Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Climate Crisis Update: Scorched Earth Millennium Map Shows 'Fire Scars'


This map shows the occurrence of fire activity in sub-Saharan Africa, determined by detection of the fire scar, for a seven year period 2000-2007. The frequency of fire occurrence is shown in the map, colour coded from regions that burnt once in the seven year period shown in green to regions that burnt during every year of the project shown in purple, Copyright: University of Leicester

Climate Crisis Update: Scorched Earth Millennium Map Shows 'Fire Scars'

By Richard Power


The Climate Crisis is complex and paradoxical.

It disrupts and decimates by water, yes. But paradoxically, it disrupts and decimates both by too little water, as in Darfur, and too much water, as in Cyclone Nargis and Hurricane Katrina. Furthermore, not only does it disrupt and decimate by water, it disrupts and decimates by water's opposite element, fire.

Indeed, all the elements are in the mix of the mayhem.

The soil is drying up in some places, contributing to desertification, methane gases are being released in other places, accelerating the greenhouse gas effect.

And, of course, don't forget the air element: With the year not even half done, 2008 is already the deadliest tornado year in the United States since 1998 and seems on track to break the U.S. record for the number of twisters in a year, according to the National Weather Service. Also, this year's storms seem to be unusually powerful. Associated Press, 5-28-08

But in this Climate Crisis Update the focus is on fire.

In an important project conducted by the University of Leicester, funded by the European Union, and utilizing the SPOT satellite, Dr. Kevin Tansey is mapping fires on a planetary scale.

Since the Millennium, an area larger than the size of India has burnt every year, and (for now) "the majority of the fires occur in Africa."

According to Tansey, "probably 99% of all vegetation fires have a human source."

Tansey is cautious (as a scientist should be) in the conclusions that he draws: With seven years of data, it is not possible to determine if there is an increasing trend in the occurrence of fire, but we have significant year-to-year differences, of the order of 20%, in the area that is burnt.

But I am here to tell you that when there is sufficient data, it will show an increase in the trend of occurence and that increase will be irrefutably linked to the Two-Headed Monster of Climate Change and the Sustainability Meltdown.

A geographer from the University of Leicester has produced for the first time a map of the scorched Earth for every year since the turn of the Millennium.produced for the first time a map of the scorched Earth for every year since the turn of the Millennium.
Dr Kevin Tansey, of the Department of Geography, a leading scientist in an international team, created a visual impression of the fire scars on our planet between 2000 and 2007. The work was funded by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
The map reveals that between 3.5 and 4.5 million km2 of vegetation burns on an annual basis. This is an area equivalent to the European Union (EU27) and larger than the country of India that is burnt every year.
The information is vital for scientists and agencies involved in monitoring global warming, measuring and understanding pollutants in the atmosphere, managing forests and controlling fire and even for predicting future fire occurrence. ...
“We have used the VEGETATION instrument onboard the SPOT European satellite, which collects reflected solar energy from the Earth’s surface, providing global coverage on almost a daily basis.
“When vegetation burns the amount of reflected energy is altered, long enough for us to make an observation of the fire scar. Supercomputers located in Belgium were used to process the vast amounts of satellite data used in the project. At the moment, we have users working towards predicting future fire occurrence and fire management issues in the Kruger Park in southern Africa”.
“The majority of fires occur in Africa. Large swathes of savannah grasslands are cleared every year, up to seven times burnt in the period 2000-2007 (see Figure 1). The system is sustainable because the grass regenerates very quickly during the wet season. From a carbon perspective, there is a net balance due to the regenerating vegetation acting as a carbon sink. Fires in forests are more important as the affected area becomes a carbon source for a number of years.
“The forest fires last summer in Greece and in Portugal a couple of years back, remind us that we need to understand the impact of fire on the environment and climate to manage the vegetation of the planet more effectively. Probably 95% of all vegetation fires have a human source; crop stubble burning, forest clearance, hunting, arson are all causes of fire across the globe. Fire has been a feature of the planet in the past and under a scenario of a warmer environment will certainly be a feature in the future”.
Scorched Earth Millennium Map Shows 'Fire Scars', 5-22-08

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 over one 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: Sinead O'Connor -- Fire Over Babylon (Jools Holland)

Hard Rain Late Night: Sinead O'Connor -- Fire Over Babylon (Jools Holland)



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

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Crow Nation Understands, So Do Joe Biden & Mike Papantonio, It is Time to Find the "Impeccable Warrior" Within

Image: Frank Frazetta's Silver Warrior

Carlos Castaneda on the Path of the Impeccable Warrior: The most effective way to live is as a warrior. A warrior may worry and think before making any decision, but once he makes it, he goes his way, free from worries or thoughts; there will be a million other decisions still awaiting him. That’s the warrior’s way.
The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.
The spirit of a warrior is not geared to indulging and complaining, nor is it geared to winning or losing. The spirit of a warrior is geared only to struggle, and every struggle is a warrior’s last battle on earth. Thus the outcome matters very little to him. In his last battle on earth a warrior lets his spirit flow free and clear. And as he wages his battle, knowing that his intent is impeccable, a warrior laughs and laughs.
Carlos Castaneda, Wiki Quotes

Campaign '08 Update: The Crow Nation Understands, So Do Joe Biden & Mike Papantonio, It is Time to Find the "Impeccable Warrior" Within

By Richard Power


Well, it has begun.

