Sunday, June 26, 2011

Every Black Hole Leads To It ...

Giotto di Bondone - St. Francis Renouncing His Possessions

Those who seek to fill the emptiness with empire do not understand the emptiness of empires.

All of history is smoke; and empires are only chimeras within that smoke.

Where is the fire? At the core of psyche.

It predates the universe, and will survive the last sun. Every black hole leads to it, all beauty emerges from it.

Ever elusive, it can't be escaped. So utterly personal, it is mistaken for a profound mystery.

-- Richard Power

Avalokiteshvara Mantra

Namo Ratna Trayaya, Namo Arya Jnana Sagara, Vairochana, Byuhara Jara Tathagataya, Arahate, Samyaksam Buddhaya, Namo Sarwa Tathagate Bhyay, Arhata Bhyah, Samyaksam Buddhe Bhyah, Namo Arya Avalokite shoraya Bodhisattvaya, Maha Sattvaya, Maha Karunikaya, Tadyata, Om Dara Dara, Diri Diri, Duru Duru Itte We, Itte Chale Chale, Purachale Purachale, Kusume Kusuma Wa Re, Ili Milli, Chiti Jvalam, Apanaye Shoha

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Do POTUS, Rep. Kucinich and Chris Matthews Have in Common? They Are All Failing A Vital Test of Leadership Right Here, Right Now.

Mississippi Delta Children (Dorothea Lange, 1936)

Pollution and global warming are pushing the world's oceans to the brink of a mass extinction of marine life unseen for tens of millions of years, a consortium of scientists warned ...Agence France Press, 6-20-11

The rate of sea level rise along the U.S. Atlantic coast is greater now than at any time in the past 2,000 years -- and has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level. Science Daily, 6-21-11

The world's largest rainforest is ravaged by deforestation and two recent droughts. If they continue, says one expert, the Amazon risks entering a period where it can no longer be relied upon to absorb more greenhouse gas emissions than it produces ... The Ecologist, 5-27-11

Jared Diamond: There are so many societies in which the elite made decisions that were good for themselves in the short run and ruined themselves and societies in the long run ... Climate Progress, 6-19-11

What Do POTUS, Rep. Kucinich and Chris Matthews Have in Common? They Are All Failing A Vital Test of Leadership Right Here, Right Now

by Richard Power

Did you see the news story reporting that only five out of fifty one Ms. America contestants were willing to state that evolution should be taught in public schools? (Ms. California won, BTW; one of the five, and yes, they were all from Blue States.)

Do you remember the significance of "2 x 2 = 4" in George Orwell's 1984? It was the arithmetic with which the Thought Police sought to break Winston Smith. Two plus two equals five, IF the Big Brother says so, Smith was told. His choice was to either accept the falsehood or be tortured until he did.

Well, what are the consequences in a society so far gone that even an overwhelming majority of its beauty contest participants are willing to say the intellectual equivalent of either "two plus two equals five" or "it is not yet decided whether two plus two equals four or five"? There are many consequences. NONE of them are healthy.

Of course, the Ms. American Pageant was not the only recent "beauty contest" in which the loss of our national sanity was on display. Have you read the transcript of the Republican Party 2011 Presidential Debate in New Hampshire? Seven would-be presidential nominees stepping over each other, twisting themselves into little knots, all striving to out-crazy their opponents.

What they said had NOTHING to do with reality, NOTHING. All of it, the policies they proposed, the analysis they offered, all of it was utterly out of touch with REALITY.

(And no, I don't give a damn that Romney acknowledged the truth of human-induced climate change. We are so very far beyond any point at which that would be an appropriate response for a person in a position of leadership.)

One after another, these presidential hopefuls contradicted established SCIENCE, the laws of ECONOMICS and even the facts of HISTORY. That should have been the story. The headlines should have read "One of America's Two Major Political Parties has Lost Its Mind." Instead, the bizarre agenda of this Zombie Party is allowed to frame the public debate.

Consider the fate of Barack Obama and his Impossible Presidency.

While his name was being booed at Netroots Nation, POTUS was playing golf with John Boehner, working on a deal that will (whatever else it does) prop up the false pretense that our economic woes are due to Social Security, Medicare and numerous other programs that benefits poor and working class citizens, and I am certain that in that confidential conversation, the Climate Crisis was never mentioned.

Yes, our nation is in imminent danger of sliding off a cliff and into an abyss of woe. Our species itself is threatened. The planet we rely on for our sustenance is rapidly changing into something that we will not be able to rely on or even recognize.

And even if we were not facing environmental catastrophe, we would be facing economic catastrophe. Our nation has fallen victim to a predatory corporatism; which is rapaciously undermining our democratic institutions, dismantling our industrial base, and disenfranchising our people.

And still, POTUS made a golf date with Boehner.

