Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Climate Crisis Update: Gore to the US Senate -- "We have arrived at a moment of decision."

United States of Climate Change, Sightline

We have arrived at a moment of decision. Our home - Earth - is in grave danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, of course, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.
Moreover, we must face up to this urgent and unprecedented threat to the existence of our civilization at a time when our country must simultaneously solve two other worsening crises. Our economy is in its deepest recession since the 1930s. And our national security is endangered by a vicious terrorist network and the complex challenge of ending the war in Iraq honorably while winning the military and political struggle in Afghanistan.
As we search for solutions to all three of these challenges, it is becoming clearer that they are linked by a common thread – our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.
Al Gore, US Senate Testimony, 1-28-09

Climate Crisis Update: Gore to the US Senate -- "We have arrived at a moment of decision."

By Richard Power


This is my eight hundred and eleventh post from Words of Power since its inception in late 2005. And, prior to Words of Power, there were hundreds more posts from my previous blog, Liberation News Service (June 2003-January 2006).

Throughout this long journey into the collective psyche of the body politic, I have repeated over and over again that global warming was the number one national security issue of our time, and furthermore, that we could not achieve either economic security or national security without achieving environmental security.

In the last couple of years, since the publishing of Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Greed, Fear and Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis, I have been articulating the frame of four great deadlines:

1) Choosing reason over madness in the US presidential election of 2008 (check it off as successfully completed!)

2) Agreement in 2009 on a meaningful and effective international treaty for combating global warming.

3) Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

4) And, of course, every dawn that breaks there is a new deadline set for stopping the genocide in Darfur. And so far, by dusk every day, the great nations of the world have once again failed to meet it.

Throughout the grim interlude since the theft of the US presidency in 2000, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore has been an indefatigable champion of the truth, however inconvenient He returned to the US Senate today to testify again, and the simplicity and stark power of his message should be shared far and wide. And it is with a sense of personal fulfillment, I do my part in this post.

In his 1-28-09 Senate testimony, Gore articulated the three bold steps needed for planetary victory in the struggle to mitigate the impact of global warming and climate change:

The first step is already before us. I urge this Congress to quickly pass the entirety of President Obama’s Recovery package. The plan’s unprecedented and critical investments in four key areas - energy efficiency, renewables, a unified national energy grid and the move to clean cars - represent an important down payment and are long overdue. These crucial investments will create millions of new jobs and hasten our economic recovery - while strengthening our national security and beginning to solve the climate crisis.
Quickly building our capacity to generate clean electricity will lay the groundwork for the next major step needed: placing a price on carbon. If Congress acts right away to pass President Obama's Recovery package and then takes decisive action this year to institute a cap-and-trade system for CO2 emissions – as many of our states and many other countries have already done - the United States will regain its credibility and enter the Copenhagen treaty talks with a renewed authority to lead the world in shaping a fair and effective treaty. And this treaty must be negotiated this year.
Not next year. This year.
A fair, effective and balanced treaty will put in place the global architecture that will place the world – at long last and in the nick of time – on a path toward solving the climate crisis and securing the future of human civilization. ...
Al Gore, US Senate Testimony, 1-28-09

Gore also outlined the elements needed for successful agreement in Copenhagen:

- Strong targets and timetables from industrialized countries and differentiated butbinding commitments from developing countries that put the entire world under a system with one commitment: to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and otherglobal warming pollutants that cause the climate crisis;
- The inclusion of deforestation, which alone accounts for twenty percent of the emissions that cause global warming;
- The addition of sinks including those from soils, principally from farmlands and grazing lands with appropriate methodologies and accounting. Farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and around the world need to know that they can be part of
the solution;
- The assurance that developing countries will have access to mechanisms and resources that will help them adapt to the worst impacts of the climate crisis and technologies to solve the problem; and,
- A strong compliance and verification regime.
Al Gore, US Senate Testimony, 1-28-09

If you have not already joined the Alliance for Climate Protection, Al Gore and I urge you to do so. Click here.

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

For an archive of Words of Power posts on Economic Insecurity, 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 the UN Millennium Goals, 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: John Lennon -- How Do You Sleep At Night?

