News from the Front #68:  

Strike Against BPA!  

This is an unexpurgated version of the second half of a presentation given to the public at the offices of the Snohomish County Public Utility District on October 24, 2002; the first part of the presentation repeated earlier speeches like this one.

The Rise of the Dark Forces

I'm going to use the word "Commies" from time to time, and I want to explain that.  A lot of people think that after the Berlin Wall fell, that was the end of Communism, and Communism was discredited.  But the Commies didn't all die from shame and disappear from the face of the earth.  Instead they scurried around and became environmentalists.  Like Mikhail Gorbachev and Green Cross.

Because you know what?  The central failure of Communism, crippling economic development, is a central goal of environmentalism.  And I don't mean to imply that all environmentalists are Commies.  Great Americans like Teddy Roosevelt have recognized that we need to have conservation, the wise use of natural resources.  But an awful lot of environmentalists are watermelons:  green on the outside and red on the inside.

Ronald Reagan once gave a famous speech where he said:  "You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream, the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism."  And your job when you see a government official or environmentalist, is to try and figure out whether he is pushing us up or down.  

And I want to say that the problem is not just with the salmon managers, or with the Bonneville Power Administration, or the Snohomish County Public Utility District, the problem is that if America were a house, it would be riddled with termites pushing us down toward totalitarianism.   I call them the Dark Forces.

The Dark Forces pushing out down will be hidden behind of a lot of high-minded talk.  They will talk about a perfectly planned society, with an ever bigger government that controls every aspect of our environment, and this goal is more important than anything to them.  They will lie, and keep public information secret, and destroy documents, and breach contracts, and disobey every law in sight for the Great Glorious Plan.  It is by those fruits that you can see them most clearly.

They will even commit treason, because to them, the very concept of treason is old-fashioned; the concept of national sovereignty is old-fashioned.  The concept of the United States is old-fashioned.  They think we need a new global government to handle global environmental problems.  They even say this openly, because no one seems to care.

And these Dark Forces are reaching further and further and further.  They want the land.  They want the water.  They want the electricity.  They want to control everything.  

The Dark Forces have taken over many public power districts.  Seattle wants to rip out the dams that public power constituents rely on.   Seattle sits on its hands when the National Marine Fisheries Service says it can't widen roads because, and I quote:  "more roadways permit more growth, and that's something that's not in the best interest of fish".  You can't be looking to these people for leadership on public power issues, because they are all pod people from the planet Gore.  

And the Dark Forces are hypocrites.  Consider the Ballard Locks.  The Corps of Engineers says that the locks kill about a third of the salmon migrating through them.  That's worse than all the Snake River Dams put together.  Four or five cities in Eastern Washington have passed resolutions saying, hey, Seattle, why don't you take your own medicine and remove the Ballard Locks.  Drain Lake Washington and restore lots of salmon habitat.  

But you know that will never happen.  Seattle wouldn't want to ruin the view for all those beautiful lakefront homes.  Seattle likes things the way they are, in its own neighborhood.  Seattle wants to tell rural Northwesterners what to do with their property, but as for Seattle property, well, gosh, we can't afford to make those kind of changes.  

Now do you see why I call them the Dark Forces?  This is the very face of evil:  we demand, as a moral imperative, that you destroy your property, to serve our interest.  But we won't pay you for it.  And we won't live by the same rules we want you to live by.  

The Vice of Compromise and Consensus

And one of the saddest things about all this is that every step of the way, as the fish fanatics  dismantle our great hydropower system piece by piece, the people from Portland and Salem and Olympia and Seattle and Boise and Helena, they all say well, we should just compromise, and not rock the boat.  We should find a balanced strategy.  We should reach consensus.

The people in the Methow Valley can tell you all about "consensus".  A bunch of outsiders showed up saying let's find a "win-win" solution that takes your water away so that we can all feel good about saving the earth.  (By the way, there are so many "endangered" fish in the Methow River this year that NMFS authorized a special fishing season, and the only legal way to do it was to pretend like it was scientific research.)

Anyway, these do-gooders are so wrapped up in themselves that they spent your money to hire the Washington State University survey group to tell them what they're doing wrong.  Let me read you a paragraph from their report:

"The limited support expressed for NMFS from survey participants came disproportionately from liberal Democrats who are inclined to trust in other and their government.  These are not the predominant norms of the Methow Valley, unfortunately."

To this, I say thank God.  At least we still have some citizens in the State of Washington who have the same view of government that the Founders of this Nation did.  Let me continue:

". . . the more citizens knew about the issues . . . and the more involvement they reported . . . the less likely they were to feel that NMFS acted in good faith in their environmental negotiations.  With respect to the dissemination of collaborative enforcement efforts elsewhere in the state, the same 'liberal Democrat' profile obtains; well educated liberals who possess post-materialist values tend to believe that the process has promise of producing outcomes that are acceptable to all parties concerned.  

In other words, the "balance" or "consensus" thing is a fairy tale that liberals who don't know anything believe in.

So when I hear "balance" or "consensus", I say bullshit.  The Federal Government already owns more than half of the land in the country.  How much more control do we need to achieve "balance"?

I say that appeasing the Dark Forces means that the Dark Forces win.  Two years ago, your public power leaders made a deal, to keep their mouth shut in the rate case in exchange for no increase in rates.  And what happened?  They made a deal with the Devil, and the Devil didn't live up to his side of the bargain.  What a surprise.  You have to root out evil, you can't compromise with it.

Bruce Babbitt, when he was President of the League of Conservation Voters, summarized the plan of the Dark Forces, and I quote:  "We must identify our enemies and drive them into oblivion".   The Sierra Club has a more politically-correct version:  "endless pressure, endlessly applied".  I hope you understand that you and your constituents are the enemies that the Dark Forces are trying to drive into oblivion.   

The Decline of BPA

We are here in the offices of a public utility district, and we should remember that district by district, your ancestors, and maybe even some of you, fought a tough fight to bring low-cost electricity to the Pacific Northwest.  The investor-owned Utilities, who I will call IOUs, fought like rapid badgers to kill BPA before it even began.  They were not going to wire the rural Northwest until Hell froze over, because they had their monopolies and they were set.  

Now some of you in the audience may be Democrats, and some of you may be liberals.  And I know that once upon a time, before Commies took control over nearly every important institution in this country, liberals thought it was more important to help people than animals.  Liberals like FDR deserve credit for building the great hydropower dams of the Pacific Northwest, even if he did have an Administration full of Commies.  And the liberals put engineers in charge of BPA, and the engineers delivered.  They brought industry to the Pacific Northwest, industry that built the planes and ships that helped win World War II, and later supplied the world with airplanes.

For fifty years, the Pacific Northwest has enjoyed a comparative advantage in our competitive world.  We had the cheapest electricity around.  We borrowed money from the federal government to build the most advanced power system in the world.  

But over time, we went from having an agency run by engineers to an agency run by lawyers, and now by the sort of people I regard as the lowest of life forms, the lobbyists.  An engineer will make his decisions based on objective facts; a lawyer will make his decisions based upon the law; but a lobbyist will make his decisions based on which way the political wind is blowing at any particular instant.  And the enemies of America put out of lot of political wind.

Today, we have higher electric rates from BPA than in many parts of the country where they have to dig up fossil fuels and burn them to make their electricity.  Here's a little chart the folks at Weyerhauser prepared last month:

You might think that's an amazing achievement:  BPA managed to take a system with no fuel costs at all, that was nearly paid off, and still wind up charging these high prices.  But there's nothing amazing about it.  Every Communist government manages to achieve the same thing by centralized economic planning.  Yet we keep electing politicians who convince the Sheeple that more government planning is just what we need to solve our problems.  We're almost to the point where we can trust ordinary citizens to tie their shoes, but for everything else, there's government.

Maybe that's why these heartland states like Oklahoma and Utah, where there aren't a lot of Commies, have the lowest rates, while here in Snohomish County, we see some of the highest rates.  And I don't mean to imply that Snohomish County PUD is full of Commies, but Snohomish has to buy its power in the Pacific Northwest, which is full of Commies.  Down in Portland, they organize antiwar protests, and cheer at City Council meetings when someone mentions the attack on the World Trade Center.  I can remember sitting in hearings at the Oregon Public Utility Commission, when the Commies pointed to Cuba as a model for restructuring Oregon's electric power market.  

We have an army of Commie-style power planners, who plan their way into one power crisis after another.  They paper over the lost jobs and broken dreams their plans cause by calling them "conservation".  

