Thursday, December 15, 2005

Vacancy At The Broken Arms Apartments

The Downtown Emergency Service Center opened a "wet" housing facility in Seattle Cascade neighborhood this week. The idea of the facility is to provide housing at limit cost to actively drinking chronic street alcoholics. The agency refers to the facility as “supportive housing”.

The agency intends to provide substance abuse counseling to the residents of the facility. But it would seem that if the counseling should be successful the end result would be that the individual demonstrating a desire to stop using would have to then leave the building because they would no longer qualify to live in the facility. The complete opposite practice of what most existing housing programs do that attempt to address the proplems of alcholics and drug users.

These chronic alcohol abusers will be able to drink in their rooms and even invite other in to drink with them if they so desire . I think they should probably have a bar in the lobby too.

Why not?

Residents of the neighborhood have opposed the facility mainly based on fear that the tenants of the facility will create a haven for toxic misbehavior. After a series of unsuccessful law suits the facility is finally opening.

As a former practicing alcoholic myself, now with 18 years of sobriety, I would of never stayed sober had I not been forced by the circumstances of my drinking to become willing to make the effort to stop and get help.

Alcoholics need to accept responsibility for their lives and also they have a duel responsibility to become useful members of society. Becoming someone who is bringing something to the table of life. Many successful recovering alcoholics believe that alcoholism is a disease of extreme self-centeredness at its core, drinking only being a symptom, and that recovery is not determined by what is going on on the outside of the person so much as what is going on in the inside the person.

I believe alcoholism is curable, or can be arrested so that one can begin to lead a useful and normal life, but the alcoholic must first see the hopelessness of their situation in order to be sufficiently motivated and willing to make a effort to become willing to stop drinking. They must realize that the road to recovery is a inward journey. Alcoholics often must be forced to make this self-diagnosis before real recovery will begin.

Enabling alcoholics seldom bring them to a state where they seek recovery. Ask anyone who has lived with one.

I would venture to predict that many of the alcoholics accepted into this program will remain a weight on social programs and criminal justice resources even though they now "live" in a nice studio apartment at government expense. The people behind the facility argue that one of the main reasons to support such a facility is that it will reduce the cost to the taxpayer that these chronic alcoholics now generating by their continuing bad behavior. i.e. trips to Harvorview or jail.

In this day of limited tax funds the government should be supporting alcoholics who want to get sober with a sober place to live. Not the other way around.

Something along the lines of the very successful private programs like the 'Oxford Houses" which already exist unnoticed in many of our neighborhoods. The major requirement is that a person must stay sober to qualify for this low cost private housing. Usually located in a residential setting. If someone uses they are immediately booted out of the house.

Many former drunks have recreated their lives with this type of structured and supported housing as part of their recovery path.

The "wet" housing experiment only rewards bad behavior.

It is certainly high-mined to want to provide a home for everyone, including the chronic alcoholic. But when it comes to the taxpayer's dollar I think that government needs to get its priorities straight. Especially in a time when funds are limited.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush New War Strategy Same Old Same Old

George Bush’s much-hyped first sales pitch speech today in a attempt to launch a new administration narrative as to why America should stay the course in Iraq offered nothing new. He spent most of the time before an approving and controllable audience of naval cadets trying to explain how many Iraqis had been trained and the make up of Iraqi security and armed forces. Most of it attempting to turn the same old sow’s ear into a silk purse that was meant to sound like progress on the march to a model democracy in the Middle East. He continues to use the old cliches but recited them with a desparately phony sounding new conviction.

I think the most important thing he did make clear was that as long as he is President we should expect the same ideological “god is on our side” bag of wind leadership that has been the hallmark of his conduct of the war so far. Which means that unless the Democrats control the Congress after the November 2006 elections it will be 2008 before we can begin to realize some sort of logical strategy in the conduct or the war and exit from Iraq. If we have a country left by then.

One commentator observed that Bush was almost religious in his commitment to not cut and run from Iraq. The truth is he is religious, not almost religious; he is communing with his god. Of course, that is a main part of the problem.