Hard Rain Late Night: John Lennon -- How Do You Sleep At Night?



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Sunday, January 25, 2009

What Omer Goldman & the Child Soldiers of the Congo Could Teach the Political Establishment & Mainstream News Media

Omer Goldman

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put a hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain:
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea [Isa. 11:6, 8-9].


We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. Obama Inauguration Speech, 1-20-09

What Omer Goldman & the Child Soldiers of the Congo Could Teach the Political Establishment & Mainstream News Media

By Richard Power


This extraordinary moment is one of great danger and incredible opportunity.

Our slow-motion economic and financial free fall is global and dire, and to approach it as an issue of domestic politics as usual, as some of the political establishment and mainstream news media seem bent on doing, is, well, insane:

The world economy is deteriorating more quickly than leading economists predicted only weeks ago. ... The depth of the troubles, analysts say, indicates that nations may need to spend more than the billions of dollars already planned on stimulus packages to jump-start their economies, and that a global recovery could take longer, perhaps pushing into 2010. Analysts are particularly concerned about the slowdown in China and the recession in Europe. Washington Post, 1-24-09

Meanwhile, like the economic crisis, the climate crisis is global and dire:

Our trees are dying. Throughout the western United States, cherished and protected forests are dying twice as fast as they did 20 years ago because of climate change, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Science. ... What this means is that the United States' best forests are getting thinner. ... "We're seeing continental-scale evidence of warming," Veblen said. "It is very likely tree mortality will increase further as temperatures continue to rise." Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service, 1-22-09

The climate crisis, however, not only threatens civilization, it also offers us a powerful medicine for the world's economic and financial crises.

But it demands bold action and radical change.

Nobel Peace Prize winner, former US Vice President Al Gore knows there is no time left for "childish things" and he is pushing hard:

Al Gore will exhort US lawmakers to renew US leadership on battling climate change next week, as "green" groups push for quick, sweeping action from President Barack Obama and a friendly Congress. Gore will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday ... Agence France Press, 1-24-09

But how will the US body politic in particular and the community of nations as a whole summon the courage and clarity of mind to make the right choices in the critical weeks and months ahead?

While much of the US political establishment and mainstream news media continue to act irresponsibly in regard to the challenges facing the nation and the world, some of the youth of the planet are called on to exercise an unfathomable depth of courage and endurance in the face of hardship and horror.

Consider Omer Goldman, the 19-year old daughter of a former deputy chief of the Mossad who is going to prison rather serve in the Israeli military.

Consider the 1500 child soldiers who might soon be released from servitude in the hell of the Congo.

Omer Goldman is 19, she's Jewish, lives in Tel Aviv, she's a pretty girl and it's not hard to imagine her fulfilling her ambition to one day be an actress.
But since she was eight years old, she also had another dream - she wanted to work with an organization like Amnesty International, hoping she could help make a better world. Right now, her way of doing that is by going to prison. Choosing to go to prison rather than serve in the Israeli army - a compulsory requirement for all young Israeli citizens.
And Omer Goldman was not destined for prison. For most of her life she thought she'd join the army, and become a hero for her country. After all, her father is a former deputy head of Mossad, and still considered one of the most powerful men of the Israeli security establishment.
Radio Netherlands, 1-22-09


Image: Child Soldier in Democratic Republic of Congo, BBC

Save the Children is preparing for a potential release of child soldiers currently forced to fight with Laurent Nkunda’s troops and other armed groups in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Although figures are very unclear, it is thought that between three and six thousand boys and girls are being held by warlords in DRC, including Nkunda, who was arrested by Rwandan authorities yesterday.
With Rwandan troops now operating in DRC and the eyes of the international community focused on the country, it is less likely that militia leaders will want to have child soldiers in their ranks for fear of prosecution. If Nkunda’s troops (the CNDP) and other rebel fighters are integrated into the Congolese army, Save the Children believes it could result in a mass release of up to 1,500 children, many of whom will be suffering long-term psychological damage.
Reuters, 1-23-09

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, January 20, 2009

Echoes of A Message from Post History: Reflections on the Inaugurations of JFK and Barack Obama

Gen. George Washington in Battle During the Revolutionary War

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. Obama Inauguration Speech, 1-20-09

Echoes of A Message from Post History: Reflections on the Inaugurations of JFK and Barack Obama

By Richard Power


JFK, RFK and MLK were vulnerable because they were out so far ahead of the national psyche, they were speaking to us from the future, and so their lives were snuffed out by those who clung to the past.

I do not "underestimate the Dark Side of the Force," but I tell you, this time, it will be different. Because here and now the future has arrived, and Obama is speaking from inside of it. And the multitude that he spoke before on this inauguration day pales in comparison to the multitude at his back.

At this profound moment in post-history, I just want you to listen to the echoes in these two powerful excerpts from two extraordinary speeches. I am grateful I have lived to hear them both. And while you are reading these words of power, listen to Aretha Franklin singing "My Country Tis of Thee ..." (click on the You Tube video below)

Words of Power from John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the USA:

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
This much we pledge--and more.
Kennedy Inauguration Speech, 1-20-60

Words of Power from Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the USA:

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet."
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."
Obama Inauguration Speech, 1-20-09



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: John Lennon -- Mind Games

Hard Rain Late Night: John Lennon -- Mind Games



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Friday, January 16, 2009

Why is the Heavy Lifting Left to the Old Men? Conyers & Carter Put Their Shoulders to Seemingly Immovable Mountains

Yoda

I understand that many feel we should just move on. ... I understand the power of that impulse. Indeed, I want to move on as well ... But in my view it would not be responsible to start our journey forward without first knowing exactly where we are. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-CA), Why We Have To Look Back, Washington Post, 1-16-09

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided. Jimmy Carter, An Unnecessary War, Washington Post, 1-8-09

Why is the Heavy Lifting Left to the Old Men? Conyers & Carter Put Their Shoulders to Seemingly Immovable Mountains

By Richard Power


Within one week, here at the dawn of a new era, two elder statesmen have punched through the thick, high wall of denial that surrounds Beltwayistan and spoken words of power from the Op-Ed pages of the Washington Post.

In his 1-8-09 piece, Carter exposed the current savagery in Gaza for what it is, and in his 1-16-09 piece, Conyers argues for action in his blockbuster report on Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the Presidency of George W. Bush.

But who will listen?

Carter wasn't on the Sunday morning network news programs after his Op-Ed piece, and I doubt Conyers will be either. There is no more damning example of what is wrong with our political system and our media culture.

Why is the heavy lifting left to the old men?

Well, those political "leaders" still in the prime of life have to spend most of their time raising money. And they know that they would face well-financed primary challenges and/or intense media scrutiny if they were to speak the truths that are not only inconvenient but also incendiary.

For archival purposes, if nothing else, here are excerpts from the Op-Ed pieces of Conyers and Carter:

This week, I released "Reining in the Imperial Presidency," a 486-page report detailing the abuses and excesses of the Bush administration ... I consider these three points crucial:
First, Congress should continue to pursue its document requests and subpoenas that were stonewalled under President Bush. ...
Second, Congress should create an independent blue-ribbon panel or similar body to investigate a host of previously unreviewable activities of the Bush administration, including its detention, interrogation and surveillance programs.
... Third, the new administration should conduct an independent criminal probe into whether any laws were broken in connection with these activities.
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-CA), Why We Have To Look Back, Washington Post, 1-16-09

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided.
After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism. ...
Knowing that we would soon be seeing Hamas leaders from Gaza and also in Damascus, we promised to assess prospects for a cease-fire. ... We knew that the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza were being starved, as the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food had found that acute malnutrition in Gaza was on the same scale as in the poorest nations in the southern Sahara, with more than half of all Palestinian families eating only one meal a day. ...
After about a month, the Egyptians and Hamas informed us that all military action by both sides and all rocket firing would stop on June 19, for a period of six months, and that humanitarian supplies would be restored to the normal level that had existed before Israel's withdrawal in 2005 (about 700 trucks daily). ... Yet the increase was to an average of about 20 percent of normal levels. ... And this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.
On another visit to Syria in mid-December, I made an effort for the impending six-month deadline to be extended. ... The Israeli government informally proposed that 15 percent of normal supplies might be possible if Hamas first stopped all rocket fire for 48 hours. This was unacceptable to Hamas, and hostilities erupted. ...
Jimmy Carter, An Unnecessary War, Washington Post, 1-8-09

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, January 12, 2009

Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: The Sea & The Earth, The Beauty & The Bounty, In Peril

Botticelli's Birth of Venus


Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: The Sea & The Earth, The Beauty & The Bounty In Peril

By Richard Power


Here are four recent stories highlighting the peril, and two profound images that embody what is at stake, i.e., nothing less than the greatest beauty and the richest bounty.

While the former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, was participating in the Bush-Cheney White House's petty and dangerous ploy to deny Barack Obama access to Blair House (where the President-Elect traditionally stays in the days before the inauguration), the Australian military, freed from the grip of the delusional Neo-Cons is sounding the alarm and raising awareness in the Pacific: "Climate change and rising sea levels pose one of the biggest threats to security in the Pacific and may also spark a global conflict over energy reserves under melting Arctic ice, according to Australia's military. A confidential security review by Australia's Defense Force, completed in 2007 but obtained in summary by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, said environmental stress had increased the risk of conflicts in the Pacific over resources and food." Reuters, 1-6-09

Two other recent stories from the Pacific provide further insight:

Scientists have issued a new warning about climate change after discovering a sudden and dramatic collapse in the amount of carbon emissions absorbed by the Sea of Japan. ... "Our result in the East Sea unequivocally demonstrated that oceanic uptake of CO2 has been directly affected by warming-induced weakening of vertical ventilation," he says. Korea argues that the Sea of Japan should be renamed the East Sea, because it says the former is a legacy of Japan's military expansion in the region. Guardian, 1-12-09

A sharp slowdown in coral growth on Australia's Great Barrier Reef since 1990 is a warning sign that precipitous changes in the world's oceans may be imminent, scientists said ... Strong evidence points to the cause being a combination of warmer seas and higher acidity from increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, Australian Institute of Marine Science researchers reported. Agence France Press, 1-2-09

Frida Kahlo's Roots

Meanwhile, the impact of climate change on fresh water is impacting soil and crops:

Half of the world's population could face severe food shortages by the end of the century as rising temperatures take their toll on farmers' crops, scientists have warned. Harvests of staple food crops such as rice and maize could fall by between 20% and 40% as a result of higher temperatures during the growing season in the tropics and subtropics. Warmer temperatures in the region are also expected to increase the risk of drought, cutting crop losses further, according to a new study. ... Guardian, 1-10-09

If you have not already joined the Alliance for Climate Protection, Al Gore and I urge you to do so. Click here.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, 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: Lucinda Williams -- Something About What Happens When We Talk (Riviera Theatre, Chicago, 10-28-08)

Hard Rain Late Night: Lucinda Williams -- Something About What Happens When We Talk (Riviera Theatre, Chicago, 10-28-08)



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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Valdênia Paulino & Shirin Ebadi are in Danger -- Women Must Not Only Be Empowered, They Must Be Protected as They Rise Up to Exercise that Power

Camille Claudel's Profonde pensée


Valdênia Paulino & Shirin Ebad are in Danger -- Women Must Not Only Be Empowered, They Must Be Protected as They Rise Up to Exercise that Power

By Richard Power


Women lead the way out of extreme poverty. They urge voting over violence. They create homes in the midst of homelessness. They nurture children in wastelands. They forge families out of chaos. They cook up enterprises and weave communities. They bring love to the loveless and beauty to the lost.

This is not just a spiritual truth, it is a sociological fact. That is why "Promote gender equality and empower women" is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Indeed, the empowerment of women is a vital aspect of the overall effort to bring the planet out from grave danger and into a bright future. But if they are going to succeed in this work, they must be protected.

Consider the circumstances of Valdênia Paulino in Brazil and Shirin Ebadi in Iran, and as you read about them, think of how many more there are whose names we do not know:

Valdênia Paulino has a bounty on her head: policemen in Brazil's economic capital, São Paulo, are betting 30,000 euros to see which one will kill her first. Valdênia's alleged "crime"? She's fighting for the rights of the residents of her shantytown and providing them with education and access to the justice system.
41-year-old Valdênia Paulino was raised in Sapopemba, a favela or shantytown in São Paulo. ...
By the time Valdênia was 14, she started working, giving lessons to other children, so that she could pay for school. ...
"The police are the only state presence in the favelas," she says. "And the police in Brazil view poor people as enemies of the state. It's quite common for the police to drive in to my favela with powerful loudspeakers in their cars, and then they play classical music like Vivaldi while they rape girls, murder young people, and tear up people's ID papers. That's why the state is discredited in the eyes of the people who live in the favelas."
The only way to change this situation, believes Valdênia, is to make people aware of their rights and to denounce human rights violations. At the age of 17, she started working with prostitutes in her neighbourhood.
"In 1992, I denounced a prostitution network that was operating in São Paulo. I was raped as a result of that. ..."
Radio Netherlands, 1-2-09

Omid Memarian interviews Iranian Noble Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi --
IPS: Regarding such attacks, normally Iranian authorities state that they have no information about the organisers and that these are spontaneous actions on the part of individuals.
SE: I don't view this incident at all like that. They didn't come to my home one by one. They had their slogans written on their placards, moving in a group. They had been given my address by someone, leading them to my home.
The Iranian police continually claim any assembly and demonstration must receive special government permits. This is why when students or women activists congregate to protest discriminatory laws, or when workers gather to protest their low income, police show up immediately to disperse them quickly, arresting some.
That day I saw myself how cool and indifferent the police were, standing to the side, only observing my home being vandalised. In fact, I have a legal question now. Do assemblies and protests require permits or not? If this group had been issued a permit, I would like to know which authority issued the permit for them to vandalise the sign to my law practice outside my home. If they didn't have a permit, why didn't the police intervene to arrest them or to issue a warning or to disperse the crowd?
Inter Press Service, 1-7-09

To find out more about the global effort to empower women in society and government, I refer you to UNIFEM and its recent report, Progress of the World’s Women 2008/2009, Who Answers to Women? Gender and Accountability.

Some Related Posts

Human Rights Update: UNIFEM Works for Achievement of the "Missing Goal" -- Ending Violence Against Women

UNIFEM Asks You to Take a Stand in the Global Fight to End Violence Against Women; It Will Cost You Nothing But the Time to Type Your Name

Human Rights Update: Most Basic Rights of Women Under Attack in Iran, the Congo & Even in Evo Morales' New Bolivia

Human Rights Update: Ending Violence Against Women is a Global Imperative; UNIFEM Launches Campaign

In This Century of Crisis, Empowering Women is Vital if the Human Race is to Prevail, i.e., Evolve

Global Campaign Against Poverty 10-17-07: Stand Up & Speak Out -- Raise Women Up, Defend Them Against Violence & Oppression, Put Them in Power

Human Rights Update 9-6-07: In the 21st Century, Sane Men are Feminists -- UNIFEM Works to Dismantle the Edifice of Dysfunction

Hard Rain Journal 2-17-07: UN Millennium Goals and Human Rights Update -- Healing Balm for the World? Feed Children, Empower Women

For a Words of Power Archive of 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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Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Triple Meltdown, & Its Impact on Russia, Asia, Iran, & the Planet's Oceans

Frances Picabia, Otaiti


The Triple Meltdown, & Its Impact on Russia, Asia, Iran, & the Planet's Oceans

By Richard Power


The "Triple Meltdown"? Yes, the global financial and economic meltdown, the global climate change and sustainability meltdown, and the global human rights meltdown.

In "Economic Insecurity & the Climate Crisis: There is a Magic Bullet, There is a Holy Grail," I wrote you about how the global economic meltdown and the global climate change and sustainability meltdown were merging and morphing into a perfect storm of crisis.

In this post, let us extend the vision to acknowledge the global human rights meltdown; because, clearly, from Guantanamo to Gaza, there is inexcusable evidence that even those who should be the planet's greatest defenders of human rights have found ways to spin the Universal Declaration itself into meaningless babble. Do not mislead yourself. If we are not careful, insistent and brave, the Universal Declaration will be flushed down the toilet of history as the pressure from the economic and environmental meltdowns intensifies.

The future is full of danger and uncertainty.

Expect the unexpected.

Of course, if you are shrewd enough to expect the unexpected, you'd better be savvy enough to pay attention to the unmentioned. (By "unmentioned," of course, I mean in the US mainstream news media.)

Here are six stories that highlight some troublesome plot twists and turbulent under currents that may overtake us one way or another in the coming time. You won't be hearing about them on the mainstream news media until it is too late.

Concerning the global financial and economic meltdown, too little attention is being paid to the impact on Russia and Asia:

The year 2008 may well go down in history as a watershed in which the global financial crisis, precipitated by the collapse of Western economic models, ‘decolonised’ Asians minds, say observers. ... An increasing number of Asian economists and commentators have pointed out in recent weeks how U.S. and European governments are doing exactly the opposite of what they had advised Asian governments to do during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Inter Press Service, 12-31-08

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader, warned Russia faced “unprecedentedly difficult and dangerous circumstances” and could be “heading into a black hole”. “It is not clear what the fate of our rouble will be or if society has sufficient financial and moral resources,” he said. Financial Times, 12-26-08

One significant detail worth noting was that the riot police deployed in Vladivostok came from the Moscow region and were flown more than 6,000 kilometres to clamp down on the unsanctioned demonstration. ... The deployment of the Moscow riot police is an unmistakeable sign that the Russian leaders are nervous about the social unrest tightening around them, even though it's a subject scarcely mentioned in public. Everywhere in Russia factories have been standing still for weeks and, in some cases, even months. Workers are being sent home on unpaid leave or simply aren't being paid. A substantial wave of fresh unemployment looks more than likely as 2009 rolls around. Radio Netherlands. 12-27-08

Concerning the sustainability meltdown, too little mention is being made of the greatest danger of all, that we killing the oceans which define the very nature of life on the planet:

Each of these changes is a catastrophe. Together they make for something much worse. Moreover, they are happening alarmingly fast—in decades, rather than the aeons needed for fish and plants to adapt. Many are irreversible. It will take tens of thousands of years for ocean chemistry to return to a condition similar to its pre-industrial state of 200 years ago, says Britain’s most eminent body of scientists, the Royal Society. Many also fear that some changes are reaching thresholds after which further changes may accelerate uncontrollably. The Economist, 12-30-08

Concerning the climate meltdown, the US political establishment has wasted eight years the planet could not afford for us to waste, and if it now picks up where it left off eight years ago, instead as audacious and as radical as the circumstances demand, we could be doomed:

An emergency "Plan B" using the latest technology is needed to save the world from dangerous climate change ... The plan would involve highly controversial proposals to lower global temperatures artificially through daringly ambitious schemes that either reduce sunlight levels by man-made means or take CO2 out of the air. This "geoengineering" approach – including schemes such as fertilising the oceans with iron to stimulate algal blooms – would have been dismissed as a distraction a few years ago ... Steve Connors, Independent, 1-2-09

Concerning the human rights meltdown, consider the plight of Shirin Ebadi; she is in great danger tonight, not only because of the misogynist regime she has stood up to, but because those who should be focused on her struggle have, through their own glaring abuses, destroyed their credibility to speak or act on human rights issues in Iran or Russia or anywhere else:

Human Rights Watch: "The mob violence occurring after the Iranian government unleashed its campaign of persecution against Shirin Ebadi shows that her life is in great danger," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "Especially because the persecution of Ebadi seems to be related to her contacts with United Nations officials who were compiling a report on human rights in Iran, UN and concerned leaders everywhere should urgently make clear their support for this principled defender of human rights." Human Rights Watch, 1-2-09

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

For an archive of Words of Power posts on Economic Insecurity, click here.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, 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: Stevie Windwood -- Higher Love (1988)

Hard Rain Late Night: Stevie Winwood -- Higher Love (1988)



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