Bull 4/21/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

The government is corrupt. I know, shocker, right? It’s filled with power hungry tyrants who are more interested in filling their own pockets than working for the people.

Here’s today’s trigger, and once again, it happened in South Dakota. The South Dakota governor is the one who harped on “personal freedoms”, refusing to mandate any kind of mask or safety measures for her state, and was particularly vocal about how proud she was to protect these freedoms as her state proudly made it to the second highest infection rate in the nation (North Dakota was the first). Her claims of protecting personal liberties was a sheer fabrication as demonstrated by her role in a lawsuit to overturn this past year’s state elections that voted to legalize marijuana. It’s actually the second time she overturned the voters, the first time being a few years ago but I forget the details. In each of these, she claimed the problem was that there was a problem with the way the proposal had been written, or how it violated the state constitution, but the simple fact is that the will of the people had been subverted.

Today, a notification is going around with links to the appropriate state website (I love references, and yes, I checked it) about proposed changes to the state energy provider billing. In the proposal, clients would be billed for the total amount of electricity used. At first glance, this might seem harmless and redundant, but the problem is that it also applies to users that have solar panels. While those already with solar panels, this won’t go into effect for a few years, but if you use, say 200 kwh of electricity in a month, you will be charged the normal rate for that much electricity, even if you’ve generated 75 kwh yourself through your solar panels instead of the 125 kwh you actually drew from their grid.

South Dakota is quite progressive in alternative energy, with a majority of its electricity coming from hydroelectric or wind generation. Only about ten percent of the power comes from natural gas. For a state with such forward thinking on alternative energy, it seems antithetical that they want to charge customers for electricity they themselves paid for and generate even as this would help fill in that remaining 10% gap in their power grid. No doubt, they would claim that they need to do this to pay for the power grid and its maintenance, but that would be a lie. The state belongs to a Midwestern consortium of power grids that constantly buy power from one another. If the state ends up generating too much electricity for its own use, they can sell it and those funds could be used to help pay for the grid.

The first time I’ve heard of something this crooked was related to the Ohio state lottery. In a country where gambling is supposedly illegal, many state lotteries, including Ohio’s, get around this technicality by claiming that the proceeds would go towards education. The problem is that, after several years of operating the lottery, people began to wonder why the state educational system had yet to see any proceeds from it. Then the state sued itself for the right to keep the money from the lottery without giving it to education. I’m happy to report that the state courts decided against the state government (which is why we need a separate oversight branch) and Ohio was forced, begrudgingly, to keep its promise. The outcome does not upset me, but the fact that the state tried to keep the money at all is infuriating to me.

What really upsets me is that the people in office, overturning voter decisions and trying to line their own pockets, keep getting voted back into office. How is this even possible? Once answer is rigged elections. This includes things like gerrymandering and rigged elections. I used to believe that closing voting locations populated with citizens likely to vote the ruling party out is probably the most brash example of voter suppression imaginable, but now we’re seeing legislation designed specifically to disenfranchise minority voters.

If there is no incentive to put in solar power to help the environment, why would anybody do it? If there is no incentive to vote as the voice of the voters are overturned or watered down, why would we vote? If politicians keep cheating, lying and working for themselves, why are they still in office? Things have got to change. This is just an embarrassment.

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