastern Europe, die every day due to a water-related disease: diarrhoea.
In Eastern Europe, about 16 percent of the population still does not have access to drinking water in their homes, while in rural areas, over half of all people suffer from the lack of safe water and adequate sanitation.
Inter Press Service, 3-20-08

Overall, the amount of rain falling in the U.S. is more than adequate, especially compared with the rest of the world. However, fresh water supplies aren't evenly distributed. Lack of water has been and remains a severe problem in the Southwest. ... Today's troubles are less the result of the swing in rainfall than of rising populations. Especially in the U.S. Southwest, the growing population base in a year of low rainfall has caused substantial problems. In the Southeast, the second-lowest rainfall total on record has collided with increasing populations to create a major drought. ... Business Week, 2-20-08

Life is a oneness.

Today, it may be someone else far away who thirsts; tomorrow, with little warning, it could be you and your loved ones.

Each of us must understand how we can better conserve water in our own lives and at the same time act in some way to help those who are already in dire straights.

Water Advocates provides a list of 42 U.S. organizations helping to implement safe drinking water and sanitation projects in developing countries. Click here.

SOME RELATED POSTS:

Sustainability Update: Rainwater Saves Lives; Maybe Even Your Own Some Day

Sustainability Update 11-17-07: The Distance from Southern California to the Azawak Valley? Near & Getting Nearer with Every Drop of Water.

Sustainability Update 8-14-07: Water, Water

Sustainability Update 7-29-07: Geopolitics & Sustainability have Taken Over Your Future -- Whether You Choose to Acknowledge It or Not

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-19-07: In Darfur and Japan -- The Earth is Singing A Promise & A Warning, But Who is Listening?

Hard Rain Journal 4-19-07: Sustainability Update -- Simple Truths

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's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Climate Crisis Update: Thunderous Warning Echoing Down from the Highest Peaks; Still, Small Voice in the Garden Soil

The "Primitivist" Henri Rousseau painted "The Dream" in 1910. It hangs in Manhattan's MOMA


Climate Crisis Update: Thunderous Warning Echoing Down from the Highest Peaks; Still, Small Voice in the Garden Soil

By Richard Power


This is the Vernal Equinox. Spring in the north of the world, autumn in the south of the world. Life is a oneness. You cannot have the one without the other.

On this Equinox, I ask you to listen -- not to me, but to the oneness of this world. There is a thunderous warning echoing down from the highest peaks. There is also whisper of promise from the still, small voice in the garden soil.

Can you hear one or the other, or better yet both in a rhapsodic mingling?

It is not just the melting of the polar ice, and the subsequent rise of the sea levels that threatens our future, it is also the melting of the mountain glaciers and the subsequent drying up of the rivers that give us our fresh water.

It is not just the burning of fossil fuels in automobiles and power plants that is causing the climate crisis, it is also how we grow and distribute the food we consume.

Here are three warnings from those who listen to the mountains, followed by a promise from those who listen to the soil.

On this Equinox, heed the warnings and embrace the promise.

Celebrate life by changing how you live.

The world's glaciers are continuing to melt away with the latest official figures showing record losses, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced. ... Data from close to 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges indicate that between the years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 the average rate of melting and thinning more than doubled. UNEP, 3-16-08

The sparkling glaciers high up in the Rwenzori Mountains—and their crystal-clean mountain streams—may be no more, according to WWF, the global conservation organization. Climate change has taken its toll on some of Africa’s highest peaks; the mountains’ glaciers are on their knees. A 27-person team from eight nationalities has just returned from the Rwenzori Mountains with some startling observations. WWF, 3-17-08

Europe's Alps could lose three-quarters of their glaciers to climate change during the coming century. That is the conclusion of new research from the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) in Zurich. Richard Black, BBC, 3/xx/08

In "There’s a Homegrown Way to Address Climate Change," an op-ed piece in the Seattle Post-IntelligencerAnna Lappé writes of Seattle Tilth and its global implications.

