Corporate Fascism and the End of Nature
November 22, 2003 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Bush is sabotaging the laws that have protected America's environment for more than thirty years, according to this excellent article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in Rolling Stone. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, was also recently interviewed by Salon.
posted by homunculus (35 comments total)
 
This in particular caught my attention:
George w. Bush seems to be trying to take us all the way back to the Dark Ages by undermining the very principles of our environmental rights, which civilized nations have always recognized. Ancient Rome's Code of Justinian guaranteed the use to all citizens of the "public trust" or commons -- those shared resources that cannot be reduced to private property -- the air, flowing water, public lands, wandering animals, fisheries, wetlands and aquifers.

When Roman law broke down in Europe during the Dark Ages, feudal kings began to privatize the commons. In the early thirteenth century, when King John also attempted to sell off England's fisheries and erect navigational tolls on the Thames, his subjects rose up and confronted him at Runnymede, forcing him to sign the Magna Carta, which includes provisions guaranteeing the rights of free access to fisheries and waters.
There's more on the history of the Magna Carta and the commons in this post.
posted by homunculus at 10:46 AM on November 22, 2003


It's the economy, stupid.
posted by scarabic at 11:08 AM on November 22, 2003


And this good quote
America's most visionary leaders have long warned against allowing corporate power to dominate the political landscape. In 1863, in the depths of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln lamented, "I have the Confederacy before me and the bankers behind me, and I fear the bankers most." Franklin Roosevelt echoed that sentiment when he warned that "the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling power."

Today, more than ever, it is critical for American citizens to understand the difference between the free-market capitalism that made our country great and the corporate cronyism that is now corrupting our political process, strangling democracy and devouring our national treasures.
posted by stbalbach at 11:09 AM on November 22, 2003


Liberal, blah, blah, blah. Anti-american, blah, blah, yadda. Why do you hate Bush, etc..etc..etc..
posted by damnitkage at 11:52 AM on November 22, 2003


If the article is too long, here's a nice Flash piece instead.
posted by homunculus at 12:13 PM on November 22, 2003


Robert F. Kennedy Jr.? And he is criticizing Bush? Now there's a big surprise.
posted by Durwood at 12:19 PM on November 22, 2003


Haven't heard "Smothered Hope" in a while, homunculus. I'll have to break out the Skinny Puppy.
posted by sharksandwich at 12:36 PM on November 22, 2003


Robert F. Kennedy Jr.? And he is criticizing Bush? Now there's a big surprise.

He's probably just jealous that it was Edward who got the 2003 George Bush Award.
posted by homunculus at 12:43 PM on November 22, 2003


When I look at this map, I'm not worried that corporations are going to take over. I worry that someday the feds will just say, "keep out, just live in the cities". For now, if you want to see anything good, you have to pay to see what used to be free.
But you can still see vast stretches of empty desert and tundra for free, for now. You just can't own any of it.

Alaska should be for Alaskans, not for people who will never go there, any more than New Hampshire should be administered by Belize.
posted by kablam at 12:58 PM on November 22, 2003


that's one really far-sighted land management plan ya got there kablammo.
posted by quonsar at 1:45 PM on November 22, 2003


Which Alaskans? The public, or those with the money to buy political influence?

By this logic, the rainforest can be clearcut for whichever corporations can buy off the various governments concerned (Brazil for the Brazilians, etc.), with climate changes and other ecological destruction reaching far beyond their borders. And, by the way, it's also OK for the US with 4% of the world's population to consume (wastefully) 25% of the world's energy, adding to greenhouse gases and, again, changing climate for everyone.

I will probably never go to the rainforest, just as I may never go to Alaska. But I care very much that they be there, and it's important for humanity (not just the Alaskans) that we not sell everything off.

And as for the Kennedys (-ies?) and noblesse oblige--seems to me that you have to ask not so much did they earn the right to their good fortune, but what they've done with it. Their public service looks pretty good next to the current generation of the Bush clan.
posted by palancik at 1:46 PM on November 22, 2003


Robert F. Kennedy Jr.? And he is criticizing Bush? Now there's a big surprise.

