Forget Copenhagen, the Greens are planning a ‘final solution’

Later on today, delegates at the Values Voter Summit will gather for a breakout session with Dr Calvin Beisner from the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

The title? Global Warming Hysteria: The New Face of the Pro-Death Agenda.

The summit, praised by the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder for presenting the ‘mild-mannered’ face of mainstream American conservatism (gulp), will hear that a belief in manmade climate change rests on “an unbiblical view of God, mankind, and the environment.”

Climate change policies, they will be told, will cause hundreds of millions of deaths. And this loss of life will not be accidental. Environmentalism is rooted in “hostility to humanity”. Fear of global warming is being deliberately stoked to prepare the way for a new Holocaust that will drastically reduce global population.

If people are the problem,” the event’s publicity asks, “what’s the final solution? Continue reading

Policing the interracial divide

From a Jerusalem Post article on Eish L’Yahadut (Fire for Judaism) – a group that exists to break up relationships between Arab men and Jewish girls:

Every night, dozens of young men in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood take to the streets and go out searching for girls.

But theirs is not a promiscuous search. In fact, the group of some 35 volunteers is looking to prevent such interaction and to stop what neighborhood residents have overwhelmingly complained is a growing problem in Pisgat Ze’ev – Arab men going out with Jewish girls.

What was once a rare occurrence, residents say, has become the norm in this north Jerusalem suburb, which shares a side of the security barrier with the Palestinian village of Anata and the scattered dwellings on the edge of Shuafat refugee camp.

“A rare occurrence?” a shopkeeper in the local mall asked sardonically this week when asked about the situation. “My friend, it’s not rare at all, this has become the reality. Pisgat Ze’ev has turned into one gigantic whorehouse, please excuse the expression.”

Residents now say that, due to Pisgat Ze’ev’s location and increasingly mixed Arab-Jewish population, the phenomenon of mixed dating has grown, with violent outbursts breaking out frequently between Arab and Jewish youth over the matter, and with growing communal anger over what many here feel is simply unacceptable.

According to the group, “our mission is not against Arabs, but it is for the protection of Jewish women, wherever they may be.”

The Pittsburgh G20: your cut-out-and-keep guide

So what should we all be watching out for at next week’s G20 summit?  Let’s start with the obvious stuff.

- Expect to hear lots about bankers’ bonuses, in particular from Brown, Merkel and Sarkozy. I can’t find it in me to give a crap about this issue, but doubtless it will command saturation media coverage all week.  More substantive on the banking front will be the question of whether concrete proposals are advanced for hedge fund rules or financial supervision regulation - lots of noise here, but not much specificity so far.

- We’ll also hear lots of debate about when to wind down stimulus programs – which was a big issue at the EU’s preparatory summit (continentals more hawkish, but Brown edgier about turning the taps off). Goldman Sachs’s Jim O’Neill has an op-ed in the FT this morning arguing that while co-ordination was needed for starting the stimulus off, it’s less necessary to have co-ordinated exit strategies.

- The IMF and the World Bank have been doing good advocacy about the need not to forget about low income countries. Zoellick and Strauss-Kahn are both arguing that LICs have an external financing deficit of around $59bn this year (for comparison, that’s exactly half the 2008 global aid total). On the plus side, G20 members have actually delivered the $500bn they promised the IMF – which means the Fund can front up around a third of the total needed. Strauss-Kahn is also talking about a breakthrough on IMF governance reform.  (Believe it when I see it.)

- We’ll hear a lot about climate, but it’s hard to see what deal the G20 is supposed to cut (especially with Ban Ki-moon’s heads-level climate summit in New York the same week). The story the media runs with will be all about pressure on the US to do more, following Japan’s announcement of a tougher 2020 emissions target, and the EU’s long-awaited finance package. (Still, Obama ain’t the problem – the real issue here, of course, is that things don’t look great in the US Senate.)

The issue on the agenda that I’m most interested in for next week, though, is trade. First, what – if anything – will the G20 say on protectionism? For all the warm words at the London Summit in April, it’s increasingly clear that most G20 countries are in breach of their commitments – right now most notably in the case of the US, whose new tire tariffs are disastrous.  Dan Drezner’s take on this is worth reading (things are “very, very scary”) – but on the other hand, Alan Beattie thinks White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel may have a crafty and ultimately beneficial political calculus in mind.

On a related note, how intriguing to see US sherpa Mike Froman talking up Pittsburgh’s chances of tackling global economic imbalances (“we hope to reach agreement on a framework for balanced growth, for agreeing on how to address the imbalances that led to this crisis and on some process for holding each other accountable”). Not what I expected – but great, if he can pull it off.  That said, I found myself wondering last night: is it conceivable that this is part of a messaging strategy to defend the tire tariffs? Hollow laughs all round if so.

