Concerto for blunt instrument

An irregular heartbeat from d.o. to you. Not like a daily kos, more like a sometime sloth. Fast relief from the symptoms of blogarrhea and predicated on the understanding that the world is not a stage for our actions, rather it is a living organism upon which we depend for our existence.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Conservatives who don't conserve

[given last night's press conference by King George concerning energy, among other things, and the Repugnicons seeming inability to REALLY address conservation, it seems like a good time to revisit this commentary]


It seems as if nothing is sacred for today’s so-called conservatives. The very root of their philosophy is utterly ignored as rightwing politicians, pundits, and their corporate sponsors hack their way blindly across the political landscape and the planet. Their true conservative predecessors must be rolling in their graves.

George W. Bush, like his father before him, is all about Big Oil. His newly unveiled energy policy is not even a thinly veiled version of old Republican energy policies. It reflects the supply-side thinking that has dominated rightwing circles for decades. “MORE” is the motto, as Bush, his corporate handlers, and legions of their automatons crank up the thermostat, oblivious to the winter wind howling through the open door. That’s Congressman Bernie Sanders’ North Country metaphor, one he used recently to blast the Bush administration for its shortsighted energy policy that places little emphasis on energy conservation. It’s an apt metaphor for people who have lost sight of reality and whose attachment to the planet and their fellow inhabitants seems all but lost.

In a nation that consumes 30% of the world’s resources with only 5% of the world’s population, it’s actually criminal to ignore conservation. And, quite frankly, that is how we are viewed by that other 95%. The United States is the real Evil Empire. The nation where the laws of thermodynamics are ignored. An outlaw nation. Corporate America and their cronies in government squander the gifts of the planet, letting much of it fall to the wayside unused and irretrievable. And these people call themselves conservatives?

They conserve only their own privilege in a world running short on ecological options. A true conservative knows the value of conservation. A true conservative practices thrift; using whatever resources they require with care and foresight, keeping future generations in mind. Does that sound like the present occupant in the White House? Is that the mentality guiding proponents of corporate globalism as they seek to undo environmental safeguards, claiming them as restraints against fair trade? Is that the thinking behind an industrial assault upon the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, or a renewal of the ill-conceived nuclear power industry? We don’t think so.

Actually, the Democrats’ counter energy plan reads more like a conservative’s idea of energy policy. This is not surprising, given how far to the right the Democrats have wandered. Why don’t they simply skip the pretense and claim the mantel of conservatism for themselves! That done, the denizens of the far right can be pegged for what they truly are: enemies of the Earth and its inhabitants; former conservatives who have gone over to the dark side.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Earth Day canceled

I've got Title Glut over here: "Earth Day canceled due to lack of interest" has a nice ring to it; "Earth Day canceled on account of rain" is a bit more subtle, but both potential titles indicate the sort of mentality that has brought us to our present state. And what state is that? Unless you've got yur' head buried deeply up yur' butt you already know the answer. If you actually need more guidance checkout the recently released Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, but frankly: haven't we been talking about the state of the Earth for decades now? Does the World Scientists' Warning to Humanity sound familiar? That plea from 1,700 of the world's leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, was issued in November 1992. It was a dire warning that went mostly unheeded, even by so-called progressives and liberals whose lifestyles, along with those of most of their fellow citizens in the U.S., continue to reflect a suicidal disregard for the very planet that sustains them. The scientists warn:

"We the undersigned, senior members of the world's scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead. A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated."

This is not Jor-El sounding the home planet Krypton's impending doom, it's not fiction at all, it's the real thing. The vast majority of the world's population labors under the Shakespearean illusion that "all the world is a stage" intended solely for the purpose of their own personal drama. That mindset could not be further from the truth.

In any case, the world scientists noted:

"No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished."

Check the calendar, do the math. All the political, social justice and peace work we do will come to nothing on a planet that will no longer sustain us. If our efforts in what ever cause is our calling does not involve an ecological element, then we have a real problem. As an example: removing far-right zealots from government is good for the Earth.

On to the poetics:

When God controlled the weather

When God controlled the weather
we knew when we'd gone wrong, when
Widow Goody's crops turned black we
knew her sins had grown, with fortunes
tied to "our Lord", the favors under
the mattress, in the eyes of the chosen.
But now the weather's changed, somewhat,
proclamations from the Great House, from
high on the hill, call for further study.
Inquisitors cast men of science into the
moat to see if they will float. The ice
in your drink is melting, sir. The desert
creeps up on us in the night as another
five hundred thousand dreams of power
and manufactured self-worth roll off
the line.

Dear Aunt Sara,
We hope to be able to visit before too long.
We saved all our travel coupons and submitted
all our applications. They say there should
be a break in the weather in the next few years.
Food is running low. The water is bad. The baby died.
the children

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Reflecting on Nicaragua in the face of CAFTA

The present attention on the so-called Central America Free Trade Agreement finds me reflecting on my experience in Nicaragua back in the mid to late '80s when the Sandinista revolution was under siege by the same players now scheming to literally rule the word:

As part of the Western Massachusetts building brigade, Construyamos Juntos, I had the privilege to join with scores of other activists from the Northeast U.S. and untold numbers of Nicaraguan citizens in the completion of an elementary school in San Pedro de Lovago in the Chontales region in 1986. This was my first trip out of the states (other than Canada) and served as both a vital educational experience and an endless source of inspiration. The time spent in Nicaragua is never far from my mind even after a quarter of a century has passed (did i say a quarter of a century??).

Perhaps one of the most significant lessons learned from our stay began with a meeting our brigade had in town with the Catholic bishop of the region, a very vocal opponent of the Sandinista government and a person better suited for down in the gutter politics than for the priesthood. The meeting was strained due not only to his condescending and pompous attitude, but to his obvious bias in favor of the Contras, the very forces who were committing horrible atrocities against his fellow countrymen. We were cordial, but let it be known where our sympathies lie. The next day the bishop was overheard misrepresenting and lying about our group to a gathering of parishioners. The night after that the town was attacked by the Contras. Luckily for us, San Pedro de Lovago was well enough defended by the local militia to drive off the attackers, though things did get dicey for awhile with the Contras right outside our door and the tracers flying all around.

The timing of the incident left little doubt in our minds about the connections between the Catholic hierarchy, Nicaragua's former ruling class under Somosa, and the CIA/Reagan-funded Contras. If they thought we'd be intimidated they miscalculated. The incident served to further energize our support for the ideals of the Sandinista revolution and, upon our return to the States, served as a handy news hook to raise the profile of the Nicaraguan solidarity movement. We proceeded, along with thousands of other U.S. activists, to pull out all the stops in the effort to prevent a full-scale U.S. invasion. That worked, but the slow strangulation and undermining of the revolution by the forces of darkness in Washington took its toll on Nicaragua. Those forces are today, back in the White House and Congress. The vigilance we learned from our friends in Nicaragua will serve us well in the ongoing work of saving El Norte from the death-grip of the neo-cons. El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido!

[CAFTA coverage here:]

[Also checkout Nica Net here:]