Friday, February 19, 2010

I Sing the Body (Politic) Electric: 7 Hard Truths to Set Minds Free

Walt Whitman

I SING the Body electric;
The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth them;
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the Soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do as much as the Soul?
And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?

Walt Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric, Leaves of Grass, 1867

In his political journalism, Whitman followed a principle that late in life he passed on to his young acolyte Horace Thraubel: "Be radical, be radical -- be not too damned radical." Michael Warner, Portable Walt Whitman, Penguin Classics

I Sing the Body (Politic) Electric: 7 Hard Truths to Set Minds Free

By Richard Power

There is a profound relationship between the tragedy of the Civil War and the ecstasy of Leaves of Grass; Whitman told Horace Traubel that the War was "the very centre, circumference, umbillicus, of [his] whole career," and in one of his poems, he declared, "My book and the war are one."

There is a powerful message for us all in these extraordinary statements.

Our hearts must be open enough to embrace the whole of life, our minds must be open enough to comprehend the whole of life. If you turn away from either side of any of the pairs of opposites, i.e., the dark or the light, the good or the bad, the joyous or the sorrowful, the pleasurable or the painful, you cheat yourself as well as the world which sustains you.

Life is immense enough to embrace all of itself, and if we allow ourselves to experience the oneness of life with our own consciousness, then we too can embrace it all, celebrate it all, touch it all.

Whitman volunteered in the army hospital in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. His journal from that period is a powerful testimony to the noble tragedy of that conflict. In account after account, Whitman tells of the suffering of the wounded and the dying, and of the inspiration the soldiers shared with him; in their minds, Whitman documents, they risked the ultimate sacrifice to abolish slavery and to save the republic.

Whitman often encountered Lincoln in the streets. Their eyes would meet. What did they see, each gazing into the great soul of the other? The tremendous burden Lincoln bore with his fierce strength, the tremendous poetical power that burned within Whitman?

I see the president almost every day, as I happen to live where he passes to or from his lodgings out of town ... He always has a company of twenty-five or thirty cavalry, with sabres drawn and held upright over their shoulders. They say this guard was against his personal wish, but he let his counselors have their way. Mr. Lincoln on the saddle generally rides a good-sized, easy-going grey horse, is dressed in plain black, somewhat rusty and dusty, wears a black stiff hat, and looks about as ordinary in attire, etc., as the commonest man. I see very plainly Abraham Lincoln's dark brown face, with the deep-cut lines, the eyes, always to me with a deep latent sadness in the expression.

As I read Whitman's Civil War Diary some years ago, it struck me, everyone of these soldiers was from a Blue State. Incredibly, the struggle continues today.

Did you seen any coverage of CPAC? The reactionaries are whopping themselves up to come after what is left of this country's institutional, spiritual and cultural memory. Reagan didn't launch a revolution, he launched a counter-revolution.

Now over thirty years on, they no longer even attempt to loosely lash their rhetoric to any political, economic, social or historical reality.

They mock President Obama for using teleprompters. But every politician for decades has used teleprompters. (Ironically, he is one of the very few who can handle themselves without one.) They lie about the impact of the economic stimulus package, and yet they claim credit for its results in their home states. They rail against the cost of the healthcare reform when it has been documented that it would reduce the deficit by tens of billions of dollars at the least. They denounce President Obama for raising taxes, when he has in fact lowered them for 95% of us. They make jokes about extraordinary snow fall disproving climate change when such extreme weather is actually one of the projected consequences of climate change. They wrap themselves in the US Constitution, and in the images of the Founders, and yet they are seemingly ignorant of the vision of the Founders, as it is preserved in the Founders' personal letters and papers, and in the words of the Constitution itself.

Their base, my fellow patriots, is a misinformed mob manipulated by a sociopathic elite. Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly are worth hundreds of millions of dollars each. Beck is worth tens of millions of dollars. Why do you think that is? You cannot think it is talent? They are well-placed, their reach is powerful, they shape the debate even among those who do not take them seriously; and they are well-rewarded for their propagandizing. Romney, who was prominently featured at CPAC (and is one of Poppy Bush's favorites) is worth over two hundred millions, and has the Mormom Church behind him as well. After his years of fronting for Halliburton and its no-bid contracts (both in and out of office), former VICE _resident Cheney is worth close to $100 million.

