(updated with additional comments)
(Update 2 below the fold: 11 October 2011 meeting video embedded, and also more information about the Citizen Commission. Meeting video is also available at the Tax Preferences website.)
(update 3: just want to note that the Commission's work is to work with JLARC—the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, and to compare and rate, and recommend and suggest various tax exemptions to the legislature, for the purpose of representing the citizenry's preferences.)
These are my comments from the Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences on Tuesday. I will add a link to the meeting video when it becomes available.
Additional comments: "Hog Fuel" is industry jargon for slash that results from clearcuts. When I went to an earlier commission a few weeks ago, this was a big topic, with industry advocates pushing for the tax exemption. I had to listen for a while before figuring out this didn't have anything to do with heating barns for pigs.
Additionally, a few things I had thought about, but didn't manage to remember to testify on during the hearing include: 1) the possibility that, if we are really concerned about job creation, then ending the practice of clear-cutting forests might help. That might have to be coupled with a dose of de-technologization. Selective harvesting of carefully chosen trees. Coupling trees to horses to pull them out of the forest, for instance. Or owners being willing to lower their margin of take-home cash, so as to ensure a responsible employment and environmental ethic.
2) I also spoke about productivity and merit and disparity in wealth. What I didn't mention is the problem of profiting from activities which have no merit. This includes both legal and illegal activities (like narco-trafficking, for example. By some estimates this illicit economy might account for $1 trillion annually.)
There are legal activities with dubious merit. Take the petroleum industry as an example. Petroleum extraction has enabled technological advancement. But for whom. And at what cost? —The petroleum industry, and other industries it has enabled (like the global military industrial complex, for example) have done tremendous harm to human cultures and to the planet. Look at the decimation of tribal societies. The meaningless consumerism. The pollution of the water, of the land, and of the air of this planet Earth. There are other industries that are harmful too. Petro-chemicals are not alone.
p.s. I suggest that the petro-chemical industry be nationalized. No one person, or group (e.g. the investor-class) should profit from industries that are harmful to everyone.
Also, think about legalization and regulation of the drug trade, to reduce violence associated with the illicit market.
I recently submitted a letter to the editor of The Olympian, and it was published today. Here it is edited slightly for clarity, amended for accuracy, and with additional comment:
Washington needs a state income tax
ACLU sponsored event at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, Washington to discuss the decriminalization and legalization of possession of small amounts, and sale, of Marijuana, also known as Cannabis.
Alison Holcomb of the ACLU facilitated the discussion between Rick Steves, and three legislators who are the sponsors of bills relating to this issue. The legislators were Representative Brendan Williams 22nd Legislative District, and Representative Mary Helen Roberts 21st Legislative District, and Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 36th Legislative District.
The presentation highlighted the concept of marijuana's illegality as a serious harmful social injustice.
When society lies to young people and tells them that marijuana is a harmful monster, it does damage. When society lies to us, then we lose trust in and respect for society.
Marijuana/Cannabis does not drive people to madness or insanity.
It's the insanity of this profit system that is causing all of the violence. It ought to be plain for people to see that the profit system is NOT working. (Unfortunately it's not clear for people to see, because of the workings of the unjust status quo - the dominance paradigm - and the corporate controlled media that feeds into and off of it.)
3:00:06 - 2 years ago
You'd think that things like disasters, or the purity of childhood, or even milk, let alone water or air, would be sacred. But no. Corporations have no built-in limits on what, who, or how much they can exploit for profit. In the fifteenth century, the enclosure movement began to put fences around public grazing lands so that they might be privately owned and exploited. Today, every molecule on the planet is up for grabs. In a bid to own it all, corporations are patenting animals, plants, even your DNA. Around things too precious, vulnerable, sacred or important to the public interest, governments have, in the past, drawn protective boundaries against corporate exploitation. Today, governments are inviting corporations into domains from which they were previously barred.
UPDATE, more information here: disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/
The following is from a press release. The photo is from a different but related event:
5 people arrested on Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor
The “Disarm Now Trident Plowshares Action”
Bill “Bix” Bischel, S.J., 81, of Tacoma, Washington; Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore MD; Lynne Greenwald, 60, of Bremerton Washington; Steve Kelly, S.J., 60, of Oakland, CA.; Anne Montgomery RSCJ, 83, of New York, New York, were arrested on Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor. They entered the Base in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, with the intention calling attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the Trident weapons system. They entered thru the perimeter fence, made their way to the Strategic Weapons Facility – Pacific ( SWFPAC) where they were able to cut thru the first chainlink fence surrounding SWF-PAC, walked to and cut the next double layered fence, which was both chain link and barbed wire, onto the grounds of SWFPAC. As they walked onto the grounds, they held a banner saying…… “Disarm Now Plowshares : Trident: Illegal + Immoral”, left a trail of blood and hammered on the roadway (Trigger Ave and Sturgeon) that are essential to the working of the Trident weapons system, hammered on the fences around SWFPAC and scattered sunflower seeds throughout the base. They were then thrown to the ground face down, handcuffed and hooded and held there for 4 hours on the wet cold ground. They were taken, hooded and carried out thru the very holes in the fence that they had made, for questioning by Base security, FBI and NCIS. They refused to give any information except their names, and were cited as of now, for trespass and destruction of government property, given a ban and bar letter and released.
The September 2009 issue of The Progressive magazine features an article by Wendell Berry, Inverting the Economic Order. I think the ideas in the article are relevant to the upcoming City Comprehensive Planning Process.
There are a lot of common threads between the ideas that Berry presents, and ideas from Jerry Mander, who wrote In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of Indian Nations. Both authors discuss how modern society has devalued our relationship, as human beings, with the land that we call home (and which we depend on - and which I believe we, indeed, belong to.) Here's also a link to an interview with Jerry Mander. The interview appeared in The Sun magazine shortly after publication of In the Absence of the Sacred. Interview with Jerry Mander by Catherine Ingram.
Now here's a short excerpt from Inverting the Economic Order, by Wendell Berry:
Inverting the Economic Order
Wendell Berry in the September 2009 issue
My economic point of view is from ground level. It is a point of view sometimes described as “agrarian.” That means that in ordering the economy of a household or community or nation, I would put nature first, the economies of land use second, the manufacturing economy third, and the consumer economy fourth.
Description from Official White House Flickr Photo Page:
"President Barack Obama, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sergeant James Crowley toast at the start of their meeting in the Rose Garden of the White House, July 30, 2009.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza"
To whom does this view belong?
Could it be that this view, like the Earth, the Sun, the Water, and the Air, "belongs to everyone, and to no one"?
What do you think? Is it generally copacetic to speculate on the identity of anonymous users? Or is anonymity to be held in sacrosanctity? Are anonymous users responsible for not leaving clues that might allow others to identify them?
What should the rest of us do when anonymous users give clues to their identity? Should we just ignore it and give the desired anonymity its presumed respectful space?
Should anonymity be challenged? On what basis?
I understand that anonymity gives people who might not be able to contribute the opportunity to do so, that is, to more safely share their thoughts, opinions and ideas.
But, on another slant, anonymity can also allow for abuse - for example, harassment and attacks, for hurtful, harmful or destructive behavior - without normal consequences.
This is a major issue on the Internet. Should anonymous users be held to a different standard? For example, does the opinion of an anonymous user count for less?
What do you think? Is it okay to speculate on the identity of anonymous users? What's your opinion? And, why?