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August 27th, 2010

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12:37 am - Some Interesting Progressive Links
Here's an excellent article about the recent EPA decision limiting mountaintop removal mining. In essence, the decision merely involves the EPA doing their job, which of course they are never allowed to do when a Republican is in office. Definitely a win for Obama and for the environment. It's fairly sad that having federal agencies actually do their job challenges the status quo, but that's what far too many years of Republican rule does to the government.

perlandria linked to a fascinating series of articles on economics published by Reclaiming, Starhawk's progressive neopagan organization. Here are the articles. The only downside is that this is a series of 5 articles, only two of which are actually worth reading. The first article, on unemployment is fluff, but the 2nd Gloomy, With a Chance of Depression, pp. 29-32 is an excellent progressive analysis of the causes of the current financial problems in the US, as well as an excellent look at what has already been done and what more could or should be done. Definitely a useful answer to the mixture of ignorance and anger that I so often see among progressives talking about the economy. A longer, but also considerably older (from December 2008) version of the same article can be found here.

The final article, which is an interview with Starhawk (pp. 41-43) is also worth reading – I found it overly optimistic and overly radical in some places, but quotes like
However, the idea that it is only our attitude holding us back is only empowering when applied to ourselves. Applied to others, it can be deadly. It very easily transmutes into victimblaming: “The poor are poor because of their bad attitudes. It’s an Aquarian version of “the poor are shiftless and lazy.” It seems to me like another version of the old myth that anyone can make it here in the “land of opportunity.” The myth is perpetuated because this is a land of opportunity for many – but not for all. And if we forget or ignore or blame those who don’t make it, then we aren’t building a new culture, we’re perpetuating the old one.
which is something that I wish more people on all sides of the political spectrum would keep in mind.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 27th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Mountaintop removal mining has far too many risky environmental consequences. By the way, did you ever catch the "oops" episode of radiolab? It had a segment on the Berkeley pit, which I'm sure came immediately to mind when you found that article.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:August 27th, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC)
Indeed. I find that belief right up there with the idea that every difficulty, tragedy, or set-back is the universe trying to teach you a lesson and (worst of all) the importation of the idea of reincarnational karma from Hinduism into newage and occasionally neopagan thought. All three are vile nonsense that are nothing more than different versions of victim-blaming.

In most ways, the fact that neopaganism is a first world middle class faith is a very good thing. All of the archaic faiths, from Christianity to Buddhism are based on the idea that the physical world is either fundamentally corrupt (the western version) or unimportant (the eastern version), which is an idea that makes sense if most people die at 40 and life almost universally sucks except for a very small elite, who still died like flies from various minor medical problems. However, this idea seems utterly broken in the modern first world, and the various problems of using a broken ideology are fairly obvious. For example, I'm not certain if Calvinist puritanism ever made sense, but it certainly makes far less sense now than it did a century or two ago.

However, in celebrating the physical world, neopaganism has trouble dealing with the issue of bad things happening to people and largely took the cheap and vile way out of deciding they are avoidable and a sign of some personal lack.
[User Picture]
Date:August 28th, 2010 06:14 am (UTC)
So why didn't Obama tell the EPA to do its when he first got in, instead of approving 40+ mountaintop removals and only stopping 2?
[User Picture]
Date:August 28th, 2010 06:43 am (UTC)
The man is fundamentally a Chicago machine politician who is used to making deals with people who oppose him. For far too long (and to some extent, still) he tried to compromise and work with Republicans and not to anger them about anything that wasn't one of his top priorities (the economy and healthcare). So, he does many things quietly and slowly - IMHO far too slowly, but stuff does get done.

We have a good (very far from perfect, but an excellent start) healthcare bill. We have massive investment in clean energy via that stimulus monies (a very clever choice), and while he's being an idiot about Afghanistan, the wretched Iraq war is largely over. Too slow, too eager to give in to insane Republicans (IOW, Republicans), and not willing to be too open in his support for most good (ie seriously non-Republican) ideas, but he's doing an OK job.
[User Picture]
Date:August 28th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Saving more than two of the forty+ mountaintops last year would have offended -- how many Republicans? Offense comes and goes. The mountaintops are still gone.

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