About Reliance on Fossil Fuel – You can’t hit 400 ppm CO2 and still think “all of the above” is a rational energy strategy. Where is the leadership? It is feared that Climate Inaction could be a real Obama Administration Scandal.
A lot has happened in the last week. The Earth hit the 400 parts per million CO2 threshold for the first time in human history. Scientists tell us this is bad news if we want to prevent runaway climate change. “If we continue to burn fossil fuels at accelerating rates, if we continue with business as usual, we will cross the 450 parts per million limit in a matter of maybe a couple decades,” scientist Michael Mann told Democracy Now! “We believe that with that amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, we commit to what can truly be described as dangerous and irreversible changes in our climate.”
May 17, 2013 | from Tara Lohan on AlterNet
If you didn’t know this already, we should be listening to Mann and to other scientists. I thought this was settled a long time ago, but someone keeps giving print space to climate deniers, so a new survey of 12,000 peer-reviewed studies on the climate was just completed and the not-so-shocking conclusion was this, as Mother Nature Network reports:
In light of this news, it makes it even more infuriating to see that the Obama administration has spent the week prostrating to the fossil fuel lobby. Here are four disturbing things the administration’s been up to.
1. Moniz Hearts Fracking
Obama tapped nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz to head the Energy Department and the Senate gave a big thumbs-up to Moniz on Thursday. Many environmental groups had concerns that Moniz was too pro-fracking, and those concerns are clearly warranted. Moniz’s first order of business Friday was to clear the way for 20 years of liquified natural gas exports via Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas.
Of course, we’ve already been sold the story that we’re suposed to frack the crap out of the country in the name of energy security, but we knew all along it was for industry profit, right? Brad Jacobson recently detailed for AlterNet about how Congress members are clamoring for export plans to be fast-tracked — although what Americans will get out of the deal
2. Thanks for Nothing, Sally
While the nomination of Moniz disappointed many environmentalists, some were cheered by REI exec Sally Jewell taking over the Interior Department. Those same folks might not be cheering after Jewell announced the Bureau of Land Management’s newest regulations (or lack thereof) for fracking on our public lands.
As Sierra Club’s Michael Brune reported Friday:
3. No Time for Farmers
The group Bold Nebraska reported this week that Obama turned down an invitation to hear from Nebraska farmers and ranchers about their concerns that the Keystone XL pipeline could destroy their livelihoods. Of course, the President is a busy guy, right? And besides, the White House said he was not “taking any meetings on the pipeline.”
Or is he? The group writes:
4. Who Needs the Arctic? (Hint: We Do)
Subhankar Banerjee, a photographer and longtime Arctic activist, was recently appalled by a new report from the Obama administration on the future of the Arctic. And the rest of us should be, too. Banerjee writes about the report:
We know that Obama talks a good talk about climate protection, but his second term has proven thus far that he’s completely out of touch with reality. You can’t hit 400 ppm CO2 and still think “all of the above” is a rationale energy strategy.
Climate Change Adaptation, Not to be Missed
We do post Thomas Friedman, accept that Syria, Iran, and North Korea are run by self-serving nut cases, and that the US and Israel have every right to stockpile the bomb, that is why we now post also Robert Parry’s opposing investigative review so our readers decide who serves them better and when.
The Madness of NYT’s Tom Friedman
11 April 13
hen ranking which multi-millionaire American pundit is the most overrated, there are, without doubt, many worthy contenders, but one near the top of any list must be the New York Times’ Thomas L. Friedman – with his long record of disastrous policy pronouncements including his enthusiasm for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
Friedman, of course, has paid no career price for his misguided judgments and simplistic nostrums. Like many other star pundits who inhabit the Op-Ed pages of the Times and the Washington Post, Friedman has ascended to a place where the normal powers of gravity don’t apply, where the cumulative weight of his errors only lifts him up.
Indeed, there is something profoundly nonsensical about Friedman’s Olympian standing, inhabiting a plane of existence governed by the crazy rules of Washington’s conventional wisdom, where – when looking down on the rest of us – Friedman feels free to cast aspersions on other people’s sanity, like the Mad Hatter calling the Church Mouse nuts.
Friedman describes every foreign adversary who reacts against U.S. dictates as suffering from various stages of insanity. He accepts no possibility that these “designated enemies” are acting out of their own sense of self-interest and even fear of what the United States might be designing.
In last Sunday’s column, for instance, Friedman airily dismissed the leaders of Iran, Syria, North Korea, China and Russia as all operating with screws loose, either totally crazy or fecklessly reckless. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un was a “boy king … who seems totally off the grid.” In Friedman’s view, China is enabling North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship and “could end the freak show there anytime it wants.”
Russia is aiding and abetting both the violence in Syria and the supposed nuclear ambitions of Iran. Friedman asks: “Do the Russians really believe that indulging Iran’s covert nuclear program, to spite us, won’t come back to haunt them with a nuclear-armed Iran, an Islamist regime on its border?”
To Friedman, Bashar al-Assad is simply “Syria’s mad leader,” not a secular autocrat representing Alawites and other terrified minorities fearing a Sunni uprising that includes armed militants associated with al-Qaeda terrorists and promoting Islamic fundamentalism.
You see, according to Friedman and his neoconservative allies, everyone that they don’t like is simply crazy or absorbed with mindless self-interest – and it makes no sense to reason with these insane folks or to propose power-sharing compromises. Only “regime change” will do.
Who’s Detached from Reality?
But the argument could be made that Friedman and the neocons are the people most disconnected from reality – and that the New York Times editors are behaving irresponsibly in continuing to grant Friedman some of the most prestigious space in American journalism to spout his nonsensical ravings.
Looking back at Friedman’s history of recommending violence as the only remedy to a whole host of problems, including in places like Serbia and Iraq, you could reasonably conclude that he’s the real nut case. He’s the one who routinely urges the U.S. government to ignore international law in pursuit of half-baked goals that have spread misery over large swaths of the planet.
In 1999, during the U.S. bombing of Serbia, Friedman showed off his glib warmongering style: “Like it or not, we are at war with the Serbian nation (the Serbs certainly think so), and the stakes have to be very clear: Every week you ravage Kosovo is another decade we will set your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do 1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389 too.”
Before George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, Friedman offered the witty observation that it was time to “give war a chance,” a flippant play on John Lennon’s lyrics to the song, “Give Peace a Chance.”
Yet, even amid his enthusiasm to invade Iraq, Friedman was disappointed by Bush’s clunky rhetoric. So, he hailed the smoother speechifying of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and dubbed himself “a Tony Blair Democrat.” Today, it might seem that anyone foolish enough to take that title – after Blair has gone down in history as “Bush’s poodle” and is now despised even by his own Labour Party – should slink away into obscurity or claim some sort of mental incapacity.
But that isn’t how U.S. punditry works. Once you’ve risen into the firmament of stars like Tommy Friedman, you are beyond the reach of earthly judgments and surely beyond human accountability.
When the Iraq War didn’t go as swimmingly as the neocons expected, Friedman became famous for his repetitious, ever-receding “six month” timeline for detecting progress. Finally, in August 2006, he concluded that the Iraq War wasn’t worth it, that “it is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are babysitting a civil war.” [NYT, Aug. 4, 2006]
At that point, you might have expected the New York Times to drop Friedman from its roster of columnists. After all, the Iraq War’s costs in lives, money and respect for the United States had become staggering. You might even have thought that some accountability would be in order. After all, advocacy of aggressive war is a war crime as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II.
Yet, 12 days after his admission of Iraq War failure, Friedman actually demeaned Americans who had opposed the Iraq War early on as “antiwar activists who haven’t thought a whit about the larger struggle we’re in.” [NYT, Aug. 16, 2006] In other words, according to Friedman, Americans who were right about the ill-fated invasion of Iraq were still airheads who couldn’t grasp the bigger picture that had been so obvious to himself, his fellow pundits and pro-war politicians who had tagged along with Bush and Blair.
As I noted in an article at the time, “it’s as if Official Washington has become a sinister version of Alice in Wonderland. Under the bizarre rules of Washington’s pundit society, the foreign policy ‘experts,’ who acted like Cheshire Cats pointing the United States in wrong directions, get rewarded for their judgment and Americans who opposed going down the rabbit hole in the first place earn only derision.”
