Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fear & Loathing 2012: Unfortunately, POTUS Really Isn't Playing 3-Dimensional Chess; But You & I Must

Corn and soybeans in the U.S. Midwest baked in an unrelenting heat wave on Monday with fears rising of big crop losses that will boost food and fuel prices and cut exports and aid from the world's top shipper of the key crops ... "We're moving from a crisis to a horror story," said Purdue University agronomist Tony Vyn. "I see an increasing number of fields that will produce zero grain." US drought worsens crop damage, raising world food, fuel worry, Reuters, 7-17-12

A new analysis released Thursday in the journal Science implies that the seas could rise dramatically higher over the next few centuries than scientists previously thought — somewhere between 18-to-29 feet above current levels, rather than the 13-to-20 feet they were talking about just a few years ago. Sea Level Rise: It Could Be Worse Than We Think, Climate Progress, 7-21-12

Fear & Loathing 2012: Unfortunately, POTUS Really Isn't Playing 3-Dimensional Chess; But You & I Must

By Richard Power

Are you ready to play three-dimensional chess?

Humanity is at the end of a very dark age. We are seeing the faintest inklings of a bright new age to come. But it is always darkest just before the dawn. And, yes, "a hard rain's gonna fall ..."

It seems like the great change is taking forever, but actually it is all happening very fast; over the course of just a few generations, from the 1960s to the 2060s.

That's one dimension.

Meanwhile, in the USA, the elite lives within the bubble of the lie it has told itself; and the electorate lives within the bubble of the lie the elite has told it about itself. And both the astro-turf "Tea-baggers" and the streaking comet of "Occupy" demonstrate that the electorate is still wrapped up in this lie, even when it thinks it has punched its way out.

That's another dimension.

Somehow we must work with the forward momentum accelerating in the one dimension, while braking the backward momentum accelerating in the other dimension. How? And from where? From a third dimension, from a place of inner resolve and inner clarity, a place of no-place, a beacon of truth reflected in the light of a trillion stars, in the darkness, after the palace of mirrors has been shattered.

That's the third dimension.

"One more cup of coffee before I go to the valley below ..."

Don't let Romney's feckless nature lull you into a false sense of security about the November 2012 elections. (Before Reagan was elected, he came off as a buffoon; so did G.W. Bush before he was SELECTED.)

Everything is in place for another victory by the Zombie Cult formerly known as the Republican Party and their Death Eater overlords.

1. SCOTUS' 5-4 decision on Citizens United smashed the levees of sanity ...

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned ... a group of "angry, old white men" with billions of dollars to contribute will be able to determine political outcomes in the United States. The Hill, 7-16-12

2. The brazen strategy of obstructionism, as articulated by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, has indeed ground the wheels of government to a dead stop, and thereby slowed down the economic recovery sufficiently to turn the fall election into a dressage horse race ...

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Plum Line, Washington Post, 10-24-11

3. And if all else fails, those governors put into office in 2010 by that deeply self-deceiving electorate have taken out an insurance policy ...

Ten states now have unprecedented restrictive voter ID laws. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin all require citizens to produce specific types of government-issued photo identification before they can cast a vote that will count. Legal precedent requires these states to provide free photo ID to eligible voters who do not have one. Unfortunately, these free IDs are not equally accessible to all voters. This report is the first comprehensive assessment of the difficulties that eligible voters face in obtaining free photo ID. The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification, Brennan Center for Justice

If you are willing to stand there with your arms folded and think it is all POTUS' fault you are reacting rather than responding; and you are failing to draw on the painful lessons of our political history. In 1968, disgusted with Humphrey, you got Nixon, in 1980, disappointed in Carter, you got Reagan, in 2000, disinterested in Gore, you got G.W. Bush. Each defeat was a vicious turn of the screw. In each case, the result was far worse than whatever led to the dissatisfaction, defection and inaction. And so in 2012, what will you do?

Because none of the many disappointments that POTUS has given us eclipses the disappointment that the electorate itself served up in 2010, ripping the gavel out of Pelosi's hands and turning it over to that sad clown John Boehner in Beltwayistan, while vanquishing the likes of Russ Feingold and exalting the likes of Scott Walker.

