Progressive Calendar 07.10.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 15:42:20 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   07.10.08

1. Kip/health/AM950 7.10 6:05pm
2. Eco shopper      7.10 6:30pm

3. Ffunch           7.11 11:30am
4. Palestine        7.11 4:15pm
5. Pray for peace   7.11 6:30pm
6. Alt/violence     7.11-13 6pm

7. AWC yard sale    7.12 8am
8. Pigstock/vets    7.12 8:30am Hager City WI
9. Peace walk       7.12 9am Cambridge MN
10. NWN4P Mtka      7.12 11am
11. Northtown vigil 7.12 2pm
12. NLG picnic      7.12 5pm
13. Vet stories     7.12 7pm
14. GLBT/ch17       7.12 8pm
15. Rwanda/CTV      7.12 9pm

16. Glen Ford  - "Progressives for Obama" fool themselves
17. PC Roberts - A workforce betrayed: watching greed murder the economy
18. Doug Brown - This is how the world ends
19. Spratt/Sutton - The perils of playing nice

--------1 of 19--------

From: Kip Sullivan <kiprs [at] usinternet.com>
Subject: Kip/health/AM950 7.10 6:05pm

Kip Sullivan will be a guest on "Minnesota Matters" on Air America, AM 950
at 6:05 pm Thursday, July 10. The health care proposals of Barack Obama
and John McCain will be among the topics he will discuss.


--------2 of 19--------

From: Do It Green! Minnesota <Do_It_Green_Minnesota [at] mail.vresp.com>
Subject: Eco shopper 7.10 6:30pm

ll workshop participants for our July Eco Consumerism workshops will
receive a FREE BLUE SKY GUIDE!!!

BECOME AN ECO SHOPPER
Thurs, July 10: 6:30-8pm
Linden Hills Co-op
2813 W. 43rd St., Mpls

Come to this workshop to discuss and find out about everyday shopping
decisions that impact the planet and how you can become a more
eco-friendly consumer. Jeanne Lakso, Linden Hills Coop Marketing and
Member Services Manager, will discuss and walk you through the variety of
ways one can become a green shopper!


--------3 of 19--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: Ffunch 7.11 11:30am

Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH! (ffunch is on)
11:30am-1pm
First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for Greens/progressives.

Informal political talk and hanging out.

Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul.
Meet in the private room (holds 12+).

Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is
close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines


--------4 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Palestine 7.11 4:15pm

Friday, 7/11, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St
Paul.


--------5 of 19--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Pray for peace 7,11 6:30pm

Friday, July 11: Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates
Justice Commission. 11th Day Prayer for Peace. 6:30 - 7:15 PM at
Presentation of Our Lady Chapel, 1890 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul.
651-690-7054.

[Our traitorous legislators won't give us peace - they lie and then betray
us, doing the work of Mars and Mammon. So let's get God to do what they
obviously won't. Please God save us from our leaders and our free
enterprise system of death. Save us from lying politicians (they'll tell
you they're used car salesmen). Save us from hiding in hope when only
action will do. -ed]


--------6 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Alt/violence 7.11-13 6pm

7/11 (6 pm) to 7/13 (5 pm), basic level Alternatives to Violence Workshop,
Hennepin County Men's Workhouse, 1145 Shenandoah Lane, Plymouth.
avperika [at] gmail.com or http://www.fnvw.blogspot.com


--------7 of 19zdx--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: AWC yard sale 7.12 8am

Saturday, 7/12, 8 to 3, Antiwar Committee yard sale, Spirit of the Lakes
Church, 2930 - 13th Ave S, Mpls.  (Items may be dropped off between 6 and
8 pm on Friday night.)  http://www.antiwarcommittee.org


--------8 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Pigstock/vets 7.12 8:30am Hager City WI

Saturday, 7/12, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Veterans for Peace chapter 115 hosts
their annual peace gathering "Pigstock" at Schaefers' Pig Wisdom Farm in
Hager City, Wisconsin.

Speakers include former Pentagon analyst Lt Col USAF (ret) Karen
Kwiatkowski, a panel from Iraq Veterans Against the War, Hofstra poli sci
prof David Green.  $25 preregistration to Charles Nicolosi, treasurer, VFP
Chapter 115, 250 Overlook Ln, Red Wing.  Directions at
http://www.pigwisdomfarm.com Info from David at tuvecino [at] redwing.net
Camping available Friday and Saturday nights.


--------9 of 19--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Peace walk 7.12 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street


--------10 of 19--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 7.12 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We
will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.


