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Brexit – Time to Go

In hours, the UK will hold a binding national referendum on leaving the European Union. At this writing, the polls are too close to call.

Brexit-web

Is an antidote to empire called Brexit?

If you listen to the mainstream media the voices are nearly united in favor of leaving the EU intact. You will hear endless commentary on how leaving the EU will be bad for the UK’s economy. You will hear that the move represents xenophobia at its worst, how far right sentiments are driving the referendum’s popularity, and how UK ex-pats will suffer. Even the progressive and thoughtful UK newspaper the Guardian says the UK cannot take on issues like Globalization and Climate Disruption from outside the EU.

I want the UK to leave.

brexit-satire

Many of the arguments for remaining in the Union that are being advanced are likely valid. Economically, Brexit will induce uncertainty and both currencies and markets will drop.  A separate UK will likely do less for immigrants than it would inside the Union. Ex-patriots may have a tougher time and cross-border traffic will be harder.

But even though the tendencies of the European Union are towards tolerance and inclusion, what the big government has really done at the European level is made the continent safe for multinational corporations to do their most foul work.

The EU “provides the most hospitable ecosystem in the developed world for rentier monopoly corporations, tax-dodging elites and organized crime,” writes British journalist Paul Mason.

brexit-eu

What I really want is for a host of these independence-seeking regions to break free from their larger political entities. Alaska and Texas out of the US. Quebec from Canada.  Basques from Spain. Tibet from China. Palestine from Israel. Kurdistan from Iraq. Oh and Northern Ireland from the UK.

I spent a summer some years back fighting reactors in Slovenia, a tiny country that is part of former Yugoslavia. We saw the president mowing his own lawn. We saw a high standard of living and low crime. The national population is 2 million and functioned fine without a standing army. Not every region will find the advantages Slovenia was able to capture when it broke from Yugoslavia. But the worst offenses of the current times are at the hands of the giant players who love big government, big business, big institutions. These corporations and politicians love it because typically it gives them more power, often with less oversight.

We have tried big, it did not work so well. Perhaps Brexit will lead us to more small.

The Downside of Demonizing

When visiting Abigail we often do workshops together.  This time we ambitiously tried to do Honest Seduction, Clever Compersion and Brilliant Breakups all in one evening.  Part of the reason this was ambitious was we had never done a breakup workshop before.  Thus we spent a fair piece of the day before developing material for it.

surreal conversation

One of the pieces i liked was the idea of doing an exit interview.  At the point you have established you are going to unravel your romantic relationship you should get together in a non-confrontational format and discuss:

  • Things that you appreciate
  • Hopes for the future relationship
  • What I wish I had done better
  • How to take care of each other
  • Cooling down time – how long, how distant
  • Logistics of untangling finances and possessions

We encouraged people to start with what they thought their ex-partner might want to hear that they could honestly offer.  One of the participants rightly pointed out that this was a very logical approach to a usually highly emotional circumstance.  Which set me off into thinking about communications covenants and how relationships might do well to adopt some communities strategies around these things.

not today satan

After this we got into some edgier tips about how to get over your past romantic encounter.  These included:

  1. Simply letting time pass – with patience
  2. Be fully emotionally expressed 
  3. Distraction
  4. Drugs and Alcohol
  5. Move to another country
  6. Self forgiveness
  7. Demonizing your ex-lover

We are not recommending all of these strategies, we just wanted to identify them.  There can be quite some negative side effects of selecting some of these techniques (drugs and alcohol for example).

breakup

We also spoke briefly about the advantages and downsides of demonizing your past partner.  Specifically:

Advantages

 

  • Channels anger
  • Removes elevated illusions of your ex
  • Can be funny
  • Often an effective distancing technique

 

Disadvantages

 

  • It’s mean – it can make you feel bad about yourself
  • May burn bridges back to friendship
  • May give the past relationship undesired power or attention

 

sumonning a demon

Demons have power, don’t invite them in casually

 

 

 

 

 

The Case against North Anna 3

This letter to the editor was not printed by the Richmond Times Dispatch

Sadly, I will not be able to attend this year’s shareholders meeting for Dominion Resources on May 11th in Columbia SC. Were I there, I would be asking out-going CEO Tom Farrell some difficult questions about the proposed North Anna 3 reactor.

“The estimated cost of building the new reactor at North Anna is $19 billion. Dominion paid $192 million for the Kewaunee reactor in Wisconsin. You ran this reactor for 5 years and were not able to make it be profitable. Dominion closed Kewaunee in 2013. How can Dominion expect to run the North Anna plant profitably, if it is 100 times more expensive than one it has already closed for economic reasons?”

10548252_10205931324873445_2355490170718959160_o

“Dominion has already put over $1 billion into the rate base for this project it claims to have not yet decided on, making this one of the most expensive non-decisions in history. Now Dominion wants to spend in 2016 over half a billion dollars (the cost of a very large solar array) to wait another year to decide on North Anna, while the clean energy regulations are being litigated. Why not invest this money is solar PV which could be generating cheaper electricity, without toxic radwaste, at a lower price, even factoring in the cost of batteries?”

The global investment for renewables new capacity exceeded investment in fossil fuels (including fracking) and nuclear combined in 2015. Is Dominion just unable to find capable people to tap into this clear emerging market? Dominion has a fairly small fraction of its capacity in high profile renewables.

renewables better than reactors

Dominion is fundamentally failing to become a forward thinking utility and instead depends on its comfortable relationship with the state government to push off the costs of its mistakes (like North Anna 3) onto ratepayers and taxpayers. Wise investors would recognize that this is not a sustainable investment strategy.

 

Paxus Calta

Louisa, Virginia

 

Shoot the Troll?