But POTUS is not alone in his failure to confront our true peril. This moment of profound despair has brought the worse out in many of us.

Consider the examples of Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Hardball host Chris Matthews.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich has been a dauntless champion of the progressive agenda in some of the darkest days of our history, and yet, once in awhile he offers a painfully illustrative lesson in how to be ineffective and irrelevant. The latest is his decision to join up with nine House members (including seven with "R" after their name) to sue POTUS over, gulp, yes, our involvement in the NATO military action in Libya.

Now, before you hyperventilate, let me assure you the right or wrong our involvement is NOT germane to my point. We are, indeed, living in a time of runaway illegality when it comes to the foreign military adventures, and related Constitutional issues; and we have been for quite awhile. I do not dismiss this fact. I simply suggest that Libya is not the place to draw a line in the sand, and seven members of the Zombie Cult formerly known as the Republican Party are not the allies with whom to make such a stand. It is a fool's errand, it is a waste of time, it is a distraction. Why it's almost as silly as suing the Capitol Hill cafeteria over an olive pit. Oh wait a minute, Rep. Kucinich recently did that too, didn't he?

Of course, Kucinich is not the only progressive to have skewed priorities. As Brendan Smith and Jeremy Brecher wrote in a recent op-ed piece for Common Dreams: ... climate change is not just another “issue.” The earth is in the midst of a radical shift that will affect our country and society more severely than other great upheavals such as the Civil War, the Great Depression, or World War II. It represents an existential threat to every human and every community on the planet. It threatens every job, every economy in the world ... Smith and Breche, Are Progressives in Denial About Climate Change? 6-12-11

But no one, not those who drink the Chamber of Horrors' kool-aid of climate change denialism, not those who play golf with the Renfields of the kool-aid purveyors, not those earnest progressives struggling futilely outside the mainstream, NO ONE bears greater responsibility for our dire circumstances than the propapunditgandists of Infotainmentstan.

Which brings us at last to Hardball host Chris Matthews (who, at this point, is little more than a parody of himself).

Al Gore just wrote a brilliant, hard-hitting piece on the Climate Crisis, harshly criticizing both POTUS and the US mainstream news media for their silence and inaction.

This triggered an extraordinary response in Matthews. Climate change made it to Hardball. Of course, it wasn't the lead story, but he did give it a whole segment. Salon's Joan Walsh did a great job, as per usual, articulating a caring, insightful and yet pragmatic view of the political realities and progressive imperatives that Gore's piece highlighted. But Matthews' performance was verging on the hysterical.

And what was he so distraught about?

Not that we have done NOTHING meaningful to change the direction of this nation on the grave threat of Climate Crisis. No. Matthews felt compelled to defend POTUS from Al Gore's "attack."

Matthews said that Gore should be attacking Beck, Limbaugh and the Chamber of Commerce, not POTUS. They're the fire, he said. POTUS is the fire brigade. Don't attack the fire brigade, attack the fire.

Oh really? Well, Tweetie Bird, Gore has been attacking Limbaugh, Beck and the Chamber of Horrors for years; but you have not spent one segment on any of these attacks, or on the true scope of the Climate Crisis itself. It was Gore's critique on Obama that got you off the dime, and when you did, it was to attack the messenger for bringing a message that is worse than inconvenient.

If Barack Obama is the fire brigade, Tweetie Bird, why is the fire brigade playing golf with the fire?

And as for POTUS, Gore is not asking for "Superman," he is not asking for a being that could reverse the rotation of the planet to go backward in time and prevent the worst from happening, no, he is simply asking for MORAL LEADERSHIP from a President who has now given three SOTU, and hardly mentioned the Climate Crisis at all; he is simply asking the man billed as the most powerful man in the world, with all the power of the Executive Branch of the U.S. federal government under his sway, to at the very least use his bully pulpit to tell the sheeple that this is no longer a debate about whether or not climate change is real, it is a debate on whether or not we will survive what we have done to ourselves and our world.

The reality is that economic and environmental catastrophes are unfolding before us. The reality is that the antidote to both is the same: a green economy, modeled on sustainable growth and renewable energy, and predicated on human rights (e.g., universal health care, and free wi-fi from sea to shining sea).

Here is are brief excerpts Gore's great piece in Rolling Stone. It includes scathing critiques of POTUS and the US mainstream news media, as well as Gore's list of "five basic ways" that "individuals can make a difference." I urge you to read the whole of it, and spread it far and wide.

