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My New Year's Resolution was to write a letter a day on climate issues to various politicians and media outlets.  I've diaried my output so far in two long compilations which can be found here and here.  

Today's piece was composed in longhand on lined paper, while I watched my 5-year-old daughter take a swim class.  I faxed it to the President after I got home.  The White House fax number, by the way, is 202-456-2461.  I then posted it on my blog, where my wife read it and said, "Post this on Daily Kos right away!  Don't wait to do another compilation.  Promise?"

So here it is, in living black and white.

For a long time, I was reluctant to address economic issues in my letters, emails and blog posts.  I felt that I had inadequate background to be able to speak with any authority.  However, recent events have demonstrated that the people who are speaking with authority either don't have a fucking clue or are eager participants in the undeclared class war against the economically disenfranchised.

So I figured, "why the hell not?" and wrote a screed addressing climate change in economic terms.  

Dear President Obama,

It is increasingly apparent that the people you appointed as economic advisors are not operating in good faith.  Messrs Geithner, Summers and Bernanke are obviously working against the best interests of both the American people and their American president.  Mr. Summers' near-complete denialism on the economic necessity of addressing global climate change in a substantial and meaningful way is just one example of this  — an example which highlights the potential for an apocalyptic confluence of economic and environmental crises in the not too distant future.

The economic impact of climate change will be felt most severely by the world's poor.  By the time the wealthiest among the planet's population are severely affected, it will be too late for any attempts at remediation or mitigation.  "Disaster capitalism" can only succeed if there is a human population left to rob!

By aligning themselves with the big banks and the multi-national corporations, Geithner, Summers and Bernanke have lent their support to an undeclared class war: the wealthy against the rest of us.  Uncontrolled and unregulated capitalism is the engine driving runaway climate change — a slow-motion catastrophe whose ultimate impact will be the annihilation of whole populations.  Corporate climaticide's impact on the world's poor is the smallpox-infested blanket writ large — a toxic gift from the oligarchy to the everyone else.  This gift will have your signature on it (along with all the rest of the world's apologists for government of, by and for the supremely wealthy) unless you take the necessary steps — steps which will also help America's middle-class and poor recover their economic footing.  Fire Geithner and Summers.  Withdraw Bernanke's nomination.  It may not be enough, but it'll be a good start.

Thank you.



If any readers have suggestions for media outlets to whom subsequent letters should be addressed, I would welcome them.  Comments, criticism and feedback are eagerly solicited.

Furthermore, please feel free to use any of my wordings in your own letters if you find them apt.

Originally posted to WarrenS' Blog on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:49 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Since you asked for suggestions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, WarrenS

    your position might be strengthened by offering some specific suggestions for their replacements . . . .

    After all, not sure anyone is entirely enthusiastic about these clowns, but if they're the best we have, I guess that's what we have to go with.

  •  Accusing the President of (0+ / 0-)

    being the architect of premeditated genocide unless he follows your prescription always works.

    •  If you really think that's what I'm saying... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Orinoco, goinsouth're reading me wrong.

      Geithner and Summers are the mouthpieces for a capitalist system that has undeniably toxic consequences for the people at the shitty end of the stick.  If President Obama continues to repose his confidence in them, he winds up being associated in perpetuity with the consequences of the policies they espouse.

      I don't think he deserves that.  I really don't.  I don't think that's what he wants in this world; just the opposite.

      Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

      by WarrenS on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:26:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You wrote (0+ / 0-)

        This [toxic] gift will have your signature on it (along with all the rest of the world's apologists for government of, by and for the supremely wealthy) unless you take the necessary steps...

        You referred to firing his economists as only a "good start".

        As to this:

        I don't think he deserves that.  I really don't.  I don't think that's what he wants in this world; just the opposite.

        It surpasses understanding how far you are willing to go in absolving The President of responsibility for his own decisions.

        •  It surpasses understanding.... (0+ / 0-)

 political frustrations can make people (who are presumably thoughtful progressives, since who else would post here) subject to grotesque misinterpretations of others' statements.

          On the one hand, you say that I accuse the President of genocide (which I don't), and you follow that by saying I'm willing to absolve him of responsibility for his own decisions (which I'm not).

          Now, take a deep breath, and read what I've written slowly and carefully.

          What I said was, in effect, that hiring Geithner et al was a bad decision, and one which will very likely have disastrous consequences for many people in many parts of the world...and that if President Obama doesn't want to have those consequences as part of his legacy, he should replace those people with others.

          You may not agree; that's your prerogative.  But if you're going to cast aspersions, at least strive for internal consistency, lest you give the impression that you're just here to muddy the waters of discourse.

          Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

          by WarrenS on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 11:08:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you want to reinterpret your writing, that's (0+ / 0-)

            fine with me. Had you written the above in the diary, I'd have no problem with your POV. The smallpox blanket reference was just silly.

            Lots of thoughtful non-progressives post here.

            •  valion is correct (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              you do say clearly that if Obama doen't follow your suggestions he'll be guilty of genocide ( your signature will be on it). And as an Indian guy the blanket reference got my attention. Remember General Amherst didn't hand out the blankets personally he had others do it for him too.

              •  Point taken. (0+ / 0-)

                My point is that Obama presumably doesn't want his signature on that poisonous gift card.  Mind you, if Geithner suddenly turns around and starts tearing new holes in Wall Street, I'd be just as happy.  I have no personal animosity towards him.

                I do believe that the attitude of Big Finance toward the economically disenfranchised of this world is callous at best and genocidal at worst; the effects of climate change will first destroy those populations who have contributed the least to the problem.  As Bill McKibben said, the carbon footprint of Bangla Desh is so small, it's a rounding error.  And those people are already feeling increased mortality from dengue fever, caused by localized effects of global warming.

                Because corporations are built around short-term profit, their "thinking" is a combination of sociopathic and ADD.  While a few human actors in the corporate boardrooms may espouse callous inhumanity toward the Third World, many CEOs no doubt believe themselves to be on the side of the good...even as they labor on behalf of organizations whose plans for growth imperil the world's biosphere in ways that we can't even begin to analyze accurately.  

                Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

                by WarrenS on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:11:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Here's Summers, in his own words, (0+ / 0-)

              discussing the economic upside of exporting pollution to the third world:

              1. The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages.  I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.
              1. The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost. I've always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.
              1. The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostate cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is is 200 per thousand. Also, much of the concern over industrial atmosphere discharge is about visibility impairing particulates. These discharges may have very little direct health impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable."


              Tell me again how the smallpox blanket reference was silly.

              Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

              by WarrenS on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:00:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you like it, use it. I suggest it's (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                needlessly inflammatory and not applicable as used. You obviously disagree.

                On your other point, I carry no brief for Geithner or Summers and am agnostic re Bernanke. But I would like one or another of the economic team's head hunters around here to assess the impact on the President's agenda given the need to vet, depose, and confirm replacements, the Congressional schedule, and an Executive Branch budget due Feb 1.

                •  This sounds like something... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...that's worth a diary.  I am clueless about the relationship between those elements; best way to get people to think about it is to post a diary, IMO.

                  Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

                  by WarrenS on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:55:13 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Quote of the day: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, WarrenS

    Corporate climaticide's impact on the world's poor is the smallpox-infested blanket writ large.

    What a great analogy--we need to run with that one!

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:25:42 AM PST

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