Asked to name climate-change bad guys, most would tag Shell and ExxonMobile before Sara Lee or General Mills. ... We’ve been missing a huge part of the story. The global industrial food system — from how we grow crops to the way we raise livestock and what we do with the waste — accounts for at least 33 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, according to analysis of data from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The livestock sector alone is responsible for nearly one-fifth of the world’s total emissions — more than the entire transportation sector. ...
Here’s the good news: We already know how to build a climate-friendly food system. Indeed, organizations such as Seattle Tilth have been showing the way going on three decades. We now have long-term evidence of the wisdom of their work.
Research is showing that organic farms can decrease emissions by eliminating fossil-fuel based agricultural chemicals, for instance, and working with nature to foster soil fertility, promote animal health and handle pests and weeds. Organic farms can also be effective “carbon sinks,” removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and fixing it in soil. ...
Anna Lappé, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 3-13-08

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

Click here for access to great promotional tools available on The Eleventh Hour action page.

To sign the Live Earth Pledge, click here.

For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

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

Want to join hundreds of thousands of people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Human Rights Update: China Seals Tibet's Borders; "Lhasa long ago became China's Gaza Strip"


Chenrezig, Lord of Compassion

Human Rights Update: China Seals Tibet's Borders; "Lhasa long ago became China's Gaza Strip"

Breaking news from the Canadian press and insightful commentary from the German press -- on a crisis of profound spiritual and cultural importance:

Tibet borders sealed in advance of surrender deadline
China has effectively closed Tibet to foreigners as it prepares to deal with protesters in the aftermath of last week's riots in Lhasa.
Qiangba Puncog, governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region, told reporters in Beijing on Monday that "because of the arson and murders which have taken place in Tibet, we do not advise foreign news organizations or foreign nationals to go to Tibet for safety reasons."
His moderate words couched the reality that no foreigners are allowed into the region without specific permission from Beijing.
Aileen McCabe, Canwest News Asia Corespondent, 3-17-08

In reality, the Chinese government isn't at all interested in an amicable solution to the conflict. Instead, Beijing is using the Chinese populace as its most potent weapon, in the form of a resettlement policy that has seen tens of thousands of ethnic Chinese relocated to Tibet in recent years -- and the resulting assimilation of the region. ... The Dalai Lama, for his part, has unfortunately been unable to find an adequate political strategy to counter Beijing's cultural imperialism. As a monk living in exile who is dedicated to non-violence, his options are limited. But despite his reputation as the jet-setting pop-star of contemplation and reflection, he has not found a political approach to guide his people into the future. ... The problem, though, is that China has to understand that in a globalized world, there is no such thing as problems that are purely "domestic." It makes no sense for Beijing to clutch to a concept of sovereignty straight out of the 19th century. Lhasa long ago became China's Gaza Strip. The Dalai Lama no longer has complete authority on Tibetan streets and in Tibetan monasteries. It is the Tibetan Youth Congress that sets the tone these days. This is a radical group of exile Tibetans that has withheld support for the Dalai Lama for years. They say that his peaceful path has failed to secure freedom for their homeland and that Tibetans must follow the path of other liberation movements, like the Palestinians or the East Timorese. ... China had been simply waiting until the Dalai Lama dies before they dealt with the Tibet problem -- the Tibet Youth Congress dooms that approach to failure. ... Beijing has the means to mitigate the damage in its hands. In order to prevent leaving the Beijing 2008 Olympics with an aftertaste comparable to that of Berlin in 1936, Chinese Communist Party chief Hu Jintao will have to do something he is not used to doing. Rather than showing brute force, he must pursue de-escalation in Tibet. Rather than short-sighted propaganda, he must engage in true dialogue. The argument that sports have nothing to do with politics will hardly suffice. Jürgen Kremb, Tibet -- China's Gaza Strip, Der Spiegel, 3-17-08

Om Mani Padme Hum (Chenrezig Mantra)


Related Posts

How About Making Hypocrisy An Olympic Competition?

