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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

    Tax Breaks That Are Killing the Planet

 The comments show how deep is the Republican brainwashing of the population. You have here pundits for whom loss of life is nothing when compared to what they think is the right of corporations to make a profit.

What is even worse, nobody asked whose oil and coal is it anyway?  If Natural Resources are the property of the Whole Nation, then why should a company get depletion subsidies for their appropriating to themselves the natural National treasures? The whole system of paying royalties is inadequate – but the payment to them for the deletion of the resources is ridiculous. Getting a bonus for gains from misappropriated resources is much more like rewarding the CEOs for being great thieves! Just give it some more rational thinking and use the babble of the comments as your guideline.   ST.info editor)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 14th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Learn more about the Decision Making for Climate Change certificate program at an information session tomorrow, 14 August at 12:00, noon Pacific Time.

· Find out if this online program is right for you.

· Learn more about course content

· Speak with instructors

· Learn about the unique partnership between the four Universities who teach these courses (University of British Columbia, University of Washington, University of California-Irvin and Northwestern University)

RSVP for the information session (webinar) here: www.pce.uw.edu/events.aspx?id=148…

McKay Caruthers| Program Manager | UW Educational Outreach| 206.685.9682 |  mcaruthers at pce.uw.edu

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 18th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Dear Pincas,

We’ve come a long way since Hunter founded Natural Capitalism Solutions ten years ago—and we couldn’t have done it without you. To celebrate our decade of implementing genuine sustainability, we’re looking back on 10 of the achievements you helped make possible.

In three emails we cover what we’ve done together to advance sustainability across a global network of businesses, governments, and communities. They’re not ranked and it’s far from an exhaustive list, so if you have a favorite story or memory to share, please do: send us an email, post your story on our Facebook page, or tweet using #ncs10year.

Toby Russell (C.E.O.)

——————————-

The organization is based on the principles presented in the book Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, co-authored by the organization’s leader Hunter Lovins.

Natural Capitalism Solutions builds on the original Natural Capitalism Principles, a leading whole-system sustainability framework. Since the books’ publication in 1999, Hunter and her colleagues have gained a wealth of experience in helping companies and communities use these principles to capture the economic advantages of sustainability. The principles have evolved to identify opportunities to reduce capital investment and operating costs and generate market leadership advantages.

The principles used by Natural Capitalism Solutions are:

1. Buy time by using resources dramatically more productively.

This slows resource depletion, lessens pollution, and increases employment in meaningful jobs. It lowers costs for business and society, halts the degradation of the biosphere, makes it more profitable to employ people, and preserves vital living systems and social cohesion.

2. Redesign industrial processes and the delivery of products and services to do business as nature does, using such approaches as biomimicry and cradle to cradle.

This approach enables a wide array of materials to be produced with low energy flows, in processes that run on sunlight, emulating nature’s genius.  It shifts to circular economies in which materials are reused, remanufactured and waste is eliminated.

3. Manage all institutions to be restorative of natural and human capital.

Such approaches enhance human well-being and enable the biosphere to produce more wealth from its intact communities and abundant ecosystem services and natural resources.
————

Next event:
Fri Dec 07, 2012
New York, NY | Bard Residency #4

The first event was at Bard Center For Environmental Policy – National Climate Seminar –
This is a Prof. Eban Goodstein Project. // January 26, 2010 It was held in New York City.

to be followed by:

Fri Dec 14, 2012
Denver, CO | Denver University SLIC course
Thu Feb 28, 2013
Ogden, UT | 4th Annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit
Mon Apr 22, 2013
Elon, NC | Elon University’s Earth Day Celebration
Thu May 02, 2013
Chicago, IL | Chicago Family Business Council

——————————-

The ten examples of achievements sent out in the three e-mails, are:

1) Paving The Way

NCS was one of only a handful of sustainability consulting groups when it was created. Today there are hundreds of such companies helping with businesses become more sustainable, cut their costs through efficiency, and drive their profitability by behaving more responsibly to people and the planet. All of the major consulting houses now have a sustainability consultancy, many trained by NCS staff, using approaches we developed, and making Hunter’s pioneering work in the business case for sustainability mainstream.

Over the past ten years we’ve watched our leadership in sustainability strategy, carbon accounting, employee engagement, and many other topics become conventional offerings by such firms as Accenture, McKinsey, Deloitte, and others. NCS has always chosen projects on the cutting edge of sustainability, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a responsible company. A few examples of this include:

  • NCS conducted one of the first Life Cycle Assessments ever done with a food company for Clif Bar.
  • We briefed Walmart’s senior management, posing them the question, “What would a truly sustainable Walmart business model be…?”
  • NCS has helped a diverse group of stakeholders redesign accounting from the limited concept of the triple bottom line to The Integrated Bottom Line. This work is now being carried on by such groups as the International Integrated Reporting Committee and the U.S. based Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.
  • In the field of sustainability, 2012 is considered to be the year of Employee Engagement and NCS is proud to have pioneered employee engagement for sustainability since our inception.

Staying ahead of the rest of the field means that we continually assess industry best practices and push our clients to reach greater success. Our current priority is to help companies set goals that reflect an understanding of the science of climate change, and the need to achieve significant emissions reductions goals.


2) The Next Wave of Leaders

Education is at the heart of everything we do. Our higher education achievements may turn out to be our most important contribution. In the last ten years we have created two MBA programs, conducted three executive education certificates, taught in hundreds of schools, and inspired thousands of students across the world—helping to build an army of sustainability advocates.

This next wave of leaders will shape the future of our planet. Recent studies have found that 92-96 percent of recent college graduates want to work in companies that care about the environment—so our work is far from over.

Hunter currently teaches in sustainability MBA programs at both Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and Bard College. NCS continues to run the highly successful executive certificate program with the University of Denver Daniels School of Business.
NCS has just announced a partnership with Bainbridge Graduate Institute, In the Telling, a pioneer video transmedia eLearning company and Pearson, the world’s largest educational solutions company to create the first modules of The Madrone Project—cutting edge learning that integrates video stories with an array of other dynamic learning resources.

Imagine the best class you ever had…. No, imagine the best class that you wish you could have taken. What if the world’s leading sustainability thought leaders could come alive for your students using the best media of the YouTube generation. Video, social networking, and rich multimedia resources will enable the students to dive as deeply as they want into any topic.

The Madrone Project prototypes will be available early in 2013. Watch for it on our website.


3) Internship Program

One of our biggest educational accomplishment is our internship program. Over ten years we’ve educated more than 100 interns ranging from undergrads to experienced individuals looking for a career change. NCS interns gain experience at all levels of our work, from research to final product, and grow the skills they need to get a job in today’s economy. Our interns go on to grad school and gain employment at such organizations as Renewable Choice Energy, Peace Corps, UBS, Mile High Organics, the Shaw Group, Urban Farm Company of Colorado, and the Energy and Environment group at the British Consulate in Chicago.

We have loved each and every one of our interns. Each arrival brings a new energy to the office with his or her individual passions. Without their eagerness to learn about and implement genuine sustainability we wouldn’t be where we are today. Almost all of our amazing staff has been hired from our intern pool.

Meet our amazing current and past interns.

4) CLEAN Local Energy

Meeting the world’s energy challenges will require a massive and sustained scale-up of renewable energy. Public policy has driven rapid renewable energy market growth during the past decade, however, this alone will be insufficient to affect the necessary energy transformation. NCS’ CLEAN Coalition (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now), led by Craig Lewis, has been working to catalyze the adoption of distributed generation renewable energy development throughout the United States. .

The Clean Coalition has pushed the State of California to launch a 750 MW CLEAN Program in early 2013 with a vastly expanded program following within a year or two. In addition, the Long Island Power Authority has already launched a highly successful 50 MW CLEAN Program and is now seeking guidance on a vastly expanded program.

This work, in conjunction with our leadership in building the economic case for transitioning away from dirty energy and towards clean energy, contributes to NCS’ positive impact in the energy arena.


5) Small Business Solutions

For the past eight years we have been working with small businesses to help them profit by implementing more sustainable practices. Traditional energy efficiency advocacy has focused on large organizations and audits, rebates, and incentives. It’s ignored Main Street. Far too little attention has been given to no-cost changes people can make to how they do business. Over the years, NCS has helped little businesses in our towns and cities by creating tools like Solutions at the Speed of Business – an online sustainability implementation tool for small businesses that focus on what small businesses can do to implement genuine sustainability.

To spread sustainability and reach more small businesses, we developed Solutions 4 Sustainability (S4S) – a train-the-trainer program for small businesses networks. S4S helps cities, Small Business Development Centers, Chambers of Commerce and local economic developers gain the skills and tools to help their own small businesses implement profitable sustainability. We’ve offered these programs from Wyoming to the California Coast, in Iowa and in Colorado.


6) In Our Community

As a global leader in sustainability, NCS works with businesses, governments, and communities in over 30 countries to develop sustainable strategies and solutions. We use one-on-one consulting projects, cross-sector collaboration efforts, and cutting-edge research.

We also believe that it is important to drive change in our home communities and have a positive impact on our local community. From the mountains to the ranch, we love Colorado and work to strengthen its citizens and communities.

For 10 years we have implemented more sustainable programs with numerous Colorado business, cities, and local governments. We’ve worked with Boulder County Parks and Open Spaces assessing sustainable agriculture locally, helped New Belgium Brewing implement the integrated bottom line, led the Fort Carson Mountain Post initiative to set and implement the most ambitious sustainability goals in the armed forces, and assisted our own City of Longmont in conducting a feasibility study for a Colorado Energy Incubator.

Besides our local consulting, Hunter and staff continually present at local conferences including Boulder Clean Energy, Colorado Sustainability Summit, LOHAS, AREday, The City Club, Boulder City Council, Greenprint Denver and CleanMed and many more. We have assisted local events like those hosted by CORE and the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado. Additionally we remain active with local community groups, helping them understand the business case for implementing more sustainable alternatives to solve pressing local challenges in energy, agriculture, and water.

7) Business Case for Sustainability

Building on its seminal work, Natural Capitalism, Natural Capitalism Solutions has worked the last decade building the business case for sustainability. Giving thousands of speeches presenting the business case at companies like Google and Walmart, publishing cutting edge research, and bringing the message to boardrooms and Main Street, NCS built the road now traveled by academic commentators like Harvard Business Review, and management consulting houses from McKinsey to Accenture.

Our recent report Sustainability Pays and Hunter’s new book The Way Out, cap our decade’s leadership in this field, and provide undisputable proof that business leaders can profit by integrating sustainability into all aspects of their operations. When the likes of Goldman Sachs and AT Kearny are advocating sustainability in the same breath as profitability, we know there’s a business case.

Nowhere has this shift been more pronounced than with NCS’ own clients. Diversey, a Johnson family company and an NCS client, has publically stated, “For every dollar (they) invest in sustainability, (they) get two dollars back.”

NCS continues to work with an array of clients to show them how to improve short- and long-term profitability through the adoption of sustainable practices in the following areas:

  • Natural Resource, Energy, and Operational Efficiency
  • Human Resources Management
  • Financial Operations
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Collaboration with NGOs and Government

8) International Development

NCS also shares its sustainability message across the world, working with a global network of governments, and communities to develop sustainable strategies and solutions. From advising the Energy Minister of Afghanistan to the Prime Minister of Bhutan, taking a major role at the recent United Nations Rio+20, which adopted NCS’ Bill Becker’s “Future We Want” program as the organizing theme for the conference, NCS has a key role in meeting the global challenges.

Our work internationally has helped spur progress on areas of sustainability and societal dilemmas such as:

  • In 2002 an NCS delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, led to work to help the International Finance Corporation implement more sustainable practices in its operations. This led eventually to the creation of the Equator Principles, now governing a significant percentage of project finance loans from major banks around the world.
  • In 2008, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) engaged NCS to research and develop leading sustainable production practices for Asia, addressing how resource-efficient and low carbon manufacturing can lift people out of poverty, in such countries as China, Pakistan and India. The final report and subsequent presentations to the United Nations and Asian countries provided a blueprint to transform and support sustainable, green growth industries so they can improve financial and environmental performance while building social cohesiveness.
  • In Jamaica, NCS worked with a US AID contractor to provide economic development expertise to work with the business sector to provide clusters of industry around eco-tourism, bamboo, sauces & spices, and coffee to replace drug production. Apart from advising local staff, NCS helped write the business plan to enable UNDP funding for these ventures.
  • In Afghanistan, where Hunter was named an advisor to the Minister of Energy, NCS worked with a US AID contractor to strengthen economic development efforts. NCS analyzed the value-add of sustainable ways to produce fruits and nuts, carpets and a variety of other products.
  • More recently Hunter accepted a personal invitation from the Prime Minister of Bhutan to serve on the steering committee of a team of international thought leaders convened at the UN to reframe the global economic paradigm. This group is laying the intellectual foundations for a shift from outdated indicators of progress based around Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to one that values what is important to people, or Gross National Happiness (GNH). Read Hunter’s account of the most recent UN gathering here.