And now the planners demand that the Federal government take over the electric transmission system with new cartels called "Regional Transmission Organizations".  And they are going to manage transmission congestion Enron-style by having swarms of speculators bidding up transmission rights instead of building new transmission lines.  

The Crooked Dealings with the IOUs:  Enron-Style Management at BPA

Back in the late 1970s, when it looked like BPA was going to run out of power, the politicians got together and passed the Northwest Power Act, which was supposed to assure an adequate, efficient, economical and reliable power supply for the Pacific Northwest.  For the first time, BPA had the power to augment the hydropower system with other resources.

And the sorry history of that power is that BPA screwed up massively, over and over again.  There was the Tenaska project, where BPA wound up agreeing to pay ridiculous prices, backing out of the contract, and paying huge damages.  Then BPA screwed up by refusing to exercise the power at all, except for politically-correct projects, like wind power.  And when we ran out of power in the year 2001, did anybody point the finger at BPA?  No, because the lights didn't go out for most of the voters, BPA just cut off the big industries instead.

Another feature of the Northwest Power Act was the idea that it was unfair to punish the voters in the districts that hadn't voted in public power districts, and wound up paying higher rates to IOUs.  And so the politicians commanded that whenever BPA's rates were lower than IOU rates, BPA's ratepayers would have to subsidize the residential and small farm customers of IOUs.  This is called the "Residential Exchange" program.

That worked fine until the 1990s, when BPA managed to screw up so badly that its prices were higher than the market prices, and the IOU prices.  So under the law, BPA didn't have to subsidize the IOU customers any more.  But the IOUs all went running to their pet politicians and got them to pass a law declaring that BPA had to pay the IOUs hundreds of millions of dollars a year no matter what the law said.  But the politicians were sick and tired of hearing this whining from the IOUs, so they said, and I am quoting House Report 104-293 here:  "Bonneville and its customers should work together to gradually phase out the residential exchange program by October 1, 2001".

Here I want to introduce you to BPA's worst Administrator, Judith Johansen.  I first got involved with her when she was capitulating to the lunatics by agreeing to spill millions of dollars worth of power in a scheme that BPA's own models said would kill fish.  And I still remember her telling me on the phone, in substance, that she knew it was stupid, but that by doing it we would show good faith with the fish advocates, and gather data to prove that the spill was a waste of money.  That was in 1994, and BPA has been spilling ever since.

Administrator Johansen was so hell-bent on pushing politically-correct programs that the best people were driven out of BPA.  They told her that what she was doing was illegal.  They told her that what she was doing wouldn't work.  And then they saw that telling her the truth had "career consequences".  

But that's not the reason I think she was the worst Administrator.  I think she's the worst Administrator because on October 4, 2000, about the time she was supposed to be wrapping up the elimination of these subsidies to IOUs, she executed a strategy to lock them in for a ten more years.  Specifically, she promised to provide 1900 megawatts of power or money from 2002-2006, and then 2200 megawatts of power or money from 2007-2011.  When I say power or money, I mean BPA can either sell them power at low cost, or pay them the money that represents the difference between cost and market.

A month later, she resigns her position as BPA Administrator.  Then she starts working for the IOU that is one of the biggest pigs at the Residential Exchange trough:  PacifiCorp.  And guess what, now she's the CEO of PacifiCorp, the U.S. agent for Scottish masters who own PacifiCorp.  But I suppose that's just a coincidence.  

But wait, the story gets better:  she's replaced by the person I think is the second worst BPA Administrator, Steve Wright, who had the bad luck to inherit the awful mess she has left. 

The Power Crisis of 2001

The heart of the power crisis in 2001 was simple:  California was growing like mad, mostly  because it is politically-incorrect to have borders anymore, and California hadn't built a new power plant in ten years.  So eventually, something had to give.  And when the drought hit, BPA didn't have as much power as usual to sell to California, and there just weren't enough generators to keep the lights on. 

If engineers were still running BPA, they'd say, we can solve your power problems in a heartbeat.  We can put in new turbines that generate 10% more power, which by coincidence turn out to be "fish-friendly" turbines that will for all practical purposes solve the problem of salmon mortality in the turbines.   We've known about these turbines for more than ten years, but no one lifts a finger to get the Federal government to install them.  You know, it's even worse than that.  Some of these dams have empty turbine bays just waiting for turbines, and no one will put them in.  