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the World -- "Please investigate ... cultural genocide is taking place"

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the Chinese -- "address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people"

Global Press Freedom Update: China Tightens Screws on Press in Preparation for 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; Take A Look At Your Future

Words of Power #29: The Dalai Lama and The Blade Runner, Spiritual Challenges of the 21st Century Security Crisis, Part III

GS(3) Thunderbolt: Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Forty-Eighth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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Hard Rain Late Night: Hiromi Uehara -- Time Out

Hard Rain Late Night: Hiromi Uehara -- Time Out



Click here for Hard Rain Late Night Music Video -- Archive

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Monday, March 17, 2008

How About Making Hypocrisy An Olympic Competition?

Protest in France, Associated Press


How About Making Hypocrisy An Olympic Competition?

By Richard Power


I have come up with a way to avoid a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

If hypocrisy were to be included in the competition, it might just be worth it to allow the Olympics to go forward without too much protest.

Hypocrisy abounds in the political establishments of the great nations.

Consider the woeful circumstances of Darfur, Tibet and Burma:

Khartoum’s recent acceleration of civilian destruction in West Darfur makes clear the regime retains supreme confidence that China will block any punitive measures at the UN Eric Reeves, Sudan Research, Analysis and Advocacy, 3-5-08

"Please investigate.... if possible some respected organization, international organization carry entirely what is the condition, what is the situation in Tibet. Whether as a Tibetan nation, ancient nation with ancient cultural heritage is actually dying. And then also, whether intentionally or unintentionally, somewhere cultural genocide is taking place". Reuters, 3-16-08

Burma denied a visa to investigator for human rights Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, whose report to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday cited growing repression following the crushing of monk-led protests in the country last September, the United Nations said. Reuters, 3-15-08

Each of these situations is different, each is difficult, but they share two common denominators. One is brutal, flagrant and long-standing violations of human rights. But if you think the other common denominator is the hypocrisy of China, you are only partially correct; it is the hypocrisy of most of the great nations, including China and the USA in particular.

China's role in all three nightmares is clear.

China considers Tibet a province and although the tourism business is quaint, it is chump change compared to Tibet's strategic importance -- both in terms of national security and natural resources.

And China props up the thugoracies in Burma and Sudan for its self-interest (oil, gas, etc.)

The USA's role in all three nightmares is less obvious, but it is there for you to see if you are willing to look.

Over the last eight years, the USA has lost its moral authority in the world, because of its invasion and occupation of Iraq and the subsequent humanitarian crisis, as well as its brazen defiance of the Geneva Accords on torture, its campaign of domestic disinformation and international obstructionism on global warming, etc., etc., etc.

There is so much that the USA could have done, especially in regard to Darfur over the last eight years, and in regard to both Burma and Darfur over these last six months.

But the Bush-Cheney regime does not really care about human rights or democracy. It just plays that card when it is convenient, and slips it back up its sleeve when it is inconvenient.

And even if the Bush-Cheney regime were genuinely concerned about human rights in China, it would not do anything. The USA desperately needs China now -- economically. Thanks to the hypocrisy shared by the Democratic and Republican establishments alike.

The great nations thwart the will of the UN Security Council whenever it is in their own self-interests. And no matter what their rhetoric implies, their self-interests are quite often the same, i.e., business as usual.

The monks of Burma have great moral authority to speak out on what is happening in Tibet today, tragically the USA does not, at least until January 2008 (if we're lucky).

