Progressive Calendar 05.01.07
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.


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