On behalf of all people, planet-wide, I wish to present this powerful and thoughtful possibility. With thanks to Robert Redford, The Natural Resources Defense Council, and even BP, without which we, at least in America and hopefully internationally, might never have seized an opportunity to truly reflect on the damage we have caused.
Comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation could create 2 million jobs, cut 2 billion tons of pollution and save 2 trillion dollars.
A bill can create two million American jobsthat can’t be shipped overseas and build a domestic clean energy market that will allow U.S. firms to compete in the rapidly expanding global clean tech industry. The money saved comes from cutting our oil imports in half. And by reducing our pollution, we simultaneously address the most pressing environmental challenge of our time — climate change.
Americans support these goals. To achieve them, comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation must do four things:
Promote investment in energy efficiency as well as wind, solar and other renewable sources of power.
Set a cap on the carbon pollution that is contributing to climate change.
Complement, not discard, existing state and federal efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. And governments in a number of states have taken action already to protect their citizens from rising levels of carbon. Federal legislation should complement these efforts, not compromise them.
Provide the leadership we need to support international efforts to deal with climate change — real carbon reductions, preserving forests around the world and aid for the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth in coping with the ravages of climate change.
These are the cornerstones of a successful bill that will make our economy stronger and our country more secure. Oil and coal companies are expected to spend millions lobbying to protect their profits and keep the United States dependent on polluting energy sources. The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexicographically demonstrates the dangers of our dependence on fossil fuels.
Rising global temperatures, even at the lower end of predicted ranges, could cause extensive melting of sea ice and glaciers, widening desertification, sea level rise and other changes that could be potentially devastating for the United States, our economy and people around the world. This year alone, smokestacks and tailpipes worldwide will pump a record 33 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air, most from the burning of coal, oil and gas. The United States can’t wait any longer to curb emissions, reduce our dependence on oil and develop clean energy technologies.
“Drill baby, drill,” is the now ever-present and popular battle-cry for many Americans. From Presidential candidates to everyday people, those who wish to consume sweet light crude as they have for a more than a century remind me of my hair, and the current President’s energy policy. I ponder the parallels and invite you to consider . . .
During a recent press conference, as I gazed upon the President of the United States, noticeably aged after years in the Oval Office, I thought of my hair and my history. His wavy gray locks are not as the strands that fall from my head. Nor did the diminutive curl that danced on his brow remind me of my own tresses. The style the Chief Executive donned did not resemble the permanent waves, pompadours, or ponytails I once wore. As George W. Bush spoke of his energy policy, I pondered. His approach to petroleum and power were as the methodology I embraced when I colored my hair.
For years, I addressed the truth of my tresses just as the President assesses the paradox of propulsion. In speech after speech, George W. Bush proposes, as he did on this occasion; America needs to end its addiction to oil. In the past, I proclaimed, I need to bring to a halt the habit of dying my hair. I, as President Bush, postured and yet, I did next to nothing to truly take me closer to my stated objective.
My progression towards a chemical free treatment of my hair was, as it seems Mister Bush’s advancement is. I avoided more authentic change than I approached. My evolution was perhaps slowed by love. The tale of transformation began oh, so long ago.
Decades ago, I met a man who felt like family. Indeed, emotionally Eugene was part of my intimate circle. Gene did much with my Mom, Dad, brother, and I. As a pair, Eugene and I often ventured off together. We chatted on the telephone, spent time in each other’s home. We were close. This fine fellow was influential in many aspects of my life. I respected his opinion. I valued his friendship. His wisdom often wowed me.
Thus, when my good friend Gene, who was also my hairdresser, told me the tint would brighten my face, I thought he must have reason to think this sage advice. At first, I protested. As insecure as I was about my appearance, I was confident that my natural hair color was perfect. Still, I considered the source. Therefore, I trusted the recommendation.
