Thursday, June 29, 2017

Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice ...


Vanity Fair (August 2017)
Time Magazine (Jul 3, 2017 Vol 190 No 1)
 If there were ever a doubt that a traitor now occupies the Oval Office, Tuesday’s assault on the exercise of a free press, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, should dispel it.
This particular attack was prompted by a screw-up at CNN, a favorite punching-bag for President Donald J. Trump, but was quickly extended to the whole of the political press. It’s a timeworn strategy of authoritarian regimes. As Jill Lepore recounted in the June 5 issue of the New Yorker, Edmund Taylor, writing in 1940 of Nazi strategy in France, reported on “the propaganda campaign waged by Nazi agents to divide the French people, by leaving them uncertain about what to believe, or whether to believe anything at all.” -- Adele M. Stans, Very Dangerous Times: The Media Is Under Attack by an Authoritarian White House, American Prospect via AlterNet, 7/28/17

Admittedly, the saying "one picture is worth a thousand words" has become somewhat hackneyed. It originated, after all, in the advertising business of the early 1920s. Fred R. Barnard, the writer who first proffered it, falsely framed it as a Chinese proverb, thinking it would have more gravitas that way. But it did stick in the collective psyche. Because it has some truth in it.  Not an absolute truth, of course, only a relative truth; it all depends on the words and pictures presented. 

In this post, I offer you two pictures and two thousand six hundred something words. In the hope that it all speaks to you in some meaningful way. One of the images is a recent Time Magazine cover (7/3/17), it shows Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, under his visage the caption reads: "The Lie Detector." The other image is a recent Vanity Fair cover (August 2017), it shows tennis superstar Serena Williams, naked and pregnant. Its caption reads: "Serena Williams' Love Match." 

What do you see when you look at these images? 

On the cover of Time, I see a man with a long distinguished career at the highest levels of federal law enforcement and a U.S. Marine whose heroism earned him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart; a worthy champion who has been tasked with investigating the gravest scandal to ever cast its pall over the White House. And on the Vanity Fair cover, the great Annie Leibovitz has captured the naked power and beauty of the pregnant Serena Williams. It is a profound cultural statement, it speaks for itself, but for me it stands as a potent antidote to the racist, misogynist backlash this nation is currently enduring. It is the image of a powerful woman of color, bold and free, and in full possession of her reproductive rights, the Feminine ascending.

In these two images, there is evidence that there is something worth fighting for. We shall be "INDIVISIBLE, with liberty and justice for all ..."

So Be It

Amidst the fear and loathing unleashed in the presidential election of 2016, I lost a blood relative to the Alt Right and a beloved friend to the Alt Left. Tragic yes, but so be it. I find myself on the barricades of a strange and remarkable alliance, a united front that I could not have imagined before the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey. This informal united front did not coalesce around ideology, it coalesced around simple sanity and common human decency, and it has one goal -- to protect this Union, to save it from a free fall into chaos and subversion. David Frum (G.W. Bush's former speechwriter), Richard Painter (G.W. Bush's former chief ethics lawyer), conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin and even MSNBC's Morning Joe Scarborough are all on the right side of this barricade; unfortunately, Oliver Stone, Mark Crispin Miller and some other friends and allies on the left are on the wrong side. Tragic yes, but so be it. In an eerie and ironic twist, the New York Times (which disgraced itself with its coverage of the stolen election of 2000) and the Washington Post (which never seemed to recover from Bill Casey's brain tumor) are doing hard-hitting, heavyweight investigative reporting on the Putin-Trump affair, while some bastions of independent progressive journalism, for example, Robert Parry's Consortium News have missed the real story here and wandered off into the ideological weeds. Tragic yes, but so be it. 

 Sociopathy as A Philosophy of Governance

As I wrote in January, the capital city of this great nation has fallen to a legion of deeply disturbed men. (Yes, men, privileged white madmen.) This is sociopathy as a philosophy of governance, from allowing "hunters" to slaughter mama grizzlies and their cubs while still in hibernation, to undeservedly removing Iraq and Burma from the list of states still utilizing child soldiers, and moving to "dismantle the federal clean water rule, which protects waterways that provide drinking water for about a third of the US population." TrumpRyanMcConnellCare is nothing more than a weaponized tax cut targeting woman, people of color, the working poor, children, the unemployed, the chronically ill and the elderly. It is an act of domestic terrorism. Trump’s declaration that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is a crime against nature and a crime against humanity; it is an act of global terrorism, targeting Gaia Herself, and therefore all nations, all species, and all eco-systems. Unspeakable acts, incomprehensible cruelty.  Anti-woman, anti-nature, anti-science, anti-reason, anti-love, anti-life, and what does “live” spell backwards? Evil.

Worse than Watergate or Iran-Contra, Much Worse

The Putin-Trump affair is worse than either Watergate or Iran-Contra, much worse.  The Putin-Trump affair is more like 9/11, it is not a just a scandal, it is a direct attack on this country. 

