Thursday, July 28, 2011

On the Express Train to Dis, with Transfers at Beltwayistan and Oslo; Can the Power of the Word Turn Us Around?

On the Express Train to Dis, with Transfers at Beltwayistan and Oslo; Can the Power of the Word Turn Us Around?

By Richard Power

From whatever angle you view it, the Climate Crisis, the Antropocene Age, the Sixth Great Extinction, we are on an express train to Dis, this last week it made stops in Beltwayistan and Oslo.

Here are some of my own reflections, and those of a few others whose voices should not be lost in the cacophony.


There has been no leadership from POTUS on the Zombie Cult's hostage-taking of the nation's economic future. None.
  • Why is Obama not using the bully pulpit? Perhaps he’s too embroiled in the tactical maneuvers that pass for policy making in Washington, or too intent on preserving political capital for the next skirmish ... A more disturbing explanation is that he simply lacks the courage to tell the truth. He wants most of all to be seen as a responsible adult rather than a fighter. As such, he allows himself to be trapped by situations — the debt-ceiling imbroglio most recently — within which he tries to offer reasonable responses, rather than be the leader who shapes the circumstances from the start. Obama cannot mobilize America around the truth, in other words, because he is continuously adapting to the prevailing view. This is not leadership. Robert Reich, American Prospect, 7-27-11
Instead of making hostage-taking the issue, from the beginning, POTUS has pushed for his "Grand Bargain" and embraced the false memes on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as "entitlements" and "austerity" as the medicine for what ails us. Therefore, he is, in effect, attempting to negotiate a ransom, which in his view the hostage-takers are partly owed.

POTUS says we are all supposed to be debt and deficit hawks now. In his Tuesday night address to the nation, he urged us all to call Congress and plea for some version of this "Grand Bargain."

Sorry, POTUS, I am not calling Congress to tell them I want a deal predicated on lies and advancing a corporatist agenda that has gutted the economic base, left the infrastructure to rot, crushed the middle class, and written a death sentence for the poor. I do not know what will happen now, but whatever happens, we must continue to insist that two plus two still equals four.
  • Think about what’s happening right now. We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion. So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship. The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. Paul Krugman, Cult of Centrism, New York Times, 7-26-11
Of course, POTUS could prove us wrong and exercise the 14th Amendment before next Tuesday, to avoid making some deal that places the burden of all of this madness on the backs of the middle class and the poor. Stiff the Zombie Cult, POTUS, push them into a corner, then shove SCOTUS on to the hot seat, and there would be a multitude behind you overnight. You could, but you won't will you?

Now Europe has its Timothy McVeigh.

For me this particular horror, like 9/11, was personal. 9/11 was personal for me, because even though I have lived in California for most of my life, I will always be a New Yorker. Oslo is personal for me because of several beautiful threads woven into life's tapestry.

In 2000, I was flown to Oslo as a guest of OKOKRIM, Norway's special police unit for economic and environment crime to keynote at an international cyber crime conference they were hosting. It was a particularly poignant journey for me.

Odin, the Wayfarer, is my Sky-God.

Norwegian is the only significant strain of blood other than Irish that flows in my veins. One of my paternal great grandfathers (my father's mother's father) was a Norwegian whaler. His rusty whaling knife was one of the treasures of my childhood.

Walking around Oslo, in the twilight. at 3 a.m., was a beautiful experience.

In the aftermath of the atrocity, Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) twitted some meaningful perspective: Proportionate to population, Norway massacre nearly twice as big as 9/11 was in US.

Likewise Yoko Ono (@yokoono) tweeted some profound advice: Write down everything you fear in life. Burn it. Pour herbal oil with a sweet scent on the ashes.

And, of course, madmen flinched, and squirmed, but could not control their vileness.

Glenn Beck remarked that the Labor Party Youth Camp were Breivik slaughtered most of his victims "sounds a little like the Hitler Youth." (Media Matters, 7-25-11) Patrick Buchanan wrote that Breivik's vision of a grand conflict between European Muslims and Christians "may be right." Media Matters, 7-26-11.

BTW, as of this post, Beck still has a radio show, and Buchanan stills warms a commentator's seat at MSNBC.