Instead of a well-deserved dismissal from the Times and journalistic disgrace, Friedman has continued to rake in big bucks from his articles, his books and his speeches. Meanwhile, his record for accuracy (or even sophisticated insights) hasn’t improved. Regarding foreign policy, he still gets pretty much everything wrong.
As for the supposed madness of America’s “designated enemies,” Friedman refuses to recognize that they might see defensive belligerence as the only rational response to U.S. hostility. After all, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi both accepted U.S. demands for disarmament and both were subsequently attacked by U.S. military force, overthrown and murdered.
So, who in their right mind would accept assurances about the protections of international law when Official Washington and Tommy Friedman see nothing wrong with invading other countries and overthrowing their governments? In view of this recent history, one could argue that the leaders of Iran, Syria and even North Korea are acting rationally within their perceptions of national sovereignty – and concern for their own necks.
Similarly, Russia and China have searched for ways to resolve some of these conflicts, rather than whipping up new confrontations. On the Iranian nuclear dispute, for instance, Russia has worked behind the scenes to broker a realistic agreement that would offer Iran meaningful relief from economic sanctions in exchange for more safeguards on its nuclear program.
It has been the United States that has vacillated between an interest in a negotiated settlement with Iran and the temptation to seek “regime change.” Recently, the Obama administration spurned a Russian push for genuine negotiations with Iran, instead favoring more sanctions and demanding Iranian capitulation.
It should be noted, too, that the Iranian government has renounced any desire to build a nuclear weapon and that the U.S. intelligence community has concluded, since 2007, that Iran ceased work on a nuclear weapon in 2003, a decade ago. Friedman could be called irrational – or at least irresponsible – for not mentioning that fact. And you might wonder why his Times’ editors didn’t demand greater accuracy in his column. Is there no fact-checking of Friedman?
Seeking ‘Regime Change’
Of course, the Times and Friedman have a long pattern of bias on Iran, much as they had on Iraq. For instance, the newspaper and its star columnist heaped ridicule on Turkey and Brazil three years ago when those two U.S. allies achieved a breakthrough in which Iran agreed to ship about half of its low-enriched uranium out of the country in exchange for some medical isotopes. To Friedman, this deal was “as ugly as it gets,” the title of his column.
He wrote: “I confess that when I first saw the May 17  picture of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, joining his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with raised arms – after their signing of a putative deal to defuse the crisis over Iran’s nuclear weapons program – all I could think of was: Is there anything uglier than watching democrats sell out other democrats to a Holocaust-denying, vote-stealing Iranian thug just to tweak the U.S. and show that they, too, can play at the big power table?
“No, that’s about as ugly as it gets.”
Though Friedman did not call Lula da Silva and Erdogan crazy, he did insult them and impugned their motives. He accused them of seeking this important step toward a peaceful resolution of an international dispute “just to tweak the U.S. and show that they, too, can play at the big power table.”
In the column, Friedman also made clear that he wasn’t really interested in Iranian nuclear safeguards; instead, he wanted the United States to do whatever it could to help Iran’s internal opposition overthrow President Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Islamic Republic.
“In my view, the ‘Green Revolution’ in Iran is the most important, self-generated, democracy movement to appear in the Middle East in decades,” Friedman wrote. “It has been suppressed, but it is not going away, and, ultimately, its success – not any nuclear deal with the Iranian clerics – is the only sustainable source of security and stability. We have spent far too little time and energy nurturing that democratic trend and far too much chasing a nuclear deal.”
Just three years later, however, it’s clear how wrongheaded Friedman was. The Green Movement, which was never the mass popular movement that the U.S. media claimed, has largely disappeared.
Analyses of Iran’s 2009 election also revealed that Ahmadinejad did win a substantial majority of the vote. Ahmadinejad, with strong support from the poor especially in more conservative rural areas, defeated the “Green Revolution” candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi by roughly the 2-to-1 margin cited in the official results.
For instance, an analysis by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes concluded that most Iranians voted for Ahmadinejad and viewed his reelection as legitimate, contrary to claims made by much of the U.S. news media. Not a single Iranian poll analyzed by PIPA – whether before or after the election, whether conducted inside or outside Iran – showed Ahmadinejad with less than majority support. None showed Mousavi, a former prime minister, ahead or even close.
“These findings do not prove that there were no irregularities in the election process,” said Steven Kull, director of PIPA. “But they do not support the belief that a majority rejected Ahmadinejad.” [For details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Ahmadinejad Won, Get Over It!"]
Bias Over Journalism
During the Green Movement’s demonstrations, a few protesters threw Molotov cocktails at police (scenes carried on CNN but quickly forgotten by the U.S. news media) and security forces overreacted with repression and violence. But to pretend that an angry minority – disappointed by election results – is proof of a fraudulent election is simply an example of bias, not journalism.
One can sympathize with those who yearn for a secular democracy in Iran – as you may in other religiously structured states including Israel – but a journalist is not supposed to make up his or her own facts, which was what the Times and Friedman did in 2009 on Iran.
Friedman’s contempt for the Turkey-Brazil deal in 2010 also looks pretty stupid in retrospect. At the time, Iran only had low-enriched uranium suitable for energy production but not for building a nuclear weapon. If Iran had shipped nearly half that amount out of the country in exchange for the medical isotopes, Iran might never have upgraded its reactors to refine the uranium to about 20 percent, what was needed for the isotopes and which is much closer to the level of purity needed for a bomb.
There are other relevant facts that a serious analyst would include in the kind of column that Friedman penned last Sunday, including the fact that the United States possesses a military force unrivaled in world history and enough nuclear bombs to kill all life on the planet many times over.
Also relevant to the Iran issue, Israel possesses a rogue nuclear arsenal that is considered one of the world’s most advanced, but Israel has refused to accept any international oversight by rejecting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran has signed and insists it is living by.
An objective – or a rational – observer would consider the unbelievable destructiveness of the U.S. and Israeli nuclear stockpiles as a relevant factor in evaluating the sanity of the supposedly “crazy” leaders of Syria, Iran and North Korea – and their alleged accomplices in Russia and China.
But Friedman operates on a plane of impunity that the rest of us mortals can only dream about. Apparently once you have achieved his punditry status, you never have to say you’re sorry or acknowledge countervailing facts. All you have to do is say that everybody else is crazy.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, “Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush,” was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, “Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq” and “Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’” are also available there.
Far From Reservation, Sisters Lead Louisville.
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
Shoni Schimmel (23) with her sister Jude, right, during Louisville’s win over Baylor last Sunday. Louisville then defeated Tennessee to reach the Final Four.
By JERÉ LONGMAN, Published, The New York Times on-line: April 6, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY — Louisville had just advanced to the women’s Final Four, and the sisters Shoni and Jude Schimmel had helped cut the nets in celebration, a rare achievement for American Indian athletes. But it was not the biggest family news of the day.
Shoni Schimmel leads Louisville in scoring at 14.4 points a game.
As the sisters left the court Tuesday night, their father beamed and their mother waved and flashed her wedding ring. After 25 years of companionship and 8 children, Ceci Moses and Rick Schimmel had been officially married, inspired in part by Louisville’s epic run through the N.C.A.A. tournament, a mother’s deferred dream realized and an accomplishment by her daughters that was as much a cultural triumph as an athletic success.
Although basketball has long been the most popular sport on Indian reservations, seldom has that esteem translated into great performance in the highest college and professional ranks. An N.C.A.A. study indicated that during the 2011-12 academic year, only 21 women and 4 men identified as American Indian/Alaska Native participated among the 10,151 basketball players at the Division I level.
The Schimmel sisters, who belong to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla in eastern Oregon, are not only participating, but also have become indispensable members of Louisville’s team. Shoni Schimmel, a 5-foot-10 junior guard, leads the Cardinals in scoring at 14.4 points a game and has seemingly unlimited range on her arcing 3-point shot. Jude Schimmel, a 5-5 sophomore, is the team’s steady sixth man.
While Jude is quietly reliable, Shoni is a florid passer with a brash on-court personality. She twice scored more than 20 points and was named most outstanding player of the Oklahoma City regional as Louisville upset Baylor, the defending national champion, and Tennessee, which has won eight N.C.A.A. titles.
On Sunday, Louisville (28-8) will face California at the Final Four in New Orleans. Through Shoni’s influence, in particular, the Cardinals have adopted a more structured version of what many call Rez Ball, an up-tempo style that is joyful, feverish and fearless.