So what did Steve Wright do?  Well, ironically, he managed to repeat the same mistake of WPPSS all over again.  What was WPPSS all about?  Well our energy planners decided we, it's always "we", have to build a dozen nuclear power plants all at once.  Why?  Because the consumption of electricity was going up by several percentage points a year, and the idiot planners assumed that would continue forever, no matter what the price of electricity was.  Technically speaking, they assumed that the demand for electricity was inelastic:  it would not bend in face of higher prices.  But as prices went up, demand went down, and all of a sudden we had no need for all the nuke plants.

But last year, when Administrator Wright saw that he needed to buy power to keep the lights on, he turned around and started buying out contracts left and right.  A lot of you have probably heard about the one or two year contracts he signed with aluminum companies, paying to terminate BPA's obligation to supply them power.  But how many of you have heard that he turned around and signed ten-year contracts with the IOUs, paying them to get out of the crooked supply contracts Administrator Johansen had engineered.  

And you know what else?  Steve Wright higher price per megawatt to buy out those IOU contracts than any other contracts.  He paid them roughly twice as much per megawatt as the other purchases BPA made.  So now you all are on the hook to fork over $2 billion between now and 2006 alone, just to line the pockets of the IOUs.  But I suppose that's just a coincidence.  At least until he shows up working for the IOUs too.

By the way, on October 3, 2002, the Senior Vice President of BPA's "Power Business Line", Paul Norman, responded to complaints about rate increases by saying that payments by BPA to get out of its contracts were, and I quote, "by far the biggest driver of our rate levels".  

But that's not the whole truth.  We learned just a month ago that during the year 2001, BPA spent $1.5 billion buying power "for fish", to support the idiotic flow and spill programs I was talking about earlier.  Why was BPA buying an extra $1.5 billion worth of power in the middle of a power crisis?  I can't tell you for sure.  One possibility is stupidity.  They had their fish plan, and they were going to stick to it whether it made sense or not.

Maybe  they were trying to to manipulate the market themselves.  You'll find in the records of BPA's formal administrative hearings on rates that BPA expected to make lots of money selling "nonfirm power" because of high market prices.  One of the smaller reasons BPA is in trouble is because the market came down, and BPA's projections of reaping big profits in the market turned out all wrong.  And that, by itself, is about a $600 million mistake.

Now the latest piece of crookedness has to do with yet another rate increase that's coming.  Next month, Administrator Wright is going to announce whether BPA will trigger a "Safety Net Cost Recovery Adjustment Clause" in its rate schedules, which could produce another 10% increase in rates.  And I want you to understand that he has no legal basis at all to do this.  

Your public power representatives agreed to a clause in BPA's rate schedules that says this rate increase can only trigger if, and I quote:

"BPA forecasts a 50 percent or greater probability that it will nonetheless miss its next payment to Treasury or other creditor, or

"BPA has missed a payment to Treasury or has satisfied its obligation to Treasury but has missed a payment to any other creditor"

Now the trick here is that BPA has prepaid over $500 million in its Treasury obligations, so it need only make a small  payment next year, and there is very little chance they are going to miss that small payment.  But BPA wants to pretend that it must make a much larger payment, ignoring the $500 million, so that it has an excuse to raise rates again.  

Maybe it all goes back to the desire to have a big pot of money for dam removal at the end of the rate period.  That was one of the things Administrator Johansen's minions had promised to enviros.  

You might think that dam removal is a dead issue, but in August, the largest newpaper in Boston ran a full editorial calling for removal of the Snake River Dams.  The Dark Forces are constantly at work, all over this country.

We'll probably never know whether BPA is merely stupid or positively evil, because no government agency with the power to investigate will ever get around to doing anything about it.  Ever notice that about the news these days?  We never seem to get to the bottom of anything that involves powerful government agencies and politicians.  Lacking an investigation, we might remember the famous words spoken by Truman's  Secretary of the Navy said to Senator McCarthy about the Commies in government:  "McCarthy, consistency has never been a mark of stupidity. If they were merely stupid they would occasionally make a mistake in our favor."  

I can't prove it, but I think that Administrator Wright and his cronies are all pod people from the planet Gore, and that they're not making stupid mistakes.  They are pursuing a plan to de-industrialize the Pacific Northwest. 

Lies in the Rate Case

One of the biggest reasons BPA is raising rates again and again is because they are spending money like drunken sailors.  When BPA sets its rates, it is supposed to base them on the costs it estimates for the next rate period.  And BPA promised to cut costs for the rate period 2002-2006, to help keep rates in line.  But let me show you what BPA says now, after your leaders said OK, the rates sound fine to us.