Meanwhile, in another compelling illustration of how much Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! do with so little, in contrast to how little CNN does with so much, the Democracy Now! coverage included an interview with Eva Gabrielsson, author of a recently published memoir, There Are Things I Want You to Know about Stieg Larsson and Me. She is the partner of the late Stieg Larsson, author of the international bestselling Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.
  • AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the work that you and your partner, Stieg Larsson ... Talk about what spurred Stieg to begin his research into the right wing. You talk about it in your book, the wave of racist violence in Sweden in the ’80s, after which the extreme right became increasingly active in Sweden. EVA GABRIELSSON: Well, he started being more openly active already in 1983, when he started to write for the British anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, which is based in London, and just because they needed somebody who could cover Scandinavia at the time ... His last article in Searchlight was published the same month as he died. That was November 2004. So he never gave up, and he continuously tried to explain that these groups aren’t deluded youth. You can’t say its their psychology or their social background which make them do these things. You have to understand that they do have a message and they do have a goal. And you have to regard their politics and take it seriously and see where they are going.
Gabrielsson also offered a glimpse into the price that writers and their loved ones pay for the power of the word.
  • AMY GOODMAN: There is—you’re involved in an ongoing legal dispute with Stieg’s father and brother over the estate, which really—you know, it was after he died that these books became such massive blockbusters. But one of the issues you’ve raised and talked about was the reason that you, together with Stieg, for what, some three decades, didn’t get married, and it had to do with registering your location. Can you talk about that? EVA GABRIELSSON: Well, we wanted to marry. I even—we even got the rings in 1983, and I still wear them. But we had to keep Stieg safe, and he wanted to keep me safe, by making sure that he was registered as unmarried in the Swedish public records, because we knew that they then, and still do, use the public records to make up lists of enemies of all kinds. These enemies are journalists. They are political activists. They are policemen. They are lawyers. They are politicians and so on. And Stieg was on that list from 1990 to '93, when the first list was revealed in a court case. And they continued to build on that list. So by not marrying—it was, of course, possible to find his address in the public records, but it wasn't possible to find behind which door he was living, because his name wasn’t on the door. He never paid any electricity bills. He never paid any gas bills. He never paid any insurance, anything like that. It was all in my name. So, that’s why we did not marry. And it worked. It worked fine. Amy Goodman Interviews Eva Gabrielsson, Democracy Now, 7-27-11 (See embedded video below.)


Gabrielsson's remarkable tale of her life with Larsen and their dedication to investigative journalism on the re-emergence of Fascism in the West leads to further reflection on the power of the word.

Two more recent stories nudged me to be included in this post, one is sad, the other encouraging.
  • Writing in the New York Times on the 50th anniversary of Hemingway's death, AE Hotchner, author of Papa Hemingway and Hemingway and His World, said he believed that the FBI's surveillance "substantially contributed to his anguish and his suicide", adding that he had "regretfully misjudged" his friend's fear of the organisation. [Hemingway's FBI file released in the 1980s through FOIA] demonstrated a keen interest in Hemingway, including his wartime attempts to set up an anti-fascist spy network called the Crook Factory, and the interest persisted until he entered the Mayo Clinic in 1960 ... That file, running to more than 120 pages, 15 of them largely blacked out for national security reasons, also demonstrates quite how close an interest Hoover and his organisation took in Hemingway. Fresh claim over role the FBI played in suicide of Ernest Hemingway, Guardian, 7-3-11
  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spoke to a forum at the Splendour in the Grass music festival in Queensland Friday, saying that the current generation was “burning the mass media to the ground.” “We are becoming the agents of perspective,” he said. “This generation is burning the mass media to the ground.” Assange continued: “We are reclaiming our rights to world history. We are ripping open secret archives from Washington to Cairo. We don’t know yet exactly where we are. But we can see where we are going. The change in perspective that has happened over the last year is what this generation is going to use to find our lighthouse. And when we get there, we’ll turn the fucking spotlight on.” Assange speaks about ‘burning mass media to the ground’ Raw Story, 7-29-11 (See embedded video below.)

Democracy Now: Before Death, Acclaimed "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Author Stieg Larsson Lamented Right-Wing Extremism, 7-27-11

Julian Assange Splendour Forum Address 2011

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to for the answer.

Richard Power's seventh book, Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself, is now available. Here are links to purchase it from, or from CreateSpace.

You can also visit Richard Power author's page at

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cave Bear Speaks

Bear Relic, July 2011, Photo: Richard Power

I am Bear. First of the gods, and fiercest. Before Fear had a name, I was. Before Magic had a name, I was.

I am Bear. I led you to the caves, In the darkness, my bones welcomed you.

I am Bear. You danced me, you ate me, you wrapped yourself in me.

I am Bear. In the caves, you called on my medicine for protection and abundance, and these flowed freely.

I am Bear. I led you to the berries and the honey, I led you to the salmon and the seals.

I am Bear. In my shadow, you embraced the carnal heat, from my skull you drank the primal reality. I am Bear. Female and male, mother of the drum, father of the rattle. I am Bear. My roar shaped Arthur's round table. My scent permeated the recesses of his keep.

I am Bear. I carried this Earth's wisdom before it even knew itself. Neanderthal knew, Whale knew, Eagle knew, and I knew. But you forgot, and so you are blind to your shadow and deaf to your dreams. Remember.

I am Bear. The circle is broken. Find the you in which it has been healed.

Join the ceremony again. Celebrate.

I am Bear. These are the jaws of time, and the claws of space.

My totem protects you, but not from me.

-- Richard Power

Karma is Not "Cause and Effect." Likewise, Reincarnation is Not a Procession of "Lives"

Uluru (circa 2003), Photo: Richard Power

Karma is not "cause and effect." Our conception of the universe is no longer limited by Newtonian physics, why should our conception of karma be stuck there? In the post-Einstein universe, karma means something more like "every event is bound to every other event in ways that are beyond comprehension." One should approach karma (whether one's own and or another's) with an attitude of profound humility.