On 9/11, the World Trade Center was destroyed, thousands of innocents were slaughtered and we were all plunged into an alternate reality. Much war ensued in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In the election of 2016, our democratic institutions were high-jacked, we were again dragged through the looking glass, farther and deeper than before, and many more innocents may soon be dying, in countless ways, and whether or not war ensues overseas, civil war is dangerously close here at home. 

On 9/11, this nation was attacked by Middle Eastern terrorists seeking to force the U.S. to remove its military bases from Saudia Arabia. In the 2016 election, this nation was attacked by Russian agents following Putin's direct orders to hurt Clinton and help Trump. It could be confidently alleged that Bush-Cheney insecurity team were criminally negligent in the weeks and months before 9/11; they clearly, brazenly ignored dire and repeated warnings from both U.S. and allied intelligence. (This  is all documented in the Words of Power archives.) But arguably, the Trumpster Fire and the Zombie Cult may be guilty of even worse in the months before election day. 

Of course, in July 2017, Trump openly encouraged the Russian hacking during his campaign.  
That profoundly unsavory remark has been widely reported, but the misdeeds of Ryan and McConnnel in that same time frame are perhaps of even graver significance.

In June 2016, Speaker Ryan was secretly recorded telling fellow Zombie Cult congressmen that mention of Trump being on Putin's payroll was "off the record" and there were to be "no leaks."
In September 2016, high-level national security officials from the Obama administration met with congressional leadership on the crisis, but Senate Majority Leader McConnell stood in the way of any meaningful response, choosing politics over national security.
  • The meeting devolved into a partisan squabble. “The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous, Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault, Washington Post, 6/23/17
We have been lurching toward a second Civil War, this one with a Neo-Confederacy underwritten by right-wing oligarchs, ever since Nixon's successful Southern Strategy (1968 and 1972), which was followed soon after by the "Reagan Revolution" (1980 and 1984). With the election of the first African American President in 2008 and his re-election in 2012, the drift toward a Second Civil War gained momentum. (It all has as much to do with greed as it does with racism and misogyny. It all has as much to do with racism and misogyny as it does with greed.) 

In 2016 it took an even more dangerous and destructive turn as the Neo-Confederacy welcomed the Union's main geopolitical adversary as its ally, yes, the devil that is Zombie Cult and its Death Eater Overlords willingly made a deal with the devil, i.e., the Trumpster Fire knowing full-well that Putin was Trump's puppetmaster. We can only surmise that for them enabling espionage, sabotage and treason was somehow a less egregious wrong than allowing the nation's populace to follow up the first African American president with the first woman president, and that fracturing the Western Alliance, weakening NATO and isolating the U.S.A. in the world was somehow an acceptable price to pay for fulfilling Ryan's frat boy dreams of dismantling Medicaid and other Great Society programs. Yes, this is sociopathy as a philosophy of governance.

#RESIST

And so here we are ...  If this treachery and subterfuge is allowed to stand, our way of life will have come to an ignoble end ... Bear witness. Lean forward ...

Below, I have included excerpts from two very important pieces, along with links to the full texts. The first is from David Corn of Mother Jones, and the second from Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous of the Washington Post. We owe a debt of gratitude to these real deal journalists and their fellow fourth estate heroes. They are working in a dangerous space.

-- Richard Power 

The Trump-Russia scandal is the subject of multiple investigations that may or may not unearth new revelations, but this much is already certain: Donald Trump is guilty. We don’t need additional information about the Russian covert scheme to undermine the 2016 campaign, or about the curious interactions between Team Trump and Russia, or about Trump pressuring and then firing FBI Director James Comey, to reach the judgment that the president of the United States engaged in wrongdoing. From the start, Trump and his crew have claimed they had nothing to do with the hack-and-leak operation mounted by Russian intelligence to help Trump nab the presidency. They have dismissed the matter as fake news, and they have insisted there is no issue because there has been no proof that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia. In May, for instance, Trump proclaimed, “Believe me, there’s no collusion.” Nothing to see; move along. Explicit collusion may yet be proved by the FBI investigation overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller or by other ongoing probes. But even if it is not, a harsh verdict can be pronounced: Trump actively and enthusiastically aided and abetted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plot against America. This is the scandal. It already exists—in plain sight. As soon as the news broke a year ago that the Russians had penetrated the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems, Trump launched a campaign of denial and distraction. For months, he refused to acknowledge the Kremlin’s role. He questioned expert and government findings that pinned the blame on Moscow. He refused to condemn Putin. Far from treating these acts of information warfare seriously, he attempted to politicize and delegitimize the evidence. Meanwhile, he and his supporters encouraged more Russian hacking. All told, Trump provided cover for a foreign government’s attempt to undermine American democracy. Through a propaganda campaign of his own, he helped Russia get away with it. -- David Corn, Trump Is Already Guilty of Aiding Putin’s Attack on America, Mother Jones, July-August 2017

