by Mike G
The inspiration for this site started with Bill McKibben, in a blog on Huffington Post 4/7/13, entiiled "Is the Keystone XL Pipeline the 'Stonewall' of the Climate Movement?
The question was, and still is, what will make us wake up to reality and deal with the earth changing consequences of running our society on carbon based fuels. As usual, the problem is our leadership, either asleep or intentionally hobbled, failing to see actual action as a political possibility. Bill dismisses the Republicans as hopelessly in the pocket of the polluters and the Democrats only marginally better. Our hope lies in pursuing an agenda of ideas. Bill said "we need a genuine movement for fundamental governmental reform -- not just a change in the Senate’s filibuster rules, but publicly funded elections, an end to the idea that corporations are citizens, and genuine constraints on revolving-door lobbyists. These are crucial matters, and it is wonderful to see broad new campaigns underway around them. It’s entirely possible that there’s no way to do what needs doing about climate change in this country without them."
I read that and began to think of what builds that package of ideas to get the money out and return representational democracy to the people. This Twelve Step Program to End Political Dysfunction was the result. Twelve Steps, taken on as a progressive agenda, unites Greens, Blacks, Latinos, women and labor all under the same banner. This strong offense is aimed at the heart of corrupting Dark Money Laundering that trolls our society and hobbles our government.
The agenda is drawn to be non-partisan to attract independents and libertarians to join us in the common goal to achieve good governance by kicking the bully trolls in their Dark Money shins.
But this plan only works if we rally around it. My hope is for progressive movements to adopt the Twelve Steps and find candidates to run on a common goal set.
The first group in years to change the public dialogue was Occupy Wall Street. A leaderless collective right out of Monty Python. But their message was clear and accurate to the issues, income disparity. They make their point still, in quieter ways for the time being.
Imagine the movement that could roll out in September of 2014, Twelve Steps in the hands of the growing Progressive Caucus on the Capitol steps, focused marches across the nation in all our major cities uniting Greens, Blacks, Latinos, women and labor, and Occupiers in targeted short-term Occupations that move before being dismantled. Imagine the national press as all these groups demand the same progressive agenda! Our leaders will have to listen.
That is the kind of change that could move the needle. Bill concludes "And so, as I turn this problem over and over in my head, I keep coming to the same conclusion: we probably need to think, most of the time, about how to change the country, not the Democrats. If we build a movement strong enough to transform the national mood, then perhaps the trembling leaders of the Democrats will eventually follow."
The closest thing I’ve got to a guru on American politics is my senator, Bernie Sanders. He deals with the Democrat problem all the time. He’s an independent, but he caucuses with them, which means he’s locked in the same weird dance as the rest of us working for real change.
A few weeks ago, I gave the keynote address at a global warming summit he convened in Vermont’s state capital, and afterwards I confessed to him my perplexity. “I can’t think of anything we can do except keep trying to build a big movement,” I said. “A movement vast enough to scare or hearten the weak-kneed.”
“There’s nothing else that’s ever going to do it,” he replied."
It puts me in mind of the famous Margaret Meade quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
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Do The Math
It’s simple math: we can emit 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxideand stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Burning the fossil fuel that corporations now have in their reserves would result in emitting 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide – five times the safe amount.
Oil and Honey
Oil and Honey is McKibben’s account of these two necessary and mutually reinforcing sides of the global climate fight—from the center of the maelstrom and from the growing hive of small-scale local answers. With empathy and passion he makes the case for a renewed commitment on both levels, telling the story of raising one year’s honey crop and building a social movement that’s still cresting. (read more)
Thousands of Stories of Hope
Do you feel that? The tension in the United States in palpable.
The feeling derives from the ever-increasing awareness that a tiny group of wealthy individuals have a hammerlock on our political system that prevents new ways of approaching education, agriculture, health, energy, banking, trade, taxes or climate change. (read more)
Two Scenarios for 2014
November 5, 2014 -
Congress remained divided as a result of yesterday's election. The Democrats lost three seats in the Senate, but managed to hang onto control by a margin of 52 to 48, counting the two independents who caucus with the Democrats. They picked up eight seats in the House, but not enough to dislodge Republican control.
November 5, 2014 -
Democrats surprised veteran observers by gaining two seats in the senate, making their effective margin 57 to 43, and taking back the House. The new House of Representatives will have 236 Democrats and 199 Republicans. The Democrats managed to win about three out of every four districts that were closely in play.
The outcome was almost unprecedented, since the president's party nearly always loses seats in the sixth year of his incumbency. But observers credited Obama's dramatic shift to his "give-'em-hell, Barry" tour of this past summer, where he dropped his usual red-state/blue state unity plea and came out swinging at Republicans obstructionists.
Obama also jettisoned the theme of deficit-reduction that he began embracing in late 2009 in favor of a plea for good jobs and a demand that corporate elites start paying more taxes so that less privileged Americans can catch a break. "This recovery is just not good enough. It hasn't reached Main Street. I will keep fighting the Republicans and their Wall Street friends until regular people start benefiting," Obama declared.
The People's Pledge