Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Lughnasadh 2018: Resistance = rEvolution

Thomas Cole - The Course of Empire: Desolation (1836)
  • "Drought turned the surrounding woodland into fuel, strong winds fanned the flames and in just a few hours this week fired consumed the Greek coastal resort of Mati, outside Athens. Homes and hotels were scorched or destroyed, more than 80 people died and many hundreds ran to the sea, seeking refuge from the flames. Mati is the deadliest wildfire of 2018 so far, but the northern hemisphere fire season now extends from June until October, and more death and destruction is inevitable as one of the strongest, longest-lasting global heatwaves in decades continues to envelop countries from Siberia to the Mediterranean, from North America to East Asia. Temperature records keep getting surpassed, and there’s little rain in the forecast for many regions. People have had to be evacuated from Yosemite National Park, Sweden has lost an estimated 30,000 hectares of forest and large areas of bone-dry Latvia, Italy, Finland and Norway have all been blanketed in smoke. The 2018 wildfire season has been dramatic, prompting headlines about the world being on fire, but it is only unusual in that so many places are experiencing major fires at the same time, scientists say. Large blazes wracked Indonesia in 2015, Canada and Spain in 2016, and Chile and Portugal in 2017. In Russia, villages, farmland and more than 1,100 square miles of forest were destroyed in 2010, and again in 2015."  -- John Vidal, Fire, Fire Everywhere: The 2018 Global Wildfire Season Is Already Disastrous, Huffington Post, 7/28/18  

    "The undocumented immigrant from Honduras sobbed as she told an attorney Tuesday how federal authorities took her daughter while she breastfed the child in a detention center, where she was awaiting prosecution for entering the country illegally. When the woman resisted, she was handcuffed, Natalia Cornelio, the attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, recalled from her interview with the woman, who had been detained under the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy to refer anyone caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution ... Some parents who are under arrest tell public defenders they don't know what happened to their children, Nogueras said. Some parents also claim they have been told their children are being taken to be bathed or cleaned up, then the adults don't see them again.  'The government is essentially torturing people by doing this,' Cornelio said. In an interview outside the federal courthouse in McAllen, Nogueras said: 'It depends on who the agent is on that day. They'll be told, 'We're going to separate your kids so they can bathe.' And that's not true.'" -- CNN, She says federal officials took her daughter while she breastfed the child in a detention center, 6/14/18
  • "About half of all plants and animals in 35 of the world's most biodiverse places are at risk of extinction due to climate change, a new report claims. 'Hotter days, longer periods of drought, and more intense storms are becoming the new normal, and species around the world are already feeling the effects,' said Nikhil Advani, lead specialist for climate, communities and wildlife at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The report, a collaboration between the University of East Anglia, the James Cook University, and the WWF, found that nearly 80,000 plants and animals in 35 diverse and wildlife-rich areas -- including the Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos islands, southwest Australia and Madagascar -- could become extinct if global temperatures rise. The 35 places were chosen based on their 'uniqueness and the variety of plants and animals found there,' the WWF said. 'The collected results reveal some striking trends. They add powerful evidence that we urgently need global action to mitigate climate change,' the report said. A corresponding study was also published by the scientific journal Climate Change. If temperatures were to rise by 4.5 degrees Celsius, animals like African elephants would likely lack sufficient water supplies and 96% of all breeding ground for tigers in India's Sundarbans region could be submerged in water." -- Joshua Berlinger, CNN, Global warming puts nearly half of species in key places at risk, 3/14/18
  • "A federal judge on Monday found that U.S. government officials have been giving psychotropic medication to migrant children at a Texas facility without first seeking the consent of their parents or guardians, in violation of state child welfare laws. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ordered the Trump administration to obtain consent or a court order before administering any psychotropic medications to migrant children, except in cases of dire emergencies. She also ordered that the government move all children out of a Texas facility, Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel, except for children deemed by a licensed professional to pose a 'risk of harm' to themselves or others. Staff members at Shiloh admitted to signing off on medications in lieu of a parent, relative or legal guardian, according to Gee’s ruling. Government officials defended this practice, saying they provided these drugs only on “an emergency basis” when a child’s 'extreme psychiatric symptoms' became dangerous." -- Samantha Schmidt, Trump administration must stop giving psychotropic drugs to migrant children without consent, judge rules, Washington Post, 7/31/18 
Lughnasadh 2018

The great wheel turns.

In the North, Lughnasadh 2018. Midway between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox. In the South, Imbolc 2018. Midway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.

Feel the dynamism of the planetary polarity?

This Lughnasadh is particularly poignant for three reasons.

