|Progressive Calendar 05.01.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 02:38:16 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 05.01.07 1. Roseville lots 5.02 6:30pm 2. Gorge walk 5.02 7pm 3. Solutions TC 5.02 7pm 4. Police brutality 5.03 12noon 5. NWN4P New Hope 5.03 4:30pm 6. Eagan peace vigil 5.03 4:30pm 7. Northtown vigil 5.03 5pm 8. TC HRC social 5.03 5:30pm 9. Kip/health 5.03 7pm 10. Sami/Iraq 5.03 7pm Stillwater 11. Palestine/films 5.03 7pm 12. John V Walsh - Edgy Dems snarl at their antiwar base 13. Joshua Frank - Obama, incorporated 14. Dave Lindorff - Murtha talks impeachment 15. George Monbiot - Rich world re greenhouse gas: millions will die 16. Gary Olson - The very rich are different from you and me 17. ed - Place poems --------1 of 17-------- From: Tim Pratt <tim.pratt [at] ci.roseville.mn.us> Subject: Roseville lots 5.02 6:30pm What's in Roseville's future concerning Residential Lot Splits? Find out on May 2 when Roseville's Single Family Residential Lot Split Advisory Group presents its recommendations. Several recent proposals brought by residents to split their larger lots into two or more lots have raised questions in the community. On January 30, the City of Roseville enacted an interim ordinance that placed a moratorium on subdividing single family residential lots. The City Council wanted to study current subdivision and zoning regulations to see if they should be adjusted to meet community need. They appointed a citizen advisory group to study the issue and work with the Planning Commission to make recommendations to the City Council. The Single Family Residential Lot Split Advisory Group will present a draft of their recommendations at the Planning Commission on May 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Roseville City Hall, 2660 Civic Center Drive. The meeting is open to the public. They will seek public input regarding their recommendations before they are presented to the City Council on May 14. If you are interested in learning more about the study visit the Lot Split Study webpage http://www.ci.roseville.mn.us/development/planning_zoning/lot_splits.htm or contact Economic Development Associate Jamie Radel at 651-792-7072. Tim Pratt Communications Specialist City of Roseville 2660 Civic Center Drive Roseville, MN 55113 (Phone) 651-792-7027 (Fax) 651-792-7030 Visit our website http://www.cityofroseville.com --------2 of 17-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Gorge walk 5.02 7pm Coldwater Full Moon Tour: Gorge Walk [not, thank god, George Walk -ed] Wednesday, May 2, 7:00 p.m. (Gather) 7:15 p.m. (Walk) Minnehaha Park, Highway 55/Hiawatha Avenue and 54th Street South, Minneapolis (South End of the Pay Parking Lot). Walk across the Minnehaha gorge bridge to the Mississippi overlooking the Ford dam. The nine-mile gorge from the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers upstream to the Falls of St. Anthony is the only true river gorge on the entire Mississippi River. The gorge is 1,273-feet deep, filled with glacial debris. The walk is just over 1.5-miles. Coldwater is a sacred spot for Native Americans and earth preservation. FFI: Visit <www.friendsofcoldwater.org>. --------3 of 17-------- From: Curt McNamara <mcnam025 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Solutions TC 5.02 7pm "Solutions Twin Cities" solutionstwincities [at] gmail.com <mailto:solutionstwincities [at] gmail.com>__ http://www.solutionstwincities.org/ ÓSolutions Volume 1 is a unique event showcasing leading edge work by local designers, architects, artists and activists. The fast-paced program will provide a series of presenters called "solutionists" 6 minutes and 40 seconds each to "wow" the audience with their work. The tight time frame allows each presenter just enough time to present 20 rapid-fire slides, ensuring a high impact exchange of ideas. Southern Theatre 1420 Washington Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55454 in the Seven Corners area. Wednesday, May 2, 2007 Doors open: 7:00 p.m. Presentations: 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. Reception and Rapid-Fire Dialogue: 9:30 to Midnight Music by Cadillac Kolstad Band Tickets: $6.00 online or with student ID; $8.00 at the door --------4 of 17-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] minn.net> Subject: Police brutality 5.03 12noon PRESS CONFERENCE: LAWSUIT SEEKS TO STRIKE DOWN FALSE REPORTING LAW Thursday, May 3, 2007 Noon Federal Building, 4th Avenue at 4th Street, Minneapolis Join us on Thursday as we announce the filing of a federal declaratory judgement lawsuit to overturn the so-called "false reporting" law that criminalizes reporting of police brutality and misconduct incidents that can't be proven. What follows is from our press release to the media and explains what's wrong with that law and why it must be overturned. The Minnesota Legislature recently expanded Minnesota Statute §609.505, to make is a crime to make a "false" report of police misconduct. Problem? * This Statute emboldens police to decide a complaint is "false," even when it's true. * Some police do retaliate against complainants. This Statute allows an officer to misuse the criminal justice system as a vendetta. * This law criminalizes a false negative report about police, but not a false positive report about police. If an officer lies to protect his partner - that's not a crime? * Community members have a First Amendment right to complain about government officials - including police. But that right is meaningless if people are too afraid to complain. * Even if community members know that their complaint is true - won't many be too afraid that the police will know how to misuse the criminal system against them? * Police and their departments have an incentive to misuse the criminal law, to protect themselves from civil or criminal liability. * Some police do commit crimes. If a community member complains that an officer committed a crime, police can charge a felony. This deters complaints. Community members are filing a federal lawsuit, seeking to have this Statute declared unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit has already found a similar statute unconstitutional. Plaintiffs will be present for questions. Copies of the lawsuit & 9th Circuit opinion available. Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South http://www.CUAPB.org --------5 of 17-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P New Hope 5.03 4:30pm NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of Winnetka and 42nd. You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners. Bring your own or use our signs. --------6 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 5.03 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------7 of 17-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 5.03 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------8 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: TC HRC social 5.03 5:30pm 1ST THURSDAY Thursday, May 3rd, 2007 HRC Twin Cities Membership & Community Events Committee features /HRC Dinner Committee/ as our "1st Thursday" special guest. 5:30PM -- 7:00PM at Townhouse 1415 N University West St. Paul, MN 55104 www.townhousebar.com <http://www.townhousebar.com/> Please join community members and representatives from HRC and the /HRC Dinner Committee/ for an evening of stimulating conversation. Come socialize and learn some inside information about the 2007 HRC Dinner. Like - "What is the theme?" "How to be a table captain?" "What is on the menu?" "Who may be the speaker?" You will get possible answers to these questions, but you will only hear them by attending HRC's 1st Thursday! These socials have exciting venues, featured guests, and stimulating conversations....you don't want to miss any of them! The HRC Twin Cities Membership & *Community Events Committee* www.HRC.org* <http://www.hrc.org/> www.HRCTwinCities.org* <http://www.hrctwincities.org/> © 2005 The Human Rights Campaign. All rights reserved. --------9 of 17-------- From: Kip Sullivan <kiprs [at] usinternet.com> Subject: Kip/health 5.03 7pm I'll be discussing my book, The Health Care Mess: How We Got Into It and How We'll Get Out of It. 7:00-8:30 pm, Thursday, May 3 Amazon Bookstore 4755 Chicago Ave. Minneapolis, MN (612) 821-9630 --------10 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Sami/Iraq 5.03 7pm Stillwater Thursday, 5/3, 7 pm, Muslim Peacemaker Team founder and longtime Mpls resident Sami Rasouli speaks to the St Croix Valley Peacemakers, Ascension Episcopal church, 214 N 3rd St, downtown Stillwater. FFI Bill at 651-275-0247. --------11 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Palestine/films 5.03 7pm Thursday, 5/3, 7 pm, Palestine: An Evening of Short Films and Discussion, Jack Pine Center, 2815 E Lake St, Mpls. www.thejackpine.org --------12 of 17-------- Fear and Vitriol in the Halls of Congress Edgy Dems Snarl at Their Antiwar Base By JOHN V. WALSH CounterPunch May 1, 2007 Democrats in Congress are growing increasingly hostile toward their antiwar base. David Obey has provided the most notorious example upon a chance encounter with Marine Mom, Tina Richards, in a Congressional hallway. (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS4wHMCc57k). Richards had tried to talk with Obey, her Congressman, for a long time, but he had successfully eluded her until this day. Now she and other antiwar activists were lobbying in the Capitol in an attempt to get "our" Senators and Representatives to cut off funding for the war. Not surprisingly, Obey gave the standard response when Richards asked why he continues to fund the war. "We don't have the votes," he shouted at her. To which the answer is of course: "Congressman, we only want your one vote, and your help in getting the rest. You cannot win if you do not fight." Talk to any Dem politician and he or she will tell that they on your side but the others are the problem. So the votes are not there collectively, but individually everyone is on the side of peace. That is a very strange calculus. The odious aspect of the encounter was that Obey set about attacking the Marine Mom and the handful of Democrats who, unlike him, refused to vote supplemental funding for the war. "Idiot liberals," was the first outburst, followed by: "The liberal groups are jumping around without knowing what the hell is in the [supplemental funding] bill"; "You're smoking something illegal"; and "If you guys don't stop screwing it up," we will end the war. Finally an aide pulled him away and he waddled through a door and slammed it shut in Richards face. What is wrong here? Why would he treat this worried mother in such a shabby way? It is not just Obey; he just happened to get caught on camera. When we went to visit Senator Kerry's aide here in MA we got the same response. We were just "a bunch of liberals." Senator Kerry, the aide said petulantly, is trying to do "some good in the world", not just trying to "feel good" like "you liberals." And again from my "liberal" Congressman Capuano, the same thing. Capuano assured us that he was trying to do some real good in the world unlike "the liberals" who voted against the supplemental. Again the anger at the "liberal" groups and the ten Congresspeople (two of them Republicans) who voted against the supplemental out of opposition to the war was ferocious. Why is this? I submit that these Democrats are running scared. They know that their antiwar base is crucial to winning their next election. Without it they might lose in 2008. In strongly antiwar districts like Capuano's in Massachusetts or Obey's in Wisconsin, there is a real danger of losing their Congressional seats, than which nothing is more important to them. And the few genuine antiwar voices in their party, Dennis Kucinich or Barbara Lee, for example, make then look bad by comparison. They wish these bothersome liberals would just go away. What if a strong antiwar Democrat were to appear in the next primary or what if a Green should run in the general against them in '08? Can they win if their antiwar base is fed up with them and turns elsewhere? And what if they also face a strong Republican opponent, which is Kerry's problem in '08? The same dynamic showed up in the recent MoveOn town hall meeting, which featured phone presentations and questions for each of the antiwar candidates, meaning Democratic candidates. (Libertarian Ron Paul was not invited, unsurprisingly since MoveOn is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.) A vote was taken afterwards on the favorite candidate of the antiwar participants, and the results were headlined as "Clinton suffers virtual defeat in MoveOn vote on Iraq," or "Clinton Bombs in Liberal Straw Poll. With 43,000 people responding, the numbers were: Obama, 28 per cent; Edwards, 25 per cent; Kucinich, 17 per cent; Richardson, 12 per cent; Clinton, 10 per cent; with only Biden and Dodd lower. The interpretation is simple. If you are seen as pro-war, your prospects are dim. True to form, having taken the poll, MoveOn quickly disappeared the results from its web site. One can be fairly certain that the Dem hierarchy was displeased with the results for HRC and ordered the whole thing air brushed away. MoveOn dutifully obliged. The striking thing about the poll is how well Kucinich did. He is the only one in the entire pack who can legitimately claim to be antiwar. Obama and Edwards were ahead of him only because they are widely perceived, or more accurately misperceived, as antiwar. And of course they get tons of sympathetic coverage in the mass media. But their true colors are becoming ever clearer. Recently (4/29) in the Washington Post, the rabid neocon Robert Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, adviser to the McCain campaign and lead proponent of war on Iran, heaped praise on Obama for being an advocate of pre-emptive war and of increasing the army and marines by tens of thousands of troops. ( For his part Edwards is now exposed by Senator Durbin's disclosure that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee knew that the administration was lying in the lead-up to the war on Iraq. Durbin excuses himself from hiding the truth from the public by saying the committee was sworn to secrecy. But that was a time to come forward with the truth and take the consequences - even jail - to stop a war based on lies. And it is even worse to have been on that committee and to have voted for the war. John Edwards was on that committee. John Edwards voted for the war. It turns out that John Edwards did in fact know then what he knows now! Durbin is the second Senator to have outed Edwards in this way, the first being former Senator Bob Graham. The Democrats are in an awful bind. They have been complicit in this war from the beginning - up to their necks in the death and destruction every bit as much as W. That provides an opening for a new start in American politics. But this means that the Greens and the Libertarians must seize the moment, overcome their dysfunctionality and pose a serious challenge to the two War Parties. The Democrats are on the run; will we go get 'em? Will we live up to the challenge? John Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar [at] gmail.com. He encourages one and all to join the many thousands who have signed the petition at WWW.FilibusterForPeace.org. It only takes 41 of the 51 Democratic Senators to bring the war on Iraq to an end. They have the power. Why do they not use it? --------13 of 17-------- Just Another Corporate Candidate? Obama, Incorporated By JOSHUA FRANK CounterPunch May 1, 2007 One cannot scale the ranks of the Democratic establishment without selling out to Washington insiders, and presidential aspirant Barack Obama is quite adept at playing the game. Since announcing his candidacy in early February, Obama has raised millions of dollars from corporate fat-cats and multinational corporations. While the young candidate has leaned heavily on law firms to which he has professional connections - he's also not been afraid to dip in to the trough of Big Business. And it's a sure sign Obama is a real contender for his party's nomination. When Howard Dean's campaign began to gain momentum during the 2004 elections, the