Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Final Days of Fear and Loathing in 2012; "Oh, A Storm is Threatening My Very Life Today, If I Don't Get Some Shelter ..."

Photo Credit: Gary He/Reuters 
Photo Credit: John Minchillo / AP
Unfortunately, Sandy is only the latest in a line of recent extreme weather events that have severely afflicted Americans in the past two years. Other disasters include the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, record-breaking temperatures across the nation, and severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across the Midwest. Farmers in the Midwest are expecting to harvest just a fraction of their corn and other crops this year, leading to record federal crop insurance payments due to the worst drought in 50 years that plagued two-thirds of the nation. Vicious heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes, and severe storms left hundreds of people dead and injured. These are the extreme weather events that scientists predict will become more frequent and/or severe if the industrial carbon pollution responsible for climate change remains unchecked. Joe Romm, How Does Climate Change Make Superstorms Like Sandy More Destructive?, Climate Progress, 10-31-12

The Final Days of Fear and Loathing in 2012; "Oh, A Storm is Threatening My Very Life Today, If I Don't Get Some Shelter ..."

By Richard Power

No, I don't have anything to say about "Superstorm Sandy."

I have said it all for TWELVE YEARS. James Hansen and Al Gore have been saying it for even longer.

I love New York, it is where I came from, and this is personal. So for the second time, the loud, sooty, crowded, concrete and steel lotus blossom from which I emerged, has been hit horrifically hard, because of bad governance.

It was bad governance, criminal negligence really, that led to the slaughter of the innocents on 9/11. Bush-Cheney willfully ignored urgent and repeated warnings that we were about to be hit.

Likewise, with "Superstorm Sandy." Bad governance led to the flooding of the subways in lower Manhattan, the raging fire in Queens, and the utter devastation in New Jersey.

"Ooh, see the fire is sweepin' / Our very street today ..."

Many millions of people blacked out. Tens of billions of dollars in losses. Bad governance. Political cowardice in Beltwayistan, and moral bankruptcy of Infotainmentstan.

So I don't give a damn that in Sandy's AFTERmath, billionaire NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed POTUS for re-election, citing the urgency of the Climate Crisis as a significant reason. And I don't give damn that in Sandy's AFTERmath, the cover of Businessweek declared: It's Global Warming, Stupid.

Too little too late. I don't mean too late to mitigate the worst of what is to come; we can still make a profoundly positive shift for future generations. I mean too little too late to earn any respect from me. Not after TWELVE YEARS.

"The floods is threatening / My very life today ..."

OK, I guess I did have something to say about "Superstorm Sandy."

Whatever happens on Tuesday, it will not be POTUS, or Billionaireberg, or Businessweak that will lead; it will be others, like Darryl Hannah, and Bill McKibben (who is earning a Nobel Peace Prize whether he ever wins one or not) ...

How are we in the US and Canada addressing these crises? Not through the co-opted political system, but with heroic acts by the ordinary citizens of North America. People have been putting their bodies on the line and risking arrest in order to protect our future, to acknowledge climate change disasters and to protect access to basic necessities such as uncontaminated water, soil and food. We are seeing an exponentially growing number of nationwide rallies, protests and acts of civil disobedience just to protect these fundamental life support systems. The threats are exacerbated by the looming death throes of an outdated and finite fossil fuel industry struggling to stay relevant in the 21st century, despite its current economic might. It's hard to reconcile the fact that the fossil fuel industry is struggling when their unprecedented profits make them the wealthiest of corporations in the history of mankind, even in this devastated global economy – but the times, they are-a-changing. Darryl Hannah, The battle against Big Energy's rush to ruin our planet, Guardian, 10-31-12

The question Hurricane Sandy really raises, then, is how long Big Oil will be allowed to hold the government of the United States hostage. How long will Exxon-Mobil’s business plans take precedence over the wellbeing and indeed survival of our children? Neither of the two presidential candidates provides great inspiration on this point, though Obama is at least willing to talk about the problem, as when he advocates eliminating some taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. (Romney, for his part, thinks Big Oil has not been favored enough by Washington.) But no president can cross Big Oil in the way that is required to defuse the climate crisis without the help of a powerful and sustained popular movement. If Hurricane Sandy contributes to building such a movement—and McKibben and his fellow activists at and allied organizations are launching a national tour shortly after Election Day that aims to do just that—America might still avoid the curse of Cassandra by heeding her warnings at last. Mark Hertsgaard, Can Sandy Help Jolt America Out of Climate Change Denial? 10-31-12

Do not mistake my intent.

POTUS must be re-elected on Tuesday. There is no alternative. And I am grateful that Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg agree.

Remember Katrina? POTUS has done an admirable job in the aftermath of Sandy. The Hollow Man and his FEMA would have simply done what Bush and his FEMA did, i.e., exercise malign neglect.

Yes, POTUS has been disappointing on Corporatism and Militarism. But he has been strong on Misogyny, Homophobia and Racism. It is not a principled stand to protest Corporatism and Militarism by rewarding Misogyny, Homophobia and Racism, and if you throw your vote away or don't vote, that is what you will be doing - rewarding Misogyny, Homophobia and Racism.

"Rape, murder! / It's just a shot away ..."

Furthermore, even on the issues of corporatism and militarism, there are profound differences between POTUS and the Hollow Man. POTUS delivered Dodd-Frank (weak as it is) and elevated Elizabeth Warren to the national stage; and in response, Wall Street gave money hand over fist to the Hollow Man. And in regard to Iran, make no mistake about it, if the Hollow Man is elected, we will be at war with Iran within a year, just as we would have been if the shell of a man formerly known as John McCain had been elected.

"War, children, it's just a shot away / It's just a shot away ..."

I do not expect POTUS to lead on the Climate Crisis, but I do know that he will act in response to a strong, broad movement from below. And as much as we have accomplished, the numbers have to be larger than they have been so far.

"I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away / It's just a kiss away ..."

Hopefully, POTUS will be re-elected and sworn in, but whether or not he is, those of you who disagree and will vote for Jill Stein instead of POTUS, I assure you, we will be on the same side of the barricade in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

Consider this concerning Social Security and Medicare ...

We are forewarned and we must act now to make clear that we will block the Great Betrayal and crush at the polls any member of Congress who supports it. Do not concede the phrase "grand bargain" to the proponents of the betrayal. We should heed Camus' warning that it is essential to call a plague by its real name if one is to resist it -- and it is essential to resist the pestilence. "[W]hen you see the suffering and pain that it brings, you have to be mad, blind or a coward to resign yourself to the plague." We must refuse to resign ourselves to being betrayed by Democratic leaders. Our actions must make it clear that we are not mad, blind, or cowards. We refuse to fall for their faux moral panics. It is our leaders who are all too often mad, blind, and cowards. William K. Black, The Great Betrayal – and the Cynicism of Calling it a Grand Bargain, Naked Capitalism, 10-30-12

"A kiss away / A kiss away ..."

Angélique Kidjo & Joss Stone - Gimme Shelter (2007)

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 eight books, including Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality in an Era of Global PerilBetween Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself and True North on the Pathless Path: Towards a 21st Century Yoga. Power writes and speaks on spirituality, sustainability, human rights, and security. He blogs at and, and is a member of the Truthout Board of Advisors. He also teaches yoga.