This first slide compares the BPA overhead costs forecast in the rate case with the projections BPA is handing out now:

What is all this money going for?  Let me read you an e-mail I recently got from somebody at BPA, who wrote to me on the occasion of hiring a new employee:

"As a new hire employee this guy went to an orientation at Headquarters in Portland.  About 30 people [were] there total, 10 of whom were fish biologists!  I can only hope that they are not from the conservation biology school of thought.  

"For the past 15 [or so] years the transmission utility has been starved of people/funds so we could ramp up various political mandates:  green power, conservation, fish, deregulation, etc.  The old guard white, male engineering/tech staff has been systemmatically purged creating upward mobility for preference groups to break the glass ceiling and get our diversity numbers to look better.  [For the past few years, the promotion rate for women has been approximately double that of white males.]  Many of these people don't know shit about running a transmission utility, and their leadership has been disastrous . . . .  

"Now that these various political boondoggles have spent us into the poorhouse, we are looking for ways to cut costs.  [But you won't see] any political programs mentioned [as potential areas to cut].

"Our political leadership have managed to pervert the BPA utility into a cash cow for highly dubious political ventures.  I look forward to getting the hell out of here . . ."

How's that for a little blast of reality?

Hidden behind these immense websites, and press release operations, and all the facade that the media reports, the really important things, generators and wires, are all falling apart.  The transmission system is so overloaded that if we wanted to restart Trojan, the nuclear plant down on the Columbia River, we couldn't even pipe the power out of it anymore.  

And it's not just BPA.  The enviros have made sure that there is no more excess oil refinery capacity in the United States.  If one of them blows up, we'll be paying through the nose for years.  

Now here's what happened with the money BPA didn't waste in-house, but threw out the door:

These are the armies of planners and bureaucrats that get fatter and fatter while your pocketbooks get leaner and leaner.

Why can BPA get away with this?  Well, what incentive does BPA have to cut costs, when our energy leaders tell BPA that it can adjust the rates every six months to cover any shortfalls?  None, of course.  Some of your public power leaders are even flirting with the idea of buying a BPA product called "Slice", which locks them into paying whatever costs BPA decides to incur for years and years.  "Slice" is the death of a thousand cuts for Northwest ratepayers, but your leaders are still fighting the last war, when BPA power was cheap, and everyone had to make sure to get their place at the trough.

Most of the people involved in this mess are too polite to say it, but I'm not.  BPA simply defrauded its customers by submitting knowingly false estimates of its costs, knowing they could just reach back and grab more money later.

The Law Can't Save You

Some of you might think that we can rely on the law to solve this.  After all, the Federal Government made a covenant with your ancestors to sell that power for the widest possible use, at the lowest possible rates, which is still enshrined in federal law.  And the Federal Government made a covenant with the Pacific Northwest, which has been paying interest on these dams for decades, that the customers of the Pacific Northwest would get first crack at the power.  

Well I'm here to tell you that the Federal government has broken its covenants with you and the Pacific Northwest, and Bonneville has broken all the laws that make up those covenants.  Let me give you some examples.

First of all, Bonneville now says it can charge market-based prices for power, like the "FPS Rate", instead of selling power at cost.  And your public utility leaders decided to pay those rates, instead of fighting them.

Why is that?  Probably because your lawyers have told you that law is dead.  If you want to sue BPA, you go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  And you know what they say?  The law is what BPA says the law is.  

BPA can get away with nearly anything.  They can even tell you that if you don't keep your mouth shut on sensitive issues in a rate case, they'll charge you a higher rate.   That's what ALCOA and Vanalco found out when they tried to sue BPA for proposing a special rate to punish them for speaking out.

And the United States courts say that if you have a contract with BPA, it's toilet paper, because there isn't even any court that will even hear breach of contract claims for damages. 

So you can forget about law and lawyers solving your problems with BPA.  I hate to say that, because I'm a lawyer, and I studied the law because I thought I could make a difference in the law.  But the law is as dead when it comes to BPA as it is when it comes to salmon recovery.

President Bush Won't Save You

And you can't expect the Bush Administration to save you either.  The ugly truth is that the Bush Administration isnít going to pay a lot of attention to two States that keep electing Democrats.  Are you all going to get rid of Patty Murray?  Are you all going to get rid of Maria Cantwell?  Or Governor Locke?  What can you really do for the Bush Administration?