former Vermont governor had not flipped through his party's corporate black book, and instead relied heavily on the grassroots to provide fuel for his presidential bid. The party's elite, nervous and unsure that Dean could be one of them, taught the naive doctor a harsh lesson: the establishment quietly sacked Dean for America because he had not accepted the way business is done in Washington. Insiders were brought on at safe distance from John Kerry's campaign, and a group, founded by Democratic fundraiser David Jones, ran vile ads attacking Dean during the Iowa caucus. Moderate Democrats labeled Dean a radical despite his conservative tenure in Vermont. John Edwards called him unelectable. The DLC was against him. Soon Dean was crushed at the polls and never recovered after his screaming speech following the disaster in Iowa. The elite had prevailed with Kerry and Edwards. The Deaniacs' hopes were crushed. And it now seems Obama has vowed to not make the same mistake. There's no question that industry loves Barack. As of March 31, UBS, the second largest bank in Europe, has given over $165,000 to his campaign. The Exelon corporation, which is the nation's largest nuclear plant operator, has donated almost $160,000. The investment Goliath, Goldman Sachs, has also fattened the pockets of Barack Inc. with over $143,000. Citigroup has given well over $50,000 with Morgan Stanley close behind at $40,000. Wall Street has Obama's back. Kirkland & Ellis, the conservative law firm that worked for the Democrats to limit ballot access of Ralph Nader's campaign in 2004, also digs Obama, and have given his campaign over $70,000. That's a lot of money to be tossing around so early in the campaign season. But the firm that represents GM and tobacco giant Brown & Williamson has plenty of cash to spare. They know Obama has a good chance at winning the nomination - if not this cycle, perhaps one down the road. In the meantime, Obama's voice as a leading Democrat in the Senate grows more influential by the day. They know they'll get their money's worth in the long run. The Obama campaign insists the funds he is raising won't influence his positions on any matter, politically or otherwise. They assure us Barack is untouchable. But whom are they trying to kid? Frankly, big donors aren't accustomed to handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars without any kickbacks. They don't write checks out of good will, they do it because they in turn profit. As Ken Silverstein wrote in an online article for Harper's: To anyone who thinks Obama is blissfully oblivious to the fundraising imperative, consider the following: in one of his earliest votes as a senator, Obama helped pass a class-action "reform" bill that was a long-standing and cherished goal of business groups. (The bill was the focus of a significant lobbying effort by financial firms, who constitute Obama's second-biggest single bloc of donors.) Thanks in no part to Exelon I'm sure; Obama has championed nuclear power as a "green" technology. Through his elaborate fundraising channels Obama has also formed a close relationship with Skadden, Arps, one of the largest corporate law firms in the country and one of the largest contributors to the Democratic Party. Skadden, Arps was the legal team hired by David Jones to help derail Howard Dean. Consequentially they were also a top contributor to Kerry's campaign in 2004. Indeed, like the rest of his deep pocketed friends, they know Barack Obama has solidified himself as another corporate candidate. Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the forthcoming Red State Rebels, to be published by AK Press in March 2008. --------14 of 17-------- Moving Beyond the Symbolic Murtha Talks Impeachment By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch May 1, 2007 Impeachment is moving inexorably into the mainstream. On Saturday, April 28, people across the nation rallied to spell out the word "Impeach" with their bodies, from coast to coast. Most of their efforts went unreported in the nation's complicit, propaganda-organ-like corporate media, but the effects of the effort were still felt. Earlier in the week, the Democratic Party convention in California (the largest state Democratic party organization in the nation) voted overwhelmingly to call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Also that week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), filed a bill of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. A day after the national demonstrations, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), speaking on the CBS News program Face the Nation, told host Bob Schieffer that impeachment is "one of the ways Congress has to influence the president." The comment so shocked Schieffer, that he immediately homed in on it asking, "Are you seriously talking about contemplating an impeachment of this president?" Murtha did not back off, and responded, "I'm just saying that's one way to influence the president." As Bob Fertik, a leader of the national impeachment movement, observes, "It is no accident that Murtha used the `I' word: he wanted to send a shot across Bush's bow that he'd better start negotiating (on Iraq troop funding) or else." Fertik adds, "And Murtha must have cleared his comments with Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi before his appearance, so one can safely conclude that impeachment is back "on