Conservative Wrap Around

This is the tale of two brothers, there political disagreements and it’ very contemporary political parallel on the floor of the Senate.

I was in the WISE offices in Am*dam and i got the call.  It was Teddy Goldsmith on the line, the publisher of the radical British magazine the Ecologist.  Teddy was an inspiration to the dark green ecologists who i would ultimately work with in Czechoslovakia. He wrote a compelling ecological book called “The Great U turn. which advocates de-industrialization.  He was calling because his brother, wanted to set up a meeting of the most important anti-nuclear activists in the world.  His brother wanted a private anti-nuclear summit.

Teddy’s brother was the Anglo-French billionaire Sir James Goldsmith.  “Jimmy”wanted to fund the best ideas for stopping nukes.  I learned a lot organizing this event, first off that there was absolutely no agreement on who these people were, we started with a list of about 40 people for an event that was supposed to have only 15.

amazon with clouds

As i researched who these people might be, i also looked into the politics of our mysterious donor.  Besides his distaste for nuclear power, he also had little interest in monogamy (a point so important it dominates his NY Times obituary).  And Jimmy did not ant more immigrants in Europe, he anted referendums to break up the EU, and he made his fortune in timber and gold mining.

Jimmy had asked Teddy to convene meetings like this before.  When he brought in the global forest activists they had made the impassioned case for saving the Amazon.  Goldsmith is said to have asked the assembled experts:

How many acres of rainforest are there in the Amazon?

“100 million” one expert estimated.

“That’s all?” asked Goldsmith but before he got an answer he asked his next question.

“How much does an acre cost to buy?”

“About US$10? ventured another expert.

“That’s all! Let’s just buy it!” Goldsmith exclaimed.

Later less expensive solutions would be adopted.

there is some green left


There is still some green.

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And while the brothers did not get along on a number of political issues, they were able to work together where they did.

i find myself in  strangely similar wrap around today.  Conservative Senator Rand Paul filibustered yesterday for 14 hours to get information about how drones are authorized to kill people world wide.  Technically he was protesting the confirmation of CIA director John Brennan as i would if i were there.  His Tea Party friends are proud of him.  And so am i.