Archive for September 5th, 2012

Fake Green

From Yes! magazine (and thanks to Owen White):

“Just a few years ago, the term “green economy” referred to economies that are locally based, climate friendly, and low-impact. But since the global economic meltdown began in 2007, the green economy has come to mean something more akin to the wholesale privatization of nature. This green economy is about putting a price on natural cycles through a controversial set of policies called “Payments for Ecosystem Services”—an approach to greening capitalism that some liken to a tiger claiming to turn vegetarian.

Rather than reducing pollution and consumption, protecting the territorial rights of land-based peoples, and promoting local initiatives that steward resources for future generations, the approach is doing the opposite: promoting monoculture tree plantations, trade in pollution credits, and the establishment of speculative markets in biodiversity and forests, all of which threaten to displace land-based communities.

A report by Ecosystem Marketplace, the leading purveyor of ‘Payments for Ecosystem Services,’ lays out the green economy argument: ‘Ecosystems provide trillions of dollars in clean water, flood protection, fertile lands, clean air, pollination, disease control. … So how do we secure this enormously valuable infrastructure and its services? The same way we would electricity, potable water, or natural gas. We pay for it.’

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), among the chief proponents of the green economy, says this approach will result in ‘improved well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.’ The World Bank, also promoting the green economy, says, ‘Natural capital accounting would add to our national GDPs the wealth stored in our natural resources: minerals before they are mined, forests before they are felled, water while it is still in the rivers.’

But, for social movements, land-based communities, and indigenous peoples, the question is, who really pays? For what are they paying? And, most poignantly, since when has nature, the source of all life, been reduced to a service-provider?

One concern is that this new green economy is a form of ‘disaster capitalism’—a global effort to put the ‘services’ of nature into the same hands that caused the global financial meltdown. And that seems like a very, very bad idea.”

Read the rest here.

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Speaking of Rolling Stone

The Hapless Five

Although it is not available online, the latest issue of Rolling Stone also has an article chronicling the FBI sting of Occupy Cleveland. More specifically, how a criminal hired by the feds found a handful of hapless young guys, plied them with pot and alcohol, gave them money, urged them to more radical action, supplied them with explosives, cajoled them into using them, and then busted them.

This fits the profile of most of the “terrorist plots” since 9/11, except until now it had been Muslim knuckleheads that the agent provocateurs had prodded into action.

Yes, of course they should never have gone along with it, but it is highly unlikely that they would have ever acted if the FBI had not provoked them.

All of this keeps the citizenry scared and grateful that Our Heros are keeping us safe. Lord have mercy.

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The Ghost of W

Strangely absent from last week’s Republican national convention was the presence of George W Bush. He did not attend, and he was not lauded. Indeed, the only mention of the former president was his brother Jeb’s half-apologetic comment “I love my brother”. This is odd: two former Republican ex-presidents- both Bushes- and neither appeared at the convention. Contrast this with the Democratic convention where both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton will be present. This, in spite of Mr Carter making headlines recently harshly criticizing Mr Obama for his drone strikes and expanded presidential powers.

This is no mystery: the Romney campaign is hoping for a case of national amnesia. They speak as if George Bush never existed, as if the ongoing economic crisis is wholly a creation of Mr Obama’s, as if GOP economic ideas are new and fresh, rather that tried and found grossly wanting. They really don’t want anyone to remember the disaster of the Bush Years.

But behind the scenes, Mr Romney is surrounding himself with veterans of the Bush administration. From, of all places, The Washington Times:

Ed Gillespie served as President George W. Bush’s right-hand man and now is a top political adviser to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

R. Glenn Hubbard and Greg Mankiwled Mr. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. Now they are Mr. Romney’s economic brain trusts.

The same can be said for his foreign policy team, where Mr. Romney boasts a number of faces from the Bush old guard, including former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Today, they are the former Massachusetts governor’s go-to guys on counterterrorism.

Mr. Romney’s corps of advisers, in fact, is heavily salted with figures who surrounded the 43rd president as he watched over massive increases in federal spending, the creation of more government programs and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the nation-building efforts that followed.”

Read more: Romney’s team starts to look like Bush’s – Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/10/romneys-team-starts-to-look-like-bushs/#ixzz25bIdxRtW
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