Possibly, George W. Bush could share a similar story. A loved one might have said, “Your future will be bright if you dabble in petroleum. extraction” “Build an oil well, my boy, and become a billionaire, or at least a multi-millionaire with substantial influence.” “Taste the Texas Tea, and your life will be wondrous,” could have been the claim Papa George Herbert or Momma Barbara uttered.
“Oil,” family or friends may have opined, will improve the quality of the your existence. Perchance George felt as I did. He had no cause to distrust those he was close to. Indeed, relatives of the heir apparent could avow, with knowledge, to refine sweet crude would put money in a person’s pocket. Black gold had helped to grow profits for the Bush brood for generations. As evidence, any of those related to George W. might have offered the family history.
Oil:. The Bushes’ ties to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil go back 100 years, when Rockefeller made Buckeye Steel Castings wildly successful by convincing railroads that carried their oil to buy heavy equipment from Buckeye. George H. Walker helped refurbish the Soviet oil industry in the 1920s, and Prescott Bush acquired experience in the international oil business as a 22-year director of Dresser Industries. George H.W. Bush, in turn, worked for Dresser and ran his own offshore oil-drilling business, Zapata Offshore.
Frequently a boy child will follow a father’s path. Fondness can fashion a future. On land and in the seas sweet light crude secured the Bush family’s future. Young George W. Bush looked at evidence. His ancestral past, and his present circumstances even at an early age, helped establish a proven record. Investments in petroleum equate to prosperity. After a scant assessment, the youthful Bush likely decided, drill, drill, drill. That would be the life for him. Silver platters can be persuasive. The opinions of friends and family can also be extremely influential.
Through our personal acquaintance, Gene taught me to trust him and to have faith in his beliefs. Eugene had experience with hair dye. He felt the practice was safe, sane, and offered a sensational opportunity to liven up a face and an existence. Although initially hesitant, I concluded I would at least “try” what quickly became my habit. However, what I did not realize was once you begin on a path, it is a challenge to change course. Dark roots appeared in no time, as did my demand for more hair-dye.
George too may have approached his novel exploration cautiously. Many offspring resolve, they do not wish to be in the family business. The son of the senior Bush might have thought to play at this prospect until he found something better. However, George W. may have quickly discovered just as I did; it is easy to become hooked on a habit, newly acquired or tried and true.
When a career choice yields great wealth and greater opportunity, it is difficult to resist the temptation to continue on a prosperous path. Once the journey begins, an oilman such as George W. Bush realized, empty gas tanks require more fuel. Electrical equipment must be charged. The demand is endless. The people, such as the Bush band, who earn income from the supply, are happy to serve. Thus, the dissonance thrives.
The provider of power or the person caught in a mad pursuit for peroxide journeys deeper into an endless downward spiral. However, neither is aware of the consequences. Gene might not have considered that his chosen career shaded his truth. Nor did I ponder that a professional hair-styler has a singular perspective.
When first introduced to the idea of hair-dye, I pondered; who was the person who presented the proposition. However, I did not think of the veracity, or what later was so clear. Eugene was trained to trust in toxic dyes. When a person sees tinted hair all day, and into the evening, shades of stain on strands of hair seem sensible. The individual that takes the time to apply the colors, surely must think the work wise.
Perhaps, a young George W. Bush also concerned himself with the credibility of those who counseled him. He too found reason to have faith. The future President of the United States might not have pondered further. He may not have investigated the possible hazards associated with oil production or petroleum use. Often, when presented with a choice, we cannot imagine the infinite unknown possibilities, probabilities, or the perils.
My friend not only shaded my hair; his beliefs tainted my own. The hair on my head, and the thoughts in my gray matter were tinted. The Bush family may have colored the consciousness of the youthful George and persuaded a future President to forget what he could have known. Petroleum pollutes. Refined crude contaminates the air and seas. The fumes from Texas Tea in an engine cause temperatures on the terrain and in the troposphere to rise.