Do not be deluded. Do not underestimate the difficulties ahead.

The 2008 campaign may be the Gettysburg in the U.S. *civil* war (i.e., political rather than military struggle) that has raged for the last forty years.

Imagine what would have happened to this country if the Confederacy had won the first battle of Gettysburg (militarily); imagine what will happen now if the Expanded Neo-Confederacy wins this second battle of Gettysburg (politically).

Consider the ominous portents.

Huckabee at the NRA Convention: “That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he’s getting ready to speak,” said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. “Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.” Crooks and Liars, 5-16-08

Sen. Clinton in Sioux Falls, S.D.: Smart candidates don't invoke the possibility of their opponents being killed. This seems so obvious it shouldn't need to be said, but apparently, it needs to be said. "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California," Hillary Clinton said yesterday, referencing the fact that past nomination contests have stretched into June to explain why she hasn't heeded calls to exit the Democratic race. Libby Copeland, Hillary Clinton Raises the Specter of the Unspeakable, Washington Post, 5-24-08

Are you naive enough to think these two abominable utterances are unrelated?

No, at the very least, they both flow from the same chill current in the subconscious mind of the US body politic.

It is time to fight.

The Crow Nation understands.

They gave Obama the names "Black Eagle" and "one who helps all people of this land."

Democrat Barack Obama became an honorary member of an American Indian tribe ... and promised a proactive policy to help tribal people if he wins the White House in November.
Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, was "adopted" by Hartford and Mary Black Eagle and given a name which means "one who helps all people of this land." ... "I like my new name, Barack Black Eagle," he said. "That is a good name."
Many in the audience wore traditional feather headdresses and some banged drums ahead of Obama's visit, the first by a presidential candidate to the Crow Nation.
Reuters, 5-19-08

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) understands what time it is.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-RI) appeared on various morning talk shows and sharply criticized the notion that progressives are weak on national security. On MSNBC he responded to Lieberman, stating, “[C]an you imagine Franklin Roosevelt, can you imagine President Truman, can you imagine President Kennedy conducting the kind of policy this outfit has?” From the exchange:This administration is the worst administration in American foreign policy in modern history, maybe ever. The idea that they are competent to continue to conduct our foreign policy, to make us more secure and make Israel secure, is preposterous.
Ever since they got in office the only thing on the march in the Middle East has not been freedom, it’s been Iran. Every single thing they’ve touched has been a near disaster.
Think Progress, 5-25-08

Mike Papantonio of Ring of Fire and Go Left TV understands what time it is.

GoLeft TV's Mike Papantonio sees a pending "swift-boating" for Senator Obama as the "Karl Rove filth machine" brings back seasoned Republican operative and Bush ally John Timothy Griffin to work for Senator McCain's presidential run.
Papantonio worries that the Democrats could take the same advice from the same brand of "intellectual advisors" that had Senator Kerry's doomed 2004 presidential campaign staying largely silent on accusations of "flip-flopping" and "elitism" in addition to the infamous "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" attacks on his service in Vietnam. ...
Griffin, the McCain campaign's Director of Research, brings his experience from his time as Deputy Research Director for President Bush's 2000 run. He would also serve as a legal advisor for the "Bush-Cheney 2000 Florida Recount Team" during the battle that would culminate in Bush being awarded the presidency by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. Griffin would later work as aide to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove from September 2005 to September 2006.
Journalist Greg Palast also uncovered e-mails that implicated Griffin as part of a vote caging scheme in the run-up to the 2004 election ...
Unless the Democrats and the Obama campaign hire a "bottom-feeding, Griffin-like reptile" of their own, warns Papantonio, Democratic voters are in for a repeat of the 2004 campaign.
Raw Story, 5-24-08

Here is the latest Pap Attack, view it for yourself and share it with your friends and colleagues:



For more 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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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Only $30 Billion A Year Could Mitigate 20% of the Greenhouse Effect Responsible for the Planet's Climate Change Crisis

Celtic Triple Spiral/Triple Goddess Symbol


Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: Only $30 billion a year could mitigate 20% of the greenhouse effect responsible for the planet's climate change crisis; $30 billion is the cost of approximately three months of the US occupation of Iraq

By Richard Power


Climate change and the sustainability meltdown are not insurmountable challenges or unmanageable crises. There are simple, sweeping and achievable solutions available to us. It is human greed, fear and ignorance that are seemingly insurmountable and unmanageable.

Here is an example --

At the UN Biodiversity Conference in Bonn, Greenpeace has urged that the great nations establish a fund to thwart deforestation.

The Greenpeace plan would cost $30 billion a year.

Yes, that's right -- $30 billion a year to mitigate 20% of the greenhouse effect responsible for the planet's climate change crisis; $30 billion is the cost of approximately three months of the US occupation of Iraq.

The Greenpeace plan is practical, economical and efficient.

Why you haven't heard of the Forest for Climate Plan in the US mainstream news media or from the floor of the U.S. Senate?

To read it for yourself, click here.