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides. Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race. But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump. At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent. Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks. But at the highest levels of government, among those responsible for managing the crisis, the first moment of true foreboding about Russia’s intentions arrived with that CIA intelligence. The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid ... Jeh Johnson, the homeland-security secretary, was responsible for finding out whether the government could quickly shore up the security of the nation’s archaic patchwork of voting systems. He floated the idea of designating state mechanisms “critical infrastructure,” a label that would have entitled states to receive priority in federal cybersecurity assistance, putting them on a par with U.S. defense contractors and financial networks. On Aug. 15, Johnson arranged a conference call with dozens of state officials, hoping to enlist their support. He ran into a wall of resistance. The reaction “ranged from neutral to negative,” Johnson said in congressional testimony Wednesday. Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, used the call to denounce Johnson’s proposal as an assault on state rights. “I think it was a politically calculated move by the previous administration,” Kemp said in a recent interview, adding that he remains unconvinced that Russia waged a campaign to disrupt the 2016 race. “I don’t necessarily believe that,” he said. Stung by the reaction, the White House turned to Congress for help, hoping that a bipartisan appeal to states would be more effective. In early September, Johnson, Comey and Monaco arrived on Capitol Hill in a caravan of black SUVs for a meeting with 12 key members of Congress, including the leadership of both parties. The meeting devolved into a partisan squabble. “The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous, Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault, Washington Post, 6/23/17






Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Thirteenth Chime of the Clock


Harriet Tubman, c. 1885
Photo:
H. Seymour Squyer, Source: National Portrait Gallery
If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there's shouting after you, keep going. Don't ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
-- Harriet Tubman

"It's the language of the underworld, it's the language of racketeering, it's not the language of a President who is supposed to be enforcing the rule of law. It's staggering. I mean for all the bizarre things that have happened in these 110 or 111 days, this is really like the thirteenth chime of a clock that makes the whole thing come apart." -- Harvard University constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe on Lawrence O'Donnell's Last Word, MSNBC (5/11/17)

Harriet Tubman knew. "Don't ever stop. Keep going."

If the U.S.A. (and its Constitution) somehow survive this crisis, it will be because so many among us found their own inner Harriet Tubman before it was too late, so far it has been a resistance led by intelligence officers, law enforcement officials, journalists, federal judges and a multitude of citizens from all walks of life flooding into the streets and into their representatives' town halls.

"Don't ever stop. Keep going."

This last few days deserves to be documented, they may prove pivotal.

On Monday, Sally Yates finally got to testify. Yates was the Acting Attorney General when she was fired by you know who, after twenty-seven years of exemplary service in the U.S. DoJ, because she refused to enforce his unconstitutional travel ban (her view was confirmed by the rulings of three federal court justices, BTW). But on this day, Flynn was testifying to the Senate on you know who's disgraced National Insecurity Advisory, Michael Flynn.
Jules Joseph Lefebvre - The Truth (1870)
On Tuesday, you know who fired FBI Director James Comey.
  • Not since Watergate. How else can one start an article about President Donald Trump summarily firing FBI chief James Comey? On March 20, Comey appeared before the House intelligence committee and took the unusual step of publicly disclosing that his bureau had been investigating interactions between Trump associates and Russians since last July. This was a historic moment. First Comey said that Trump's allegation that President Barack Obama had wiretapped him in Trump Tower was complete bunk. Then he noted the bureau had been conducting a top-secret counterintelligence operation targeting people close to Trump. So the FBI chief was calling the president a liar and saying his associates were being probed. He was a threat to Trump and the White House. "FBI agents value their integrity more than anything and if nothing else, this is a challenge to the integrity of whatever investigation Trump is trying to stifle," says former FBI agent David Gomez ... -- David Corn, Trump Goes Full Watergate—and Threatens Russia Investigation, Mother Jones, 5/9/17
On Wednesday, by all appearances (courtesy of a TASS photographer), you know who enjoyed a bizarre, celebratory moment in the Oval Office, with two high-ranking Russian officials.
On Thursday, you know who who sat down for an in-depth interview with NBC's Lester Holt, and doubled down on the bizarre by sharing his inner dialogue on Comey, the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, etc. Soon after, speaking through associates who in turn spoke to the New York Times, Comey almost instantly refuted you know who's "memory" of certain encounters.
  • Only seven days after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president, James B. Comey has told associates, the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief. The conversation that night in January, Mr. Comey now believes, was a harbinger of his downfall this week as head of the F.B.I., according to two people who have heard his account of the dinner. As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him. Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense. The White House says this account is not correct. And Mr. Trump, in an interview on Thursday with NBC, described a far different dinner conversation with Mr. Comey in which the director asked to have the meeting and the question of loyalty never came up. It was not clear whether he was talking about the same meal, but they are believed to have had only one dinner together. By Mr. Comey’s account, his answer to Mr. Trump’s initial question apparently did not satisfy the president, the associates said. Later in the dinner, Mr. Trump again said to Mr. Comey that he needed his loyalty. Mr. Comey again replied that he would give him “honesty” and did not pledge his loyalty, according to the account of the conversation. -- Michael S. Schmidt, In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred, New York Times, 5/11/17
On Friday, you know who's entanglements with a certain foreign power began to come into sharper focus. Journalists doing real journalism are the life-blood of democratic societies.