It always amazes me that somehow this President thinks that when we kill innocent civilians in Iraq with a wayword bomb or intentional bullet it is somehow different than when a terrorist does it directly. Both are in fact based on misguided religiously driven righteousness or patriotism. Another rather large elephant is the living room that no one seems to recognize here is how this war in Iraq has morphed into Bush’s center piece in his “global war on terror”. What I like to know is where the fuck is Osama Bin Laden and the other people who attacked this country on 9/11.

Bush has more or less single handedly created the problem that we find our nation in with Iraq today. We are suppose to overlook the mistake of entering this war and the total incompetent conduct of this war on all fronts from day one and now fully accept that something different will come from hacks like Rumsfeld, Rove and Cheney.

Another issue at play here is that Bush has failed to admit any mistake in pursuing the war in the first place, an observation that most Americans have begun to accept as fact. Two wrongs make a right philosophy apparently at play here. Why can’t Bush admit that his grand plan to liberate Iraq was a flawed policy from the beginning? That he’s made some rather large mistakes and at the very minimum is ask for the American people’s forgiveness.

Then fire Donald Rumsfeld and tell the Vice President to start spending his time cutting ribbons and presiding over the Senate. Finally, he should bring someone into his inter circle who is willing to tell him when the emperor has no clothes on and who may offer a realistic approach to dealing with the war. Someone who also can propose a strategy that reflects the realities of the situation in Iraq.

Having said that, I know it’s not going to happen. Not with this incompetent and detached zealot of a President who has so badly lost his way.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bush Says Kyoto Protocols Not Needed Do To End of World

Once again the Bush Administration chooses to ignore world concerns about global warming by not sending a representative from the United States to a meeting of world leaders on the subject that is being held this week in Montreal. Instead he issued a statement addressed to Governors of the Gulf States telling them to begin immediate preparations for hurricane Omega. Which is expected to hit sometime next fall. He also indicated in the letter to the Governors that it looks like they'd have to "go it alone" and not to expect too much help from Washington.

It’s expected that the National Hurricane Service will quickly use up all the names for hurricanes based on the regular alphabet, as is the practice, and be all of the way through the Greek alphabet to Omega by Fall 2006.

In spite of lots of scientific evidence that the increased number and severity of hurricanes may be related to global warming, the Bush administration has determined that it just doesn’t matter. Any preparation would be a “waste of time” since the president and first lady Laura Bush have determined that the “end of the world” is just around the corner anyway.

In a controversial related move it is reported that Pat Robertson will soon be appointed to head the EPA. According to press reports the administration is leaning towards appointing Robertson over Bob Snaglefuss who, up until recently, had been the janitor in charge of cleaning the west wing of the White House. Vice President Cheney branded members of the media who recently claimed Snaglefuss lacked the qualifications to head the agency “irresponsible cowards and mommas boys”. The controversy has apparently created white house infighting between the end times faction and Cheney’s chief of Staff.

Here is the Bush administration record on global warming provided by the National Resources Defense Council starting with the most recent lack of action:

