Thursday, June 14, 2007

Climate Crisis Update 6-15-07: Lessons from the Failure to Change Course on Iraq -- What has Crippled the Body Politic? Corporatist Money & Media

Image: Earth at Night, NASA

America is facing its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Or perhaps worse still. Independent, 6-11-07

Southeast Asian nations are battling a surge in dengue cases, amid signs that climate change could make 2007 the worst year on record for a disease that often gets less attention than some higher-profile health risks. Reuters, 6-10-07

Global warming will melt most Andean glaciers in the next 30 years, scientists say, threatening the livelihood of millions of people who depend on them for drinking water, farming and power generation. Reuters, 6-7-07

Climate Crisis Update 6-15-07: Lessons from the Failure to Change Course on Iraq -- What has Crippled the Body Politic? Corporatist Money & Media

By Richard Power

The reality-based community has won the national debate over whether or not drastic climate change due to global warming is a) real and b) precipitated by the human carbon footprint.

And yet, on this issue of planetary life or death, we are going nowhere fast.

The recent G-8 summit was a canard: The final deal is full of weasel words like 'seriously consider' but fails to agree the essential targets. Not taking action to halve global greenhouse gas emission by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, spells disaster for billions. (Greenpeace, 6-8-07)

And on the federal level in the USA, we won't be making any significant progress any time soon: A confidential report to the White House, obtained by The Associated Press, warns that American scientists will soon lose much of their ability to monitor warming from space. They've been using a costly and problem-plagued satellite initiative begun more than a decade ago. It was intended to gather weather and climate data. But the Pentagon has decided to downsize and launch four satellites instead of 6 satellites. (Associated Press, 6-4-07)

If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's weak hand is incapable of reversing course on the Bush-Cheney regime's foolish military adventure in Iraq, how can you expect any substantive or meaningful legislation on global warming to emerge over the next two years? And even if it did somehow get passed, Bush would almost certainly veto it.

Iraq has been punted down the road to September, by then hundreds more men and women of the US military will have died in the escalation. And, the smart money says that in September, it will be punted down the road again.

Well, if global warming is punted down the road until 2008, we will have cut deeply into the five to ten year window available to us. And if the incoming administration is beholden to either the Cult formerly known as the Republican Party or to the DLC, nothing radical enough will happen than either.

Why is this so?

The conclusions reached in Media Matters’ latest study on the disconnect between reality and the US mainstream news media (The Progressive Majority: Why a Conservative America is a Myth), should come as no surprise to you: i.e., on the broad range of issues from health care, social security and the role of government to energy, foreign affairs and the environment, the citizenry is way ahead of both the Beltwayistan political establishment and the craven punditocracy that dominates the national debate.

(If it were not so, the Rove machine would not have invested so much time and money in the theft of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.)

But what lessons can be drawn from this study? What are its implications moving forward?

There are two common misperceptions shared by many of us in the Center and on the Left, one concerns politics and the other concerns the news media:

The misperception about politics goes something like this -- "The Democrats don't stand up to the Republicans because they are afraid of turning off Middle America."

The misperception about the news media sounds like this -- "The Republicans are better at communicating their message. The Democrats don't tell their story well."

These two misperceptions are based, in turn, on two false assumptions.

The false assumption about politics is that politicians are afraid of turning off voters. Actually, most politicians don't worry about turning off the electorate, they worry about turning off the big dollar financial contributors from the Energy Sector, the Military-Industrial Complex, Big Pharma, etc.

The false assumptions about the news media is that it is giving the audience what it wants, e.g., Paris Hilton and Tucker Carlson. Actually, the news media is giving the public what the corporatists who control the news media want the public to get, i.e., distraction and disinformation. (That's why Glenn Beck's dismal ratings get ignored, and Phil Donohue's stellar ratings resulted in termination.)

No matter how cleverly progressives frame their message, no matter how well they hone it, they will never get a fair shake from the US mainstream news media -- because it is not in the best interests of those who own the media monopolies.

If you want to restore the Republic and rescue the future, you must first open your eyes and the eyes of your friends, family and colleagues. It is corporatist control of the campaign finance system and the mainstream news media that has crippled the body politic of the USA.

This is why Al Gore's Assault on Reason (Buy it from Buzzflash!) is such an important work. It provides the frame we should all use as we move forward.

And what else can we do as individuals and local communities?

Gandhi's exhortation to become the change that you want to see in the world has never been more relevant.

What started in 2005 with the frustrations of one mayor - Seattle's Greg Nickels - over the Bush administration's resistance to the Kyoto Protocol has since grown to become a major nationwide movement. Nickel's "U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement" now includes 522 mayors representing 65 million Americans who have pledged to meet the Kyoto Protocol's standard of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. (Washington Post, 6-9-07)

Remember the solar panels that Jimmy Carter put on the White House roof, which were subsequently ripped down when Ronald Reagan took over?

Well, it may be quite some time before there are solar panels on the White House roof again. That is largely beyond our control -- even if the Democrats win the White House. (Bill and Hillary Clinton had eight years to put them back up!) But most of us are capable of installing solar panels on our own rooftops, and yes, taking many other meaningful and substantive steps in our own personal and professional lives.

I urge you to get busy.

The planet, the economy, the political system -- any or all of the above -- may come crashing down around us in the next decade or two.

Want to wake people up to the US mainstream news media's complicity in misinforming the public on global warming and climate change? Click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

Want to join hundreds of thousands of people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

Want some fresh perspectives and bold thinking? Here are two fascinating sites: World Changing and Green LA Girl.

There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.


Climate Crisis Update 6-4-07: Lots of News, None of It Good -- Arctic Ice Cap Melting Three Times as Fast, Seas are Rising Twice as Fast as Predicted

Sustainability Update 6-1-07: Are You Ready for Solartopia? Thom Hartmann Interviews Harvey Wasserman on Air America Radio

Climate Crisis Update 5-22-07: Look to the Cities for Leadership Now, or Catastrophe Later

Climate Crisis Update 5-16-07: Business & Government Must Be Compelled to Accept Responsibility, But So Must Each Individual

Climate Crisis Update 5-9-07 - Desmond Tutu and Sheryl Crow Challenge Denial, Environmental Groups Warn Against Reliance on Biofuels

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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