Friday, July 22, 2022

"Secret Engine" Update #1 (7/22/22): What You Need to Know As We Hurdle Toward 1st of 3 Doom-Defying Deadlines

"Secret Engine" Update: What You Need to Know As We Hurtle Toward 1st of 3
Doom-Defying Deadlines (VIDEO LINK)

This is not a transcript. These are my notes for the talk. I publish them in the hope that they might be useful to you for your own clarity and in your efforts to engage other voters. 

All of the images included in this presentation are from tweets related to Russia's genocidal attack on Ukraine. The images I selected are all of women, women journalists, women in the military, civilian women casualties. Why? Because victory in this war is vital for the future of the West and of democracy and because the leadership of women is vital for the future of all life on this planet.

Some of us resonate deeply in our political and geopolitical views. Some of us agree on a few issues and disagree on others. But Left, Liberal, Centrist and true Conservative, we're all leaning forward, in a United Front for Sanity and Decency.

I have, however, identified a few other categories.

The Toxic Left: Those who chose their imagined ideological purity over compromise and incremental progressive. Those who would rather feel self-righteous than win a victory for the greater good. Those who say they're tired of being forced to choose "the lesser of two evils." If you think this, you have no real knowledge of evil, you have never faced it directly in this life. If you had real knowledge of evil, if you had faced it directly in this life, you would not hesitate for an instance if there were a choice between the lesser of two evils. And it's a false frame anyway, because the Democratic Party is not evil.

The Woo Woo Contingent: Those who imagine themselves beyond politics. Those who think it is isn't "spiritual" to choose sides. Those who have tuned out. Those who imagine they are "architecting Civilization 2.0" in a bubble of white privilege from some eco-tourist retreat.

The Pseudo-Cynical: Those who hide behind cynicism. Those who just critique. Those who reflexively say "Oh that will never happen ..." or "Nothing is going to change..." Always deflating, always dismissing. Those who acknowledge the worthiness of our goals but are unwilling to expend their own intellectual or emotional capital in the struggle to achieve them. I say "Pseudo-Cynical" because Cynicism, as expounded among the pre-Platonic Greeks, by Diogenes for example, was itself a great and holy philosophy. Diogenes the true Cynic would be on the barricades alongside us.
The Doom Infatuated: Those who refuse to even entertain the possibility of victory. It is as if they are eager for the onset of Dystopia and Doom. The Doom Infatuated are like those who are drawn to the cliff overlooking the yawning chasm, entranced, they feel its pull, they want to let go and fall in.

All four of these stances have an essential common denominator, all four make it easy to hide, all four make it easy to escape, all four are a lot less work than seeing it and feeling it and leaning into it and assuming personal responsibility to playing your part in it all. 

I don't have anything to say to "Independents" who hide behind "both sides" and cling to the false premise that there is some moral equivalences between Democrats and "Republicans." There just aren't. 

Nor do I have anything to say to "Republicans" who are willing to go along with the madness that has overtaken their party as long as taxes keep getting cut and regulations keep getting gutted. If you're not a "Never Trumper," or didn't walk away after Trump's attempted coup on 1/6, well, I don't have much hope for you. 

"Is this glass half-full or half-empty?" It's a false frame and a flawed question, which says much less than it purports to. The truth is that the half-empty glass and the half-full glass are the same glass, they occupy the same space, the glass is both half-full and half-empty simultaneously.

This is for real. Choose sides. Politics is holy. Ugly, but holy. Your vote is a sacrament. To not vote or throw your vote away on a third party candidate is a sacrilege. The fate of all hangs in the balance.

1 of 3

"Secret Engine of the World" was framed around three deadlines, two for our nation, and one for the whole of humanity and all the other species on this beautiful planet.

Three Deadlines:
  • 2022: U.S. Mid-Term Elections
  • 2024: U.S. Presidential Elections
  • 2031: Climate Apocalypse?
These deadlines are not a literary device or a rhetorical flourish, they are very real, they are existential, they are doom-defining and doom-defying.

And I am going to honor them, and dedicate this decade of my life, from 2021 when I published "Secret Engine" to 2031 when we reach the third and final of these three deadlines.

Beyond that, none of us can see, not even me, and it is foolish and bad juju to speculate.

I am honoring this first of the three deadlines, with this series of five talks, one a month, from July to November. The content of these talks will alternate between political and geopolitical updates and explorations of purely mystical teachings. Both are needed here and now.