  • Bush fails to send US representative to meeting in Montreal to discuss global warming progress Novemer 28, 2005:
  • Bush admits humans cause global warming, but rebuffs action July 06, 2005:
  • EPA scuttled global warming videos to avoid White House wrath July 01, 2005:
  • White House whitewashes global warming data June 08, 2005:
  • Bush points to technology as key to climate change fix February 17, 2005:
  • EPA environmental report to include global warming data February 03, 2005:
  • Bush administration impedes progress at international global warming talks
  • December 18, 2004:
  • Bush administration accepts global warming science but balks at solutions November 24, 2004:
  • Bush administration agrees to capture methane gas November 16, 2004:
  • Bush administration ignoring scientific evidence on global warming November 08, 2004:
  • Top EPA air official tells industries it will need to reduce greenhouse gases October 12, 2004:
  • Bush administration slashes funding for global warming research June 03, 2004:
  • EPA will cover climate change, for a change June 02, 2004:
  • Bush administration claims it's misunderstood on global warming May 10, 2004:
  • Secret Pentagon report details global warming threat February 22, 2004:
  • Scientists accuse White House of distorting science on global warming for political gains February 18, 2004:
  • Court upholds stronger energy-efficiency standards January 13, 2004:
  • Bush's global warming plan produces negligible results January 01, 2004:
  • Bush administration seeks increase in use of ozone-depleting pesticide November 14, 2003:
  • White House plays down global warming evidence September 21, 2003:
  • EPA passes the buck on regulating global warming pollution from cars August 28, 2003:
  • EPA on global warming gases: Bring 'em on! August 28, 2003:
  • Bush climate plan all study, no action July 24, 2003:
  • White House whitewashes EPA environment report June 23, 2003:
  • Scientists debunk Bush's global warming plan February 25, 2003:
  • White House ordered to reveal climate change documents February 21, 2003:
  • White House gets industry support for voluntary pollution cuts February 12, 2003:
  • Bush administration fosters policy of delay on global warming December 04, 2002:
  • EPA omits global warming section from pollution report September 15, 2002:
  • Bush administration stalls on global warming solution July 10, 2002:
  • Bush and Whitman distance themselves from EPA global warming report June 12, 2002:
  • Bush administration finally admits big trouble from global warming June 03, 2002:
  • Bush administration ousts top global warming scientist April 19, 2002:
  • Bush clean air plan would boost coal use April 17, 2002:
  • Bush administration trying to dump global warming scientist April 02, 2002:
  • White House global warming plan "cooks the books" February 14, 2002:
  • Bush unlikely to offer alternative global warming plan July 26, 2001:
  • NRDC praises global warming agreement; calls on Bush to reconsider July 23, 2001:
  • Bush outlines an 'all talk, no action' approach to global warming July 13, 2001:
  • Bush budget cuts for international global warming programs more significant than reported July 12, 2001:
  • NRDC to President Bush: Get serious about global warming June 11, 2001:
  • Bush administration rejects Kyoto Protocol March 28, 2001:
  • Bush retreats from campaign promise to reduce carbon pollution March 13, 2001

Friday, November 25, 2005

Opposing American Military Hegemony

Why has American political leadership failed to control rampant American militarism and failed to protect America’s homeland from terrorist attack? I think the two are closely related. If political leadership of this generation became willing to change the fundamental way we protected America with our military we could of perhaps saved America billions of dollars and perhaps even stopped the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The billions saved in wasteful military spending could have fostered social and other programs that ultimately would have strengthen our democracy, lowered our federal deficits and improved the lives of millions in the United States.

Unfortunately there is enough blame to go around for this fundamental failure of vision on how to use of our military, which started with those who have been in power since at least 1990. This is further exacerbated, I think, by the failure to use our military properly in an even more pronounced and deadly way today under the present Bush/Cheney administration political ideology and their war on terror. Vividly demonstrated by the failing war and quagmire in Iraq.

Our founding fathers warned us that involvement in foreign wars would lead to all sorts of potential catastrophe for the American democracy. Jefferson spoke of "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Washington warned, “Act for ourselves and not for others," by forming an "American character wholly free of foreign attachments." Now no one is na├»ve enough to say that America should become isolationist in the modern age, but we should begin to realize that our real mission is to protect or own borders and homeland first and then win the hearts and minds of the people of other nations of the world by our example rather then our military might. It is a mistake to think that stationing our troops in ever corner of the world better protects America.

Since the end of World War II America has involved itself in several wars. The motivation and need for participation in foreign wars in Vietnam and presently in Iraq remain highly questionable. Americans must begin to ask themselves, and begin to take responsibility for, what appears to be a long and mistaken misuse of our military to extend our political will on other nations and people when it leads to the waste of the lives of young Americans and ends up being self destructive, wasteful and morally wrong in the end.

In 1989 America was presented with a rare historic opportunity to racially change the way America projected it’s military power and better protect itself from the new menace, global terrorism. The moment in time took place with the downfall and subsequent reform of governments in the Soviet Union and countries that were considered to be under Soviet control and influence. This of course, was the end of the cold war.