the table" where it belongs. For too long, Congressional Democratic leaders have been blocking impeachment, beginning with Pelosi's pre-election vow that if Democrats took control of Congress impeachment would be "off the table." The public explanations for this position have never made any sense, and indeed have been specious: the claim that impeaching Bush would mean Cheney would become president is ludicrous (what Republican would want to have the monumentally unpopular Cheney at the head of the GOP heading into the 2008 elections?); the claim that Democrats had an important agenda of bills to pass is preposterous, given their slim margins of control in both houses, the promise of presidential vetoes, and the president's hyperactive use of "signing statements" to illegally kill laws enacted by Congress; and the claim that impeachment would be "divisive" is bogus, because it is the administration and the Republicans in Congress who have been divisive for the past six years. In fact, the real reason the Democratic leadership has been running from impeachment is that party leaders think they are better off letting this increasingly unpopular administration continue to foul up domestically and especially in Iraq. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), actually at one point publicly stated that it would be "good" for Democrats if the Iraq War continued into November 2008. This heartless Machiavellian thinking may or may not be strategically valid (I suspect it's not correct), but it is certainly a betrayal of the American people who voted Democrats into control last November, and is certainly a betrayal of the troops who are fighting and dying in Iraq every day. It appears, from Murtha's comment about impeachment, that leading Democrats in Congress are starting to realize that the public is way ahead of them, and is growing frustrated and angry at Democratic pussyfooting. Americans don't want symbolic action by Democrats on ending the war. They want the troops brought home - now. They don't want tangential investigations by Congress into the political firing of federal prosecutors, or into the faked documents alleging that Iraq was buying uranium ore from Niger, They want impeachment bills against President Bush, and the convening of impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee to defend a Constitution that has been vitiated by six years of Bush administration crimes, abuses of power and blatant undermining of the Bill of Rights. Rep. Murtha should be swamped with emails and calls congratulating him for recognizing this, and for putting impeachment back on the agenda (call 202-25-2065). The impeachment movement, which is just getting going, needs to keep the pressure on Congress and the media. Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's newest book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. He can be reached at: dlindorff [at] yahoo.com --------15 of 17-------- The Rich World's Policy on Greenhouse Gas Now Seems Clear: Millions Will Die by George Monbiot Published on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 by The Guardian/UK Rich nations seeking to cut climate change have this in common: they lie. You won't find this statement in the draft of the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was leaked to the Guardian last week. But as soon as you understand the numbers, the words form before your eyes. The governments making genuine efforts to tackle global warming are using figures they know to be false. The British government, the European Union and the United Nations all claim to be trying to prevent "dangerous" climate change. Any level of climate change is dangerous for someone, but there is a broad consensus about what this word means: two degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels. It is dangerous because of its direct impacts on people and places (it could, for example, trigger the irreversible melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the collapse of the Amazon rainforest) and because it is likely to stimulate further warming, as it encourages the world's natural systems to start releasing greenhouse gases. The aim of preventing more than 2C of warming has been adopted overtly by the UN and the European Union, and implicitly by the British, German and Swedish governments. All of them say they are hoping to confine the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a level that would prevent such a rise. And all of them know that they have set the wrong targets, based on outdated science. Fearful of the political implications, they have failed to adjust to the levels the new research demands. This isn't easy to follow, but please bear with me, as you cannot understand the world's most important issue without grappling with some numbers. The average global temperature is affected by the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This concentration is usually expressed as "carbon dioxide equivalent". It is not an exact science - you cannot say that a certain concentration of gases will lead to a precise increase in temperature - but scientists discuss the relationship in terms of probability. A paper published last year by the climatologist Malte Meinshausen suggests that if greenhouse gases reach a concentration of 550 parts per million, carbon dioxide equivalent, there is a 63-99% chance (with an average value of 82%) that global