Finally, the issue no-one’s talking about but everyone should be: the impending return of the food / fuel price spike. All these stories about oil companies finding new giant fields are so much straw in the wind. (So the new Jubilee field off Sierra Leone has 1.8bn barrels? Great: a whole twenty-one days’ global demand. Colour me thrilled.) The more fundamental point is about demand, which is picking up again in the non-OECD economies – and let’s remember that it’s in these countries that all the demand growth for oil will come between now and 2030.

The stage remains firmly set for a renewed oil supply (and hence price) crunch in the short term – and when that happens, food prices will go straight up too, as costs for transport, fertiliser and on-farm energy use race upwards and biofuels become even more competitive as a source of demand for crops. We’re already at a baseline of 1.04bn undernourished people (compared to 850m before the last food price spike) – do the maths. So my wish list for the G20?

  1. $6bn funding for WFP – now.
  2. Leave the trade round on hold, but agree emergency WTO rules against food export restrictions (like the ones that already exist in NAFTA).
  3. Build up a multilaterally managed emergency food stock – maybe part real, part virtual (see Feeding of the 9 Billion for full details).
  4. Commit to universal access to social protection systems by (say) 2015 – and lock the funding in place, now (only 20% of the world’s people currently have access to them – but these are the best-defence resilience mechanism for poor people facing price spikes, way better than price controls or economy-wide subsidies)
  5. Bring China and India into full IEA membership, so that they’re part of its emergency supply management mechanism.
  6. Start driving real inter-agency coherence by commissioning the most important multilateral agencies for scarcity issues – UN, Bank, Fund, OCHA, WFP, FAO, IEA – to produce a joint World Resources Outlook. We need the integrated analysis; we need the political momentum it will create.
  7. Ask Ban Ki-moon to set up a High Level Panel to look at the international institutional dimensions of climate, scarcity and development – covering not just the UN, but the entire international system. This is the bit of international system reform that both the 2004 and 2006 High Level Panels left for another day. Today is that day.

World Bank vs UNCTAD

Excerpt from the World Bank’s just-published World Development Report 2010 (which this year takes climate change as its theme – overview pdf):

Enshrining a principle of equity in a global deal would do much to dispel such concerns and generate trust. A long-term goal of per capita emissions converging to a band could ensure that no country is locked into an unequal share of the atmospheric commons. India has recently stated that it would never exceed the average per capita emissions of high-income countries. So drastic action by high-income countries to reduce their own carbon footprint to sustainable levels is essential. This would show leadership, spur innovation, and make it feasible for all to switch to a low-carbon growth path.

Hey, did the Bank just endorse Contraction and Convergence? Not quite. As I explained a few weeks back, converging to equal per capita emission levels is not the same as converging to equal per capita emission entitlementsthe difference being the small matter of whether poor countries get to benefit from emissions trading markets worth, oh, a few billion dollars. Shame the Bank missed that trick. Not so UNCTAD, on the other hand, as we saw a couple of weeks ago:

… if population size were to be given an important weight in the initial allocation of permits across countries, many developing countries would be able to sell their emission rights because they would be allotted considerably more permits than they need to cover domestically produced emissions.

Interesting coda: I was having lunch the other day with a senior official from an international agency that shall remain nameless.  I was saying I couldn’t figure out why low income countries didn’t get out there and demand quantified emission targets – allocated on the basis of immediate convergence to per capita convergence in emission entitlements. His answer: because they lack an equivalent to the OECD  – i.e. a think tank that supports them as a bloc.

Back in the 1970s, he continued, UNCTAD was increasingly showing signs of fulfilling this role; but it started to get too good at it, so major donor nations deliberately scaled back its funding. All the more welcome, then, to see UNCTAD punching above its weight on the biggest development issue of the 21st century.  Bravo.

(PS. You might think that the G77 performs the role of an OECD for poor countries, on climate as on other issues. But you’d be wrong, on two counts. First, there’s the point that G77 lacks a secretariat – in contrast to OECD’s small army of extremely smart people in Paris. But second and more fundamentally, there’s the point that however cohesive G77 might look like from the outside, the fact is that low and middle income countries have increasingly divergent interests on climate change.

Partly it’s a question of where climate finance goes: middle income countries want to see lots of cash being pumped into low carbon development programmes that will help them to grow and to access clean technology, whereas low income countries are far more concerned with adaptation.

But more fundamentally, it’s about the emission entitlements issue. Pretty much all low income countries have per capita emissions far below the global average – so if emission permits were shared out on an equal per capita basis, they’d be making real money.  Not so most of the major emerging economies – above all China, which already has per capita emissions above the global average, and would hence be a net purchaser of permits from the get-go, whenever the convergence date might be.  No surprise, then, that G77 skirts around the issue, preferring to lead on the need for developed countries to cut their own emissions and cough up more climate finance…)

Ask Me Anything!