First, today, 8/1/18, is also Earth Overshoot Day.
  •  "As of Wednesday, August 1, 2018, we have officially used up all of the Earth's resources for the year — and there are still five months left in the year. Back in 1970, Earth Overshoot Day — the date when humanity as a whole has used up the resources needed to live sustainably for a year — fell on December 29, just two days from the end of the year. But since then, we've been increasingly overshooting the planet's annual natural budget, with that day creeping ever earlier on the calendar. In 2017, that day was August 2. For that day on for the rest of the year, we are running an ecological deficit, depleting local resource stocks through overfishing and overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb. We currently need 1.7 planets to support all of humanity's demand on Earth's ecosystems, according to Global Footprint Network. Each year, the nonprofit research group calculates the date of the Earth Overshoot Day by taking the planet's biocapacity — that is, the amount of natural resources that are available — and dividing it by the amount of resources we've used up. But not all countries are equally to blame for overshooting our natural budget. Higher-income countries use far more resources per year than lower-income countries. Qatar, the richest country in the world as of 2017, has the highest consumption of natural resources on Earth. If the whole population in the world lived like people in Qatar, we would need more than nine planets in total. In comparison, if everyone lived like people in Nigeria or India, we would need only a bit more than half a planet a year. And with the average lifestyle in Vietnam, we would use up exactly one planet." -- Earth Overshoot Day: Time for a radical rethink, Deutsche Welle, 1/18/18
Second, we are only 97 days from the U.S. mid-term elections. 

Our great nation dangles high over a fathomless abyss, and we are gripping the edge of the precipice. Desperately. Holding on. With both hands. 

The right hand is the hope of a great progressive wave in the election, one resulting in a transference of control in one or both houses of Congress.
  • "On the one hand, there are some encouraging portents. Since the 1840s, the president’s party has lost seats in 41 of 44 midterm elections. The pattern has been for the out party to pick up something like 25 seats in the first off-year election after a new president takes office. Trump is of course far less popular than most of his predecessors. And Democratic activism is at a fever pitch. On the other hand, we have a level of voter suppression unprecedented since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ― purges of the rolls; needlessly stringent ID requirements; games played with polling places and their hours; extreme gerrymandering; and questions about whether systems will be hacked — either by the Russians or by Trumpian locals. According to the Brennan Center, which carefully tracks this mischief, 13 states have added restrictive voter ID requirements since 2010, 11 have new laws making it harder to register, and six cut back on early voting or voting hours. Many of these are the same states. In addition, according to David Daley’s indispensable Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count, seven Republican-controlled states resorted to extreme gerrymandering for House districts (and also state legislative seats) after the 2010 census, including key swing states such as North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Arizona. As a consequence, Republicans won just 52 percent of the Ohio popular vote for Congress in 2012, but garnered 12 of that state’s 16 congressional seats. In closely divided Michigan, they took nine of the state’s 14 seats. So will the combination of voter suppression and gerrymandering abort the supposed blue wave? I think not. Here are the counterforce: First, there are plenty of vulnerable House seats in states that were not subject to recent voter suppression or gerrymandering efforts. By my count, there are at least 40 such seats, and Democrats need to flip only 23 to take back the House. There are dozens of Republican seats in play in states such as California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Oregon, Minnesota and more, where voting systems are basically honest, and there have even been measures to make it easier to vote. Second, extreme gerrymandering, as I’ve previously noted, can backfire ― because it seeks to pack Democrats into a few seats and spread the presumed Republican voters widely to capture the maximum possible number of seats. But in a wave year, there aren’t enough Republican voters to go around, and designer seats are suddenly at risk." -- Robert Kuttner, A Democratic Wave In The Midterms Is Looking More And More Likely, Huffington Post, 7/29/18  
Albert Bierstadt - White Horse and Sunset (c.1863)
The left hand is the hope that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will succeed in bringing the full weight of federal law to bear on enemies foreign and domestic.
  • David Masciotra, Salon: "The crimes of Trump are much worse than even many of his opponents believe. How deep does his criminality run, and what should Americans realize, especially those who feel "bored" or confused by the Russian collusion story?"
    Greg Olear: "... The truth is, the guy’s been mobbed up for decades, with ties to both La Cosa Nostra and Russian organized crime. Trump is a money launderer for the latter, and has been for quite some time. 'Money laundering' sounds cute, like something Danny Ocean and his merry men do, but it’s a euphemism for something unspeakable. The Russian mob has become so vast and successful because it eagerly participates in the worst of the worst: human trafficking, child pornography, sex slavery, opioids, illegal arms deals, blood diamonds — all the grisly, awful stuff that Trump accuses MS-13 of doing. By taking those dirty rubles and making them legitimate, Trump is a party to all of that. The media also likes to forget that Trump is a serial rapist and sexual predator. We can use the 'allegedly' qualifier if you like, but he has bragged about this on many occasions. There are more than 20 accusers now, and I believe them. The kompromat, by the way, does not involve tinkling Moscow prostitutes, but far more heinous activities. This is a person who sexually assaulted a reporter from People magazine at his house -- while his wife was home. You don’t think he’s capable of greater depravity halfway around the world, when he thinks no one is watching? As president, he’s profited mightily from the office, in violation of the emoluments clause [of the U.S. Constitution]. Is he setting national policy to benefit himself and his family? Is there any doubt that he is? Look at how he and Jared Kushner handled Qatar, home to important U.S. military bases. Isn’t that by itself tantamount to treason? Treason is a vague term. Unlike rape or murder or even petty larceny, it’s not visceral. But it’s the worst crime there is, because Trump actively betrayed 330 million Americans. He conspired with the Russians to contaminate the election, he lied about it, he continues to lie about it, and we have yet to find out exactly what he has promised his Russian master. I’d like to think that Americans across the political spectrum would agree that the POTUS should not be a compromised asset of the Russian Federation. Helsinki reaffirmed what I’ve known for two years, and what Hillary told us in the debate: Trump is Putin’s puppet. Has a powerful world leader ever presented as submissively, as weakly, as Trump did in Finland? He makes Neville Chamberlain look like Rambo. Let the record show that it took five paragraphs to outline Trump’s criminality, and I’ve barely scratched the surface." -- Writer Greg Olear on “Dirty Rubles”: Trump is “gravest existential threat” to America in 150 years, Salon, 7/28/18
We will need both hands to pull us up and away from a freefall into utter catastrophe. 