“It’s a very rare position they’re in to excel at this level,” said Ryneldi Becenti, a star at Arizona State in the 1990s who is the only female basketball player inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. “I don’t think I’ve heard of any Native American women getting to the Final Four, especially being the biggest part of the team.”
For Tuesday’s victory over Tennessee here in the regional final, Indians from numerous tribes came in support, holding up signs that said “Rez Girls Rock” and “Native Pride” and “Never Give Up.” Many said they viewed the Schimmels as an inspirational counterpoint to the despair of poverty, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, drug addiction and educational indifference often found on reservations.
Depending on the region of the country, 30 percent to more than 50 percent of Indians do not graduate from high school, according to various studies. And many who do leave for college often feel pressure to return in a culture that finds comfort at home, and fear and suspicion in the outside world.
“This shows you can go to college and you don’t have to drink and have babies,” said Glory Thompson, 48, a Cherokee from Holdenville, Okla. “Every step you want to take to get somewhere, it’s out there. Just because you’re Indian doesn’t mean you can’t go.”
Basketball serves a passionate communal purpose and provides an objective measure of success against the bleak statistics of failure on reservations, said Don Wetzel Jr., who operates the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, founded by his father. Stories abound of cars ringing makeshift courts at night, lights on, boundaries marked with flour, players honing their ball-handling skills by wearing gloves or dribbling over rocks.
“A lot of things are holding the tribes down in a lot of ways,” Wetzel said, “but you cross those lines on the court, and it’s an equal playing field. What these Schimmel sisters are doing is really impacting Indian country. It’s all over Facebook, TV. Everybody is cheering for them.”
For as long as she can remember, Shoni Schimmel said, she was obsessed with basketball. By age 2, she was allowed to dribble freely around the house. At 4, she played in her first tournament. By 10 or 12, she said, she sometimes shot outside until 3 in the morning. Her parents knew she was safe “because they could hear me dribbling.”
“Rez Ball,” Shoni said. “It’s run and gun, shoot whenever you’re open, trust in your heart.”
As Shoni entered her junior year of high school and Jude her sophomore year in 2008-9, however, the family left the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Mission, Ore., for Portland. Moses, now 40, began coaching her daughters at Franklin High School. Rick Schimmel, now 44, who is white and played baseball briefly at Stanford, became the assistant coach.
Shoni Schimmel and her mother and ex-coach Ceci Moses, right, were in a documentary about the family called “Off the Rez.”
Shoni Schimmel in the documentary film “Off the Rez,” directed by Jonathan Hock.
Some relatives resisted, but the move was necessary, Moses said. Her own basketball and track career had been disrupted in high school, she said, when she gave birth to her eldest son at 15. Later, she had to settle for basketball at community college, Moses said, because her coach seemed reluctant to promote Indians to university recruiters.
For her daughters, Moses planned a different outcome. To help them gain exposure, they would play at a city school and showcase their talents against top-flight competition.
“I was afraid,” Moses said. “I love the reservation. But I wanted my babies to have a fair opportunity. Plus, I wanted to show people what I could do. Even though I didn’t want to leave the reservation, I told myself: ‘If I don’t do it, my kids are going to follow suit. They’re going to see, well, Mom never left, why should I?’ I wanted to show the kids that if you really want your dream, sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone and go get it.”
Urged by her mother not to limit her college possibilities to the West Coast, Shoni chose Louisville in 2010. The Cardinals had reached the national championship game in 2009. They average 9,500 fans a game and have a coach, Jeff Walz, who cultivates a flamboyant, frantic style that suits her. He also provides what she considers a family-style atmosphere. During inevitable periods of homesickness as a freshman, Shoni even baby-sat for Walz’s two children.
“That made her feel comfortable and needed,” said Jonathan Hock, who directed a documentary about the Schimmel family called “Off the Rez.”
To have her sister Jude now joining her “is amazing,” Shoni said, adding, “I’m so glad I can share it with her.”
Still, Shoni can be a challenge to coach. She leads the team in assists (127) and turnovers (123). In a tense 82-81 victory over Baylor last Sunday, Schimmel made a sublime and maddening play at the same time, dribbling behind her back, flicking a blind shot over the 6-8 Brittney Griner, then screaming at Griner and risking a second technical foul.
“I tell her all the time, she’s talented enough to play for anybody,” Walz said of Shoni. “But not anybody can coach her because she’s going to do some things that make you scratch your head.”
Kim Mulkey, the Baylor coach, complained that the referees had lost control and let the game become too personal among the players. Shoni shrugged and said her barking was just an exhale of emotion. She apparently is not the only family member who acts on the spur of the moment.
On a 26-hour drive to Oklahoma City from Portland, Rick Schimmel joked with his wife that Louisville would beat Baylor because the game was on “Easter Sunday, a day of miracles.” O.K., Moses said, “If they win, I’ll marry you.”
On Tuesday, the couple married in a chapel near the county courthouse, records indicate. Their daughters could not attend because of a shoot-around practice. Hours later, after Louisville defeated Tennessee and their parents debated whether to drive to New Orleans and the Final Four, Shoni and Jude greeted about 30 Indian fans who had waited for the team bus.
“It’s a blessing to show other people you can make it; coming off a reservation, you can do whatever you want,” Shoni said. “You’ve got to set your mind to it and believe in yourself. It’s indescribable how I feel that they’re following me and supporting me.”
The Climate Reality Project, The Sierra Club, others, band now to create a movement to take dirty energy money out of politics. New York State needs State funding for elections and the whole system needs a new generation of Climate Leaders. The rest of the world needs dito.
This year, the Climate Reality Project will conduct trainings around the world for the next generation of Climate Leaders, who will in turn become part of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Already, more than 4,000 Climate Leaders from 58 countries are educating people about the climate crisis and how we can solve it. I want to personally invite you to join this global community of change-makers.
More than ever before, the climate crisis is creating a new reality for millions around the world. From Australian farmers losing their crops to bushfires, to New Yorkers rebuilding neighborhoods devastated by Superstorm Sandy, to crippling droughts throughout Central and Eastern Asia, Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. that are compromising the regions’ food security—the consequences of the climate crisis are growing more intense. Even as the severity of the climate crisis grows, many people don’t yet understand how it touches them personally or what they can do about it.
In a three-day training, including sessions that I lead, Climate Leaders learn the latest climate science and best practices for connecting the dots between the facts about climate change and the daily lives of their audiences, in simple and accessible terms. They emerge as energized and skilled communicators with the knowledge, tools, and passion to educate and empower diverse audiences and communities to help solve the climate crisis. I invite you to become a part of this network.
Together, we have an enormous opportunity to communicate the reality of climate change. With your help as a Climate Leader, we can do this person by person, family by family, and city by city. I have faith that when enough minds are changed, we will cross a threshold, and we can accomplish this goal together. Apply to join us today.
Big Money from Big Polluters has polluted our democracy. The coal, fracking, and other big polluting industries have spent approximately $10 million since 2000 writing checks to politicians to try to get their way.
And just yesterday we get another huge scandal involving campaign finance in Albany and New York City. Governor Cuomo and state legislative leaders have already expressed their desire to pass legislation that would fix these problems. Major newspapers have even said this is the next big fight in Albany. But for our leaders to act, they need to hear from you that we are ready to stand up and fight for it.
A coal-fired power plant or fracking well might give us asthma, heart attacks, or cancer. But the money those same polluters spend on politicians is just as damaging — causing gridlock in Albany, giving them permission to pollute more, and preventing New York from moving to the clean energy, 21st century economy that we deserve.
Getting big money out means your voice, and the voice of other average New Yorkers, will be heard above the lobbyists and big donors.
Fair Elections will transform how Albany does business by empowering small donors, lowering campaign contribution limits, ending lobbyists’ pay-to-play schemes, and encouraging stronger enforcement and transparency. Our leaders want to take the necessary next steps, but they need to hear you are behind them.
Hundreds of you joined Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director, and Governor Andrew Cuomo last month as they told New Yorkers how fair, citizen-funded elections can put environmental priorities on the level with the fracking lobbyists and corporate polluters. Dozens of other good government, labor, environmental and social justice organizations are collecting signatures on the same petition. Together we can make fair elections a reality.
Thanks for all you do to protect the environment,
P.S. After you take action, be sure to forward this alert to your friends and colleagues!
