Monday, May 17, 2010

PG&E's Power Grab - NO on Proposition 16

As in years past, Californians are being bombarded by a raft of advertising for the upcoming June election. Most prominent this year are the proponents of proposition 16, dubbed the “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act,” who claim to be working to protect Californians from new taxes. In fact, Proposition 16 does nothing of the sort. If Prop. 16 passes, it will eliminate our ability to pick clean renewable energy producers, and guarantee the energy monopolies of the states largest private utilities.

The “coalition” in favor of Prop. 16 is actually a fiction created by the giant Northern Californian electricity monopoly, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), which is the sole sponsor of the campaign. PG&E is attempting to solidify its complete control over a large portion of the energy market in California, and it is using ratepayer funds - the money we pay to PG&E every month for electricity and gas service - to do it. According to the California Secretary of State, PG&E has already spent over $28 million on the effort, and has committed to spend over $35 million in total. Such a huge campaign war chest has allowed PG&E to pull out all the stops, inundating Californians mailboxes with flyers, purchasing radio, television, and internet advertising across the state, and telemarketing millions of homes.

PG&E’s attempt to manipulate voters as a means to pad their corporate profits could be but the latest example of the failure of California’s electoral system to protect the people from ravaging corporate interests. But it does not need to turn out this way. Voting NO on proposition 16 will give us the freedom to choose our energy future. But most importantly perhaps, voting NO will send a powerful message that our democracy cannot be simply bought.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The U.S. Elite Agree: The Masses Must Tighten Their Belts

Is Obama's entitlement cutting commission planning to destroy social security, medicare, and medicaid?

Part 1

Part 2

Around the Web

I've decided that from time to time I will do what many bloggers do in order to lighten their workload: link to the works of others. I'm going to call these posts "Around the Web," and I will attempt to do them at least every three days so as to offer readers of this blog some interesting bits of reading material. If you have links to suggest, send'em this way.

  • The New Yorker did an elucidating piece on media mogul Haim Saban - the man behind the "Power Rangers" series and merchandising extravaganza - in last weeks magazine. Haim not only did one of the richest media deals in history, he is also a serial tax-evader, fervent Israel supporter, close friend of the Clintons, and major sugar daddy to the Democratic Party. A long read but well worth it. (here)
  • Lloyd Blankfein, top dog at Goldman Sachs, did an interview with Charlie Rose the other day. While the content is not revelatory, what is interesting is seeing how well this guy understands his opponents. Being out-of-touch doesn't pay. (here)
  • It's statistically proven as best as can be expected: every life form on earth is related. (here)
  • Berkeley Professor Barry Eichengreen advices on how to keep the Euro currency together. Should be a useful read for understanding the events of the next few weeks. (here)
  • The markets say California is more likely to default than Greece. Gee-whiz, I live in California! (here)
  • Don't be down California. You've still got San Francisco, where an urban planning revolution is underway - unless SF's Municipal Transportation Authority goes bust due to Cali's woes that is. (here)

Stuck in a Bad Hotel

A union organized flash mob at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco. A new labor tactic for the internet age.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The New "Main Issue"

Today I turned in my last paper at the University of California at Berkeley, which means I am now basically finished with college. So what to do with myself now? Well, I don't think it would be healthy to completely stop writing - I might get withdrawals after all the scribbling I've done this semester. So I've decided to restart "The Main Issue." Not only will this save me from the intellectual abyss of post-uni life, but it will also give all three of my readers an opportunity to know what I'm reading and thinking - lucky you! But seriously, there are a lot of important political, economic, environmental and social events that I believe I can offer a unique perspective on. And on issues in which my expertise does not suffice, I will point readers towards articles, authors, books, and blogs that will hopefully be insightful and erudite. That is my humble promise to those who decide to check up on my blog.
This is the new and improved "Main Issue." I promise that it will not disappoint.

Brett Thurber

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Restart: A New Presidency

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Open The Debates!

Matt Gonzalez, vice-presidential candidate, speaking about the need for open debates where all major candidates running for president are allowed to present their case to the American public.