Greenpeace urged industrialised nations .. to set up an international fund to fight deforestation but warned it would require at least 30 billion dollars a year to work.
The plan would see rich nations give poorer ones money to preserve their natural forests instead of felling trees to create farmland, Greenpeace's Roman Czebiniac told an 11-day UN conference on biodiversity in Bonn.
He said the fund would need 20 to 27 billion euros (31 to 47 billion dollars) a year to halt the rapid destruction of forests, but billed it as the only plan on the table "to protect both biodiversity and the climate."
"At the moment, the rainforests are disappearing at a rate of the equivalent of a football field every two seconds," he warned.
Put differently, deforestation accounts for 20 percent of the greenhouse effect blamed for global warming.
Greenpeace asked that its proposal -- dubbed the "Forest for Climate Plan" -- be made part of a blueprint for fighting deforestation in negotiations for a post-2012 climate deal.
Agence France Press, 5-20-08

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 over one 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 -- One (Dublin, 6-21-03)

Hard Rain Late Night: U2 -- One (Dublin, 6-21-03)



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Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Bitter, Urgent Lessons of Burma & Darfur

Slave Market w/ Disappearing Bust of Voltaire, Salvador Dali


The generals follow news coverage of their country carefully, even if they need to get CNN and the BBC translated in order to understand it. They know, for example, that the United Nations sees itself as committed to providing assistance. Admittedly the UN's representatives in Bangkok have sometimes temporarily suspended shipments of humanitarian aid to Burma out of frustration with the military junta, but shortly afterwards orders have come from UN headquarters in Geneva and New York for aid deliveries to be resumed. That creates a situation where the Burmese generals are able to dictate the conditions under which aid can be given. And they are doing just that. ... If many people's lives are at risks, then criticizing the government becomes taboo: This is the uncomfortable subtext of the new soft Burma policy. It is also an all-too-reassuring signal to despots everywhere.
It appears possible that the regime will now be given carte blanche for as long as the victims' situation remains precarious. However one should not forget that it was precisely the mismanagement by the Burmese junta that greatly aggravated the crisis situation in the Irrawaddy Delta.
NARGIS POSES HUMANITARIAN DILEMMA: Burma's Junta Has the West over a BarrelDer Spiegel, 5-17-08

The Bitter, Urgent Lessons of Burma & Darfur

By Richard Power


Crimes against humanity are occuring in Darfur and Burma:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the Sudanese government for Sunday’s air raids against three villages in North Darfur that killed fourteen civilians and injured several others. Antonov bombers targeted a marketplace, water installations and a village school that was holding classes. Eleven people in the village of Shegeg Karo were killed, six of them children between the ages of five and eleven. The bombs also destroyed half the village’s water supply. Democracy Now! 5-9-08

Following the devastation of Cyclone Nargis on May 2, the military has forcibly relocated tens of thousands of survivors from the Irrawaddy Delta, including many who had sought shelter in Buddhist monasteries - the centre of unrest during protests against the junta last year.
Ko Hla Min, a 35-year-old farmer who lost nine relatives in the storm, said those rounded up by soldiers around the devastated town of Bogalay were being used as work gangs.
Sydney Morning Herald, 5-16-08

The great nations, for various self-serving reasons, are unwilling to intervene; therefore, the UN, as currently constituted, is incapable of intervening.

These circumstances are the result of an utter failure of leadership and a disgraceful abdication of moral responsibility, particularly in Washington, D.C. and Beijing.

What lessons can be learned from this agonizing episode?

Those of us living in the developed world must understand that as climate change and the sustainability meltdown accelerates, the plight of the displaced people of Darfur and Burma may become our own.

You, too, may be hunted, herded into camps, and killed off through aggravated attrition by the haunted shells of your own governments; unless, the collective consensus on our common humanity is re-constituted and re-asserted.

This collective consensus is predicated upon a recognition of shared spiritual values, e.g., altruism and egalitarianism. These values were articulated long ago by Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha, but they are shared by all enlightened people everywhere. They transcend ideology, they do not belong to the Left or the Right. They transcend economic philosophies, they do not belong to Capitalism or Socialism. They transcend dogma and creed, they do not belong to any one religion or belief system of any kind.

The twin motivations of altruism and egalitarianism issue from the very heart of the human race itself. They must be articulated once again, hallowed once again, and in the most meaningful of ways, i.e., direct action to relieve suffering and encourage "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

A world community, grounded in these guiding principles, would be able to apply the economic persuasion, the geopolitical pressure, and yes, if necessary, the military force to thwart genocide and other crimes against humanity.

Unless the twin motivations of altruism and egalitarianism are indeed revivified, the 21st Century will be a long one-way ride into the Hell glimpsed episodically throughout the 20th Century.

Both Mia Farrow and Eric Reeves, two impeccable warriors for the rescue of Darfur have published important pieces in recent days.

Here are brief excerpts with links to the full texts.

Farrow and former Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, who share the by-line on this Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, outline a "Way Forward":

African nations willing to contribute peacekeepers need partners, nations with capable armies to provide training and essential logistical support. The U.S., the U.K., Canada, France and others have already initiated such partnerships. More nations need to step forward, with a commitment to sustain the battalions for several years.
The U.S. should expand the effort to assemble a group of volunteer nations. Then, once it assumes leadership of the Security Council, it could host a "Unamid pledging conference" – a meeting of troop contributing countries – to announce partnerships and logistical support for struggling African battalions. The bare-bones contributions necessary to stop the slaughter would be minimal: Currently, U.N. peacekeeping is calling for 24 helicopters, two transport units and one logistical unit.
All 15 member states of the Security Council will visit Khartoum in early June. This is an auspicious opportunity for the U.N. to unify in its commitment to the deployment of the protection force.
China has a significant role to play here. Given its vast oil investments and brisk arms trade, Beijing has unparalleled influence with Sudan. The entry of a full protection force into Darfur would likely give China the international ovation it craves in the lead-up to the Olympic Games.
Rations of hope are meager in Darfur. But this is an opportunity for the international community, for the Security Council, and especially for the U.S. and China, to step up and protect a defenseless population. Will they do it?
MIA FARROW and NANCY SODERBERG, The Way Forward on Darfur, Wall Street Journal, 5-15-08