9) Publications & Speeches

NCS shares our work and inspire others to engage with sustainability through a variety of publications. Over 350 articles, book forwards, op-ed’s add to the amazing number of miles Hunter and crew have put in giving over 1,000 speeches. Some of these were small events or local publications, while others included United Nations summits and the Financial Times 100. NCS has been published from Harvard Business Review, UK Guardian, Forbes, World Affairs, and Fast Company to leading news magazines around the world. Below is a tiny sampling of some of our most interesting articles, publications, and speeches by Hunter, Bill and other NCS staff:

Books and Articles

  • The Way Out: Kick-starting Capitalism to Save Our Economic Ass (buy)
  • Climate Protection Manual for Cities (read)
  • Sustainable Industries: The High Rate of Return on Giving (read)
  • Fast Company: Reframing The Global Economy To Include Happiness (read)
  • Sustainable Brands: Engaging Employees in Sustainability 2.0 (read)
  • The Huffington Post: Rio+20 – The Young Can’t Wait (read)
  • UNIDO: The Future of Industry in Asia (read)
  • The 2018-2012 Presidential Climate Action Plan(s) (read)
  • COP15, in Copenhagen: The Business Case for Climate Protection (read)
  • Solutions Journal: Creating a Game Plan for the Transition to a Sustainable U.S. Economy (read)
  • World Affairs Journal: Development as if The World Mattered (read)
  • NCS’ BLOG (read)
  • NCS’ Corkboards – collection of online resources (read)
Speeches

  • Global Economic Forum
  • UNIDO General Assembly
  • WOMAD Earthstation
  • Financial Times Conference
  • SRI of the Rockies (slides)
  • Sustainable Brands 2012 (video)
  • LOHAS (video)
  • World Energy Forum
  • Balaton Group
  • United Nations (video)
  • Fortune Magazine Brainstorm Green
  • TEDx Mile High, San Joaquin and CSU (click location for video)
  • Chile Clean Tech Open (slides)
  • Honduras Economic Development Summit for WCSBD
  • National League of Cities (slides)
  • Sustainable Boulder: Challenges and Opportunities (slides)
  • Australian Business Leaders Forum
  • Patagonia (video)
  • University of Santa Barbara (video)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales
  • Volvo Sports Design Forum (video)
  • University of North Carolina (video)

Hunter Lovins has co-authored 13 books and hundreds of papers, including the seminal book, Natural Capitalism and it’s sequel The Way Out. The book presents hundreds of case studies—many from Natural Capitalism Solutions’ work with international corporations, small businesses, NGOs, and municipalities—to prove that innovative sustainability can solve the climate crisis at a profit. Bill Becker has published several books and papers including the Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP). PCAP has submitted more than 200 policy and program recommendations to the Obama Administration, many of which were adopted during the President’s first year in office.


10) Awards & Accolades

The work of Hunter and NCS has been honored over the years by a number of institutions, communities, groups. While we certainly don’t mind the recognition, it is always the impact that we are after. A few of the honors of the last decade include.

Hunter Lovins

Bill Becker

  • President’s Council on Sustainable Development

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 24th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The four debates between the two large US parties are over but then there are four parties that together could walk away with 5% of the vote and mess up the tables for the two big ones – to the point that they influence the results in some swing States. These little four have their own debate tonight in Chicago and the moderator is Larry King.

Previewing the third-party presidential candidates debate.

Posted by Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post, October 23, 2012 before the debate.

THEN UPDATED BY US BASED ON THE POST-DEBATE ARTICLE OF THE WASHINGTON POST FIX. ALSO – PLEASE NOTE THAT A SECOND DEBATE – BETWEEN THE TWO TOP INTERNET-VOTING ACHIEVERS – WILL BE HELD IN WASHINGTON DC on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2012.

Third-party presidential candidates rail against Obama and Romney at debate (VIDEO)

Posted by Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post (THE FIX) on October 23, 2012after the debate.

 www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-…

CHICAGO — Away from the bright lights and fanfare of the just-completed presidential debates, four third-party White House hopefuls debated Tuesday night, coming from starkly different political perspectives, but uniting in agreement that neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama can solve the nation’s biggest problems.

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A day after Obama and Romney debated for the final time, the long-shots took a turn. Here in a hotel ballroom just a block from Grant Park — where Obama delivered his victory speech in 2008 – they addressed many of the same issues the major party candidates have wrangled over — the economy, foreign policy, education — but also addressed matters, such as drugs, that have not been a focal points in the race between Obama and Romney.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, earned the loudest applause during the debate’s opening moments. He railed against the domestic and foreign policy proposals both major party candidates have put forth, and called for the legalization of marijuana.

“In no category is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol,” said Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico who also wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and do away with income and corporate taxes in favor of an expenditure tax.

Johnson also railed against the length of the war in Afghanistan. “I thought initially that was totally warranted,” he said, before adding that we should “have gotten out of Afghanistan 11 years ago.”

The former governor saved perhaps his most memorable line of the night for the end of the debate, when he declared, “Wasting your vote is voting for somebody that you don’t believe in. That’s wasting your vote. I’m asking everybody here, I’m asking everybody watching this nationwide to waste your vote on me.”

Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, a former Virginia congressman and hard-line anti-immigration candidate, proposed a moratorium on green card admissions into the United States until unemployment falls below five percent nationally. He earned only a smattering of cheers when he pitched his plan.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson rounded out the lineup on stage. Stein, who ran for governor of Massachusetts against Romney in 2002, called for free public higher education. “Let’s bail out the students,” she declared.

The candidates largely kept things cordial with each other during the debate, but there were disagreements from time to time. Goode was at odds with Johnson’s call to legalize marijuana. Stein and Anderson disagreed with Johnson and Goode on education spending.

The debate was moderated by former CNN host Larry King and presented by the nonpartisan Free and Equal Elections Foundation. Individuals submitted the questions via social media. The issues ranged from drugs, to the economy, foreign policy, and civil rights.

Absent here were the pre-game formalities that colored the much higher-profile debates between the president and his Republican challenger. There were no cable network countdown shows and no well-known pols reporting for surrogate duty. While the debate was streamed live online, the TV networks didn’t air it.

Time and again, the candidates expressed their dissatisfaction with both Romney and Obama. Goode blasted both Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan and Obama’s. Stein said neither candidate offered an acceptable way forward on the issues that matter.

“Things are not working and there is not a single exit strategy on the table being offered by Mitt Romney or Barack Obama,” Stein said in an interview before the debate.

At best, the four candidates who appeared together Tuesday are each expected to compete for single-digit percentage shares of the vote in the states where they will appear on the ballot. Not one has made a dent on the national radar akin to the success Texas billionaire Ross Perot found in 1992, when he carried nearly 20 percent of the popular vote. Goode, Johnson, and Stein each claimed one percent support in an early September Gallup poll of national adults.

But even if they only attract nominal enthusiasm, these longest of long-shots could become entangled in the race between Romney and Obama. Johnson will appear on the ballot in 48 states, including some key battlegrounds with independent streaks, where his blend of fiscal conservatism and distinctly libertarian social views could make him a compelling alternative for conservative voters not wedded to voting for Romney.

In Colorado, New Hampshire, and Nevada, in particular, Johnson could be a thorn in Romney’s side if the election is close. Johnson received just two percent support in a recent Suffolk University/News 7 survey of those likeliest to vote in New Hampshire. But the poll also showed Johnson hurt Romney more than Obama.

“Politics is full of ironies. Gary Johnson voters are predisposed to voting against the incumbent president, but Johnson’s presence on the New Hampshire presidential ballot is actually helping Obama,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

If Virginia is exceptionally close, Goode, despite attracting just two percent support in a mid-September Washington Post poll of Virginia voters, could be an also-ran to remember, causing some discomfort for Romney supporters. The state Republican Party tried to keep Goode out of the mix altogether earlier this year, alleging issues with the signatures he submitted to the state Board of Elections to get on the ballot.

Goode survived the scrutiny. Now, the former Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent congressman — who could benefit from residual name identification in the southern part of the state — threatens to steal support from Romney at the margins, potentially costing the Republican big in a tight race.

When asked before the debate about the possibility that he might play the role of spoiler, Goode said he was focused on policy matters. “I am focusing on issues. I want to balance the budget now. Romney and Obama do not,” he said.

The biggest question at the end of Tuesday night’s debate may have been who won. A spokesperson with the Free and Equal Elections Foundation said that viewers will have a chance to vote for their favorite candidate during the next 24 hours, and the top two vote-getters will debate once more this election season in Washington next Tuesday.


=====================================================================

THE FIRST POSTING WAS:

CHICAGO — President Obama squared off against Mitt Romney for the final time Monday night, but debate season in the presidential campaign isn’t quite over.

Four third-party candidates will take their turn here Tuesday night in a debate that should be filled with policy and political positions as different as can be from one another.

Constitution Party nominee US Congressman Virgil Goode – now Independent – previously Democrat then Republican – (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson will participate in a session moderated by former CNN host Larry King will moderate and hosted by the nonpartisan Free and Equal Elections Foundation.

None of the four candidates are strangers to politics. Johnson served two terms as governor of New Mexico and pursued the Republican presidential nomination in 2011 before opting for the Libertarian nod. Goode represented a central Virginia district in Congress as a Democrat, independent, and Republican. Anderson was the mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, while Stein ran against Romney in the 2002 Massachusetts governor’s race.

While each candidate has his or her share of loyal followers, polling shows they have barely registered a blip on the national radar. Goode, Johnson, and Stein each claimed one percent support in an early September Gallup poll of national adults. Johnson registered three percent support in an early September CNN/ORC survey of those likeliest to vote.

If the race between Obama and Romney is very close in some key swing states that have independent and libertarian streaks, Johnson’s presence on the ballot could affect the Obama-Romney matchup. In particular, Colorado, New Hampshire and Nevada are the battlegrounds where Johnson could prove a nuisance to his major party competition.

A survey of the Colorado race conducted last week by Democratic automated pollster Public Policy Polling showed Johnson pulling four percent support, while a recent Suffolk University survey showed the former New Mexico governor pulling 2 percent support in New Hampshire.

We’ll have a complete wrap of the debate — which begins at 9 p.m. ET – later tonight right here on The Fix.

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/10/23/previewing-the-third-party-presidential-candidates-debate/

You can also follow the debate in real time on Election 2012, where we’ll live blog it. We’ll also aim to bring you short dispatches throughout the day on Election 2012 and Twitter.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 13th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

In VP debate, Biden seeks to repair damage from Obama’s stumble.

By , Published: October 12 The Washington Post

It was as much a do-over as a debate.

Vice President Biden ostensibly took the stage Thursday night to square off against the man who seeks to replace him, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

But almost from the moment the debate began in Danville, Ky., it was clear that Biden’s real mission was to do what President Obama failed to in his own lackluster performance against Republican nominee Mitt Romney last week.

And in doing so, Biden was seeking to repair the damage from that stumble on Obama’s part, which has moved poll numbers across the map in the direction of the GOP ticket.

On issue after issue, Biden defended what the Obama administration has done and ­painted the Republican ticket as out of step with the concerns of average Americans.

“A bunch of malarkey,” said Biden when Ryan warned that cutting defense spending would make the country weak.

“I’ve never met two guys who are more down on America across the board,” added the vice president when the subject turned to the economy.

Ryan, on the other hand, chose to play it cautiously, seeking to avoid mistakes, to display the mastery of fiscal policy that he has gained as chairman of the House Budget Committee and to reassure swing voters that the policies of a Romney presidency would not decimate social programs.

It will be several days before it becomes clear whether either candidate did much to change the dynamic of the race; the instant polls suggested that viewers considered the matchup pretty much of a draw.

When he was talking, Biden dominated the debate and an opponent 27 years his junior.

And though Biden is a man with a reputation for making gaffes, his worst moments came when he wasn’t talking but remained under the unblinking gaze of the camera.

As Ryan spoke, the split screen picked up Biden’s grins and chortles, suggesting a dismissiveness and scorn for the views of an opponent he repeatedly called “my friend,” and he appeared to make no attempt to suppress them.

Although Biden’s frequent interruptions probably helped revive the spirits of the Democratic faithful, they may have been too much for less partisan viewers.

“Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don’t keep interrupting each other,” Ryan said at one point.

Biden made many of the arguments that Obama, for whatever reason, failed to in his debate against Romney.

For instance, Biden raised Romney’s controversial comment, caught on videotape, in which the Republican presidential nominee suggested that the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay income taxes are government-dependent freeloaders who consider themselves victims.


“These people are my mom and dad, the people I grew up with, my neighbors,” Biden said. “They pay more effective tax [through payroll and other ­taxes] than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who, in fact, are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now.”

Ryan defended Romney, drawing laughs from the audience when he noted: “The vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”

Biden retorted: “But I always say what I mean. And so does Romney.”

One of Ryan’s missions was to show a softer side of Romney, a son of privilege whom many view as out of touch with average Americans.

Ryan told a story of how Romney had come to the aid of a family whose children were hurt in an auto accident, and he praised the GOP presidential nominee for giving 30 percent of his income to charity.

“Stop talking about how you care about people,” Biden retorted. “Show me something. Show me a policy.”

Biden came to the debate stage with far more experience than Ryan in that kind of setting.

Biden was elected to the Senate when Ryan was only 2, has run for president twice and was matched up against then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a vice-presidential debate four years ago.

Adding to the challenge for Ryan was the fact that before he joined Romney’s ticket, he had established a reputation as an intellectual force within his party, as the author of a fiscal plan that has been embraced by Republicans in the House.

So, in addition to promoting Romney’s policies, he had to defend his own — including a controversial proposal to transform Medicare into a system under which the elderly would have the option of shopping for coverage with government vouchers.

The undercard match of this presidential season proved to be a spirited encounter, producing far more sparks than the top of the ticket had in their first debate.

But history suggests that vice-presidential debates rarely do much to change the course of a campaign. And any effect this one may have will almost certainly be superseded when Obama and Romney meet Tuesday for their second debate, at Hofstra University on Long Island. The format will be a town hall, in which audience members get to ask most of the questions.

And instead of relying on his vice president as a proxy, Obama will get his own shot at a do-over.

————————————–

Martha Raddatz on top in veep debate

Martha Raddatz on top in veep debateSuzi Parker OCT 12

SHE THE PEOPLE | She nailed the role of a tough, savvy moderator in a clashing vice presidential debate.

————————————

I just happen to read the 2010 Alternet.org 199 page booklet  “DANGEROUS BREW” edited by DON HAZEN AND ADELE M. STAN that exposed already before the 2010 mid-term elections, and predicted this season’s Republican party: “Exposing the Tea Paty’s agenda to take over America – Everything you need to know about the Right’s latest plan to destroy America,” This book ought to be obligatory preparation for Americans before they hit the voting booth.

Having said this – let me add to it that not everything in the Obama-Biden team is adorable either – we get a lot of mail reminding us that climate change has not hit their arguments list either. Sustainability as an American independence goal was not touched. Oil, Gas  and Detroit do not make for America’s blue horizons, and there is still the danger that not all those younger people with vision will find in the debates enough motivation to show up on election day. Showing that one side is much worse then the other does not make for a trump card really.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 9th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Breaking — Arrests At Sensata “Bainport” Camp.

Dave Johnson's picture

By Dave Johnson

October 8, 2012 – 1:48pm ET


Sensata is a Bain-owned company that is closing a factory in in Freeport, Il to move the jobs to China. The workers have set up a camp they call “Bainport” and workers and supporters are trying to block the Bain trucks that are moving equipment out to ship to China right now. In breaking news there were arrests made today.

Last week in the post Blocking Bain Trucks To Save Jobs In Freeport — This Is An IMPORTANT Story I wrote about the Sensata workers in Freeport who have set up a camp they call Bainport, and are asking Mitt Romney to show that he means what he is saying about cracking down on China by coming to Freeport and asking his former company not to send these jobs to China.

The Sensata workers camping at Bainport as asking Mitt Romney to come help them keep their jobs. Romney insists that he has nothing to do with Bain Capital anymore (his tax returns showed that he gets more than $400,000 a week from Bain investments).

Helping the Sensata workers would show that he means it when he says he has nothing to do with the things Bain does now, and that he will do something about the jobs being sent to China. What better opportunity to prove both than to show up and confront Bain for sending these jobs to China!

Romney, Bain And The Outsourcing Strategy

Mitt Romney and Bain “pioneered” outsourcing strategies. They invested in companies set up to help other companies send jobs to China, and they especially used offshoring in their strategies to avoid paying the taxes that enable We, the People to have good schools, roads, courts etc. The NY Times story, Offshore Tactics Helped Increase Romneys’ Wealth explained,

Some of the offshore entities enabled Bain-owned companies to sidestep certain taxes, increasing returns for Mr. Romney and other investors. Others helped Bain attract foreign investors and nonprofit institutions by insulating them from taxes, again augmenting Mr. Romney’s bottom line, since he shared in management fees based on the size of each Bain fund.

In Unraveling The Romney/Bain Tax Story I explained how it works,

The complicated story of how the 1%ers and their corporations evade democracy’s taxes is the story of our crumbling schools and infrastructure and the flow of all the gains of our economy to a very few at the top. This tax evasion is also part of the story of our deficits and debt. The tax evasion is “legal” — because the tax evaders pay the people who write the tax laws. And even as their tax evasion adds to our budget deficits and debt, the 1%ers are insisting we close the deficit by cutting Social Security, Medicare and “safety-net” programs!

[. . .] The American-based entities can buy American companies without incurring “foreign-based” obligations. Then the foreign-based entities can avoid the taxes that the American-based buyers of companies would have to pay. And the foreign-based investors can be in the foreign-based parts of the company, avoiding US tax obligations. Also American entities like pension funds can avoid US taxes they would otherwise have to pay.

To put it another way, the same company can pretend it is US-based when that is what it needs to be, and foreign-based when that is what it needs to be.

Mitt Romney is wealthy because he engaged in strategies to lay people off, sending their jobs to China and pocketing the wage differential for himself. Then his companies would force people to take wage cuts or risk losing their jobs, too, and pocking the wage difference for himself. The profits from these “enterprises” were manipulated in ways that enabled him to pay very little in taxes, so the rest of us end up not only with layoffs and lower wages, but bad schools, crumbling infrastructure and government debt.

Then later, Mitt Romney can claim that We the People are the cause of the resulting government debt and that we need “austerity” — less for We, the People in order to keep taxes low.

Arrests

Today community members supporting the Sensata workers were arrested for trying to block Bain trucks from sending the factory’s equipment to China.

Visit the Bainport blog for pictures and details.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 8th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Clinton Global Initiative Press Office press@clintonglobalinitiative.org

June 8, 2012
Clinton Global Initiative Press Office
Contact: press@clintonglobalinitiative.org

President Clinton Announces Impact of Commitments Made at the Second Annual Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting

Business, nonprofit, and government leaders have launched more than 50 new commitments that will create or fill more than 530,000 jobs in the United States

Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to join President Clinton at closing plenary session on Friday at 4:00 p.m. CT

Chicago, IL – Today President Bill Clinton announced the impact of the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America), a meeting dedicated to forging collaborative solutions to the United States’ most pressing economic challenges. This year, CGI America attendees, who include leaders from government, business, and nonprofit sectors, made more than 50 new commitments valued at more than $1 billion that will create 32,000 jobs and fill more than 500,000 vacant jobs in the United States.

“This year’s CGI America participants have formed creative partnerships and come up with inventive strategies to accelerate employment, start new businesses, and prepare Americans to take the jobs that are open in the new U.S. economy,” said President Clinton. “From nearly $176 million of new capital that will go to small or medium enterprises, to the nearly 150,000 students who will gain access to STEM education opportunities, this year’s meeting has demonstrated the important advances we can make when working together towards a shared prosperity.”

Throughout the meeting, attendees generated Commitments to Action: new, specific plans to address an economic challenge facing the United States, such as job creation, small business development, clean energy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, housing recovery, and workforce development. Some of the commitments announced today will provide underserved young people with skills in digital media and construction, give women and minorities opportunities for entrepreneurship, and transform foreclosed properties into affordable housing.

When fully funded and implemented, the 58 new CGI America commitments aim to positively impact the lives of nearly 3.9 million Americans in the following ways:

  • More than 32,000 jobs will be created, including 6,600 green jobs.
  • More than 500,000 jobs will be filled by veterans and their family members.
  • Nearly 68,000 people will receive improved access to capital or financial services.
  • More than 117,000 people will benefit from access to job training and certification.
  • Nearly 760 million kilowatt hours of energy will be saved.
  • More than $84 million of new capital will be invested in green initiatives.
  • More than 12,000 people will gain increased access to health services.
  • More than $640 million of the total value of the new commitments will address housing recovery, including returning distressed single-family housing to productive use, retrofitting homes in 25 new cities, and developing affordable housing units for low-income individuals.

President Clinton concluded the two-day meeting by encouraging leaders to find ways to create an innovative and sustainable tomorrow. In the final session, “What’s Next? Towards a More Perfect Union,” Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Regina E. Dugan, senior vice president of Advanced Technology and Projects at Motorola Mobility; Duncan Niederauer, director and CEO of NYSE Euronext, Inc.; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History; and Mark Vachon, vice president  of Ecomagination at General Electric, spoke about the importance of STEM education, supporting American innovation, and the future of the American economy.

The second day of the CGI America meeting opened with the “Sustainable Finance” plenary session, where Donna Gambrell, director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund; Lisa Hall, president and CEO of Calvert Foundation; Ted Howard, executive director of the Democracy Collaborative; and Jim Koch, chair and founder of the Boston Beer Company, Inc., discussed sustainable access to capital to both grow existing businesses and finance new ventures.

Equal opportunity in employment and entrepreneurship was the topic of the second plenary session, “Pathways to Opportunity,” which featured Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Peter G. Peterson, chairman and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Chelsea Clinton, board member of the Clinton Global Initiative and William J. Clinton Foundation;  John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc.; Kyle McCollom, founder of Triple Thread Apparel; Ai-jen Poo, director of National Domestic Workers Alliance; Jerry Sue Thornton, president of Cuyahoga Community College; and Joan Walker, executive vice president of corporate relations at Allstate Insurance Company.

CGI America is sponsored by J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, Allstate Insurance Company, The Dow Chemical Company, ExxonMobil, The Joyce Foundation, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and APCO Worldwide.

For descriptions of all the commitments to be announced today, please see below. A complete list of all CGI commitments is available here: www.clintonglobalintiaitive.org.

To view and share session webcasts from the CGI America 2012, visit live.cgiamerica.org. Follow us on Twitter at@ClintonGlobal, hashtag #CGIAmerica, and on Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative for meeting news and highlights.

The following new commitments and progress reports will be announced today:

Impact America HBCU Venture Catalyst
Commitment by: United Negro College Fund and Jalia Ventures
Summary: Jalia Ventures and the United Negro College Fund committed to launching a venture competition to promote the development of minority-owned businesses that have a social or environmental mission. This partnership will raise $3.5 million over two years to expose historically black college and university students and alumni to social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and provide select entrepreneurs with seed financing and technical assistance to launch or scale up their enterprises. Those applicants who are selected to receive funding will have access to ongoing mentoring, training, and professional development opportunities.

Criterion Institute: Churches Investing in Microbusinesses
Commitment by: Criterion Ventures
Summary: In 2012, Criterion Institute commits to mobilizing 1,000 churches by 2018 to use micro-lending to invest in micro-businesses. With each microloan averaging $5,000 and each church supporting 20 micro-businesses, Criterion Institute will produce $100 million of new investment capital for American micro-businesses in a five year period. This commitment will reach 20,000 small business owners, create jobs, and secure more livelihoods.

Expanding Small Business Microlending in Los Angeles
Commitment by: Opportunity Fund; Coolhaus
Summary: In 2011, Opportunity Fund, California’s largest non-profit microlender, committed to increase its lending to small business owners by 60 percent and significantly scale its operations in the Los Angeles area after traditionally focusing most of its loans on Bay Area small businesses. As Opportunity Fund rapidly scales its small business microlending, California entrepreneurs in key urban markets will pay less to borrow the money they need to grow, while keeping or adding 2.4 jobs on average with each loan made.

Break Through: The New Digital Workforce
Commitment By: Youth Radio
Summary: In 2012, Youth Radio commits to create a Digital Media and Technology Pathway, connecting at least 60 low-income young adults to jobs in the technology and digital media industry. Youth Radio will partner with businesses in the Oakland, California, and East Bay area to provide disconnected youth with externships and opportunities to build technology skills. Through this commitment, Youth Radio will also create a Break Through news desk which will provide youth with the ability to deliver reports on solutions related to youth unemployment, which will be pushed to national broadcast and digital outlets.

Earn Your Future: Boosting Financial Literacy & Youth Education
Commitment By: PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. (PwC)
Summary: In 2012, PwC U.S. made a five-year commitment to address youth education, with a focus on financial literacy, impacting 2.5 million youth and educators in the U.S. Through an investment of $160 million – composed of $60 million in cash donations and one million service hours, worth $100 million – PwC will prepare educators and youth with financial literacy training to help young people make responsible decisions and contribute to a healthier U.S. economy. To fulfill this commitment, PwC US is working alongside a variety of local and national nonprofit partners, including Donorschoose.org, Feeding America, and Junior Achievement.

Real-Time Job Training Platform to Solve the Skills Gap
Commitment By: LearnUp
Summary: In 2012, LearnUp, a real-time job skills training platform, committed to working with at least eight major employers, including Staples, Prudential, Gap, and Safeway, to enable them to share job training content online for free with job-seekers, including over 100,000 students at community colleges throughout California.

Engaging Corporations in Entrepreneurial Education
Commitment By: BUILD
Summary: In 2012, BUILD, which teaches entrepreneurship and life skills to low-income high school students on the verge of dropping out, has committed to engaging approximately 20-30 companies to support BUILD through providing skills-based volunteering to its students in entrepreneurial education, assisting with business plans, mentorship, and job shadowing. It aims to reach more than 2,000 new students.

Eliminating Bank Deserts in the Mid-South
Commitment By: Hope Community Credit Union
Summary: Hope Community Credit Union commits to adding 11 new branch locations and increasing its membership from 26,000 to 51,000 individuals, which will provide residents in underserved and distressed Mid-South communities with access to its retail services, small business loans, and mortgages.

Online Mental Health Program for Veterans in the Workforce
Commitment By: Prevail Health Solutions
Summary: Prevail Health Solutions committed to developing an Online Mental Health that deals directly with many of the common challenges the current generation of veterans are facing as they reintegrate into the civilian workforce. Prevail committed to working with one or more large, veteran-friendly employers to provide this program at no cost to 2,000 veteran employees over a nine-month period beginning in fall 2012.

A Growth Strategy for Small Business Global Expansion
Commitment By: Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
Summary: Women Impacting Public Policy committed to developing and implementing a global export expansion education program targeted at helping 5,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with an emphasis on women-owned SMEs. The program will guide current exporters in expanding to other countries, leading them through further exporting’s developmental steps.

Creating Jobs, Saving Energy in Illinois
Commitment By: Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Summary: In 2012, The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IL DCEO) State Energy Office, in partnership with the IL DCEO Office of Employment and Training and the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, committed to delivering Building Operator Certification (BOC) training that targets incumbent workers, returning veterans, and employed building operators in Illinois. The BOC program offers facilities workers the improved job skills and knowledge to create energy efficient and environmentally friendly workplaces, leading to energy savings and cost reductions and ten full-time vacant jobs filled in the green jobs space.

Bridging the 21st Century School Readiness Gap
Commitment By: The Parent-Child Home Program
Summary: In 2012, The Parent-Child Home Program, Inc. (PCHP) committed to pilot a new curricular component that will bring technology access and literacy into the homes of young families challenged by poverty, limited educational opportunities, and language and literacy barriers. When brought to scale and rolled-out to its 110 partner agencies, this curriculum will reach 7,000 families, impacting at least 14,000 people (one child and at least one parent per household).

California Best Buildings Challenge
Commitment By: U.S. Green Building Council; Prudential Real Estate Investors; Genentech, Inc.; Google
Summary: The U.S. Green Business Council and leaders from Silicon Valley – including Google, Adobe, Prudential Real Estate Investors, Genentech, Zynga;  and SAP – commit to developing the California Best Buildings Challenge, which will recruit California businesses in a competition to achieve an ambitious 20% reduction in energy, water, and waste in their buildings in just 2 years.

Maker Corps: Building the Next Generation of Innovators
Commitment By: Maker Education Initiative; Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation; Intel Corporation
Summary: The Maker Education Initiative and its partners committed to creating the Maker Corps, which will train and employ 1,400 college-age young people to serve as mentors who engage children in hands-on “Maker” projects that make science and technology fun. Over the life of the commitment, the Maker Corps program will be established in a minimum of 50 locations and give a total of 140,000 children the opportunity to develop the problem-solving and technical skills needed to be part of the modern workforce.

