First Environmentalism—Then Socialism!
To the power brokers of America’s right, climate change poses a dire  threat to business as usual. Environmentalism, in fact, is seen by many  of them as a stalking horse for an even more sinister force: socialism.  Progressive thinker Naomi Klein expertly dissects this dynamic in her Nation article “Capitalism vs. the Climate,” explaining why the average modern conservative is terrified silly by the prospect of confronting human-caused climate change:

Responding to climate change requires that we break every  rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency.  We will need to rebuild the public sphere, reverse privatizations,  relocalize large parts of economies, scale back overconsumption, bring  back long-term planning, heavily regulate and tax corporations, maybe  even nationalize some of them, cut military spending and recognize our  debts to the global South. Of course, none of this has a hope in hell of  happening unless it is accompanied by a massive, broad-based effort to  radically reduce the influence that corporations have over the political  process. That means, at a minimum, publicly funded elections and  stripping corporations of their status as “people” under the law. In  short, climate change supercharges the pre-existing case for virtually  every progressive demand on the books, binding them into a coherent  agenda based on a clear scientific imperative. …


Climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which  contemporary conservatism rests. There is simply no way to square a  belief system that vilifies collective action and venerates total market  freedom with a problem that demands collective action on an  unprecedented scale and a dramatic reining in of the market forces that  created and are deepening the crisis.

Keep reading …

First Environmentalism—Then Socialism!

To the power brokers of America’s right, climate change poses a dire threat to business as usual. Environmentalism, in fact, is seen by many of them as a stalking horse for an even more sinister force: socialism. Progressive thinker Naomi Klein expertly dissects this dynamic in her Nation article “Capitalism vs. the Climate,” explaining why the average modern conservative is terrified silly by the prospect of confronting human-caused climate change:

Responding to climate change requires that we break every rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency. We will need to rebuild the public sphere, reverse privatizations, relocalize large parts of economies, scale back overconsumption, bring back long-term planning, heavily regulate and tax corporations, maybe even nationalize some of them, cut military spending and recognize our debts to the global South. Of course, none of this has a hope in hell of happening unless it is accompanied by a massive, broad-based effort to radically reduce the influence that corporations have over the political process. That means, at a minimum, publicly funded elections and stripping corporations of their status as “people” under the law. In short, climate change supercharges the pre-existing case for virtually every progressive demand on the books, binding them into a coherent agenda based on a clear scientific imperative. …

Climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which contemporary conservatism rests. There is simply no way to square a belief system that vilifies collective action and venerates total market freedom with a problem that demands collective action on an unprecedented scale and a dramatic reining in of the market forces that created and are deepening the crisis.

Keep reading …

The commercial bail system is literally a medieval industry. Critics argue that the system has no bearing on who is a risk to  release but simply separates the poor and disempowered from those with  influence or a money source. It’s time to reform it. Keep reading …

The commercial bail system is literally a medieval industry. Critics argue that the system has no bearing on who is a risk to release but simply separates the poor and disempowered from those with influence or a money source. It’s time to reform it. Keep reading …

Cash-strapped state parks are forging partnerships with corporations to close their budget gaps:

In New York, for example, Nestle’s Juicy Juice contributed $350,000 to build playgrounds in seven state parks. In California, Coca-Cola and Stater Bros. Markets have raised about $1.9 million to support reforestation and other state park preservation efforts. And in Georgia, Verizon Wireless contributed $5,000 to cover the cost of park passes for the state’s annual Free Day at the park. Most of these efforts come with recognition—on a playground sign, on a park pass—of the corporation’s contribution.

The trend has already spawned the creation of a new breed of middleman: A California firm called Government Solutions Group has brokered about $7.5 million in such deal since 2004. Chief executive Shari Boyer tells Governing that this is not philanthropy but business: “These are partnerships. The corporation has to get something out of it.”

Keep reading …

America’s most wanted list has gone green. Last year, the once docile  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed its own teams of  inspectors, chemists, and street cops, and trained them in law  enforcement. The eco-crime-fighting agents “possess full Title 18 law enforcement authority—the same as the FBI,” explains Bear Deluxe Magazine’s Amy Roe. Read on …

America’s most wanted list has gone green. Last year, the once docile Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed its own teams of inspectors, chemists, and street cops, and trained them in law enforcement. The eco-crime-fighting agents “possess full Title 18 law enforcement authority—the same as the FBI,” explains Bear Deluxe Magazine’s Amy Roe. Read on …

govtoversight:

Would You Pay $720 million in Late Fees for These? The Pentagon Did
If you’re someone who never returns library books, Netflix movies and  rental cars on time—it could be worse! At least you haven’t racked up  $720 million dollars in late fees over the last decade. That’s how much  the Pentagon owes for failing to return shipping containers on time,  according to a USA TODAY report.
Read more about this story on the POGO blog.
Image via Flickr user evenwestvang.

govtoversight:

Would You Pay $720 million in Late Fees for These? The Pentagon Did

If you’re someone who never returns library books, Netflix movies and rental cars on time—it could be worse! At least you haven’t racked up $720 million dollars in late fees over the last decade. That’s how much the Pentagon owes for failing to return shipping containers on time, according to a USA TODAY report.

Read more about this story on the POGO blog.

Image via Flickr user evenwestvang.

Restore the property tax! Restore the property tax!
It’s not a chant you’ll hear anytime soon at a Tea Party rally or even a  liberal political potluck, but the progressive social-justice magazine Dollars & Sense makes the case that the property tax, “the original wealth tax,”  is perhaps the fairest tax—and that, properly levied, it could prevent  massive cuts in public services. Read more …

Restore the property tax! Restore the property tax!

It’s not a chant you’ll hear anytime soon at a Tea Party rally or even a liberal political potluck, but the progressive social-justice magazine Dollars & Sense makes the case that the property tax, “the original wealth tax,” is perhaps the fairest tax—and that, properly levied, it could prevent massive cuts in public services. Read more …

Our elementary-school teachers instilled certain fundamental  lessons—don’t run in the hall, don’t stick gum under your desk—in all of  us. Now they’re making sure our kids don’t disrespect the planet.
Advocates of a new crusade to bring environmental literacy to public  schools want students to better understand green issues and their  personal relationship to the natural world. Read more …

Our elementary-school teachers instilled certain fundamental lessons—don’t run in the hall, don’t stick gum under your desk—in all of us. Now they’re making sure our kids don’t disrespect the planet.

Advocates of a new crusade to bring environmental literacy to public schools want students to better understand green issues and their personal relationship to the natural world. Read more …

Low voter turnout is problematic for many reasons. For one, it  delegitimizes parties in power, as the opposition (read: the loser) can  claim that the winning party doesn’t actually represent the people.  Exhibit A: Bush v. Gore. Exhibit B: The Tea Party. But it’s not strictly an American problem. Historic low turnout in Canada has Bruce Hicks, in This Magazine, calling for compulsory voting. “There is no  reasonable argument that a few minutes out of a citizen’s day every four  years or so … is an unfair burden for living in a democracy,” he  writes. Read more …

Low voter turnout is problematic for many reasons. For one, it delegitimizes parties in power, as the opposition (read: the loser) can claim that the winning party doesn’t actually represent the people. Exhibit A: Bush v. Gore. Exhibit B: The Tea Party. But it’s not strictly an American problem. Historic low turnout in Canada has Bruce Hicks, in This Magazine, calling for compulsory voting. “There is no reasonable argument that a few minutes out of a citizen’s day every four years or so … is an unfair burden for living in a democracy,” he writes. Read more …