Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crimes Against Humanity, Crimes Against Nature: Ideas on How to Spend the $300 Million for the Bush __residential Library

Salvadore Dali's The Slave Market w/ Disappearing Bust of Voltaire

The roof above Freedom Hall, which is a gathering point in the center of the building, will be shaped like a lantern and will be lit up at night. It will be emblematic of the Bush presidency ... The Bush Foundation will pay for construction, which is estimated to be about $300 million. It will operate the Bush Institute, while the National Archives will run the library and museum after construction is complete. Dallas Morning news, 11-18-09

The scientists report a 29 per cent increase in global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel between 2000 and 2008 (the latest year for which figures are available), and that in spite of the global economic downturn emissions increased by 2 per cent during 2008. The use of coal as a fuel has now surpassed oil and developing countries now emit more greenhouse gases than developed countries - with a quarter of their growth in emissions accounted for by increased trade with the West. Terra Daily, 11-18-09

In the first study of its kind, climate scientists looked at how much pollution the world could afford to produce between now and the end of the century in order to keep temperature rises within a “safe limit”. Telegraph UK, 11-16-09

Crimes Against Humanity, Crimes Against Nature: Ideas on How to Spend the $300 Million for the Bush __residential Library

By Richard Power

Two years ago, as I was publishing Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Greed, Fear & Ignorance in this Era of Global Crisis, I framed the offering around four critical deadlines for humanity: the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the December 2009 Copenhagen summit on global climate change, the 2015 target date for achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDG), and today, tomorrow and the next day, in other words, every day, the sun rises without decisive action on behalf of the Darfuri people.

Well, the U.S. electorate did choose reason over madness in 2008, but the other outcomes aren't looking too good.

In recent days, world leaders have been preparing public opinion for failure in Copenhagen. (They will call it progress, but it will be delay, and at this point, delay is failure.)

Concerning Darfur, see The New Obama-Biden Darfur Policy: Is It Hope Wrapped in Danger or Danger Wrapped in Hope?

Concerning the U.N. MDG, frankly, if radical and urgent progress on climate change, e.g., plans to mitigate its impact in Africa and elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, the positive impact of the U.N. MDG will be lost in the perfect storm to come.

So lately, I have been taking stock, and asking myself how I should adjust my perspective, and re-frame my message.

Despite the acknowledging the bitter truths articulated in two hard-hitting pieces, one from Der Spiegel and one from Bill McKibben, writing for Mother Jones, I do not fault President Obama.

Obama's announcement at the APEC summit that it was no longer possible to secure a binding treaty in Copenhagen, is the result of his own negligence. Der Spiegel, 11-17-09

The real tip-off of Obama's unwillingness to lead, however, has been the endless spinning of his climate negotiators. Bill McKibben, Mother Jones, 11-17-09

No, I do not fault Obama. I feel for him, and I fear for him. (Please view this extraordinary Rachel Maddow interview with Franklin Schaeffer: Frank Schaeffer Warns Against the Latest Threats From the Religious Right to President Obama )

Two stories that recently came across the wire put our predicament in a broader and fairer context: 1) a scientific study revealing that 29 per cent increase in global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel between 2000 and 2008, and 2) the Bush Foundation announced it plans for a $300 million Bush __residential Libary.

Yes, not only did we lose eight years we could not afford to lose, during that painful period, there actually was an acceleration of the human activity instigating the Climate Crisis.

Well, I have some ideas for the Bush __residential library:

Perhaps a marble book burning pit with a perpetual flame should dominate the outer courtyard; visitors could toss copies of Darwin's Origin of the Species, the IPCC Assessment Reports and J.K. Rowlings' seven Harry Potter novels into it.

Perhaps on the way into the Library, you should pass a mock wall of stars, a reproduction of the CIA Memorial Wall, as it stands at CIA HQ in Langley, but in this Bush __residential Library version, you could peel back the stars and expose the names and covers, just as Scooter Libby did in the Plame affair, and on your way out of the exhibit, you could receive a parchment with a facsimile of the __residential order giving Libby clemency.

