Archive for category Editorial

Fighting Climate Change in Donald Trump’s America

Listening to Trump’s victory speech early Wednesday morning (and much of what he has said since then) has led many to wonder if the entire election campaign was a con, and we’re now going to see a new, more humane, Donald Trump as President. “Would the real Donald Trump stand up?” is a question several pundits have begun to ask. And in his first statement after the election, President Obama noted Trump’s “new tone,” and hoped it would continue.

Here’s a key excerpt from Trump’s speech:

I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.

Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Hitler or Hillary? A Stark Choice

Why we all need to stand up and be counted

jcloud-spainThe mere fact that Donald Trump has been designated the Republican nominee for President should give us all cause for concern. No one with such a clearly authoritarian personality has ever been a plausible candidate for the most powerful office in the world. The campaign that we see unfolding before us is not a reality show, but a sobering reality. It is not unreasonable that we should ask ourselves what would happen if we were to stand by and not speak out against it.
Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Crowdfunding for PACE in New Jersey

JCloudStorerSmThe challenges we face in New Jersey as a result of climate change are significant, and so therefore are the opportunities. The experience of Superstorm Sandy showed us just how ill-prepared we are for the more frequent recurrence of extreme weather; and how important it is that we set an example for taking action to mitigate our own greenhouse gas emissions, as other states are doing around us. And there’s also no doubt about the urgency of it — as you can see from this remarkable video:
Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Keep Your Hands Off My Obamacare

JCloudStorerSmSome Republicans in Congress are determined to “de-fund” Obamacare by holding the government’s entire budget hostage. I beg to differ from those in the Tea Party who are supporting this move.

Our personal story is that we have enjoyed company-supplied health care insurance up to the point where my wife got laid off in 2012, and since then have paid for COBRA at $1500 a month to maintain these benefits. This ends in November, and we fully intend to apply for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

This name says a lot — it’s private insurance that is expected to be affordable and held to important consumer-protection standards. We haven’t signed up yet, and we’ll be the first to complain if the system does not work properly when it’s launched in October. But there are currently a lot of good software engineers and designers working for the federal government, and we’re expecting to see any kinks ironed out as soon as they’re discovered.

No Comments

Finally, Some Sanity on Climate Change

JCloudStorerSmJune 25, 2013: A great deal of what Obama just said on climate change at Georgetown University will seem like common sense to many of us, so it’s important to recognize just how dramatic a shift in the public conversation it is likely to cause.

Several distinct concepts were introduced and reinforced in the speech, most notably that of “carbon pollution,” which is clearly more emotionally and politically powerful than “greenhouse gas emissions.” By calling it (some might say “calling it out as”) carbon pollution more than a dozen times during the speech, he laid the groundwork for a comprehensive approach to the challenge of climate change as a priority for the U.S. and for the rest of the world — including placing the U.S., now second in the world as a carbon emitter to China, at the head of the line in addressing the problems.

Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Doing Business Differently

JCloudStorerSmWe know that the new economic and ecological realities we face require us to do something different in business, which in some cases also means doing business differently.

Certainly it’s possible to use a conventional business model to manufacture and install solar panels, build windfarms, etc., and we certainly need these kinds of things “at scale,” as they say, sufficient to offset the energy we get from coal, oil, and nuclear. But other kinds of businesses — local, community-based businesses focusing on food, energy conservation, community banking, and other elements of local “economic, social, environmental, and cultural development” — these it seems need a different approach to doing business altogether.

For one thing, getting people to invest in local projects is surprisingly difficult under the conventional business model. It’s just much easier, and assumed to be much safer and more profitable, to “diversify your investments” by putting them in mutual funds, bonds, and publicly-traded companies. What we need are local investments that are either super-secure, or where the risk can be spread over many different enterprises and investors.

Focusing attention on the local economy is one of the central tenets of “financial permaculture,” a movement that is growing out of the tradition of permaculture derived from the work of Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Tasmania in the 1970s.

Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Toward a Sustainable Future for Haiti

JCloudStorerSmThe earthquake in Haiti has been many things – including both a wakeup call for Americans, and an opportunity to demonstrate our compassion – but it has above all been a human tragedy that has revealed the weaknesses and deficiencies that were there before. A 7.5 magnitude earthquake will no doubt cause some damage no matter where it occurs, but it does not always need to cause the extent of devastation that has occurred in Haiti, or to leave the population as unaided.

Some colleagues of ours at the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise met last week to discuss what we could do to contribute to a longer-term recovery, that would try to address the social, environmental, and economic challenges facing this troubled nation. We talked about a great many things, including the fact that many of us feel powerless in the face of such catastrophes, especially those that afflict human beings in distant places. We are all “overcommitted” to many worthwhile and challenging tasks already, and taking on such a monumental task as helping to chart the way forward in Haiti clearly seems to require that we steal time and energy from other causes. But if we can make even a small difference, while honoring our other commitments, this seems a compelling goal. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

An Open Letter to the President

The Road Not Taken:
A Letter to President Obama
from a Concerned Democrat,
and a Concerned Citizen

Jonathan Cloud (Publisher)

Jonathan Cloud (Publisher)

Dear Mr. President:

I write out of deep concern as to the state of our nation today.

I believe that in the year since your inauguration, an important opportunity has been missed to unify and mobilize the American people in the service of their highest ideals.

I acknowledge the many pressures and challenges that have been thrust upon you by circumstances, and I applaud you for the intelligent and courageous actions you have taken. Your actions have, as almost all economists now recognize, averted an outright collapse of the financial system. And this is but one of many remarkable accomplishments, not the least of which has been changing the tone around America’s role in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Latest News & Updates

JCSketch72f

Jonathan Cloud (Editor & Publisher)

I’ve been working to add some sections and some content to the site and get it ready for a launch of some kind, when we decide that it’s ready for “prime time.” There are some challenges in the formatting, and I welcome your comments.

  • I’ve posted Bill Allen’s upcoming discussion of “OFF by 2040” at the February 1 Bernards Democrats’ meeting to the Events page. Eventually I’ll add a Calendar to this page so it will be easier to see what’s happening.
  • I’ve posted a recent correspondence between Larry Nault, Bill Allen, and myself, starting with Larry’s communication as an article and then adding our responses as comments, as an example of how things ought to appear (at least in my view).

Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Why The Dead River Journal

…and what you can expect to find here.

Photo Credit: Passaic River Coalition (http://www.passaicriver.org)

The idea for the Dead River Journal was hatched at a meeting to consider a new communications strategy for democrats, independents, and moderate republicans in Bernards Township. We intend to be serious, wide-ranging, funny, and engaging, and provide what a local newspaper or magazine should – articles worth reading.

PLEASE NOTE: The focus of the Dead River Journal has changed substantially since it first began. I’ve kept much of the original description here, but we never implemented some of these ideas, and are not likely to. Rather, it has become a vehicle for sharing original thoughts, articles, and essays for me and a few close colleagues in Bernards Township, NJ. (Jonathan Cloud, Nov. 8, 2013)

We’ll have a monthly newsletter, and a subscription list, and ask readers for $10 a year for a subscription. Frankly, if we each kicked in that much we could make this much more effective as a means of communication. Given the urgency of our times, this seems increasingly important. Issues of economics, of energy and the environment, of the role of local government, and of other matters of public interest, are impacting each and every one of us and call for concerted action. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments