notes jan 7
January 8, 2009 § Leave a comment
Very raw notes.
Asked whether sending troops into Gaza was a mistake, the vice president replied that “it’s important to remember who the enemy is here,” adding, “You haven’t had a conflict between two U.N. charter-member states, you’ve got a U.N. member state being attacked by a terrorist organization.”
Leading Democrats, including Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and Dick Durbin of Illinois, both of whom appeared on programs on Sunday, have also expressed support for Israel. “I think this terrorist organization, Hamas, has got to be put away,” Mr. Reid said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Lawrence Davidson, author of Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest, writes in a guest op-ed for IC:
Why is it that most Americans pay little attention to foreign policy? For instance, over the last eight years we have seen the awful consequences of foreign policies that support dictators, supply the weapons for war crimes against the Palestinian people, launch invasions of sovereign nations under false pretenses, and earn the United States the anger, bordering on hatred, of growing numbers of people around the globe? Yet there is no real outcry among Americans except for a small, if increasingly vocal, minority.
In a recently published book, Foreign Policy Inc: Privatizing American National Interest (University Press of Kentucky, 2009) I explain why most Americans disregard foreign policy (it is due to a phenomenon I call “natural localism”) and examine the consequences of this long standing popular posture.
A major consequence of this disregard is that actual policy formulation has come under the influence of well organized and financed lobby groups which do have interests in foreign affairs. This is certainly the case as regards the Middle East. Here both Jewish Zionists and Christian fundamentalist Zionists have achieved ascendent influence over policy formulation toward Israel and the Palestinian territories and much of the rest of the region as well. Likewise, a neo-conservative interest group with strong ties to Israel, achieved command positions in the Defense and State Departments under the administration George W. Bush. Relative to these lobbies, the influence of oil interests is of only secondary importance. One can argue that as a result of this situation, there is no foreign policy reflecting genuine US national interests for this important part of the world. There has been, and continues to be, only the parochial goals of special interests which present their own aims to the public as “national interests.”
The public’s inattention to foreign policy has inevitably led to a deep and persisting ignorance of the consequences of US foreign policy. The mainstream mass media, whose editors and reporters are themselves often bias in their perspectives and ignorant of the “facts on the ground,” has helped perpetuate a myth that American foreign policy is mainly an altruistic effort to export our domestic ideals: democracy, modernity, development, etc. The long list of dictatorships that Washington has seen fit to subsidize and arm, the coups and right wing revolutions that the CIA has been involved in (sometimes aimed against democratically elected governments), the subordination of whole economies to the interests of US business concerns, the collusion of multiple US administrations in the destruction of Palestinian people, and other dubious policies have conveniently been overlooked by most of the media. Thus, when those abroad who resist US policies do damage to American lives and property, the vast majority of American citizens have no context to understand their behavior. They are easily convinced they are terrorists who simply “hate our values.”
Yet the truth of the matter is that America’s policies in the Middle East have been lobby driven for at least the last 60 years. And, unbeknownst to the general public, they helped create the historical context for the September 11, 2001 attacks. Then, the response of the Bush administration to that attack went on to made things much worse for the US. There are more than a billion Muslims in the world and a growing number of them are now seriously angry at America. There are over 300 million Arabs and many of them are willing to materially support those who stand up against the US and its ally Israel. These vast numbers represent the sea in which our country’s adversaries now swim. The US has not the manpower, the intelligence capacity, nor the staying power to fight and defeat all the various organizations that have and will arise to confront us. Keep in mind that these will not be regular armies, but will be guerrilla operations and clandestine groups who, as we have seen, are already capable of doing us great damage both in their own part of the world and here in America.
Under the circumstances, it is in the interest of all Americans that their be a thorough policy review of past and present foreign policy efforts in the Middle East. This should be done with transparency and include a national public debate on just what are our national interests in that part of the world. If oil is one of them, is it also in the national interest to use force to control that resource at its source? Is Israel really a country important to the United States, or just important to certain powerful but parochial special interests? And, what has truly been the results of Israel’s US subsidized policies toward the Palestinians? Finally, is it an offense warranting impeachment when the president lies, misleads, distorts information and then sends American troops to their deaths based on that presentation? These issues are important to all Americans. They deserve to be publically aired. Progressives should demand these subjects be taken up at all levels of government from town and county councils on up. Media outlets should be picketed with demands for open debate on foreign policy. And, most importantly, Americans should insist that the incoming Democratic administration promote the necessary public debate on national interests and foreign policy formulation. If we ignore this, and allow things to go on as they are, then we can expect nothing but continuing disaster.