What we can know with certainty, if we allow the truth of it in, is that all life is a oneness, and whatever pain you cause you cause to yourself whether directly or indirectly, whether the consequences are immediate or delayed. But this is not cause and effect, this is path of love, the way of the tao, the journey of oneness into the revelation of itself in the utter uniqueness of every particular.

Likewise, I no longer view reincarnation as a procession of "lives" occurring along a linear timeline. That timeline is simply a convention we need to process information that would be otherwise beyond our capacity. In reality, the three times (past, present and future) are more like views, or angles, between constantly moving points, within a continuum; and all of our incarnations are actually happening simultaneously.

-- Richard Power

A Note to Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac's slab in the alley behind City Lights, at the intersection of Chinatown and North Beach, July 2011, Photo: Richard Power

Jack, I met all of your books on the road. Not in a boxcar rumbling into the West, but on an A-Train hurtling downtown, late in the night, at a too tender age, when child soldier risk analysis said it was safer in the NYC subway than in my own "home."

When I was cold and wet, I set fire to the pages to warm myself; when I was hungry, I poured Extra Virgin Olive Oil on them and ate them like freshly baked bread. But of course, I read them all first.

I followed your Desolation Angels, and leaped after them into the Golden Eternity, soaring and falling for years until I came to the age at which you shed this mortal coil, then it occurred to me that I should not follow your navigational charts into the dark currents of the Lethe, and that I should, instead, travel the Danube, the Yangtze, the Mississippi, the Ganges, the Amazon and the other great rivers of this Earth awhile longer.

And so as much as I loved your company, I parted with it, lingering on the near shore listening to your tears and laughter drifting farther and farther into the mists of a different world. Leaving me to plot my own course, and thus enabling me to take these photos and write you this note. Yes, the Beat is still strong in the city of St. Francis. Yes, I have lived here for years. And yes, I still hear your bellowing performances carried in from the sea, at nightfall, on the summer fog.

-- Richard Power

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No, POTUS, There are No Grown-Ups in That Room, Not Even You; If By "Grown-Up" You Mean One Willing to Take On (or Even Articulate) Our Worst Problems

Chang Si (circa 1156-1161), roll painting. Beijing Palace Museum

At a time when the wealthiest people and the largest corporations ... are doing phenomenally well and in many cases have never had it so good, while the middle class is disappearing and poverty is increasing, it is absolutely imperative that any deficit-reduction package that passes this Congress not include the horrendous cuts, the cruel cuts in programs that working people desperately need that are utilized every day by the elderly, by the sick, by our children, and by the lowest income people in our country, that the Republicans ... dominated by their extreme rightwing, are demanding. America is not about giving tax breaks to billionaires and attacking the most vulnerable people in our country. We must not allow that to happen. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), 6-28-11

The question before us now is not whether the natural disasters making headlines across the United States are somehow connected, but why we are so reluctant to connect them. My theory is that it's just too scary. If we admit that these extreme weather events have something to do with a global system, it feels too complicated to do anything about or prepare ourselves for. If we accept that climate change is something caused by the way we consume and produce everything from food to fuel, then we also have to admit that we need to fundamentally change the way our economy works. Janet Redmond, Connecting Extreme Weather Dots Across the Map, Other Worlds, 7-18-11

No, POTUS, There are No Grown-Ups in That Room; If By "Grown-Up" You Mean One Willing to Take On (or Even Articulate) Our Worst Problems

By Richard Power

POTUS wants us all to think of him as "the grown-up in the room" in his struggle with the Zombie Cult formerly known as the Republican Party. The problem is that the issue at hand is not maturity at all, it is sanity. Now, he is "the sanest man in the room," assuming you mean to only contrast him with those on the "R" side of the aisle.

However, even agreeing that POTUS is the sanest man in the room, overall, he still isn't the sanest person in the room, assuming Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is also at the table. If the Democratically controlled Senate had said yes to even half of the four hundred or so powerful pieces of progressive legislation (including ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE) that Pelosi got passed while she was Speaker, we would be living in a different country. (Furthermore, Pelosi is not only the sanest person in the room, she also counts as the "grown-up" too, if you measure it in terms of maturity.)

Of course, POTUS and his men (yes, men) are also likely to be the "smartest guys in the room," but that doesn't mean all that much anymore. The bar has been set very low in contemporary politics. And you would certainly want to add the caveat that even if they are "the smartest guys in the room," POTUS and his brain-trust might not be as smart as they assume themselves to be, especially since they have him flirting with undercutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in pursuit of chimerical votes in the clueless center.

James K. Gaibraith and Robert Kuttner explain.

President Obama’s proposed debt ceiling deal is a disastrous solution to an imaginary fiscal crisis, but the pain it causes will be all too real. News reports hold that President Obama scored a political victory by agreeing to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block ... To which one can only say: how nice for him. James K. Galbraith, Hawk Nation: A Guide to the Catastrophic Debt Ceiling Debate, New Deal 2.0, 7-12-11

Obama and his advisers, weirdly, believe that his stance as "the only grownup in the room" who forces his own party to abandon its core principles for the sake of an austerity program will somehow win the gratitude of voters struggling with declining incomes and rising joblessness. The unemployment may be stuck near ten percent, but good old Obama brokered a deal to balance the budget in 2021. So re-elect this man. On which planet is this? Robert Kuttner, The End Game: Saving Obama From Himself, Demos, 7-18-11

Yet even if the smartest man in the room, the grown-up in the room, the sanest man in the room, were to embrace GENUINE economic medicine, like e.g., the People's Budget proposed by the Progressive Caucus (not even granted lip service let alone a seat at the table), it still wouldn't be evidence of the leadership required of us all at this moment in human history.

An Experiment Run Amok

When I close my eyes and allow myself to open up to the life of the universe, I feel the solar system whirling in my chest, and from the third orb I hear the cacophony of an experiment run amok, "human civilization" seemingly drowning in its own ignorance, which appears to be the only renewable resource it is seriously invested in.

A huge oil spill off the Chinese coast has now contaminated an area around six times the size of Singapore. Agence France Press, 7-15-11

East Africa's worst drought in 60 years is putting 11 million lives at risk, many of them in war-torn Somalia, where thousands of hungry families are making the dangerous trek across parched, violent territory ... and the hunger that now stalks the land may become famine. Global Post, 7-17-11

Climate change is speeding up the rate at which animals and plants are becoming extinct. By the end of the century, one in 10 species could be on the verge of extinction because of the effects of global warming, a study has found. Steve Conner, Independent/UK, 7-12-11

The health of the world's oceans is much worse than is widely believed, but it is not too late to change tack and help this critical ecosystem recover, at least in part, experts say ... If the current course of damage continues, marine species are at high risk of entering a phase of extinction unprecedented in human history. Inter Press Service, 7-13-11

If you could burn all the oil in those tar sands, you'd run the atmosphere's concentration of carbon dioxide from its current 390 parts per million (enough to cause the climate havoc we're currently seeing) to nearly 600 parts per million, which would mean if not hell, then at least a world with a similar temperature.Bill McKibben, North America's Tar Sands: The New Middle East, Mother Jones, 7-14-11

Lying Awake, Late At Night

And if there were a gathering of “grown-ups, ” the “sanest people,” the “smartest people,” those at the apex of power, what would they discuss? And what message would come from that room?

Well, they would start by acknowledging that although it was truly sane, truly, smart, truly “grown-up,” in other words, truly human, to consider the impact of every decision as far into the future as the seventh generation, this tradition, ignored as it has been for two millennia by the dominant kulchurs, is now irrelevant and unless we act decisively, urgently and meaningfully it will never be relevant again. Because what we have to come to grips with now, what we have to get our minds and hearts around now is the impact of ignoring this tradition for so very long. What we have to do now is consider the impact on this generation and on the next and on the next, because only the blind can imagine they see farther than that from this dark place, and that if we ever again get to consider the impact of our decisions unto the seventh generation, it will be a luxury, and something of a miracle. USA, you think you are not going to be touched, you think there are too many people in the world anyway, you think that the Climate Crisis will devastate Africa, Asia and Latin America, and that you will somehow be fat and happy here, safe and sound with your air-conditioning, your central heating, your hot and cold running water, your light at the flick of a switch, your gasoline at the pump 24x7, and of course your ever-flowing food distribution system, but you are so wrong.

Late one night, recently, I was lying awake, listening to Green 960, and Alex Smith of Radio Eco-Shock was re-playing an excerpt from a February 2007 talk Gwynne Dyer, military expert, historian and author of Climate Wars. (Yes, you can download the podcast, and many others, from the Radio Eco-Shock archive.)

Dyer was talking like a "grown-up."

When most people think of the Climate Crisis (if they think of it at all), they think of the poles melting, and the sea level rising. And that is indeed underway, and it will wreak havoc with not just with the little island nations, but also with Shanghai and New York, and many of the other great cities of the world. But, as Dyer pointed out, long before the rising sea level does that worst of its damage, our access to food and water will be severely compromised – everywhere, directly in some regions, indirectly in others, but everywhere nevertheless. And yes, it can and will happen here. America's “Heartland,” America's "Bread Basket" (i.e., Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, etc.) will dry up, and when its water sources, e.g., the Ogallala Aquifer run out, and it will cease to produce the food they are relied on to produce. (This will also probably occur in California’s vital “Central Valley.”)

To the south, Dyer goes on, Mexico and Central America are going to be utterly devastated. And one of the planet’s great population displacements will take place on the southern border of the U.S. These climate refugees will not be coming north to look for work, they will be coming north to avoid starvation. Those who rant and rave about “illegal immigration” today don’t have a clue about the kind of world they are living in. You say you want to secure your southern border? That would be funny, if it weren’t so terribly sad. Go ahead. Build a real wall. Electrify it. Put cameras and sensors on it. But, Dyer observes, you are going to have to be willing to kill people, to shoot them, men, women and children trying to escape a climatic holocaust. Are you capable of that? And even if you are capable of that kind of violence, what will your fellow citizens of Mexican and Central American descent do when you start gunning down their brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and fathers, and cousins, and aunts and uncles? What will happen to the fabric of this society under such circumstances?

