A Careful Read of this Article

makes it clear that the driver of this threat “rising from the soil” is profit. Maybe it would help us make the changes we have to make if we called profit greed when it is excessive and destructive?

It’s not clear to me how we are going to change our global economic house of cards that is built on profit indifferent to justice and sustainability, but it is clear to me that the planet is not going to allow the current model to continue.

I hope human beings will wise up and work together to change the way we live on the planet. The change is coming, it’s happening right now and we have choices to make about how we accommodate the change.

clipped from www.washingtonpost.com

A climate threat, rising from the soil

TARUNA JAYA, INDONESIA — Across a patch of pineapples shrouded in smoke, Idris Hadrianyani battled a menace that has left his family sleepless and sick — and has wrought as much damage on the planet as has exhaust from all the cars and trucks in the United States. Against the advancing flames, he waved a hose with a handmade nozzle confected from a plastic soda bottle.

Amid often-acrimonious debate over how to curb global warming ahead of a critical U.N. conference next month in Copenhagen, “peat is the big elephant in the room,” said Agus Purnomo, head of Indonesia’s National Council on Climate Change. Dealing with it, he said, requires that the world answer a vexing question: How can protection of the environment be made as economically rewarding as its often lucrative destruction?

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I Suspect Charles Blow is Correct

The failure of democrats to deliver change will be their undoing in the next couple of elections. Given the opportunity of a generation to enact real change, to push for a retooling of a crashing economy, to wind down the war machine and turn up a health and welfare economy driven by development and implementation of a technologically green and independent energy system, the democrats (and Obama primarily) chose the cautious path of rescuing bankers and currying favor with campaign contributors.

Obama is a really smart guy, but he is perhaps even more cautious than he is smart. Too bad for the dems that they didn’t elect a George Bush doppelganger, a less intelligent, but bolder partisan leader.

It is still possible that Obama will learn on the job and will turn into a more dynamic leader, a guy who will use the bully pulpit to push meaningful public policy, but he wasted the critical 100 days of his administration and got very little enacted. Now we enter the campaign year when he is even less likely to get meaning legislation passed and his presidency will enter its first term twilight after the midterm elections.

The problem at the base of these disappointments is an campaign finance system that makes our political system the best system that money can buy. This political system is not the one we need. An elected government that cannot challenge the moneyed interests has its limitations.

clipped from www.nytimes.com

The Passion of the Right

In 354 days, the dead will rise. Or so believe Republicans.

They believe that their suffering and forbearance in the face of an overzealous, hyperliberal left will culminate in a 2010 resurrection of the battered Republican brand.

Case in point: After G.O.P. victories in Virginia last week, Representative Eric Cantor, the House Republican whip, exclaimed that voters are “looking for change. … The Republican resurgence begins again tonight!”

Cantor is also right that the people want change — still. They trusted Democrats to deliver. The Democrats haven’t, not yet at least, and pleas for patience come at a price. If voters’ thirst remains unsated, they will change politicians until politicians change policies.

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How about a presidential tax rate?

One of the problems with an idea like the one to increase taxes on folks who can afford it (income of $250,000?) is bracket creep. It’s true that it might take a long time for most of us to run into this problem, but the impact is gradual and erodes the progressive nature of a tax on wealthy folks who are doing well and can afford to and should pay taxes.

A simple solution is to peg the jump in the tax rate at the presidential salary. We can normally count on Congress and the President not to let this benchmark lag and you know, if you are making as much as the President of the USA, you aren’t doing too badly.

So, we peg a tax rate increase to income above the presidential rate. And we peg a couple of step increases to income at 200% and 400% of the Presidential salary. I know it seems harsh to ask the top earners to live frugally, like the President, but we all have to make sacrifices, don’t we?

clipped from www.nytimes.com

Geithner Laments the Deficit, but Demurs on Tax Increases

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner acknowledged Sunday that the federal deficit was too high but said the priorities now are economic growth and job creation.

Asked repeatedly on “Meet the Press” on NBC whether that meant taxes would rise, Mr. Geithner avoided providing specifics. He did say President Obama is committed to dealing with the deficit in a way that would not add to the tax burden of people making less than $250,000 a year.

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