In an op-ed piece published in the Christian Science Monitor, Reeves raises the critical questions for which all of us must demand answers both from our governments and our news media establishments:

The brutality of the Khartoum regime's military actions in the Darfur region of western Sudan continually forces a question that seems to have no morally intelligible answer: Is there no act of civilian destruction so cruel, so savage, that the international community will finally respond vigorously and unambiguously?
On the afternoon of May 4, a market was bombed in the village of Shegeg Karo in North Darfur. The attack killed several people Рincluding six students from a nearby school ... This bombing attack, on a conspicuously civilian target, violates not only international law but a ban on all military flights in Darfur, nominally imposed by UN Security Council Resolution 1591 in March 2005. Khartoum has shown nothing but contempt for both, and the international community has watched with nothing but idle words and unctuous hand-wringing Рa fact not lost on the regime's génocidaires as they calculate the costs of their continuing campaign of civilian destruction.
Who are the victims of this international cowardice? Who suffers when the world refuses to demand justice of those who would deliberately kill children? Let's at least grant the dignity of names to the victims of this most recent barbarism:
•Fatima Suleiman Adam Omar, 3rd grade, 10 years old
•Fatima Ahmad Bashir, 2nd grade, 8 years old
•Mubarak Mohammed Ahmad, 3rd grade, 10 years old
•Yusuf Adam Hamid, kindergarten, 5 years old
•Munira Suleiman Adam, 2nd grade, 7 years ol
•Adam Ahmad Yusuf, 4th grade, 11 years old
How would Americans respond if terrorists acting on behalf of another country deliberately killed, with complete military impunity, six young children at one of our village markets? Outrage would bring the country to a halt. It would change the very nature of the presidential campaign. News coverage would be unending. Washington's response against the offending nation would be swift and destructive.
Eric Reeves, AN UP-CLOSE VIEW OF BRUTALITY IN DARFUR: How would we react if Khartoum bombed our kids?, Christian Science Monitor, 5-12-08

Most Recent Related Posts

Burma Crisis Update: One Question -- Is Aung San Suu Kyi Alive and Safe in the Chaotic Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis?

Darfur Crisis Update: A Tale of Two Men -- The Genocide in Darfur is a Morality Play in which the Best & the Worst in All of Us is Revealed

I encourage you to follow events in Burma on Irrawaddy.

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!

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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Friday, May 16, 2008

Let's Prove Gore Vidal Wrong; He Deserves That Precious Gift for His Long Life of Truth-Telling

Image: Salvador Dali, Premonition of Civil War


Let's Prove Gore Vidal Wrong; He Deserves That Precious Gift for His Long Life of Truth-Telling

By Richard Power


Let's prove Gore Vidal wrong -- not in his brilliant analysis of what has happened to our country, but in his grim assessment of our capacity to right the wrongs done.

Here are some excerpts from a recent Amy Goodman interview with Gore Vidal.

Vidal is one of the USA's greatest writers and a passionate and enlightened patriot.

I urge you to savor these excerpts and then continue on to the full transcript or better yet the audio at Democracy Now!

There is a chance that the American people can prove Vidal wrong this November -- by putting a young man who has taught constitutional law in the Oval Office and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Yes, the odds are slimmer than they seem on the surface.

Yes, the closer we move to real and meaningful change, the more dangerous the situation will become, particularly for those who lead.

But it must be attempted, and we may well succeed.

And if it is does succeed, and the Republic is put on the road to restoration, being wrong for once would be a wonderful gift for Gore Vidal to savor while he is still among us.