warming will exceed two degrees. At 475 parts per million (ppm) the average likelihood is 64%. Only if concentrations are stabilised at 400 parts or below is there a low chance (an average of 28%) that temperatures will rise by more than two degrees. The IPCC's draft report contains similar figures. A concentration of 510ppm gives us a 33% chance of preventing more than two degrees of warming. A concentration of 590ppm gives us a 10% chance. You begin to understand the scale of the challenge when you discover that the current level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (using the IPCC's formula) is 459ppm. We have already exceeded the safe level. To give ourselves a high chance of preventing dangerous climate change, we will need a programme so drastic that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere end up below the current concentrations. The sooner this happens, the greater the chance of preventing two degrees of warming. But no government has set itself this task. The European Union and the Swedish government have established the world's most stringent target. It is 550ppm, which gives us a near certainty of an extra 2C. The British government makes use of a clever conjuring trick. Its target is also "550 parts per million", but 550 parts of carbon dioxide alone. When you include the other greenhouse gases, this translates into 666ppm, carbon dioxide equivalent (a fitting figure). According to last autumn's Stern report on the economics of climate change, at 650ppm there is a 60-95% chance of 3C of warming. The government's target, in other words, commits us to a very dangerous level of climate change. The British government has been aware that it has set the wrong target for at least four years. In 2003 the environment department found that "with an atmospheric CO2 stabilisation concentration of 550ppm, temperatures are expected to rise by between 2C and 5C". In March last year it admitted that "a limit closer to 450ppm or even lower, might be more appropriate to meet a 2C stabilisation limit". Yet the target has not changed. Last October I challenged the environment secretary, David Miliband, over this issue on Channel 4 News. He responded as if he had never come across it before. The European Union is also aware that it is using the wrong figures. In 2005 it found that "to have a reasonable chance to limit global warming to no more than 2C, stabilisation of concentrations well below 550ppm CO2 equivalent may be needed". But its target hasn't changed either. Embarrassingly for the government, and for leftwingers like me, the only large political entity that seems able to confront this is the British Conservative party. In a paper published a fortnight ago, it called for an atmospheric stabilisation target of 400-450ppm carbon dioxide equivalent. Will this become policy? Does Cameron have the guts to do what his advisers say he should? In my book Heat, I estimate that to avoid two degrees of warming we require a global emissions cut of 60% per capita between now and 2030. This translates into an 87% cut in the United Kingdom. This is a much stiffer target than the British government's - which requires a 60% cut in the UK's emissions by 2050. But my figure now appears to have been an underestimate. A recent paper in the journal Climatic Change emphasises that the sensitivity of global temperatures to greenhouse gas concentrations remains uncertain. But if we use the average figure, to obtain a 50% chance of preventing more than 2C of warming requires a global cut of 80% by 2050. This is a cut in total emissions, not in emissions per head. If the population were to rise from 6 billion to 9 billion between now and then, we would need an 87% cut in global emissions per person. If carbon emissions are to be distributed equally, the greater cut must be made by the biggest polluters: rich nations like us. The UK's emissions per capita would need to fall by 91%. But our governments appear quietly to have abandoned their aim of preventing dangerous climate change. If so, they condemn millions to death. What the IPCC report shows is that we have to stop treating climate change as an urgent issue. We have to start treating it as an international emergency. We must open immediate negotiations with China, which threatens to become the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases by next November, partly because it manufactures many of the products we use. We must work out how much it would cost to decarbonise its growing economy, and help to pay. We need a major diplomatic offensive - far more pressing than it has been so far - to persuade the United States to do what it did in 1941, and turn the economy around on a dime. But above all we need to show that we remain serious about fighting climate change, by setting the targets the science demands. www.monbiot.com 2007 The Guardian --------16 of 17-------- The Very Rich are Different from You and Me F. Scott Fitzgerald by Gary Olson May 01, 2007 Ernest Hemingway's wry reply to Fitzgerald was: "Yes, they have more money." A less clever but potentially more instructive response might be: "Why?" The top 1 percent of Americans are now receiving the largest share of national income since the pre-Great Depression year 1928. The top 10 percent get 48.5 percent of total income, an obscene rate of inequality. According to Princeton University professor Peter Singer, the top 0.01 of