We must ensure US public lands stay public, or risk ‘demolition of society’ | Kate Aronoff

A lawyer and longtime energy lobbyist, the new interior secretary, David Bernhardt, has one goal in mind: handing as much land as possible to corporations

Who are America’s public lands for? The answer to that question might seem self-evident: the public. The newly confirmed interior secretary, David Bernhardt – officially charged with stewarding them – has a different interpretation. A lawyer and longtime energy lobbyist, he has shuffled between posts on K Street and in the federal government with one goal in mind: handing as much of that land as possible over to corporations, particularly his friends and clients in the oil and gas industry eager to snap up new leases for mining and drilling.

It’s why they were ecstatic when he took over as ousted secretary Ryan Zinke’s second-in-command. Dan Naatz, the political director of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, assured a gathering of 100 oil executives in June 2017 that “we know him very well, and we have direct access to him, have conversations with him about issues ranging from federal land access to endangered species, to a lot of issues”. Dutifully, he’s expedited the environmental review process for fossil fuel developers hoping to build on public lands. Bernhardt made plenty of other corporate interests happy too, finishing up the work he began as a lobbyist for industrial farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections.

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We must ensure US public lands stay public, or risk ‘demolition of society’ | Kate Aronoff

A lawyer and longtime energy lobbyist, the new interior secretary, David Bernhardt, has one goal in mind: handing as much land as possible to corporations

Who are America’s public lands for? The answer to that question might seem self-evident: the public. The newly confirmed interior secretary, David Bernhardt – officially charged with stewarding them – has a different interpretation. A lawyer and longtime energy lobbyist, he has shuffled between posts on K Street and in the federal government with one goal in mind: handing as much of that land as possible over to corporations, particularly his friends and clients in the oil and gas industry eager to snap up new leases for mining and drilling.

It’s why they were ecstatic when he took over as ousted secretary Ryan Zinke’s second-in-command. Dan Naatz, the political director of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, assured a gathering of 100 oil executives in June 2017 that “we know him very well, and we have direct access to him, have conversations with him about issues ranging from federal land access to endangered species, to a lot of issues”. Dutifully, he’s expedited the environmental review process for fossil fuel developers hoping to build on public lands. Bernhardt made plenty of other corporate interests happy too, finishing up the work he began as a lobbyist for industrial farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections.

Continue reading…

Can the US Democratic party revive the left in Europe? | Cas Mudde

Struggling social democratic parties in Europe could learn a few lessons from Democrats in the United States

In the 1990s developments within the Democratic party would lead to the ideological decline, and then electoral decline of European social democracy. Now, almost three decades later, could recent developments within that same party be the start of an ideological and electoral rejuvenation of European social democracy?

The 1980s hit European social democracy hard. Although social democratic parties still performed reasonably well in elections, the postwar social democratic consensus – with a mix of centrist Christian democracy – was under fundamental attack from the first wave of neoconservatism, personified by Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US. Like the Democratic party, the British Labour party was reduced to an increasingly irrelevant opposition party, as neoconservatives dismantled key institutions of the social democratic welfare state and, more importantly, undermed its fundamental belief in solidarity and the regulatory state.

Continue reading…

Can the US Democratic party revive the left in Europe? | Cas Mudde

Struggling social democratic parties in Europe could learn a few lessons from Democrats in the United States

In the 1990s developments within the Democratic party would lead to the ideological decline, and then electoral decline of European social democracy. Now, almost three decades later, could recent developments within that same party be the start of an ideological and electoral rejuvenation of European social democracy?

The 1980s hit European social democracy hard. Although social democratic parties still performed reasonably well in elections, the postwar social democratic consensus – with a mix of centrist Christian democracy – was under fundamental attack from the first wave of neoconservatism, personified by Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US. Like the Democratic party, the British Labour party was reduced to an increasingly irrelevant opposition party, as neoconservatives dismantled key institutions of the social democratic welfare state and, more importantly, undermed its fundamental belief in solidarity and the regulatory state.

Continue reading…