By Lawrence Davidson
Professor of History
West Chester University
West Chester, PA
ldavidson a/t wcupa d o t edu
Professor Davidson is author of the just-published Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest
From: Leigh Johnson [email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, January 05, 2009 8:39 AM
To: Energy Seminar
Subject: Energy Seminar: Lee Shipper, Jan 7
Attachments: lee biosketchfall08- stanford.doc; ATT00168.htm; Schipper talk.doc; ATT00171.htm; ATT00174.txt
Stanford energy community,
Please join us for the first Energy Seminar of the winter term to hear from Professor Lee Shipper, who is starting at Stanford with the Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency this winter. Below is an abstract and short bio. Attached is a paper and more detailed bio.
Energy Seminar, January 7, 4:15-5:15, Building 420, Room 40
Lee Schipper, Precourt Institute, Stanford University
When the Rubber Hits the Road: The Real Story on Fuel Economy in the U.S. and Other Countries
This talk summarizes a recent analysis of real fuel economy trends in industrialized countries. With oil and CO2 emissions once again a concern, this research is the first to analyze car use and fuel economy trends across the major countries. We find that while there was little improvement in the US through 2006, there were measured improvements in Japan and EU, responding to voluntary agreements among governments and vehicle manufacturers. Recently enacted tandards on new vehicles in the US will bring our entire fleet to the present 29 MPG on-road average of the EU by 2037, while EU itself is expected to reach around 38MPG.
The major differences between these two regions is not technology, but the car weight and power. This suggests that if the US is to achieve higher fuel economy levels required to begin to levelize oil use and CO2 emissions from that sector that cars will have to be smaller and less powerful. Similarly, Europeans (and Japanese) pay between $7 and $11/gallon for road fuel (adjusted for purchasing power). This suggests that high fuel prices must be an ingredient in any effort to reduce fuel use and emissions from cars and light trucks. Notably, the rise in oil prices through 2006 caused a notable flattening in car use in all regions. Whether the recent crash in oil prices will spark more driving is uncertain, since factors such as congestion, demographic shifts in our populations, and saturation of time spent in cars can also slow or reverse trends in driving.
What do these trends imply for oil use and CO2 emissions in Latin America and Asia? Traffic in cities in these regions is strangled by too many cars and two wheelers, even with per capita car ownership at levels the US had in the 1920s or 1930s! We use results of recent work in these regions, including detailed studies of India, China, Hanoi (Viet Nam) to show that while fuel economy improvements are important to saving fuel in the future, a more robust transportation strategy avoid reliance on the private car as the main means of urban transport is a higher priority if the developing world’s cities are to prosper with clean air, safe streets, and walkable sidewalks.
About the Presenter:
The lead author of the International Energy Agency’s “Road from Kyoto”, Dr. Schipper is Senior Research Engineer with the Precourt Institute at Stanford, Project Scientist at UC Berkeley’s Global Metropolitan Studies, and founder and now Fellow Emeritus with EMBARQ – the World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Sustainable Transport committee and served on the Swedish TRB Environment committee. Dr. Schipper has served in senior positions at organizations including the OECD Development Centre, Paris; the Shell Foundation; the International Energy Agency, Paris; and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Dr. Schipper is a member of the Global Business Network and a senior associate of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. He has been a fellow at the Industry and Energy Department of the World Bank, and a visiting researcher with Group Planning, Shell International Petroleum Company, London. Dr. Schipper has appeared nearly 200 times in the press, including The New York Times, CNNMoney, TIME, New Scientist, NPR, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Washington Post, Grist, and U.S. News & World Report. He has been author or co-author of more than 100 scholarly papers.
At Precourt one of Schipper’s responsibilities is to develop a new course on transport and energy use. Another goal is to develop new approaches to modeling transport and its resulting energy use.
