Thursday, January 01, 2009


We have a huge need to head off the rape of our parks and our heritage, one of those last ditch destruction moves that the occupied White House has brought on. It makes me very proud to see some one with a very imaginative approach that has been working.

Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was in the news (and under arrest) last week after he disrupted a Bureau of Land Management auction of oil and gas leases on large tracts in southern Utah -- by walking into the auction and bidding on multiple leases. He won some leases, of course with no intention of paying up, and succeeded in bidding up the price on others.
Turns out he is an econ major at the University of Utah, which is home to one of the very few economics departments in the United States with a significant heterodox/left presence. DeChristopher discussed the importance of his econ courses:

The professors, especially, have been really supportive and have joined my team so far. And, you know, they kind of did their job beforehand. They kind of did their job in getting me ready for this and committing me to hold true to my values and in teaching me what was going on. In fact, the final exam that I took on Friday morning, one of the questions was about this oil sale and about, if only the oil companies were bidding on this land, are they actually going to be paying the real price for the production of oil? And, of course, the answer that the professor was expecting is no, they're not, because there's a lot of external costs that all of us have to pay for the production of oil that aren't included in those. So they did their part ahead of time in putting me where I needed to be. (Emphasis added.)

The oil business that spawned the cabal at the occupied White House has colored much of their activity. A resentment of the conservation and appreciation of natural beauty is a very large part of the oil industry's attitude. The unleashing of any damage to them that can be managed has been the final throw of the departing criminals, and that some one has managed to counter that move is very heartening.

Woody has a take on deChristopher's coup that is very nice, and includes a Buzzflash article:

On Friday, December 19th, the BLM kicked off a hotly disputed oil- and gas-lease auction of public lands in Southern Utah near Arches, the White River, the Desolation/Green River region, Canyonlands, Nine Mile Canyon, the Book Cliffs, and Deep Creek Mountains. It had been organized, and pushed through as a parting gidt to the Busheviks' loyal owners and managers in the energy industry.

One man decided to screw it up. He's the recipient of


The left wing economics studies supports a concept that Avedon and I have both brought up several times this week. We have ourselves, and have seen in other left leaning blogs, the realization that deregulation and its many accompanying flaws was headed toward disaster. We have not bought the winger line that everything was rosy, housing values were always going to rise, and the stock market was now permanently rising. Reality-based rationality has remained on the outside, as the Eat the Poor faction dominated.

Low wages and poor opportunities were seen by us on the left as damaging to our economy, while the wingers insisted it was making business prosper, a boon to everyone. Jobs were not being made, but all of the undermining of workers' rights was supposed to be for that end. Promoting business at the cost of hurting workers was supposed to be good, creating more jobs. That was wrong, and it has led to disaster.

The actions by deChristopher were a boon to all of us. It is heartening to know that reality-based economics are being taught, and are empowering, people who have true values. For the past eight years it has been hard to believe that reality was holding on somewhere.

Happy New Year.

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