Climate disobedience

Empty the oil pipeline. Fill up with E85.


Filling up at a rural Iowa corn to fuel station. The car gets about 15,000 miles/acre

How, might you ask, would this stop the line? This morning on facebook I saw this. Note the section about low oil prices and financial collapse.

Here’s the deal on Dakota Access.

DAPL had to get permits from county, state and federal governments. They are still missing two permits. The first is the 408 permit on the Missouri River that the Obama administration has blocked for the time being. The other permit is the hydrostatic testing permit to test the whole pipeline using water from various water bodies across the length of the pipeline.

DAPL told the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) that they wouldn’t begin construction until they had all the permits. The IUB granted the permit on a dark day this spring. At that time, DAPL still was missing the Army Corps of Engineers permits to cross the rivers and waterways. They began construction anyway. The IUB tsk tsked and then gave them approval to begin construction at their own risk.

They still don’t have all their permits but the pipeline has almost been completely built. There are only a few stretches that have not been finished–sections in Iowa and the small reach across the Missouri River in North Dakota.

What that means is that we have a nearly complete 1,000 mile pipeline. Even if the Missouri River permit is denied, the rest of the pipeline stands ready to ship crude oil across the Heartland.

There are a few things standing in the way of oil actually flowing through it. The first is those two pesky permits. Second is several lawsuits, two by the Tribes, a third by landowners and environmentalists in Iowa. Another block to this pipeline’s completion is the finances of DAPL which could collapse given the delay and low oil prices. Finally, the emergent properties of such a fluid situation could lead to a surprising avenue that stops this cold. We simply do not know which action, or friendship or strategy could tip the scales. As yesterday’s events show clearly, you just never know what might happen.

Because they continue to do construction in Iowa, we will not rest until we have done everything we can to stop this travesty. It is our sacred obligation to future generations.

The Natives at Standing Rock have the legal and the ethical arguments. But what most people miss is that Iowa is economically hostile territory for oil. We make far more money on corn, and the corn harvest starts in a few weeks. In the next two months, Iowa farmers will be harvesting $15 billion dollars of corn from $200 billion dollars of the world’s best farmland. If politics really is all about the money, who do you thinks going to win, a $4billion pipeline, or $200billion of family-owned farms? The value of those farms will go up by at least $4 billion if we let the oil companies bankrupt themselves on a pipeline that will never flow petroleum.

Oil is done, and in a few months the farmers in Iowa are going to demonstrate this new economic reality to the rest of the world. We need your help. If you have a flex fuel car, fill up with E85. If you don’t, put 2 gallons of E85 in, and 6 gallons of regular petroleum. The car will work just fine on 30% ethanol.

If you want more information, ask my about my 2001 prius (pictured above) that has been running on 30-50% ethanol for the last 10 acres (or 150,000 miles). And remember, if you want to make good on the Minneapolis climate action plan, make sure you vote for the farmer.

431 days to Basic Income

It’s 431 days to a referendum on the Minneapolis Basic Income program. While I applaud the progressive intention of 15now, and the discussions about how important a living wage is to our town, I’m disappointed.

I’m disappointed that no city council member has brought up BIGMN as an alternative to the $15/hour minimum wage. I’m disappointed that the focus is entirely on dollars. I’m disappointed by big cities that raise the minimum wage without thinking about the global consequences. I’m disappointed how it will facilitate further wealth transfer from the rural communities that grow the local food we like so much, and give it to the New York Bankees who own all the rental properties.

I’m disappointed that it seems politically inevitable that we are going to raise the minimum wage, and then as soon as enough big cities do that, the federal reserve will suddenly decide to raise interest rates to 5% or 10%. It seems just like a repeat of the farm crisis that set the stage for big agribusiness to monopolize the entire food distribution & marketing system.

But instead of just talking about it, I’ve been working on a basic income currency and an intentional community that can set it’s own monetary policy locally.

It’s time we set our own monetary policy here in Minneapolis, so I’m officially announcing my candidacy to be the first mayor of a major metropolitan area to deploy a basic income. See you in 431 days.

And if you want to know how I’m going to pay for it, watch this. If you want a real political change, vote for the farmer.

Oil’s last stand


Courtesy Little Redfeather Design/Honor the Earth
The Camp of the Sacred Stones has swelled from a few dozen to more than 2,500, according to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe officials. They are calling for further review of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the end of July without a full environmental assessment.


Oil is dying, peaked, over the hill. Whether this pipeline goes through or not, it’s over. Every year we get better at converting sunlight into forms of energy we can use. Students at Iowa State University and University of Minnesota are driving 4-seat solar powered cars. Because of technology, more people can move to the city, and do without a car.

But for those of us on the rez, or on the farm, we need transport. Before Standard oil showed up, we made fuel on farms. Before the powerlines, we had wind turbines.