Meanwhile, all across the planet, extraordinary pressures will create multiple geopolitical crises, and some of them will involve weapons of mass destruction. For example, as the glaciers of the Himalayas vanish and cease to melt into the Indus, there will likely be a serious confrontation between nuclear-armed Pakistan and nuclear-armed India, Dyer warns. Nuclear-armed Pakistan is utterly dependent upon the Indus, which flows through nuclear-armed India before it gets to Pakistan; and how much of the Indus’ water India can take before it gets to Pakistan was established by treaty decades ago. The terms of that treaty are fixed; they do not adjust according to the volume of water. What will happen then?

Do I have your attention yet?

And look, we're not talking about 2100 or even 2050; we're talking about the next decade or two ...

Bearing this in mind, let us return to that room, in which POTUS is allegedly the "grown-up."

"You Leaders, Be Fair to Your People."

So, let me see if I’ve got this straight.

We are in the middle of what is at best a deep recession (indeed, already a depression for many), and instead of infusing the economy with further stimulus to create employment and rescue infrastructure, the made-men of Beltwayistan want to squeeze it even further, in the name of “austerity.”

Meanwhile, you are ignoring the greatest existential crisis in two thousand years of human civilization, even though coming to grips with this crisis that could as a by product create both a profoundly different and profoundly healthier energy model and a new robust economy that could provide bright future to our people, yes, unto the seventh generation.

No, POTUS, there are no “grown-ups” in that room you’re in (except, of course, for Pelosi).

I don't care about politics anymore, or ideology. These writings are my prayer, my meditation, my drum beat. My only concerns are relieving the suffering of sentient life, and exposing that sentient life, as much as possible, to the most profound truths.

Again, I ask if there were a gathering of “grown-ups, ” the “sanest people,” the “smartest people,” those at the apex of power, what would they discuss? And what message would come from that room?

Here is another example, also from a talk given in 2007 (plenty of time for this wisdom to have caught up with our so-called leaders). These are the words of Chief Oren Lyons of the Onondaga spoke on Climate Change at a Seventh Generation Fund event for the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at U.N. HG in NYC:

"The fire it's here now. The wind, it's just beginning. The water, you want more? You're gonna get it, and those that need it won't get it. These are the prophecies, this is what we have heard, this is what we know. We have been told, again and again. We hear this in the long house, for two hundred years we have been listening to this prophecy ... People have to change, directions have to change, values have to change. Otherwise ... There is no mercy in Nature, none. No mercy. Nature has none. Only law, only rule. You don't abide by the rule, you suffer the result. No habeas corpus here ... In 1950, there were 2.5 billion people in the world. Today, how many is there? 6.4 or 6.5 billion, depends on who you ask. Took 400 hundred million years to get to 2.5 billion, it took 57 years to get to 6.5 billion. There's your problem, that's your problem. It's a tough one. If you look at that graph, it is going straight up. Population ... Peacemaker said to the people build your nation on these principles: First principle was peace, peace, and with peace is health. Second principle was justice, equity, equity for the people, be fair. You leaders, be fair to your people, and with that will come justice. Third principle was power, the power of being united, the power of the Good Mind, the power of the One Mind."

[NOTE: You can view the video of Chief Oren Lyons' talk at Gabrielle Price's great blog, The Refreshment Center. The original You Tube post embedded on Price's site inaccurately describes Chief Oren Lyons as Lakota, but Price has him properly identified as Onondaga.]

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to for the answer.

Richard Power's seventh book, Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself, is now available. Here are links to purchase it from, or from CreateSpace.

You can also visit Richard Power author's page at

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Psyche is a Vast, Fathomless Ocean

Andrew Wyeth - Seabed (circa 1970s)

Psyche is a vast, fathomless ocean.

There are garbage patches, and dead zones; there are shipwrecks and sunken treasures. The flotsam and jetsum of regret (e.g., broken hearts, lost dreams, etc.) bob up & down in the swell, coursing on to nowhere.

On this ocean, each of us is both sailor & wave. No wave can be separated from any other wave, and yet each sailor's mind seems to hold a different ocean.

In the ocean of psyche, there is a dreaded stretch where it is always raining; there, all grief, personal & planetary, returns from the sky in great torrents, salt water endlessly emptying into itself.

But those brave enough to sail into that mysterious place, do not drown in sorrow; they exit the other side, imbued with a profound, indescribable joy, which is at once humbling and exalting, and remains with them forever.

The Rain Within the Fire

John William Waterhouse - Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus (1900)

The suffering of this world is not an illusion; except in so far as we and this world itself are illusions.

Our capacity to experience joy despite intimate knowledge of this suffering is not an escape; it is a sacred weapon, a weapon with which to wage peace.

Nor is this joy a luxury, it is a vital necessity; it is the medicine within the poison, it is the livingness within the decay, it is the rain within the fire.

-- Richard Power

Unified Field

Georgia O'Keeffe -- Wave, Night (1928)

Life. Being. Sat.

Awareness. Consciousness. Chit.