There are tumultuous times ahead of us.

Here are seven hard truths with which to free minds:

1. The US healthcare system is not the best in the world.

Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($8,160 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 46.3 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered. Single-Payer National Health Insurance, Physicians for a National Healthcare Program

The United States ranks 31st in life expectancy (tied with Kuwait and Chile), according to the latest World Health Organization figures. We rank 37th in infant mortality (partly because of many premature births) and 34th in maternal mortality. A child in the United States is two-and-a-half times as likely to die by age 5 as in Singapore or Sweden, and an American woman is 11 times as likely to die in childbirth as a woman in Ireland.
Canadians live longer than Americans do after kidney transplants and after dialysis, and that may be typical of cross-border differences ...
The figures are even worse for members of minority groups. An African-American in New Orleans has a shorter life expectancy than the average person in Vietnam or Honduras ... Americans take 10 percent fewer drugs than citizens in other countries — but pay 118 percent more per pill that they do take …
Nicholas Kristoff, New York Times, 11-4-09

We need single payer universal healthcare: Medicare for all. You can phase it in with a robust public option and lowering the Medicare enrollment age down to 55, but single-payer, universal coverage has to be the end result.

2. Predatory capitalism is not freedom.

It is not sustainable. It is not compatible with democratic institutions. A market without regulations or controls is not a free market; it deteriorates into suffocating monopolization, and results in the enriching of a few at the expense of the many. It does not treasure or invest in the commons, it does not value the rights of individuals or minorities.

It is said that a near-death experience forces one to reevaluate priorities and values. The global economy has just escaped a near-death experience. The crisis exposed the flaws in the prevailing economic model, but it also exposed flaws in our society. Much has been written about the foolishness of the risks that the financial sector undertook, the devastation that its institutions have brought to the economy, and the fiscal deficits that have resulted. Too little has been written about the underlying moral deficit that has been exposed-a deficit that is larger, and harder to correct ...
We have created a society in which materialism overwhelms moral commitment, in which the rapid growth that we have achieved is not sustainable environmentally or socially, in which we do not act together to address our common needs. Market fundamentalism has eroded any sense of community and has led to rampant exploitation of unwary and unprotected individuals. There has been an erosion of trust-and not just in our financial institutions. It is not too late to close these fissures.
Joseph Stiglitz, Moral Bankruptcy: Why Are We Letting Wall Street Off So Easy?, Mother Jones, 1-13-10

We need to re-instate Glass-Steagal, and supplement it with additional regulations; and take a long hard look at what to do about the Fed (an audit is a good start).

3. The Climate Crisis is not a hoax. (Nor, BTW, is Peak Oil a hoax).

This isn't a good old-fashioned winter for the District of Columbia, not unless you're remembering the last ice age. And it doesn't disprove global warming, despite Sen. Jim De Mint's cheerful tweet: "It's going to keep snowing until Al Gore cries 'uncle.' "
Instead, the weird and disruptive weather patterns around the world are pretty much exactly what you'd expect as the planet warms … Looked at dispassionately, those political attacks essentially buttress the consensus around global warming. If that much money and attention can be aimed at the data and all anyone can find is a few mistakes and a collection of nasty e-mails, it's a pretty good sign that the science is sound (though not as good a sign as the melting Arctic). The British newspaper the Guardian just concluded a huge series on the "Climategate" e-mails with the words: "The world is still warming. Humanity is still to blame. And we still, urgently, need to do something about it."
Bill McKibben, Washington's snowstorms, brought to you by global warming, Washington Post, 2-14-10

The USA needs to go green hard and fast. The other great and would-be great nations are racing ahead of us in the development and implementation of wind and solar energy. We need a new smart and green power grid, we need a new green transportation system, we need a national campaign to green existing buildings, and a green mandate for all new buildings, we need to cut back on our consumption of meat, etc. We need to spend a lot of money, fast and wisely; and we need to educate our populace.

4. Corporations are not people.

It is absurd to gift them the rights of the individual.

Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.
We Move to Amend.
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
* Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
* Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
* Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.
Sign the Motion
Move to Amend, Campaign to Legalize Democracy

Disgust with corporate influence is raging. The appearance of Wall Street influence in the Obama administration contributed to an unthinkable result in the Massachusetts Senate race. And the White House dealings with the insurance and drug lobbies during the health care debate have been pilloried on the left and the right.
Now the conservative Supreme Court showed its hand, and shredded our campaign finance laws, leaving our democracy even more vulnerable to special interests.
What better time to raise the stakes.
Put a constitutional amendment on the floor of the House and Senate creating a public campaign finance system banning all private money.
Dare conservatives to side with more corporate influence in our campaigns and our policymaking.
Either conservatives buckle and the amendment is passed.
Or they block it, show their sympathies, and expose their attempts at co-opting the populist fervor to be phony.
There is no better time than now.
Bill Scher, A Constitutional Amendment for Public Campaign Financing: Now Is the Time, Huffington Post, 1-21-10

5. The USA is not a Christian nation.

As I have mentioned before, I will not touch the paper edition of the NY Times, and I generally avoid clicking on links to NYT articles that friends and colleagues send me. (Fortunately, Krugman and Kristoff are widely disseminated beyond its pages.) Why? Well, let me count the ways: Judith Miller's disgraceful complicity in the selling of the lie that led to the foolish military adventure in Iraq; and the way the paper patronized Ken Starr and diligently framed Whitewater as if there were legitimate scandals being investigated; but, for me, most egregious of all was how the NY Times twisted the story, and the botched the math it paid for itself, to perpetuate the lie that Fraudida 2000 was a toss-up. And no, it's editorial board's liberal pontifications do not sway me; its high-minded posturing is too often canceled out by the damage that its political reporters do on the front page. And then, of course, there is the appeasing and pandering that many of its science and culture contributors resort to.

Consider How Christian were the Founders, NY Times, 2-14-10. Its author, Russell Shorto offers the gullible reader only partial truth, and that is swaddled in a heavily embroidered cloth of pleasantry. Mr. Shorto studiously avoids exploring the oft-stated, well-documented, and clearly NON-CHRISTIAN personal views of the principle founders.

Back in 2003, when a Neo-Confederate Judge in Alabama wanted to place a monument to the Ten Commandments on public property, Thom Hartmann wrote a powerful piece (no, not published in the NY Times, published in the Blogosphere) that intrepidly goes everywhere Mr. Shorto was too timid to go.

Here are two brief excerpts with a link to Thom's full text:

[Ben Franklin] - like most of the more well-known Founders - was a Deist, a philosophy made popular by early Unitarians who held that the Creator made the universe long ago and has since chosen not to interfere in any way, that neither Jesus nor anybody else was divine (or, alternatively, that we are all divine and shall all do as Jesus did and said we would), and that there is only one God and not three.
Another founding Deist who resisted giving political power to those with religious power was George Washington.
On the topic of Washington's religious sentiments, Thomas Jefferson wrote in his personal diary entry for February 1, 1799, "when the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the Government, it was observed in their consultation, that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address, as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so.
"However," Jefferson noted to his diary, "the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice ... In later years, Jefferson would put together what is now called "The Jefferson Bible," in which he deleted all the miracles from the New Testament and presented Jesus to readers as an inspired philosopher. His Jefferson Bible is still in print, and well received, if sales and readers' comments are any indication.

Thom Hartmann, The Founders Confront Judge Moore, OpEd News, 2003

6. Religion is not science. Religious myth is not scientific theory.

The problem is not Science vs. Religion. The problem is not Science vs. a particular religion. The problem is Science vs. one specific interpretation of one particular religion and, in general, the problem is an American one ...
Last month I visited Europe participating in a collaboration exploring the early stages of star formation. At lunch one day a British researcher asked me how my book on Science and Religion was doing. Then he looked very serious for a moment and said, "What is up with you Americans and evolution?" Everyone at the table -- Italians, French, Irish, Dutch -- all simultaneously nodded their heads in agreement and shook their heads in sorrow. My British colleague's question, and the groups' response, underline a sad truth ... This intellectual hamstringing is not happening in China or India or Europe. The nations we are be competing with are not playing these games. The nations we are competing with to shape our own, and the planets, future are not wasting their time in this intellectual vortex. They are moving forward while we stare at our navels and argue over the shape of lint bunnies we find there.
Adam Frank, Creationism Vs. Evolution: An American Problem, An American Opportunity, NPR, 2-12-10

7. The torture of prisoners is not a policy option, it is a war crime

"24" is a TV show, the Geneva Accords is established law on this planet (and there is nothing quaint about it).