Imagine looking down as you enter the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Room to see that the glass floor on which you are walking overlays a giant copy of the Geneva Accords; imagine looking down as you enter the "Massive Domestic Surveillance Program" to see that the glass floor on which you are walking overlays a giant copy of the Bill of Rights.

Imagine strolling through the Katrina Room, which would consist of wall-size high definition TV screens projecting muted cable news footage from the streets of the Ninth Ward in the days after the levees broke. On your head-set, instead of cries for help from the poor and the downtrodden, you would be listening to a dramatic reading of Bush FEMA Director Micheal Brown's e-mails; at the conclusion of each e-mail, you would hear the sound-byte of Bush saying, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

Perhaps in the 9/11 Room, you could stand on a pedestal, amid billowing stage smoke, and grab the bull horn for a Karaoke version of Bush's speech from ground zero; and, yes, looking under your feet you would see a giant copy of the August 6th PDB. Reverberating in that gruesome echo chamber would be the Condi Rice sound-byte: "No one could have foreseen terrorists flying airplanes into buildings."

Of course, the 9/11 Room should lead directly into the Iraq and Afghanistan Rooms, in these exhibits you would walk on the names of the men and women of the US military who died in these foolish military adventures. The exhibits would consist of two dark tunnels with no lights at the end; the only visual effect on the walls of these tunnels would be illuminated counters tabulating the actual cost of each by the second. And if you dared to walk down to the end of either tunnel? You would find a cul-de-sac.

And in the Global Warming Room, well, there would simply be a stairwell, lined with small terrariums with dead frogs floating in slowly boiling water; and the end of the downward staircase would just be a ledge, which would drop off into an abyss, a seemingly bottomless pit ...

There would be many other exhibits, of course: e.g., the Meltdown Room (concoct your own derivatives, print your own money, and receive an obscene bonus and a golden parachute as you leave the scene of an economic crime); you would also need a Florida 2000 Room, an Ohio 2004 Room, a Bush Tax Cuts Room, and so much more.

But this really isn't about Bush and Cheney either.

It is really about a political establishment so corrupted by money and a mainstream news media establishment so compromised by its corporatist culture that two disturbed men could be allowed to seize power illegitimately, hold it for eight years, trashing the nation and the world throughout, and then, in the end, walk away without fear of investigation or indictment.

Where do we go from here?

I don't know.

Meanwhile, to maintain the context and continuity of the time-line I have kept over the last decade, here are some recent news stories that poignantly underscore the scope and catastrophic potential of the Climate Crisis:

The persistent drought affecting some 90 percent of Argentine territory has slain cattle in the hundreds of thousands and caused forest fires, drastic restrictions on water use and local disputes over water. IPS, 9-12-09

Rising sea levels caused by global warming could inundate up to 250,000 homes in Australia, according to a study released Saturday that warned airports, hospitals and power stations were at risk. Agence France Press, 11-14-09

Australian officials issued their first ever 'catastrophic' wildfire evacuation warning on Tuesday, as a parching heatwave intensified over the country's south. Strait Times, 11-17-09

The consequences of global warming are particularly dire for a region that contributes 35 percent of the nation's total grain production and 41 percent of China's gross domestic product. The region, which cuts across the length of China, is also home to rare and endangered species such as the giant panda and the Yangtze River dolphin. Associated Press, 11-10-09

Investing billions today to protect threatened ecosystems and dwindling biodiversity would reap trillions in savings over the long haul, according to a UN-backed report issued Friday ... "Five hundred million people who will have to be looked after. What are you going to do if -- more likely 'when' -- that problem hits you?" asked Sukhdev. Agence France Press, 11-13-09

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

Have you met Al Gore at the Wall yet?

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

Bush Library, Darfur, , , , ,