The war of outlets exposing the inner workings of power

The war of WikiLeaks, Assange & other outlets exposing the inner workings of power
Barrett Brown
On Contact
Aug 4, 2018

Nullius in verba


We Need Public Utilities and We Need Them Now

The blades of the wind turbines on the mountain range opposite my window are turning especially energetically today. Last night’s storm has abated but high winds continue, contributing extra kilowatts to the electricity grid at precisely zero additional cost (or marginal cost, in the language of the economists). But the people struggling to make ends meet during a dreadful cost-of-living crisis must pay for these kilowatts as if they were produced by the most expensive liquefied natural gas transported to Greece’s shores from Texas. This absurdity, which prevails well beyond Greece and Europe, must end.

The absurdity stems from the delusion that states can simulate a competitive, and thus efficient, electricity market. Because only one electricity cable enters our homes or businesses, leaving matters to the market would lead to a perfect monopoly – an outcome that nobody wants. But governments decided that they could simulate a competitive market to replace the public utilities that used to generate and distribute power. They can’t.

The Euroean Union’s power sector is a good example of what market fundamentalism has done to electricity networks the world over. The EU obliged its member states to split the electricity grid from the power-generating stations and privatize the power stations to create new firms, which would compete with one another to provide electricity to a new

— source | Yanis Varoufakis | Aug 29, 2022

Nullius in verba

How ALEC Turns Disinformation Into Law

In June 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill banning the state from contracting with or investing in businesses that divest from coal, oil or natural gas companies. For Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian—one of the state’s top energy regulators—the messagewas clear: “Boycott Texas, and we’ll boycott you.”

Since the beginning of this year, lawmakers in Indiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia have introduced bills that read a lot like the Texas anti-divestment law, and legislators in a dozen other states have also expressed support for the legislation’s objective.

Mere coincidence? Not at all. The template for the bill, titled the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act, was supplied by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a lobby group backed by corporations and right-wing foundations that provides state lawmakers with ready-made, fill-in-the-blank sample legislation drafted by, or on behalf of, ALEC’s private sector members, including tobacco, fossil fuel and electric utility companies.

The bills in Indiana, Texas and West Virginia are near-verbatim copies of ALEC’s draft legislation, while the Oklahoma bill is a boiled-down version. And in each case, besides

— source | Elliott Negin | Jul 1, 2022

Nullius in verba

The Israel Lobby’s New Campaign Playbook

IN RETROSPECT, one of the most important elections in recent US history occurred last year in a bright-blue congressional district in northeastern Ohio. The early favorite was Nina Turner, a well-known former state senator and co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. But in February, several months after Turner launched her bid, two fledgling pro-Israel organizations, Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) and Pro-Israel America, endorsed her primary opponent, Cuyahoga County Democratic party chair Shontel Brown, presumably because of Turner’s stance on Israel-Palestine: She has argued that US aid should not be used to entrench the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Over the spring and summer, DMFI and Pro-Israel America spent shocking amounts of money to change the course of the race. DMFI spent over $2 million in independent expenditures, almost as much as Brown’s campaign did itself. Pro-Israel America contributed another $781,000 to Brown’s campaign directly; by comparison, her largest non-Israel-related direct donor provided less than $23,000.

Yet even those figures understate the scale of their intervention as pro-Israel groups also directed funds from organizations that ostensibly have nothing do with Israel-Palestine. When Turner ran against Brown a second time, in 2022, a political action committee called Mainstream Democrats added roughly $150,000 to the anti-Turner effort.

— source | Peter Beinart | Jul 15, 2022

Nullius in verba