--------11 of 19--------

From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 7.12 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday
2-3pm


--------12 of 19--------

From: Peter Brown <peterb3121 [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: NLG picnic 7.12 5pm

Please join us at the Lawyers Guild Summer Picnic for Freedom!
We supply the hotdogs, corn on the cob, baked beans, watermelons, pop,
plates/utensils.
Please contribute a side item for 12 if you can, but be sure to come and
bring friends/ that's the most important!

See you at the Minnehaha Park Bandstand, Saturday July 12 at 5PM!
Summer Picnic for Freedom
Celebrating Local Defenders of Freedom and
Raising Energy for Our Struggles Ahead
Saturday July 12th 2008
Minnehaha Park Bandstand
5 - 8PM
Picnic Dinner at 5PM
Music/Dance/Spoken Word Program begins at 6PM
Tell your friends
NLG will provide corn, hot dogs, soda, watermelons and plates/utensils


--------13 of 19--------

From: Larry Johnson <elent7 [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Vet stories 7.12 7pm

Storytelling for Adults
July 12, 7 p.m. at Java Jack's, 818 West 46th St. in Mpls.  Call
612-747-3904 for more information Suggested donation of $5

4 storytellers/all veterans. The theme of the night reflects the National
Convention of Veterans for Peace, occurring in the Twin Cities on August
27-31, 2008.  See www.vfpnationalconvention.org

Evening is hosted by Elaine Wynne, storyteller/psychotherapist, with a
deep understanding of PTSD and the need for peaceful community-building.
This is the regular monthly event of Northstar Storytelling League.


--------14 of 19--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: GLBT/ch17 7.12 8pm

July 12: OutFront Minnesota Coming Out Proud on tpt channel 17. 8 PM. See
stories of Minnesota's GLBT people as they tell their coming out come
stories and the experience of PFLAG parents.


--------15 of 19--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Rwanda/CTV 7.12 9pm

Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!.  Households with basic cable may
watch.

Sat, 7/12, 9pm and Tues, 7/15, 8am "Behind the Scenes at the Hotel Rwanda"
Interview of William Mitchell College of Law prof. Peter Erlinder, atty
for the defense at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Hosted by Karen Redleaf. (a repeat)


--------16 of 19--------

"Progressives for Obama" Fool Themselves
by Glen Ford
July 9th, 2008
Dissident Voice

The "Progressives for Obama" project was always doomed, largely because
the candidate was determined to pull the rug from under it at his earliest
opportunity. That time has arrived, in such dramatic fashion that even the
corporate media recognize that Obama's sharp Right turns are irreversible
and much more clearly reflect his essential political nature.

Obama chuckled last week at the very thought of having been "tagged as
being on the Left" - and then unceremoniously jettisoned those Leftists
that had taken it upon themselves to claim him as one of their own. In
case "the Left" didn't get the message, Obama wrapped the insulting
rejection in a Zanesville, Ohio speech announcing his "faith-based" appeal
to Reagan Democrats and Bush Republicans.

But the most important reason that "Progressives for Obama" should have
never existed is its utter lack of content. Leftists attempted to impose
themselves on an electoral campaign where they were not wanted, and yet
persisted in identifying with an organization over which they had no
control, no ability to provide content. It was a game of make-believe that
has run its illogical course. Frankly, the project can also be seen as an
act of opportunism, an attempt to graft the Left onto a corporate campaign
that at some point must eject it like a foreign body.

If it were just that lonely Lefties, tired of fighting in a thoroughly
corporate-saturated political culture, simply wanted to hitch a ride with
the younger Obamite crowd, they might be forgiven. But these veteran
progressives deployed their reputations to spread falsehoods that they
knew to be untrue. They provided a veneer of progressive credibility to a
candidate who was nothing of the kind.

We were subjected to ideological nonsense such as: the Obama campaign is
inherently progressive because it has excited millions of new potential
voters. Therefore, progressives must publicly identify with Obama, take
care to be seen as allies, and never do or say anything that might harm
his candidacy. We were even told that the excitement surrounding Obama
constituted a "movement". But of course, there was never a social movement
that was devoid of content, and excitement is a politically neutral
quality that can be generated by the Left or the Right - or in wholly
apolitical circumstances.

If popularity and excitement are hallmarks of progressivism, then
"American Idol" is a valuable progressive institution. (In reality, it is
a great diversion, and to that extent, harmful.)

This illusionary progressivism - as vapid as the candidate, himself -
posits a movement without regard to content, objective direction, or a
even simple analysis of who profits and who pays the campaign's bills and
determines its ultimate goals and priorities.