Feeling. Bliss. Ananda.

This is not a pie chart or a diagram. It is a unified field.

This is the reality of you here and now, accessible at any and every moment, for free and without the mediation of any guide.

Embrace this. Savor this.

-- Richard Power

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Time is Not Linear; Nor Space Three-Dimensional ...

Time is not linear; nor space three-dimensional. Strange when those who know this, act as if it were not true.

If you study history from past to future, or study space by height, width and depth only, then you are just lost in your mind. It is love that frees you from the chalk-line of linear time and the confines of geometric space.

Our being is a continuum, vast past, vast future, vast now; intimate, luminous, exquisite.

Of course, linear time is acutely real; its reality is relativity, but it is nonetheless real. Likewise, three-dimensional space, is acutely real, although relative.

The scientist starts from linear time and three-dimensional space and journeys beyond them; the shaman starts from beyond linear time and three-dimensional space and journeys toward them.

Both travelers arrive at the same destination in the end; it is called the beginning.

-- Richard Power

Saturday, July 09, 2011

"Government by Organized Money is Just as Dangerous as Government by Organized Mob," FDR Declared. Embrace Reality. Re-Affirm Truth. Two + Two = Four

George Grosz - Eclipse of Sun (1926)

We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master. Franklin Delanor Roosevelt Re-Election Campaign Speech, Madison Square Garden, 1936 (Embedded video below)

I was among those who hoped that, somehow, the financial crisis would teach Americans (and others) a lesson about the need for greater equality, stronger regulation, and a better balance between the market and government. Alas, that has not been the case. On the contrary, a resurgence of right-wing economics, driven, as always, by ideology and special interests, once again threatens the global economy .Joe Stiglitz, The Ideological Crisis of Western Capitalism, 7-6-11

"Government by Organized Money is Just as Dangerous as Government by Organized Mob," FDR Declared. Embrace Reality. Re-Affirm Truth. Two + Two = Four

By Richard Power

As Words of Power reported in 2009 (see the "I Told You So" list of posts below), the stimulus package was too small, and too much of it was taken up with economically useless tax cuts. The stimulus, as predicted by Krugman, Reich, Stiglitz and others quoted in these posts, succeeded in barely staving off free-fall; but did not succeed in pulling us safely away from the precipice.

The stimulus' effectiveness was further blunted by willful sabotage from a bevy of psycho Zombie cult governors (e.g., Walker in Wisconsin and Kasich in Ohio) who refused stimulus-funded high-speed rail projects, forced massive lay-offs of government workers, etc.

Can't you see what's happening here?

And now POTUS is in "negotiations" with the Zombie cult over a deficit reduction package that will *allow* the debt ceiling to be raised. You realize, of course, that these same Zombie cult leaders, Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, et al, voted SEVEN TIMES to raise the debt ceiling under Bush-Cheney, SEVEN times in EIGHT years, without debate let alone "negotiations."

I say "you realize, of course," but I should probably say "you realize, I hope" -- because POTUS never mentions this rank hypocrisy; and who else after all is in a better position to "catapult the propaganda"?

In his recent remarks related to these "negotiations," POTUS reminded me of "Tania" Hearst in those bank robbery photos. Remember? After being kidnapped by the "SLA" (a deranged, boutique terrorist group) she succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome, and "joined" them until her capture and de-programming.

Will POTUS betray the legacy of FDR? Will he sign on for inflicting deep wounds in Social Security and Medicare? Hopefully not. But even if he doesn't, he is nonetheless participating in the perpetration of a great fraud, by promoting this false meme about debt, deficit and "austerity."

Debt and deficit are not THE problem, and "austerity" is not THE cure.

No, as serious as the national debt and the federal budget deficit are, they are NOT the greatest immediate threat economically. The greatest immediate threat economically is rising joblessness and an ever flimsier social safety net, and every woe that flows from that lethal combination.

Who would have thought that POTUS would have more in common, morally and ideologically, with David Brooks than Bob Herbert? Oh well. I have no more interest in reading POTUS' books than he has in reading mine. Yes, I voted for him, and I defend him against the racist hatred of the right (which has resulted in an unprecedented number of threats against his life). But I stand w/ brother Cornel West, I confront POTUS, and I challenge him, and pray for better from him before it is too late for us all.

And yet even if POTUS were huddled in "negotiations" on the greatest immediate economic threat (i.e., joblessness, the ever flimsier social safety net and all the woes that flow from this combination), he and those made-men (and women) of Beltwayistan would still not be dealing with the big picture, the century-warping and millennium-shaping challenges before us.

Yes, one of those century-warping and millennium-shaping challenges is the Climate and Sustainability Crisis.

The other century-warping and millennium-shaping challenge is what to do now that we have arrived at the terminal stage in the illness that is predatory capitalism.

At the end of the Cold War, we witnessed the collapse of a system which claimed to be collectivist but wasn't, now we are on the death watch for a system that claims to be "free market" but isn't.

There is another way. But we seem doomed to ignore it.

