Keep San Francisco FAIR!

Ed Lee is corrupt and San Francisco is being destroyed by the lack of affordable housing and the evisceration of rental stock by Airbnb.

Keep San Francisco FAIR! Vote yes on Prop F, yes on Prop A, yes on Prop I, and Replace Ed Lee!

Vote 1-2-3 to Replace Ed Lee! Use ranked choice voting to vote for the following candidates for Mayor, in any order:

Check out the campaign websites for:

Feel free to use the artwork, modify as you wish. Contact martin.mackerel@gmail.com for source documents.

I've also made a PDF on white background suitable for printing.


No, We Don't Stand Together

The slogan "We Stand Together" is as bad as "All Lives Matter", and Bernie supporters would do well to steer clear of it.

Everyone should realize by now how hollow the phrase "All Lives Matter" is. If black people had used the slogan "All Lives Matter" originally, that would actually mean what it says. But the phrase "All Lives Matter" was only uttered after the slogan "Black Lives Matter" burst upon the scene. "Black Lives Matter" is used to emphasize that black lives do matter, in the face of a society that so clearly does not value black lives.

In that context, the phrase "All Lives Matter" is a retort – it opposes "Black Lives Matter", covers it up, hides it under the false universal of "all lives". But, of course, if all lives truly mattered, there would be no need to say "Black Lives Matter".

In the same way, "We Stand Together" uses a false universal. Who is we? "We" are the white progressives who don't want to be distracted by all this discussion of racism and white supremacy – that's "someone else's issue". Why can't we instead talk about class, or debt, or the 1% – you know, the issues that matter to "all" of "us".

This is the same "we" of feminism that obscures women of colour and trans women. This is the "we" of gay rights that says that staying in solidarity with the "T" of LGBT is just too divisive.

We don't stand together. Some of us do stand in a very different position vis-à-vis the police, the courts, the banks, the job market, etc., etc. The reaction of the crowd to the Seattle interruption shows exactly why it is necessary to keep bringing up the issue of race.

"We Stand Together" is a blatant attempt to shut down dissent, to crowd it out, to refuse to listen to it. If you're standing in a crowd of Bernie Sanders supporters who start chanting "We Stand Together", do the honourable thing: sit down. Or even, lie down for Mike Brown.


Comments on the scope of the WesPac EIR, part 2

August 7th, 2015 - my second email submitting comments, focusing on climate change. Part one focuses on more local and regional issues.

This is the second part of my comments on the scope of the WesPac RDEIR, focusing on climate change, both the project's effect on climate change and the effects of climate action on the project's purpose and long-term viability.


It is not merely the manner in which the proposed WesPac project would operate that is a problem; it is its very existence itself. The purpose of the project is to increase the flexibility and capacity of the petroleum industry. It is likely to, however marginally, increase production of and reduce the costs of fossil fuels, and thereby increase the global use of those fossil fuels. And that is precisely the problem.

In a public comment of September 13, 2013, I said the following:
Even if the facility operated flawlessly, however, it would contribute to the increased global use of fossil fuels, which generates greenhouse gases that through climate change endanger our physical infrastructure, our health, our environment, and potentially the very viability of human civilization.

It is imperative that we change our energy system. To start with, we must insist on NO MORE FOSSIL FUEL INFRASTRUCTURE.

There is simply no excuse to do otherwise; any statement of environmental impact that claims low impact for additional fossil fuel infrastructure and allows its construction is extremely irresponsible.
Two years later that comment is, unfortunately, still valid. My claim that the very viability of our civilization is endangered is far from being an exaggeration. The climate change that is already "locked in" will strain our ability to adapt. The very material bases of our civilization are under assault: changing weather patterns mean that agriculture will be increasingly difficult, sea-level rise threatens many cities and much infrastructure, and more heat waves, storms, and cold spells mean more property damage and fatalities in the years ahead.

Comments on the scope of the WesPac EIR, part 1

August 7th, 2015 - my first email submitting comments, on issues other than climate change. Part two focuses on climate change.

In this document, I am listing all comments on the scope of the WesPac 2015 RDEIR other than those related to climate change.

Pipeline and tank integrity issues

When I refer to "pipelines", I mean both the pipelines fully internal to the site, as well as the external pipelines that connect to the regional refineries and other distribution networks.

Please include detailed information about the age of all tanks and pipelines. Which of these tanks will be refurbished?

What are the limits of vapor pressure that the tanks and pipelines can handle? How does this compare to the known very high vapor pressure of Bakken shale oil?