 National Institute on Money in State Politics, FollowtheMoney.org “Industry Influence – New York – Energy & Natural Resources Contributions to All Candidates and Committees 2000 – 2012“
New York Citilore, as part of a program for bridging cultures, is setting up a National tour of Poetic Voices of the Muslim World. It started in Los Angeles and Jaksonville, Florida this March, and will reach Washington DC and Milwaukee in September. Then to Detroit and New York City in March 2014.
Bridging Cultures: Poetic Voices of the Muslim World • After over a year of planning and hard work by City Lore Director of Poetry Programs, Catherine Fletcher, City Lore is proud and excited to announce the launch of Poetic Voices of the Muslim World, a two-year initiative funded by NEH’s Bridging Cultures grant comprising programs and performances presented against the backdrop of a traveling exhibition and companion website, that will be presented in six cities across the country. www.Citylore.org
Incorporating dialogue and performance, music and visual art to celebrate poetry of rare power and beauty — including ancient oral traditions still practiced today, literary forms that have flourished for more than a millennium and contemporary poetic arts — Poetic Voices of the Muslim World was developed in collaboration with national poetry library and literary center Poets House to fully explore the crucial role that poetry plays in Muslim cultures.
The initiative opened in Los Angeles and Jacksonville, Florida, in March 2013; will move to Washington, D.C. and Milwaukee in September 2013;
See the website (still in progress) and explore the exhibit here.
Spiritual People, like in the Talmud, and the Rest-of-Us, realize that Satiety is the feeling of being Satisfied, and is superior to Obesity or self-aflicting Fasting. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as the old Greeks, Buddhist, Confucian, and Hindu traditions preached it without having a Bloomberg on board.
We decided on this posting, not just because of the New York Times Op-Ed Article of today, but in effect we followed the subject watching the fate of Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts in New York to legislate the decrease of intake of sugar by his charges in the city – efforts that were overturned by a judge who thinks you cannot force people to do the right thing for themselves if this right thing harms the interests of the lobby of the sugar industry. We had a chance to talk about this in Vienna as well, and clearly agriculture interests here are just as opposed to get people to use less sugar, as their co-professionals in the US.
But then last Saturday I had a chance to sit in at an Ayurveda class and learned about ethics and healthy food. The meeting was at the Sant Mat Center at Siebensterngasse 16a/2 in the 7th District – 1070 Vienna.
Dr. Daniel Scheidbach was the speaker and a Text-book was on the table.
www.santmat.at – www.ayurveda-akademie.org — www.yourdosha.at — are sights to get further information.
The system here is that one has to enjoy his food and has to go about with ethics in choosing his food. The system is vegetarian plus milk. No meat, fish or foul or eggs are allowed. The vegetables are eaten cooked and not raw.
The elements are Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth and our body has Vata, Pitta, and Kapha elements that describe our own nature. Bitter, Sour, Sweet, Salty are our tastes and they are determined by our nature. Each person will adjust his food to his nature and you have the license to eat whenever you feel hungry. Children start out as Kappa and can emerge. I got the feeling that the body is holy and you are supposed to enjoy the intakes.
You eat breakfast, a main meal and in the evening before 6 PM – no snacks unless you are hungry.
You take in one third solids, one third liquids and you leave one third for your VPK. You always make sure you drank enough.
You never eat yogurt at night and you drink milk warm – not cold – and not plain but with Ghee.
The best position for eating is Vastu – South East – that is where the sun power emanates.
My purpose in bringing up this introduction is to show that it is not just the monotheistic Abrahamic religions that dealt with the relationship between our body as a Holy shrine and the food we take in – as such the following article becomes even more to the point. We must push back the forces of commercialism that make us overeat – this because we want to be healthy in mind and body. Power to Mayor Bloomberg who is out on his one man crusade to show the Americans that health care starts at home by opposing the media that makes us over-eat and obese, or alternatively bulimic and self starved.
Kerstin and Mark Rosenberg have established the Ayurveda Yoga Academy at Birstein, Germany, and on April 6, 2013 will celebrate 20 years since the inroad this Yoga system made in Europe.
An Advertisement: Ayurveda Ausbildung
Ayurveda Anwendungen Abhyanga Shirodhara usw www.gloriet-ayurveda.at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
THE TALMUD AND OTHER DIET BOOKS
Published: March 26, 2013
Related: “Anti-Bloomberg Bill” — Mississippi Bars Local Restrictions on Food and Drink (March 14, 2013)
HARDLY a week goes by without yet another study documenting the increasing prevalence of obesity in America. Most of us take seriously the fact that close to 70 percent of American adults are now either overweight or obese, and most are willing to consider various ways to mitigate the problem.
Perhaps a different approach can be considered, one that begins from within. Instead of fixating on indulgence and excess, as do so many top-down and outside-in efforts, we should focus on what it means for each individual to be sated.
Satiety, the feeling of being satisfied, is inherently idiosyncratic: everyone has her or his own sensation of being full. What sates my hunger will be different from what sates yours. Nevertheless, what sates our hunger will be less than what you might imagine.
The prophet Isaiah, for example, inveighed against the Israelites for vainly fasting when so much injustice surrounded them. Such fasting, and particularly fasting only for self-affliction, was sinful, rabbis of the Talmud said. But the Talmud also counseled “removing your hand from a meal that pleases you.”
Christianity, especially through the teachings of Pope Gregory I and Thomas Aquinas, identifies gluttony as a mortal sin. More than just excessive desire for food, gluttony involves eating irregularly (snacking), being preoccupied with eating, consuming costly (sumptuous or unhealthy) foodstuffs and being fastidious about food. And the Koran insists that improper and wasteful eating incurs God’s wrath. Eat well and live well, Islam teaches.
However absurd this may seem to us today, it made physiological sense in the premodern world as the emotions were considered physical things that, like food and drink, were metabolized by the body. A body stuffed with food and drink is full only of biology; it leaves no room for biography, for what makes us human.
Of course, one need not be a theist to experience satiety. One needs only a belly. Perhaps these old ideas could inspire new ways of addressing the complex weight problem in America. They could help us reduce the amount of food we put on our plates, which would lower the tonnage of otherwise good food discarded every day. And they could mitigate the costly and debilitating diseases associated with our current eating practices.
This approach is personalized: everyone is empowered to be in control of his own satiety. It is adaptable, changing as a person ages and ails. And although it is not exactly nonhierarchical if you believe it’s God’s will, at least it is not imposed by any human government. Finally, it is sustainable, as it promotes a culture that views limitless consumption with suspicion. Capitalism may abhor contentedness, but our bodies need us to heed it.
We have to realize that enough is enough. We should stop asking ourselves, “Am I full?” and start asking, “Am I satisfied?”
Jonathan K. Crane, a rabbi, is a professor of bioethics and Jewish thought at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Emory University is a private research university in metropolitan Atlanta, located in the Druid Hills section of unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. Founded: 1836. It has a very good department for Judaic studies.
Address: 201 Dowman Dr, Atlanta, GA 30322
Acceptance rate: 26.7% (2011)
Enrollment: 13,893 (2011)
Googling for “What If: Imagining the Habsburg Monarchy as Today’s Center of the World” I got the following links on page 1.
The idea seems fascinating and not farfetched and it serves as a title of a new book that is being presented by Central European and Germanic institutions in New York City. Considering that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was in effect a multicultural United Nations of its time – it is fascinating to think what it could have meant as an example for today’s European Union and even the UN. We were flabbergasted finding ourselves in the google list – reference # 4 as we also ask – what if the rather benevolent Habsburgian Dictatorship would have survived and become a model for empire building that allows for the benefits of multiculturalism as an ideal Alliance of Civilizations? What if?
What if? This question is the central theme of the book in German titled Der Komet, written by Hannes Stein, and published by Galiani in Berlin, Germany.
What if the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand had not been shot in Sarajevo? What if the 20th century had never existed? What if the house of Hapsburg still existed today? What if Auschwitz had just been a railway junction in Galicia? What if the Germans had not started two World Wars and organized the largest genocide in history but had settled the moon instead? What if Lenin had died in Zurich as an unknown journalist?