Granted, I understood how chemical treatments harmed my tresses and dulled the tint. Aware of the damage done beneath the surface of a follicle, I persuaded myself it was slight and worth the sacrifice. Possibly, the Bush family thought the same of their endeavors. Certainly, George W. Bush still does. He offers plans for renewable energy as he continues to pursue petroleum. Ah, the dynamics of a decision are vast and deep.
Only now, as the globe warms, the climate changes, and the weather whips people and their property into oblivion, does Mister Bush face the true cost of his earlier decision. Only recently did the President recognize the harmful influence of fossil fuels on the environment. Today, he finally acknowledges the immediate need for a commitment to cleaner energy. Just as I slowly understood, the damage chemicals did to my hair, George W. now touts his mindfulness. There is a problem. The planet is in peril.
As death and destruction beckon for attention, George sees as I did when I looked into the mirror. Life, or the look, was out of balance. The natural beauty was gone. The breaks were bad. Chemicals had stripped the surface . . . of the land or my locks.
However, while Mister Bush sees a need for transformation, it seems he is, as I was, reluctant to recognize the seriousness of the situation. His does not act decisively to change what has become his [and our nations’] practice.
President Bush advised Americans to ponder alterative renewable sources for power. This country’s Commander touted; viable resolutions for our energy crisis are easily accessible. “Biodiesel refineries can produce fuel from soybeans, and vegetable oils, and recycled cooking grease, from waste materials.” The President proposed Americans could invest in clean energy. Indeed, he exclaimed; we must go green. However, for Mister Bush an emerald endeavor is black as oil or golden as bullion. This oilman has reaped many a reward from America’s addiction, as have we all. Convenience is but one benefit cheap energy bestows upon the United States public. Profits have been more profound, more colorful for Chief Executive Bush.
Possibly, for the President charcoal is a fine hue. “George,” if I might speak in the familiar, seems to think as I once did. One shade can be substituted for another. Only the more transparent tones cause George W. Bush much angst. Who will or how might moguls who have invested lifetimes of worth, as this oil magnate has, harness, the sun, the wind, and water. Mister Bush is unable to imagine a future so different from the life he and his family have long known. Thus, he avoids the option he says he appreciates, just as I eschewed the thought of using no tint at all on my mane. The untried did not ring true.
Attempts to transform what has been an American tradition are preferred by this President (and perhaps, the public.) George W. Bush speaks of clean coal, as though there is such a substance. Coal is a recognizable source of energy; yet, not a renewable or alternative choice. Coal generates 54% of the electricity used in the United States. Whilst he ran for President, candidate Bush pledged that he would commit $2 billion over 10 years to advance clean coal technology. Indeed, as promised, the National Energy Policy and budget requests to Congress demonstrated the President’s dedication to this cause.
Few fear what they do not wish to accept. The Chief Executive favors an element that is essentially filthy. The President might muse clean coal is the change. Yet, he ignores that the hard black sedimentary rock is a health hazard to all it serves. This “plentiful” element pollutes when it is mined, transported to the power plant, stored, and burned. This combustible material destroys life throughout the global community. Many species cannot survive as well as man believes he might when nature is out of balance.
Equilibrium is the gracious essence that helps us to thrive. I too sought to sustain symmetry. I pondered the many ways in which my mane might maintain its sheen and still be enhanced. I hoped to find energy in color. When confronted with the notion that a tint could damage my tresses, I also contemplated other options. Clean dye; that was my criteria.
I assessed what I thought would be safe. With a similar pious conviction, I concluded henna could perhaps be a practical possibility . . . that is if I wanted to enhance the natural hue of my hair. At the time, this substitute seemed sensible to me. I thought only of what I believed true, just as George W. Bush does today. Plants are pure, plentiful, and will provide what I need . . . or want, perchance.
I had not authentically considered the possible predicament a product could cause. At first blush, I was content with what seemed an ideal and equal opportunity. Then, later, after I acknowledged my error, I was easily satisfied with what I trusted to be an indigenous replacement.
