Ed Kilgore reflects on the First Earth Day and what he was able to learn about it, how it was discussed, way back in a super conservative county in Georgia. Weep for the past, cry for the present:
we had a big Earth Day program, complete with a speech by actor Hal Holbrook, who had identified with the environmentalist cause in some manner that eludes me today.
That amazes me, now that being identified as an “environmentalist” leads so many people to identify one as a secular-socialist elitist. On the first Earth Day, Georgia was governed by none other than Lester Maddox, and my home turf was about to be represented by Larry McDonald, soon to become president of the John Birch Society (with whom Lester was identified as well). But I don’t recall my school or its principal getting any serious flak for spending a good chunk of a taxpayer supported day talking about the damage we were doing to the environment and what we could collectively do about it.
Take this with Taibbi’s reporting on Wall Street feminine hygiene product Dan Loeb and you get an idea of how even the language of sustainability has been turned into a rationale for a revenue stream, completely separate from the very low bar of its environmental context. Fine. Language is free. Do with it what you will. Just know that this is happening:
In the age of Citizens United, it’s going to become more and more important for ordinary people everywhere to find out if their tax dollars or their retirement money is being used to fund political lobbying against their own interests. There are, after all, lots of people on Wall Street with obnoxious political interests who want to get their hands on your union or state retirement money, your federal social security benefits (just think of how screwed we’d all be now if they’d privatized Social Security before 2008), and, through bailouts, your tax dollars.
And now that some of them, like Loeb, have taken a hit for dabbling in politics while feeding at the retirement trough, Wall Street is panicking and crying foul. An editorial in the Wall Street Journal this morning stooped to accusing the American Federation of Teachers of “bullying hedge funds to cut off funding for kids in Harlem,” as if terminal greed patients like Dan Loeb or the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal gave even half a shit about kids in Harlem. They should be ashamed of themselves for even thinking about going there.