Friday, March 10, 2017

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The Plunder Agenda is the Main Point of the Trump Administration

The main activity of the new Republican government has been to roll back regulations that costs corporations and their rich owners money.  Lobbyists have been sending in their wish lists of environmental, health and safety, consumer protection regulations they want ended - even rules that protect the entire world capitalist system from another meltdown.

In nearly all cases, the Trump administration and the Ryan-McConnell Congress has been complying with these corporate wishes before the public can respond. The administration of the "best negotiator" has asked for nothing in return - no alternative method of protecting the public or the future, no jobs made or saved, to alternative revenue to pay for the president's hugely expensive announced agenda.

The foxes are in charge of the henhouses, and are dealing out the chickens as fast as they can.

This is really what this administration is about.  Their actions on immigration, abortion, marijuana, and the endless tweets are secondary at best, and a smokescreen most of the time.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Good News About Reforestation

On Tuesdays I get to talk on WKYB, Danville's country radio station.  This was today's topic.

The world is reforesting at a delightful rate.

True, we are still losing more forest each year than we gain.  But the rate of deforestation has slowed. Brazil, home to the "world's lungs," the Amazon rainforest, has made great strides in reducing forest cutting.

Moreover, some countries have had astoundingly successful reforestation programs.  China has had a net gain of 46,000 square miles of forest in the past decade. Pakistan has planted 750 million trees just in the past year or so. And last summer India planted almost 50 million trees in one day.

The United States has more trees now than it did a century ago.  We use much less wood for fuel, and have returned many acres of marginal farmland to trees.  Some of this effort is government driven, but quite a bit is from the decisions of millions of private property owners that it makes sense to plant trees - or just to let them regrow naturally.

In Danville, yours truly has helped raise money in an ongoing project to plant 50 trees a year along downtown streets.  This is a micro initiative, but is like many others which, taken together, add up to a macro reforestation of urban America.

Good going, trees.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

In Inequality the Price of Peace

I have previously promoted Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature on the decline of violence. I still think this is a great book, and a phenomenon worth celebrating.

I am now reading Walter Scheidel's The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century. His main point is that the only things that have worked so far in human history to level economic inequality have been accomplished with great violence - war, revolution, state collapse, or pestilence.

A point that is secondary to Scheidel's argument, but primary to my consideration of the happy society, is that peace and stability seem to necessarily lead to increasing income inequality.

I will have to chew on this.  More as I digest Scheidel's argument.