This has, so far, been nice feel good political rallying.

This is also about big business that wants oil dead. And it’s time to play the big-money dirty tricks game, and bring down this oil house of cards. BNSF makes more money hauling freight if oil prices go up. Midamerican Energy makes more money selling wind power to Tesla electric cars. Green Plains energy makes more money turning corn into fuel, and we have a lot of corn. Find out who will profit by standing with Standing Rock, and send them money.

Mayor Troy makes more money with farmland and wind turbines than with petroleum.

This is Oil’s last stand. If the pipeline somehow survives Standing Rock, they still have to get through a few trillion dollars of farmland in Iowa that export a billion dollars of corn every year.

If you have investments in petroleum, now would be a good time to get out, before we burn your money, and leave the oil in the ground.

The Farmer-Labor party

The more I learn about Minnesota history, and it’s Norwegian and Scandanavian roots, the more I like it. We don’t have the D-word party here, we have the DFL, which, in my mind, comes from the historical context that some Nordic folks put the 1% back in their place


I want the Farmer-Labor party back. Except maybe it needs to be the FLTU for farmer-labor-technologically-unemployed party. The technology we’ve deployed on farms makes us that still do it a different kind of 1%. What you need to live comfortably in a city is produced by the labor and direct capital homesteading that we owner-operators invest in the ability for one guy with an opinion, a blog, and 200 acres of soybeans to grow half a million pounds of soybeans that could meet all the protein requirements for 8,000 of my neighbors. Or if I could turn that all into soy milk it would likely provide enough supply for most of South Minneapolis.

The same process of technology replacing human labor is happening in other industries, and with the rather interesting things going on in financial cryptography, we might start technologically unemploying some former bank employees. I’m not naive enough to think that crypto will actually put a dent in the 1% team bankster’s net worth, since they already own it all. But maybe we can at least let the New York Bankees know the old team that owns the fields wants their politics back.

Is it the FLU (farmer labor unemployed?), or FL (farmer-labor, but how’s that work if there’s no labor anymore, and unions screwed themselves by kicking off the folks who couldn’t pay the dues), or are we just down to the Farmers and the Unemployed? I’ll leave you to the acronym for that. Maybe I’ll put that on the ballot next time around.

History & politics of fear


I haven’t said much here recently. But what exactly do you say when you wake up in a bizzaro world where the choices are two more terms for a family that already spent 8 years there, and a man-child egomaniac who blew the family fortune on building overpriced casinos? Okay, maybe there’s something to the history lessons. Maybe we are going to nearly repeat the destructive tendencies that led two world wars. Maybe it’s really that bad.

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. What I do know is that whatever stupid shit the rest of the world does, we don’t have to fall for it. We have, for the first time in the history of the world, the power to create money and give it to people instead of letting a bunch of corrupt hereditary charltans ‘manage’ our money supply. We have fascinating financial dirty tricks like Bitcoin in which the market apparently decided to make the bitcoin I loaned my first campaign and started this blog worth 5 or 6 times what it was when I bought this blog for one coin.

Unlike Tobias (who I’m linking twice, for good measure. Read his stuff), I don’t think we need to harness and channel fear. Leave the fearmongering to the markets. Channel your hopes and dreams and analytical mindset. Look at where your money is coming from, and where it’s going. Fear gets people to do stupid things with their money. Be smarter. Get up and take it. Trump and the Clintonocrats all try to harness fear, and make us all so damned afraid to get out of bed unless we send them some payola.

Fear is the mind-killer. Get your mind in gear and take their money. And if you really want to strike fear into the hearts of the fearmongers, burn it.




Capital return on politics

I’ve been thinking about capital and currency off and on for a while. Most recently I ran across this thoughtful commentary¬†on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, however, I can tell from the article that while billionaires like to buy politicians, reporters, and academics, it seems that Labor (or maybe I should say organized labor) likes to buy ink as well.

This is unfortunate, because, as the article points out, if Piketty is wrong, we really need to know why. We do a great disservice both to workers AND to billionaires by repeating the trope that politics is something we can control. We do not control it, it controls us.

What we control, is what we spend our time on, and how we account for it. Do you track hours in hourdollars, or does the search book of face track and monetize you as the commodity? Do you trade in the really really free market, or trade your time for the almighty dollar?

I once said if I’m going to survive as a farmer I’d have to buy a politician. This is the route many billionaires have chosen. But politics is expensive, and the only way I can afford that is to become a politician and do some campaign fundraising. Sounds to me like it’s the Capital controlling the politics, and the politics control us.

Or maybe there’s another way. Vote with your choice of currency. Grant yourself a new economy with Grantcoin. Demand to pay your urban property taxes with local vegetables grown in garden spots not parking spots.