“Absurd and believable, strange and ridiculous, sophisticated and surprising, wonderful and bizarre, hilarious and tragic, completely unconventional: a fabulous book dealing with a fantastic world in which you lose yourself in its obliqueness” – Vea Kaiser
Hannes Stein (born 1965 in Munich) grew up in Salzburg. He studied English and American studies as well as philosophy in Hamburg. After spending a long time in Israel, Stein immigrated to the US where he currently lives in Riverdale. He worked as a journalist for various German newspapers and magazines (FAZ, Spiegel, Cicero, Merkur) and has been the editor of “Literarische Welt” in Berlin. At present, he works as cultural
Theater Nestroyhof – Hamakom • Nestroyplatz 1 • 1020 Wien • T +43 1 8900 314 • F +43 1 8900 314 – 15 • firstname.lastname@example.org
BUCHPRÄSENTATION - MARCH 17, 2013, 7 PM
Der Schlüsselsatz dieses Buches findet sich ziemlich weit hinten, gesprochen wird er anno 1914, am 28. Juni, vom österreichischen Thronfolger. Er lautet „I bin doch ned deppat, i fohr wieder z´haus“. Sprach‘s, kehrte auf dem Absatz um, und ging samt leicht verletzter Gattin zurück nach Wien.
Grade waren sie in Sarajewo beim Weg in die Stadt von einem Attentäter mit einer Bombe beworfen worden, die gerade noch einmal abgewehrt werden konnte – möglichen weiteren Angriffen wollte er sich und seine geliebte Frau nicht aussetzen.
Hätte er dies damals wirklich so gemacht, wäre es nie zu dem zweiten Attentat am selben Tag gekommen und die Welt könnte so aussehen, wie sie es in Hannes Steins Debütroman tut.
Es gab keinen ersten Weltkrieg und damit auch keinen zweiten, einen ‚kalten‘ solchen natürlich erst recht nicht. Seit Jahrzehnten herrscht Friede auf der Welt (von einigen japanischen Aggressionen gegen asiatische Anrainerstaaten abgesehen). Amerika ist ein unterentwickelter Kontinent, der weitgehend von Cowboys und Hinterwäldlern besiedelt ist. Technische Neuerungen gehen in aller Regel von Deutschland aus, einem weitgehend charmefreien doch hocherfolgreichen Land der Erfinder, Bastler und Tüftler: eine Art Strebernation im europäischen Staatsklassenzimmer. Frankreich, die Schweiz und San Marino sind die einzigen Republiken, der Rest Europas ist solide in der Hand uralter Monarchien.
Wien wiederum, wo Hannes Steins Der Komet spielt, ist das ziemlich behäbige Zentrum der westlichen und damit der ganzen Welt (denn in den britischen, französischen und deutschen Kolonien tut sich nicht viel), eine Stadt voller Juden und Psychoanalytiker und natürlich einem Monarchen – Seiner Kaiserlichen und Königlichen Majestät, Franz Joseph II.
In dieser Szenerie lässt Hannes Stein seinen jungen und etwas tumben Protagonisten Alexej von Repkin eine Liaison mit einer verheirateten Gesellschaftsdame eingehen, deren Mann gerade auf dem Mond weilt (eine deutsche Kolonie, auf der der Österreicher aber in seiner Eigenschaft als k.u.k Hofastronom arbeiten darf). Die Nachrichten allerdings, die er von dort sendet, sind dramatisch. Ein Komet rast auf Kollisionskurs auf die Erde zu. Voraussichtlicher Einschlagtermin: Mitte September 2001.
Discussion by Hannes Stein (cultural correspondent for Welt), in conversation with Martin Rauchbauer (Director of Deutsches Haus at NYU).
Would have Phoenix, Oshkosh, or at least Philadelphia, have been a better location for a UN thinking about focusing the attention of its staff on the work they were hired to do – rather then on socializing?
Al Gore, the former “Mr. Internet”: ” We’re in Trouble” – we need open “public squares” on the Internet for the discussion of the best solutions to emerging challenges and the best strategies for seizing opportunities. It also means protecting the public forum from dominance by elites and special interests with agendas that are inconsistent with the public interest.
Gore writes: “Our first priority should be to restore our ability to communicate clearly and candidly with one another in a broadly accessible forum about the difficult choices we have to make.”
We’re in Trouble
By Al Gore, Salon
10 February 10
ore than 1,800 years ago, the last of Rome’s “Five Good Emperors,” Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, wrote, “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” His advice is still sound, though soon after his reign the Roman Empire began the long process of dissolution that culminated in its overthrow 300 years later.
Arming ourselves with the “weapons of reason” is necessary but insufficient. The emergence of the Global Mind presents us with an opportunity to strengthen reason-based decision making, but the economic and political systems within which we implement even the wisest decisions are badly in need of repair. Confidence in both market capitalism and representative democracy has fallen because both are obviously in need of reform. Fixing both of these macro-tools should be at the top of the agenda for all of us who want to help shape humanity’s future.
Our first priority should be to restore our ability to communicate clearly and candidly with one another in a broadly accessible forum about the difficult choices we have to make. That means building vibrant and open “public squares” on the Internet for the discussion of the best solutions to emerging challenges and the best strategies for seizing opportunities. It also means protecting the public forum from dominance by elites and special interests with agendas that are inconsistent with the public interest.
It is especially important to accelerate the transition of democratic institutions to the Internet. The open access individuals once enjoyed to the formerly dominant print-based public forum fostered the spread of democracy and elevated the role of reason and fact-based public discourse. But the massive shift in the last third of the twentieth century from print to television as the primary medium of communication stifled democratic discourse and gave preferential access to those with wealth and power. This shift eclipsed the role of reason, diminished the importance of collective searches for the best available evidence, and elevated the role of money in politics – particularly in the United States – thereby distorting our search for truth and degrading our ability to reason together.
The same is true for the news media. The one-way, advertiser-dominated, conglomerate-controlled television medium has been suffocating the free flow of ideas necessary for genuine self-determination. In 2012, for example, it was nothing short of bizarre when the United States held its quadrennial presidential election in the midst of epic climate-related disasters – including a widespread drought affecting more than 65 percent of the nation, historic fires spreading across the West, and an epic hybrid hurricane and nor’easter that shut down large portions of New York City for the second time in two years – with not a single question about the climate crisis from any member of the news media in any of the campaign debates.
The profit-driven blurring of the line between entertainment and news, the growing influence of large advertisers on the content of news programs, and the cynical distortion of news narratives by political operatives posing as news executives have all degraded the ability of the Fourth Estate to maintain sufficient integrity and independent judgment to adequately perform their essential role in democracy.
The Internet offers a welcome opportunity to reverse this degradation of democracy and reestablish a basis for healthy self-governance once again. Although there is as yet no standard business model that yields sufficient profit to support high-quality investigative journalism on the Internet, the expansion of bandwidth to accommodate more and higher-quality video on the Internet may soon make profitable business models viable. In addition, the use of hybrid public/private models for the support of excellence in Internet-based journalism should be vigorously pursued.
The loss of privacy and data security on the Internet must be quickly addressed. The emergent “stalker economy,” based on the compilation of large digital files on individuals who engage in e-commerce, is exploitive and unacceptable. Similarly, the growing potential for the misuse by governments of even larger digital files on the personal lives of their citizens – including the routine interception of private communications – poses a serious threat to liberty and must be stopped. Those concerned about the quality of freedom in the digital age must make new legal protections for privacy a priority.
The new digital tools that provide growing access to the Global Mind should be exploited in the rapid development of personalized approaches to health care, what is now being called “precision medicine,” and of self-tracking tools to reduce the cost and increase the efficacy of these personalized approaches to medicine. The same Internet-empowered precision should be applied to the speedy development of a “circular economy,” characterized by much higher levels of recycling, reuse, and efficiency in the use of energy and materials.
Capitalism, like democracy, must also be reformed. The priority for those who agree that it is crucial to restore the usefulness of capitalism as a tool for reclaiming control of our destiny should be to insist upon full, complete, and accurate measurements of value. So-called externalities that are currently ignored in standard business accounting must be fully integrated into market calculations. For example, it is simply no longer acceptable to pretend that large streams of harmful pollution do not exist where profit and loss statements are concerned.
Global warming pollution, in particular, should carry a price. Placing a tax on CO2 is the place to start. The revenue raised could be returned to taxpayers, or offset by equal reductions in other taxes – on payrolls, for example. Placing a steadily declining limit on emissions and allowing the trading of emission rights within those limits is an alternative that would also work. For those nations worried about the competitive consequences of acting in the absence of global agreement, the rules of the World Trade Organization allow the imposition of border adjustments on goods from countries that do not put a tax on carbon pollution.
