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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/16/09

Delusional opposition to economic stimulus portends opposition to needed climate change action

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The Delusional Opposition to the Economic Stimulus Package is a Precursor of What will Come When it is Time to Move on Climate Change Later This Year

"It has been just over a year since the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a landmark report warning of rising sea levels, expanding deserts, more intense storms and the extinction of up to 30 percent of plant and animal species. But recent climate studies suggest that report significantly underestimates the potential severity of global warming over the next 100 years, a senior member of the panel warned." Agence France Press, 2-14-09

"Increasing greenhouse gases could delay, or even postpone indefinitely the recovery of stratospheric ozone in some regions of the Earth, a new study suggests. This change might take a toll on public health." Terra Daily, 2-12-09

"California's farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century, and its major cities could be in jeopardy, if Americans do not act to slow the advance of global warming, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said."Â LA Times,2-4-09

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The "Primitivist" Henri Rousseau painted "The Dream" in 1910. It now hangs in Manhattan's MOMA

You think my choice of "delusional" to characterize the opposition to the economic stimulus package is over the top? Really? Did you know that both the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO supported swift passage of the bill? In other words, the traditional bread and butter constituency of the Republican Party (i.e., the business community) and the traditional bread and butter constituency of the Democratic Party (i.e., the labor movement) backed it, and yet only three Republican Senators joined with the other side of the aisle to vote yes.

It does not matter if the motivation for the opposition was ideological (i.e. Kool-Aid induced) or cravenly political (i.e. do or die positioning for the 2010 mid-terms), or both (which is most likely); whatever the motivation, it was delusional. The US economy is on the brink of a Great Depression and if it falls, it will take the global economy with it. So I say "delusional." If you are negotiating with someone who has been drenched in gasoline, and is intent on lighting a match because it will burn away the gasoline, well, then, you are dealing with a delusional person. (I am not even going to go into the financial meltdown here, just read Stiglitz.)

Would the stimulus package be more effective if it were $1.5 trillion and/or had less (if any) tax cuts included? Certainly. But right here, right now, that is not the point.

The point is that the economic stimulus package is of profound importance and urgency, and yet the overwhelming majority of Republicans in both houses of Congress speak of it as if it is business as usual. They seem to be willfully attempting to limit its impact by bad-vibing it with the US populace. And the populace, as ever, is at the mercy of a mainstream news media, which concocted an on-air debate stacked 3 to 1 with Republican viewpoints, and only 5% of those given access to the air waves were economists. (See While Journalists Risk Their Lives Across the Planet, the US Mainstream News Media Continues to Misinform & Misdirect on the Economic Crisis.)

Imagine what awaits us when the time comes to pass meaningful climate change legislation later this year.

Let us hope that Senators Specter (R-PA), Snow (R-ME) and Collins (R-ME) draw at least once more on the political courage to follow conscience and common sense. And let us hope that a few more centrist Republicans are willing to join them.

I write a great deal about climate change and sustainability, and have for years, but I do not write much about solutions. Solutions abound. But they are of little use if we do not avail themselves of them. Individual responsibility and right action are vital, but it cannot compensate for a failure to summon national and global responsibility and right action.

The problem is in the collective psyche, and the body politic. There is the deep denial. There is also misinformation. The denial feeds on the misinformation, and the misinformation is fueled by the denial. It is a feedback loop.

My interest in climate change, sustainability, economic security and human rights is not political, it is shamanic. Unless enough of us grok the oneness of all life, unless we find that "100th Monkey" we are lost. Everything and everyone, everywhere, is connected. Science and Shamanism both affirm this planetary truth.

Without energy security, we cannot achieve environmental security. Without environmental security we cannot achieve energy security. Without both energy security and environmental security, we cannot achieve economic security. All three are interdependent.

We must flip the switch in our collective psyche before it is too late.

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Richard Power writes and speaks on the 21st Century security and sustainability crisis. He is the author of five books. He has also delivered executive intelligence briefings and led professional training in over thirty countries. You can read his (more...)
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