Iím not going to say anything bad about the President personally, but I bet Karl Rove and the others think that the Pacific Northwest might as well stew in its own juice.  After all, they re-appointed Administrator Wright.  And they appointed the Northwest Regional Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service, who is continuing all the Clinton/Gore Administration's asinine salmon policies lock, stock and barrel.

But it is possible to pressure the Bush Administration to help you.  After the Bush Administration turned off the water for the Klamath farmers, the farmers rallied and eventually got the water turned back on.  But they had to push that confrontation until the town was filled with Federal SWAT teams with snipers on every roof.  You wonít read about that in the press, but I'm pleased to say thatís how much trouble the protestors down there caused.

Save Yourself!  Strike Against BPA!

BPA and salmon are just two fronts of a war being waged on this country by the tyrants allied with the Dark Forces.  Down in Oregon, we let $10 billion worth of timber burn up this summer, because we have to employ "minimum impact suppression techniques" when fighting fires, so as to protect the ecosystem.  Instead of fighting fires, though, we have crews cleaning mud off bulldozers every night, even with screwdrivers, for fear of Port Orford root rot, and building berms to protect streams from runoff.  

In the low-tech era when kids spent a summer in firewatch towers, building character, we did a better job of fighting fires.  Now, with satellites and aerial photography, what's our excuse?  There is no excuse.  The Dark Forces are in control, and they like to burn things up.

The Dark Forces took over the colleges and universities a long time ago, and they are hard at work turning the next generation into ignorant sheep.  

We have an INS that deported 24% less people the year after terrorists blew up the World Trade Center than the year before.  And we had an Air Force that couldn't get a single fighter near any of four jets for more than an hour and half, and a Congress that doesn't even want to figure out why.

We have a State Department that issues visas to terrorists who don't even fill out the visa forms, and then gives a $15,000 performance bonus to the responsible official.  I can't resist showing you this, which the folks at the online National Review put together:

Once upon a time, we had newspapers that competed to bring citizens the truth, but nearly all these things I've just told you aren't in the newspapers, because the newspapers are run by the Dark Forces too.

So here we are.  Our Northwest industries are trembling on the edge of a precipice.  When they are gone, we'll have to look to our "friends" in Red China to supply manufactured goods.  We have the highest unemployment rates in the United States.   And we have taxes going higher and higher and higher for utter waste like 99.5% of salmon recovery spending.

Every generation has a responsibility to pass along civilization to the next generation.  We are always just one generation away from the Dark Ages.  And in every generation, the Dark Forces are trying to dismantle the ideals that made this a great Nation.  The Dark Forces would replace freedom with constraints.  The Dark Forces would replace inalienable rights with unreviewable  government powers.  The Dark Forces would replace private property with what they call "the public interest".  The Dark Forces would replace due process of law with politics.  And the Dark Forces replace the truth with lies to build their power.    

Make no mistake about it, whether you know it or not, you are in a war with these Dark Forces right now.  It's not just a war about salmon and dams; it's a war about culture and ideals and freedom.  And you are losing.

The Responsibility of Public Power Institutions

I want to say a few words to the public utility leaders who are in the audience.  Someday, you will be judged on how you serve the constituents who trust you.  Not by how you serve the rich ones who don't care how much they pay for power.  You'll be judged by how you serve the poor ones, the ones who are struggling to make the payments on their trailer, maybe because they lost their jobs to the Great Owl Hoax.  

Every time you pass on another bogus price increase from Bonneville without fighting it, you betray your constituents.  Every time you print some sort of environmentalist propaganda from the Dark Forces, you betray your constituents.  Every time you donate money to the Dark Forces, you betray your constituents. And every time you attempt to collaborate, or cooperate, or settle with these Dark Forces, you betray your constituents. 

Public power has buildings and meeting rooms in every county and every state.  Many public power customers can't afford to fight the Dark Forces by themselves.  But public power as an institution can.  You have got to find yourself some leaders who are willing to fight.  Right now, you are fielding a team of appeasers.

You have amazing opportunities.  You can make sure your school district is teaching about the importance of hydropower?  You can make your employees available to counter the environmentalist lies that fill our classrooms.  You can put put mailers in your monthly bills to raise public concern about the destruction of our power system . . . about the lies that are printed every week in the newspapers about salmon recovery . . . about the destruction of the Constitution, and our rights as against the Federal government?