Third, personally, this Lughnasadh leads into the final stretch of my year-long campaign to launch the medicine of my magnum opus into the collective psyche. 

In "I, the Dragon" - A Treasure Map, A Medicine Pouch, A Book of Spells, Part Autobiographical Novel, Part World History, A Saga in the Truest Sense," I quoted some profoundly inspiring testimonials. From yoginis, burners, performance artists, dakinis, poets, witches, healers and fellow travelers who resonated with the book's challenging message. Here are a few more.
  • "Reading 'I, The Dragon' I was struck by the tests, trials & tribulations Richard has endured that began as a young child and have woven throughout his life. And I sense the hero’s journey he has lived, learning to rely on his intuition ... To forgive is not to forget. The true hero must undergo a death and resurrection in order to progress. Richard has achieved this multiple times within his life, emerging each time to a higher level of understanding and release. His story is raw and penetrating and touched me at the depth of my being." -- Wendy Ellsworth
  • "This novel has me engrossed. The title alone set me into a completely compelling desire to get absorbed in the secrets of each page. Richard Power your words infuse my soul with Musings of the worlds unseen. I can’t seem to put this book down. Thank you for your honesty, your courage, your truth. I’m honored to know you." -- Alita Arose (@alitaarose)
  • "Time for a new read, one that will compel your attention for the next few decades? I have a recommendation for you. Within Richard Power's luminous autobiography I, THE DRAGON are tales of global intelligence and espionage, sexual magic, of horrific abuse and exquisite transcendence, told in waves and incantations. Statues and stones speak, and pour archetypes into the author and the reader alike. That is the magic of telling one’s story. It becomes everyone’s story. It always was, through the magic of the akashic record or the planetary egregoire or the Zeitgeist or the collective unconscious. But its power is multiplied a zillionfold when it is told on purpose, told out loud, told to an audience, especially one who will understand and respect it well. For this telling is not some shallow celebrity memoir of rubbing elbows and surface gossip. This is deep and high, this telling. This is a wild precise elegant rampage of the Goddess Herself in a man’s life, a man who has carried fire for the whole world and a man I’m pleased and honored to call my friend." -- Emily Shurr
  • "The book I cannot put down and at the same time I have to put down to catch my breath." -- Lalyn Curtis, @breathingskyhealingarts 
Released on Winter Solstice 2018, "I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans" is only available via http://www.GoFundMe.com/wordsofpower and is not currently available on Amazon or any other commercial platform. Funds raised will go to produce audio books of both "I, the Dragon" and "Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality" and facilitate public events.

-- Richard Power

Richard Power's "I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans"
Available via http://www.GoFundMe.com/wordsofpower