Remember that Hip Hop was also called a "movement" - and some continue to
insist that it still is. It is true that Hip Hop contained a great deal of
progressive political content during the heyday of the late Eighties-early
Nineties, before the major labels bought out the independents. Today,
commercial Hip Hop is saturated with anti-social lyrics and themes; its
content is overwhelmingly non-progressive, although the musical form
remains much the same as during the genre's progressive era. Content is
everything.

What "Progressives for Obama" have collectively done, is to allow Obama to
"pass" for what he is not: a progressive. It was a foolish project from
the start, since it required the candidate's ongoing collaboration. How
could the organizers have imagined that a politician like Obama, who takes
such great care to speak the language of ambiguity (a form of lying),
would feel an obligation to protect progressives from ultimate
embarrassment of their own making?

Bill Fletcher, the former TransAfrica president and current executive
editor of BlackCommentator.com, was a founder of "Progressives for Obama".
Although Fletcher declared that he was not an Obama supporter on January
17 of this year, by March 24 he and others were hallucinating a
"movement".

"Even though it is candidate-centered, there is no doubt that the campaign
is a social movement, one greater than the candidate himself ever
imagined".

If the candidate isn't aware if the nature of the "movement" he is
leading, then who is? If the "movement" that Obama is supposedly at the
head of is essentially "progressive," does that mean Obama is a closet
progressive - so closeted it is a secret to himself? Or are there
progressive Rasputins furtively whispering progressive thoughts in the
ears of the candidate and his key people?

Apparently, all that is necessary to have a movement, is to declare one.

Tom Hayden, another "Progressives for Obama" founder, also imagines a kind
of donut movement, a progressive circle with a non-progressive middle,
where the candidate stands:

"I first endorsed Obama because of the nature of the movement supporting
him, not his particular stands on issues. The excitement among
African-Americans and young people, the audacity of their hope, still
holds the promise of a new era of social activism. The force of their
rising expectations, I believe, could pressure a President Obama in a
progressive direction and also energize a new wave of social movements".

[Hayden has been wrong so often in the past it's a standing miracle people
still listen to him. -ed]

Nothing of that nature will occur, because Hayden and other progressives
are not organizing to make it occur. They are too concerned with remaining
"for" Obama. Not only are Hayden's and Fletcher's peculiar "movements"
without political content - they emerge like magic, requiring none of the
hard work of organizing.

[Castles in the air are cheap to build but expensive to maintain. -ed]

And just how were those popular 'rising expectations" that Hayden speaks
of supposed to express themselves? Progressives waited until it was far
too late to bring these "expectations" - to whatever extent they exist .
to bear on the candidate. Obama coasted through the primaries with
virtually no dissent from his loyal progressives, and now sees his way
clear to publicly dismiss them, so as to never again be "tagged as being
on the Left".

Obama now challenges his critics on the Left to go back and read his
previous policy pronouncements. He is on firm ground, here. The folks who
were misreading his Iraq, NAFTA and other positions were largely
progressives who were pretending that Obama was one of them. Writers such
as Paul Street, Kevin Alexander Gray and our own BAR crew have understood
Obama all along: that he is an imperialist, a corporatist, and opposes
measures designed to redress specific Black grievances in the U.S.
society. It is the "Progressives for Obama" who have tended to distort his
record.

Is Obama a liar? Of course he is. As a gifted orator, a superb word-smith,
Obama's slickness is purposeful - he means to fool people! However, so did
many of the progressives that supported Obama, knowing perfectly well that
his carefully chosen words were designed to hide more than they revealed.
Such progressives lent their reputations to discourage criticism of Obama
from other Leftists, or from the "expectant" rank and file. Therefore,
they are guilty of offenses against truth.

For straight language and unambiguously progressive politics, support
Cynthia McKinney, who is expected to win the Green Party presidential
nomination, this week in Chicago. There is little chance that the
courageous former congresswoman from Georgia will win the White House, but
she won't lie to you, and from her truly progressive campaign a real
"movement" may grow.

Glen Ford is Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, where this article
first appeared. He can be contacted at: Glen.Ford [at] BlackAgendaReport.com.
Read other articles by Glen, or visit Glen's website.

This article was posted on Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 at 9:29 am and is
filed under Democracy, Democrats, Elections. Send to a friend.