President Obama has thus far failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change. After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority. Senate advocates — including one Republican — felt abandoned when the president made concessions to oil and coal companies without asking for anything in return. He has also called for a massive expansion of oil drilling in the United States….
During the final years of the Bush-Cheney administration, the rest of the world was waiting for a new president who would aggressively tackle the climate crisis — and when it became clear that there would be no real change from the Bush era, the agenda at Copenhagen changed from “How do we complete this historic breakthrough?” to “How can we paper over this embarrassing disappointment?”
… Yet without presidential leadership that focuses intensely on making the public aware of the reality we face, nothing will change. The real power of any president, as Richard Neustadt wrote, is “the power to persuade.” Yet President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis ...
Continuing on our current course would be suicidal for global civilization. But the key question is: How do we drive home that fact in a democratic society when questions of truth have been converted into questions of power? When the distinction between what is true and what is false is being attacked relentlessly, and when the referee in the contest between truth and falsehood has become an entertainer selling tickets to a phony wrestling match?
Al Gore slams Obama for Failing to Take on “the Merchants of Poison,” Compares Media to Pro Wrestling Referees, Climate Progress, 6-22-11

Want to hear the message that could be coming from the Obama administration?

Van Jones: Now is the Time to Protect the American Dream - "It's time for the deep patriots to stand up to the cheap patriots." Van Jones' address to Netroots Nation 2011.

theuptake2 on Broadcast Live Free

Our circumstances call for massive, non-violent EVOLUTION.

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

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

You can also visit Richard Power author's page at

Thursday, June 16, 2011

No Word to Describe the True Nature of This Space

There is an emptiness that is full; and a fullness that is empty. They occupy the same space.

All feeling ripples thru that space; all thought glistens within it.

You and I are gossamer strands of naming that coalesce, intertwine and then disintegrate.

History is a music that emerges from the silence, & then is reabsorbed.

There is no word to describe the true nature of this space, but the closest to it would be "love."

-- Richard Power

"Prayer" and "Meditation" are Broken Terms

We are awareness and energy interwoven into livingness.

Heart, mind, soma, etc. are only gourd sand mirrors, in which to capture a glimpse, or savor a taste.

"Meditation" & "prayer" are broken terms. Too often "meditation" is approached like deep-sea drilling, too often "prayer" is approached like a satellite phone call.

"Meditation" is not immobility, "prayer" is not separateness.

The truth is just this livingness.

-- Richard Power

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Governance Meant to Protect You from Predatory Corporatists Has Been Perverted to Protect Predatory Corporatists from You

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike ... Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others ... For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Cleveland City Club, April 5 1968

Governance Meant to Protect You from Predatory Corporatists Has Been Perverted to Protect Predatory Corporatists from You

By Richard Power

From the Tar Sands to the Congo, from the Gulf Ecocide to the Triple Meltdown in Fukushima; the choice is simple - evolution or devolution?

Fukushima? Oh yes, the open wound continues to fester.

Fukushima Reactor #1 more radioactive than ever, Raw Story, 6-4-11

Nuclear fuel has melted through base of Fukushima plant, Telegraph/UK, 6-11-11

Japan Admits 3 Nuclear Meltdowns, More Radiation Leaked into Sea; U.S. Nuclear Waste Poses Deadly Risks, Democracy Now, 6-10-11

But you won't hear much about it here in the US mainstream news media, or from the US political establishment.

Beltwayistan and Infotainmentstan want you preoccupied with the debt crisis, but without any introspection on its true causes (e.g., the 2.5 trillion dollar tragedy of the Bush-Cheney tax cuts) or any genuine cure (e.g., the People's Budget).

And why do Beltwayistan and Infotainmentstan want you to think that government is not only broken, but also broke?

Ah, now the answer to that question leads to some painful, but necessary revelations.

The U.S.A was predicated on protecting the individual, and the populace as a whole, from the predatory inclinations of the wealthiest and most powerful (e.g., King George and the East India Trading Company). But this great principle has been almost wholly subverted, and the perverse shell of our government, as well as the international institutions it so heavily influences, are now predicated on the opposite, i.e., protecting the wealthiest and most powerful (e.g., BP, Goldman Sachs, etc.) from the individual, and the populace as a whole. The governance intended to promote our "general welfare" has been turned inside out.

Consider our national response to the greatest crisis of our age.

When Obama took office, he appointed some of the country’s most knowledgeable climate scientists ... it seemed for a time as if he might take his responsibility to lead ... That hope has faded. The President sat on the sidelines in 2009 and 2010 ... Since the midterm elections, Obama has barely mentioned climate change, and just about every decision ... on energy, and the environment has been wrong. New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert Slams President Obama for Fiddling While the Planet Burns, Climate Progress, 6-6-11

Media Matters analyzed television news guests who discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's role in regulating greenhouse gas emissions from December 2009 through April 2011. Driven largely by Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, results show that in 76 percent of those appearances, the guest was opposed to EPA regulations while 18 percent were in favor. Of the appearances by elected officials, 86 percent were Republican. Only one guest in 17 months of coverage across nine news outlets was a climate scientist -- industry-funded Patrick Michaels. Opponents Of EPA Climate Action Dominate TV News Airwaves, Media Matters, 6-7-11

Consider the man POTUS appointed to distribute the $20 billion in BP funds designated for victims of the ongoing Gulf Coast ecocide.