The Responsibility of Ordinary Citizens

As for the rest of you, look around the room here.  There are people all over the Pacific Northwest who are concerned, just like you.  When you put your collective mind to it, you can achieve great things.  

We should always remember that on September 11th, it wasn't the government that fought back against the terrorists, it was ordinary Americans.  In the end, that's what we have to rely on, ourselves.  Times are going to get tougher and tougher, and ordinary people are going to rise to the occasion and take back their government.  Like those brave souls on Flight 93 who told the terrorists "you're not going to hijack this plane", they are going to say, "we've had enough of you hijacking our government".  That's really all it takes.  Because the enemy are cowards.  When the harsh light of public opinion turns against them, they run like rats.  But it's up to you to bring that pressure on them.  

It is as simple as forming your own gangs to take back government one layer at a time.  I know the Federal government is beyond hope.  Regaining control of it is ten or twenty years away.  But the most important thing is the local school boards.  

You can stop them from teaching your children to hate American accomplishments.  You can stop them from teaching your children to be Commies.  When elementary teachers order children to pool their crayons, and share them out, they are teaching that property rights arenít important.  When elementary teachers make every project a ďteam effortĒ, they destroy individual initiative.  They do these things because you don't stop them.

You can take back your local papers.  During the Revolutionary war, the first thing people did, and it was always a minority pushing for freedom, the first thing they did was boycott and ruin the local papers supporting the British.  You all can turn every local paper in the Pacific Northwest into loudspeakers calling for the State and Federal governments to stop waging War on the West.  But many of you keep paying your subscription money, and buying ads, for papers you know to be pushing Commie crap all the time.  Someday, you will be judged for that.

And as for BPA, I think that Administrator Wright is a coward too.  I think that if each and every small public utility district outside the great Commie strongholds of Seattle and Eugene and Salem were to tell Mr. Wright that they aren't going to pay any more rate increases, he'd back down.  And if you all send mobs to your public utility board meetings and tell them to call a strike against BPA, or get a new job, they'll do it, because you elect them.

Now I know we may have a war going on Iraq pretty soon, and I don't feel entirely good about cutting BPA payments to the U.S. Treasury.  But sometimes you have to look at the long term, not just the short term.  This country is going to be in a world of hurt if it gets into a tough spot and doesn't have Pacific Northwest industry to build planes from the ground up, and irrigated agriculture to feed us.  So you know what?  If you go out on strike against BPA to keep Northwest industry alive, you are defending America, not just the Northwest.  

And maybe Mr. Wright won't back down, and maybe he'll raise the rates again anyway.  Then we'll know for sure that he's one of the evil ones, and that it's more important than ever to send him packing and make sure he never holds public office again.  And then you'll have to follow the road of the Klamath farmers, and stop paying, and risk having your power cut off.  Because nothing else really will work.  

Let's get even more radical here:  you can tell the Federal government to take a hike, and turn the hydropower system over to the ratepayers of the Pacific Northwest who have paid for it over and over and over again.  It's like you pay the mortgage, and then the bank shows up and wants to take away the house anyway.  

I guarantee you that if local public utility districts owned the dams and the State and Federal governments butted out, we could cut our electricity bills in half.  We could say, hey, we're not paying the IOUs $2 billion on those crooked contracts, because they were unlawful when made.  We could say hey, we're not spending billions of dollars a year on salmon when the fishermen are throwing them away.

That's what the great anti-slavery activist Frederick Douglass recognized long ago:

Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

That's the story of American government, when citizens don't rise up to resist with words, or blows, or both.  It's up to you.  Are you all going to let blood-sucking Commie planners darken the future of this country?  Or are you going to get out there and fight to take back this country, one county commissioner, one PUD commissioner, and one school board member at a time?  And I don't know any other institution in the State of Washington that can give you as much help with that as the Farm Bureau.

I have faith in you.  I think that the rural Northwest is going to remain a beacon of light no matter how far the Dark Forces advance in the great corrupt cities.  You and your constituents are going to keep American ideals alive in this age of decay, and God bless you for it.  

© James Buchal, October 24, 2002

You have permission to reprint this article, and are encouraged to do so. The sooner people figure out what's going on, the quicker we'll have more fish in the rivers.

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