--------17 of 19--------

A Workforce Betrayed
Watching Greed Murder the Economy
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
CounterPunch
July 10, 2008

The collapse of world socialism, the rise of the high speed Internet, a
bought-and-paid-for US government, and a million dollar cap on executive
pay that is not performance related are permitting greedy and disloyal
corporate executives, Wall Street, and large retailers to dismantle the
ladders of upward mobility that made America an "opportunity society". In
the 21st century the US economy has been able to create net new jobs only
in nontradable domestic services, such as waitresses, bartenders,
government workers, hospital orderlies, and retail clerks. (Nontradable
services are "hands on' services that cannot be sold as exports, such as
haircuts, waiting a table, fixing a drink.)

Corporations can boost their bottom lines, shareholder returns, and
executive performance bonuses by arbitraging labor across national
boundaries. High value-added jobs in manufacturing and in tradable
services can be relocated from developed countries to developing countries
where wages and salaries are much lower. In the United States, the high
value-added jobs that remain are increasingly filled by lower paid
foreigners brought in on work visas.

When manufacturing jobs began leaving the US, no-think economists gave
their assurances that this was a good thing. Grimy jobs that required
little education would be replaced with new high tech service jobs
requiring university degrees. The American work force would be elevated.
The US would do the innovating, design, engineering, financing and
marketing, and poor countries such as China would manufacture the goods
that Americans invented. High-tech services were touted as the new source
of value-added that would keep the American economy preeminent in the
world.

The assurances that economists gave made no sense. If it pays corporations
to ship out high value-added manufacturing jobs, it pays them to ship out
high value-added service jobs. And that is exactly what US corporations
have done.

Automobile magazine (August 2008) reports that last March Chrysler closed
its Pacifica Advance Product Design Center in Southern California.
Pacifica's demise followed closings and downsizings of Southern California
design studios by Italdesign, ASC, Porsche, Nissan, and Volvo. Only three
of GM's eleven design studios remain in the US.

According to Eric Noble, president of The Car Lab, an automotive
consultancy, "Advanced studios want to be where the new frontier is. So in
China, studios are popping up like rabbits".

The idea is nonsensical that the US can remain the font of research,
innovation, design, and engineering while the country ceases to make
things. Research and product development invariably follow manufacturing.
Now even business schools that were cheerleaders for offshoring of US jobs
are beginning to wise up. In a recent report, "Next Generation Offshoring:
The Globalization of Innovation," Duke University's Fuqua School of
Business finds that product development is moving to China to support the
manufacturing operations that have located there.

The study, reported in Manufacturing & Technology News, acknowledges that
"labor arbitrage strategies continue to be key drivers of offshoring," a
conclusion that I reached a number of years ago. Moreover, the study
concludes, jobs offshoring is no longer mainly associated with locating IT
services and call centers in low wage countries. Jobs offshoring has
reached maturity, "and now the growth is centered around product and
process innovation".

According to the Fuqua School of Business report, in just one year, from
2005 to 2006, offshoring of product development jobs increased from an
already significant base by 40 to 50 percent. Over the next one and
one-half to three years, "growth in offshoring of product development
projects is forecast to increase by 65 percent for R&D and by more than 80
percent for engineering services and product design-projects".

More than half of US companies are now engaged in jobs offshoring, and the
practice is no longer confined to large corporations. Small companies have
discovered that "offshoring of innovation projects can significantly
leverage limited investment dollars".

It turns out that product development, which was to be America's
replacement for manufacturing jobs, is the second largest business
function that is offshored.

According to the report, the offshoring of finance, accounting, and human
resource jobs is increasing at a 35 percent annual rate. The study
observes that "the high growth rates for the offshoring of core functions
of value creation is a remarkable development".

In brief, the United States is losing its economy. However, a business
school cannot go so far as to admit that, because its financing is
dependent on outside sources that engage in offshoring. Instead, the study
claims, absurdly, that the massive movement of jobs abroad that the study
reports are causing no job loss in the US: "Contrary to various claims,
fears about loss of high-skill jobs in engineering and science are
unfounded". The study then contradicts this claim by reporting that as
more scientists and engineers are hired abroad, "fewer jobs are being
eliminated onshore". Since 2005, the study reports, there has been a 48
percent drop in the onshore jobs losses caused by offshore projects.

One wonders at the competence of the Fuqua School of Business. If a 40-50
percent increase in offshored product development jobs, a 65 percent
increase in offshored R&D jobs, and a more than 80 percent increase in
offshored engineering services and product design-projects jobs do not
constitute US job loss, what does?

Academia's lack of independent financing means that its researchers can
only tell the facts by denying them.