Generating Real Opportunities for Work Transforming Housing
Commitment By: National Community Reinvestment Coalition
Summary: National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and its principal partners Chicanos Por La Causa and the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department committed to returning at least 4,100 units of distressed single-family housing to productive use while creating 5,000 jobs for local residents in the next four years.  In addition to stabilizing neighborhoods by rehabbing distressed properties in seven states, this project will implement a nationally acclaimed pre-apprenticeship curriculum to train and place local residents in construction related jobs and union apprenticeships, with a target of training and placing at least 1,000 women.

Returning Home: Building Jobs through Affordable Housing
Commitment By: Urban Atlantic
Summary: Urban Atlantic committed to partner with the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) to rehabilitate, retrofit, and reoccupy 200 vacant and publically owned single-family homes, creating 250 quality jobs for local residents. The project seeks to demonstrate replicable strategies that will deliver quality rental homes at affordable prices.

Transforming Foreclosed Properties into Affordable Housing
Commitment By: Enterprise Community Partners; Waypoint Real Estate Group
Summary: Enterprise Community Partners and Waypoint Homes will launch a 2-year pilot program in Oakland, California, converting 100 foreclosed properties into affordable rental housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. This groundbreaking partnership combines the capital and expertise of a national nonprofit and a private equity real estate group, serving as a model for affordable rental housing creation with little or no public subsidy.

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About CGI America
President Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) to address economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting in June 2011, CGI America participants have made more than 160 commitments valued at $12.8 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.

CGI’s Annual Meeting is held each September in New York City. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 25th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

US-based Climate Skepticism

Toxic shock

A climate-change sceptic is melting.

The Economist got this into its Print Edition of May 26, 2012. Great and very timely article considering the G.O.P. leadership.

For true believers only

THE Heartland Institute, based in Chicago, the world’s most prominent think-tank promoting scepticism about man-made climate change, is getting a lot of heat. In recent weeks it has lost an estimated $825,000 in expected donations, a couple of directors and almost its entire branch in Washington, DC.    At its annual shindig in Chicago this week, this instead of the previous escapades to New York City, the institute’s president, Joseph Bast, said Heartland had “discovered who our real friends are.”       The 100-odd guests who failed to show up for the “7th Climate Conference” were not among them.

The institute’s problems began in February when an American water scientist, Peter Gleick, published internal Heartland documents that he had obtained under a false name.    They provided details of its accounts—including references to an anonymous donor who gave $8.6m between 2007 and 2011—and of a plan to send teaching materials denouncing global warming to American primary schools.      (Mr Bast says that far from exposing his institute, the documents exonerated it from charges that it was a front for the fossil-fuel industry.)

Worse ensued early this month after the institute put up a digital billboard in Chicago that linked belief in global warming to madness and terrorism.   It depicted the “Unabomber,” a mass-murderer – Ted Kaczynski – with the slogan, “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” The offending sign lasted only for a day.   But PepsiCo, BB&T bank and Eli Lilly, a pharma company, are among donors that announced the end of their support.

Mr Bast decries double standards: those who accept global warming routinely call their opponents Nazis, he argues. He admits that the billboard was in “poor taste” but says it was designed to get attention, and was good value at $200. The real price is proving rather higher.

————–

Will this cause further thoughts to people like the President of a cEntral European State, whom I interviewed at a Heartland Institute New York anti-Climate rally? It could not be that all those that came to their meetings were mad-men or political opportunists – see Pepsi Cola – they will take their drinks elsewhere from now on.

================================

and – grist.org/climate-skeptics/the-se…

The self-inflicted downfall of the Heartland Institute.

By Stephen Lacey

A version of this post originally appeared on    Climate Progress.

“I don’t appreciate being called a terrorist,” the woman said firmly.

I was standing outside the Hilton Chicago hotel talking to Jim Lakely, the director of communications for the Heartland Institute, when an elderly woman approached us on the street. Dressed in a business suit, she was loading her luggage into a taxi when she noticed Lakely’s Heartland name badge and interrupted our conversation.

“We can have a civil discussion. But I really don’t like being labeled a terrorist,” she said, referencing a billboard posted by Heartland equating people who believe in global warming to the Unabomber. “That’s all I wanted to say.”

“Well, I appreciate you telling me that,” said Lakely, who was taking a break from managing Heartland’s conference to watch the 60 or so people protesting the event outside the hotel.

The woman, who was wearing a badge for a different conference, got into her taxi and drove away. There was a brief moment of awkward silence between Lakely and me.

The exchange perfectly encapsulated the public-relations disaster the Heartland Institute has created for itself over the last few weeks. The downfall started with an offensive billboard campaign on May 3, and ended with 11 companies pulling support for the organization —stripping 35 percent its of corporate funds overnight and leaving its financial future uncertain.

The dramatic drop in support was facilitated by the advocacy organization Forecast the Facts, which collected more than 150,000 signatures from people calling on corporate donors to end their relationship with Heartland. Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Verizon, Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, and the Credit Union National Association are the latest to announce that they will not fund the Heartland Institute, bringing the total number of defecting companies to 15.

This series of events built on an earlier incident in which Peter Gleick, a scientist with the Pacific Institute, faked his identity to acquire internal documents from the Heartland Institute. Those documents showed that the organization planned to secretly develop school curriculum to spread doubt about the causes of climate change. It also opened up a window to the organization’s donors, which were forced to make a decision about whether or not they wanted to be associated with Heartland’s tactics.

And then yesterday, the other shoe dropped. In his closing speech, Heartland President Joseph Bast announced that the organization does not have the money to continue putting on its hallmark climate conference — an event that had become a rallying point for an insulated group of climate disinformers.

“I hope to see you at a future conference, but at this point we have no plans to do another [International Conference on Climate Change],” said Bast, explaining that Heartland was struggling to meet expenses.

The cancellation marks the end of an era — albeit a short era — for the oddball world of organized climate change denial.

The event was started in 2008 as a way to organize libertarians — many of whom believe that taking action on climate change would create a one-world government dominated by the United Nations.

Heartland tried hard to label the event a “science” conference. But the presentations were almost always political, peppered with anti-government rhetoric and conspiracy theories.

“We’re in a war. We’re in a war against our standard of living,” said Walt Cunningham, a former NASA astronaut, speaking in a morning session on Tuesday.

“There’s not a lot of science here,” said Scott Denning, an atmospheric scientist from Colorado State University who attended the event last year to present the so-called “warmist” case. Neither Denning nor any of the other 97 percent of climate scientists who say human activity is warming the planet presented at this year’s conference.

In fact, none of this year’s top speakers had any background in climate science. Instead, they spoke about the issues in highly conspiratorial terms.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, a former economist who gave the keynote address on Monday, called environmentalism “identical to communism — identical, not similar.”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the featured keynote speaker for Tuesday, asked if we “need to put catalytic converters on our noses” by addressing heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.

And following Sensenbrenner’s nonsensical remarks, Heartland brought up “special mystery guest” Lord Christopher Monckton, who admitted at the beginning of his speech that he has “no scientific qualification” to challenge climate science. He then performed a comedy routine in which he questioned the legitimacy of President Obama’s citizenship — a joke that brought the room to full applause.

These fringe views made even Heartland senior staffers very nervous. After the billboard debacle, the leader of Heartland’s Washington, D.C., office, Eli Lehrer, left the organization and brought six staff members with him, saying the campaign “didn’t reflect the seriousness which I want to bring to public policy.”

But Heartland’s leadership twisted the knife into their self-inflicted wound with a decision to keep repeating their extreme rhetoric in the lead-up to the conference — later calling Bill McKibben and Michael Mann “Madmen.”

The rapid unraveling of Heartland forced it to scale down the conference, and seemingly kept attendees away. This year, only around 300 people showed up — a decrease from the 500 people at its first conference in 2008.

Despite the subdued mood, Rep. Sensenbrenner tried to rally the remaining troops during his Tuesday speech.

“Things are a lot better now than they were three years ago,” he said, referencing the failure to pass a carbon cap-and-trade bill and potential expiration of the Kyoto Protocol.

Things certainly weren’t better for Heartland. The following afternoon, the organization announced its decision to abandon the entire conference due to lack of funds and a backlash from corporate donors.

But Sensenbrenner was right about one thing: The public dialogue has moved dramatically backward in the last three years, driven largely by the aggressive disinformation tactics of the climate denial community — and enabled by the Obama administration’s decision to stop talking about the issue and the media’s decision to sharply curtail coverage.

While the dissolution of Heartland’s conference may be considered a “win” for those concerned about the spread of junk science and disinformation, there are still plenty of allies in industry and the halls of Congress willing to take up the denial cause.

————-

Stephen Lacey is a reporter with Climate Progress covering clean energy issues. He formerly worked as a producer/editor at RenewableEnergyWorld.com.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 5th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Raymond H. “Ray” LaHood (born December 6, 1945) is a Republican politician from Illinois who is currently the United States Secretary of Transportation, having served since 2009. Previously, he represented the Illinois’s 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives for seven terms (1995–2009).

Ray LaHood was born in Peoria, Illinois, to Edward M. LaHood, a Lebanese American who managed a restaurant and Mary A. LaHood (née Vogel), who was of German ancestry.   He graduated from Spalding Institute, worked his way through Canton Junior College and Bradley University in Peoria, earning a Bachelors of Science in education and sociology in 1971.

Following graduation, he taught junior high school social studies at public and Catholic schools,  and has said that “teaching kids … about the constitution and government” stirred his interest in politics.

During his service in Congress, he became well-known among C-SPAN viewers as the presiding officer of more debates than any other member.  Most notably, in 1998 he presided over the contentious debate over the impeachment ofPresident Bill Clinton.

A strong advocate for preserving the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, LaHood authored a law that established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which laid the groundwork for celebrating the 16th President’s 200th birthday in 2009. He has also been a lead Capitol Hill supporter for the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, and is one of 15 members on the ALBC.

LaHood served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 1995 until 2000,  the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence beginning in 1998, and the House Appropriations Committee beginning in 2000.  In 2005 he voted against renewing the PATRIOT Act, saying he opposed extending its intrusive police powers.

During the 2008 presidential election, LaHood supported John McCain, but criticized the rallies being held by McCain’s vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, saying she should put a stop to the name calling, and that the tactic could backfire. “This doesn’t befit the office that she’s running for. And frankly, people don’t like it,” he said.

Ray LaHood and  Robert Gates, are the  two Republican members of the Obama Cabinet.

LaHood’s son , Sam, is the Egypt director of the Washington based International Republican Institute. The Egyptian government has detained him on January 21, 2012 a part of twelve foreign NGO representatives that were involved in monitoring the recent local elections in Egypt from leaving Egypt.

The decision on Sunday by investigating judges is likely to further sour relations between Egypt’s military rulers and the United States, the Arab nation’s chief western backer for more than 30 years. Read more on Newsmax.comEgypt Sends 43 NGO Workers to Trial over Funds.

It can be expected that this event will united Washington Democrats and Republicans in expressing full concern with the way Egypt’s Generals view their role as leaders of Egypt.

View Photo Gallery — The Associated Press reported that as many as 19 Americans would stand trial alongside Egyptian colleagues. View photos of turbulence in the new Egypt.

Egypt to prosecute Americans, including Sam LaHood, the son of US Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood, in NGO probe.

By Ernesto Londoño, Updated: Sunday, February 5, 7:00 PM, The New York Times online.

CAIRO — The Egyptian government intends to prosecute at least 40 people, including some U.S. citizens, as part of an investigation into nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign funding, state media reported Sunday.

The announcement came a day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned the Egyptian Foreign Ministry that failure to quickly resolve the probe could jeopardize the more than $1.3 billion Egypt expects to get this year in U.S. aid.

“We are very clear that there are problems that arise from this situation that can impact all the rest of our relationship in Egypt,” Clinton told reporters while attending an international conference in Munich in which she met with her Egyptian counterpart. “We don’t want that.”

State Department officials assessing the situation Sunday declined to comment.

The Associated Press reported that as many as 19 Americans would stand trial alongside Egyptian colleagues, five Serbs, two Germans and three non-Egyptian Arab nationals.

Among the Americans, AP reported, is Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Egyptian authorities did not disclose the specific charges or say whether indictments or arrest warrants have been issued. Pro-democracy NGOs have long operated openly but unofficially in Egypt, because Cairo has refused to grant them licenses.

The investigation is being watched closely by the Obama administration in part because one of the Americans under investigation is LaHood, the country director of the International Republican Institute, a pro-democracy organization, was barred from leaving the country last month. Several other Americans are on a no-fly list.

Fearing they could be arrested, at least three of the U.S. citizens under investigation have sought shelter at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Egyptian officials raided 17 offices last month as part of their crackdown on NGOs that receive foreign funding. These include the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, which train political parties and otherwise promote stronger governance.

The investigation has triggered unusually blunt warnings from Capitol Hill to a nation that has for years been seen as a stalwart ally.

More world news coverage: – U.S. assistance to Egypt in peril – – Russians rally en masse against Putin.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from THE LUDWIG VON MISES INSTITUTE IN THE USA.

Tu Ne Cede Malis

Advancing the Scholarship of Liberty In The Tradition of The Austrian School

Intellectual home of the American Tea Party and championed by US Congressman Ron Paul

Is coming to visit the historic base – Vienna, Austria September 19-23, 2011.

 mises.org/events/146/Supporters-S…

www.mises.org/about.aspx

REGISTER HERE or register by phone at 334-321-2101 Thursday August 25 is last day to guarantee hotel room.

It is all happening in Vienna this fall. The Mises Institute returns to the home of the Austrian School with lectures and tours of the place that gave birth and rise to the global movement for freedom, the very home of Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, and the entire intellectual movement that came to the defense of liberty in an age of the total state.

Tentative Schedule

Monday, September 19   Academy of Sciences
12:30 p.m.  Registration and refreshments
1:00 p.m.    Welcome
1:15 p.m.    Gabriel Calzada Alvarez “Salamanca: Origins of the Austrian School”
1:45 p.m.     Eugen-Maria Schulak, Herbert Unterköfler, Rahim Taghizadegan “The Historical Background of the Austrian School”
2:30 p.m.    Discussion and refreshments
2:45 p.m.    Peter Klein “Mises Returns to the University”
3:15 p.m.    Joseph Salerno “Mises as Currency School Free Banker”
3:45 p.m.    Discussion and refreshments
4:00 p.m.    David Howden “The Moral Hazard of Deposit Insurance”
4:30 p.m.    Robert Murphy “Contributions of Mises in The Theory of Money and Credit”
5:00 p.m.   Adjourn
Dinner on own.

Tuesday, September 20
8:30 a.m.    Coffee
9:00 a.m.    Toby Baxendale “Cobdenite Bills and Financial Stability”
9:30 a.m.    Josef Sima “Austrian Economists in the Age of European Political Centralization”
10:00 a.m.   Thorsten Polleit A priori Theory and the Sound Money Principle”
10:30 a.m.   Discussion and refreshments
10:45 a.m.   Philipp Bagus “The Tragedy of the Euro”
11:15 a.m.   Arlene Oost-Zinner “Myths and Monsters: The Truth About Translation”
11:45 a.m.  Guido Hülsmann “The Evolution of Mises’ Monetary Thought”
12:15 p.m.  Adjourn
Lunch and dinner on own.
2:00 p.m.    Meet at front of Academy of Science for optional walking tours of Austrian economics sites.

Wednesday, September 21
8:30 a.m.   Coffee
9:00 a.m.   John Denson “The Birth of the Mises Institute”
9:30 a.m.   Douglas FrenchMises.org – Freedom Through Technology”
10:00 a.m. Discussion and refreshments
10:15 a.m.  Jeffrey Tucker “The Austrian Masters on the Digital Age”
10:45 a.m.  Mises Around the World: A Panel of Global Mises Institutes.  Douglas French, Helio BeltraoVlad TopanJosef SimaJoakim Fagerström, and Joakim Kämpe
11:30 a.m.  Discussion and refreshments
11:45 a.m.  Hans-Hermann Hoppe “Why Mises (and not Hayek)?  And: On Politics, Money, and Banking.  Two Speeches in One”
12:30 p.m.  Adjourn
Lunch on own.
2:30 p.m.  Meet at front of Academy of Sciences for optional walking tour of Austrian economics sites.
6:00 p.m.  Reception, Kursalon Hubner Terraces
6:30 p.m.  Dinner, Strauss Hall
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.  Music

Sessions take place at the spectacular Academy of Sciences where Boehm-Bawerk once presided, in the heart of the historic city center.

The registration fee of $325 for Mises Institute Members ($625 per couple) includes opening reception on Monday, refreshment breaks, afternoon guided tours, and sessions.  ($410 per person for non-Members.  Join now for Member rates)  Meals are on your own.

The conference ends with a Classical Viennese evening of dinner and music on Wednesday at the spectacular Kursalon.   The registration fee for the reception and dinner is $125 per person.  Attire is cocktail or smart-casual.  (Jacket and tie optional.)

On Thursday September 22 and Friday September 23 there will be optional sightseeing trips to Wauchau, the historic heart of Austria in a beautiful valley along the Danube and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with monasteries, castles, and the oldest Austrian town.  We take a boat trip to the Benedictine Abbey of Stift Melk, and then continue on to Salzburg, setting for the Sound of Music, where we will spend Thursday evening.   On Friday we tour Salzburg and the beautiful resort area of Salzkammergut for more World Heritage Sites, returning to Vienna late Friday evening.

The cost for the optional guided tours on Thursday and Friday is $300 per person and includes all site admission fees.  Meals are on your own.

The Mises Institute can reserve accommodations for you at the following hotels where our group will be staying.   Your room will be guaranteed by your credit card, but you will pay the hotel upon arrival.  These prices are subject to change depending on currency rates at the time of arrival.  To reserve your room at any of the following, please call Kristy Holmes at 334-321-2101 or email her.    These rates are subject to change depending on the value of the dollar in September.  Breakfast is included at each hotel, and each room has private bath.   Space is limited, please reserve your room before Thursday August 25!

Kristy can also take your conference registration by phone.

Each of these hotels is in the historic city center, within walking distance of the Academy of Sciences where our sessions take place.

Vienna Map of hotels, Academy of Sciences, and Kursalon.

Hotel Post
Charming, 3 star hotel, combination of traditional and modern.  Very close to Academy, 3 minute walk.  $168 per double-occupancy room per night, no singles remaining.

Hotel Dan In’n Out
Economy, great for students, ten minute walk to Academy. $94 per double-occupancy room per night, no singles remaining.

Thursday September 22
Accommodations in or near Salzburg.  Approximate prices: $104 per double-occupancy room per night, $97 single rooms.
Friday September 23
Das Reinisch near Vienna airport (the Salzburg tour will arrive at the hotel late evening).  $188 per double-occupancy room per night,  $134 single room.   This hotel offers shuttle service to Vienna airport for app. $7.50 per person.   We recommend departures out of Vienna on Saturday instead of Friday, given the unknown late hour of arrival at the hotel.

TRANSPORTATION FROM VIENNA AIRPORT TO THE MEETING AREA UPON ARRIVAL:  we recommend a taxi (about 30 minutes from the meeting and hotels, cost approximately $43 one way).  There is also CAT (City Airport Train) which takes you to within 15 minute walking distance of the meeting and hotels and is approximately $23 round-trip.

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The above was base for the following article in today’s Presse – and we bring the computer translation into English

the original in German –    http://diepresse.com/home/wirtschaft/economist/692269/Nationaloekonomie_Die-Heimkehr-der-Oesterreicher

National Economy: The return of the Austrians

10.09.2011 | 18:10 | Fabian Greimel ( DIE PRESSE AM SONYAG – The Press)

The ultra-liberal ideas of the Austrian school of economics in this country (meaning Austria – our comment) again find their audience. Next week the American Mises Institute in her honor at a congress in Vienna.

Austrians as a YouTube star? So far, 3.8 million times on the online platform, two videos have been called to show a fictional Rapduell two economists, whose struggles in the interwar period, dominated the economics.

It is an unequal battle: On one side is John Maynard Keynes, British economist who died in 1946, whose thoughts to characterize the present economic policy in Central Europe. On the other side of the Austrian Friedrich August von Hayek. 1974 his work on economic theory were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. At a time when he worked as an economist had almost been forgotten, like Hans Jörg Klausinger states – as opposed to the ideas of Keynes were already deceased.

Klausinger is an economist at the University of Economics and has been working intensively for many years with the history of the Austrian school of economics – that economic way of thinking, is considered one of its most important representatives of Hayek.

Dreams of the end of the state. The Nobel Prize was Hayek and the “Austrian school of economics,” a new impetus. The ultra-liberal economic ideas that flow were again widespread. Especially in the United States finds itself today to a loyal following of the Austrian theories. It stands out the Mises Institute in Alabama. This think tank is named after Ludwig von Mises, Hayek’s a teacher, who is considered the most radical liberal in the Austrians. The Institute organizes seminars in the U.S. and various courses for the Austrian School. This year, the Institute returns back to his roots. From 19 September meeting of the Friends of the Institute and the Austrian School in Vienna for a conference.

Douglas French, president of the Institute, sees the Austrian ideas in the U.S. on the rise, albeit less in the universities and in more people. There, the liberal voices would accumulate. He dreams, he said to “press” of a “market economy in which no state intervention in the economic process.” Even more: “In my dreams there is no state.”

The Tea Party as a legacy. The Mises Institute has a strong presence in the U.S.. It maintains numerous contacts with republicans and the economy. With Congressman Ron Paul sits a confessed “Austrian” in the U.S. Congress. The 76-year-old Republican candidate in 2008 when U.S. President (in 2012 he has also been announced) and is considered the intellectual father of the “Tea Party” movement. However, one can not say that the Tea Party supporters see themselves as “Austrians”.

That the Austrian school, especially in the U.S. is well placed, due to the fact that the great thinkers, all of whom lived in Vienna, emigrated to the burgeoning anti-Semitism in Austria in the 1930s of the last century in the United States.

In Austria, however, had after the Second World War, no political party accepted the liberal idea. Previously, these have been based at the German national parties, says Hans Jörg Klausinger.Das academic level at this time suffered under the intellectual bloodletting: All the great thinkers of the social sciences had left the country before the war. Occupied their posts at the universities of first loyalty to the regime, which were then exchanged in the course of denazification itself.

Made to the universities, especially mid-range wide-Scientists who mostly did not speak the English language, telling Klausinger. This would have had little interest in research and teaching at top level, but much more on selling their self-written textbooks.


The theory behind the crisis. Only in recent years, the ideas come from the Austrians in their home again this week. Barbara Kolm, general secretary of the Hayek Institute in Vienna, has been fighting for ten years. Successful as they say. “Hayek is on everyone’s lips” The economic crisis is an important cause. Because using the Austrian business cycle theory they had predicted the crisis that keeps the world in suspense since 2008.

“Austrians” had been made because, according to the policy of cheap money in recent decades, investments that have not been made without the intervention of central banks wären.Die recession shows where investment mistakes have been committed. Were the entrepreneurs were forced to, to liquidate the wrong resources employed or otherwise acquired einzusetzten.

Die Austrians were the only ones who predicted the Great Depression of 1929, as an inevitable result of monetary and credit-economic excesses, says Klausinger: “But her recipes came time lack of understanding, which harmed the school as a whole. “

The proposal would have meant Hayekianer for the politicians to do nothing: namely to stimulate the economy not by printing money and not to fund economic stimulus programs. But that no elections can be won. The alternative proposal from Keynes’s spring already more: the state should fix it and compensate for the precipitating consumption.

In the 1970s, of course, Hayek conceded that they would have at least as far as to print money that the money supply, which is actually in circulation does not return, (otherwise it is harmful for economic deflation). The Fed needs while the reluctance of banks to compensate for the credit. Pull back in time and money before lending picks up again – no easy task.

Barbara Kolm is not in their demands as far as the Mises Institute. She emphasizes that their policy recommendations only go so far that they actually have a chance of being implemented. For example, it accounted for as a success if Finance Minister Maria Fekter openly about the state savings or debt brake thinking – demands which are made by Hayek Institute for years. Generally they can not imagine an economy without a state. This must always provide for a legal regulatory framework in which the market process can take place.

Impact underestimated. Hansjörg Klausinger finds that the influence of the Austrian school is underestimated when only one counting out the scientists who describe themselves as “Austrians”. Hayek himself once said that the greatest economic success of a school would be that it ceases to exist as such because their teachings have become part of the scientific mainstream. And some knowledge of the “Austrians” have actually done it in the mainstream of economics.

An important example is the realization of the Austrians, that socialism can not work planned economy. According Klausinger 90 percent of economists would use here originally Austrian arguments. It is about lack of incentives for innovation or so that only a market price that reflects supply and demand information on which a central planner can never know.

Kolm hopes that the ideas of the Austrians in Central Europe continue to gain influence: “Sooner or later it will be forced to cut government spending.” In the new EU member states that was already noticeable. Maybe yes, Friedrich August von Hayek in Austria at the end of a star.

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The print version of the article, but not the on-line version – has a great photo showing Friedrich August von Hayek (the student) with Ludwig von Mises (the teacher). The on-line version has only the photo of Mises.

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INFO

1871 – veröffentlichte Carl Menger mit nur 31 Jahren sein Werk „Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre“. Aus historischer Sicht bedeutet die Veröffentlichung des Buches gleichzeitig die Geburt der Österreichischen Schule. Nur zwei Jahre später wurde er zum Professor an die Universität Wien berufen. Seine Schüler Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk und Friedrich von Wieser führten seine Arbeiten fort.

1919 – wird Joseph Schumpeter (der sich später von den Lehren der Österreichischen Schule abwandte) für sieben Monate Finanzminister Österreichs. Als einziges Kabinettsmitglied ist er gegen den Anschluss an Deutschland.

1927 – gründen Ludwig von Mises und sein Schüler Friedrich August von Hayek das Österreichische Institut für Konjunkturforschung (das heutige Wifo).

1931 – wird Hayek im 32. Lebensjahr als Professor an die London School of Economics berufen. Später geht er wie alle anderen „Austrians“ in die USA.

1974 – erhält Hayek den Wirtschaftsnobelpreis für seine Arbeiten in der Geld- und Konjunkturtheorie. Der Nobelpreis stärkte die öffentliche Wahrnehmung der Österreichischen Schule.

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File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
by H KLAUSINGER – 2006
HANSJÖRG KLAUSINGER is a professor of economics at Vienna University of Economics and. Business Administration.
—————-
Barbara KolmLamprechter is the Secretary General of the Friedrich August v. Hayek Institute in Vienna, Austria.
The F. A. v. Hayek Institute was founded in 1993 to commemorate the work of Nobel Laureate Friedrich August von Hayek, and to promote the ideas of the Austrian School of Economics. As a private and independent academic research institution, it is modeled predominantly after Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, the IEA in London, and the ICER in Turin. The Institute extensively cooperates with other like-minded think tanks, and organizes academic conferences, seminars, and lectures that tackle current economic issues.
Location: F.A.v. Hayek Institut, Grünangergasse 1/15, 1010 Vienna.
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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 16th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


More Than 600 Leaders From Business, Government, and Civil Society To Attend, Including Haley Barbour, Stephanie Burns, Mitch Daniels, Rahm Emanuel, Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Jennifer Granholm, John Hickenlooper, Tony Hsieh, Judith Rodin, James E. Rogers, and Tom Vilsack.