ABC News broke a damning story.
  • The lawyers who wrote a letter saying President Trump had no significant business ties to Russia work for a law firm that has extensive ties to Russia and received a “Russia Law Firm of the Year” award in 2016.Sheri Dillon and William Nelson, tax partners at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which has served as tax counsel to Trump and the Trump Organization since 2005, wrote a letter in March released by the White House on Friday stating that a review of the last 10 years of Trump’s tax returns “do not reflect” ties to Russia “with a few exceptions.” ... According to the firm’s website, its Moscow office includes more than 40 lawyers and staff who are “well known in the Russian market, and have a deep familiarity with the local legislation, practices, and key players.” The firm boasts of being “particularly adept” at advising clients on “sanction matters." Following the release of the letter, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) noted the firm’s connection to Russia, calling it “unreal." -- Pete Madden and Matthew Mosk, Donald Trump's tax law firm has 'deep' ties to Russia, ABC News, 5/12/17
Zembla, the Dutch TV documentary program, released its Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians,  Zembla, on You Tube, it had originally aired last week in the Netherlands.
  • Donald Trump's business partners have included Russian oligarchs and convicted mobsters, which could make the president guilty of criminal racketeering charges. That's one of the eyebrow-raising takeaways from a 45-minute Dutch documentary that aired last week, titled The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians. The first installment of the investigative reporting series, produced by Zembla, does what no American TV network has yet dared to do—take a deep look at the organized crime links and corrupt international business strategies used by Trump and his partners in his properties. It starts with Trump's luxury tower in the lower Manhattan neighborhood of Soho, where his partner in building that highrise was Bayrock LLC, whose primary investor was a Russian mining oligarch and another major investor was a convicted Russian mobster named Felix Sater. "Why did 60 Minutes pass on the Bayrock story in 2016? Why did ABC News' Brian Ross pass on the Trump Soho [Tower] story in 2015? Why has no major network done any kind of documentary on what the Dutch just did?" asks James Henry, a corporate lawyer-turned-financial investigative reporter who writes for DCReport.org. Henry is one of several investigative reporters whose work on Trump's shady business empire is profiled in the film. The documentary shows how Trump not only helped hide the identity of his mobster business partner, prompting an ongoing lawsuit accusing Trump of criminal racketeering, but also how Trump used that internal company crisis to demand more money. It goes on to show how Russian oligarchs saw Trump's properties as a way to get their money out of Russia, and describes the international financial networks that are akin to a pyramid scheme for money laundering. It also notes how the law firm of Trump's political adviser, former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani, helped set up a money-laundering account in the Netherlands used by Bayrock. -- Steven Rosenfeld, Donald Trump's Financial Ties to Russian Oligarchs and Mobsters Detailed In Explosive New Documentary from the Netherlands, AlterNet, 5/12/17 
NOTE: Zembla's Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians You Tube video is embedded below.  

So what happens now? After these last few days? Is the Republican Party anything more than a Zombie Cult in thralldom to its Death-Eater Overlords? Is there any shred of conscience or empathy or true patriotism left?  Or is sociopathy as a philosophy of governance all they have to offer?

Consider Paul Krugman's sage ruminations on "Trumpistan."
  • Item: Trump demanded loyalty — not to his office, but to the person of the president — from James Comey. Item: Trump admitted on live TV that he fired Comey to stop the ongoing investigation into Russia’s connections with his campaign. Item: a woman was arrested for laughing at a Trump administration official. Item: Another Trump official has commended police for arresting a reporter who shouted questions at him. Item: Republicans in Congress show absolutely no inclination to do anything about any of this. So, has America already become an authoritarian regime where law enforcement serves the supreme leader, not the Constitution, where questioning or even ridiculing the regime’s officials has become a crime, and in which the legislature is just a rubber-stamping operation? We don’t know the answer yet; we’ll have to see how things unfold in the next few weeks. But future historians may well record that American democracy died in May 2017. -- Paul Krugman, Trumpistan, New York Times, 5/12/17
On Saturday, in the Washington Post, Laurence Tribe offered a compelling argument for impeachment.
  • Now the country is faced with a president whose conduct strongly suggests that he poses a danger to our system of government. Ample reasons existed to worry about this president, and to ponder the extraordinary remedy of impeachment, even before he fired FBI Director James B. Comey and shockingly admitted on national television that the action was provoked by the FBI’s intensifying investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia. Even without getting to the bottom of what Trump dismissed as “this Russia thing,” impeachable offenses could theoretically have been charged from the outset of this presidency. One important example is Trump’s brazen defiance of the foreign emoluments clause, which is designed to prevent foreign powers from pressuring U.S. officials to stray from undivided loyalty to the United States. Political reality made impeachment and removal on that and other grounds seem premature. No longer. To wait for the results of the multiple investigations underway is to risk tying our nation’s fate to the whims of an authoritarian leader. -- Laurence Tribe, "Trump Must Be impeached, Here’s Why," Washington Post, 5/13/17 
VIDEO: Zembla's Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians
VIDEO: Laurence Tribe - A series of high crimes and misdemeanors (Lawrence O'Donnel's The Last Word, MSNBC, 5/11/17

