Deep below the surface of the Earth, bedrock is being fractured, using chemicals, explosives, and high pressure fluids. The Hydraulic Fracturing industry has seen a boom over the past several years, all over the lower 48, there are fossil fuel deposits deep below the Earth, embedded in layers of shale (sedimentary deposits that have formed rock.)
Washington State does not have shale formations (nor do Oregon or California.) However, we are not as removed as we might be from this booming development in the fracturing of the Earth's crust. For oil is coming here. Oil has been arriving from the Bakken oil shale formation by train. Information suggests that oil has been coming to Anacortes and Tacoma, and new facilities have been proposed elsewhere, in SW Washington, Grays Harbor, and Vancouver, WA.
More over, Olympia is directly implicated in this effort, because the Port of Olympia has been receiving shipments of ceramic proppants. Proppants are a material that enables fracking by propping up the Earth, allowing for the oil and gas to escape.
Earlier this week, a group of Olympians traveled to Grays Harbor, to join a protest against a proposed oil train terminal. Supporters hope to have a major CBR (Crude by Rail) oil export facility built and operating there by 2014.
PSE’s campaign has distinguished itself, not only for the sheer brazenness of its misinformation, but also by its unprecedented spending.
Prior to this campaign, the most expensive ever run in Thurston County was Kevin O’Sullivan’s failed bid for a County Commission seat. He spent around $110,000. PSE’s front group, the Alliance to Protect Thurston Power (APTP), will have spent more than five times that amount be election day.
PSE itself has provided the bulk of that money, with smaller amounts donated by other for-profit utilities in the state, and an affiliated business group.
Not one dollar has been contributed by a human being, and not one dollar has come from any person or group in Thurston County.
Voters must ask themselves: Is our democracy for sale? Can we afford to allow any corporation to have this much influence on our local political system?
A Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner back in the 1950′s was interviewed about the effects of bringing public power to that county. His answer surprised the interviewer. He didn’t cite lower rates or better service or local control as the biggest effect. He said the most important effect was “getting those S.O.B.s out of our local politics,” so they could no longer buy city councils, county commissioners or local legislators.
I know there is a lot of talk about how hard it is to start a third political party and there is no doubt that the talk is true. Large political swings that realign the political parties in the US are rare, but the political history of the US is about the swings. Whigs and Tories, Bull Moose and Know Nothing parties. These things come and go and right now we have the appearance of a two party system: the dems on the left and the repubs on the right, but the truth is that we have dems in center/right and the repubs in right to hard right.
There is no significant left party in the US, only the 25 to 30% of us who identify as left/progressives/liberals/social democrats etc. and we are left to rail at the dem party to move left and lead the country with good public policy that works for all of us. The dem party leaders provide lip service, then do the bidding of the large political contributors - the deciders, the haves and have-mores who control the political agenda of the dem and repub party. Don't kid yourself about that. Just look at the need to provide Medicare for Everyone, a national health insurance policy that could/would have left the insurance industry scrambling to compete for Medigap insurance coverage, but instead we could not even get a public option, we got Health Insurance for Everyone - The Pay Up health care system doubled down on us.
The Decade our American Democracy worked -- right here in Olympia.
The authors of the new book, Politics of the Possible, Mary Ellen McCaffree and Anne McNamee Corbett will be at Orca Books on 4th Steet on February 29th. Join them for a presentation, reading and lively discussion.
Date: February 29th, 2012
Location: Orca Books, 509 4th Ave E
Given our current political environment, the new book, Politics of the Possible by Mary Ellen McCaffree and Anne McNamee Corbett offers a timely and refreshing approach to today’s often frustrating governmental process. Budgets, deficits, wrangling political parties, and special interests that increasingly press (and achieve) their demands in disregard of the public’s general welfare – all find antidotes in this lively political history. Politics of the Possible reminds us how our government is supposed to work. It’s a living example of an effective decade of governing when our elected leaders moved beyond partisanship and focused on problem-solving for the people.
By retracing McCaffree’s’ path inside the gears of governing during Washington state’s most productive and legendary decade, Politics of the Possible charts the overhaul of our state during the 1960’s, culminating in a stunning 1970 special legislative session that capped a sweeping program of progressive, bi-partisan reforms.
For more information or to purchase a book, please visit: www.politicsofthepossible.com. Questions can be directed to me, Alison McCaffree, the author's granddaughter and marketing manager at email@example.com.