AMY GOODMAN: With a career spanning more than six decades, Gore Vidal is one of America’s most respected writers and thinkers, authored more than twenty novels, five plays. His recent books include Dreaming War, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace and Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia. His latest is a memoir; it’s called Point to Point Navigation.
Last week at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, I heard Gore Vidal would be there and afterwards went to his home in Hollywood Hills. We sat down in his living room, and I asked him for his thoughts on this election year and on the last eight years of George W. Bush in the White House.
GORE VIDAL: Well, it isn’t over yet. You know, he could still blow up the world. There’s every indication that he’s still thinking about attacking Iran: ‘And the generals are now reporting that the Iran are a great danger and their weapons are being used to kill Americans.’
I mean, you know, I think, quite rightly, the Bushites think that the American people are idiots. They don’t get the point to anything. There are two good reasons for this, is the public educational system for people, kids without money, let’s say, to put it tactfully, is one of the worst in the first world. It’s just terrible. And they end by knowing no history, certainly no American history. I didn’t mean to spend my life writing American history, which should have been taught in the schools, but I saw no alternative but to taking it on myself. I could think of a lot of cheerier things I’d rather be doing than analyzing George Washington and Aaron Burr. But it came to pass, that was my job, so I did it. ...
AMY GOODMAN: And so, here we are, moved into the sixth year of the war with Iraq, longer than the US was involved in World War II.
GORE VIDAL: Yes, incredible. That was such a huge operation on two great continents against two modern enemies. And we’re fighting little jungle wars for no reason, because we have a president who knows nothing about anything. He’s just blank. But he wants to show off: ‘I’m a wartime president! I’m a wartime president!’ He goes yap, yap, yap. He’s like a crazed terrier. And look where he got us.
I didn’t realize—I think I’ve always had a good idea about my native land, but I didn’t think that institutionally we were so easy to overthrow, because it was a coup d’etat, 9/11. The whole went crashing. And when we got rid of—when they got rid of Magna Carta, I thought, well, really, this wasn’t much of a republic to begin with.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, Magna Carta?
GORE VIDAL: Well, you know what Magna Carta means?
AMY GOODMAN: Explain it.
GORE VIDAL: Tell your readers, your viewers. It’s the basis of our law. Out of it comes the whole theory, practice, on which our—certainly judicial system is based: due process of law. You cannot deprive somebody of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, because that is a right, constitutional right. And that is—I mean, every proper American, that’s graved on his psyche, certainly was on mine. There wasn’t a day passed—I was brought up by my grandfather in Washington—hardly a day passed that he didn’t want to talk about due process. And he was blind from the age of ten.
AMY GOODMAN: Who was your grandfather?
GORE VIDAL: Senator Thomas Pryor Gore. A Mississippi family. His father had served in the Civil War, even though the Gores—they came from Mississippi, they were not secessionists. They regarded themselves as patriots. And the entire family was against going into the Civil War, but because their friends and neighbors did and honor required that they do so too, so they got killed off quite a bit.
AMY GOODMAN: Your grandfather was a senator from Oklahoma?
GORE VIDAL: He was the first senator from Oklahoma. Last year was the hundredth year of his election, 1907. That’s when he was elected.
AMY GOODMAN: You’re also cousins with another Gore: Al Gore.
GORE VIDAL: True.
AMY GOODMAN: What is your assessment of what happened in 2000?
GORE VIDAL: He was robbed. I don’t know him. I never see him. But within the family, I gather it was a great shock to him. He did everything right in life. He was the good boy and loved the Supreme Court and went by the rule of law, due process and everything. And then the Supreme Court bites him in the throat, because they have a lot of crooks on it. And I watched the Dred Scalia the other day on television. Did you see him?
AMY GOODMAN: No.
GORE VIDAL: Oh, he was saying, “Get over it! Just get over it!” He was talking to the liberals, and you know what awful people they are—and about 2000, about the interference of the Court in a national election, which is unheard of. It’s not their job. They’re not even supposed to be referees. They’re just—they’re doing something else. And he was a snarling: “Get over it! Get over it!” I felt, go back to Little Italy, you know? It’s a type I know very well from Naples. ...
GORE VIDAL: Yeah. So the coup d’etat comes out of this. They saw their chance. They—Cheney, Bush—they wanted the war. They’re oilmen. They want a war to get more oil. They’re also extraordinarily stupid. These people don’t know anything about anything. But they have this—there’s a thick piece of—sheet of—a thick series of actions to be taken, among others—I think one of them was to lock up every person of color in the United States in order to protect us from the enemy within. It was evil stuff. So they latched onto that. I guess Mr. Gonzales was already in place by then. And that was the coup d’etat. They seized the state. And from that moment on, they were appointing all the judges, they were doing this, they were doing that, they got rid of Magna Carta—I will not explain what that is a second time—and they broke the republic. ...
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think we’re going to pull out of this today?
GORE VIDAL: No, not today. Bush has arranged it so it can be dragged on for a long time now. And nobody has asked, is Petraeus a good general? I mean, he’s been given lots of stars, but that’s what an ignorant president would do when he wants a general to do things that maybe the general thinks are unwise. “You will get four stars for this, General.” That’s the way they play the game. ...
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think has to happen right now?
GORE VIDAL: It’s happened. We’re broke. Do you follow television, as they find out we’re running out of food? That’s never happened in my lifetime.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think there’s a way to fix this?
GORE VIDAL: A crash will do it. But that’s pretty extreme. ...
AMY GOODMAN: How do you want to be remembered?
GORE VIDAL: I don’t give a goddamn.
Democracy Now! 5/14/08

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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Hard Rain Late Night: Nina Simone -- Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (1964)

Hard Rain Late Night: Nina Simone -- Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (1964)



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

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Climate Crisis Update: On Lake Baikal, They Know, In the Torres Islands, They Know, But in Beltwayistan, It is Business as Usual

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


Climate Crisis Update: On Lake Baikal, They Know, In the Torres Islands, They Know, But in Beltwayistan, It is Business as Usual

By Richard Power


Yes, it is difficult to comprehend.

In the vast stretches of Siberia, Lake Baikal, the planet's largest, deepest, oldest lake, is changing. Baikal holds 20% of the Earth's fresh water and could hold all of the USA's fresh water. It was supposed to be one of the last bodies of water that would be impacted by climate change; but it is already getting warmer.

And far away and to the south, in the vast stretches of the South Pacific, the Torres Islands are succumbing to the rising sea-level.

The planet's leading scientists have once again fine tuned their message and escalated the degree of its urgency. We have to get down to 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide and we have got to do it by 2012.

And yet, the US presidential campaign grinds on nonsensically, with global warming presented as little more than a side issue. It is certainly not mentioned in the same breath with health care or the economy or Iraq; and yet it overshadows them all.