Facebook is a bit like what I imagine crack to be like. You can get quite addicted to it. There is this artificial feeling of power in its use, but it can also make you feel quite sick and be poisoning. And if you are in it like me as a propagandist, you have to decide when someone is a troll to be blocked or when it is a thoughtful contributor who has a radically different view.
I am a “shoot first” kind of guy. This is how the conversation went.
I reposted this meme that I thought was clever:
words matter
pnc: Then there is:
“teenager” Michael Brown – 6′ 5″, 289 lb
“teenager” Trayvon Martin – 5′ 11″, 158 lbs
“boy” Tamir Rice – 5’7″, 195lbs
If someone pulls a gun out on me that is indistinguishable from a semi-automatic pistol, it represents imminent death. Reality matters.
Paxus Calta-Star

Paxus Calta-Star The cop who killed Tamir Rice shot him within 2 seconds of getting out of the police car. The judge deemed there was sufficient cause to charge him with reckless homicide and dereliction of duty. You are right reality matters. http://thinkprogress.org/…/what-everyone-should-know…/

Peter Clayton
pnc: The judge wanted to give a grand jury an opportunity to review all of the evidence. The grand jury found no cause for prosecution.
Paxus Calta-Star
Paxus Calta-Starthe city gave a $6 million settlement in the Tamir Rice case
Paxus Calta-Star
Paxus Calta-Starthey are generous in these things
Peter Clayton
pnc:  Absolutely. They’re going to buy a significant voting block making press like that.
===================
At this point I blocked pnc. This conversation had all the feeling of trolling, and I just don’t have the energy for it. But I am a highly public personality and pnc quickly found a way in through my blog comments (which I moderate).
Hello Paxus,
I’m sorry that a difference of opinion over “spin” in mainstream reporting caused you to eject me from your friends list on Facebook today, but I understand “propagandist” in its most fundamental form. Although I agree with a lot of the causes that you advocate for and positions that you take, I would like to believe that positive change can only be wrought when differing opinions are negotiated to compromise acceptable to all.
“Preaching to the choir” may be egotistically rewarding, but changes nothing. Refusing to engage people with opinions other than your own also changes nothing. I wish you the best of success in all of your undertakings.
Peace and Best Regards,
pnc
I am curious about my readership’s judgement – Shoot the Troll? or Engage the Critic? Perhaps I have done both here today.

CommuneLife Blog – Contributors wanted

On the first of May of this year, we will be launching the CommuneLife.org blog.  We are putting together a collection of articles and photo essays about the challenges and benefits of collective living.  We are especially excited about the flavors of community where there is a high degree of resource and income sharing.

in Mineral, VA, on Thursday, June 18, 2015.

Acorn Porch – photo credit Sarah Rice

The proposed format for this blog is that we will do three postings each week:

  1. Monday – New article of general interest on community life
  2. Wednesday – Photo essay from communities across the country
  3. Friday – Historic blog posting which was popular and remains current

We are stocking articles and photo essays now.  If you would like to be involved in this volunteer project as a contributor, editor, social media promoter, photographer or in another capacity, please comment on this post and we will get back to you.

solar hot water and bikes

Twin Oaks Solar Hot Water System and Shared Bikes

The CommuneLife.org project is part of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC) Point A project.  While the Point A project is promoting new communities in north eastern US urban areas, the CommuneLife blog is promoting both rural and urban shared living solutions across North America.

 

 

 

$27

Against all odds, Bernie Sanders still has a chance to become president.  Why do i say “against all odds”?  Well, it starts with the media.

Way back in December, the Sanders staff did an analysis of the mainstream media (MSM) and found that ABC’s World News Tonight had spent 81 minutes on Trump and 20 seconds on Sanders.  Other MSM outlets were similarly uninterested in the popular Jewish socialist running for the country’s top office.  Even the NY Times can’t bring itself to report on this anti-establishment candidate, while it rails endlessly on the establishment ills.

Conventional wisdom would claim that Trump is saying more outrageous and newsworthy things.  I would be hard pressed to disagree on the outrageous part.  But someone advocating for free college tuition and expansion of the ever controversial Obamacare program to cover all US Americans with free health care is saying some pretty newsworthy stuff.  Despite Sanders being remarkable, the MSM is still owned and controlled by a class which finds his radical views unacceptable.

 

As a political candidate for president in the US you need to have exposure.  What i found canvassing for Sanders in Virginia was lots of people had not heard of him.  So if you can’t get the MSM to cover you, then you need to pay for ads, but these are crazy expensive.  Here is where Sanders is again running against all odds.

Sanders raised $140 million from individual contributions through the end of February.  Clinton raised $160 from people over the same period.  But add to this $60 million in Super PAC money for Clintoand you can see how things are harder for Sanders.

Sanders does not take money from Super PACs. [For a reality check Republicans have raised almost twice as much money as Democrats and over half for the GOP money is from Super PACs, contrasted to 15% for Democrats.]

The thing about long shots is you need to know when to double down and when to walk away.  I don’t generally give money to politicians.  Despite voting, i am still an anarchist and find most of the personality politics repugnant.  I am giving Sanders $27, which is the average amount he has received and feels like a good number to me.

sanders landslides

The reason you double down on the right long shot is not because you are going to win, but it is to be part of the springboard of hope.  Sanders has amazing momentum.  Consider helping the campaign in non-monetary ways if you can, especially if you have friends in NY or California.

After the recent set of landslide victories in Washington, Hawaii and Alaska (which were largely ignored by the MSM), it is time to double down.  The odds are still against us, but the odds are always going to be against us.  I am sending my $27. I hope you will too.