June 16, 2011, NEW YORK — Today, President Bill Clinton announced the program and featured participants for CGI America, which will bring together more than 600 leaders from businesses, nonprofits, and all levels of government to develop and highlight ideas for spurring economic growth and creating jobs in the United States. The event, the first Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting to focus exclusively on the U.S., will take place in Chicago on June 29-30.

“I am looking forward to taking the Clinton Global Initiative model — which has already improved the lives of 300 million people worldwide — and applying it to challenges within the U.S.,” President Clinton said. “Innovative job creation initiatives are being implemented across the country, and CGI America will bring together leaders from all sectors to share their ideas so we can replicate and expand the most successful strategies.”

At CGI America, participants will focus on strengthening American industries, unlocking capital for innovation and entrepreneurship, advancing energy efficiency and smart infrastructure, and educating the next generation for the workforce. The CGI America program will include panel discussions on: Education in America: Regaining Our Edge, which will explore how to revitalize the U.S. educational system and train American workers for the 21st century economy; American
Success Stories,
which will highlight leaders who have spurred job growth by developing creative responses to unique local challenges; and Energy Innovation and the Built Environment, which will explore how cities can create jobs and reduce emissions by making buildings more sustainable.

The meeting will also include working groups on green buildings, the healthcare workforce, infrastructure, manufacturing, the rural economy, service corps, startups, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, veteran employment, and workforce development. During the working group sessions, participants will develop Commitments to Action – new, specific, and measurable plans to spur job creation and improve the economy.

For more information please visit www.CGIAmerica.org

The sponsors of CGI America are: the J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, Tom Golisano, the Dow Chemical Company, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and ExxonMobil.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 30th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Karl Popper argued in his book, “Open Society and its Enemies” that the inconvertible truth is beyond the reach of the human intellect, and ideologies that claim to hold this truth are bound to be false. Therefore, he argued, they can be imposed on society only by repressive methods. This helped George Soros  see the similarity between the Nazi and communist regimes, having lived through both in Hungary, it made a great impression on him.

Why I agree with (some of) Friedrich Hayek: There are some inconsistencies in the Chicago School brand of economics, the author writes. 

By GEORGE SOROS | 4/28/11 from his presentation in a speech at the CATO Institute April 26, 2011.

George Soros is the founder of the Open Society Foundations and author, of “The Crash of 2008 and What It Means: The New Paradigm for Financial Markets.” This is an excerpt of a speech Soros is giving at Cato Institute on Tuesday. The event is being livestreamed at www.cato.org beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday, and will be available on that site and on www.politico.com after that.

Friedrich Hayek is generally regarded as the apostle of a brand of economics which holds that the market will assure the optimal allocation of resources — as long as the government doesn’t interfere. It is a formalized and mathematical theory, whose two main pillars are the efficient market hypothesis and the theory of rational expectations.

This is usually called the Chicago School, and it dominates the teaching of economics in the United States. I call it market fundamentalism.

I have an alternative interpretation — diametrically opposed to the efficient market hypothesis and rational expectations. It is built on the twin pillars of fallibility and reflexivity.

I firmly believe these principles are in accordance with Hayek’s ideas.

But we can’t both be right. If I am right, market fundamentalism is wrong. That means I must be able to show some inconsistency in Hayek’s ideas, which is what I propose to do.

Let’s start with Hayek’s influence on the twin pillars of my interpretation. I was a student at the London School of Economics in the late 1940s and read the great methodological controversy between Karl Popper and Hayek in Economica, the school’s periodical.

I considered myself a disciple of Popper. But here I was on Hayek’s side. He inveighed against what he called “scientism” — meaning the slavish imitation of Newtonian physics. Popper took the opposite position. He argued in favor of what he called the doctrine of the unity of science — that the same methods and criteria apply to all scientific disciplines.

I was drawn to this controversy by my interest in Popper. I had read his book, “Open Society and its Enemies,” in which he argued that the inconvertible truth is beyond the reach of the human intellect, and ideologies that claim to hold this truth are bound to be false. Therefore, he argued, they can be imposed on society only by repressive methods.

This helped me see the similarity between the Nazi and communist regimes. Having lived through both in Hungary, it made a great impression.

This led me to Popper’s theory of scientific method. Popper claimed that scientific theories can never be verified — they can only be falsified. So their validity is provisional — they must forever remain open to falsification by testing. This avoids all the problems of needing to prove scientific theories beyond any doubt and establishes the importance of testing. Only theories that can be falsified qualify as scientific.

While I was admiring the elegance of Popper’s theory, I was also studying elementary economics. I was struck by a contradiction between the theory of perfect competition, which postulated perfect knowledge, with Popper’s theory, which asserted that perfect knowledge was unattainable. The contradiction could be resolved by recognizing that economic theory cannot meet the standards of Newtonian physics.

That is why I sided with Hayek — who warned against the slavish imitation of natural science and took issue with Popper — who asserted the doctrine of unity of method.

Hayek argued that economic agents base their decisions on their interpretation of reality, not on reality — and the two are never the same.

That is what I call fallibility. Hayek also recognized that decisions based on an imperfect understanding of reality are bound to have unintended consequences. But Hayek and I drew diametrically opposed inferences from this insight.

Hayek used it to extol the virtues of the invisible hand of the marketplace, which was the unintended consequence of economic agents pursuing their self-interest. I used it to demonstrate the inherent instability of financial markets.

In my theory of reflexivity I assert that the thinking of economic agents serves two functions. On the one hand, they try to understand reality; that is the cognitive function. On the other, they try to make an impact on the situation. That is the participating, or manipulative, function.

The two functions connect reality and the participants’ perception of reality in opposite directions. As long as the two functions work independently of each other they produce determinate results. When they operate simultaneously they interfere with each other. That is the case not only in the financial markets but also in many other social situations.

I call the interference reflexivity. Reflexivity introduces an element of unquantifiable uncertainty into both the participants’ understanding and the actual course of events.

This two-way connection works as a feedback loop. The feedback is either positive or negative. Positive feedback reinforces both the prevailing trend and the prevailing bias — and leads to a mispricing of financial assets. Negative feedback corrects the bias. At one extreme lies equilibrium, at the other are the financial “bubbles.” These occur when the mispricing goes too far and becomes unsustainable — boom is then followed by bust.

In the real world, positive and negative feedback are intermingled and the two extremes are rarely, if ever, reached. Thus the equilibrium postulated by the efficient market hypothesis turns out to be an extreme — with little relevance to reality.

Frank Knight was the first to identify the unquantifiable uncertainty inherent in financial markets. John Maynard Keynes and his followers elaborated his insight.

Classical economists, by contrast, sought to eliminate the uncertainty connected with reflexivity from their subject matter. Hayek was one of them.

The methodological debate in Economica took place in the context of the larger political controversy over the role of the state in the economy. Hayek was on one side, Keynes and socialist planners on the other.

But Hayek subordinated his methodological arguments to his political bias. That is the source of his inconsistency. In the Economica, he attacked scientism. But after World War II, when the communist threat became more acute, he overcame his methodological qualms and became the apostle of market fundamentalism — with only a mild rebuke for the excessive use of quantitative methods in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

Because he was fighting communism, a scientific theory that proved that market participants pursuing their self-interest assure the optimum allocation of resources was too convenient for him to reject. But it was also too good to be true.

Human beings act on the basis of their imperfect understanding — and their decisions have unintended consequences. That makes human affairs less predictable than natural phenomenon. So Hayek was right in originally opposing scientism.

At the time of the Economica articles, Popper was between Hayek and the socialist planners. He was just as opposed as Hayek to communism’s threat to individual liberty, but he advocated what he called piecemeal social engineering rather than laissez-faire.

Here I sided with Popper. But Popper and Hayek were not that far apart. I was influenced by both — and I also found fault with both.

By identifying Hayek’s inconsistency and political bias, I do not mean to demean him — but to improve our understanding of financial markets and other social phenomena. We are all biased in one way or another and, with the help of reflexivity, our misconceptions play a major role in shaping the course of history.

Because perfection is unattainable, it makes all the difference how close we come to understanding reality. Recognizing that the efficient market hypothesis and the theory of rational expectations are both a dead end would be a major step forward.

As in that earlier time, the political controversy on the role of the state in the economy is raging today. But the standards of political discourse have greatly deteriorated. The two sides used to engage in illuminating arguments; now they hardly talk. That is why I was so pleased to accept this invitation to the Cato Institute.

As I see it, the two sides in the current dispute have each got hold of one half of the truth. which they proclaim to be the whole truth. It was the hard right that took the initiative by arguing that the government is the cause of all our difficulties; and the so-called left, in so far as it exists, has been forced to defend the need for regulating the private sector and providing government services.

Though I am often painted as the representative of the far left — and I am certainly not free of political bias — I recognize that the other side is half right in claiming that the government is wasteful and inefficient and ought to function better.

But I also continue to cling to the other half of the truth — namely that financial markets are inherently unstable and need to be regulated.

Above all, I am profoundly worried that those who proclaim half truths as the whole truth, whether they are from the left or the right, are endangering our open society.

Both Hayek and Popper, I believe, would share that concern. Those of us concerned with the protection of individual liberty ought to work together to restore the standards of political discourse that used to enable our democracy to function better.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 2nd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The news this weekend say that President Clinton is hosting a meeting of his innitiative in San Diego  April1-2, 2011. We post this not because of that meeting, but because we discovered that he is planning now a meeting that this time will not be dedicated to dealing with conventionally acknowledged poor countries but with the US itself. We wish him full success aas we think he will stress the need for a push towards a green economy!

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 170 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 19-22 in New York City.
 
This year, CGI will also convene a meeting focused on driving job creation and economic recovery in the United States. The meeting, CGI America, is the first CGI event solely dedicated to U.S. issues, and will take place in Chicago June 29-30., 2011.
 
The CGI community also includes MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 1st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Mayor of Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, China came to New York City at the head of a high-level seven member city delegation. I just listened at the Asia Society in New York City to three hours of cross presentations – from the Zhenjiang side and from various US cities – New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

The interesting thing that while this was going on in New York City, at the same time, in Cancun at the UNFCCC Conference, cities had also the podium in respect to Urban areas in low- and middle-income nations being home to a third of the world’s population.

Many of these nations already now face the greatest global risk from sea-level rise, and changes in frequency and intensity of events such as heat waves and storms. The interesting part was that though all these problems were mentioned at the New York City meeting, the actual larger parallel events at Cancun were not mentioned at all. This spoke miles to me in what concerns Cancun, and we heard plenty of how cities in China and in the US look at climate events. The case of a deputy Mayor of Florida, who does not believe in climate change, was mentioned by the Mayor of Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania Mayor had no problem touting that poor soul that does not realize that his city’s future is at stake.

Many of the cities experience rapid and ongoing growth and urban areas require particular attention when considering effects of climate change and related adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Zhenjiang is located between two major metropolises, Nanjing and Shanghai, and all road traffics connecting these two cities pass Zhenjiang. The railway, Jinghu Railway (Beijing-Nanjing-Shanghai), passes the city and Zhenjiang Railway Station is among the busiest passenger stations in Jiangsu, having 139 trains stopping daily. T-Trains take only 45 min to Nanjing and an hour and a half to Shanghai. By the new intercity light railway, the journey to Shanghai takes only 50 minutes.

Huning (Shanghai-Nanjing) Expressway is a major road transportation artery, connecting Shanghai and Nanjing and other cities between them, including Zhenjiang.

Zhenjiang Port is one of major ports along the Yangtze River and its water network, including the Grand Canal to Beijing, the Yangtze River, and numerous further rivers provide the city a convenient waterway for cargo and passenger transportation.

The city numbers now 3.12 million people of whom 26% are migrants from the country-side or from other parts of China. The fast development will increase the number of migrants to 55% by 2020. For all of China, the total number of migrants will reach 250 million and be larger then the population of the US.

Zhenjiang is on  an Economic & Technological Development Zone of China (ETD). The reason for this mission to New York was to have this exchange – of learning from the experience in the US and show-casing achievements and present some future programs that might benefit from cooperation with Americans. My intention is not to enlarge on the potential for co-operation that could result from the parallel presentation of nice architectural achievements by Americans. I want only to mention something that was said in half joke by Tom Murphy from The New York Urban Land Institute Foundation, Washington DC.

Tom Murphy summarized the achievements of the Chinese Mayor and compared them to the push of Mayor Daley  of Chicago, Mayor Bloomberg  of New York and Mayor  Summey of North Charleston, South Carolina. Tom Murphy was Mayor of Pittsburgh for 12 years – a time of radical change from brown-fields left by the shrinking steel industry to one of the most livable cities in the US. He said that it shows a successful Mayor is a benevolent dictator. SOMETHING REALLY TO THINK ABOUT WHEN ONE PONDERS WHY US DEMOCRACY IS FALLING APART when there is no real leadership – and what it takes to be a leader for change.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 15th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Calender of Events for Gold Standard Presentations in September 2010 for Mexico City and Chicago.

The Gold Standard was established for listing Premium Quality Carbon Credits.

The Gold Standard Foundation Newsletter Issue II 2010 is available at
cts.vresp.com/c/?GoldStandardFoundati/1f6ee2e1ce/3fc4f97dfb/fac3e1c798

Carbon Market Mexico & Central America.
A Green Power Conference Event.
Presenter: Ivan Hernandez
Date: September 8-9, 2010
Location: Mexico City
www2.greenpowerconferences.co.uk

Carbon TradeEx America
Presenter:TBD
Date: September 28-29, 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
www.carbontradeex.com

—————-

The Gold Standard Foundation
Avenue Louis Casai 79
CH-1216 Geneva-Cointrin
Switzerland

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Today the media is full of analysis of last nights results of political Super-Tuesday and the consensus is that America wants Jobs not new policies. What that implies is that all the great ideas that President Obama brought to the White House are immaterial – all what counts is jobs. But what kind of jobs – is this just a return to pre-economy-downturn? To jobs in the industries of the past in a world of make believe that cannot anymore support US consumption? There must be a better way we say and we call it Sustainable Development. Are there listeners out there?