The principles of sustainability – which are designed, above all, to ensure that we make intelligent choices to improve our circumstances in the present without degrading our prospects in the future – should be fully integrated into capitalism. The ubiquitous incentives built into capitalism – which embody the power of capitalism to unleash human ingenuity and productivity – should be carefully designed to ensure that they are aligned with the goals that are being pursued. Compensation systems, for example, should be carefully scrutinized by investors, managers, boards of directors, consumers, regulators, and all stakeholders in every enterprise – no matter its size.
Our current reliance on gross domestic product (GDP) as the compass by which we guide our economic policy choices must be reevaluated. The design of GDP – and the business accounting systems derived from it – is deeply flawed and cannot be safely used as a guide for economic policy decisions. For example, natural resources should be subject to depreciation and the distribution of personal income should be included in our evaluation of whether economic policies are producing success or failure. Capitalism requires acceptance of inequality, of course, but “hyper” levels of inequality – such as those now being produced – are destructive to both capitalism and democracy.
The value of public goods should also be fully recognized – not systematically denigrated and attacked on ideological grounds. In an age when robosourcing and outsourcing are systematically eliminating private employment opportunities at a rapid pace, the restoration of healthy levels of macroeconomic demand is essential for sustainable growth. The creation of more public goods – in health care, education, and environmental protection, for example – is one of the ways to provide more employment opportunities and sustain economic vibrancy in the age of Earth Inc.
Sustainability should also guide the redesign of agriculture, forestry, and fishing. The reckless depletion of topsoil, groundwater reserves, the productivity of our forests and oceans, and genetic biodiversity must be halted and reversed.
In order to stabilize human population growth, we must prioritize the education of girls, the empowerment of women, the provision of ubiquitous access to the knowledge and techniques of fertility management, and the continued raising of child survival rates. The world now enjoys a durable consensus on the efficacy of these four strategies – used in combination – to bring about the transition to smaller families, lower death rates, lower birth rates, and stabilized population levels. Wealthy countries must support these efforts in their own self-interest. Africa should receive particular attention because of its high fertility rate and threatened resource base.
Two other demographic realities should also command priority attention: The continued urbanization of the world’s population should be seen as an opportunity to integrate sustainability into the design and construction of low-carbon, low-energy buildings, the use of sustainable architecture and design to make urban spaces more efficient and productive, and the redesign of urban transportation systems to minimize both energy use and pollution flows. And second, the aging of populations in the advanced economies – and in some emerging markets, like China – should be seen as an opportunity for the redesign of health strategies and income support programs in order to take into account the higher dependency ratios that threaten the viability of using payroll taxes as the principal source of funding for these programs.
With respect to the revolution in the life sciences, we should place priority on the development of safeguards against unwise permanent alterations in the human gene pool. Now that we have become the principal agents of evolution, it is crucially important to recognize that the pursuit of short-term goals through human modification can be dangerously inconsistent with the long-term best interests of the human species. As yet, however, we have not developed adequate criteria – much less decision-making protocols – for use in guiding such decisions. We must do so quickly.
Similarly, the dominance of the profit motive and corporate power in decisions about the genetic modification of animals and plants- particularly those that end up in the food supply-are beginning to create unwise risks. Commonsense procedures to analyze these risks according to standards that are based on the protection of the long-term public interest are urgently needed.
The continued advance of technological development will bring many blessings, but human values must be preserved as we evaluate the deployment and use of powerful new technologies. Some advances warrant caution and careful oversight: the proliferation of nanomaterials, synthetic life-forms, and surveillance drones are examples of new technologies rife with promise and potential, but in need of review and safeguards.
There are already several reckless practices that should be immediately stopped: the sale of deadly weapons to groups throughout the world; the use of antibiotics as a livestock growth stimulant; drilling for oil in the vulnerable Arctic Ocean; the dominance of stock market trading by supercomputers with algorithms optimized for high-speed, high-frequency trades that create volatility and risk of market disruptions; and utterly insane proposals for blocking sunlight from reaching the Earth as a strategy to offset the trapping of heat by ever-mounting levels of global warming pollution. All of these represent examples of muddled and dangerous thinking. All should be seen as test cases for whether or not we have the will, determination, and stamina to create a future worthy of the next generations.
Finally, the world community desperately needs leadership that is based on the deepest human values. Though this book is addressed to readers in the world at large, it is intended to carry a special and urgent message to the citizens of the United States of America, which remains the only nation capable of providing the kind of global leadership needed.
For that reason, and for the pride that Americans ought to feel in what the United States has represented to humanity for more than two centuries, it is crucial to halt the degradation and decline of America’s commitment to a future in which human dignity is cherished and human values are protected and advanced. Two priority goals for those who wish to take action are limiting the role of money in politics and reforming outdated and obfuscatory legislative rules that allow a small minority to halt legislative action in the U.S. Senate.
Human civilization has reached a fork in the road we have long traveled. One of two paths must be chosen. Both lead us into the unknown. But one leads toward the destruction of the climate balance on which we depend, the depletion of irreplaceable resources that sustain us, the degradation of uniquely human values, and the possibility that civilization as we know it would come to an end. The other leads to the future.
Excerpted from ”The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change“ by Al Gore. Published by Random House. Copyright 2013.
MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE NEW YORK – ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE UNITED NATIONS
226 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017
presents on Thursday, February 21st, 2013
“AMERICA’S SOUL IN THE BALANCE” – a new book about the WWII US Department of State – by Gregory J. Wallace.
At the height of World War II, four lawyers in the U.S. Treasury Department discovered that the highly educated, patrician diplomats in the State Department had covered up reports of the Nazi extermination scheme—and then blocked the rescue of 70,000 Romanian Jews forcibly marched into the Nazi-conquered Ukraine and left to die of starvation and disease. The Treasury lawyers charged the diplomats with being “accomplices of Hitler.” The stakes were nothing less than the fates of countless European Jews, the historical reputation of FDR, and the soul of America itself.
Gregory J. Wallance uses rarely cited archival documents, memoirs, diaries, and transcripts to construct this gripping, nonfiction Washington political thriller. With exceptional narrative prowess, he examines the anti-Semitism and extraordinary heartlessness of the wartime State Department, whose behavior is a cautionary tale for world leaders weighing the costs of intervention to stop genocide.
The author is a partner at the law firm of Kaye Scholer LLP in New York; a former federal prosecutor; and the author of Two Men Before the Storm and Papa’s Game. He was a producer of the HBO movie “Sakharov,” which was an outgrowth of a 1979 human rights mission to the Soviet Union in which he represented families of refuseniks – Jews punished for attempting to emigrate to Israel – and personally presented legal petitions on their behalf to Soviet authorities.
Jessica Lang is Associate Professor of English and the William Newman Director of the Jewish Studies Center. Her specialization is in contemporary Jewish Literature, early American fiction, and women’s fiction.
$10.00 – General Admission
Seating is limited. Registration is required.
For more information contact Melissa Hooper via email or call (212) 697-1180 ext. 102
Asia is poorer in water then Africa, and China’s Tibetan Plateau dominates Asia water supply and could impact all other States. Professor Brahma Chellaney of New Delhi publicizes these problems in his books.
Bernard Schwartz Book Award Luncheon.
THE ASIA SOCIETY, NEW YORK CITY
Water: Asia’s New Battleground, by Brahma Chellaney, was named winner of the 2012 Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award for its outstanding contribution to advancing the understanding of contemporary Asia.
In his timely and insightful book, Dr. Chellaney describes water stress as Asia’s defining crisis of the 21st century, creating obstacles to continued rapid economic growth, stoking interstate tensions over shared resources, exacerbating long-time territorial disputes, and imposing further hardships on the poor.
23 January 2013
12:00pm – 2:30pm
725 Park Ave
Honoring 2012 Winner, ‘Water: Asia’s New Battleground,’ by Brahma Chellaney
I read that Brahma Chellaney is professor of strategic studies at the privately funded Center for Policy Research in New Delhi.
Looking up the list of our postings on www.SustainabiliTank.info I found that in effect we have quite a few postings by him or about him.