Today it appears that America has not taken advantage of the opportunity presented at the end of the cold war to remake the American military or begin to use it’s military might in a way that really defended the homeland. It can be argued that attacks on America like 9/11 could have been preventable if American political leaders had the foresight to redefine the mission of the military back then to one of mainly protecting the homeland.

Instead American political leaders continued to use the American military power worldwide by stationing troops in far-flung places at great expense and where it could be of little use in directly protecting America. Focusing instead on what it determined as “rogue states” rather then individual terrorists cells who were actively plotting to penetrate our defenses.

If fact, in many cases, American military presence became the main grievances of Islamic radicals including Osama Bin Laden who saw American presence on the Arabian Peninsula as a major affront to Islam. Much like Americans would hate the presence of a foreign army occupying or surrounding this country.

America became the world’s only superpower in 1989 and there was much discussion at the time and shortly after about what this would mean to America. There were a number of military, social and economic experts who wrote long essay on the “peace benefit”. The general narrative was that America would now have more money to spend on domestically centered educational, social programs and infrastructure with the end of the cold war. We had no enemy that could challenge our military might and therefore no longer needed the robust military that faced up to the communists.

Instead of taking advantage of this historic opportunity, America continues to this day to be guided, for the most part, by the hegemonic military bureaucracies and the powerful forces within the defense industry and the now age-old military industrial complex. We continue to spend a disproportionate amount of our national wealth and the lives of our young people pursuing political aims with our military. It can also be convincingly argued that we are more susceptible today, not less, to the focus of terrorist hatred and attacks because of our policies and misuse of military power. To many people in the world we have become the predominant source of war and evil in the world. A fact that is often overlooked by the mainstream media in this country and most Americans have a hard time getting their heads around. Even in the minds of people who in the past have traditionally supported American foreign policy. With many citizens of the European Union and countries like Japan wondering about a mostly dysfunctional and dangerous American foreign policy.

Colin Powell, who was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, help formulated much of the policy that has come to dominate the scope and projection of American military power in the post cold war. This is true at least until the entry into preemptive war in Iraq by the Bush two in 2003 and the ascension of the Department of Defense under the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld. Who’s new approach to modernizing the American military is called “transformation” and offers little in the way of reductions in spending or troop levels being more concerned with the military processes and projecting military power worldwide then real change.

After a comprehensive review in 1990 at the end of the cold war called “Base Force”, Powell advocated a smaller military by 25% in manpower and money and this was generally accepted by Bush one administration. Powell's Base Force needed to be capable of performing four basic missions: first, it needed to be able to fight across the Atlantic; second, it needed to be capable of fighting across the Pacific; third, it needed to have a contingency force in the U.S. that could be deployed rapidly to hot spots, as we did in Panama in 1989; and finally, it needed to possess a nuclear force of sufficient size to deter our nuclear adversaries. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs further argued that the U.S. military should be sent into battle only when three conditions were met: first, our political objectives were clear and measurable; second, the country was prepared to use overwhelming force quickly and decisively to advance that objective; and third, military forces would be withdrawn when that objective was accomplished, that is, the political leaders have an exit strategy. Powell and his military colleagues did not wish to see the U.S. military become involved in more Vietnams (1960 - 1972) or Lebanon's (1982 - 1983) where the objectives were not clear and the military fought, in the Chief's view, with "one hand tied behind its back." This approach to the use of military force became known as the Powell Doctrine.

A doctrine that the present Bush administration seems to have ignored today and in doing so has apparently ignored the hard earned lessons of the quagmire that was the war in Vietnam.

During Bush one America involved itself in the first gulf war. A war where Bush one successfully asked for and received military and financial support from the international community, a fundamental difference missing in the second Iraq war under son of Bush. Son of Bush went to war in spite of wide spread opposition from the international community and the warnings of many high up military professionals nurtured on the Powell Doctrine. The first gulf war did much to reinforce the Powell Doctrine and the need for then accepted manpower levels and military spending. Perhaps, I argue here, a false premise because of the points I attempt to make here, that we can, with a much smaller military and one focus mainly on protecting the actual homeland do a better job.