Now, cognizant of the connection between my hair and his history, I wonder; what concerns did George W. Bush weigh. Did he study the consequences of his choices? Did he hear or think to heed any of the cautions? Might President Bush have ruminated on the probable ruin of the land and lives? Could he have predicted what might happen if we raped the land to gratify our need for energy?
One never knows what is in the heart or mind of another. Nonetheless, as I reflect upon times gone by in my own life, I trust the President did not imagine, and perchance, still, he has no idea of what he reaped and sowed. I surely did not.
For me, awareness arrived slowly. As I processed my hair, I did not have the opportunity to notice the subtle changes. I was too close to the situation. I could not see what I did not wish to acknowledge. I suspect George W. Bush [and Americans absorbed in what feels, oh, so fine] do not realize what harm unhealthy dependence causes.
To dye or to die. To drive vehicles powered with fossil fuels or to authentically preserve the planet, which is now in peril. These might be the questions George and I avoided, or only addressed half-heartedly.
When I thought tinted hair was desirable, each alternative possibility required me to treat my hair with color. Upon reflection, I realize I had not known to think of how the texture or tone of my mane might change if I ingested a more nutritious diet. That is another story for another time. Today, I wonder. Was George open enough to evaluate horizons he had yet to explore?
As I gazed upon the President speaking of energy, I could not help but think of how Mister Bush said we must work to improve technology. He confidently confirmed, we can wean ourselves away from fossil fuels. In his own words the President espoused , “(A)t the same time” we must find “oil and gas here at home.” The mantra is very familiar. It was mine. I believe this rationalization is reflected in the adage ‘You can have your cake and eat it too.’
Indeed, for a very long time, I indulged in similar silly logic. As the blonde stain grew out, I said, I could refresh the look and limit my use of artificial satin all at the same time. Oh, if only that was possible. As long as dye is applied, the harmful effects of the treatment will not fade away. The problem was, and is, whether we speak of fossil fuels or human hair, the more you invest in the unhealthy habits you claim to condemn the less likely it is that change will come.
Much to our detriment, individuals such as George and I are, and mankind is, comfortable with the familiar. Humans are content to engage as they have for so long, regardless of whether a practice nourishes the body, soul, or the planet.
People may plan for or posit a change. George W. Bush emphatically pronounced, “(N)ow is the time to get it done.” He or I might suggest a slow move towards purity. However, as my hair taught me, as long as I [or we] do as we have done, nothing will be different.
As long as I stained my mane, there was more reason to stain my mane. As long as America satisfies its addiction to oil, there is more reason to continue to gratify the love of gasoline. When manufacturers build more machines reliant on petroleum, they encourage a greater dependence on fossil fuels. An obsession for oil is as a mania for a colored mane. Each, initially, captivates an individual and then controls the person.
Most of us learn to love what we later determine may be detrimental.
George W. Bush, just as many Americans seem to be, is as I was. The President is caught in a horrific, harmful, spiral, and yet comfortable with what he knows and does. While the cost, to the environment, and to personal pocketbooks, may encourage a desire for change, convenience and expediency are enormously more persuasive. Oh, how well, I know this to be true.
I was once victim to a viability that made sense. The President and the American people are caught up in the same conundrum. If he, or we, fails to eliminate our physical and psychological, dependence on oil now there may not be a later.
To transform our reality we need to recognize the delicate dance for what it is. Just as less dye was an unwise compromise for me, limited selective, additional drilling is a concession with consequences. Partial progression will not alter our habituation. It is time to stop! To rethink, reinvent, to re-power our plants and public opinion is to truly care for our selves and for generations to come.
In 2004, I had no doubt. I voted for Dennis Kucinich. By that time, I felt justified in thinking President George W. Bush must be impeached. The President had violated many laws. However, hordes of voters disagreed, or did not care. Congress clearly rejected and continues to reject my belief; at least they act as they do. Nothing has been done to prosecute the President and his pals. Even today, Progressives have questioned my conviction. They say, “This “man” and his clan have not committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.” As much as I believe they have, I cannot convince Congress or citizens en mass to take action. Censure is not assured.