Let's be clear, this is a national emergency, this is a global emergency.

Here are brief excerpts from the stories mentioned. Please share them with your friends, and your candidates, and your newscasters, and your business leaders, and your elected representatives.

Demand action.

There’s a number — a new number — that makes this point most powerfully. It may now be the most important number on Earth: 350. As in parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
A few weeks ago, NASA’s chief climatologist, James Hansen, submitted a paper to Science magazine with several coauthors. The abstract attached to it argued — and I have never read stronger language in a scientific paper — that “if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm.”
Hansen cites six irreversible tipping points — massive sea level rise and huge changes in rainfall patterns, among them — that we’ll pass if we don’t get back down to 350 soon; and the first of them, judging by last summer’s insane melt of Arctic ice, may already be behind us. ... And we have, at best, a few years to short-circuit them — to reverse course. Here’s the Indian scientist and economist Rajendra Pachauri, who accepted the Nobel Prize on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year (and, by the way, got his job when the Bush administration, at the behest of Exxon Mobil, forced out his predecessor): “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
Bill McKibben, Civilization’s Last Chance, LA Times, 5/11/08

Russian and American scientists have discovered that the rising temperature of the world's largest lake, located in frigid Siberia, shows that this region is responding strongly to global warming. ...
The lake contains 20 percent of the world's freshwater, and it is large enough to hold all the water in the United States' Great Lakes. It is the world's deepest lake as well as its oldest; at 25 million years old, it predates the emergence of humans. ...
The scientists conclude that the lake now joins other large lakes, including Superior, Tanganyika and Tahoe, in showing warming trends.
"But," they note, "temperature changes in Lake Baikal are particularly significant as a signal of long-term regional warming.
"This lake was expected to be among those most resistant to climate change, due to its tremendous volume and unique water circulation."


No one on Murray had ever seen such a high tide before. Other islands in the Torres Strait, which lies between the far north-eastern tip of the Australian mainland and Papua New Guinea, have witnessed similar scenes in recent years. Houses, roads and graveyards have been flooded, and the locals believe they know the reason: climate change.
The low-lying islands that dot the sparkling waters of this region are facing similar challenges to South Pacific nations such as Kiribati and Tuvalu. But while the plight of those countries is well known and is regularly discussed in the international arena, few people outside Australia have even heard of the Torres Strait. Even Australians would have difficulty locating it on the map, and the remote islands – accessible only by light plane – receive few visitors.
KATHY MARKS, Independent, 5/5/08

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 over one 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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Friday, May 09, 2008

Economic Insecurity: Will the Cult of Milton Friedman (and Hidden High Priestess, Ayn Rand) be Smashed? -- "None of This Had to Happen ..."

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


Economic Insecurity: Will the Cult of Milton Friedman (and Hidden High Priestess, Ayn Rand) be Smashed? -- "None of This Had to Happen ..."

By Richard Power


Will the painful economic lessons of the last thirty years (i.e., Reagan-Bush to Bush-Cheney) be learned?

Will the Cult of Milton Friedman (and its hidden high priestess, Ayn Rand) be smashed?

Will the Beltwayistan political establishment and the US mainstream news media be deprogrammed?

Will the USA rise up and find its Mojo again?

Not without a fight.

Just because a false economic doctrine has failed wretchedly, and been repudiated by reality at every turn, does not mean it will be junked before some great collapse.

We are, afterall, dealing with a cult.

So much depends on whether or not the US electorate chooses reason or madness in November 2008, and whether or not its will is thwarted as it was in 2000 and 2004.

The unprecedented move of Republicans, Independents and first time voters into the Democratic primaries this year is a sign that there is hope of an uprising in consciousness.

Here is some important analysis from Robert Kuttner, read it, and share it with your friends who have been indoctrinated over these last few decades.

Some of them have probably looked up from their bank statements and started thinking of running for the jungle before the kool-aid gets dispensed.

Kuttner's piece might give them the courage to make a break for it.

None of this had to happen. The credit crisis, which is sapping America's economic strength, was the result of an almost religious belief in deregulation whose excesses are now coming home to roost.
It is instructive to compare the American financial mess with the economic situation in nations that resisted deregulation. Old Europe tends to get a scornful press in the U.S. But Europe is not suffering a financial meltdown today -- mainly because Europeans (with the exception of Britain and Switzerland) took only a few sips of the financial Kool-Aid so heavily promoted by U.S. banks. ...
In a recent interview, Germany's Gunter Verheugen, the vice-president of the EU, told me, "We need a strong and competitive industrial base in order to have a strong service economy. Don't try to be cheaper. Try to be better. Don't try to compete on low social standards."
So as the U.S keeps trying to contain a needless crisis caused by an extreme faith in financial engineering, the Europeans have kept their heads and a more balanced form of capitalism. While Europe has its own debate about the right balance between market innovations and social protections, there is little enthusiasm for taking more lessons from market-besotted Americans who have managed to sink what was once the world's strongest economy. The main worry is how much contagion from America will spill over onto Europe.
Robert Kuttner, American Progress, 5-5-08

Some Related Posts

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

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: "What do Brazilian supermodel Gisele B√ľndchen and the People's Republic of China have in common?"

Randi Rhodes Interviews Naomi Klein -- "Not just the craziness of the Bush gang ... the logical culmination of a 25 year war on the state ..."