Gautama Buddha in his wisdom articulated "the Middle Way," and Lao-Tzu in his wisdom articulated the Tao as a flow with two opposing, complementing currents, Yin and Yang. Our governance, however, does not reflect either of these deep wisdom teachings; and it does not look like it will arrive at such clarity of mind any time soon.

Of course, as you may have noticed, we are almost out of time.

Regrettably, the financial markets and right-wing economists have gotten the problem exactly backwards: they believe that austerity produces confidence, and that confidence will produce growth. But austerity undermines growth, worsening the government’s fiscal position, or at least yielding less improvement than austerity’s advocates promise. On both counts, confidence is undermined, and a downward spiral is set in motion. Joe Stiglitz, The Ideological Crisis of Western Capitalism, 7-6-11

When even those leaders who, like POTUS, are decent and intelligent humans, feel compelled to dance cheek to cheek with madness (i.e., 2 + 2 = 5), it is vital that you and I embrace the truth ever more passionately, ever more boldly.

Social Security is currently solvent, and requires only that the rich pay the same % of their income as the poor and middle class do, and it would be solvent FOREVER. It has nothing to do w/ the federal budget deficit.

Dealing with the deficit is as simple as repealing the Bush tax cuts, and ending our foolish (and counter-productive) military adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

Hauling the U.S. economy back from the abyss it is about to plunge into could be done w/ one massive jobs program focusing on building critical infrastructure and undertaking a radical shift to green energy

Universal health care is a basic human right, as established by the Declaration of Universal Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. So are education, employment, and retirement.

Corporations are not people, and money is not speech. What we are confronted with in the USA today is a human rights crisis. Our circumstances demand massive, non-violent EVOLUTION.

A Sampling of Related Posts ("I Told You So") from the Early Days of the Obama Administration

Ayn Rand's Fingerprints, Tom Paine's Shadow and the Fall of Weimar, 4-25-10

Three Inconvenient Truths from Three Leading Economists Who Have Earned Respect as Dissidents; If We Ignore Them, We Do So At Our Collective Peril, 3-13-10

While the Economic Royalists, & Their Enforcers in Politics & Media, Live the High Life, Will "We, the People" Fade into Oblivion? 7-18-9=09

In the Near Future, the Global Economy will be Dominated by China & the Biosphere will be Turned Hostile by Global Warming, Unless ... 6-7-09

Beyond the Swells of Geithner's Credibility & the AIG Bonus Babies, There is a Global Storm Moving in Fast, Do Not Be Distracted, 3-24-09

The Delusional Opposition to the Economic Stimulus Package is a Precursor of What will Come When it is Time to Move on Climate Change Later This Year, 2-14-09

Economic Insecurity Update: Of Obama & Sullenberger; Meanwhile, Stiglitz says "Nationalization is the only answer. These banks are ... bankrupt." 2-7-09

FDR: I Welcome Their Hatred

Thom Hartmann & Van Jones: How do we expand and protect the middle class?

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to for the answer.

Richard Power's seventh book, Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself, is now available. Here are links to purchase it from, or from CreateSpace.

You can also visit Richard Power author's page at

Sunday, July 03, 2011

A Burden Borne on the Fourth of July. "Oh Say, Can You See By The Dawn's Early Light ...?" No, I Can't. Can You?

A Burden Borne on the Fourth of July. "Oh Say, Can You See By The Dawn's Early Light ...?" No, I Can't. Can You?

By Richard Power

Despite being shackled at birth to the abomination of slavery, crippled and malformed by the subjugation of women, and cursed with a heinous program of genocide; for over two centuries, the USA somehow offered humanity an audacious hope that the social contract could evolve, however painfully, however haltingly, into a true reflection of love's wisdom and reason's beauty.

From the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 to Glass-Stegall in 1933, from creation of the Social Security system in 1935 to Civil Rights Act of 1964, to the establishment of Medicare in 1965 and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970, the USA lurched forward.

But here on July 4, 2011, it is difficult not to conclude that the best of it all is behind us, that the US body politic is terminally ill, and that we have succumbed to the worst in ourselves; since we are allowing much if not all of this genuine, hard-won progress to die by a thousand cuts while our political debate drifts farther and farther from the realities of our circumstances.

Made in China, Made in USA

If the USA had any of its mojo left, you would not have to hear either of these disturbing stories from Words of Power, or from Democracy Now, or from the foreign press:

Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court to face charges of genocide in Darfur, has been warmly welcomed by China with the full pomp of a state reception. Telegraph/UK, 6-29-11

Myanmar's government has told pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi that her political party was acting "against the law" and warned her to stop its activity the same day she expressed "envy" for the Arab uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Asia Times, 7-1-11

Yes, the thugocracies in Karthoum and Naypyidaw have "Made in China" embossed on their posteriors. But our once great nation has no moral authority with which to denounce these products of "Red State" China, even if it were inclined to. After all, China ascended to global economic power on the broken backs of U.S. workers, courtesy of U.S. business executives and the U.S. political establishment, which does the bidding of those business executives.

There is, of course, something of significance that still bears the moniker, "Made in the USA" -- the tear gas canisters hurled against pro-democracy masses assembled in public squares in Cairo and Athens.