Burmese Buddhist monks have strongly condemned the Chinese government for their brutal crackdown on Tibet’s monk-led protests in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, which led to at least 12 deaths and many more injuries.
Speaking with The Irrawaddy on Monday, a leader of the All Burma Monks Alliance, U Pyinya Zawta, said, “We strongly condemn the Chinese government for their crackdown on Tibet’s monks. We appeal to the Chinese government to stop their suppression of monks and initiate peaceful negotiations.”
The All Burma Monks Alliance is an underground monk’s organization inside Burma founded by Buddhist monks in September at the time protests broke out nationwide.
The crackdown on Tibetan monk-led protests by Chinese security forces is similar to the brutal crackdown on September’s peaceful demonstrators in Burma when at least 31 protesters, including monks, were killed, said U Pyinya Zawta.
Irawaddy, 3-17-08

Related Posts

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the World -- "Please investigate ... cultural genocide is taking place"

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the Chinese -- "address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people"

Global Press Freedom Update: China Tightens Screws on Press in Preparation for 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; Take A Look At Your Future

Words of Power #29: The Dalai Lama and The Blade Runner, Spiritual Challenges of the 21st Century Security Crisis, Part III

GS(3) Thunderbolt: Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Forty-Eighth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on Campaign '08, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the World -- "Please investigate ... cultural genocide is taking place"

Yeshe Tsogyal, Great Yogini, Great Bliss Queen and Consort of Padma Sambhava, the Precious Guru who brought the Buddha Dharma to Tibet


At least 80 people have been killed in unrest following protests by Tibetans against Chinese rule, the Tibetan government in exile says. ...
Hong Kong Cable TV reported that about 200 military vehicles, each carrying 40 to 60 armed soldiers, had driven into the city.
Loudspeakers broadcast messages, such as: "Discern between enemies and friends, maintain order." ... The demonstrators, who on Friday set fire to Chinese-owed shops and hurled rocks at local police, have been penned into an area of the old town by government forces.
The authorities in Tibet have urged the protesters to hand themselves in by midnight on Monday, promising leniency to those who surrender.
BBC, 3-16-08

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the World -- "Please investigate ... cultural genocide is taking place"

Excerpts from the Dalai Lama remarks to the news media:

"Please investigate.... if possible some respected organization, international organization carry entirely what is the condition, what is the situation in Tibet."
"Whether Chinese government admits or not, there is a problem. The problem is the nation with ancient cultural heritage is actually facing serious dangers.... Whether as a Tibetan nation, ancient nation with ancient cultural heritage is actually dying".
"And then also, whether intentionally or unintentionally, somewhere cultural genocide is taking place". ...
"Generally, Tibetans are following, I think quite sincerely, non-violent principles. Of course individual human beings, when emotions come out of control, then certain sort of violent actions are possible. But my principle, everybody knows is completely committed to non-violence".
Reuters, 3-16-08

Related Posts

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the Chinese -- "address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people"

Global Press Freedom Update: China Tightens Screws on Press in Preparation for 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; Take A Look At Your Future

Words of Power #29: The Dalai Lama and The Blade Runner, Spiritual Challenges of the 21st Century Security Crisis, Part III

GS(3) Thunderbolt: Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Forty-Eighth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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Hard Rain Late Night: MIA -- Jimmy

Hard Rain Late Night: MIA -- Jimmy



Click here for Hard Rain Late Night Music Video -- Archive

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the Chinese -- "address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people"

Image: Tara, the Green Goddess of Mercy, and Her Twenty-One Emanations


"Then the gate of the debating compound opened and this stream of maroon humanity poured out, several hundred monks. It was impossible to count but I think there were at least 300. ...
They started going after the monks, and plain-clothes police - I don't know this for sure but that's what I think they were - started to emerged from nowhere.
There were four or five in uniform but another 10 or 15 in regular clothing. They were grabbing monks, kicking and beating them. ...
One monk was kicked in the stomach right in front of us and then beaten on the ground.
The monks were not attacking the soldiers, there was no melee. They were heading out in a stream, it was a very clear path, and the police were attacking them at the sides. It was gratuitous violence.
BBC, 3-14-08

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama:

I am deeply concerned over the situation that has been developing in Tibet following peaceful protests in many parts of Tibet, including Lhasa, in recent days. These protests are a manifestation of the deep-rooted resentment of the Tibetan people under the present governance.
As I have always said, unity and stability under brute force is at best a temporary solution. It is unrealistic to expect unity and stability under such a rule and would therefore not be conducive to finding a peaceful and lasting solution.
I therefore appeal to the Chinese leadership to stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with the Tibetan people. I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence.
THE DALAI LAMA

Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 3-14-08

Related Posts

Global Press Freedom Update: China Tightens Screws on Press in Preparation for 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; Take A Look At Your Future

Words of Power #29: The Dalai Lama and The Blade Runner, Spiritual Challenges of the 21st Century Security Crisis, Part III

GS(3) Thunderbolt: Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Forty-Eighth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: "Lighting a Billion Lives" & Looking at Climate Crisis as "a Massive Market Failure"

Image: Frida Kahlo, Love Embrace of the Universe


Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: "Lighting a Billion Lives" & Looking at Climate Crisis as "a Massive Market Failure"

One billion people can get electricity for the first time for little more than the cost of one month's war in Iraq, said Rajendra Pachauri, the head of a Nobel peace prize-winning U.N. panel of climate scientists.
Pachauri is supporting a campaign "lighting a billion lives", led by India's Energy and Resources Institute, to furnish people without access to the grid with electric lanterns powered by solar photovoltaic panels. ...
Some 1.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity.
Pachauri compared the $15 billion cost of providing solar-powered lights to a billion people with a reported cost of the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq of $12 billion a month.
He described that perceived mis-match in resources as "one of the biggest tragedies that the world can be guilty of".
Reuters, 3-11-08

One way to look at the climate problem is through the lens of the market. If you do, only one conclusion is possible -- the climate change problem is a massive market failure, a failure of market mechanisms to factor in future costs of a change in climate in real time prices.
Because of that failure the industrialised countries have changed the atmosphere so drastically that climate is changing already now. Because of that failure the world economy, if unchecked, heads for disaster. ...
The massive loss of biodiversity is another example of market failure. The market cannot by itself price the future costs of the extinction of this or that organism, and so we destroy thousands of species each year that might be very useful to humanity.
These massive challenges influence political and economic thinking. It's getting more and more obvious that only government intervention on the national and international level can steer the world economy and its markets -- nobody seriously thinks of eliminating markets -- in a more sustainable direction.
If you observe closely what is happening in Kyoto and post-Kyoto processes, it is clear that the governments of the world are influenced by ecological economists like the U.S. professor Herman Daly. That must taste like sweet revenge for Daly. Once he headed the environmental division of the World Bank, but he left because he felt that the basic philosophy of the Bank was incompatible with his thinking.
Ecological economy wants primarily that the economy has a sustainable scale relative to the ecosystems on which it relies. That is exactly what the climate negotiations try to realise.
John Vandaele, Inter Press Service, 3-11-08

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

Click here for access to great promotional tools available on The Eleventh Hour action page.

To sign the Live Earth Pledge, click here.

For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

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

Want to join hundreds of thousands of people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.

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Hard Rain Late Night: U2 -- Beautiful Day

Hard Rain Late Night: U2 -- Beautiful Day



Click here for Hard Rain Late Night Music Video -- Archive

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Economic Insecurity: Stiglitz on the Three Trillion Dollar War; Its Devastating Impact & Its True Winners

Migrant Mother/Pea-Picker in the Dust Bowl, Photo by Dorothea Lange, 1936


Economic Insecurity: Stiglitz on the Three Trillion Dollar War; Its Devastating Impact & Its True Winners