New Patrick Tyler book narrates “A World of Trouble”; Documentary highlights posted on Archive Web site
For more information contact:
Patrick Tyler/National Security Archive – 202/994-7000
Washington, DC, January 5, 2009 – American Presidents from Eisenhower to George W. Bush have sought to distinguish themselves from their predecessors with sudden shifts in Middle East policy and questionable strategies that have contributed to undermining American credibility in the region, according to a new book, “A World of Trouble,” by veteran correspondent Patrick Tyler, a fellow of the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
Tyler’s account begins with a raucous night of recriminations over George W. Bush’s Middle East diplomacy by former CIA Director George Tenet, and then rewinds to the grand deception of Dwight Eisenhower by Britain, France and Israel, in the Suez Crisis. In bringing the narrative forward to the Iraq war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of today, Tyler gives the reader an intimate portrait of presidential decisions and the out-sized influence of White House aides and foreign leaders and their emissaries.
Hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as a “riveting” history of American presidents and the Middle East and described by The Economist as a book that “reads almost like a thriller,” Tyler’s book (published by Farrar Straus & Giroux of New York) draws on two decades of reporting on the Middle East, dozens of interviews, oral histories and thousands of pages of recently declassified documents, including the National Security Archive’s new release of the Henry Kissinger telephone conversations and the mandatory review release of Nixon administration files in late 2007. Highlights from the documents cited by Tyler are featured on the Archive’s web site, www.nsarchive.org, including:
* The private pleadings of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who in June 1973 sought to convince President Nixon that war was coming in the Middle East and that the only way to avert it was by a robust diplomatic intervention by the superpowers. Nixon and Kissinger, fearing domestic blowback in the midst of the Watergate scandal, refused to be drawn in and war broke out four months later.
* The Reagan Diary entry that sheds light on how the White House and the Saudi royal family circumvented the law on presenting lavish gifts to the President, in this case, a pair of Arabian horses.
* The top-secret channel opened by the Nixon White House with the Shah of Iran to discuss “contingency” planning by the Iranian leader to seize Saudi Arabia and its oil resources in the event of a coup or an external assault on the Saudi kingdom.
* The confidential debate within the Nixon National Security Council on how to invent a claim of “Russian treachery” in order to justify the U.S. tilt toward Israel, and a massive resupply of its forces, during the 1973 October War.
* The CIA’s confidential description of the internal pressures within the Israeli leadership that tipped the Jewish state toward a preemptive attack on the Egyptian army in Sinai after the closure of Israeli shipping lanes in the run-up to the the Six Day War.
Visit the Web site of the National Security Archive for more information.
Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber
The search for scientific bases for confronting problems of social policy is bound to fail, because of the nature of these problems. They are “wicked” problems, whereas science has developed to deal with “tame” problems. Policy problems cannot be definitively described. Moreover, in a pluralistic society there is nothing like the undisputable public good; there is no objective definition of equity; policies that respond to social problems cannot be meaningfully correct or false; and it makes no sense to talk about “optinaal solutions” to social probIems unless severe qualifications are imposed first. Even worse, there are no “solutions” in the sense of definitive and objective answers.
Pasted from <http://www.cognexus.org/horst_rittel.htm>
in reverse chronological order –
* Letter from Diana Lee-Smith to Rittel, Mazingira Institute, Nairobi Kenya 1990
* Horst W. J. Rittel, The Reasoning of Designers, Arbeitspapier zum International Congress on Planning and Design Theory in Boston, August 1987. Schriftenreihe des Instituts fuer Grundlagen der Planung, Universitaet Stuttgart 1988)
* Donald P Grant, Issue-Based Information System (IBIS), Chapter 6, in Olsen, Shirley A (1982) Group Planning and Problem-Solving Methods in Engineering Management, New York: Wiley-Interscience, 1982 pp. 203-246 (found citation info from p 99 from Google Book result of Design Methodology and Relationships with Science By Marc de Vries, Nigel Cross and Donald P Grant )
* JP Protzen, Reflections on the Fable of the Caliph, the Ten Architects and the Philosopher, 1981, Journal of Architectural Education 34(4) 2-8
* Horst Rittel, APIS: A Concept for an Argumentative Planning Information System, 1980, Working Paper No. 324. Berkeley: Institute of Urban and Regional Development, University of California, 1980.