The brutalization of our culture took a great leap forward from 2001 to 2008, with the Bush-Cheney regime's institution of torture (a.k.a. "enhanced interrogation techniques") as official policy. Unfortunately, despite its repudiation of this abomination, the Obama administration shows no desire (moral or political) to prosecute its chief architects. Nor does the US mainstream news media show any appetite for confronting those who now openly boast of perpetrating what are clearly codified as war crime. (Of course, by not pursuing criminal charges, the Obama administration is giving cover not only to the perpetrators, but to the news media.)

On [ABC’s “This Week”], Cheney pronounced himself “a big supporter of waterboarding,” a near-drowning technique that has been regarded as torture back to the Spanish Inquisition and that has long been treated by U.S. authorities as a serious war crime, such as when Japanese commanders were prosecuted for using it on American prisoners during World War II … That Cheney feels he can operate with such impunity is a damning commentary on the rule of law in the United States, at least when it comes to the nation’s elites. Robert Parry, Cheney Exposes Torture Conspiracy, Consortium News, 2-14-10

Indeed, the two major national newspapers--The New York Times and The Washington Post--characterized Cheney's interview as a mere spat between the vice president and the Obama administration over the direction of the latter's counterterrorism and national security policies. Jason Leopold, Cheney Admits to War Crimes, Media Yawns, Obama Turns the Other Cheek, Truthout, 2-15-10

A special prosecutor needs to be appointed, one with sweeping investigative powers to probe the Bush-Cheney regime, and not just concerning the use of torture.

[And no, I do not give a damn that a Bush-Cheney appointee "cleared" Yoo and Bybee, thereby over-ruling the DoJ investigators who recommended action against them. The only question worth asking about that sad story is why all of the Bush DoJ appointees involved in sensitive or politically tainted investigations were not fired or "resigned" on Day 1 of the Obama administration.]

And while we wage this struggle against the reactionaries' Assault on Reason, and this Republic (the Age of Reason's pearl of greatest price), remember the ecstatic words of Whitman, remember the ecstatic energy of Whitman ...

Support Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and his six bills to Save Democracy.

Stand with Howard Dean on the struggle to deliver meaningful healthcare reform.

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

Have you met Al Gore at the Wall yet?

I encourage you to find out why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love: go to or Google "Bill McKibben" for the answer.

Richard Power's True North on the Pathless Path: Toward 21st Century Spirituality is available from

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available from

, , , Healthcare Reform, , ,, , ,

Monday, February 08, 2010

Obama, Palin, the Super Bowl, the Healthcare Debacle, the Climate Crisis, & Don Juan's "Last Battle on Earth"

Frida Kahlo's Roots

Arctic ice melting could cost global agriculture, real estate and insurance anywhere from $2.4 trillion to $24 trillion by 2050 in damage from rising sea levels, floods and heat waves ... Reuters, 2-5-10

Scant ice over the Arctic Sea this winter could mean a "double whammy" of powerful ice-melt next summer, a top U.S. climate scientist said ... Reuters, 2-4-10

The Amazon jungle "is very close to a tipping point," and if destruction continues, it could shrink to one third of its original size in just 65 years, warns Thomas Lovejoy, world-renowned tropical biologist. Stephen Leahy, IPS, 2-2-10

Rwanda has announced a planned expansion of the Gishwati National Conservation Park. The effort with increase the size of the park by 21 percent ... and marks the beginning of a conservation corridor, dubbed the "Forest of Hope," intended to help a group of endangered chimpanzees. Treehugger, 2-2-10

Today, this southern European country of 10.5 million people on the west of the Iberian peninsula has substantially reduced its dependence on imported fossil fuels, and wind and solar energy now provide 35.9 percent of the electricity it consumes. IPS, 2-2-10

The new grid expected to be up and running by 2020 will cost some 30 billion Euros (43 billion US dollars) ... The new grid, spread across half the continent and under the sea, will connect the European off shore wind farms and solar thermal power plants and manage the oscillations of electricity supply from renewable sources which is highly dependent on weather conditions. Also linked to the grid, that is capable of storing electricity generated during peak periods, will be hydroelectric power stations, mostly in the Scandinavian countries. Julio Godoy, IPS, 2-3-10

This is why we need the Senate to pass a clean energy, climate and green jobs bill now: "China vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States last year to become the world's largest maker of wind turbines ... China has also leapfrogged the West ... to emerge as the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels ... Al Gore, China in the Lead?, 2-7-10

Obama, Palin, the Super Bowl, the Healthcare Debacle, the Climate Crisis, & Don Juan's "Last Battle on Earth"

By Richard Power

As you can see from the seven items excerpted above, the planet's climate continues to deteriorate, and in response, many nations are moving forward as fast as they can, to mitigate the impact and adapt to the consequences.