That's it. A disagreement in political views based on personal opinion is completely irrelevant because of the eternal blood-feud between the houses of Bush and Kennedy. All would be well except Laura, in show of her love to George, gave him two twin daughters instead of a son who might mingle with the daughter-princess of the Kennedy House and unite the Great Houses in harmony. Now, Princess Shriver weds an outsider, and the SPICE SHALL NOT FLOW!

Or, that could be a really stupid thing to have said. Yeah, I'll go with that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:04 PM on November 22, 2003


For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!
posted by homunculus at 2:16 PM on November 22, 2003


(Note that at the end of the Salon interview, Kennedy is pretty optimistic about Schwarzenegger.)
posted by homunculus at 2:18 PM on November 22, 2003


And as for the Kennedys (-ies?) and noblesse oblige--seems to me that you have to ask not so much did they earn the right to their good fortune, but what they've done with it. Their public service looks pretty good next to the current generation of the Bush clan.

They didn't earn the right to good fortune. They stole it. The Kennedy family was a criminal enterprise that made it's money running liquor. They, like the Clintons, are at root white trash.. royalty writ on black velvet.

As for their legacy, it is of womanizing, rape, murder, deniable invasion of a country and near global nuclear holocaust.
posted by paleocon at 2:21 PM on November 22, 2003


Ah, the absence of sexual desire...
posted by y2karl at 2:43 PM on November 22, 2003


They didn't earn the right to good fortune. They stole it.

Unlike the Nazi collaborator's fortune the present incumbent is heir to--better rum than Hitler, don't you think, bitter one?.
posted by y2karl at 2:45 PM on November 22, 2003


Let's not forget the womanizing, drug and alcohol abuse and war profiteering of our current prez either.
posted by whirlwind29 at 2:51 PM on November 22, 2003


Don't have a source for this, but someone on CREST's Green Building listserv (sent out today) has said that RFK2 is opposing the construction of windmills off the shore of Cape Cod, I believe, which suggests that environmentalism is well and good, as long as it's in someone else's backyard.
posted by claxton6 at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2003


claxton6, there are environmental issues involved in the opposition to the wind farm in Nantucket Sound; explained well here.
posted by airgirl at 3:57 PM on November 22, 2003


As far as Alaska goes, let's say the federal government suddenly announces that 95% of your house or apartment is theirs, and you can't use it for anything.

And all your stuff in their part of your house or apartment is theirs, too.

And you have to pay a fee to use it, now.

But they can sub-lease your house or apartment for someone else to use, and you have no say in the matter.
And you get *nothing* out of the deal, no purchase price, no rent, no nothing.

Now, isn't that fair?

If you'll look at that MAP again, unlike the rest of the western states that were raped, Texas got away almost scott free.

Why? Because when they joined the U.S., BY TREATY they have the right to say "No", if the feds just declare that part of Texas is no longer part of Texas.

Every other western state wishes it had that right.
posted by kablam at 4:42 PM on November 22, 2003


Some people see the world as it is, and ask "why".

Others see a world that never was, and ask "why not?".

I see a world with people like paleocon in it, and say, "that's why not".
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:56 PM on November 22, 2003


George_Spiggott, did you think that was clever?

You're nothing more than a pimp for politically correct homogeneity, overlayed with smug conceit. y2karl joins you in this practice of driving away divergent opinion. Intolerant louts the both of you.
posted by paleocon at 7:49 PM on November 22, 2003


Another drive by slime from the cesspool of your hate is not exactly a divergent opinion, Mr. Turd In The Punchbowl.
posted by y2karl at 8:38 PM on November 22, 2003


As far as Alaska goes, let's say the federal government suddenly announces that 95% of your house or apartment is theirs, and you can't use it for anything.

Now, isn't that fair?