The Facts On The Ground

  • Guns & Abortion
    • Meant to Be Just Red Meat for the Base, But …
    • They Created A Monster that Took on A Life of Its Own
    • Misogyny, Racism, Patriarchy, Oligarchy, i.e., Evil is A Disease (& It Is Communicable)
    • PsyOps to Break Our Hearts & Wills
    • Nihilism
  • Ukraine
    • "It is a war for the future of the world, for its ability to unite [...] It is a war of decolonization, because Ukraine is fighting for the right to exist. But for me, as a journalist, it is also a war of truth and lies." - Sevgil Musaieva, Ukrayinska Pravda 
  • The Big Lie, 1/6 & Beyond
    • "Perpetuating the big lie is an attack on the core of our constitutional republic ... Trump is the spark but the Republicans are the oxygen. There is no slide to autocracy without Republicans." - Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC
  • Planetary Emergencies
    • Climate Collapse & Pandemic


    We are not divided. Well, we're not divided down the middle. That's not why we can't deliver powerful sweeping change. Sure, we're divided. But it's not 50%-50%, on some of the most pressing issues it's more like 70%-30%. We're the 70%.

    "There are more of us than them," as Lando tells Poe in the most recent Star Wars trilogy.

    Consistently, in the most credible polls –
      • "Fifty Senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. Do you realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want background checks, universal background checks? Ninety percent of us. We are being held hostage by 50 Senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we the American people want." - Steve Kerr, Head Coach, Golden State Warriors
    We are actually united, in a robust majority -- numerous urgent issues.


    Well, If That's True, Why Is This Happening?

    Constitutional Impediments:
    • Senate
    • Electoral College
    • SCOTUS
    These Structural Limitations Proved Insufficient, So …
    • Media Consolidation
    • Right-Wing Echo Chamber
    • Gerrymandering
    • Citizens United, Dark Money, etc.
    • Vote Suppression
    • Perversion of the Filibuster
    • Still Not Enough, So Bring in the Global Gangsters, i.e., Putin/Trump, Supplementing the American Oligarchs w/ Russian Oligarchs
    And now the bogus “Independent Legislature” theory, etc.

    Altruism v. Sociopathy

    Clinton (1992-2000):
    Assault Weapons Ban (1994)
    “When we passed the assault weapons ban, mass shootings went down. When the law expired, mass shootings tripled.” – Joe Biden, 5/24/22
    SCOTUS: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer
    Converted the largest budget deficit in American history into the largest surplus
    Protected millions of acres of American land
    Delivered Internet to 95% of U.S. Schools
    Signed on to Kyoto Accords on Climate Change

     Obama (2009-2017):

    • $787 billion America Recovery and Reinvestment Act to spur economic growth during the Great Recession
    • Affordable Care Act
    • Iran Nuclear Agreement
    • SCOTUS: Sotomayor, Kagan
    • Expanded embryonic stem cell research leading to groundbreaking work in areas including spinal injury treatment and cancer
    • Commando raid that killed Osama Bin Laden
    • Paris Accords on Climate Change
    There is a profound difference between the governance philosophies of the Democrat Party and what today calls itself the Republican Party (although it's not the GOP now it's the GQP), it is literally altruism as a philosophy of governance v. sociopathy as a philosophy of governance.

    If you are either what I call toxic left or naive left, and you consider your imagined ideological purity superior to compromise with "liberals" or "centrists," I ask you this simple question:

    If you had a list of ten vital issues, ten vital actions, and given some power, the Democrats could deliver on five of those issues wouldn't it be better than the zilch zero nada your ideological purity will deliver. And yes, of course, given more power, enough power, they would deliver on 7, 8, maybe even 9 or all 10 of those desired actions. It is the ideological purity of those who stayed home or throw away their votes on Putin's dinner date (Jill Stein) that allowed Trump to take the electoral college vote in 2016, leading to the over 30,000 lies and over 30 crimes while in office, and of course, the three abominable SCOTUS appointments, which brought the end of Roe, and oh so much more Woe.

    Denied Our FDR Moment & Praying for Indictments

    Take this in -

    Senators each Democratic President had when taking office:
    FDR: 58 (of 96)
    Truman: 57 (of 96)
    Kennedy: 64
    LBJ: 66
    Carter: 61
    Clinton: 57
    Obama: 58
    Biden: 50
    Every Dem President of the last 100 years got at least 57 Dem Senators to start with. Except Biden who only got 50.