Meanwhile, in the USA, over one hundred million of us watched a Super Bowl, for which CBS approved a Focus On The Family Super Bowl ad, aimed at undermining women's reproductive rights, despite its policy against advocacy spots. Indeed, not only did CBS approve it, it worked with the fundamentalist group for months, to get it right.

No, nothing was mentioned about the Healthcare Crisis or the Climate Crisis during the Super Bowl. There were no green armbands, there was no half-time plea for a carbon freeze from the NFL, nothing that would indicate any understanding of the reality of our circumstances: i.e., that we are citizens of a nation, and of a planet, both of which are near to free fall.

I confess that it took several days of silence, and several nights of eight hours sleep, to decide whether or not post once again on circumstances of the nation and the planet. Well, here you go (at least for now) ...

Sitting there Saturday night, monitoring Palin's speech to the faux "Tea Party," it occurred to me -- here is something to add to Sinclair Lewis' warning about how fascism comes to USA: with bible, wrapped in flag. Yes, wrapped in a flag, with a Bible in hand, AND wearing lipstick.

Those progressives who say cavalierly that they hope she runs and wins the nomination of the cult-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party, because there is no way she could win the election, do not understand what may already be happening here. They remind me of those (and probably some of them are those) who said, back in 2000, that they wanted Bush to win the nomination, because they were afraid that McCain could beat Gore. Such thinking was foolish then, and it is foolish now.

This woman is fomenting violence against the President, against the U.S. Constitution, and against reality itself. She is not just flirting with the camera, she is flirting with sedition.

But it is not Palin, or the mainstream media's shameless preoccupation with her, that compelled me to consider ceasing this running narrative. No, it is this ...

President Obama offered himself as a vessel of change. He was sincere in this offering. And as a vessel of change, at least within the election cycle, his skills and strength of character served him, and the nation, well. Governing, of course, is different; and the government he was elected to lead is profoundly compromised.

President Obama was swept into office in a national uprising against the appalling nature of the regime that preceded him. This uprising tapped into resources from across all strata of society, the sweat and tears of the grassroots, and yes, over seven hundred million of dollars in campaign contributions (if you add it all up), including significant amounts from Wall Street banksters, and insurance industry racketeers, and other powerful corporatist interest.

Why did banksters and health insurance racketeers cast their lots with the grassroots of true silent majority, the under-represented progressive mainstream of the US body politic? Because they could see this popular uprising coming, and decided they would rather influence the next administration from inside the White House than from outside of it. And so, the economy was turned over to Geithner and Summers, and White House operations were turned over to Rahmn Emmanuel.

President Obama was correct in determining that the Healthcare Crisis and the Climate Crisis would constitute a one-two punch to bring a real attitude adjustment to the political establishment.

But action on the Climate Crisis was dependent upon action on the Healthcare Crisis. Without a decisive victory in the first battle, a similarly decisive victory in the second battle would be almost impossible.

So it all came down to the struggle to deliver meaningful healthcare reform. But once the battle was engaged, a life-or-death choice had to be made.

Would the Obama team and the Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill move with the people, and push hard against the health insurance racketeers, and risk losing access to the flow of campaign money from corporatist patrons?

Or would the Obama team try to finesse some win-win compromise, and risk squandering the broad-based goodwill of the majority of the populace?

Well, unless I am proven wrong in the end (and as I have said before, I would be delighted to be proven wrong), we now know that the Obama team made the wrong choice. Just as many of us in the blogosphere said all along; maligned as we are by Hollow Men like Chris Matthews and Rahm Emmanuel.

I characterize the choice on how to lead in the struggle for healthcare reform as a life-or-death one, simply because you cannot approach such a battle without approaching it in the way Don Juan suggested, as if it were your "last battle on Earth."

So here at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st Century, and the second year of the Obama administration, we are confronted with some grim prospects: no meaningful healthcare reform means this nation will continue to spiral downward and that the speed of its descent will accelerate; no significant climate action means the planet will continue to spiral downward and that the speed of its descent will accelerate.

I wish President Obama well, I feel the nobility of his intentions, I hope he shakes off his naive preconceptions and rises to the challenge of this moment, at whatever the cost. Yes, I know that is easy for me to say. (Although perhaps not as easy as some might assume.)

In reality, the failure of the struggle to deliver meaningful healthcare reform has little to do with sixty votes to break a filibuster and related tactical issues. Just as, in reality, the seemingly inevitable failure to legislate significant action on the climate crisis will have little to do with the largely fabricated teapot tempests over climategate and the IPCC.

These are failures of leadership in government and the news media. They are failures of conscience, of professional principles, and of common sense.

If these failures are reversed in the short span of time ahead of us, the histories of these struggles will constitute a profile in courage; if they are not reversed in the short span of time ahead of us, they will constitute a profile in cowardice.

Yes, it is that simple.

We will know soon enough, perhaps too soon ...

Meanwhile, here are four more items concerning the most urgent issue of our time:

If changes in the public mood and the party alignment of the U.S. Senate have stalled healthcare legislation, they may have thrown the highly anticipated climate bill under a bus ... President Obama has backed down too. ... No one really knows what would happen if average temperatures hit 5 C higher than 1850 -- a level we could easily reach within a century under a business-as-usual scenario -- but changes to the physical geography of the planet become probable: land masses would vanish; ecosystems would collapse. Human civilization would change, and not for the better.
This process can still be slowed at a moderate economic cost, but time is short -- delays make both fighting climate change and adapting to it dramatically more expensive, and eventually could make it impossible. It's foolish to say we can't afford to pass a climate bill during a recession. We can't afford not to.
Backing down on climate change, L.A. Times Editorial, 2-5-10

Free-market, anti-climate change think-tanks such as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in the US and the International Policy Network in the UK have received grants totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds from the multinational energy company ExxonMobil. Both organisations have funded international seminars pulling together climate change deniers from across the globe.
Many of these critics have broadcast material from the leaked UEA emails to undermine climate change predictions and to highlight errors in claims that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. Professor Phil Jones, who has temporarily stood down as director of UEA's climactic research unit, is reported in today's Sunday Times to have "several times" considered suicide. He also drew parallels between his case and that of Dr David Kelly, found dead in the wake of the row over the alleged "sexing up" of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Professor Jones said he was taking sleeping pills and beta-blockers and had received two death threats in the past week alone.
Jonathan Owen and Paul Bignell, Think-Tanks Take Oil Money and Use it to Fund Climate Deniers, Independent/UK, 2-7-10

So where next? Here’s a hypothesis to chew on: Copenhagen represents the failure of a ‘peacetime’, politics-driven strategy on climate change. It is time to look at other change models, namely shock-driven and/or technology driven.
Changes of the magnitude required to combat climate change normally require a major shock – typically war or economic crisis. Thus women won the vote in the UK after World War 1; the US got the New Deal after the Great Depression; the UN and Bretton Woods system was born out of World War 2; Ethiopia overthrew the repressive Derg government after the great famine of 1984.
It may thus require a system-wide trauma like the sudden onset of peak oil, or a climate shock one or more orders of magnitude greater than Hurricane Katrina, and affecting some/all of the major emitters, before a genuine shift to a low carbon economic model, with agreed limits on emissions under a fair, ambitious and binding global deal, becomes achievable.
Duncan Green, What will drive action on climate change if negotiations can’t?, From Poverty to Power, Oxfam Blogs, 2-8-10

Our country, and the world, faces the duel crisis of a failed American economy and climate change that threatens life on this planet as we know it. Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham...Earth, Huffington Post, 2-5-10

Support Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and his six bills to Save Democracy.

Stand with Howard Dean on the struggle to deliver meaningful healthcare reform.

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

Have you met Al Gore at the Wall yet?

I encourage you to find out why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love: go to or Google "Bill McKibben" for the answer.

Richard Power's True North on the Pathless Path: Toward 21st Century Spirituality is available from

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available from

Al Gore,, , , Healthcare Reform