The study adds more cover for corporate America's rear end by repeating
the false assertion that US firms are moving jobs offshore because of a
shortage of scientists and engineers in America. A correct statement would
be that the offshoring of science, engineering and professional service
jobs is causing fewer American students to pursue these occupations, which
formerly comprised broad ladders of upward mobility. The Bureau of Labor
Statistics. nonfarm payroll jobs statistics show no sign of job growth in
these careers. The best that can be surmised is that there are replacement
jobs as people retire.

The offshoring of the US economy is destroying the dollar's role as
reserve currency, a role that is the source of American power and
influence. The US trade deficit resulting from offshored US goods and
services is too massive to be sustainable. Already the once all-mighty
dollar has lost enormous purchasing power against oil, gold, and other
currencies. In the 21st century, the American people have been placed on a
path that can only end in a substantial reduction in US living standards
for every American except the corporate elite, who earn tens of millions
of dollars in bonuses by excluding Americans from the production of the
goods and services that they consume.

What can be done? The US economy has been seriously undermined by
offshoring. The damage might not be reparable. Possibly, the American
market and living standards could be rescued by tariffs that offset the
lower labor and compliance costs abroad.

Another alternative, suggested by Ralph Gomory, would be to tax US
corporations on the basis of the percentage of their value added that
occurs in the US. The greater the value added to a company's product in
America, the lower the tax rate on the profits.

These sensible suggestions will be demonized by ideological "free market"
economists and opposed by the offshoring corporations, whose swollen
profits allow them to hire "free market" economists as shills and to elect
representatives to serve their interests.

The current recession with its layoffs will mask the continuing
deterioration in employment and career outlooks for American university
graduates. The highly skilled US work force is being gradually transformed
into the domestic service workforce characteristic of third world
economies.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal
editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor
of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:
paulcraigroberts [at] yahoo.com



--------18 of 19--------

URL: http://www.powells.com/review/2007_06_09.html
From: Powells.com, Jun. 9, 2007
THIS IS HOW THE WORLD ENDS

Book review of: Peter D.Ward, Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass
Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us about Our Future (N.Y.:
Collins, 2007).

[Rachel's introduction: "What makes this such a terrifying book is it
isn't based on theoretical mathematics. Rapid increases in greenhouse
gases have shut down the ocean conveyor several times before, resulting in
severe climate change and mass extinction. If Ward's analysis is correct,
we know what caused it and we know how to make it not happen again. The
question is: can we save us from ourselves?"]

THIS IS HOW THE WORLD ENDS
By Doug Brown

Many books on global warming are based upon crude computer models (crude
compared to our planet's actual climate) and hypothetical what- ifs. Thus
they are easily dismissed by skeptics as alarmist litanies of, "Here are
some really bad things that could maybe possibly happen if the worst-case
outcomes of this model which is built on untested assumptions turn out to
be right." Peter Ward, a paleontology professor at the University of
Washington (and astrobiologist for NASA), takes a different and much
scarier approach. Rather than hypothetical speculations into the future,
he starts with actual data from the past. Can we examine the fossil and
climate record to identify past instances of greenhouse global warming,
and see what happened then? The answer, very disturbingly, is yes.

The first section of Under a Green Sky{1} covers how scientists have
examined mass extinctions over time, and how causes are determined. After
the Cretaceous-Tertiary event (a.k.a. the extinction of the non- avian
dinosaurs) was shown to have been largely caused by a meteor slamming into
the earth, extraterrestrial impacts became the assumed cause of all mass
extinctions. Everyone ran around looking for craters of the approximate
correct age to have caused other events. Ward espoused a more systematic
approach, where the fossil record itself was first examined in detail to
see if extinctions happened slowly, in phases, or all at once (only the
latter favoring an impact). The granddaddy of all mass extinctions, the
Permian extinction, was a study target for both Ward and the impact crowd.
In the Permian event, almost 90% of species died. To find the cause of
this event would garner much fame. Thus, when the impact folks thought
they found their crater, they promptly reported to the press the
extinction had been solved. The fossil data said otherwise. Ward's
wonderfully written book Gorgon discusses this particular debate in more
depth, but the short story is the crater turned out to be the wrong age by
several million years, and the fossil record indicated waves of
extinctions over a short period of time.

If not an impact, what could have made so many things die so quickly?
Here's where global warming enters the picture. When carbon dioxide and
other greenhouse gas levels were indirectly measured (via isotope ratios
in rocks and counting stomata in fossil leaves), it was found a greenhouse
event did take place at the end of the Permian, and also at the end of the
Triassic (the first part of the "age of the dinosaurs"). Okay, so it got
warm and stuffy, but so what? Don't reptiles like the heat? Heat, yes,
noxious gases like hydrogen sulfide, no. It was the examination of ocean
floor extinctions that finally completed the picture. In impacts like the
Cretaceous- Tertiary event, things in the upper half of the ocean die, but
not so much in the lower half. In the Permian and Triassic events, the
opposite trend was seen; the extinctions started on the ocean floor. Also,
dark bands in the rocks signaled the presence of anoxic bacteria in deep
water.

