Steeply Progressive Tax Rates Make This Story Go Away

If we reinstated a steeply progressive tax rate, with a top rate of 75 to 90%, then you would never see this story, it wouldn’t exist. The decision makers would not authorize these kind of obscene pay rates knowing that the bulk of the pay would simply go directly into the federal tax coffers. In the face of steeply progressive tax rates, business profits would go into infrastructure, into balanced wages across the entire employee spectrum, into anything but line items that would be decimated by the tax man.

We stand at the confluence of two terrible ideas, deregulation and a flattened tax table that frankly dares CEOs to make stupid decisions, take crazy risks in order to fatten their bonus incomes. If the crazy risks crash the company and cause a CEO or CFO to get fired, that person may be forced to figure out how to live the rest of their lives on their last year salary of perhaps only 5 to 15 million dollars.

Meanwhile, Congress, and especially the Republicans have not extended the unemployment benefits for workers who have lost their jobs as the result of financial risk-taking by these “captains of industry.”

And, the laid off workers were not in the line collecting a bonus that they could easily live on for the rest of their lives.

We need to rethink the basic economic principles in the US. It starts with a steeply progressive tax rate that does away with this kind of excess. That is the cornerstone for a stable economy.

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Citi, Bank of America Managers Averaged $18 Million Pay in 2008

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America
Corp. paid top executives an average of $18.2 million each last
year as the banks accepted $90 billion of bailout funds, records
from Treasury Department paymaster Kenneth Feinberg show.

Citigroup paid $390.2 million to 21 people, an average of
$18.6 million each, the records released Oct. 22 show. Bank of
America paid $227.8 million to 13 executives, or $17.5 million
apiece, according to Feinberg, who didn’t name them. The review
excluded top-paid employees from 2008 who have since left.

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Low Hanging Fruit?

It is possible that a focus on controlling methane emissions would have the quickest payback on reducing global warming and triggering new tipping points driven by warming. The fact that methane persists in the atmosphere for ten years, a relatively short time, is encouraging. Methane is also a good place to focus some effort because it is a much more potent heat-trapping gas than CO2.

Now, add in the fact that methane can be burned, it is a fuel. Connect the dots folks.

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Curbing Climate Change by Sealing Gas Leaks

To the naked eye, there was nothing to be seen at a natural gas well in eastern Texas but beige pipes and tanks baking in the sun.

But in the viewfinder of Terry Gosney’s infrared camera, three black plumes of gas gushed through leaks that were otherwise invisible.

Acting quickly to stanch the loss of methane could substantially cut warming in the short run, even as countries tackle the tougher challenge of cutting the dominant greenhouse emission, carbon dioxide, studies by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggest.

Unlike carbon dioxide, which can remain in the atmosphere a century or more once released, methane persists in the air for about 10 years. So aggressively reining in emissions now would mean that far less of the gas would be warming the earth in a decade or so.

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Cap and Trade is a Casino Game, Not a Global Warming Offset

Read it and weep. The exaggerated claims of offsets by the corporate sponsors should be criminal.

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Use of Forests as Carbon Offsets Fails to Impress In First Big Trial

Project in Bolivia Keeps Trees Standing But Has Little Clear Effect on Emissions

More than a decade ago in the northeast corner of Bolivia, a group of polluters and environmentalists joined forces in the first large-scale experiment to curb climate change with a strategy that promised to suit their competing interests: compensating for greenhouse gas emissions by preserving forests.

Preventing the clearing and burning of tropical forests, which help absorb carbon dioxide and provide habitat to an array of species, has become a critical objective for environmentalists.

But a report Greenpeace will release Thursday questions the premise of using forest conservation overseas to compensate for U.S. pollution, noting that Noel Kempff envisioned keeping 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere over 30 years but has lowered that expectation to 5.8 million. The revised estimates do not take into account that logging may have moved to areas to the north, east and southwest of the project. And the report notes that the project’s three corporate underwriters — American Electric Power, BP America and PacifiCorp — overestimated how much carbon the project kept from entering the atmosphere, telling the EPA it accounted for 7.4 million metric tons from 1997 to 2004. 

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Global warming is ocean warming and warmer oceans mean bigger storms

And it is clear that global warming means more frequent devastating storms and weather events. The low lying areas of the world are going to take the brunt of the damage. Places like the Phillipines, the Maldives, Bangladesh, the Mekong Delta, Florida and New Orleans. The question remains when will the people around the planet recognize the absolute necessity of the most fundamental change, the development and implementation of a global response, the retooling of the neoliberal capitalism model to a just and egalitarian development model?

It’s been a long time coming, but I know that change is going to come.

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Typhoon Parma kills 15 in the Philippines

MANILA — Large parts of the northern Philippines were flooded and without power on Sunday after Typhoon Parma killed at least 15 people, as authorities warned of another storm looming to the east.
Exactly one week after storm Ketsana dumped the heaviest rains in more than 40 years that devastated Manila, killing nearly 300 people, Parma ripped through the north of the Philippines’ main Luzon island on Saturday.
Many areas in the north remained blacked out and cut off from communication on Sunday as Parma left the country and hovered over the South China Sea. Roads were submerged or littered with fallen trees and toppled power lines.
The state weather bureau warned of more misery as Typhoon Melor, monitored about 600 kilometres (370 miles) to the east, was expected to enter Philippine maritime territory by Monday afternoon before blowing north to eastern China or Japan.

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Let’s State the Obvious – You Can’t Win a War in Afghanistan

I guess the US needs to check its hubris against this fundamental historical fact.

Even aside from the probability that certain post-Soviet sources are likely enthusiastically sending weapons and munitions back to Afghanistan to get even with the US for Charlie Wilson’s War, there is certainty of defeat dictated by the facts on the ground.

Steep ground.

Steep, rocky ground.

Perfect terrain for sniping and allowing a small mobile force to wreak havoc against large and powerful armies. The only approach that works is an airwar that will necessarily kill civilians and create new populations willing to send martyrs to us for retribution.

“We will win the war in Afghanistan” makes about as much sense as “the beatings will continue until morale improves.”

I feel terrible for all the people suffering and being killed or injured in this amazingly stupid military exercise.

The foolish Bush planners gave us an unnecessary war in Iraq to test their theories on shock and awe, the best and the brightest a few decades ago gave us the Vietnam War, and we appear poised to repeat the best and brightest mistake in Afghanistan. The pertinent question is the same one that arose with the Vietnam War, “how do you ask a man to be the last soldier to die for a mistake?”

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8 U.S. troops killed in battle with militants in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — Hundreds of militants attacked American and Afghan troops in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, opening fire on an outpost from multiple locations with rockets, mortars and heavy-caliber machine guns, according to an initial U.S. military report on the battle.
At least eight American troops and two members of the Afghan National Security Force died — the largest number of Americans killed by hostile action in a single day in more than a year, according to CNN records.
The fighting lasted about 12 hours, with the militants firing down on the joint U.S.-Afghan outpost from ridgelines above the base, a senior U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the first reports told CNN. The official said the report was preliminary and subject to change as more information came in.

U.S. troops walk past a group of armored vehicles on Saturday at a military base in Afghanistan.

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