Mike's blog

Dana Walker for State Treasurer

It's official.

We are running a write-in campaign against Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer. I have imposed on my friend Dana Walker to accept the role of running against the previously unopposed Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer.

Here is what Dana had to say about the write-in campaign:



Hi, I am Dana Walker and while I am somewhat ambivalent about this ad

(I am proud of the fact that I would make a lousy politician) I approve of it nonetheless.

Now it's official.

Do you think McIntire would debate me?



I don't think McIntire will want to debate Dana, but we will make the offer.

Jim McIntire has been running unopposed for State Treasurer. He has been running unopposed despite the fact that he has done everything in his power to keep the power of the big banks intact in the State of Washington. He actively opposed the State Bank legislation that could provide economic stability for investment in Washington State that Chase Bank and Goldman Sachs never will.

Justice for Washington Foundation Rates the Judicial Candidates

It can be hard to figure out how to cast your votes in the non-partisan judicial races. It's also hard to figure out if election or appointment is a better way to put a judge on the bench, but in Washington State we vote for judges.

So, here we go. Who are we going to elect to serve as judges in the State?

There are a a couple of reasonable sources for gathering information about who to vote for. Let's just start with the question of who is running and well-qualified for the position. The Justice for Washington Foundation says it is the only bi-partisan judicial rating process in the state. JWF issued a press release on July 24th about the races and here is what they had to say:

Justice for Washington Rates

Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Candidates

The Justice for Washington Foundation released its bi-partisan 2012 rating for appellate level judicial candidates in the contested races for the state Supreme Court and Division II of the Court of Appeals.

OLYMPIA, WA - The Justice for Washington Foundation released its 2012 evaluations for contested appellate court elections in Washington State. The Foundation operates the state's only expressly bi-partisan evaluation of appellate level judicial candidates. The Foundation rated only one candidate as "exceptionally well qualified" and four as "unqualified".

Washington State Supreme Court, Position #2

Thurston Public Power or Macquarie Group Profits?

Want to know more about the history of public utility districts? Want to know how many communities in the State are getting public services at competitive costs from public utility districts? Hey, you are in luck. The WPUDA maintains a website that carries all that stuff.

They also have a great building on Union that showcases the kind of distributed electrical generation grid that we could develop locally through expanding PUD in Thurston County from water to water and electricity.

Do you think Macquarie Group has great interest in the quality of life here in Puget Sound or are they primarily interested in the profits they can bank in Australia from your PSE bill here in Washington State?

Another thing to study up on is the connection between PSE and coal fired power. Read about it on Sightline.

Thurston County voters will get the opportunity to expand the Thurston County PUD from water to water and electricity in November. This is a no-brainer. You get local control, local ownership, local accountability and the profits that are currently traveling abroad from PSE can be used for local jobs that will do maintenance andprevent an ice-storm electric outage like we had last winter.

Connect the dots.

Political Fables for a Political Year





The WA Post has back to back stories in my digest this morning that I found interesting.


In the first story, the Government Accountability Office found that the Republican's budget showdown over the debt limit coast the county 1.3 billion dollars last year. That is money that we could have used somewhere else in my opinion. But it shows the hypocrisy and stupidity of the current republican congressional legislators. And don't get me wrong, it's not that the democrats are just chomping at the bit to pass the kind of legislation that the country needs, look at their record in 2009-10 when they controlled Senate, House and White House and we could get banker bailouts, but not the public option for health care. Single payer was not even on the table. The dems are clearly beholden to their corporate funding sources, but they don't engage in wasteful theatrics like the debt ceiling fight or endless votes to repeal legislation that clearly go nowhere. There are significant differences between the parties, but both parties understand that they cannot legislate against the interest of the wealthy interests that now decide our elections (thanks to Citizens United and Scotus Inc.)


Who is Puget Sound Energy? Check the Title and See Who Owns PSE


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


Release the Tax Returns, Mitt

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

Who Deserves Sympathy?

I came across this article today and wanted to pass it on with some thoughts about sexual orientation and sympathy. We live in a pretty competitive world these days. Social darwinism is probably better understood and more influential than the complexities of Darwin's natural selection and evolution, even though there is good reason to spend time trying to understand Darwin's ideas and little reason to spend time on Ayn Rand's warped economic romanticism.

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.

Tax Rate Facts

Washington Post has a story on tax rates.

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.

It's the Climate, Stupid.

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. Ouch!  Click me please

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:

Thurston Public Power Initiative

Thurston Public PowerThe 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? 

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