Have a question for a heroin addict, acne sufferer, or bank robber? Then head over to Reddit’s IaMa (“I am a…”) community, where this past week has seen some excellent Ask Me Anything threads.

Of course, these being the Internets, there’s no knowing whether felonius monk really spent five years in prison (mostly uneventful “if you carried yourself correctly”) for being a getaway driver (much less like being a rally driver than he’d hoped/expected), or whether bumpygirl truly has spots and scars covering 80% of her body. But that’s part of the fun.

And if he is a troll, smackjunkie12 has clearly done his research…

Of course I know about rectal administration, and it is my favourite way to take codeine, and also an enjoyable way to take oxycodone + acetaminophen formulations (such as Percocet) after a cold water extraction. I don’t think I’d use this route with heroin, though. It’s simply much too enjoyable to take it intravenously.

On topic for Global Dashboard is Hoo-rah’s kind offer: “I just got back from my 3rd deployment in Afghanistan. I lost count after I killed 15 human beings. AMA.” Hoo-rah’s mission was to stop Afghan farmers producing the heroin on which smackjunkie12 and his brethren are hooked – a job that is a far cry from traditional war fighting:

Nearly everyone I have killed has been someone who was trying to kill me during combat. I say nearly, because I do believe I may be responsible for a few civilian deaths, though it was never confirmed. We did a lot of raids and a lot of times shit got crazy really fast. The poppy farmers had a habit of keeping their family in the same place as their drugs, which sometimes lead to civilian deaths.

And would we be better off if we sent an army of doctors, engineers, etc? No. The main problem is the poppy farms. We were doing what needed to be done. However, Obama has recently changes tactics. He’s setting up programs to persuade farmers to grow other crops, which we should have been doing all along. As opposed to going in and burning them.

After the jump, Hoo-rah’s response to being asked for the funniest story from his deployment. Be warned, though, some of you may think it’s NSFW: Continue reading

White rage – Limbaugh style (updated x2)

Seems like America is having increasing trouble with the whole post-racial thing. Here’s Rush Limbaugh ginning up white rage following release of a video showing a 17-year old kid being bullied up on a bus.

Greetings my friends where it’s Obama’s America is it not? Obama’s America where white kids are getting beat up on school buses now. When you put your kids on school buses, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up, with the black kids cheering: “yeah, right on, right on, right on!”

And of course, everyone says: “The white kid deserved it. He was born a racist. He was white.” Newsweek magazine told us this. We know that white students are destroying civility on buses, white students destroying civility in classrooms all across America, white Congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives.

We can redistribute students while we redistribute their parents’ wealth. We can redistribute everything. Just return the white students to their rightful place. Their own bus. With bars on the window. And armed guards. They’re racists. They get what they deserve. Newsweek magazine told us this. Post-racial America.

I wonder if Obama’s going to come to come to the defence of the assailants the way he did his friend Skip Gates up there at Harvard. I mean the assailants are presumed innocent due to the white racism we all know runs rampant in America…

If he’s going to apologize for America, Obama needs to apologize for the right reasons. White Americans are racists who have created what they call free markets, that really just enslave the rest of America and her trading partners.

I mean it was White Americans that ran off Van Jones. Let’s just follow Eric Holder’s advice and not be cowards about all this. Let’s have an open conversation, an honest conversation about all of our typical white grandmothers. You had one. I had one. Obama had one. They’re racists. Just like our students are.

Update: Here’s ‘crunchy’ conservative, Rod Dreher’s reaction:

On his deathbed not too many years ago, a relative of mine confessed to having been part of a white lynch mob in the 1930s, which strung up a black man after he was caught having sex with a white woman. She accused him of rape. The sheriff led the lynch mob. There was no need for a trial; what a black man did to a white woman was considered so horrifying that nobody could wait for a trial and a verdict. After the black man was murdered, the guilt-stricken white woman confessed that the man had been her lover, and she called him a rapist to protect her honor.

None of us ever knew this about my kinsman, until in his dying days, he admitted it because it tortured him. It had been on his heart all his life. I pray that his repentance in the face of eternity helped him find mercy. It unnerved me, though, to think that that kindly old man had once fallen under the sway of race hatred to that degree, a race hatred that was part of the society into which he was born and raised. It still does, because that world seems like a thousand years ago. But it only seems so far away because many people worked too hard — and some even gave their lives — to drive those demons out. And now here is Limbaugh, of Palm Beach, and his ilk, calling them back insouciantly, for political advantage. This is evil.

Update II: And then there’s Limbaugh on the Kanye West hoohah – reaching for the black man/white virgin imagery:

If you’re Kanye West and here’s some 19-year-old country western virgin, and what’s she doing on the show in the first place, when you got somebody like Beyonce out there, it’s all totally understandable if you look at it from Kanye’s worldview.

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