American Solar Supporters Mobilizing for a Vibrant US Economy

50,000 US factories closed in the last 12 years and the jobs shipped overseas. Texas oil billionaires pumping millions of dollars into campaigns that suppress solar and other American sustainable businesses. US Supreme Court handing out decision after decision allowing corporations more power. You had better wake up America and get some skin in the game before this American democracy is no more.

Yesterday we heard news of the class action lawsuit of the women Vs Wal-Mart got tossed out yesterday. I don’t know if that was justified or not but did you know there was also a ruling against several states that said states do not have the right to regulate environmental policies that job is up to the EPA? Ok, even though Home Rule is a fundamental principle to this countries founding fathers, let’s just say for a moment it should be regulated by the EPA. But wait, did you also know the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision on January 21, 2010 allows corporations to spend unlimited funds to support or oppose candidates for political office, overturning campaign finance laws in place for decades.

Do you see what is happening? The local home rule and government regulating big corporations is being tamped down against what Theodore Roosevelt feared most about the future. “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship.”

As a residence of California and heavily vested in the solar and environmental community I know a little something about politicians and corporations trying to pay off campaigns or buy their way into power. Proposition 16, the New Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers Act was on the June 8, 2010 ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.

If Proposition 16 had been approved by voters, it would have henceforward taken a two-thirds vote of the electorate before a public agency could enter the retail power business. This would have made it more difficult than it is currently for local entities to form either municipal utilities, or community wide clean electricity districts called Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs). Forming a local municipal utility or a CCA, if Proposition 16 had been approved, would have required the approval, through election, of 2/3rds of the voters who live in the area of the would-be local municipal utility or CCA.

Pacific Gas & Electric was the primary financial sponsor of the initiative, having contributed $46.1 million. That made PG&E the Goliath in a David-v-Goliath battle, since Prop 16’s opponents had access to less than $100,000. (Source

If that was not enough for solar and renewable energy supporters to be very afraid, there was also prop 23. California Proposition 23 would have frozen a law already passed by the state legislation requiring the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. If prop 23 passed, it would have made the taxpayer shoulder the burden of paying for cleaning up toxic waste and oil spills.

That of course brings to mind the financial meltdown of October 2008 where the US taxpayer provided a corporate welfare policy at almost no cost to the largest US banks. Mmmmmm… Too big to fail? Corporate socialism?

We use to be able to count on the American free press and news media to supply us with a check and balance to government mischief. No more. It is also broken having been taken over by big corporations. The nightly news is focused on silly stories about congressmen twitter activities while we are at war and unemployment in this country is at levels we have not seen in 90 years!

I recently joined the Business for Democracy campaign, an initiative of business leaders and their companies, who believe this recent Supreme Court ruling is in direct conflict with American democratic principles and a serious threat to good government. We stand with the four members of the Supreme Court and the 80 percent of Americans who disagree with the decision (Washington Post poll, Feb. 17, 2010).

It does not matter if you are a supporter of solar or green energy, if you are a supporter of this democracy “For the People, By the People”; you also need to get some skin in the game. You still have the one thing that big corporations fear most! One person, one vote.

If you’d like your business or association of businesses to join this effort, you can sign the statement of support here Business for Democracy .