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


Special Edition: Words of Power Interviews John Perkins -- Ask Yourself Four Essential Questions

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

Hard Rain Journal 5-22-07: Economic Security -- Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying

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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Hard Rain Late Night: U2 -- Beautiful Day (Live 8)

Hard Rain Late Night: U2 -- Beautiful Day (Live 8)



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

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Burma Crisis Update: One Question -- Is Aung San Suu Kyi Alive and Safe in the Chaotic Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis?

Image: Aung San Suu Kyi, TIME 100


Burma Crisis Update: One Question -- Is Aung San Suu Kyi Alive and Safe in the Chaotic Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis?

By Richard Power


20,000 dead? 50,000 dead? 60,000 dead? 100,000 dead?

It is not surprising that the Burmese Thugocracy has been slow to allow international emergency relief workers into the country.

It is not surprising that they have left at least one million of their people to wait in desperation for help.

It is not surprising that they are trying to thwart the compassionate action of Burma's Buddhist monks.

The slower it all moves, the less people there are to keep under the boot of oppression. Furthermore, those that survive will be weaker and more pliable.

Of course, the chaos may also provide the thugocracy with cover for some nefarious acts.

I have just one question for the UN General Secretary to ask, he should demand an answer, and that demand should echo throughout the global news media --

Is Aung San Suu Kyi alive and safe in the chaotic aftermath of Cyclone Nargis?

Let us see her and hear from her.

Meanwhile, Words of Power and MoveOn.org urge you to stand with the people of Burma and get aid money into the hands of the Burmese monks -- click here.

Here is some news from inside this tortured land --

“I saw monks in Rangoon, after the storm, distributing food to survivors,” a physician in the former capital said. “I also saw monks clearing up fallen trees and rebuilding houses.” ...
While Buddhist monks were striving to save lives and aid survivors, the Burmese military authorities were attempting to prevent the monks from getting involved in relief efforts.
“The authorities won’t allow people to take refuge in monasteries,” a journalist in Rangoon said. “They will only permit people to shelter in schools. Even if the monks want to distribute water to survivors, they have to get permission from the authorities.” ...
Meanwhile, local authorities in Rangoon began distributing tin roofing materials on Tuesday— some three days after the disaster—but not for free. And first, rooftops were only being provided to those with military connections.
“You are survivor. But if you want a new roof for your house, you need to pay 4,900 kyat (US $4.29) to the authorities for the materials,” said a housewife in Rangoon.
“Then you are lucky—because what I see is that mostly relatives of local authorities buy those roofing materials and sell them on to ordinary people at an inflated price of 30,000 kyat ($26.3) per tin roof.
Irrawaddy, 5/7/08

Some Burma-Related Words of Power Posts

Burma Crisis Update: Perhaps Chevron Should Re-Name the Yadana Pipeline After Condolezza Rice?

Why Protecting the People of Darfur, Tibet & Burma is in Our Own Self-Interest; & What These Crises Tell Us about Our Own Slide into the Pit

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

Burma Crisis Update: Non-Violent, Democratic Resistance of Burmese People Offers Stark Contrast to US Political Scene

Burma Crisis Update: Talk is Cheap, Business as Usual; On Martin Luther King Day -- Remember Aung San Suu Kyi

In Burma & Sudan, Business As Usual -- What Must & Can Be Done Now!

Burma Crisis Update 11-10-07: Amnesty International on "Grave & Ongoing Human Rights Violations"; Alternate Media Vital to Resistance

Burma Crisis Update: An Open Letter to the Executives of Chevron

Burma Crisis Update: Two Weeks Into the Crackdown, China Has Not Tempered the Thugocracy's Hand; Chevron Has Not Even Slapped Its Wrist

Human Rights Update 10-6-07: Chevron, Condoleeza Rice & the Burmese Thugocracy

Human Rights Update: Blackwater, Burma, Darfur & You

Human Rights Watch to Business: "Keeping quiet while monks & other peaceful protesters are murdered & jailed is not ... constructive engagement."

Human Rights Update: Blackwater, Burma, Darfur & You

Hard Rain Journal 9-27-07: Aung San Suu Kyi was Elected in 1990, Al Gore was Elected in 2000 -- Consider What Has Befallen Both Countries Since

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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Monday, May 05, 2008

As the First Paroxysms of the 21st Century Survival Crisis Hit, Two of the Three US Presidential Candidates Pitch a Measly Tax Cut at the Pump

Image: Frida Kahlo, Love Embrace of the Universe


As the First Paroxysms of the 21st Century Survival Crisis Hit, Two of the Three US Presidential Candidates Pitch a Measly Tax Cut at the Pump

By Richard Power


Tornadoes in downtown Atlanta and on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. (Scientific American, 4-29-08)

Earthquakes in Illinois and Missouri. (Science Daily, 4-25-08)

In the 21st Century, my risk and crisis managment maxim "Anywhere, anytime ..." has a profound and unprecedented urgency. It is not as if we did not see it coming, it is not as if security professionals and scientists did not try to warn government and business.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, at least 22,500 Burmese are dead, hundreds of thousands are in desperate need of help. (Reuters, 5-7-08) The toll will only rise in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, the global food security crisis is intensifying: Soaring food prices may throw millions of Asians back into poverty, undo a decade of gains and stoke civil unrest, regional leaders said on Sunday as they urged a boost to agricultural production to meet rising demand. Asia -- home to two thirds of the world's poor -- risks rising social tension as a doubling of wheat and rice prices in the last year has slammed people who spend more than half their income on food ... Reuters, 5-4-08

Yes, there have always been cyclones. But there will be more of them. They will be bigger. They will last longer. They will be more powerful.