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ecocide = Genocide, Crimes Against Nature = Crimes Against Humanity

Arnold Böcklin - Nymph (1875)
From coast to coast and across continents, people marched for environmental justice on Saturday, sending a clear message to the climate-denying Trump administration: we'll fight your fossil fuel-soaked agenda every step of the way. Organizers said that an estimated 200,000 participated in the flagship Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., while tens of thousands more demonstrated at more than 350 solidarity events in cities across the United States as well as in Asia and Europe. "I can't begin to describe how long and lovely the #climatemarch is," 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben wrote on Twitter. "It goes on essentially forever." -- Deirdre Fulton, In Photos: Peoples Climate March Draws 'One Hell of A Lot of People', Common Dreams, 4/29/17

Yes, on the hundredth day of the Trumpster Fire that rages in the White House, two hundred thousand evolutionary heroes took to the streets of our fallen capitol for the People's Climate March.

Meanwhile, as the sands in the hour glass dwindle, our planetary emergency deepens ...

SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO, engaged in deep conversations about risks and threats with other security and intelligence professionals working in government and industry, I insisted that not only was Climate Change the number one national/global security issue (rivaled only by nuclear proliferation), I also insisted that Climate Change would warp and aggravate all the risks and threats from one end of the spectrum to the other, especially Terrorism. Duh. I would have preferred to be wrong. Sadly, over the decades, I have been right too often and about too much. 
  • Climate change-fueled natural disasters and resource shortages will strengthen recruiting efforts of terror groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, according to a new report commissioned by the German government. “As the climate is changing, so too are the conditions within which non-state armed groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS operate,” the report, issued by the think tank Adelphi, said in its executive summary. “Climate change contributes to creating a fragile environment in which these groups can thrive.” Terror groups, according to the report, are increasingly using natural resources — like water — as a “weapon of war.” In 2015, for instance, ISIS closed the gates of a dam to more easily attack enemies downtstream. ISIS has also used water to flood areas to force people to leave their homes, making an area more susceptible to territorial control. Climate-fueled resource scarcity, the report argues, will likely only contribute to the power of non-state armed groups that control a particular resource. The report also points to diminishing natural resources as fueling an environment ripe for terror recruitment. Africa’s Lake Chad, for instance, provides economic livelihood for nearly 80 percent of the population that lives in its basin. As the lake shrinks, economic opportunities for people in that area also decline, making the population susceptible to recruitment by Boko Haram. -- Natasha Geiling, Climate change will fuel terrorism, report warns, Think Progress, 4/20/17
Crimes against nature = crimes against humanity.

Those who spread climate change denialism are as guilty as radio journalist Georges Ruggiu imprisoned for his on-air role in the Rwandan genocide.

Those who thwart or roll back governmental climate action are as guilty for what is to come as Pol Pot was for the Killing Fields of Kampuchea.
  • In other words, think of the developments in those three African lands and Yemen as previews of what far larger parts of our world could look like in another quarter-century or so: a world in which hundreds of millions of people are at risk of annihilation from disease or starvation, or are on the march or at sea, crossing borders, heading for the shantytowns of major cities, looking for refugee camps or other places where survival appears even minimally possible. If the world’s response to the current famine catastrophe and the escalating fears of refugees in wealthy countries are any indication, people will die in vast numbers without hope of help. In other words, failing to halt the advance of climate change -- to the extent that halting it, at this point, remains within our power -- means complicity with mass human annihilation. We know, or at this point should know, that such scenarios are already on the horizon. We still retain the power, if not to stop them, then to radically ameliorate what they will look like, so our failure to do all we can means that we become complicit in what -- not to mince words -- is clearly going to be a process of climate genocide. How can those of us in countries responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions escape such a verdict? And if such a conclusion is indeed inescapable, then each of us must do whatever we can to reduce our individual, community, and institutional contributions to global warming. Even if we are already doing a lot -- as many of us are -- more is needed. Unfortunately, we Americans are living not only in a time of climate crisis, but in the era of President Trump, which means the federal government and its partners in the fossil fuel industry will be wielding their immense powers to obstruct all imaginable progress on limiting global warming. They will be the true perpetrators of climate genocide. As a result, the rest of us bear a moral responsibility not just to do what we can at the local level to slow the pace of climate change, but also to engage in political struggle to counteract or neutralize the acts of Trump and company. Only dramatic and concerted action on multiple fronts can prevent the human disasters now unfolding in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen from becoming the global norm. -- Michael T. Klare, Climate Change as Genocide: Inaction Equals Annihilation, TomDispatch via AlterNet, 4/29/17  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Earth Day 2017: “We are at a critical juncture. Science is under attack ...”

