Thurston County will get to vote to authorize the Public Utility District to expand into electricity in November. It is on the ballot, friends. We did it. No paid signature gatherers, just volunteers knocking on doors.
Let's talk about Puget Sound Energy for a moment. It is not a Puget Sound based company despite the name. PSE is owned by the Macquarie Group of Australia. I have nothing against Australians, but the Macquarie Group appears to be an investment company. A slinger of high finance instruments including Collateralized Debt Obligations, one of the casino style financial models that create privatized profit and socialized risk.
The SEC is reported to be considering lawsuits against the Mac Group. Should we continue to trust them with an electricity monopoly in Thurston County or should we vote for PUD Power and have them compete with a utility that is locally owned, locally controlled, and locally accountable? Want to know more about Macquarie Group? here's a piece from The Australian:
Macquarie Group unit faces US probe over deal
Washington Post carries story this morning about pressure from both sides to have Romney release more tax returns. I don't think he is going to do it. I think he is going to try to tough it out and claim principled stand that he has shared enough personal information. That would fly better if his father, George Romney, had not staked out the bipartisan ground 40 years ago for transparency by releasing 12 years of returns.
I think the simple truth is ten or twelve years of tax returns is going to show how much money Romney has made and how little tax he has paid in that time period. I think the returns would also undermine his story about himself as a job creator as his personal income would be revealed to be derived from passive investments, job out-sourcing, smart investing, but not from economic activity that has any significant connection to job creation. And there is the problem for the Republicans and the 1%ers. They keep trumpeting about the Job Creators, but if anyone has failed in the current economy it is the job creators. Outsourcing for profit, moving manufacturing industries off shore to areas with low wages and non-existent environmental regulation has been very profitable to the 1%ers, but it has not created or sustained good jobs for Americans, just the opposite. Hence, the big lie: we have to give the job creators more tax breaks if working folks want good jobs. That is simply not the way this thing plays out.
Show us the returns, Mitt.
With or without tax return release, pressure on Romney ramps up from both sides
By Felicia Sonmez and Philip Rucker Published: July 17
So, James Cantor asks, do pedophiles deserve sympathy?
If you are willing to set aside all of your punitive media and cultural programming and consider Cantor's work, you have my respect. I have thought about the subject of sexual orientation long and hard for a variety of reasons. I have considered the idea that just as most folks are sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex, some other folks are sexually attracted to members of their own sex. I can accept that. It's not my experience, but is our own experience the yardstick by which everything in the universe must be measured?
I have read and tried to increase my understanding of transgender life. As a boy now trapped in an old man's body, I can imagine how it might feel to have the experience of being a girl trapped in a boy's body or vice versa. Decades of volunteer work in sexual assault response and domestic violence work have sensitized me to some extent to a wide range of human orientation and experience.
I know that a lot of people will think that the low tax rates are a good thing, and they may be in a few ways, but these low tax rates translate into austerity political decisions, cuts in services, cuts to environmental protection, cuts to education, cuts in regulatory functions. The same folks who will cheer these low tax rates (even at the same moment that they complain about high taxes and advocate for more tax cuts) will also cheer the cuts in non-military governmental functions.
This is fine, I support free speech. I respect the right to espouse ideas, no matter how crazy they may be, but it is weird when working class and working poor, middle class folks start drinking this 1% koolaid. This is our task. Somehow we have to reach these folks and help them understand that our wildly expensive military adventures, drone murder program, kidnap and torture foreign policy are very destructive to our future as well as being morally indefensible. We have to help these folks understand that the 1% oligarchy are cooking the books as well as the globe with their planet for profit approach to the natural world. We have to understand that taxes are necessary.
Here is what George Washington had to say about taxes:
It is essential to bear in mind that toward the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue, there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.
The economy is a financial shadow of the state of the physical world. Economics is simply one way of measuring certain activity here on a small planet on a spiral arm of a somewhat non-descript galaxy in the known universe. There are lots of planets, rocks, planetoids, stars, dust motes in the universe that appear to have little or no activity that could be measured in economic terms (other than zero) because the local climate and weather have reached steady states that are too hot or too cold for economic measurement.
We float around the galaxy in the goldilocks zone, neither too hot nor too cold for lively economic activity, yet when our economic house of cards starts to shake, we can't figure out that the climate in the goldilocks zone is the ultimate free lunch and that economics are a shadow of the physical world. We appear to be willing to destroy the climate rather than upset the economic schemes of the dominant species on the planet.
Homo industrialis is a dominant and successful species, but maybe not too smart. We need to evolve to become homo sustainabilis or we kiss it goodbye. We better wise up soon. Lots of weather news out there. The Rio climate talks were disappointing. No political will to re-order our priorities and realize that the economy relies on the climate, not the other way around. Here are some news items about the weather, some things to think about as we enter the lazy days of summer:
The campaign to get the Thurston County Public Power Initiative on the ballot is rumored to have collected more than 11K signatures! It should be assumed that there are hundreds of invalid, duplicate signatures, so the campaign continues. We need to round up a couple thousand more signatures to make sure that the public power initiative makes it on to the ballot.
Puget Sound Energy can be expected to pump a lot of money into a campaign to defeat the initiative, but only folks with short memories are going to forget the ice storm last winter and the long power outages provided by Private, Profitable Power. We can do better than that. A public power district will value line maintenance and jobs trimming the trees more than profit.
If you are a Thurston County registered voter and you haven't signed the petition for public power yet, come and sign up. Need more information?
It's hard to know what to do in the current political and environmental environment. Scanned a piece today on Climate and Capitalism website. This piece was a reaction to a favorable review of Derrick Jensen's book Deep Green Resistance that ran on Canadian Dimension. Jensen seems to catch a lot of reactionary ink to his proposals to create change. I am pretty busy working the create change in many ways, so don't have lots of time to read Jensen (or to blog these days) but I get the impression that Jensen embraces a Luddite sensibility at times. Maybe also a monkey wrench mentality that is attractive, but may be a dead end politically. There is something about the monkey wrench mentality that I find both sexist and adolescent, which is not to say that I don't also find it attractive.
then we can step back and talk about the tactics to make change happen. I have been somewhat fixated on the controversy about the black bloc, the whole diversity of tactics debate since the Chris Hedges cancer of black bloc challenge. My friend Austin Kelley sent along an interesting link this morning that makes the point that while we argue about a single tactic, and while we argue about diversity of tactics as if it is one thing (diversity - doesn't that mean a bunch of things?) , we neglect the strategy that ties tactics together. Here is some of what Austin sent along:What is a demand?
“[A demand] is a goal which is not only a thing but, like capital at any moment, essentially a stage of antagonism of a social relation. Whether the [demand] we win will be a victory or a defeat depends on the force of our struggle. On that force depends whether the goal is an occasion for capital to more rationally command our labor or an occasion for us to weaken their hold on that command. What form the goal takes when we achieve it…emerges and is in fact created in the struggle, and registers the degree of power that we reached in that struggle.”