Please see – www.sustainabilitank.info/?s=Brahma+Chellaney
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
Saturday, February 6th, 2010
With the Fall of the Berlin Wall the West shunned sanctions against China for the 1989 Tiananmen killings in favor of liberalizing the country through investment and trade. India opened up in 1989 with loss of its Soviet trading partner. Further – On the positive side – the democratization of Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Chile; On the negative side – failed states in Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iran. In toto Asia was a winner from the falling of the wall but it also created a new authoritarian capitalism.
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
Tuesday, April 8th, 2008
Thursday, August 31st, 2006
This is an amazing versatility and I was glad to have the chance to listen to him in person at the Asia Society event.
Looking at the internet I found that Professor Chellaney is a Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, an independent think-tank; a member of the Board of Governors of the National Book Trust of India; and a nonresident affiliate with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. He has been a Fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, which through the Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize annually. He was formerly a member of the Policy Advisory Group headed by the External Affairs Minister of India.
Professor Chellaney is widely regarded as one of India’s leading strategic thinkers and analysts, and is also a well-known newspaper and television commentator on international affairs. Stanley Weiss in the International Herald Tribune, for example, called him “one of India’s top strategic thinkers,” while The Guardian has described him as “a respected international affairs analyst and author.” He is very well known as a commentator on regional and international issues in the field of strategic affairs, including larger Asian strategic issues and non-traditional subjects like water security, energy security and climate security.
He is one of the authors of India’s nuclear doctrine and its first strategic defense review. Those contributions came when Professor Chellaney was an adviser to India’s National Security Council until January 2000, serving as convenor of the External Security Group of the National Security Advisory Board, as well as member of the Board’s Nuclear Doctrine Group.
Now Professor Chellaney became the first Bernard Schwartz awardee – an Asia Society prize – living outside the Anglosphere. The topic of his book is:
China’s Hydro-Hegemony - and this translates into the clear vision that as the Tibetan Plateau is source for most rivers in Asia, and water is resource more important then oil, China is destined to be the most important power in Asia. As simple as that.
“Water: Asia’s New Battleground” (L) by Brahma Chellaney (R).
Map © Brahma Chellaney, “Water: Asia’s New Battleground” (Georgetown University Press)
Mr. Chellaney, in his travel to publicize this last book published the following article about China in the International Herald Tribune: February 8, 2013, just several days after a posting of January 31, 2013 – “Neighbours leave India high and dry for its water supply.” Then we understand that Mr. Chellaney is already working on another volume – “ “Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis.”
ASIA is the world’s most water-stressed continent, a situation compounded by China’s hydro-supremacy in the region. Beijing’s recent decision to build a slew of giant new dams on rivers flowing to other countries is thus set to roil riparian relations.
China — which already boasts more large dams than the rest of the world put together and has unveiled a mammoth $635-billion fresh investment in water infrastructure over the next decade — has emerged as the key obstacle to building institutionalized collaboration on shared water resources in Asia.
In contrast to the bilateral water treaties between many of its neighbors, China rejects the concept of a water-sharing arrangement or joint, rules-based management of common resources.
For example, in rejecting the 1997 United Nations convention that lays down rules on shared water resources, Beijing placed on record its contention that an upstream power has the right to assert absolute territorial sovereignty over the waters on its side of the international boundary — or the right to divert as much water as it wishes for its needs, irrespective of the effects on a downriver state.
Today, by building megadams and reservoirs in its borderlands, China is working to re-engineer the flows of major rivers that are the lifeline of lower riparian states.
China is the source of transboundary river flows to the largest number of countries in the world — from Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to the states in the Indochina peninsula and southern Asia. This pre-eminence resulted from its absorption of the ethnic-minority homelands that now make up 60 percent of its landmass and are the origin of all the international rivers flowing out of Chinese-held territory. No other country in the world comes close to the hydro-hegemony that China has established.
Since the last decade, China’s dam building has been moving from dam-saturated internal rivers to international rivers. Most of the new megaprojects designated recently by China’s state council as priority ventures are concentrated in the country’s seismically active southwest, which is largely populated by ethnic minorities. Such dam building is triggering new ethnic tensions over displacement and submergence.
The state council approved an array of new dams on the Salween, Brahmaputra and Mekong rivers, which originate on the Tibetan plateau and flow to southern and southeastern Asia. The unveiling of projects on the Brahmaputra evoked Indian diplomatic concern at a time when water has emerged as a new Chinese-Indian divide, while the Salween projects end the suspension of dam building on that river announced eight years ago.
The Salween — known in Chinese as Nu Jiang, or the “Angry River” — is Asia’s last largely free-flowing river, running through deep, spectacular gorges and glaciated peaks on its way to Burma and Thailand.
Its upstream basin is inhabited by at least a dozen different ethnic groups and rated as one of the world’s most biologically diverse regions, home to more than 5,000 plant species and nearly half of China’s animal species. No sooner had this stunning region, known as the Three Parallel Rivers, been added to the World Heritage List by Unesco in 2003 than Beijing unveiled plans for a cascade of dams near the area.
The international furor that followed led Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to suspend work. The reversal of that suspension, significantly, comes before Wen and President Hu Jintao step down as part of the country’s power transition.
The third international river cited by the state council in its new project approvals has already been a major target of Chinese dam building. Chinese engineers have constructed six megadams on the Mekong, including the 4,200-megawatt Xiaowan, and a greater water appropriator, the 5,850-megawatt Nuozhadu, whose first generator began producing electricity last September.
Asia needs institutionalized water cooperation because it awaits a future made hotter and drier by climate and environmental change and resource depletion. The continent’s water challenges have been exacerbated by growing consumption, unsustainable irrigation practices, rapid industrialization, pollution and geopolitical shifts.
Asia has morphed into the most likely flash point for water wars. Several countries are currently engaged in dam building on transnational rivers. The majority of these dams are being financed and built by Chinese state entities. Most Chinese-aided dam projects in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar indeed are designed to pump electricity into China’s southern electricity grid, with the lower riparians bearing the environmental and social costs.
But it is China’s dam-building spree at home — reflected in the fact that it boasts half of the 50,000 large dams in the world — that carries the greatest international implications and obstructs the development of an Asian rules-based order.
China has made the control and manipulation of natural-river flows a fulcrum of its power and economic development. Although promoting multilateralism on the world stage, it has given the cold shoulder to multilateral cooperation among basin nations — as symbolized, for example, by the Mekong River Commission — and rebuffed efforts by states sharing its rivers to seek bilateral water-sharing arrangements.
Beijing already has significant financial, trade and political leverage over most of its neighbors. Now, by building an asymmetric control over cross-border flows, it is seeking to have its hand on Asia’s water tap.
Given China’s unique riparian position and role, it will not be possible to transform the Asian water competition into cooperation without Beijing playing a leadership role to develop a rules-based system.
Posted on January 31, 2013 by Chellaney
The National, February 1, 2013
Asia, not Africa, is the world’s driest continent. The gap between demand and supply is growing in China, India, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia.
This raises a question: can Asia remain the locomotive of the global economy if it cannot mitigate its water crisis?
India faces greater water distress than China. China’s population is not even 10 per cent larger than India’s, but its internally renewable water resources (estimated at 2,813 billion cubic metres per year) are almost twice as large as India’s. In aggregate water availability, including inflows (which are sizeable in India’s case), China has virtually 50 per cent more resources than India.
In 1960, India signed a treaty setting aside 80 per cent of the Indus-system waters for downstream Pakistan, in the most generous water-sharing pact in modern history. And its 1996 Ganges treaty with Bangladesh guarantees minimum cross-border flows in the dry season – a new principle in international water law. That treaty divides the flows of the Ganges almost equally between the two countries. And now India is under pressure to reserve about half of the Teesta River’s water for Bangladesh.
But India is downriver from China. About a dozen important rivers flow into India from the Tibetan Himalayas. Indeed, one third of India’s yearly water supply comes from Tibet, according to United Nations’ data. Nations from Afghanistan to Vietnam receive water from the Tibetan Plateau, but India’s direct dependency on Tibetan water is greater than any other country’s.
But Beijing, far from emulating India’s water munificence, rejects the very concept of water sharing and is building large dams on rivers flowing to other nations, with little regard for downriver interests. An extensive Chinese water infrastructure in Tibet will have a serious effect on India.
So India faces difficult choices. Its ambitious plan to link up its major rivers has remained on paper for more than a decade. The idea was to connect 37 Himalayan and peninsular rivers in a pan-Indian water grid, to fight shortages.