Climate of Fear, Consequences of Denial

Just as the USA has failed to lead the world on human rights, it has failed to lead the world on the Climate Crisis.

The Climate Crisis is our gravest threat, i.e., our #1 national security issue. I have been writing and speaking about this for over a decade. And it has apparently been a futile effort. The USA is still going in the wrong direction, even though study after study emphasizes the challenges and opportunities. (Yes, I said opportunities, because the Climate Crisis not only presents us with our greatest danger, it also presents us with our only hope -- to rescue our environment; and in the process, rescue our economy.)

Consider the Institute for Policy Studies' Report of the Task Force on a Unified Security Budget for the United States.

The report, released annually since 2004 and supported by a task force of prominent military and civilian experts, claims that "The Defense Department has begun to recognize climate change as a major security threat even as federal government funding to address the issue has begun to be cut in FY 2012." ... The overall budget dedicated to tackling climate change dropped from 33.2 billion dollars for FY 2011 to 27.6 billion dollars in FY 2012 – a nearly 17 percent decline in federal support, at a time when "substantially more support is needed", the report said. Pam Johnson, Climate Change May Pose Biggest Security Threat, Inter Press Service, 7-2-11

The facts on the ground are only going to deteriorate, across the expanse of the planet, failed state by failed state ...

AMY GOODMAN: Award winning author, journalist Christian Parenti has just come out with a book ... Let’s start with the title, Tropic of Chaos.
CHRISTIAN PARENTI: Well, it refers to the space between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, the countries where you see the most extreme effects of climate change kicking in, but where you find vulnerable populations, people who live close to the land or the sea and have a minimal margin of error when bad weather strikes. But also these are countries and economies that have been ravaged by the Cold War and neoliberal economic restructuring ... And now the weather associated with climate change, extreme weather such as the drought, punctuated by flooding in East Africa, is adding to this. And there’s this catastrophic convergence and climate change, the argument of the book is that climate change is very often, doesn’t just look like bad weather, it looks like ethnic violence or religious violence or banditry or civil war.
Democracy Now Interviews Christian Parenti, 6-30-11

But we do not have to wait for the blowback from those failed states and their displaced populations. The grim realities AND unforeseen consequences of the Climate Crisis are already upon us, whether we choose to come to grips with them or not. In the past weeks I have written to you about tornadoes that devastated Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri; now you can add the potential impact of the mega-fire lapping at Los Alamos Weapons Lab and the flood waters lapping at the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant to our list of climate-related woes.

And it is only going to get worse.

Scientists are to end their 20-year reluctance to link climate change with extreme weather – the heavy storms, floods and droughts which often fill news bulletins – as part of a radical departure from a previous equivocal position that many now see as increasingly untenable ... They believe that it is no longer plausible merely to claim that extreme weather is “consistent” with climate change. Instead, they intend to assess each unusual event in terms of the probability that it has been exacerbated or even caused by the global temperature increase seen over the past century. Independent/UK, 7-1-11

Humankind is now threatened by the simultaneous implosion, explosion, incineration, courtroom contempt and drowning of its most lethal industry. We know only two things for certain: worse is yet to come, and those in charge are lying about it---at least to the extent of what they actually know, which is nowhere near enough. Harvey Wasserman, Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages and We’ve Almost Lost Nebraska, Common Dreams, 6-29-11

Default Lies Within Ourselves

Meanwhile, the public discourse is preoccupied with the so-called Debt and Deficit Crisis and the Zombie Cult's terrorist threat to allow the country to go into default if we do not agree to the gutting of social services and the looting of social security and medicare, and other ways to further weaken the power of government, a power originally intended to protect people against predatory corporatism.

Here are some numbers about our foolish military adventures, our failure to double-down on science and our refusal to go green. These are numbers that are NOT being thrown around by the made-men (and women) of Beltwayisytan or the propapunditgandists of Infotainamentstan:

The final bill will run at least $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project "Costs of War" by Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. Reuters, 6-29-11

The United States spends $20.2 billion annually on air conditioning for troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan — more than NASA's entire budget, NPR reported Raw Story, 6-26-11

Web giant Google said Tuesday that the United States stands to lose up to $3.2 trillion in potential gross domestic product (GDP) growth if it further delays policies that encourage renewable energy technology Raw Story, 6-28-11

"Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light ...?"

No, I can't. Anymore.

Can you?

We have already defaulted - on the American Dream.

Conversations with Great Minds, pt.1 - Lester Brown - Is the global civilization failing?

Conversations with Great Minds, pt. 2 - Lester Brown - Is the global civilization failing?

Papantonio: Heartland Institute Kicks Off Climate Change Denial-a-Palooza

Our circumstances call for massive, non-violent EVOLUTION.

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to for the answer.

Richard Power's seventh book, Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself, is now available. Here are links to purchase it from, or from CreateSpace.

You can also visit Richard Power author's page at

Hard Rain Late Night: Jimi Hendrix - Star-Spangled Banner (Woodstock, 1969)

Hard Rain Late Night: Jimi Hendrix - Star-Spangled Banner (Woodstock, 1969)