* Hans Dehlinger, JP Protzen, Debate and Argumentation in Planning, An inquiry into Appropriate Rules and Procedures, published by Horst Rittel at the Institut fur Grundlagen der Planung, 1978
* Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin Webber; “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning” pp 155-169, Policy Sciences, Vol. 4, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Inc. Amsterdam, 1973, Also at Melvin Webber or Dilemmas+General_Theory_of_Planning.pdf
* Hans Dehlinger and Jean-Pierre Protzen, Information Systems, pp 38 – 45, DMG – DRS Journal: Design Research and Methods, Vol. 6, No. 2, April – June, 1972
* Werner Kunz and Horst Rittel, Issues as Elements of Information Systems ,Working Paper No. 131 July 1970
* Horst Rittel, Hierarchy or Team? Considerations on the Organization of the R&D Cooperatives, 1967 – Tech Report, originally from Ecoomics of Research and Development, Edited by Richard A Tybout, Columbus: Ohio State University, 1965. 174-218
Pasted from <http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~ellendo/rittel/rittel.html>
Albert Camus’ speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1957
In receiving the distinction with which your free Academy has so generously honoured me, my gratitude has been profound, particularly when I consider the extent to which this recompense has surpassed my personal merits. Every man, and for stronger reasons, every artist, wants to be recognized. So do I. But I have not been able to learn of your decision without comparing its repercussions to what I really am. A man almost young, rich only in his doubts and with his work still in progress, accustomed to living in the solitude of work or in the retreats of friendship: how would he not feel a kind of panic at hearing the decree that transports him all of a sudden, alone and reduced to himself, to the centre of a glaring light? And with what feelings could he accept this honour at a time when other writers in Europe, among them the very greatest, are condemned to silence, and even at a time when the country of his birth is going through unending misery?
I felt that shock and inner turmoil. In order to regain peace I have had, in short, to come to terms with a too generous fortune. And since I cannot live up to it by merely resting on my achievement, I have found nothing to support me but what has supported me through all my life, even in the most contrary circumstances: the idea that I have of my art and of the role of the writer. Let me only tell you, in a spirit of gratitude and friendship, as simply as I can, what this idea is.
For myself, I cannot live without my art. But I have never placed it above everything. If, on the other hand, I need it, it is because it cannot be separated from my fellow men, and it allows me to live, such as I am, on one level with them. It is a means of stirring the greatest number of people by offering them a privileged picture of common joys and sufferings. It obliges the artist not to keep himself apart; it subjects him to the most humble and the most universal truth. And often he who has chosen the fate of the artist because he felt himself to be different soon realizes that he can maintain neither his art nor his difference unless he admits that he is like the others. The artist forges himself to the others, midway between the beauty he cannot do without and the community he cannot tear himself away from. That is why true artists scorn nothing: they are obliged to understand rather than to judge. And if they have to take sides in this world, they can perhaps side only with that society in which, according to Nietzsche’s great words, not the judge but
the creator will rule, whether he be a worker or an intellectual.
By the same token, the writer’s role is not free from difficult duties. By definition he cannot put himself today in the service of those who make history; he is at the service of those who suffer it. Otherwise, he will be alone and deprived of his art. Not all the armies of tyranny with their millions of men will free him from his isolation, even and particularly if he falls into step with them. But the silence of an unknown prisoner, abandoned to humiliations at the other end of the world, is enough to draw the writer out of his exile, at least whenever, in the midst of the privileges of freedom, he manages not to forget that silence, and to transmit it in order to make it resound by means of his art.
None of us is great enough for such a task. But in all circumstances of life, in obscurity or temporary fame, cast in the irons of tyranny or for a time free to express himself, the writer can win the heart of a living community that will justify him, on the one condition that he will accept to the limit of his abilities the two tasks that constitute the greatness of his craft: the service of truth and the service of liberty. Because his task is to unite the greatest possible number of people, his art must not compromise with lies and servitude which, wherever they rule, breed solitude. Whatever our personal weaknesses may be, the nobility of our craft will always be rooted in two commitments, difficult to maintain: the refusal to lie about what one knows and the resistance to oppression.
For more than twenty years of an insane history, hopelessly lost like all the men of my generation in the convulsions of time, I have been supported by one thing: by the hidden feeling that to write today was an honour because this activity was a commitment – and a commitment not only to write. Specifically, in view of my powers and my state of being, it was a commitment to bear, together with all those who were living through the same history, the misery and the hope we shared. These men, who were born at the beginning of the First World War, who were twenty when Hitler came to power and the first revolutionary trials were beginning, who were then confronted as a completion of their education with the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the world of concentration camps, a Europe of torture and prisons – these men must today rear their sons and create their works in a world threatened by nuclear destruction. Nobody, I think, can ask them to be optimists. And I even think that we should understand – without ceasing to fight it – the error of those who in an excess of despair have asserted their right to dishonour and have rushed into the nihilism of the era. But the fact remains that most of us, in my country and in Europe, have refused this nihilism and have engaged upon a quest for legitimacy. They have had to forge for themselves an art of living in times of catastrophe in order to be born a second time and to fight openly against the instinct of death at work in our history.
Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists in preventing the world from destroying itself. Heir to a corrupt history, in which are mingled fallen revolutions, technology gone mad, dead gods, and worn-out ideologies, where mediocre powers can destroy all yet no longer know how to convince, where intelligence has debased itself to become the servant of hatred and oppression, this generation starting from its own negations has had to re-establish, both within and without, a little of that which constitutes the dignity of life and death. In a world threatened by disintegration, in which our grand inquisitors run the risk of establishing forever the kingdom of death, it knows that it should, in an insane race against the clock, restore among the nations a peace that is not servitude, reconcile anew labour and culture, and remake with all men the Ark of the Covenant. It is not certain that this generation will ever be able to accomplish this immense task, but already it is rising everywhere in the world to the double challenge of truth and liberty and, if necessary, knows how to die for it without hate. Wherever it is found, it deserves to be saluted and encouraged, particularly where it is sacrificing itself. In any event, certain of your complete approval, it is to this generation that I should like to pass on the honour that you have just given me.
At the same time, after having outlined the nobility of the writer’s craft, I should have put him in his proper place. He has no other claims but those which he shares with his comrades in arms: vulnerable but obstinate, unjust but impassioned for justice, doing his work without shame or pride in view of everybody, not ceasing to be divided between sorrow and beauty, and devoted finally to drawing from his double existence the creations that he obstinately tries to erect in the destructive movement of history. Who after all this can expect from him complete solutions and high morals? Truth is mysterious, elusive, always to be conquered. Liberty is dangerous, as hard to live with as it is elating. We must march toward these two goals, painfully but resolutely, certain in advance of our failings on so long a road. What writer would from now on in good conscience dare set himself up as a preacher of virture? For myself, I must state once more that I am not of this kind. I have never been able to renounce the light, the pleasure of being, and the freedom in which I grew up. But although this nostalgia explains many of my errors and my faults, it has doubtless helped me toward a better understanding of my craft. It is helping me still to support unquestioningly all those silent men who sustain the life made for them in the world only through memory of the return of brief and free happiness.
Thus reduced to what I really am, to my limits and debts as well as to my difficult creed, I feel freer, in concluding, to comment upon the extent and the generosity of the honour you have just bestowed upon me, freer also to tell you that I would receive it as an homage rendered to all those who, sharing in the same fight, have not received any privilege, but have on the contrary known misery and persecution. It remains for me to thank you from the bottom of my heart and to make before you publicly, as a personal sign of my gratitude, the same and ancient promise of faithfulness which every true artist repeats to himself in silence every day.
Prior to the speech, B. Karlgren, Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, addressed the French writer: «Mr. Camus – As a student of history and literature, I address you first. I do not have the ambition and the boldness to pronounce judgment on the character or importance of your work – critics more competent than I have already thrown sufficient light on it. But let me assure you that we take profound satisfaction in the fact that we are witnessing the ninth awarding of a Nobel Prize in Literature to a Frenchman. Particularly in our time, with its tendency to direct intellectual attention, admiration, and imitation toward those nations who have – by virtue of their enormous material resources – become protagonists, there remains, nevertheless, in Sweden and elsewhere, a sufficiently large elite that does not forget, but is always conscious of the fact that in Western culture the French spirit has for centuries played a preponderant and leading role and continues to do so. In your writings we find manifested to a high degree the clarity and the lucidity, the penetration and the subtlety, the inimitable art inherent in your literary language, all of which we admire and warmly love. We salute you as a true representative of that wonderful French spirit.»
From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969
We have explained why bailouts don’t work. You can’t solve a problem caused by too much debt by adding more debt. The ‘hair of the dog’
technique won’t work – not even if you throw in the whole pooch. But it will have an effect – it will increase the weight of debt to the whole society. The forges are hot again…the hammers are clanging…the smithies are sweaty; now they’re building new chains of debt – public debt. They’re putting up a chain-link fence around the entire United States…and shackling every citizen to a monumental ball. Next year alone, the U.S. federal deficit will go to $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion – or about $20,000 for every family in the country. Over the course of the slump, the total could run to $100,000 per family. This extra public debt is the only sure outcome of the bailout projects.