The New, Improved American Right

I was re-reading a paper I wrote ten years ago and found it all too relevant to what we’ve been experiencing for the past year in America culminating, for the moment, in the catastrophe that was Election Day here.  You may find it helps to explain a few things.

The epigraph for my master’s thesis on the “The Underlying Psychology of Violent Political Conflict” was from Erik Erikson:  “There is no time left in which to be as naïve historically as, in all past history, the historians have been psychologically.  (Childhood and Society, p. 403.)  Let’s all of us, activists, political scientists, everyday decent people, not be so naïve about what just happened and what’s going to happen all too soon.

Here is my paper from the Fall 2006 edition of the “Journal of Psychohistory.”  (Read the pdf here if that’s easier.) Continue reading

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Obama rejects KXL

It’s been a few months since I’ve been on the air.  There is absolutely no better news I could come off my sabbatical with than that the Keystone XL pipeline project is dead. President Obama this morning announced the US rejection of the application.  There is enormous significance in this on several levels: Continue reading

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Keystone → Veto

KXL rally NYC outside Koch theatreI went to a cool little rally last evening here in New York City.  We were standing across from the David H. Koch theater at Lincoln Center to say “No!” to the KXL.  We were there, of course, because the Koch Brothers have been the principal funders in recent years of any number of reactionary organizations, including Americans for Prosperity and ALEC, not to mention the Tea Party itself.  Of course, they have a serious vested interest in the Canadian tar sands.  By the time I left, we had a good 200 or so people out on a cold night.  The excellent folks at 350NYC organized the rally and we knew that there were scores more across the country at the same time. Continue reading

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“The Lima Call for Climate Action”

Lima COP 20There’s a deal, finally, out of the latest, exhaustive negotiating sessions from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change:  “The Lima Call for Climate Action.”  What does it say?  It, for one thing, requires all parties to the convention to submit their plans for reducing emissions.  These climate action plans, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), are due in the first quarter of 2015.  They will form the basis for the final agreement to come from Paris a year from now. Continue reading

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Breakthrough! US – China Climate Targets

11_12_14_BK_TopEmittersin2013_1050_822_s_c1_c_cHere are the world’s four largest emitters of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion and cement production.  In 2013, China accounted for twice of America’s carbon dioxide output.  Collectively, the world blasted 36 billion tons of CO2 into the climate system – nearly ¾ of the total global burden of greenhouse gases. Continue reading

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Big Events, On the Near Horizon

kxl rallyThe Cowboy Indian Alliance is riding into Washington on April 22nd and setting up camp to make a statement:  Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline and Protect the Earth.  They will be joined on April 26 by thousands of people who share that message.  It’s a critical message, and I personally think that John Kerry understands it.  I think that Barack Obama understands it.  It’s our job to give them the political cover to do the right thing.  It’s as simple as that.  It’s our job to refute the lies from the special interests and to overwhelm the forces of reaction with reason, our voices, our votes and our support for organizations and candidates that know the hour is late. Continue reading

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Inaction = Catastrophe

withering corn AR5 WGIIUS Secretary of State John Kerry is a man with things on his mind:  Putin’s bad attitude, genocide in Syria, a ticking clock for a Palestinian and Israeli peace deal.  Yet with all this, he knows that the climate system needs to be at the top or near the top of his priority list.  His reaction to the new report on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability from the IPCC is clear:  “The costs of inaction are catastrophic.”  His statement yesterday reminds us that we are on very thin ice and we can hear it starting to crack. Continue reading

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Climate Change = Weapon of Mass Destruction

Kerry in JakartaJohn Kerry is a climate hawk.  I’ve been a fan since before 2004 when I helped out on his presidential campaign.  (Heavy sigh.)  Now that he’s the US Secretary of State, he’s in a unique, critical position to be able to significantly advance an agenda of moving us off the path of self-destruction we’ve been on and onto one in which everyone can enjoy abundant energy and clean air and clean water, not to mention a climate system that will be able to heal itself over time. Continue reading

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Kerry Pushing Forward

KerryOfficialPortrait_400_1First of all, I want to quickly acknowledge the fact that I’ve been off the air for weeks.  Put it down, if you will, to the end of semester for my graduate class, the holidays, some other work that needed to get done, but mostly to a sort of mini-sabbatical that I took for myself.

So, to the point:  There was a great article the other day in the NY Times from Coral Davenport, the climate change beat reporter who came on in December:  Kerry Quietly Makes Priority of Climate Pact.  (Davenport is a vast improvement from John Broder, her predecessor, who took the opportunity often, it seemed to me, to take a hatchet to the administration’s efforts on climate and energy, and who had, at best, a cynical attitude to clean tech and policy advances.) Continue reading

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Five Energy Revolutions

brochure_icon_cgepI sat in on a pretty compelling talk last week by Carlos Pascual, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs for the State Department.  He leads State’s Bureau of Energy Resources.

He had quite a bit to say about the Geopolitics of the Global Energy Revolution.  Ambassador Pascual, a greatly experienced and articulate man, led us on a tour of some of the most salient issues in global energy.  He highlighted what he thought were “five revolutions” that are underway in supply transformation, emerging market demand, “liquid gas,” clean power, and energy access. Continue reading

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