Excerpts from a Democracy Now! interview with Joseph Stiglitz --

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, first of all, the economy is almost surely heading into a recession. I was at the American Economic Association meetings. In the past, the probability of going into recession was fifty-fifty. The general consensus is now 75 percent probability of going into recession. But whether we go into recession or not, the real fact is that it is a major slowdown. It’s going to be one of the—I think clearly the deepest downturn in the last quarter-century. The loss of output, the difference between the actual output and our potential output, will be at least one-and-a-half trillion dollars, and that’s not money we’re talking about in this Three Trillion Dollar War. This is a serious problem. And I think at the core of this is the war. You know, in the election campaign, people said there are two big issues: the economy and the war. I think there’s one big issue, and that’s the war, because the war has been directly and indirectly having a very negative effect on the economy.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, could you talk about that somewhat, because you obviously go into that in your book, the impact of the enormous borrowing that occurred to finance the war at the same time that the President put through tax cuts—unheard of that we go into war and we cut taxes, rather than raise them—and also just the impact then that spread throughout the entire economy in terms of the housing crisis that we’re into now?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, this was one of the big points that came up in the joint committee hearing that we were in yesterday.
AMY GOODMAN: You testified yesterday before Congress.
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: That’s right. And this was one of the big points, that in every other war there has been what you might call shared sacrifice. Some people obviously sacrifice more, putting their lives at risk, but everybody was asked to sacrifice. This is the first time that, at the time we went into war, we actually cut taxes, rather than raised taxes. And even as we were cutting taxes, we already had a very large deficit. So that means this war has been totally financed by deficit. And that’s really been the trick that the Bush administration—it wanted people to think that there were no economic trade-offs. We could have a war for free.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And those deficits, the financing came increasingly from abroad, right?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Very much so, at least 40 percent from abroad. So that means that Americans will be paying those abroad interest and—the other aspect of that that’s really important to realize is that while we were saving zero, or household saving went down to zero, the government had negative saving and we were borrowing, the pools of wealth that were being created were in the Middle East, China. So when we have an economic problem, like the fact that Citibank and Merrill Lynch had to be bailed out, they had to turn to these others, to the sovereign wealth funds that were held by other countries, and that makes us more dependent on abroad.
AMY GOODMAN: Who is profiting from this war?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, actually, there are two big gainers in this war and only two: the oil companies and the defense contractors. And you see that where the pools of wealth are being created. One of the big pools of wealth are in the Middle East, the countries that are the oil exporters. We are transferring hundreds of billions of dollars from American consumers, businesses, to the oil exporters. You can look at it as simple as that.
AMY GOODMAN: Which countries?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, Saudia Arabia, Iran, Venezuela. You know, if you asked who were the countries that we would not want to help, many of them would be on the list that we have been helping.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what do you think of our headline today: President Bush helps the Axis of Evil? Iran and Venezuela, they benefit from the war in Iraq
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: They are the big beneficiary. That’s very clear. You know—
AMY GOODMAN: His Axis of Evil, I should say.
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Exactly. And one of the things that—you know, as economists, we talk about opportunity cost, what you could have done with $3 trillion to win the hearts and minds, to advance security. One of the aspects of this—everybody talks about security. While we were focusing on weapons of mass destruction that did not exist in Iraq, another country joined the nuclear club: North Korea. And so, it shows you, you know, there’s limited resources, time and effort, and we were focusing on the wrong problem. While we were focusing on Iraq, the problems in Afghanistan got worse, and the problem of security in Afghanistan is much worse than it was five years ago. So there’s not only an economic opportunity cost; there’s a security opportunity cost.
Democracy Now! Interview w/ Joseph Stiglitz, 2-29-08

Some Related Posts:

Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: Green Economy? Yes. Bio-Fuels? No, Not Really.

Economic Insecurity Update: False Religion of Laissez-Faire & Milton Friedman, Its Most Persuasive Cult Leader, Have Led Us to a Monetary Jonestown

Economic Security Update: Brazilian Super Model Gisele Bundchen Joins Warren Buffet in Ditching the Dollar

Economic Security Update: "What do Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen and the People's Republic of China have in common?"

Hard Rain Journal 8-16-07: "The Roman Empire lasted 1,000 years, but only about half that time as a republic," says GAO's Walker

Hard Rain Journal 6-6-07: Future Economic Security, Both Short Term & Long Term, Requires Choosing Conscience & Common Sense Over Racketeering

Hard Rain Journal 10-30-06: Economic Security -- GAO Chief Warns Economic Disaster Looms

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

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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