Hundreds of pieces of powerful progressive legislation were passed by Pelosi's Congress (including sweeping action on the Climate Crisis), POTUS would have been compelled (and probably relieved) to sign all of it, but it was all crushed in the "sickness unto death" that the U.S. Senate has become over these last few years.

All it would have taken was a handful more of truly "D" Senators sent to Beltwayistan in 2010, instead the electorate choose to keep the Senate in stagnation and turn the House over to the Zombies and their Death Eater overlords. Madness.

The Fire (Flood, Blood and Pestilence) Next Time ...

And it's not just the fate of SCOTUS for a generation that is at stake.

Nor is it just the rise of a new virulent misogyny. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) offered up some advice for women who don’t want to have a mandatory ultrasound before they terminate their pregnancy: Don’t look at it. Talking Points Memo, 3-15-12

Nor those other Zombie Cult governors who rejected high-speed rail funding included in POTUS' stimulus package.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday became the third newly elected Republican governor to reject the Obama administration's $53 billion plan to build a nationwide high-speed rail network ... Similar decisions to opt out of high-speed rail by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich do not critically damage the federal plan, experts say. Christian Science Monitor, 2-16-12

(Like Corbett, Kasich, Walker and Scott were all elected in 2010.)

No, everyone and everything everywhere is at stake now.

Consider Bill McKibben's brilliant piece in the current Rolling Stone.

When we think about global warming at all, the arguments tend to be ideological, theological and economic. But to grasp the seriousness of our predicament, you just need to do a little math. For the past year, an easy and powerful bit of arithmetical analysis first published by financial analysts in the U.K. has been making the rounds of environmental conferences and journals, but it hasn't yet broken through to the larger public. This analysis upends most of the conventional political thinking about climate change. And it allows us to understand our precarious – our almost-but-not-quite-finally hopeless – position with three simple numbers. The First Number: 2° Celsius ... The official position of planet Earth at the moment is that we can't raise the temperature more than two degrees Celsius – it's become the bottomest of bottom lines ... The Second Number: 565 Gigatons ...Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees ... The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons ... it's the fossil fuel we're currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new number – 2,795 – is higher than 565. Five times higher. Bill McKibben, Global Warming's Terrifying New Math, Rolling Stone, 7/19/12

Now, on the issue of the Climate Crisis in particular, no one is more disappointed in POTUS than I am. He has been eerily silent on it in his speechifying, and in his silence and inaction he is culpable in the greatest failure of governance in human history. BUT the global climate is already collapsing, and it is only going to accelerate. Gaia has already begun to force our hand. It will only get worse.

When worse comes, and it will, I do not want Romney, McConnell and the sad clown Boehner in charge of the U.S. federal government. When the moment comes when the Climate Crisis dominates all else (as it soon will), I don't want someone in charge who is utterly beholden to those who have fueled not only the collapse of the climate but also the denial of its reality.

And yes, there is a significant difference between "beholden" which POTUS and the Democrats are, and "utterly beholden" which the Zombie Cult and their Death Eater overlords are. And when the next Katrina (and worse) comes, it could mean the difference between life and death for whole cities and whole population sectors. If Barack Obama is still POTUS when Gaia forces our hand, he will respond humanely; if Romney is POTUS every climate-related catastrophe will become a greater catastrophe, as it was with G.W. Bush and Katrina.

Before the Cock Crows

So what will you do?

Do you really want to empower this man, who has stashed his fortune in the Caymans Islands and Switzerland, to make economic war on teachers and nurses? Do you really want to reward McConnell and the sad clown Boehner for what they have not done for the last four years?

Not that Barack Obama will save us. He may admire Lincoln, but Lincoln FOUGHT, and RISKED ALL, to SAVE the Union. (And I do not blame POTUS for not wanting to walk in those shoes. Consider where the trail ended.) No, Barack Obama will not save us. But giving him another four years will buy us some time so that we can work on saving ourselves.

Let me be very clear with you, I do not support Barack Obama. He has been a profound disappointment to me, not in what he couldn't get done, but in what he did not say from the Bully Pulpit. He was a Jackie Robinson when we needed a Hank Aaron. But I will vote for him in November, without the least hesitation. Because I understand the consequences if he is defeated by the forces arrayed against him, and us, in this election.