Later under Bill Clinton there was a proposal to once again revamp the military promoted by Representative Les Aspin of Wisconsin called the “bottom up” review, which offered that even more money could be saved. Clinton took office in 1993 and Aspin became defense secretary. The Aspin proposal in effect really changed little. One example was it offered slightly larger cuts in spending that were to be gained by being more efficiency in things like military procurement. Clinton was reluctant to do battle with the military having been hampered on “don’t ask and don’t tell” gays in the military policy and his own lack of military service. So little ended up being done.

Why does America have more than 100,000 troops in Europe 60 years after the end of WW II or 100,000 troops in Asia 50 years after the Korean War? America needs a fundamental review of military spending and the way we use our military. We need to begin to use our military to protect the homeland first. We need to stop involving ourselves in foreign wars that are morally wrong, preemptive or ideologically motivated. We need to bring the troops home from not only Iraq, but from Europe and other parts of the world so that they can protect the homeland first. We need to keep our nose out of the rest of the world’s business. We need to rebuild America not Iraq. We need to be a nation equal among other nations. We need to be a better member and supporter of the United Nations and world community efforts as a vehicle in support of our international political agenda.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Torture The New American Holocaust

One day sometime in the future I can see several high level officials of the Bush administration before a international tribunal charged with war crimes. Something that most Americans would think of as an impossibility just a short time ago. It doesn’t seem that improbable anymore.

It seems that almost daily we learn some new shocking piece of news about the abuse of military and other detainees by American directed military personnel or operatives. Place like Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and CIA black sites in Afghanistan and elsewhere have become a nightmarish sidelight of the Bush Administration unfolding Iraq and terror war debacle. With each piece of news we begin to see the picture more clearly. The truth is that an American President and many of the highest members of his administration authorized and condoned and promoted a despicable course of subhuman treatment of other human beings. All done in the name of America an the ideologically driven misguided patriotic scheme they felt was justified as a prong of their so-called war on terror.

The problem here is that they took on the traits of, and became the very people that they supposedly were trying to destroy. Driven by their overzealousness and self-center fear they have now lowered our country’s standard and moral authority into a morally bankrupted and detestable sewer that we find ourselves in today. They have created more terrorists with more of a reason to want to destroy America and what they now think it represents. They have put our soldiers at risk of being tortured if captured or compromised.

Sure some of the people we have captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are ruthless killers. But as Americans we MUST stand on the higher moral ground when it comes to dealing with them. No matter how long it takes or tedious it may seem to be. Only in this way can we maintain any moral authority as a nation amongst other free nations. Torture does not work, nor is it neccesary to win the war against terror. It is the course of action of fear filled men without imagination or vision.

Their banality and lack of vision and understanding of history only exceed their incompetence. They act like used car salesman at a car auction with the morality and traditions of this nation. Their hucksterism and phony posturing is as transparent as a phony preacher passing the collection basket at a Saturday night tent service.

If you believe that “a few bad apples on the night shift” are responsible for the entire mess at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq you should be certified as an idiot. The recent PBS Frontline report “The Torture Question” is shocking. The recent book by the former commander at Abu Ghraib Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who was forced into retirement and used as a scapegoat by the administration, attempts to set straight the facts.

As an American I am heartsick about these revelations of widespread torture and myhem. I imagine that most freethinking American people know in their hearts that this type of behavior by or leaders is un-American and just plain wrong. When the truth is fully known, and it will be known someday, those responsible should face their day in court and be punished accordingly and, must I say, humanly. That same day in court they did not allow to those they accused and tortured in the name of America.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Senate Hearing on Record Oil Profits and High Gas Prices Accomplishes Zilch

Yesterday’s Senate Energy Committee hearings on the obscene cost of a gallon of gas and what appears to be price gauging by oil companies who coincidently are reporting record profits accomplished little. Committee member Washington Senator Maria Cantwell has spend the last few weeks in the run up to the hearings moving from one gas station photo opportunity to another attempting to show her concern about the effects of high gas prices on her working class constituents. But all the posturing somehow didn’t translated into any actionable results or plausible explanations yesterday.

