The US Geological Survey recorded a minor earthquake this morning with its epicenter near Wasilla, Alaska, the probable result of Sarah Palin opening her mail box to find the latest issue of CounterPunch magazine we sent her. A few moments later she Instagrammed this startling comment…
The lunatic Right certainly has plenty of problems. We’ve made it our business to not only expose these absurdities, but to challenge them directly. With another election cycle gaining steam, more rhetoric and vitriol will be directed at progressive issues. More hatred will be spewed at minorities, women, gays and the poor. There will be calls for more fracking and war. We won’t back down like the Democrats. We’ll continue to publish fact-based critiques and investigative reports on the shenanigans and evil of the Radical Right. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.
Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
Report: Cal Energy “Crisis” Was A $71 Billion Hoax, And It’s Not Over
“It Wasn’t a Shortage, It Was a Shakedown” Report: Cal Energy “Crisis” Was A $71 Billion Hoax, And It’s Not Over
Santa Monica, CA. –The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) issued the first comprehensive review of the California energy crisis today, exactly one year after the first rolling blackouts hit California. Using government and industry data, the 58 page report, entitled “Hoax: How Deregulation Let the Power Industry Steal $71 Billion From California,” shows that the California electricity system did not fail according to the laws of supply and demand, as it has been widely portrayed.
The California energy crisis, instead, was a hoax — orchestrated by a power industry freed from price regulation — that will cost $2,200 for every Californian. For nearly a year, the energy industry, state officials and President Bush claimed there was a shortage of energy in California. But the crisis suddenly disappeared late last spring after Governor Gray Davis committed the state to spending at least $43 billion for energy over the next twenty years.
The report shows that the power industry manufactured blackouts and threatened more of them as tools to gain unprecedented profits and overpriced, long-term contracts during the crisis. The report also warns that unless the state of California regains control of its electricity supply, and makes it publicly accountable, additional artificially-created crises will occur in the immediate future.
“The energy crisis was a hoax, set up by deregulation, to suck billions of dollars out of the state,” said Harvey Rosenfield and Doug Heller of FTCR, a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy group based in California. “The utilities, energy companies and power traders backed deregulation because they knew it would be a license to steal. Once freed of state scrutiny — once the cop was off the beat — they held the state hostage until we agreed to pay their demands. When they stole as much as they thought they could get away with, the ‘crisis’ mysteriously disappeared — leaving the people of California stuck with the tab.”
“It wasn’t a shortage, it was a shakedown,” FTCR said.
Among its findings, the report shows that:The rolling blackouts, which occurred on generally low-demand days, were not caused by a shortage of power plants, but by energy companies looking to maximize their prices and profits. Throughout late 2000 and 2001, when prices skyrocketed, California used less electricity than prior years, in which prices were stable and there were no blackouts. Californians overpaid $8.5 billion for electricity between January and October of 2001 alone — and will overpay at least another $20.5 billion over the next decade. While the U.S. entered a recession during the first half of 2001, power companies, such as Enron, Duke and Reliant, reaped unprecedented windfalls.
The crisis suddenly ended — without the predicted summer blackouts — not because of Californians’ conservation, mild weather or new power plants, but because the energy industry had achieved its goals, and was facing investigations and legislation that threatened to “kill the goose that laid the golden egg”: deregulation.
More Crises Unless Deregulation Ended
The report concludes with a series of policy prescriptions including the development of a long-range plan for a hybrid energy system that is part private and part publicly-owned power, and well regulated. The study also calls for regulatory and statutory changes that will save consumers billions of dollars, such as a retroactive ban on “direct access,” a re-allocation of the electricity rate structure and the formation of a Consumer Utility Board.
CONTACT: Doug Heller – 310-392-0522 x309