Yes, there has always been hunger. But it is being exacerbated in new, sweeping and unpredictable ways.

The climate change and sustainability crises have merged into a hideous two-headed monster that is devouring the future. But neither the political establishment nor the mainstream news media is preparing the populace.

It is embarrassing that two of the US three presidential candidates are spending their time in the sun pitching a measly tax cut at the gas pump. It is as if they have walked out of the pages of Edmund Gibbons' Decline and Fall ...

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.

For a directory of Words of Power UN Millennium Goals Updates, click here.

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, 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 over one 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: Lucinda Williams -- Ventura

Hard Rain Late Night: Lucinda Williams -- Ventura



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

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Darfur Crisis Update: A Tale of Two Men -- The Genocide in Darfur is a Morality Play in which the Best & the Worst in All of Us is Revealed

Image: Andrew Wong/Getty Images


As the Olympic flame was passed from one runner to the next on the streets of Hong Kong, Mia Farrow did her best to upstage the relay. With a group, made up mostly of reporters, looking on, she stood in front of government offices and ignited a flame of her own. ... Business Week, 5-2-08

Darfur Crisis Update: A Tale of Two Men -- The Genocide in Darfur is a Morality Play in which the Best & the Worst in All of Us is Revealed.

By Richard Power


Consider the fates of two very different men, i.e., that of Ahman Harun, former Minister of State for the Interior of Sudan and current Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, versus that of Mohammed Makki El Rasheed, a truck driver delivering supplies in Darfur for the World Food Programme (WFP).

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for the arrest
Ahman Harun last year: "He attacked Sudanese people, his people, those he vowed to protect as Minister; he is an indicted minister, he is a fugitive," ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a press release. "He will end up in Court." ... No national proceedings related to these crimes have been held in Sudan, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo noted. "Brutal and massive attacks, rapes, tortures were committed 5 years ago against Sudanese citizens and their own Government promised everything and has done nothing." UN News Center, 4-26-08

But the thugocracy in Karthoum continues to protect him and employ him.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Makki El Rasheed was murdered attempting to bring food to those displaced by Harun's henchmen: The latest incident comes days after the agency announced it will have to cut food rations to the strife-torn Sudanese region by half because attacks on its trucks are preventing critical relief supplies from getting through. So far this year 60 WFP-contracted trucks have been hijacked in Darfur, with 39 trucks still missing and 26 drivers unaccounted for. ... The attacks have meant that WFP deliveries have dropped to less than 900 tons per day. Normally, around this time of year, the agency's trucks should be delivering 1,800 metric tons of food daily to supply warehouses ahead of the rainy season, due to begin next month. UN News Center, 4-24-08

Harun is not alone.

The ICC also issued a warrant for Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Al Abd-Al-Rahman, a.k.a. Ali Kushayb, who did Harun's bidding; and Abd-A-Rahman is also being shielded.

Nor is El Rasheed alone.

Pascal Marlinge of Save The Children was recently shot while travelling in a three-vehicle convoy in eastern Chad. (UN News Center, 5-2-08)

Most governments have been hypocritical on Darfur, so have most corporations.

But, of course, despite the overpowering nature of the thought-forms they project, governments and corporations are no more than the collective will of those individuals who steer and sustain them.

This is why both Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha taught that the only way to redeem the world is to redeem yourself.

The genocide in Darfur is a morality play in which the best and the worst in all of us is revealed.

Here is an example of the best --

Actress and humanitarian activist Mia Farrow and French philosopher, Bernard Henri Levi, have issued a joint declaration:

Given the paralysis of the international community in the face of mass atrocities ongoing in the Darfur region of Sudan for more than five years;
Given the egregious impunity of the Khartoum regime and its allies on the Security Council -- which have rendered toothless all resolutions to protect the people of Darfur and end the killing;
Given the most current ploy of Khartoum to place every possible obstacle in the path of an effective deployment of peacekeepers, including the perverse twisting of the words and the intentions of last July's UN resolution, which stated that the UN protection force should be "predominantly" of African origin, not "exclusively," as Khartoum would have it;
Finally, given the fact that the African countries providing the protection battalions lack, by their own admission, the technical and logistical capacity to ensure the success of their mission to protect the defenseless civilians of Darfur;
In the face of all this, we implore our governments - that is, the current French and American administrations -- to act without delay and to partner with those African battalions needing assistance and to provide them with the essential training, the logistical support, the trucks, helicopters, weapons, etc., without which their mission will only be a terrible farce.
We call on our respective governments to hear this appeal and take responsibility without, once again, hiding behind the mysteries and bureaucratic inertia of the UN.
This is possibly the last chance to put and end to the bloodshed in Darfur.
Dream for Darfur, 4-30-08

See also Why Protecting the People of Darfur, Tibet & Burma is in Our Own Self-Interest; & What These Crises Tell Us about Our Own Slide into the Pit and Wangari Maathai Will Not Carry Olympic Torch, In "Solidarity with Other People on the Issues of Human Rights in ... Darfur, Tibet & Burma ..."

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!

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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