March for Science. Earth 2017. San Francisco
The foundation of empire is art and science. Remove them or degrade them, and the empire is no more. Empire follows art and not vice versa as Englishmen suppose. William Blake
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_science.html

The foundation of empire is art and science. Remove them or degrade them, and the empire is no more.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_science.html
The foundation of empire is art and science. Remove them or degrade them, and the empire is no more. Empire follows art and not vice versa as Englishmen suppose. William Blake
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_science.html
"The foundation of empire is art and science.
Remove them, or degrade them, and the empire is no more."
-- William Blake

Science is not politics. Gaia is not a theory. Gaia is our world. We "live and move and have our being" within Her. We march for Science. We march for Women. We march for Gaia. We march for Reason. We march for Love. We march against Sociopathy as a philosophy of governance. We march against the Zombie Cult (Ryan, McConnell, et al). We march against the Death-Eater Overlords (Koch, Adelson, Mercer, et al). We march against the Mad King (you know who). -- Richard Power

March for Science. Earth Day 2017. San Francisco.
Scientists in cities around the globe are celebrating Earth Day by taking to the streets to defend their work from the heightened political attacks of the anti-science Trump administration. Saturday's marches in over 600 cities around the world—including a massive march in Washington, D.C.—mark an unprecedented mobilization of researchers and experts who are fighting back against President Donald Trump's war on science .. -- Nika Knight, March for Science Sweeps Cities Around the World. Common Dreams, 4/22/17

Thousands of people gathered in the rain Saturday on the soggy grounds of the Washington Monument to turn Earth Day into an homage to science. After four hours of speeches and musical performances, they marched down Constitution Avenue to the foot of Capitol Hill, chanting “Build labs, not walls!” and “Hey, Trump, have you heard, you can’t silence every nerd!” ... “We are at a critical juncture. Science is under attack,” said Cara Santa Maria, a science communicator who is one of several emcees of the four-hour rally that kicked off at 10 a.m. “The very idea of evidence and logic and reason is being threatened by individuals and interests with the power to do real harm.” She went on: “We’re gathered here today to fight for science. [The crowd cheered.] We’re gathered to fight for education. [Cheer.] To fight for knowledge. [Cheer.] And to fight for planet Earth.” [Cheer.] -- Joel Achenbach, Ben Guarino and, Sarah Kapla, Why people are marching for science: ‘There is no Planet B’, Washington Post, 4/22/17 , Washington Post, 4/22/17

March for Science, Earth Day 2017. San Francisco.
Neil deGrasse Tyson has an urgent message for Americans, especially for some of our most powerful politicians. In a video posted April 19 on his Facebook page, which already has more than 16 million views, the famed astrophysicist warns that science denial could ultimately destroy democracy. Alongside the video post, Tyson wrote: "Dear Facebook Universe, I offer this four-minute video on 'Science in America' containing what may be the most important words I have ever spoken. As always, but especially these days, keep looking up." The video shows how the U.S. rose from—as Tyson calls it— a "backwoods country" to "one of the greatest nations the world has ever known" because of science. "But in this, the 21st century, when it comes time to make decisions about science, it seems to me that people have lost the ability to judge what is true and what is not," he laments. "When you have an established scientific emergent truth it is true, whether or not you believe in it," he says. "And the sooner you understand that, the faster we can get on with the political conversations about how to solve the problems that face us." The video then shows debates on heated scientific topics, including GMOs, climate change and vaccines, as well as a clip of Vice President Mike Pence, then a congressman, saying on the House floor, "Let us demand that educators around America teach evolution not as fact, but as theory." Tyson says this shift in attitudes is a "recipe for the complete dismantling of our informed democracy."-- Lorraine Chow, Neil deGrasse Tyson Slams Science Deniers for 'Dismantling of Our informed Democracy', EcoWatch, 4/21/17

VIDEO: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Science in America, "What may be the most important words I have ever spoken ..."
 


March for Science, Earth Day 2017. San Francisco.
March for Science, Earth Day 2017. San Francisco.




Friday, March 31, 2017

Usurper

Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17

Excerpt from the opening remarks of Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), ranking member of U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, on the first day of hearings into the subversion of the 2016 election:

As this hearing begins, let’s take a minute to review what we know: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a deliberate campaign carefully constructed to undermine our election. First, Russia struck at our political institutions by electronically breaking into the headquarters of one of our political parties and stealing vast amounts of information. Russian operatives also hacked emails to steal personal messages and other information from individuals ranging from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta to former Secretary of State Colin Powell. This stolen information was then "weaponized." We know that Russian intelligence used the “Guccifer 2.0” persona and others like WikiLeaks and seemingly choreographed times that would cause maximum damage to one candidate. They did this with an unprecedented level of sophistication about American presidential politics that should be a line of inquiry for us on this committee and candidly, while it helped one candidate this time, they are not favoring one party over another, and consequently should be a concern for all of us. Second, Russia continually sought to diminish and undermine our trust in the American media by blurring our faith in what is true and what is not. Russian propaganda outlets like RT and Sputnik successfully produced and peddled disinformation to American audiences in pursuit of Moscow’s preferred outcome. This Russian "propaganda on steroids" was designed to poison the national conversation in America. The Russians employed thousands of paid Internet trolls and bot-nets to push-out disinformation and fake news at high volume, focusing this material onto your Twitter and Facebook feeds and flooding our social media with misinformation. This fake news and disinformation was then hyped by the American media echo chamber and our own social media networks to reach – and potentially influence – millions of Americans. This is not innuendo or false allegations. This is not fake news. This is actually what happened to us, and understanding all aspects of this attack is important. -- , Watch the Top Democrat on the Senate Intel Committee Explain the Trump-Russia Scandal, Mother Jones, 3-31-17

From Laurence Tribe (Harvard University), one of our preeminent constitutional law scholars, on the day after the first U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the subversion of the 2016 election:

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Dispatches from the Ancient Future, A Compass for the Pathless Path, New Language for A New Reality

All Five Volumes of Richard Power's Primal Reality Series are Available
from Amazon and Barnes and Noble in Both Softcover and Kindle Editions

The five volumes of Richard Power's Primal Reality series constitute a significant contribution to the emerging global wisdom tradition of the 21st Century.

Several overarching themes frame this work:
  • The evolution of yoga and the yoga of evolution. 
  • A Tantric vision of birth, death and transformation, in which human incarnation is experienced as divine revelation. 
  • The ascendancy of the feminine in psyche (human and divine).
  •  The poetics of our intimate, creative relationship with the vast planetary intelligence within which we live, move and have our being.
  • A contemplation of the human condition in the early 21st century. 
  • A celebration of some simple truths that could help redeem us and heal our world, e.g. altruism and sustainability as spiritual (and existential) imperatives 
  • A call to the great shift required of us if our species is to evolve, i.e., the great shift to a green global civilization.
Interspersed between each movement of this sweeping exploration, Power has inserted batches of his "epiphanies." Existential. Somatic. Reality-based. Experiential. New language for perennial truths. Dispatches from the Ancient Future. An inventory of open secrets. A compass for the pathless path.

The Primal Reality series includes (in reverse chronological order
These five volumes can be read stand-alone or in any chosen sequence. They can also be read by simply opening to random pages or in designated order from start to finish. By design. The choice is yours. All five volumes are available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.
   
#shadow #psyche #soma #pathofanevolutionary #passionofthepoet #lifeofayogi #pearlofgreatprice #pachamama #thegreatwheelturns #notruthoutsidethegatesofeden #tantrikaknows

Friday, February 03, 2017

Simone Weil: "The Needs of a Human Being are Sacred. Their Satisfaction Cannot be Subordinated Either to Reasons of State, or to Any Consideration of Money ..."


Simone Weil in 1921.

Notebooks of Simone Weil. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1956
Simone Weil (February 3,1909 - August 24,1943). French philosopher, anarchist, feminist, christian mystic. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, Weil joined a French-speaking unit of an anarchist militia and fought the fascists. In 1942, she helped her family to safety in the U.S.A, and then returned to Europe and joined the French Resistance to fight against the Nazis. Physically frail and otherworldly, Weil contracted tuberculosis and tragically died at the age of thirty-four. Albert Camus called her "the only great spirit of our time." Writing in the New York Review of Books (February 1,1963), the brilliant Susan Sontag rightfully placed Weil in the company of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Genet; "their unhealthiness," she sagely observed, "is their soundness." Sontag cited "the originality of her psychological insight, the passion and subtlety of her theological imagination, the fecundity of her exegetical talents ...", and referred to her as a "person who is rightly regarded as one of the most uncompromising and troubling witnesses to the modern travail of the spirit."

Here are some of Simone Weil's haunting insights:

Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.
-- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace (1948)

The needs of a human being are sacred. Their satisfaction cannot be subordinated either to reasons of state, or to any consideration of money, nationality, race, or colour, or to the moral or other value attributed to the human being in question, or to any consideration whatsoever.
-- Simone Weil, Statement of Human Obligations (1943)

Force is as pitiless to the man who possesses it, or thinks he does, as it is to its victims; the second it crushes, the first it intoxicates. The truth is, nobody really possesses it. -- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace (1948)

In order to be exercised, the intelligence requires to be free to express itself without control by any authority. There must therefore be a domain of pure intellectual research, separate but accessible to all, where no authority intervenes. -- Simone Weil, Statement Of Obligations (1943)

Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.
-- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace.

