Dressing for Copenhagen


In the Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, an Emperor goes out among his subjects in his underwear. Two swindlers posing as tailors have convinced him he’s wearing a suit made from cloth that’s invisible to anyone who is stupid. Not wanting to accept that he’s stupid, the Emperor parades through his empire believing he’s fully dressed.

It now is up to the U.S. Senate to make sure Uncle Sam is not only fully dressed, but dressed for success when he shows up in Copenhagen Dec. 7 to work on a global climate deal.

As far as wardrobes go, President Barack Obama and his team have done a pretty good job packing their suitcases with climate initiatives they’ve launched under their own authority this year. As
The Economist puts it, “America will now not have to go naked into the conference chamber” at Copenhagen.

Even so, without an affirmative vote by the Senate on a respectable climate bill, Uncle Sam will be only half-dressed in the eyes of the global community. Continued...


What is Patriotism?


Calls for patriotism were used during the Bush Administration with the implication that those who did not support them in wartime were unpatriotic. But what about the summer of 2009 with its town hall meetings turned into shouting matches and signs that incited hate?

Webster's Dictionary defines patriotism as: "love and loyal or zealous support of one's country."

Does President Barack Obama love his country? He's put his life on the line to serve it, so, evidence points to a resounding yes. That is not hyperbole. The threats against this president are up 400 percent over his predecessor.

Are there reasons for citizens to be angry? The economy, for Wall Street, has begun to turn around. The problem is that it's not happening for Main Street. We're justifiably frightened by and frustrated with the oligarchy that has intertwined itself like the tentacles of a Jules Verne octopus into congressional reelection coffers. We get it. They are, for the most part, not there for us.

Can the same be said of President Obama? He didn't have to take on the third rail of health care reform. He could have been like all the presidents before him since Truman; talked about reform but never have gotten anything past the special interests that have exposed themselves as more interested in their specialness than in what the country needs as a whole (see definition: patriotism).


Senate Climate Bill: Two Futures, One Choice


Now that John Kerry and Barbara Boxer have introduced their climate bill in the United States Senate, this fall will be all about the dogs. To get the 60 votes they need to pass a bill, progressive Democrats will be trying to turn Blue Dog Democrats into Green Dog Democrats.

Welcome to the dog days of autumn. Watch for progressives to offer milk bones, kibbles and bits to coax their more conservative colleagues into commitments that conscience alone should be sufficient to dictate.

The challenge for leaders in the Senate, as it was in the House, will be to prevent the climate bill from being negotiated into something far less than required to reinvent the American economy and reverse our greenhouse gas emissions, and to do both quickly.

Whether Senate leaders succeed in producing public policy that averts climate disaster will depend in large part on how they frame the debate. Continued...


Commentary: The Journey to Individuation – and Responsibility - Part III


It is here that I am going to take a departure from simple commentary and get into something more substantively. In part I and part II, I described the issues with foisting adult responsibilities on children, the educational system failing students, and the need for adults to take up their rightful role as “elders” who are re-learning the inherent sense of responsibility that used to be expected of adults. As “the Girl Who Silenced the World for Five Minutes” suggested, this sense of responsibility is paramount, or else the new generation of young men and women will have to do what we refused to do out of apathy, superficiality over substance, bickering, feigned ignorance, or sheer laziness—which may or may not have something to do with the sense that, following the atomic bomb, some part of us, even subconsciously, started to believe that all life—and everything on the planet—is inherently disposable, and that short term gain was preferable to looking toward a long-term that may not even exist.

To learn to take up that responsibility and to move through the Wasteland, as it were, to learn how to grapple what humanity has gotten itself into, we need to perhaps revise Jung’s timing in terms of Individuation—we can no longer wait to do our soul searching until after middle age—we’d better find what’s important to us now, not as selfish human beings, but ones with a little more depth than that, and we’d better act on it for the benefit of more than just ourselves. What we leave the next generation has to be an undisputed priority, and that indeed means cleaning up our mess. Continued...

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President Obama in Cophenhagen: The meeting his critics missed


by Janet Ritz

President Obama's trip to Copenhagen to support the Chicago Olympic bid has been pilloried by his critics who cite more pressing matters, such as the economy and war. What these critics have missed was that President Obama was in Copenhagen for exactly those two reasons: the economy and war. The economy because Chicago could have used the jobs and war because of the meeting between President Obama and the General Stanley McChrystal, the officer in charge of the war in Afghanistan.
President Obama squeezed a 25-minute council of war into his Copenhagen visit yesterday, meeting General Stanley McChrystal aboard Air Force One before returning to Washington.The general was summoned to the airborne White House on the day it was announced that four more British and American servicemen had died in Afghanistan. He was on his way back to Kabul from London, where he made a powerful public pitch for more troops to be sent to the battlefields.

Until yesterday, General McChrystal had been in direct contact with Mr Obama only twice since taking up his post as Nato commander in Kabul six months ago - once via video link to the Oval Office and then as a participant in a major Afghan strategy meeting on Wednesday, again via videolink.
If you haven't heard about that meeting, it might have been because it didn't play into the howls from the president's critics over the Olympics. But with a hot war raging in Afghanistan against those who attacked us on 9/11, it could have been one of his most important meetings. Continued...