Ordinarily, there is a conveyor belt running through all the oceans, both
at the surface and at deep levels. The Gulf Stream is a famous part of
this conveyor. Warm water moves toward the poles, then sinks down to the
ocean floor and heads back towards the equator. This deep water, having
come from the surface in polar regions, is well oxygenated. In previous
global warming events such as the Permian and Triassic, changes in
atmospheric gases were enough to stop the conveyor. With no oxygenated
water on the ocean floor, everything there died and anoxic bacteria took
over. Ward posits these bacteria produced large amounts of hydrogen
sulfide (the gas made by rotten eggs), which then burped up to the surface
in large bubbles. Ward and his colleagues calculated there was plenty
enough of this nasty gas to account for the extinctions. The scary thing
is how fast the conveyor stops. In a matter of decades, the climate can
significantly alter, and within a hundred years extinction is the order of
the day.

Which brings us to the present. Thanks to us tool-pushing primates, carbon
dioxide levels are rising precipitously, setting up circumstances very
similar to those seen before. And when those circumstances arose, really
bad things happened. Ward closes Under a Green Sky with three hypothetical
scenarios for the future, based in part on past occurrences.

In the first, we get our act together and cut emissions drastically. If we
can keep atmospheric CO2 below 450 ppm (parts per million) come the year
2100, things will get a bit warmer and some ice will melt, but otherwise
we should largely be okay. However, this is unlikely, as the current level
is 360 ppm (and rising at 2 ppm per year), and much of the world is
industrializing as fast as it can, which may push the rate of increase to
4 ppm per year.

In scenario two, Ward assumes we hit CO2 levels of 700 ppm by the year
2100. Sea level will have risen several feet, the ocean conveyor will have
recently shut down triggering climatic changes, resulting in massive
numbers of refugees.

In scenario three, Ward assumes year 2100 CO2 levels of 1,100 ppm. Earth
would be 10 degrees Celsius warmer. All of the world's ice would be
melting, and much of the world's population displaced by rising waters.
The conveyor would have shut down decades earlier, and signs of deep ocean
anoxic bacteria beginning to show. Due to changes in the atmosphere, the
sky would be turning a sickly shade of green. The sixth great mass
extinction would be underway.

What makes this such a terrifying book is it isn't based on theoretical
mathematics. Rapid increases in greenhouse gases have shut down the ocean
conveyor several times before, resulting in severe climate change and mass
extinction. If Ward's analysis is correct, we know what caused it and we
know how to make it not happen again. The question is: can we save us from
ourselves?

Perhaps if people read Under a Green Sky and tell their friends about it,
we might have a chance. Many people are apathetic about global warming
because the press concentrates on superficial metrics like mean
temperature and sea levels rising a few feet. So we grow oranges in
Alaska, who cares? Peter Ward offers a reason why we should all care, and
right now.

{1} http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780061137914-1#product_details


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URL: http://www.precaution.org/lib/08/perils_of_playing_nice.080704.
htm
From: NewMatilda.com, Jul. 4, 2008
THE PERILS OF PLAYING NICE

In shooting for the political mainstream, the climate movement has shot
itself in the foot, argue David Spratt and Philip Sutton

[Rachel's introduction: "In all these examples, we see reluctance on the
part of organisations and people to go beyond the bounds of perceived
acceptability. This results in the advocacy of solutions that, even if
fully implemented, would not actually solve the problem."]

THE PERILS OF PLAYING NICE
By David Spratt and Philip Sutton

Global warming is an emergency, and "for emergency situations we need
emergency action," UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon told the world in
November 2007.

Why, then, has climate policy moved in such a painfully slow manner? How
can the impasse be resolved between what needs doing quickly, based on the
science, and what seems a "reasonable" thing to do in the current
political environment?

It seems as if there are two great tectonic plates - scientific necessity
and political pragmatism - that meet very uneasily at a fault line.

For example, in 2007, under Kevin Rudd, the Australian Labor Party's
pre-election climate policy statement effectively supported a policy of
allowing global warming to run as high as a 3-degree Celsius (= 5.4 degree
Fahrenheit) increase on pre-industrial temperatures, despite data quoted
in the statement itself that unequivocally demanded a much lower target.