Romney did not make his money "the old fashioned way," he didn't "earn it" (if there ever was such a thing), he made his fortune the ugly way, the Randian way -- on the suffering of others. Romney is dangerous man. Not a sociopath, ala Bush and Cheney, but certainly a hollow man, a man who stands for nothing but entitlement, and will do what he is told. Ah, "entitlement," a word now so twisted, to infer that you and I and the 99% somehow don't deserve Social Security or Medicare.

So what will you do?

If you do not vote, or you vote Green in a state that is in jeopardy of going red, you are voting for him, and them, and you are voting for racism, misogyny, homophobia, and ecocide. Because your choice is NOT between POTUS and Jill Stein. Would that it were. Your choice is between the Hollow Man Mitt Romney, and POTUS, whose policy choices are, ironically, like those of Mitt's father, George Romney, a moderate Republican of the 1960s and 1970s.

Check out Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments, compiled by Paul Glastris, Ryan Cooper and Siyu Hu for the Washington Monthly (March/April 2012)

Some of them read like the accomplishments of a circa 1972-1992 moderate Republican, only a few are genuinely progressive. But NONE of them would have come to pass if McCain had won, and what good that they have wrought will be undone if Romney wins.

The Greening of America is Overdue

Ah, but I said we have to play three-dimensional chess, and I meant it. I am happy that the Green Party has moved beyond the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader, who lost all credibility in the presidential election campaign of 2000, and has not earned one iota of it back in the TWELVE YEARS since. And I hope Jill Stein demonstrates the vision and emotional maturity in 2012 that the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader did not in 2000; and I will not be surprised if she does. I feel good about her and her running mate. I feel even better about Gar Alperovitz' keynote speech to the recent Green Party convention.

GAR ALPEROVITZ: ... So I urge—and I think many people here do—but I urge that you sit back and say, "Yeah, am I up to that, or am I just doing politics, or am I really up to that?" Now, the "that" is transforming the most powerful corporate capitalist system in the history of the world. That’s what it’s about. And to say that I take you seriously is to say that that is what you’re stepping up to—not simply a gesture, not simply a new party, not simply a green movement. It is that, and that is the challenge ... The second thing I want to say is, I don’t think that’s always true. But I do think that the emerging era of history into which we are living our lives, the era into which we’re living, may well be the most important period of American history, bar none. Now, I say it as a historian, others would disagree, but I don’t say it lightly. And when I say "bar none," I mean including the American Revolution and including the '60s and including the Civil War. Whoa, that's a heavy rap, as we used to say in the ’60s. What I mean is that, in many ways, the system is running out of options, and we are beginning to see more and more people aware of the difficulties that cannot be managed the old way ... Third thing I want to say: systems, in history, are defined, above all, by who controls the wealth. No secret ... So, the question becomes—and here’s the third thing I think a lot about we do a lot with—is there any sign, if you don’t like state socialism, you don’t like corporate capitalism, that we can build a democratic system from the bottom up that also changes the ownership of capital and is also inherently green? How do we do that? We. We. One of the things that’s happening—and this is exciting stuff going on that the press simply does not cover. Gar Alperovitz’s Green Party Keynote: We Are Laying Groundwork for the "Next Great Revolution"

I commend the full text of Alperovitz's keynote to you. Follow the link to the transcript, or better yet, watch it on the embedded video below. Because if POTUS survives, and if the Speaker's gavel can be won back from the sad clown, then we must make massive non-violent EVOLUTION with great haste.

Of course, we must make it anyway. Gaia is going to demand it of us. But with the half-compromised Democrats in power, instead of the utterly lost souls of the Zombie Cult and their Death Eater overlords, we will have more advantageous circumstances in which to influence events and initiatives. And we must follow the actual example of Jesus, and chase the money lenders from the temple.

Or else ...

The words of that time traveler Ben Franklin might well be our epitaph: “Well, Doctor," someone asked him as he left Independence Hall, at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, "what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” “A Republic," Franklin answered, "if you can keep it.”

Well, we shall see all too soon.

Gar Alperovitz’s Green Party Keynote: We Are Laying Groundwork for the "Next Great Revolution"

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 is the author of seven books, including Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself and True North on the Pathless Path: Towards a 21st Century Yoga. His eighth book is coming soon! He writes and speaks on security, risk, human rights and sustainability, and has delivered executive briefings and led training in over 40 countries. Power blogs at and