    Nevertheless, Biden has gotten a lot done. It's all documented right here: @What46HasDone 

    American Rescue Plan

    Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen says the Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan reduced food insecurity for families by 24%. She calls it “a profound economic and moral victory.” Bear in mind, zero Republicans voted for the American Rescue Plan that created the increased Child Tax Credit. - The Recount, 11/3/21

    Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package will give the poorest 20% of Americans a 20% boost in income, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. - Axios, 3/9/21  

    Vaccine doses given 599 million. Fully vaccinated 223 million. 67.6 percent of population. - Our World In Data, 7/12/22

    "This is the new Democratic governing coalition moving forward, w/ a strong left wing that knows when to choose its battles, behind a president who survived the era when government was a dirty word, & now gets to live up to the ideals ... What’s most important about the Biden plan is not its size but the thinking behind it. For one thing, it rejected old notions about government support as a morally hazardous 'handout' to the undeserving that would discourage work." - Joan Walsh, The Nation, 3/11/21


    "NBC analysis of all Cabinet-level members from the past four administrations found that Biden’s cabinet has the highest percentage of women heading Cabinet-level departments; as well as secretaries, administrators and directors of color compared to his predecessors overall. Close to half of his current Cabinet are women; half of his current Cabinet self-identify as Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American or multiracial" - NBCDFW, 4/29/21

    Perhaps most important of all, most meaningful of all, most impactful of all, Biden named Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior. "a historic move ... the first Indigenous American appointed to the position of a cabinet secretary in the United States" And not just any cabinet post, she's running the Interior Department, which not only deals with our forests, our wildernesses, our natural resources, but provides vital services to all of the Native American tribes in the United States.

    Judiciary (Federal bench, lifetime appointments)

    “the most demo­graph­ic­ally diverse set of judi­cial candid­ates in history, includ­ing the first LGBTQ woman to serve on a court of appeals, the first Muslim Amer­ican to serve as a federal judge, and the first Black woman to ever serve on the Supreme Court. Twenty-six percent of all Black women currently serving as active judges were nomin­ated by Pres­id­ent Biden. Nearly 30 percent of Biden’s nomin­ees have served as public defend­ers” (Brennan Center, 4/5/22)

    Perhaps most important of all, most meaningful of all, Ketanji Brown Jackson, first African American woman appointed to SCOTUS.

    Revoked Keystone XL Permit

    “On the campaign trail, Biden vowed to cancel the Keystone XL cross-border permit should he win the presidency—and on his first day in office, he made good on that promise. The revoked permit became the final nail in the pipeline’s coffin” (NRDC)

    Re-Joined the Paris Accords

    In one of his first acts in the Oval Office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement, the largest international effort to curb global warming. - NPR, 1/20/21

    Oh yeah, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill.

    Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation's infrastructure and competitiveness. For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated “infrastructure week” without ever agreeing to build infrastructure - NPR, 11/15/21

    Yet, as the "pundits" will tell you breathlessly, Biden's poll numbers have plunged and his agenda is stalled. It's vital that you understand how and why. No, not inflation, not his age, not that he went to far to the left, not that he didn't go far enough to the left, not CRT, not supply chain, or gas prices, none of it.