What other effects does crude type have on pipeline or tank integrity? For example, both tar sands dilbit and Bakken shale are likely to be more corrosive than fuel oil or other crudes, and the more viscous tar sands dilbit is likely to be pumped at higher pressure than other crudes. Tar sands dilbit is also often heated to get it to flow; how does this affect pipeline integrity? It could increase corrosion and it could also increase wear-and-tear from thermal expansion and contraction.

The Mayflower spill in Arkansas was a result of the rupture of Pegasus, a 65-year-old pipeline that was intended for refined products. Exxon 1) reversed the flow and 2) sent more corrosive tar sands dilbit down the pipe 3) at high pressure. All three actions stressed the already quite old pipeline; together, they weakened it enough to rupture it.


Notes from WesPac EIR Scoping Session, 2015/07/22

WesPac is back. The proposal for an oil terminal in Pittsburg, CA has been modified, dropping the rail component. It would include a marine terminal, lots of oil storage, and pipelines to Bay Area refineries. The storage tanks are within 200 feet of homes, and there are churches and schools nearby as well.

A new EIR will be prepared, and there was a scoping session on July 22nd. Comments on the scope of the EIR will be taken until 5pm on Friday, August 7th, 2015. I took some rough notes from the scoping session.

A couple of City staffers and a representative from TRC, the consulting company doing the EIR, spoke. The purpose of the scoping session, they said, was 1) to educate the public about the process and 2) to take public comment. Significantly, the public comment was supposed to be on the scope of the EIR, and not supposed to be about the merits of the project itself. Nevertheless, many speakers did share their opinion on the project as a whole. After public comment, the TRC rep said there had been two kinds of comments: 1) impacts of the EIR, and 2) opinions. He said, "Please let your decisionmakers (City Councilmembers and Planning Commissioners) know your opinions."

The rep introduced the rationale for the project: a California Energy Commission determination that there is a shortage of crude oil storage in the Bay Area, coupled with an increase in oil imports, and ship congestion at existing terminals. None of this holds water - the CEC determination is from several years ago, there are plenty of marine terminals at existing refineries, and in any case, California gasoline and diesel use is declining.

Public Comment

I took brief notes on each speaker. Public comment lasted about two hours. Unfortunately, the City did not provide video recording or a stenographer - they had a staffer take notes on an easel pad. I will be submitting these notes.


The Violence Inside

Earlier this week I had an emotional meltdown over Freddie Gray's murder and the subsequent events in Baltimore. I wrote several tweets that were openly calling for the death of cops. I'm writing this blog post not to retract those comments, but to explain them.

The police mutilated Freddie Gray's body in a way that I can't even comprehend the physics of. I know the police can be animals, but that level of horrific brutality shocked me to the core. Not only were several cops were involved, but we know from cases like these that even cops not directly involved will lie and cover up for their co-workers and that prosecutors and attorneys general will avoid any punishment for the cops whatsoever. The Coup has a line: "Every cop is a corrupt one." Absolutely true.

Every cop is a bad cop, because they all support this kind of brutality. "Police whistleblower" is an oxymoron – cops do not testify against other cops. Cops are, in a sense, not individuals. Becoming police means becoming a part of a mass that has no true understanding of justice or fairness – it is a depersonalized, sociopathic force to maintain the existing social order.

Thinking about how the Baltimore police mutilated Freddie Gray's body ignited a murderous rage in me. I wanted to see cops killed. I wanted to kill cops myself. I still do. I want to watch a cop's blood pour out into the gutter. I have seen fear in a cop's eyes and it is a beautiful thing. But now I fantasize about watching the light fade from those eyes.

This very hateful and violent impulse is a scary thing to face in myself. But I see no value in denying it. It's there, the mirror image of the sickness that the cops carry, that they give into. It has been one thing for me to read Martin Luther King Jr.'s words about how violence leads only to violence, and how hatred only leads to more hatred. It was one thing to become angry at the police and realize that that is a deliberate effect of state violence.

It is another thing entirely for me to personally plunge directly into the abyss, to not just intellectually think that someone should be killed, but to passionately desire their brutal death. I grapple with this twisted fact that the very evil I see in the world and fight against, rises up inside me and that my own strong drive for justice can become poisoned, taken over, transformed into the very thing I detest.

This has led me to go back to some of Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, particularly his Pilgrimage to Nonviolence. His six basic points about nonviolence are not easy. They can be very, very difficult. While I still wouldn't rule out some kinds of violent action in order to get to a better world, my intense reaction this week reminded me to go back, again and again, to these fundamental points, in particular the fifth point. It is a struggle for me to avoid the "internal violence of spirit", but its appearance has been a lesson for me.