taxpayers or 14,000 Americans earn an average of $12,775,000 with total earnings of $184 billion. The rest of the 0.1 percent, or 129,600 individuals, now have an average income of just over $2 million. And the top 0.5 or 575,900 have an average income of $623,000. Prof. Singer calculates that if the folks in the top 10 percent donated between 10-30 percent of their income, it would raise $404 billion, an amount that would eliminate half of global poverty. And they wouldn't be left to scrimp on their sumptuous lifestyles. What should we make of these iniquitous numbers? I can't quarrel with Adam Smith, the oft misquoted and misunderstood moral philosopher and economist, who wrote in his monumental book The Wealth of Nations, "Whenever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred of the poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many..." Further, as participants in, and arbiters of a fair and just, democratic society, how do we analyze the idea of private philanthropy? Upon engaging in this practice, some plutocrats offer the sanctimonious phrase, "I just wanted to give something back." My immediate reaction is: why not give it all back? Or, in order to be totally fair and just, give back everything over and above any personal effort expended. I'm hardly alone in this view. Even Robber Barons like Andrew Carnegie (eventually) acknowledged that all wealth originates in the community and "not in the Herculean work efforts of lone individuals and hence should be returned to whence it came..." And Warren Buffet, the second richest man in America, concedes that "If you stuck me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru you'll find out how much talent is going to produce in the wrong soil." Adding that he personally believes "society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I've earned." Herbert Simon, a Nobel Prize winner in Economics, acknowledges that this societal contribution accounts for at least ninety percent of what people earn in Northwest Europe and the United States. Based on this clear societal contribution to wealth, Simon believes that moral grounds exist to warrant a flat income tax of 90 percent. In other words, as Carnegie biographer Steve Fraser urges, if wealth originated as social capital - as Carnegie maintained - shouldn't that argument dictate a public democratic role to ensure general consensus on its best use? But don't the super-rich deserve their fortunes because of their work, pluck, and genius? I think not. For an example, behind all the modern technology fortunes, including computers, one discovers primarily (public) taxpayer-funded research and development. Bill Gates, for one, wasn't responsible for any of the crucial technical advances that produced the computer. His work, albeit a "genius mind" was to take advantage of work done at public initiative and expense. In the case of the Internet, the Pentagon wanted a communications system that could survive a nuclear attack. Private business refused to undertake the investment risks until public funding guaranteed a ready profit. Yet another example of "socialism for the rich." Even the mouse came from Pentagon funded research. (A revealing study exploring the matter is Kenneth Flamm's Creating the Computer). Chuck Collins, economic expert and an heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune concludes, "Yet where would the many wealthy entrepreneurs be today without taxpayer investment in the Internet, transportation, public education, the legal system, the human genome and so on?" To this, we must add several additional sources for the great fortunes. A partial list includes: piracy, colonial pillage, black African slaves, extermination of first nation peoples, child labor, Chinese and Irish immigrant labor (railroads) indentured servitude, eminent domain, massive (often concealed) taxpayer subsidies, worker massacres, inheritance laws, public land grabs, unfair trade practices, supporting foreign dictatorships to gain cheap labor and resources, tax policy, corporate welfare, and always, underpaid, overworked employees. Where does this leave us? Personally, I've always been partial to the moral injunction, "To whom much is given, much is required." Adapting this admonition to modern wealth, the "much" is rarely given voluntarily while the "required" remains an unrequited, vaguely subversive sounding afterthought. I wouldn't presume to improve on scripture but I would suggest a corollary: From whom much is taken, much is owed. Self-made wealth is a largely a myth. In the words of economic analyst Mike Laphan, "It takes a village to raise a billionaire. Every taxpayer deserves some credit for the Forbes 400 wealth." So if all production is social - from public investments to our combined labor power - where is society's dividend? Gary Olson is chair of the Political Science Department at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. Contact: olson [at] moravian.edu --------17 of 17-------- Place Poems "Here" dreams of getting out of here, but wherever "here" goes, there here is. "There" points from afar, never touching sweet there, though god knows it wants to. "There" dreams of kissing there, but there flees, laughing, virginal, untouched. Hither, thither, and yon are kidnapped. No one knows where to look for them. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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