    Four factors started the downward spiral in Biden’s poll numbers -
    • Manchin & Sinema killed BBB & Voting Rights, $15 Minimum Raise
      • Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (@ayanaeliza), 7/15/22: In a devastating blow to the planet, Senator Manchin informed Dem leadership last night that he will not support the climate, justice, and clean energy portions of the legislative package that has been mired in negotiations since December 2021.
      • Southern Sister Resister (@ResisterSis20), 7/5/22: Because of Manchin and Sinema, Roe is not codified, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is not passed, Build Back Better is not law, AR15s are not banned, and Climate Crisis legislation is not a priority. To solve this, #ExpandTheMajority in the Senate ...
    • Beltwayistan Media Normalization, Horse Race Coverage
      • For example, Joe Ferullo, The Hill, 10/3/21: As the Biden administration pushes forward on social programs and foreign policy moves that have consistent voter support, the mainstream media too often under-reports that support, and instead headlines the rallying cries of the opposition and glosses over deeper reasons why expanding middle- and working-class benefits ignites such resistance in this country. Coverage of the Democrats’ efforts to craft a reconciliation bill has been relentlessly superficial. Reporting from inside the Beltway resembles campaign horse-race journalism, with an unwavering focus on minute-by-minute assessments of who’s up and who’s down.
    • Weaponization of the Pandemic in several ways
      • Frida Ghitis, CNN, 9/10/21: The US is one of a few major countries where the people pushing against common-sense measures hold positions of power, where they can shape policy, influence large swaths of the population, and weaponize the pandemic for their own political benefit. (In Brazil, another place where this has happened, President Jair Bolsonaro, known as "the Trump of the Tropics," faces investigations for his pandemic shenanigans and their catastrophic consequences). Some in the Republican Party have turned the coronavirus crisis into the vehicle they hope will propel them to new political heights. As President Joe Biden tries to slow the deadly march of the virus, it's not hard to see what's behind his opponents' continuing efforts to thwart the White House's plans. It's a cynical game of unspeakable cruelty. If Biden fails to contain the pandemic, their hope is that they can use that failure to gain control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections and pave the way for a Republican president in 2024 ...
    • The understandable, depressing assumption that Trump & his co-conspirators will get away with it
      • Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw): If you still think AG Garland doesn’t fully intend to have DOJ prosecute EVERYONE responsible for trying to overturn the 2020 election, you need to listen carefully to what he said today (7/20/22)
      • AG Merrick Garland, today (7/20/22): “For people who are concerned as I think every American should be about protecting democracy, we have to . . .hold accountable EVERY PERSON who is criminally responsible for trying to overturn a legitimate election.”
      • Glenn Kirschner, MSNBC, 7/22/22: Now, I have long cautioned that we should give the DOJ enough time to do its thing. But my view has always been premised on the assumption that DOJ has, indeed been doing a thorough, far-reaching, aggressive investigation behind the scenes. My growing concern with each new data point is that for reasons that may have little to do with the facts or the law, DOJ is not doing the kind of investigation our democracy needs to survive
    BBB was our centerpiece of our FDR moment.

    The most transformative investment in children and caregiving in generations
    The largest effort to combat climate change in American history
    The biggest expansion of affordable health care in a decade
    The most significant effort to bring down costs and strengthen the middle class in generations
    Fully paid for
    - White House, Build Back Better Framework

    This tweet from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) captures the inspiring moment"

    What’s in the Build Back Better Act?
    Universal preschool
    Free community college
    Lower prescription drug costs
    Nutrition assistance for kids
    Investments in green jobs
    We’re going to pay for it by ensuring the uber-wealthy and corporations finally pay their fair share in taxes.
    - Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan), 9/14/21

    It was all set to be passed via a Reconciliation Bill, this escaping filibuster. 48 out of 50 in the Democratic Caucus were on-board. VP Kamala Harris would have been the tie-breaking vote. On this bill, Manchin and Sinema betrayed the President and the Party. They betrayed us all. Likewise with two extremely urgent Voting Rights bills. And Sinema herself deep-sixed a $15 minimum wage even earlier in the term. The Biden agenda, the forward momentum of the administration, our chances in the mid-term elections this November. All took of hit. Because of cash flowing into the coffers of two members of the Democratic Caucus in a 50-50 Senate. 

    Grimly Confident
    • 2018: #MeToo, 2020: #BlackLivesMatter, 2022: #BansOffOurBodies
    • Polls Are Encouraging
    • In Its Madness, GQP is Devouring Itself w/ In-Fighting
    • Voters are Turned Off By GQP’s Toxic, Extremist Agenda
    • Demographic Shift, Evolutionary Arc Continues to Align
    As you know if you have read my posts or listened to my talks over these last few years, or if we share tea or take walks, you know that in spite all of that has befallen us, I have said again and again, "I am wildly optimistic about our future." This is still the truth. The fundamentals, the verities, the verifiable trends on which that wild optimism is based have not changed. But we have suffered so much now, and been so traumatized, not only us, our allies as well, at this dire moment, it would be inappropriate to say "wildly optimistic," so until we do what we must do this November, I will simply say "I am grimly confident."

    At a recent Commonwealth Club event promoting his powerful new book, "They Want to Kill Americans: The Militias, Terrorists, and Deranged Ideology of the Trump Insurgency," the great Malcolm Nance declared, "We need 20% more voters to turn out than in 2018." In the mid-term election, two years into Trump, we got the House back but the Zombie Death Cult held to the Senate. That's the truth of it. 

    Here we are. At the end of everything? Or the beginning of a new, better America?  

    -- Richard Power, Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Writer, Speaker, Global Intelligence & Security Expert.  "Secret Engine of the World: Further Insights into Primal Reality, Gaian Politics & the Arc of Human Evolution" (2021) is available from