Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What is the natural world worth?

Beautiful answer from Pavan Sukhdev:

So take a planet like Mars with no biosphere, no plants, no animals and no humans.  Mars does not have an economy, natural or otherwise?  Let's call that zero.

Now take a planet like Earth with a biosphere, plants, animals and humans.  Earth does have an economy, both natural and economic.  Let's call that one.

What is the natural world worth?  Well, take the economic value of Earth, 1, and subtract the economic value of Mars, 0.  That's the difference between the value of Earth vs. Mars.  Then divide it by the value of Mars, 0.

The value of a natural world is infinity.  The opportunity cost of denying that our natural world is threatened, meaning what we would pay if we did nothing to mitigate climate change and the other effects that humans ARE having on Earth, is infinity.  What does it mean to pay infinity?

You can answer that yourself.

How to pass the Occupied Amendment

H.J.Res.90 is the House Resolution proposing an amendment to the US Constitution that reverses Citizens United.  It was introduced by Ted Deutch (D-FL19) on November 18th.

The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee when it was introduced on November 18th, and from there to the Subcommittee on the Constitution on December 2nd.  That's where the bill sits.

Activism means finding answers to three questions. What decision is being made, who is making that decision and how can I influence that decision?

The decision being made right now is whether the Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold hearings on this Resolution. There can be no action on the floor of the US House of Representatives until it passes out of the Subcommittee and then the full House Judiciary Committee.  So we need to push for hearings.  Here are the members of the Subcommittee on the Constitution:

Trent Franks (R, AZ-02) - Chairman
Jerrold Nadler (D, NY-08) - Ranking Member
Mike Pence (R, IN-06) - Vice Chairman
Steve Chabot, (R, OH-01)
Randy Forbes, (R, VA-04)
Steve King, (R, IA-05)
Jim Jordan, (R, OH-04)
Lamar S. Smith, (R, TX-21)
Michael Quigley, (D, IL-05)
John Conyers, Jr., (D, MI-14)
Bobby Scott, (D, VA-03)

The Subcommittee does not have a separate website, but here is the list of Subcommittees for the Judiciary Committee:

Phone number for the Subcommittee: (202) 225-2825

In addition to the House Joint Resolution, Senator Sanders (I-VT) introduced S.J.Res.33, which is the same bill on the Senate side.  Currently only Senator Begich (D-AK) has cosponsored this bill, and it sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Here are the members:

Patrick Leahy, Vermont, Chairman
Chuck Grassley, Iowa Ranking Member
Herb Kohl, Wisconsin
Dianne Feinstein, California
Chuck Schumer, New York
Richard Durbin, Illinois
Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island
Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
Al Franken, Minnesota
Chris Coons, Delaware
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut
Orrin Hatch, Utah
Jon Kyl, Arizona
Jeff Sessions, Alabama
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
John Cornyn, Texas
Mike Lee, Utah
Tom Coburn, Oklahoma

So, given all of this information, what do we do?  We contact our friends who live in the House Districts or States of the members of these two committees, and ask that the Resolutions be brought up in committee for a hearing, then put to a vote so that they can be considered on the floor of each chamber.  Please let me know what additional information you need, and I'll see what I can find.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fix Citizens United!

The Occupied Amendment

Rep. Ted Deutch: The OCCUPIED Amendment, H. J. Res 90
Senator Bernie Sanders: Saving American Democracy Amendment, S. J. Res 33

Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-07) co-sponsored on December 2nd

Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) co-sponsored on December 13th

Two down, seven to go.