That's an utterly asinine analogy. The federal government did not, in Alaska or anywhere else, simply announce that they were taking over a bunch of land without payment. They merely changed the terms of use on they land they'd always owned since its purchase from Russia. That is, the actual owner of the home told some squatters they couldn't play in his house any more.

That a putative conservative would think that people who don't own a patch of land should have any say in what goes on on that land, or should be able to extort money from the landowner when the landowner makes use of his own land, boggles the mind.

Or are you seriously claiming that if I live next to your land for long enough, it mystically becomes my land even though I haven't paid anyone for it, ever?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:47 PM on November 22, 2003


You're nothing more than a pimp for politically correct homogeneity, overlayed with smug conceit. y2karl joins you in this practice of driving away divergent opinion. Intolerant louts the both of you.

Now here it is in French!

Vous n'êtes rien davantage qu'un souteneur pour la homogénéité politiquement correcte, recouvert avec la vanité suffisante y2karl vous joint dans cette pratique de conduire l'opinion divergente partie. Louts intolérants les tous les deux de vous.

There, now. Much prettier, and it sounds less like copy from a 1970's Mao poster from China. "Death to the intolerant louts! y2karl and Spiggot are the Gang of Two Vermin!"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:06 PM on November 22, 2003


Wow, a link to a Rolling Stone article. I thought Corporate Magazines Still Suck.
posted by msacheson at 10:12 PM on November 22, 2003


kablam, Texas has no special rights as a state under its treaty of annexation, but under the joint resolution the US agreed to permit Texas to retain state ownership of its public lands (and accruing revenues) in exchange for the US abjuring responsibility for the independent Republic's (extensive) debts. Today, eminent domain is as applicable in Texas as anywhere. (Neither, by the way, does Texas have the sole right to secede, a popular UL -- but under the joint resolution (which may have been unconstitutional), the US retained the right to split the territory into as many as five states. Later, the Compromise of 1850 used that provision to swap Texas's northwestern claims in exchange for a $10M federal paydown of those aforementioned debts.)

So -- the federal government did declare that parts of Texas were no longer parts of Texas. (Now, they're parts of NM, CO, OK, and KS.)
posted by dhartung at 2:43 AM on November 23, 2003


I don't get it when people complain of being driven away by differing opinions, as paleocon and others have. why can't you rebutt instead of playing for sympathy? it seems to be me that if you can't defend a belief, perhaps you should abandon that belief.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:51 AM on November 23, 2003


dhartung: yours is a more accurate synopsis of the Texas-U.S. relationship. But still you might agree, far better for Texas interests then the relationship between the rest of the western states and the U.S.

ROU_Xenophobe: to say that "They merely changed the terms of use on they land they'd always owned since its purchase from Russia. That is, the actual owner of the home told some squatters they couldn't play in his house any more." is as asinine, as you so rudely put is, as suggesting that the 13 states carved out of the Louisiana purchase don't own their State lands because "the U.S. bought them." NONSENSE.

State lands are the property of the individual states until they are UNCONSTITUTIONALLY ripped from their grasp by a bloated and insatiable federal government. And while the courts continue to uphold these LAND SNATCHINGS, it doesn't make them any the more constitutional.
posted by kablam at 6:42 PM on November 23, 2003


What the hell are you talking about? The federal lands out west were always federal land and had never been ceded to the states in question. The states carved out of the Louisiana Purchase own their state lands because they bought them from their previous owners, or had them ceded to them by the federal government. Carving a new state out of federal land doesn't automatically transfer federal land to the ownership of the state. It remains federal land until the federal government sells it or cedes it.

If you're aware of land that had been owned by and titled to a state government being seized without payment by the federal government, please inform me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:44 PM on November 23, 2003


The federal lands out west were always federal land

After they were taken away from the Indians, that is.
posted by homunculus at 8:48 PM on November 23, 2003


Sure. But they never entered the ownership of the various states.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:23 PM on November 23, 2003




Liquidation of the Commons
posted by homunculus at 1:43 PM on November 27, 2003


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