[Kenneth] Feinberg's downplay of chemical illnesses and other medical issues stemming from the BP oil disaster -- with full knowledge of the parallel court proceedings -- shows that he and his boss, BP, have no intention of "making it right" for people in the Gulf ... This inherent conflict of interest means Feinberg is nothing more than a well-paid sock puppet for BP ... Further, the federal laws and regulations designed to protect public health, worker safety, and the environment from oil and chemical poisoning are so riddled with exemptions that they cannot deliver their promise of protection ... Similarly, the federal government is also in denial ... Riki Ott, Lots of Inconvenient Truths - Chemical Illness Epidemic in the Wake of the BP Blowout, Huffington Post, 6-9-11

Consider the man the USA backs for a second term as UN General Secretary, in particular consider his performance in regard to the slow-motion GENOCIDE in Darfur.

... this is a decision that will be made largely by three wary members of the Security Council: China, Russia, and the United States. And their criteria for assessing job performance reflect nothing so much as their own geostrategic interests, which are often directly in conflict. This has the effect of producing a "lowest common denominator" candidate, a competition in which Ban Ki-moon excels. ... Since Ban assumed his position on January 1, 2007, more than 1 million civilians in Darfur have been newly displaced—more than 600,000 in his first two years in office ... During his entire tenure, security has continued to deteriorate, both for humanitarians and civilians. Ban and his disastrous special representative to UNAMID, Ibrahim Gambari, have had no success in pressuring Khartoum ... Eric Reeves, Sudan Research, 6-10-11

These circumstances no longer constitute a simple moral dilemma about the plight of some other people, or some other species, they now constitute a question of our very own survival. Sustainability and human rights are inextricably bound together in the 21st Century; and no one will have any lasting security (political or economic) without a sweeping and unshakable commitment to both. Our circumstances demand MASSIVE, NON-VIOLENT EVOLUTION. Such magic is dependent upon the courage and common sense of each individual.

The U.S. Department of State seems likely to approve a huge pipeline, known as Keystone XL to carry tar sands oil (about 830,000 barrels per day) to Texas refineries unless sufficient objections are raised. The scientific community needs to get involved in this fray now. If this project gains approval, it will become exceedingly difficult to control the tar sands monster ... An overwhelming objection is that exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.James Hansen, Silence Is Deadly: I’m Speaking Out Against Canada-U.S. Tar Sands Pipeline,, 6-4-11

EVE ENSLER: The women of Congo are the center of my heart. They’re in the heart of the world, the heart of Africa. If you rape the center of the world, if you exploit the center of the world, you destroy the heart of the world! Today, we are about taking back the heart. Jambo Mamas, you are the strongest women. And I promise you, City of Joy will be the place where the women of Congo turn their pain to power. There is a Women’s Spring Beginning: Playwright Eve Ensler and Congolese Activist Christine Schuler Deschryver on Gender Violence in Congo, Democracy Now!, 6-7-11

If there is hope, and there has to be, it flows from human beings standing in their own power. Like James Hansen and Eve Ensler. And yes, like you and me.

I am grateful for this heart that pumps the blood-wine, & for these lungs that circulate the breath of life. I am grateful I do not live in denial about our planetary peril or the utter failure of our governance. I am grateful that my embrace of these painful truths does not warp my love for creation or my hope for our future. I am grateful that the Wheel grinds on inexorably, & that I choose to move with it rather than against it.

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

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

You can also visit Richard Power author's page at

Thom Hartmann Interviews Dr. James Hansen on "Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe

“There is a Women’s Spring Beginning”: Playwright Eve Ensler and Congolese Activist Christine Schuler Deschryver on Gender Violence in Congo, Democracy Now, 6-7-11

Hard Rain Late Night: Loreena McKennitt - Dante's Prayer

Hard Rain Late Night: Loreena McKennitt - Dante's Prayer

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Power of Stone

The power of stone.

Not just to crush or build. Much of its density and weight belongs to human ignorance.

The value of stone is not just the magic of the rare earths and precious metals it yields.

Stone listens to the play of creation, and to the human sub-plot; stone distills truth from history, and stores that essence in silence.

Stone connects the distant past and the ancient future, fusing the sacred hoop of life into an uninterrupted whole.

Stone speaks.

Who listens?

-- Richard Power

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Grateful for Love

Grateful for love, which like the Sun, only seems to rise and set; but does indeed shine uninterruptedly -- inconceivably powerful, incomprehensibly ancient, unspeakably vast, utterly vital to all life.

Grateful for love, which like the Moon, only seems to wax and wane; but which, in truth, leads all life in an exquisitely beautiful tango.

Grateful for love, which like Space itself, simply abides, singing in timelessness.

-- Richard Power