Therefore, I must communicate and cajole. Yet, I am not expectant. Change is a challenge.
I accept I need to carefully consider my vote in each of the upcoming elections. Actually, I always have.
My own attention to the issues caused me to cast a ballot for Kucinich in 2004. I am not surprised that Representative Kucinich is speaking out, stating we must indict this insolent Executive officer. Congressman Kucinich has always quietly though consistently been an advocate for truth, justice, and what I believe is the American way. Kucinich cares about the people!
It is for this reason that in the last Presidential election, I cast my ballot for principles; popularity is not my preference. Most of my friends and neighbors mused, “The man is not electable.” We need to take back the House, the Senate, and the White House. Vote for Kerry. Assuredly, he will guarantee us [we the people] a win.
Perhaps it is just I; nevertheless, I do not choose to work with an associate in hopes my image will be improved. Credentials may be impressive; however, they are not enough. I do not gravitate to a perceived strength. I want substance! If a candidate or colleague says, ‘Trust me. I will protect you.’ That, for me, is not enough.
I do not wish for a mate so that he might complete me. I am whole already, me, myself, and I.
I do not purchase shoes knowing they look spectacular; yet, they hurt my feet. A dress, a pair of pants, or a purse must be more than pretty. Trends do not excite me.
Having a beer with a likable guy or gal does not appeal to me. You may recall, for quite a few voters Bush seemed a likable drinking bud. Actually, I do not drink. I have been told that drinking either dulls the senses or intensifies what is within. I desire authenticity in a Presidential applicant, in my associates, and in my allies. If a President or pal states they are compassionate, I do not what that to be a character trait they only display when with a select few.
Early in 2007, Tom Vilsack captured my attention, for admittedly I fear America is not ready for a reserved, yet real gem such as Kucinich. I was considering giving the former Governor from Iowa a chance. I did accept that if Vilsack left the scene for any reason I could and would willingly commit to Kucinich. Now, again I experience as I did in 04, the mainstream media and even the so-called Progressives would focus on a supposed winner. Flashes in pans, stars, and the well heeled are popular in political forums.
I have never believed in winning. The oft-promoted concept of win:win for me is trite. It is a mere attempt to lessen the blow of a loss for anyone or everyone. I believe in growth, reciprocal reverence, and shared visions. I have no desire to be victorious. Nor do I take pleasure in a conquest. It is my belief if there is a winner, there must also be a loser. I trust that we can all grow greater together.
When I say I want no war, I am not intending to fund what I claim to condemn. I do not believe the world can wait. Lives are lost; limbs are crushed. Eyes are missing and the pain is plentiful. For me, Dennis Kucinich takes a thorough and thoughtful perspective on this war.
Kucinich unveils comprehensive exit plan to bring troops home, stabilize Iraq
Dennis J Kucinich
Monday, January 8, 2007
In November of 2006, after an October upsurge in violence in Iraq, the American people moved decisively to reject Republican rule, principally because of the conduct of the war. Democratic leaders well understand we regained control of the Congress because of the situation in Iraq. However, two months later, the Congress is still searching for a plan around which it can unite to hasten the end of US involvement in Iraq and the return home of 140,000 US troops.
There is a compelling need for a new direction in Iraq, one that recognizes the plight of the people of Iraq, the false and illegal basis of the United States war against Iraq, the realities on the ground which make a military resolution of the conflict unrealistic and the urgent responsibility of the United States, which caused the chaos, to use the process of diplomacy and international law to achieve stability in Iraq, a process which will establish peace and stability in Iraq allow our troops to return home with dignity.
The Administration is preparing to escalate the conflict. They intend to increase troop numbers to unprecedented levels, without establishing an ending date for the so-called troop surge. By definition, this escalation means a continuation of the occupation, more troop and civilian casualties, more anger toward the US, more support for the insurgency, more instability in Iraq and in the region, and prolonged civil war at a time when there is a general agreement in the world community that the solution in Iraq must be political not military. Iraq is now a training ground for insurgents who practice against our troops.
