Power and a Response to It

Written by: Terry Link

Primary Source: Possibilitator

Indeed the loan [$3billion] was approved by the [Obama} administration just four days before the president delivered his address to the December 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. “As the world’s largest economy and the world’s second largest emitter, America bears our share of responsibility in addressing climate change,” Obama said then. “That is why we have renewed our leadership within international climate negotiations, and worked with other nations to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.”
The ExxonMobil loan was hardly the only exception to the president’s stated position. Since Obama took office, the Export-Import Bank has invested more than $27 billion in fossil fuel endeavors, while lending less than $2 billion to clean energy projects. ( Exxon’Mobil’s New Guinea Nightmare, The Nation, May 19, 2014, p.25)

There is much more to be concerned with in this investigative piece by Ian T. Shearn, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist than just the obvious hypocrisy of President Obama excerpted here. Underlying Shearn’s story as well as Bill Moyer’s interview this week with noted Canadian scientist, David Suzuki (Canada’s most  admired figure) is the sheer juggernaut of corporate power over our politics.

If these two pieces don’t leave one unsettled, then the piece by Lee Fang, War on Workers should stir the reader to see how money and power align to maintain their control on the rules and and the enforcement of them.

In a powerful juxtaposition [ MUST READ] to this unleashed (thank you Supreme Court) power over, Richard Falk, noted international relations scholar, offers a powerful serum for needed citizenship in Citizens v. Subjects in a Democratic Society.


The moral substance at the core of genuine citizenship only exists if the political structure        allows opposition without imposing a severe punishment. If citizenship is possible, then it automatically gives rise to responsibility to act accordingly, that is, by honoring the imperatives of conscience. Unfortunately, considerations of prudence, career, and social propriety make it more attractive these days for most Americans to behave as subjects living within a rigid set of constraints. Citizens are those who not only proclaim the virtues of freedom, but act responsively to the vectors of conscience even if these go against the established public order and prevailing cultural norms.

Falk doesn’t just critique the status quo. He offers a vision for individuals to “Be the Change” through what he calls, Citizen Pilgrims. perhaps it’s time for each of us to begin such a pilgrimage.  See you on the path…

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Terry Link
Terry Link is a retired MSU librarian, former founding director of the MSU Office of Campus Sustainability, and co-founder and former chair of the American Library Association’s Task Force on the Environment. He recently served as associate editor for the two-volume encyclopedia, Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices(Gale/Cengage 2014). He has also served as executive director of a regional food bank and as a county commissioner. Currently he is president of Starting Now, LLC, a sustainability consulting firm, a Senior Fellow for the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and serves on numerous non-profit organization boards.
Terry Link

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