A number of other examples illustrate the tensions and compromises that
result from trying to balance the scientific and political factors.

The British Government's Stern Review identified a need, based on its
reading of the science, for a 2-degree Celsius (= 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)
cap, but then said that this would be too difficult to achieve and
advocated a 3-degree cap instead.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has not called for
climate modelling for stabilisation of temperatures at less than 2 degrees
C., despite the evidence that the climate safe zone is much lower.
Although the IPCC says its role is to simply represent the science, not to
advocate policy, this seems to be a case of the IPCC allowing political
norms to limit the scope of the research that it encourages or reports.

Many climate and policy researchers, while privately expressing the view
that the 2-degree C. cap is too high for a safe-climate world, have
nevertheless publicly advocated less effective goals, because they
perceive those to be more acceptable. Their argument is that they
"wouldn't be listened to" if they said what they really thought.

As well, some environment group advocates speak of the need to occupy the
"middle ground", or to be at least "heading in the right direction",
because "it is always possible to go further later on". This stance turns
risk aversion on its head by failing to consider worst possible outcomes.
At the same time, it is politically advantageous because it obviates the
need to talk about preventive actions that are currently perceived to be
"extreme". As a result, advocacy is often for a direction-setting minimum,
rather than demanding a clear statement of what is required.

During 2007 the position of the Australian Conservation Foundation was
that emissions should be cut "60 to 90 per cent" by 2050 (a 60 per cent
cut would leave emissions in 2050 at four times the level required of a 90
per cent reduction). Yet in his preliminary report economist Ross Garnaut
told the Rudd government that a 90 per cent cut may be necessary and 60
per cent was far from enough.

In all these examples, we see reluctance on the part of organisations and
people to go beyond the bounds of perceived acceptability. This results in
the advocacy of solutions that, even if fully implemented, would not
actually solve the problem. There is a sense that many of the climate
policy professionals - in government, research, community organisations
and advocacy - have established boundaries around their public discourse
that are guided by a primary concern for "reasonableness", rather than by
a concern for achieving environmental and social sustainability.

Many people whose work centres on climate change have been struggling for
so long to gain recognition for the issue - having had to cope with a lack
of awareness, conservatism and climate deniers - that they now have deeply
ingrained habits of self-censorship. They are concerned to avoid being
dismissed and marginalised as "alarmist" and "crazy". Now that the science
is showing the situation to be far worse than most scientists expected
only a short while ago, this ingrained reticence is adding to the problem.

A pragmatic interdependency links many of these players in a cycle of low
expectations and poor outcomes. Here is an outline of the concerns of some
of these key players, based on actual conversations and correspondence.
The cycle is a merry-go-round, so it matters little where it starts.

Under pressure to stick to the science and avoid opinion, a climate
scientist may take the view that society needs to make the judgement about
what it determines to be dangerous climate change: "It's not for me, as a
scientist, to tell you what's dangerous or what the political target ought
to be. I try to inform the debate by explaining what the risks actually
are at these various levels, and by offering policy options that society
could consider."

Community-based climate action groups, often lacking detailed technical
knowledge, will respond by saying that they are not about to doubt the
views put forward by the science professionals, which they hear from the
media and from the IPCC: "We have to trust in their abilities to lead us.
They are the ones who know - we can't say things that they haven't, and we
can't speculate on what a few scientists might be saying, if it isn't in
the IPCC reports."

Large climate-group and environment managers often join the conversation,
suggesting that they agree with strong goals and urgent action, but that
they are worried that if they promote them, their lobbying wouldn't be
taken seriously: "It is more important to agree and campaign on targets
that are heading in the right direction, than that we have discussions
about what the targets should be. It is always possible to go further, or
call for more, later on."

The consequence is that even those politicians who are climate friendly
feel constrained: "I can't go further than the environment movement. I'd
look extreme if I did." And: "I know our party's position will have to be
strengthened because the science has changed, but that can't happen until
after the next election. Our policy is now set. I wish we could go
further, but some people are worried that I will look too extreme in the
electorate."

Deep inside public administration, where climate policy is processed,
there is an avoidance of the political: "Although our climate-science
manager agrees with your targets... she has to stick to using scientists,
not lobbyists, and science, not policy. She needs to be persuaded that
setting targets and trajectories is fundamentally a climate-science issue,
not a political one. If, on the other hand, we can find a scientist to
make the case for real targets that you have made, this would help a lot,
but the scientists say that target- setting is political, and outside
their terrain."