What is needed is a comprehensive political process. And the decision is not President Bush’s alone to make.
Congress, as a coequal branch of government has a responsibility to assist in the initiation of this process. Congress, under Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution has the war-making power. Congress appropriates funds for the war. Congress does not dispense with its obligation to the American people simply by opposing a troop surge in Iraq.
There are 140,000 troops remaining in Iraq right now. What about them? When will they come home? Why would we leave those troops in Iraq when we have the money to bring them home? Soon the President will ask for more money for the war. Why would Congress appropriate more money to keep the troops in Iraq through the end of President Bush’s term, at a total cost of upwards of two trillion dollars and thousands of more troop casualties, when military experts say there is no military solution? Our soldiers stand for us in the field, we must to stand for them in our legislature by bringing them home.
It is simply not credible to maintain that one opposes the war and yet continues to fund it. This contradiction runs as a deep fault line through our politics, undermining public trust in the political process and in those elected to represent the people. If you oppose the war, then do not vote to fund it.
If you have money which can be used to bring the troops home or to prosecute the war, do not say you want to bring the troops home while you appropriate money in a supplemental to keep them in Iraq fighting a war that cannot be won militarily. This is why the Administration should be notified now that Congress will not approve of the appropriations request of up to $160 billion in the spring for the purposes of continuing the occupation and the war. Continuing to fund the war is not a plan. It would represent the continuation of disaster.
The US sent our troops into Iraq without a clear mission. We created a financial, military, and moral dilemma for our nation and now we are talking about the Iraq war as our problem. The Iraqis are forgotten. Their country has been destroyed: 650,000 casualties, [based on the Lancet Report which surveyed casualties from March of 2003 to July of 2006] the shredding of the social fabric of the nation, civil war, lack of access to food, shelter, electricity, clean drinking water and health care because this Administration, with the active participation of the Congress, authorized a war without reason, without conscience, without international law.
The current combat is not all that troubles me. Much that is occurring in present day America and throughout the globe causes great distress. I want us to embrace every aspect of life completely. Reform for me is not wise if it is random. I have no desire to change for the sake of change. My interest is in encouraging equality for all. May we live for the Seventh Generation. As I assess the Kucinich agenda, I believe this Representative has our shared health in mind. Kucinich states . . .
I want to inspire America to take a new path, a different direction.
I envision an America which has the capacity to reconnect with the heart of the world; an America which proceeds in the world optimistically and courageously. An America which understands that the world is interdependent, that it is inter-connected, and that what we do today impacts future generations.
I want to break the shackles of fear which have deprived our citizens of rights. We need to change the way this country values humanity, so that instead of fear and lies, we can live our lives based on principles of peace and hope. We need to regain the trust of the American people and we need to have a government which trusts the American people.
It’s time for America to resume its glorious journey; time to reject shrinking jobs and wages, disappearing savings and rights; time to reject the detour towards fear and greed. It’s time to look out upon the world for friends, not enemies; time to counter the control of corporations over our politics, our economy, our resources, and mass media.
It’s time for those who have much to help those who have little, by maintaining a progressive tax structure. It’s time to tell the world that we wish to be their partner in peace, not their leader in war. Most of all, it is time for America to again be the land where dreams come true, because the government is on the side of its people.
As much as I believe there is a need to arraign this Administration, I fear that will not be possible. Those that can take action have delayed and deferred their responsibility to the people. Our nation is suffering. Much in America needs our attention. I ask, “If not now, when?” I can only hope that by 2008, America will be courageous. Citizens will not choose a candidate for their charisma and panache. A bankroll will not impress and thirty-second commercials will not sway a savvy voter. I invite you to travel to Congressman Kucinich’s site. Read what is more than rhetoric; then decide. As Hillary proposed, I would like to begin a genuine conversation.