Pinata Economics

I have been thinking about Romney and the general casino-style financial sector that has been preying on the US and the world over the past decade and the image of a pinata came to mind.  Pinata economics.  The willingness, the glee of smashing something pretty to get at the goodies inside really seems to fit with the get really rich really quick schemed of leveraged buyout.

In These Times has a couple of good articles in the September 2012 issue.  One is The Bain Legacy and the other How to Succeed in Business Without Adding Value.  Both by David Moberg.   I recommend reading them both.

Courtesy Paul Sapiano and Wiki Commons



Courtesy Gage Skidmore Wiki Commons





    Pinata Economics.  I should probably claim intellectual property rights to that term and sell it to the highest bidder.  Isn’t that the way these things work?

Wish I knew how to put the  ~ symbol on top of the N.

Lo siento, amigos.

Join Us Tomorrow Night at Traditions to Grieve



Thanks to Drew Hendricks for sending a link and this sad news.

No justice for the Corrie family today at Court.

Join us on Wednesday at 6:30 pm at Traditions Cafe

300 Fifth in Olympia for a videoconference call with Craig and Cindy.

Rachel’s Foundation is here.

Information about the Traditions event on Wednesday night is here.



A demonstrator holds a poster depicting activist Rachel Corrie outside the Haifa district court, after the ruling in a civil case August 28, 2012. REUTERS-Amir Cohen


Craig (L) and Cindy, the parents of Rachel Corrie, arrive at Haifa district court before the verdict in a civil case August 28, 2012. REUTERS-Amir Cohen







Undated file photo of 23-year-old American Rachel Corrie, who was killed in Rafah in southern Gaza Strip March 16, 2003. REUTERS-Str

  By Allyn Fisher-Ilan


HAIFA, Israel | Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:39am EDT

(Reuters) – An Israeli court on Tuesday cleared Israel’s military of any blame for the death of American activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an army bulldozer during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Gaza.

Corrie’s family had accused Israel of intentionally and unlawfully killing their 23-year-old daughter in March 2003, launching a civil case in the northern city of Haifa after a military investigation found the army was not responsible. 

Judge Oded Gershon said the death was a “regrettable accident” and invoked a clause that absolved the army because the incident had happened during a war-time situation.

“She did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done,” he told a packed courtroom.

Corrie, from Olympia, Washington, had joined a small group of international activists trying to stop the Israeli army from demolishing houses in the southern Gaza town of Rafah during the height of a Palestinian uprising.

Her friends said she was wearing a bright orange vest at the time of the incident and was standing on a mound of earth, but had lost her footing as the bulldozer advanced. The driver said he had not seen her and did not hear the cries to stop.

Corrie’s mother, Cindy, denounced the verdict and accused the court of looking to shield the military from justice.

“I believe that this was a bad day not only for our family but a bad day for human rights, for humanity, the rule of law and also for the country of Israel,” she told reporters.

The family said it would appeal the ruling.

 Read the whole article at Reuters.

The Verdict in the Rachel Corrie Wrongful Death Suit is Next Week

 Verdict in Rachel Corrie Lawsuit to be Announced August 28th – Family to Hold Press Conference in Haifa

This is a big deal in Olympia because so many of us are connected to the Corrie family.  You are not forgotten, RachelRachel was a well-known Oly activist.  She was loved, she is missed.  Rachel’s death in the occupied territories of Palestine welded the communities of Olympia and Rafah together


The verdict will be announced on the 28th in Haifa.  On Wednesday, Aug 29th, we will have a video conference call with Craig and Cindy Corrie at Traditions Cafe at 6:30 pm.   I hope that many of you will be able to join us at Traditions next Wednesday to support Craig and Cindy and to pay your respects to Rachel.  

Here is a link the Rachel Corrie Foundation website if you want to know more.   Here is an update and some background from the Corrie family:

Posted in News and Updates, Trial, Trial Press Releases on August 21, 2012 by .


(Haifa, Israel – August 21, 2012) – The verdict in the civil lawsuit against the State of Israel for the killing of peace activist Rachel Corrie over nine years ago will be announced August 28, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. at the Haifa District Court.

Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death March 16, 2003, by an Israeli military Caterpillar D9-R bulldozer while nonviolently protesting demolition of Palestinian civilian homes in Rafah, Gaza.

Download: English (pdf, 289.14 kB) العربية (pdf, 395.01 kB) עִבְרִית (pdf, 459.65 kB)


The lawsuit, filed in 2005 on behalf of the Corrie family by attorney Hussein abu Hussein, charges the State of Israel with responsibility for Rachel’s killing and failure to conduct a full and credible investigation in the case.

“The lawsuit is just a small step in our family’s nearly decade-long search for truth and justice,” said Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father. “The mounting evidence presented before the court underscores a broken system of accountability – tolerated by the United States in spite of its conclusions that Israel’s military investigation was not ‘thorough, credible, or transparent.’”

Winning the War of Position

 Austin Kelly sent along this link.

Winning the War of Position

August 19, 2012

| Filed under For discussion

This article makes a number of arguments about the direction the IWW should take in its organizing, including taking a longer-term perspective than the next few years. 

Winning the War of Position: Working-Class Hegemony and Class Unionism
by B.C.

It is readily apparent to any working-class person that the economic oppressions of capitalist society, numerous though they may be, are only one facet of the system of social control exercised by bourgeois society. The dominant culture is one of homogenous individualism, materialism, and intellectual vapidity. It is not a culture natural to a free and free-thinking people; but rather a culture designed to maintain the integrity of an unjust social order, designed to favor an exploiting class over a mass of oppressed working people – using each and every tool, political and ideological, that it can exploit in its battle for continued dominance.

Read the whole article? 

Oh yeah,  a republican congressman said something stupid about birth control and a lot of the media thought that was news.    It may be an entertaining story and it’s always fun to see a politician twist in the wind, but I don’t think it’s news that right-wingers are ignorant on topics of science, biology, conception etc.  It is kind of ironic that this particular ignorant republican congressman sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.  But hey, he sits there, drawing a salary, nobody claims he brings anything to the table.

Eppo sings his Thurston Public Power song

M & I are working on two campaigns for the regular election.  The first is Thomas Bjorgen’s run for the Court of Appeals.  Tom would simply make a superb judge and I think it’s going to happen.

The second campaign we are pounding on is the Thurston Public Power Initiative.  This initiative will allow the existing Public Utility District to expand from water services to water and electricity.  Thurston is the only county in SW Washington that does not have a public power option.  We are going to fix that. This is a pretty simple matter of keeping electric rates low by allowing for competition.  A private banking company from Australia purchased Puget Sound Energy a few years ago.  PSE is not a local company and the Macquarie Group that owns PSE took 17 million dollars out of Thurston County last year in profits.  These profits were offset by the power outages that occurred in Thurston County last winter with the ice storm.  I am on PUD power in Lewis County, my power never blinked.  Some PSE customers in Thurston County were without power for a week or more.  Some advocates for the PSE power monopoly think the solution is that homeowners buy generator sets for back up power.  Lots of us think the solution is local jobs trimming the trees and maintaining the lines, local power generation through a PUD that is rooted in the local community and has a commitment to local, sustainable power generation, and local accountability.  The PUD commissioners get to face the voters on a regular basis.  When do we get to vote on the management of the Macquarie Group or Goldman Sachs or other private financial institutions?

Public power or private profits?  That is the choice.

Here is Jon Eppo Epstein sharing his thoughts on the matter:

PUD or Macquarie PSE Power?

Power for the people?  or  Power for Profit?  That’s the other regular election issue that I am really geared up to work on for the next few months. 

We have a chance in Thurston County to assert local control through the ballot to establish local power, local accountability, and local jobs.

The Thurston Public Power Initiative is on the ballot.  This a very simple measure that opens the door for competition for efficient power generation.  The Macquarie Group PSE is pulling out all the stops to defeat the Initiative and it’s easy to figure out why.  I think the figure is 17 million dollars in profits that were take out of Thurston County last year and deposited in the coffers of the Australian banking giant – the Macquarie Group.

I notice that an R Castaneda was posting in the Daily Zero with a letter in favor of the The Macquarie Group PSE yesterday.  Castaneda says he(?) lost power for one day last winter with the ice storm.  and his recommendation to folks who lost power for many days is simple:  buy a generator.

Who needs local jobs maintaining the lines, trimming the trees, restoring the power.  Just ship the profits to a struggling international bank and buy a generator set.

I am not sure what to say about that, but I am not planning to buy a generator set.

Here is some history to consider:

Puget Sound Energy was a locally developed  energy company that formed with the 1997 merger of Washington Energy and Puget Sound Power & Light.  You can get a possibly factual primer on PSE at  Wikipedia.

Here is an interesting set of newspaper articles that provide a longer term look at questions about Puget Sound Energy and the takover by the Macquarie Group.

Take special notice of these particular articles:

from the last article:

Referred to as “the millionaire’s factory” before the onset of the financial crisis, Macquarie’s net profit fell 25% in fiscal 2012 to an eight-year low of A$730 million Australian dollars as a slump in deal volumes and volatility in global markets cut earnings at Australia’s only listed investment bank.

A Macquarie spokeswomen wasn’t immediately available for comment.

So, we have a decision to make in Thurston County about power.  Do we continue to buy our electricity from the millionaires factory or should we establish a public power option to keep the private sector competitive?  This does not seem like a hard decision.

Primary Election? Did we have one?

Turnout was low.  I think it was first primary in August and maybe competing with the Olympics played a part as well, but anyway you look at it, the election turnout yesterday looks a little low.  Secretary of State shows turnout at 22.1%.

I was at election night party for my friend, Thomas Bjorgen, who is running for the Court of Appeals, Division 2, Position 2.  That election was a real scramble with six candidates traversing six counties to get the top two positions and advance to the regular election.  Pam Loginsky did well in all six counties and was the top vote-getter overall.  Thomas Bjorgen appears to be in second place and ready to take on congrats, Tom.  What's with that clean desk?Loginsky in the regular election.  I think Loginsky worked hard for votes, she is a qualified candidate to be on the bench, and she is backed by some powerful folks who want her on the bench.  In a six name race with five men opposing, I think she also was the beneficiary of WA gender politics.  We like to elect women in this State.  I think there is some reason to believe that change may be available through simple gender choices in elections, but in this regular election match-up, I will be working for the election of Thomas Bjorgen.  He will be a wonderful judge.  Fair, considerate, beholden to none and inclined to uphold the law over and over and not play politics for any powerful interests…   except ours, the electorate.

We will be watching the votes as they continue to be counted over the next few days, but last night and this morning I am thinking that it is Bjorgen and Loginsky in the regular election.

Happy Wednesday morning to all you sleepy election wonks out there.