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The Lovers Cried and the Poets Dreamed

1:02 pm in Uncategorized by Isaiah 88

A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile. The music of idealism, the anthems of equality, the lyrical poetry of peace we heard from Democrats in the days of Bobby Kennedy and Gene McCarthy and George McGovern. But the music died, we all know what killed it, and we all know where we are now.

Mixed metaphors ahead, proceed with caution . . .

We’re Dante in that dark wood, we’re a shadow in the dust on the road not taken, we’re an entire society with an appointment in Samarra, we‘re a ghost ship on the face of the deep, chasing the great white whale of profit. I don’t like where we’re going, I don’t trust the captain, I suspect the hull is full of holes, but what do I know? I’m just a deckhand.

Call me Ishmael.

I can’t remember if I’ve just survived a shipwreck or if there’s one on the way. Probably both. I’m not as young as I used to be, my heart only beats when I’m here, but my eyes are just fine, I know a catastrophe when I see one, and this one is going to be off the charts . . .


The permanently-frozen soils of Siberia contain more than a trillion tons of carbon dioxide and methane, stored during the last ice age. If a small temperature rise causes the ground to melt, the released greenhouse gases could dramatically accelerate the global warming process.

I could provide further gory details, but everyone here understands what the chain reaction of environmental, social, economic, geopolitical, and ultimate death toll consequences are going to be when a trillion tons of carbon dioxide and methane start saturating the atmosphere, and the famines and the resource wars begin.

February makes me shiver, with every diary I deliver. I’d like to see spring, but all I see is a silver thorn and a bloody rose, lying crushed and broken on the virgin snow. There’s bad news on the doorstep, but we have to take one more step, and then another one, and then as many as it takes to save what we can.

There are lovers here, there are poets here, there are tears and there are dreams, everyone here is reaching out to the sons and daughters of humanity out there across this weary world, in troubled sleep beneath the stars of night. I know how hard you’ve tried to awaken them, I know how hard you’ve tried to set them free, but they would not listen; they did not know how.

Perhaps they’ll listen now.

For To Be Hopeless Would Seem So Strange

12:05 pm in Uncategorized by Isaiah 88

Thomas Wolfe . . .

For everywhere, through the immortal dark, across the land, there has been something moving in the night, something stirring in the hearts of the people, and something crying in their blood–where shall we go now, and what shall we do?

Climate activists are mobilizing for mass action in Washington D.C. on February 17 against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, “a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous.”

Resistance is stirring in their hearts, urgency is crying in their blood, they know where they have to be on February 17, they know what they have to do.

Tar Sands Actions . . .

Hundreds of thousands of people have sent in petitions to the White House and the State Department, 1,254 people were arrested protesting in front of the White House in August, over 12,000 people encircled the White House on November 6 to demand President Obama stop the pipeline, and people around the world took action in solidarity.  An unprecedented coalition of ranchers, indigenous groups, environmental organizations, labor unions, and more have united to stop this dangerous pipeline.

Resistance is stirring in the hearts of Idle No More activists, who mobilized on January 16 for a national day of action . . .

First Nations demonstrators stopped passenger railway traffic lines between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, while others stalled major highways and rail lines in parts of Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario as part of the Idle No More Movement’s national day of action. Protesters also gathered in Windsor, Ont., near the Ambassador Bridge to Michigan, slowing down traffic to North America’s busiest border crossing for several hours.

Activities including rallies, blockades and prayer circles were staged across the country Wednesday as part of the grassroots movement calling for more attention to changes that were contained in Bill C-45, the Conservative government’s controversial omnibus budget bill that directly affected First Nations communities.

We know why these actions are necessary, we know why protests are spreading and gaining support. For decades, corruption has dictated who is heard and who is not, who has wealth and who does not, who has power and who has none. Corruption infests the corridors of power, it infests the broadcast studios of the corporate media, it infests the boardrooms and corporate offices and judge’s chambers of the “criminal justice system”.

Steal ten trillion dollars?  No problem.

Violate park rules?  Riot police will splatter your blood all over the street.

The corporate political machine those riot police are protecting is waging war on the earth itself, corporate profit is their weapon of mass destruction, the air we breathe is not safe from it, the water we drink is not safe from it, the land we live on is not safe from it, nothing is safe from it.

Mario Savio . . .

There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.

Where shall we go now, and what shall we do?    We put our bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus of the corporate political machine, and make it stop . . .

Rings of Smoke Through the Trees

11:03 am in Uncategorized by Isaiah 88

There’s a sign on the wall. There’s always a wall. There’s always a sign on it. The rich erect the walls and the politicians plaster the signs all over them. Don’t read those signs anymore, don’t even bother looking at them, those signs don’t matter any more.

The signs you need to worry about aren’t on those walls. They’re in the poisoned air all around you. They’re in that dying sky above you. They’re in the ravaged earth beneath your feet. Those signs are everywhere, posted by Nature and written in pain, warning of fracking and mountaintop mining, of ozone depletion and carbon emissions, of species extinction and polar cap melting, of the acid in the rain and the death of the oceans.

Catastrophic climate change hasn’t been invited to any boardroom meetings on Wall Street, it’s never been interviewed on Fox News, it’s never been a guest on Morning Joe or Meet the Press, it’s not important enough to deserve any attention from the Grand Bargainers, it’s not welcome to testify in front of any committee of any congress or parliament anywhere, because the people who own this corporate bank vault that used to be a planet decide what’s heard and what isn’t, decide who can speak and who can’t, decide for all of us what the future will be.

But for some bizarre reason even Luke Russert can’t explain, catastrophic climate change has decided to testify anyway. It’s dropping by to say hello, It’s pounding on the doors of America, it’s pounding on the doors of Europe, it’s pounding on the doors of Asia, it’s standing on the doorstep of the world with more superstorms right behind it and the fire of karma in its eyes, it‘s come calling with a very loud final word or two for us before all the lights go out . . .


The world can’t say there wasn’t enough time to stop the polluting and the poisoning and the drilling, governments were given plenty of time to stop the ravaging of the environment. We knew the corporate capitalists were playing with fire, we saw the rings of smoke drifting through the trees long ago, but no one in power ever listens to progressives.

Or to songwriters.

In 1971, Robert Plant wrote a song about the threat of materialism, about saving the environment, about a stairway to heaven. He knew it can’t be bought with gold, it can’t be purchased with corporate cash, it can’t be acquired by the highest bidder and privatized for profit. It’s not for sale.

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow? And did you know? Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

Your stairway, our stairway, is still out there somewhere, it can still be found, it can still be climbed, it can still lead us to reason.

That’s why it’s there.

It’s been more than forty years, but there’s still a tree by a brook, there’s still a songbird singing, there’s still a whisper of redemption in the wind, maybe there’s still time to change the road we’re on . . .