Luckily I just saw on CNN – “Energizing a state’s job market is challenging during tough economic times. See how New Mexico’s governor leads the charge to create thousands of new jobs from the brightest natural resource. CNN’s Tom Foreman reports.”

This was about New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a former US Secretary of Energy and the former Chairman of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico – he rode in to save the day that was described by all as the day America stood up to take on those rascals in Washington.

from  the “Great piece on CNN about recruiting clean energy companies to NM” www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2010/building.up.america/  about 1 hour ago via web

also “Promoting two Northern New Mexico clean energy projects today in Questa & Taos” 9:11 AM May 13th – web

What we saw was from Santa Fe how “Schott Solar” talks Sun = More $ + More Jobs.

Solar is a buffer against stagnation.

It occurred to me if President Obama will now decide to take on Washington by pushing stronger for an Energy and Climate outcome in order to answer the JOB ISSUE in a positive way?

I moved then to look up the following from Bill Scher’s daily reports and decided to share it with our readers.

His report on Clean Energy dates back to last week – that is pre-history to some of those loses last night – but our belief is that after the Bank Reform, still before November 2010, Washington must tackle the Climate Bill so that when the folks go home to ask to be reelected they have something in their hand. They just cannot ask for sympathy after stretching out an empty hand. Washington is them – the only fight they have ahead of them is the fight against themselves!

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Progressive Breakfast: Will Clean Energy Follow Bank Reform?

Bill Scher's picture

By Bill Scher

May 13, 2010


Popular This Week:

Climate Change: Four Futures

May 14, 2010

Tax Cuts For Rich Getting Back To Economy-Destroying “Normal”

May 13, 2010

more»

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to affect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.

—-

This issue starts with the topic – “Weakening Wall St. Reform Amendments Loom” – and includes also – “Time For Wealth To Be Taxed Like Work” – we deleted both as our interest was in the Energy and Climate issue!

———————————————————————————————————————————————

Kerry-Lieberman Climate Bill Released

Sen. Kerry explains details at Grist: “this bill creates a major — mandatory — pollution-reduction program that sends the needed price signal on carbon, with carbon allowances auctioned in a heavily regulated market that doesn’t allow any speculators access … imports from countries that aren’t doing what we’re doing will need to pay a fee at the border or we will give our producers the resources they would need to keep from having their production shifted overseas to avoid the cost of polluting … inspired in part by the great work of Sens. Maria Cantwell [D-Wash.] and Susan Collins [R-Maine] [the bill] sends the bulk of the proceeds from the sale of the pollution allowances back to the American people directly in the form of rebates … This bill does not take the EPA out of the mix on regulating carbon. In fact, it strengthens the Clean Air Act by expanding the authority of the EPA and making that authority permanent …”

President praises: “I look forward to engaging with Senators from both sides of the aisle and ultimately passing a bill this year.”

TNR’s Brad Plumer on how the bill differs from the House version: “The Senate bill refunds a greater share of the proceeds from selling carbon permits back to consumers—75 percent versus 45 percent in the House bill … The Senate bill exempts manufacturers from cap-and-trade until 2016, so in this sense it’s a little weaker on pollution targets … more support for nuclear power, natural gas vehicles, and offshore drilling … a lot weaker on renewable energy mandates and efficiency standards … stricter provisions for overseeing the carbon markets…”

Earth2Tech gets reaction from green power advocates: “…significant provisions for electric vehicle development, manufacturing and infrastructure … a renewable electricity standard … is not included … Not everyone shares the utilities’ perspective that Kerry and Lieberman’s proposal will protect consumers. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE) criticized the legislators for ‘gutting the energy efficiency provisions in their bill,’ …

Tenuous enviro-business coalition behind bill: “While the green lobby is already firing up grass-roots support and running ads to advance the bill, getting the 60 Senate votes needed to pass it will require help from corporate lobbying shops … While most business groups were poring over the proposal before taking a firm stand on it, the nuclear industry wholeheartedly embraced it.”

The Hill summed up enviro reaction: “Even though several left-leaning environmental groups, such as Greenpeace and Public Citizen, issued sharply critical statements, a broad swath of green groups backed the measure moving forward while calling for changes to it.”

Neutrality from many corporate interests seen as victory. CQ: “Two industry groups that led opposition to the House bill — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute (API) — praised efforts to write a Senate bill that is friendlier to business. While neither group endorsed the Senate bill, their neutrality was taken as a victory by Senate aides who worked on the legislation.”

Senate leaders taking cautious approach. W. Post: “Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has made it clear that the climate bill needs to be within striking distance of 60 votes before he will bring it to the floor.”

Evangelical leader Joel Hunter, at climate bill announcement, urges Senate to put aside politics and protect God’s creation: “I don’t want to be standing before God on Judgment Day and be saying, ‘Gee the votes just weren’t there,”

Kerry insists Republicans are in play. The Hill quotes: “I have heard even several Republicans in these last days tell me in private that they are encouraged by what is in this bill, and they are anxious to review it and to work on it.”

Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard gets positive reacts from key Senators: “[Graham] kept the door to a yes-vote slightly open … Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), an opponent of offshore drilling … appears to be satisfied by the actual draft … Bingaman (D-NM) … has been agitating for the Senate to vote on his energy-only bill rather than pushing through a bill with a cap on carbon this year. Although this draft includes a cap, he at least appears open to it … Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) … seems upbeat though he said he still wants more protections for manufacturing…”

And ClimateWire picks up some negative reacts: “Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, a moderate Republican whom Kerry has been seeking as a co-sponsor, said she remains concerned about ‘taxes’ … Cantwell, when asked by a reporter yesterday if it seemed like Kerry and Lieberman were bending to her concerns, said, ‘I doubt it.'”

GOP Sen. Voinovich opens the door a crack: “Voinovich, who is viewed as a possible swing vote, said the bill was put forward ‘in good faith and with much thought.’ But he also indicated he is leaning against it.”

Lieberman reminds obstructionists that the EPA won’t wait, on CNN: “There’s another clock ticking here besides the election. And it’s the clock that goes off on January 1 next year, when the Environmental Protection Agency has the power and has promised to begin to regulate greenhouse gas emissions – carbon pollution – by executive order.”

$6B in revenue from motor fuel pollution permit marked for transportation. Some say that’s not enough. CQ: “It is unclear how much money the motor fuels portion of the measure would raise in total, but transportation lobbyists said that in talks with Senate aides, the total has ranged from $20 billion to $60 billion. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) said all revenue raised from motor fuels should go into the [highway] trust fund…” Whereas Streetsblog finds transportation reformers pleased: “‘The authors deserve high praise for ensuring that revenues generated from the transportation sector go in part toward meeting the growing demand for more, better and cleaner travel options,’ Geoff Anderson, co-chairman of the advocacy group Transportation for America, said…”

TNR’s Brad Plumer says smart-growth proponents like the “holistic” transit approach: “… the climate bill also requires the Department of Transportation to develop a national plan for reducing emissions from the transport sector—everything from coordinating electric-car infrastructure, for instance, to setting standards so that, say, electric utilities and automakers are working together.”

“350” standard not met says Citizens Climate Lobby’s Steve Valk: “Any legislation to address climate change needs to have the overarching goal of getting us back to 350 ppm of CO2 and keeping us there. But you’ll find no mention of this in the Kerry-Lieberman bill for one simple reason: There’s no way in hell their bill can achieve this goal. What’s really scary, however, is that most of the politicians in Washington are operating under the assumption that we don’t need to get to 350. The real eye-opener for me came last fall when a Senate aide I met with said we just need to keep CO2 under 450 ppm.”

SmartPower’s Brian Keane says “we can’t wait for perfect”: “The bill seems to strike the right balance – focusing on climate change, but understanding that fundamentally this also needs to be about job creation.”

Blog for Clean Air’s Frank O’Donnell worried about scaling back of EPA authority: “The ‘Task Force’ (which includes EPA, but also some historic enemies of clean-air controls) is told to explore ‘existing programs’ and regulations for coal-fired power plants and the ‘effect’ those programs could have on the transition to lower-carbon plants … the attacks on the Clean Air Act’s smog, soot and toxics safeguards for power plants are officially underway.”

BP’s “fail safe” was a leaky test version with a dead battery. W. Post:: “In a devastating review of the blowout preventer that BP said was supposed to be ‘fail-safe,’ …Stupak said that the committee investigators had also uncovered a document prepared in 2001 by the drilling rig operator Transocean that said there were 260 ‘failure modes’ that could require removal of the blowout preventer. ‘How can a device that has 260 failure modes be considered fail-safe?’ Stupak said.”

Criminal charges in Gulf spill likely. McClatchy: “Federal investigators are likely to file criminal charges against at least one of the companies … raising the prospects of significantly higher penalties than a current $75 million cap on civil liability … under the Clean Water and Air Acts and other federal laws aimed at protecting migratory birds, an accidental oil spill of this magnitude could at least result in misdemeanor negligence charges.”

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The Black Caucus Has A Jobs Plan

Black Caucus stepping up pressure for summer jobs funding. CQ: “… it is insisting quite publicly that Democratic leaders not allow Congress to start the one-week Memorial Day recess before spending $1.5 billion on a youth summer jobs program … noting that the unemployment rate for African-American teens is around 40 percent. The need to help them get work is so urgent, these lawmakers say, that the money should be exempt from pay-as-you-go requirements…”

House considering $85B research bill. CQ: “The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (HR 5116) is aimed at boosting U.S. economic competitiveness through federal support of various science and technology education and research programs. It would authorize the spending from fiscal 2011 through 2015 for programs at the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and certain Energy Department research programs … Democrats said that the bill would create jobs … Republicans, however, criticized the cost…”

Congressional TARP oversight panel questions small biz strategy. Bloomberg: “TARP programs so far have shown ‘poor performance’ in helping small businesses because of low participation from community banks and other factors including weak loan demand, the report released today showed. Also, the Treasury Department’s small-business assistance has focused on providing capital to banks that supply loans, rather than assistance to companies with the potential to create jobs.”

UAW concerned auto workers won’t rebound along with auto executives. NYT: “As one automaker, the Ford Motor Company, restores some perks for salaried workers, [incoming UAW President Bob] King is putting the companies on notice that he expects hourly workers to be given back some of the benefits they surrendered as the bottom lines of all three car companies improve … The union is expected to ask that some of its givebacks be reversed during contract talks with the carmakers in 2011…”

Is the economy going through a major restructuring, risking leaving millions of experienced workers behind? NYT: “Millions of workers who have already been unemployed for months, if not years, will most likely remain that way even as the overall job market continues to improve, economists say. The occupations they worked in, and the skills they currently possess, are never coming back in style. And the demand for new types of skills moves a lot more quickly than workers — especially older and less mobile workers — are able to retrain and gain those skills.”

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Breakfast Sides

Our government is back on the job protecting the public interest, and the corporate interests don’t like it. NYT: “The surge in rule-making has resulted from an unusual confluence of factors, from repeated outbreaks of food-borne illnesses to workplace disasters … Manufacturers, home builders, toymakers and others say that Washington has been overzealous about imposing new requirements … Obama administration officials reject the criticism, saying that the benefits associated with the dozens of major rules adopted between President Obama’s inauguration and the end of 2009 outweigh the costs by an estimated $3.1 billion…”

The immigrant crime wave used to justify Arizona’s anti-immigration law is a myth: “The main argument behind Arizona’s new law, SB 1070, is that the state’s presumed crime wave is linked to undocumented immigrants. But … crime across the state has consistently declined over the years despite an increase in the population.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 17th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The CNN ireport – LIVING IN A TOXIC TOWN. CNN and Dr. Sanjay Gupta invite you to put on video what you know.

 www.ireport.com/ir-topic-stories….

Living in a toxic town

Many residents of Mossville, Louisiana, suspect their proximity to more than a dozen chemical plants may be responsible for what they say are high rates of cancer and other diseases in the area.

Is there a place near you where pollution is making people sick? CNN is investigating the environment’s effects on health as part of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Toxic Towns USA special. We want you to join us in the newsgathering process.

“Put yourself on video and document conditions in your area, or take photos of what’s around you. Tell us what industrial or chemical pollution may be contributing to health problems for you and those you love, and be sure not to put yourself in a dangerous situation,” CNN writes.

“Tell us about toxic towns near you and Dr. Gupta may report on your community.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 2nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The White House has said that the US President would not be attending what used to be the regularly scheduled EU-US talks, which have been planned to take place in Madrid in May 24-25, 2010 by the Spanish Rotating EU Presidency for the First half of 2010.

Honestly, why should he participate in the European Games while there are so many real problems on his plate?

The EU has three Presidents – if they cannot decide who is their President in fact – do they really expect for Obama to travel trans-Atlantic, and sit at Summits chaired by all three of them – Herman Van Rampuy, The Permanent EU President, Jose Manuel Baroso, the President of the European Commission, and the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero,    who is presently the Rotating President of the EU?

Papers write of a “Snub.” This is ridiculous and for us who watched the Copenhagen Conference that was saved by President Obama under a G-2 arrangement with China, because he had to act fast if he wanted to save the meeting from itself, and there was no strong man or woman of the EU to stand at his side, the above “News” are old hat – and we say – we told you so!  Actually, we welcome Charles Forelle writes as “World News” in the Wall Street Journal of today: “Things haven’t been good recently for Europe’s position on the world stage. Despite the new treaty ambition to make the EU a bigger player, the bloc has sometimes seen itself shut out.  At climate talks in Copenhagen in December, Mr. Obama hammered out a last-minute accord with China and other emerging nations. The Europeans were left out of the picture.” This recognition of reality in a WSJ article is very unusual – but this is real life. If the EU does not get together – and still claims 7 seats at the G-20 – rather then one seat for real – they are turning themselves, by their own choice,  into world political irrelevancy. The same is true at the UN where we see more and more a 2 1/2 seats situation – with France and the UK in Security Council seats but Germany on practical UN Security Commissions, and no EU representative with any powers what so ever.