Although the grid was ridiculed by the ruling party’s heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi as a “disastrous idea”, the Supreme Court ordered last year that it be implemented in “a time-bound manner”. Will that really happen?
The experience of the Supreme Court-overseen Narmada dam project in Gujarat doesn’t leave much room for optimism. India has struggled for decades to complete Narmada, and yet it is designed to produce less than 7 per cent as much hydropower as China’s Three Gorges Dam, completed last year.
With water increasingly at the centre of inter-provincial feuds in India, the Supreme Court has struggled for years with water cases, but the parties keep returning to litigate again on new grounds.
Plans for large water projects in India usually run into stiff opposition from influential non-government organisations, so that it has become virtually impossible to build a large dam, blighting the promise of hydropower.
Proof of this was New Delhi’s 2010 decision to abandon three dam projects on the Bhagirathi River, a source stream of the Ganges in the Himalayas. One of these was already half-built; hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted.
The largest dam India has built since independence is the 2,000 megawatt Tehri on the Bhagirathi. Compare that with China’s 18,300 megawatt Three Gorges. China’s proposed Metog Dam, almost on the disputed border with India, is to produce nearly twice as much power as Three Gorges Dam. China is also building on the Mekong River.
Meanwhile India’s proposed river-linking plan seems like a dream: a colossal network to handle 178 billion cubic metres of water transfers a year in12,500km of new canals, generating 34 gigawatts of hydropower, creating 35 million hectares of irrigated land and expanding inland navigation. This is the kind of programme that only an autocracy like China can implement.
Government agencies say that by 2050 India must nearly double grain production, to over 450 million tons a year, to meet the demands of prosperity and population growth. Unless it has more irrigated land and adopts new plant varieties and farming techniques, India is likely to become a net food importer before long – a change that will roil world food markets.
More fundamentally, growing water shortages threaten to slow Indian economic growth and fuel social tensions. The government must fix its disjointed policy approach and develop a long-term vision for water resources.
India must treat water as a strategic issue and focus on three key areas. One is achieving greater water efficiency and productivity gains. Another is using clean-water technologies to open up new supply sources, including ocean and brackish waters and recycled wastewater. The third is expanding and enhancing water infrastructure to correct regional and seasonal imbalances in water availability, and to harvest rainwater, which can be a new supply source to ease shortages.
Boosting water supplies demands tapping unconventional sources and adopting non-traditional approaches, as well as improving the old ways of water-supply management.
In the discussion that followed the January 23rd presentation at the Asia Society it became clear that these presentations had one major flaw. Mr. Chellaney, though clearly in full knowledge of the topic, in his eagerness to present water and the fact that we waste water, and grab water from our neighbors, did not present the technologies that will help us overcome such shortages in the future.
In fact, if we do not talk about new technologies of water desalination, and of water saving, it is as if we were saying that when talking about energy – that it is all about oil.
Nevertheless, the book and the presentations are valuable because they describe the magnitude of the problem and send us off to look for possible solutions before the shortages hit us with full force.
We will get back to this point in another posting that will deal with A UNESCO newly established Graduate School in Delft, Holland, that will be training development professionals with knowledge in water technologies as well.
Kishore Mahbubani of Singapore, at the Asia Society in New York, introduces his new book on the logic of One World – that states: America’s position as sole number one in the globalized world ends in maximum five years, and future optimism results from the focus of convergence.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI -
CHINA and INDIA, obsessed with growth, caused during 2000-11 most of the increase in CO2 emissions and a new book – GREENPRINT” – says finally they ought to take over global leadership in Climate Change matters.
China, India and climate change.
Take the lead
Emerging markets are a big part of the problem; they are essential to any solution.
Feb 2nd 2013 THE ECONOMIST FRONT PAGE ARTICLE – From the print edition
Some tricky turns up ahead
Greenprint: A New Approach to Cooperation on Climate Change. By Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian.
Buy from: Amazon.com
MOST books about the environment take the West as their starting point. This is understandable. For decades America was the world’s biggest polluter, contributing more to the problem than any other country, whereas Europe—at least in its politicians’ minds—has model environmental laws and holds plenty of righteous talks to negotiate new solutions.
But Europe and America are becoming supporting actors in the world’s climate-change drama. The lead players are China and India. China is the world’s largest emitter, contributing nearly a quarter of current global emissions. With India it accounted for 83% of the worldwide increase in carbon emissions in 2000-11. Though global warming began with industrialised countries it must end—if it is to end—through actions in developing ones. All the more reason to welcome “Greenprint”, the first book on climate change to concentrate on this growing part of the problem. Written by Aaditya Mattoo, an economist at the World Bank, and Arvind Subramanian, a senior fellow at the Centre for Global Development, the book offers an unflinching look at what one might realistically expect emerging markets to do.
From an environmentalist’s point of view, India and China elicit despair. They are obsessed with growth. To fuel it, they are building ever more coal-fired power stations, a filthy form of energy. Their cities fume. Their rivers catch fire. There is not much anyone can do about it.
But an attractive quality of this book is that it goes beyond such fatalism. The West, the authors argue, has failed to mitigate global warming, so developing countries will have to take over. This is necessary, they say, because global warming will affect developing countries more than rich ones, partly because tropical and subtropical lands are more sensitive to warming than cold or temperate ones, and partly because rich people can afford better flood controls and drought-resistant seeds than poor ones.
One estimate by William Cline, an economist, found that a rise of 2.5% in global temperatures would cut agricultural productivity by 6% in America but by 38% in India. In light of their disproportionate vulnerability, emerging giants will have to push rich countries to make more environmental compromises. To make these demands credible, they themselves will have to make some changes too.
The trouble, as the authors admit, is that emissions cuts will also be costly for China and India. Messrs Mattoo and Subramanian estimate that if the two countries were to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020 (compared with doing nothing), their manufacturing output would fall by 6-7% and their manufactured exports by more than that. As still relatively poor countries, they are less able to bear the pain.
These challenges help to explain why it is so difficult for India and China to take the lead on climate change. After considering different ways to allocate emissions cuts among nations, the authors concede that the fairest approach would be to allow developing countries to consume as much energy as rich ones did during their own industrial revolutions. But if the aim is to limit the rise in global temperatures to two degrees, which most scientists think necessary, this would allow developing-country emissions to rise by 200% whereas rich-country emissions would have to fall by an amount that is politically inconceivable.
The authors supply more reasonable solutions. They reckon that China and others could and should invest more in new technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, in order to boost improvements in clean energy. They also provide a detailed and convincing case for rich countries to put a price on carbon by introducing a modest border tax on imports from developing countries.
The book does not quite provide the promised “greenprint” for developing countries to reduce emissions. But that would be a tall order. As a first stab at analysing one of the world’s most intractable problems, it provides a wealth of analysis and fuel for thought.
Israel and Iran: A love story?
Veröffentlicht am 21.12.2012
When war between Israel and Iran seemed imminent, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry shared a poster on Facebook of himself and his daughter with a bold message: “Iranians … we [heart] you.” Other Israelis quickly created their own posters with the same message — and Iranians responded in kind. The simple act of communication inspired surprising Facebook communities like “Israel loves Iran,” “Iran loves Israel” and even “Palestine loves Israel.”
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
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AN INVITATION THAT CAME TO OUR ATTENTION LATE:
INVITATION – Opening of the exhibition “Following the path of a picture” to mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust on Monday, 23 January 2012, 12:30 hrs,
Vienna International Centre (VIC), Rotunda.
Related events took place from 23 to 31 January 2012 in the Vienna International Centre (VIC).
Kindly register it said.
For us this meant – Vienna does not try to forget the past and the UN
UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION SERVICE VIENNA (UNIS)
Vienna, 17 January 2012
The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, in cooperation with Yad Layeled France / Yad Layeled Austria and The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme,
invite you to the opening of the exhibition:
“Following the path of a picture”
to mark the
on Monday, 23 January 2012, 12:30 hrs
Vienna International Centre (VIC), Rotunda
Opening remarks will be made by representatives of the United Nations, Member States and local institutions.
* *** *The exhibition will be on display in the Rotunda / VIC from 23 to 31 January 2012.
Kindly register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for registrations: 19 January 2012, 18:00 hrsFor further information, please contact:
Public Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4448