Washington State now has a 10th Congressional District. Much of the North of Thurston County will be included in the new district. Also included are parts of Southeast Mason County, and parts of Western Pierce County. The final report is scheduled for official release next Monday, the Ninth. Redistricting Website: www.redistricting.wa.gov/
These are challenging times and if we ever needed real leaders, well, now be the time. President John F. Kennedy was fond of (mis)quoting Dante but the sentiment is unforgettable and maybe even more pertinent now: “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.” The real quote
What passes for leadership now in the public sector are timidity, passivity and faux sincerity. With acrimony and sanctimony the modus operandi in congress we are happy when a member merely keeps his pants on or her profits public.
Author Jim Collins, who wrote Good to Great and Great by Choice, has studied and written extensively on successful organizations with an intense focus on leadership. While he primarily focuses on what makes transformative and truly effective leaders, some skills are unimportant, even dangerous. These are likewise critical to identify, and equally important to avoid. Personal charisma is exactly one of those traits.
Amiable and charming are sometimes alluring distractions from decisiveness, integrity, and even harsh realism. According to Jim Collins great leaders are “paranoid performers.” They’re always asking, “What if,” and then preparing for it. They think about and anticipate the day of “bad things.”
Saturday 22 October 2011
Dear Obama Administration and White House Staff,
Lately I have been thinking some about terrorism. It seems really Orwellian, because the USA is all up with nationalistic gung-hoism and jingoism against terrorism. But think about this. Maybe the USA is a terrorist!
Think about the terror wrought by Wall Street style predatory economics. People lacking job security, and in fear of losing their homes. Families are disrupted by a predatory system that "rewards" (with wealth) harmful behaviors like exporting jobs to exploit low-wage workers overseas.
Meanwhile, many suffer from violence and crime associated with and caused by inter-generational and other chronic poverty...
Maybe the economic system is the terrorist. Maybe those enforcing it, and keeping it in place, need to be prosecuted and held accountable for their behaviors.
I also thought of a similar and very related thought last week: the idea that the USA uses the State of Israel as a 'human shield' to protect its interests in, and control over, mineral resources (and geo-political and economic dominance.)
If there is any truth to this, then this policy would be exploitative, highly anti-Semitic, and the associated behaviors could be classified as those of a terrorist.
The Olympia FOR is participating in a larger campaign by the Western Washington FOR (Fellowship of Reconciliation) to "Bring Our Billions Home." The concept is to shift military spending that is geared toward conquest and imperialism, to peaceful alternatives, like healthcare (especially for wounded military personnel,) environmental protection and to promote full employment. As part of the campaign, we are asking people to write monthly postcards to their representatives. Here's an example:
Right after the primary, as expected, the invisible and illusive candidate, Council member Rhenda Strub appeard to begin her campaign to win relection. While I'm guessing that she may have some signs at the actual homes of real people who vote, I've seen countless signs only in public rights-of-way.
Sure, she may be allowed to do that, as is everyone, but two important questions are raised: 1) Isn't that a lazy way of "campaigning" which indicates a paucity of support from actual Olympia citizens?, and, 2) isn't it also a kind of sign graffiti and visual pollution?
I notice virtually every other candidate has the vast majority of their signs at actual Olympia homes representing the views of the homeowner. In Rhenda's case it appears merely the fruits of a late night sign drop wherever "public" property exists which can hold a sign.
Is this representative of her views on public space? On her actual suuport?
I haven’t posted here in quite a while because; well...frankly I tired of both the anonymity and the trite and personal nature of some of the posts. I hope to here incite a discussion about local democracy and look forward to a resulting dialogue.
I read today the current issue of the “Thurston County Democrat” August 2011 Edition. As I read it I felt like I was reading didactic and strident assertions that the sky was purple - when everyone can see it’s blue.
First a couple of disclaimers: I have known Stewart Henderson for some time and consider him a friend. I not only happily voted for Obama in 2008 but I will absolutely vote for him in 2012.
Having actually served in elective office in Olympia, after many years of legal, policy and political experience, I realized that unless and until the public believe in the public sector’s ability to move the ball forward, fundamental change is all but impossible. Must have faith in Government to support change
In the current edition of the Thurston Dem’s paper the cover is an exhortation to support Dem’s with a reference to the Republicans in Congress as the reason the debt extension “debate” was more a comic opera than a reasoned policy discussion. Of course the Chair of the Dem’s is right that the Republican’s in Congress have “…entered into an utter free fall into complete irresponsibility”. But it is quite clear to anyone watching that while the President acquiesced to right wing ideological fantasy and failed to use the bold leadership he himself promised, the Senate which is “controlled” by the Democrats simply would not include taxes in their bill.