Obama’s decision not to go to Madrid is no snub to Mr. Zapatero or to Spain – but rather the cleareeded sign that he wants to go and meet the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED EUROPE. Had Obama decided to go to Masdrid it would have been as if someone from Europe would come to a meeting of the US Governor’s Association. Just think – Germany id California, France is New York, the UK is Texas, Spain is Florida, Poland is Illinois, Austria is Vermont … etc etc. Perhapse indeed Van Rampuy should come to the US Governor’s Association meeting in order to learn what is needed in order to create out of the EU the neededpartner for Obama in order to turn the G-2 into a G-3 and to create out of the G-20 a new meaningful global body.

———————–

The best article on this we found is from The Telegtaph:
Barack Obama has snubbed the EU amid confusion in Washington over which “president” of Europe he would be expected to meet at a trans-Atlantic summit this spring.

By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels  – from Telegraph.com
Published:  01 Feb 2010 –

 www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnew…

The White House has said that Barack Obama will not be attending the EU-US talks planned to take place in Madrid in May.
The White House has said that the US President would not be attending the regularly scheduled EU-US talks, which have been planned to take place in Madrid in May 24-25, 2010 by the Spanish Rotating EU Presidency for the First half of 2010.

Honestly, why should he particioate in the European Games while there are so many real problems on his plate.
US officials have expressed frustration because the Lisbon Treaty, which was supposed to give the EU a single global voice, has created a number of European presidents competing for Washington’s attention.

Even the venue for the summit, Madrid or Brussels, has been “up in the air” after a tussle between Spain, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency and Herman Van Rompuy, the new created President of Europe.

Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, Mr Van Rompuy, President of the European Council which represents EU heads of government, should host the summit in Brussels as Europe’s lead negotiator in global bilateral talks.

But Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, insisted that he should host the summit because the EU was in “transition” after the Lisbon Treaty entered into force in December.

A US official told the Wall Street Journal that President Obama had not yet received an a formal invitation to the EU-US summit, a twice yearly meeting that has taken place since 1991.

“We don’t even know if they’re going to have one. We’ve told them, ‘Figure it out and let us know’,” said the official.

Other American diplomats have blamed confusion over which of the three EU “presidents” is in charge of the summit – Mr Van Rompuy, Mr Zapatero or José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president.

“Who attends from the US and at what point will depend on who’s calling the meeting,” said a US state department official.
“There’s a competition in Europe because you now have the standing EU architecture.”

Many national and EU diplomats are dismayed at the institutional infighting that has followed the entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

“The Spanish are behaving badly. They’ve made a mess of the summit but Van Rompuy and the post-Lisbon EU institutions will carry the can in the long term. The squabbling has damaged the EU in the eyes of the most powerful nation in the world,” said a senior source.

A European Commission spokesman hinted that the meeting would have to be downgraded or cancelled if Mr Obama did not show up.

“Normally a summit is a summit because it is attended by heads of state and government,” said the spokesman.

A Spanish foreign ministry spokesman said: “The EU-US summit is scheduled to take place in May in Madrid, as was foreseen and we are still preparing it.”

US officials have indicated that Mr Obama might reschedule talks with the EU in the wings of a Nato summit in Portugal this autumn.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 31st, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Unlike Dobbs, some conservative media think birthers are “nutburgers”
July 22, 2009 6:19 pm ET

 mediamatters.org/research/2009072…
SUMMARY: In contrast to Lou Dobbs, who recently promoted conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birth certificate, numerous conservative media figures have dismissed and ridiculed the so-called “birther” claims.

63 Comments

As Media Matters for America has extensively documented, Lou Dobbs has recently promoted conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birth certificate, joining a throng of media conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, who have done so. But not all conservatives have embraced the “birther” cause. Many conservative media figures have dismissed and ridiculed the so-called “birther” claims as “conspiracy theories” that are “embarrassing and destructive” and are espoused by “crazy, nutburger, demagogue, money-hungry, exploitative, irresponsible, filthy conservative imposters.”

For instance:

Joe Scarborough: On the July 22 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Scarborough discussed a video clip in which Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) is challenged by a woman who claims Obama has not produced a birth certificate. Scarborough described those who ascribe to this belief as “cartoon characters” who “would rather, instead of trying to actually figure out what’s happening to their country — the terrible things that are happening economically to their country — they embrace conspiracy theories.” Scarborough marveled that it was “not enough for these people” that Obama’s “has been shown” as well as a birth announcement for Obama in the “Honolulu Advertiser, on the day Barack Obama was born 47 years ago.” Scarborough also compared birth certificate conspiracy theorists to people who believe “the United States government blew up its own buildings and killed its own people on September 11th” and believe that we “never landed on the moon.”

Michelle Malkin: In a December 5, 2008, column, Fox News contributor Malkin compared those who questioned Obama’s citizenship to those who believed Gov. Sarah Palin “didn’t give birth to her youngest son, Trig,” and wrote that a “dangerously large segment of the birth certificate hunters have lurched into rabid Truther territory.” She went on to state:

The most prominent crusader against Obama’s American citizenship claim, lawyer Philip Berg (who, not coincidentally, is also a prominent 9/11 Truther), disputes that Obama was born in Hawaii and claims that Obama’s paternal grandmother told him she saw Obama born in Kenya.

Berg and his supporters further assert that the “Certification of Live Birth” produced by Obama was altered or forged. They claim that the contemporaneous birth announcement in a Hawaii newspaper of Obama’s birth is insufficient evidence that he was born there. (Did a fortune-teller place it in the paper knowing he would run for president?)

Malkin concluded: “I believe Trig was born to Sarah Palin. I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on U.S. soil. I believe fire can melt steel and that bin Laden’s jihadi crew — not Bush and Cheney — perpetrated mass murder on 9/11. What kind of kooky conspiracist does that make me?”

David Horowitz: In a December 8, 2008, column headlined “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” Horowitz, editor of the conservative website FrontPage Magazine, blasted “continuing efforts of a fringe group of conservatives to deny Obama his victory and to lay the basis for the claim that he is not a legitimate president” as being “embarrassing and destructive.” He added: “The fact that these efforts are being led by Alan Keyes, a demagogue who lost a Senate election to the then-unknown Obama by 42 points, should be a warning in itself.”

Michael Medved: Medved, a conservative talk-show host, has reportedly referred to the leadership of the so-called “birther” movement as “crazy, nutburger, demagogue, money-hungry, exploitative, irresponsible, filthy conservative imposters” who are “the worst enemy of the conservative movement.” According to a March 1 Politico article, Medved “mourned”: “It makes us look weird. It makes us look crazy. It makes us look demented. It makes us look sick, troubled, and not suitable for civilized company.”

John Avlon: As Media Matters has documented, on the July 17 edition of CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, the Daily Beast columnist Avlon said of the “birther” movement: “What we have here is Obama derangement syndrome. This is pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism.” In his July 22 Daily Beast column, Avlon wrote of Castle’s confrontation with a “birther”:

It’s a sign that Republican centrists are operating at a disadvantage against the party’s wingnut fringe. There is a reluctance to take on the extreme in a full-fledged confrontation, a fight for the future direction of the Republican Party, for fear of provoking grassroots retaliation in a GOP primary. And in this there a tacit admission that the fringe is starting to overlap with the party’s base, pumped up by talk radio and the Internet, bleeding over into cable news and now town halls.

Avlon added that the exchange “is a glimpse at the ugliest underbelly of American politics: an angry and intolerant Nativism that appeals to people’s paranoid fears of ‘the other.’ Its craziness is starting to seep in at the margins and affect our civil discourse.” Avlon is a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, was director of speechwriting and deputy policy director for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign, and is the author of the book, Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics.

Little Green Footballs (LGF): A well-known conservative blog, LGF regularly mocks the Obama birth certificate conspiracy theorists, describing those who ascribe to these beliefs as “nirthers.” According to “The LGF Dictionary,” “nirthers” are “those who believe in the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is not a legitimate citizen of the United States. Comes from a misspelling of ‘Birth Certificate’ that appeared on a Nirther website. The conspiracy itself is sometimes referred to as the ‘nirth certifikit’ theory.” In posting a video clip of Castle’s confrontation with a “nirther,” LGF commented: “It’s beyond appalling how popular this insanity is with the GOP base. What the hell is wrong with these people?”

Allahpundit: Allahpundit, a conservative blogger on the website Hot Air, has recently compared the Obama “birth certificate truthers” to the “9/11 Truthers,” writing in a July 20 post about Castle: “Expect these people to play the same role at GOP primary events in 2012 that 9/11 Truthers played at Democratic rallies last year, occasionally cornering the wary candidate with a video camera to ask if he/she ‘supports a new investigation’ and receiving the same vague, wary assurances that of course he/she will be happy to ‘look into it.’ “

Ed Morrissey: Morrissey, another Hot Air blogger, also has debunked the birth certificate rumors. In a December 4, 2008, Hot Air post, Morrissey wrote:

The state of Hawaii has repeatedly insisted that their records show Obama was born in Hawaii, as the Certificate of Live Birth states. The COLB would get any Hawaii native an American passport with no questions asked, even without the official endorsement of the Republican governor and her Department of Health. There is even a contemporaneous birth announcement in a local paper confirming it.

I’m sure the comments section will fill with various conspiracy theories over Indonesian school records, Kenyan births, and so on. None of it — absolutely none — has any real, solid evidence showing that Obama was born anywhere else than Hawaii apart from sheer speculation and hearsay, and even less evidence that Obama’s stepfather renounced Obama’s birthright citizenship, which he didn’t have the power to do anyway. It’s a conspiracy theory spun by conspiracy theorists (Philip Berg is a 9/11 truther) who use their normal thresholds of evidence for this meme.

Andrew Walden: Walden, a conservative media figure, wrote in an April 1 column for Horowitz’s FrontPageMag.com that “[a] fairly impressive internet industry has sprung up claiming that Obama was born in either Kenya or Indonesia. This is nonsense which distracts from the broadly unexplored story of Obama’s upbringing.” Walden added:

Barack Obama was born in Hawai’i, August 4, 1961 at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu.

Obama’s birth certificate posted online is exactly the same birth certificate everybody in Hawaii gets from the State Department of Health. It is not forged. There is nothing unusual about the design or the texture. In addition to the birth certificate, the August 13, 1961 Honolulu Advertiser also carries an announcement of Obama’s birth. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin also carries the same announcement. Both papers printed an identical list of birth announcements supplied to them by the Hawaii State Department of Health. Conspiracists have made much of the fact that the Territory of Hawaii gave a phony birth certificate in 1904 to Chinese republican leader Sun Yat Sen for diplomatic reasons. But the modern State of Hawaii has never supplied Certification of Live Birth indicating US birth for foreign-born children.

John Hawkins: Hawkins, a conservative blogger and writer, wrote in a June 30 Townhall.com column that while he thinks that “Barack Obama is a shameless liar,” he nevertheless believes: “Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Granted, not everyone on the Right agrees with this assessment, but nevertheless, it’s so.” Hawkins concluded that the “evidence is as definitive as it gets. Obama has a legitimate birth certificate on file, he released a copy of it to the public, and there is a news clipping that confirms he was born in Hawaii in 1961.”

From the July 22 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: Here’s what I don’t understand about these conspiracy theorists: a birth certificate has been shown. That’s not enough. Here’s the birth certificate that has been shown. This is not enough for people, nor is it enough for these people, who should actually be focusing on policies, focusing on the fact that Washington is stealing their money and their children’s money and their grandchildren’s money. But that’s not enough for these people.

And, it also is not enough for these people that the Honolulu newspaper — hey Bender, what’s the Honolulu newspaper?

MIKE BARNICLE (MSNBC political contributor): Advertiser.

SCARBOROUGH: The Honolulu Advertiser, on the day Barack Obama was born 47 years ago, had a birth announcement for Barack Hussein Obama. Now that is not enough for these people. They would rather be like sea lions barking at waves. They would rather, instead of trying to actually figure out what’s happening to their country — the terrible things that are happening economically to their country — they embrace conspiracy theories. And they make themselves just look like cartoon characters.

— J.M.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 26th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 An extremely interesting idea that should be expanded.

It is indeed unacceptable that countries with less freedoms are allowed to misuse courts in countries that provide more freedoms in order to sue in matters for which they do not provide justice in their own country.

The real problem in the following editorial is not that the UK, in this particular case, provides for less freedoms then the US, but the obvious fact that Saudi Arabia provides much less freedoms then in either one of these countries.

The real issue is that the UK should not have allowed the case to go to court in the first place.

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NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL – May 25, 2009

Libel Tourism

American law, with its strong First Amendment traditions, makes it hard to sue authors for libel. To get around these protections, book subjects have been suing American authors in England, where the libel law is much less writer-friendly. Two states — New York and Illinois — have already adopted laws prohibiting “libel tourism,” and several more, including Florida and California, may soon join them.

That is a good start, but it still leaves writers with only a patchwork of protection. Congress needs to pass a law that makes clear that no American court will enforce libel judgments from countries that provide less protection for the written word.

The dangers to authors and free speech are clear in the case of Rachel Ehrenfeld, who wrote a book in 2003 alleging that a prominent Saudi businessman financed terrorism. The book was published in the United States, but because a few copies were sold over the Internet in England, the British courts allowed the businessman to sue for libel.

In British law, writers are at a distinct disadvantage. In some cases, the burden is on them to prove the truth of what they have written, rather than on the subject to prove that it was false. Ms. Ehrenfeld decided not to defend herself because she did not believe she should have to appear before a British court. The Saudi businessman was awarded more than $200,000 in damages.

The House of Representatives passed a bill against libel tourism last year. Peter King, Republican of New York, and Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, are sponsoring a stronger bill, which would, among other things, allow writers in Ms. Ehrenfeld’s position to countersue for treble damages. Congress should pass one of these versions of the law, preferably the tougher one, which has a companion bill in the Senate.

If authors believe they are too vulnerable, they may be discouraged from taking on difficult and important topics, like terrorism financing, or from writing about wealthy and litigious people. That would not only be bad for writers, it would be bad for everyone.

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