At the bottom of the heart of every human being, from earliest infancy until the tomb, there is something that goes on indomitably expecting, in the teeth of all experience of crimes committed, suffered, and witnessed, that good and not evil will be done to him. It is this above all that is sacred in every human being. The good is the only source of the sacred. There is nothing sacred except the good and what pertains to it.
-- Simone Weil, Human Personality (1943)

When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie, then we know that it is really a door.
-- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace (1948)'


Related Words of Power Herstory Posts:
Simone de Beauvoir: "... And Truth Rewarded Me."
Ursula Le Guin: "To Light A Candle is to Cast A Shadow.
Susan Sontag: "In Place of A Hermeneutics, We Need An Erotics of Art."
Doris Lessing: "It is the Storyteller, the Dream-Maker, the Myth-Maker, that is our Phoenix ..."
Joan Didion: “I Know What 'Nothing' Means, and Keep On Playing.

Simone Weil
Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Leaning Into the Great Shift: "Freedom is What You Do with What has Been Done to You."


Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17
The Force is with me, and I am one with the Force. -- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

"Freedom," John Paul Sartre (greatest Western philosopher of the 20th Century) declared, "is what you do with what has been done to you."

On 1/20/17, our nation's capitol city fell into the grasp of deeply disturbed men who want to drag us all into a dystopian Handmaid's Tale / Fahrenheit 451 future: anti-woman, anti-nature, anti-science, anti-democracy, anti-reason, anti-humanism.

On 1/21/17, the great cities of America (and the rest of the world) responded. In Washington, D.C. itself, at least half a million dissenters celebrated true freedom, probably many more, and certainly thrice as many as had gathered for the travesty of the previous day. Likewise, the protests in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco were bigger than the travesty of the previous day.

Marches and rallies were also held in Boston, Seattle, Denver, Miami, Houston and elsewhere across the U.S.A., as well as throughout the world, e.g., in London, Paris, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Mexico City, Melbourne and Berlin. Millions and millions of human beings, really, at over 670 events.

Here in San Francisco, in the pouring rain, such a multitude, so many powerful women, so many brave children, so much love, so much peace, so much clarity of mind, so much rich diversity. 

This post includes some images from actions in San Francisco on both 1/20/17 and 1/21/17, and embedded videos of three powerful statements delivered at the Women's March on Washington, one from Madonna, one from Ashley Judd and one from Alicia Keys.

Remember, corporations are not people, money is not speech and 2 + 2 = 4. 

May the goddess of liberty prevail. May the patriarchy be overthrown in the collective psyche. 

May altruism and sustainability be exalted as spiritual and existential imperatives. 

May the great shift accelerate. 

May the vajra of the heart be realized in this lifetime. 

-- Richard Power
Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Anti-Inauguration, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Anti-Inauguration, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Anti-Inauguration, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Anti-Inauguration, San Francisco, 1/21/17

Anti-Inauguration, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Anti-Inauguration, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Madonna: Welcome to the revolution of love, to the rebellion, to our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny, where not just women are in danger but all marginalized people, where being uniquely different right now might truly be considered a crime. It took this horrific moment of darkness to wake us the f--- up ... To our detractors that insist that this march will never add up to anything, f--- you ... It seems as though we had all slipped into a false sense of comfort, that justice would prevail, that good would win in the end. Well, good did not win this election, but good will win in the end. So what today means is that we are far from the end. Today marks the beginning, the beginning of our story. The revolution starts here, the fight for the right to be free, to be who we are, to be equal. Let’s march together through this darkness and with each step know that we are not afraid, that we are not alone, that we will not back down, that there is power in our unity and that no opposing force stands a chance in the face of true solidarity ... To our detractors that insist that this march will never add up to anything, fuck you. Fuck you ... We choose love! We choose love!

VIDEO: Madonna, Women's March on Washington, 1/21/17


Ashley Judd (reciting Nina Donovan's poem "I Am A Nasty Woman"): I am a nasty woman. I'm not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust. A man whose words are a diss track to America. Electoral college-sanctioned, hate-speech contaminating this national anthem. I'm not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city. Maybe the South actually is going to rise again. Maybe for some it never really fell. Blacks are still in shackles and graves, just for being black. Slavery has been reinterpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin. I am not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag, and I didn't know devils could be resurrected but I feel Hitler in these streets. A mustache traded for a toupee. Nazis renamed the Cabinet Electoral Conversion Therapy, the new gas chambers shaming the gay out of America, turning rainbows into suicide notes. I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege ... I am not as nasty as using little girls like "Pokemon" before their bodies have even developed. I am not as nasty as your daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes. Yeah, I'm a nasty woman — a loud, vulgar, proud woman ...

VIDEO: Ashley Judd, Women's March on Washington


VIDEO: Alicia Keys, Women's March on Washington, 1/21/17 

Alicia Keys (singing "Girl on Fire"): She's just a girl, and she's on fire/ Hotter than a fantasy, longer like a highway / She's living in a world, and it's on fire  ... 


Corporations are not people. Money is not speech. Healthcare is a human right. 2 + 2 = 4.

Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.

Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Anti-Inauguration, San Francisco, 1/21/17
Woman's March, San Francisco, 1/21/17