Businesses, meanwhile, remain constrained by their commercial interests:
"You might well be right that 60 per cent by 2050 is not enough, but the
people I talk to wouldn't believe anything tougher. Our business is one of
the good ones - we know that this is a big problem, but if we are going to
engage the wider business community, we can only go so far."

It seems that everyone is waiting for someone else to break the cycle; but
how can this be done? Part of the problem seems to be fear: those who are
the first to move to a tougher position are worried about becoming
isolated or losing credibility.

Reticence on the part of advocates to push for serious action also stems
from the pervasive view in politics that everything is subject to
compromise, and that trade-offs are the norm: argue less for what you
really want than for what seems "reasonable" in the give-and-take of
normal political society. And when some brash advocates do argue for what
really needs to be done, it is simply assumed they are making an ambit
claim: an initial demand put forward in the expectation that the
negotiations will prompt a lesser counter-offer and end in compromise.

While this mindset is widespread, there are domains from which it has been
banished. When it comes to public safety, society knows that compromise
and negotiable trade-offs cannot apply. Bridges, buildings, planes, large
machines and the like must be built to risk- averse, high standards, which
are applied rigorously. When standards are not met and structures fail,
corporations, governments and regulatory bodies are held to account. We
have learned from trial and error that a "no major trade-off" policy in
public safety is necessary to avoid the killing and maiming of citizens.

With global warming, however, we do not have the luxury of learning by
trial and error. We have left the climate problem unattended for so long
that we now have just one chance to get things right by applying a "no
major trade-off" approach without a trial run. It will be a particular
challenge for decision-makers, who have grown up in a political culture of
compromise.

Past government inaction has also habituated an acceptance of lowered
expectations, which has continued to hinder serious climate action. A
non-government organisation staff member, reflecting on her experiences,
said that it has become increasingly clear to her how constrained the
environmental organisations are: "It's a legacy of 11 years of [the]
Howard [government] - they've all come to expect so little environmental
responsibility from government, so they don't ask for much in the hope of
a small gain. [It's] a very unfortunate situation."

Generally, timidity, constraint and incrementalism have characterised
recent national and state government approaches to environment issues, and
the consequence is that low expectations have become embedded in the
relationship between lobbyists and government. When opportunity knocks, or
changing evidence demands urgent and new responses, imaginative and bold
leadership does not always emerge with solutions that fully face up to the
challenge. When, in late 2007, evidence emerged of accelerated climate
change, it appeared to have little impact on the climate targets advocated
by most of the peak green organisations, which said that their position
was "locked in" until after the election.

Ken Ward, an environmental and communications strategist and former deputy
executive director of Greenpeace in the USA, believes that the people who
lead environmental foundations and organisations play a critical part in
reconstructing the issue as a climate and sustainability emergency - one
that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise.

With the rapid loss of the Arctic summer ice cover, Ward says that the
opportunity for these leaders to adjust their position is narrow, and this
is due, in some part, to the deliberate decision, a decade ago, by
environment organisations to downplay climate change risk.

He says: "[They did so] in the interests of presenting a sober, optimistic
image to potential donors, maintaining access to decision- makers, and
operating within the constraints of private foundations, which has blown
back on us. By emphasising specific solutions and avoiding definitions
that might appear alarmist, we inadvertently fed a dumbed-down, Readers
Digest version of climate change to our staff and environmentalist core.
Now, as we scramble to keep up with climate scientists, we discover that
we have paid a hefty price."

For those who have, in the past, downplayed the risks, changing position
is now a matter of urgency, because what now needs to be done is not
incrementally reasonable. The desperate measures required to advance a
functional climate-change solution at this late date, says Ward, "can only
be conceived and advanced by individuals who accept climate change
realities and [who] take the less than 10-year timeframe seriously".

He believes that we will need to actually confront the terror of the
situation before we can come to a real solution.

"We are not acting like people and organisations who genuinely believe
that the world is at risk. Therefore, we cannot take the measures
required, nor can we be effective leaders."

This is an edited extract from Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency
Action{1}, published by Scribe.

-- 
David Spratt is a Melbourne businessman, climate-policy analyst, and
co-founder of Carbon Equity, which advocates personal carbon allowances as
the most fair and equitable means of rapidly reducing carbon emissions. He
has extensive advocacy experience in the peace movement, and in developing
community-campaign communication and marketing strategies.

Philip Sutton is the convener of the Greenleap Strategic Institute, a
non-profit environmental-strategy think tank and advisory organisation
promoting the very rapid achievement of global and local ecological
sustainability. He is also the founder and director of strategy for Green
Innovations, and an occasional university lecturer on global warming
science and strategies for sustainability.

{1} http://www.climatecodered.net/


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