The problem is that her posturing and postulations about her concern over gas prices and the effect upon our economy doesn’t lead to the truth being told by the oil men about how oil companies manipulate the markets to run the price of gas through the roof unabated by government control or concern. Or how the cost of gas relates to record profits they reported.

“Since announcing record quarterly profits last month, oil companies have been under growing pressure to justify such rewards. The five companies Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, BP and Royal Dutch/Shell reported total earnings last quarter of nearly $33 billion.”

I caught part of the hearings yesterday on a CPAN Internet feed and heard Cantwell address the issue later in the afternoon on KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross show. Cantwell was foggy about what she thinks are the root causes of high oil prices and seems even more in the dark about how to explain it in a way that appeared that she was playing tough with the big oil big shots.

Doesn’t look like Cantwell or anyone else can connected the dots on the problem establishing who’s on first or just who's operating the big smoke and mirror machine behind the curtain in the land of Oz that the big oil companies occupy. Cantwell played Dorothy’s part with lots of oh gee whizzes and gush darn its. She spent most of the radio interview rhetorically asking herself why two gas stations across the street from each other in Bellevue, WA could be charging such widely different prices for a gallon of gas.

One of the more interesting aspects of the hearing is that Committee Chairman Ted Stevens of Alaska chose not to put the oil billionaires under oath. Probably because later they be subject to charges of perjury. He also conducted the hearings in such a way as to assure that the blood sucking, baby starving oil magnets were thrown lots of softball questions that they answered with the usual oil company mumble jumble responses that we are accustom to, along the lines, of "it just to complicated for us to explain it here and now, or we can 't possibly give you a YES or NO on that question."

Senator Barbara Boxer of California seemed the feistiest of the lot, at one point saying, "Working people struggle with high gas prices, And your sacrifice, gentlemen, appears to be nothing", stating the obvious. Upon questioning by Cantwell one monkey-suited to the "T" oil executive replied "There are no easy yes-or-no answers in this business."

That it, hearing over let’s all go home now that we got to the bottom of that!

There's little hope the high gas prices/record oil profits mystery will get solved until a Democrat controlled House or Senate regains the Congress and the power to really investigate the issue and put the oil company good old boy’s feet to the fire.

The only exception being if price gauging or oil profits become such a political liability to Republicans that it jeopardizes their chance to retain control of congress in November 2006. Then the oil companies will probably find a way to take the pressure off the GOP by stabilizing or reducing the price per gallon in the run up to the 2006 election.

Democrats and Liberals Need to Begin to Think Outside the Box

It maybe necessary for you to set aside political labels and think open-mindedly if this piece is to make any sense. Political labels are perhaps one of the most difficult problems sometimes when attempting to make political progress. We often dismiss an idea if it is labeled as conservative or liberal based on our personal political barometer. Even if it is a good idea that has demonstrated it will work to improve the common good. Being closed minded, we are often reluctant to judge the value of a tree by the fruit it actually has or may bare.

Nothing is more frustrating then having to listen to liberals who continue to think that irrelevant themes, philosophy and programs should continue to play a part in the future make-up of the party. The party of the people must do some serious self-examination and be open minded, innovative, and bold. We must be willing to think outside the box if we expect to lead this nation in the future or continue to be a viable majority party able to elect people to lead our nation.

We must be willing to jettisoning themes, programs and attitudes that won’t work in modern America or make us a brand X version of the Republican Party. We must be honest with ourselves about what we want the party to represent in the future and not be afraid to talk about it openly even if it is controversial.

It’s frustrating to listen to Air America’s hyperbolical sophomoric rhetoric sometimes that seems so pervasive these days and which many liberals have taken up as an acceptable form of “liberal speak” when talking about how much they “hate” conservative and Republican ideas or personalities.

It is important that we demonstrate a variety of new ideas and a vision of those ideas in play that American voters can support at the ballot box. We must chart a course to higher ground.

Here is a laundry list of attitudes and ideas that may need to be considered. I realize I may get in trouble with some of these ideas but think that they need to be placed out in the open. I see them as ideas or tendencies that "good" Democrats are often afraid to admit or even think aloud about.

  • Demonstrating tolerance and respect of conservatives ideas if they work
  • Stop putting down conservatives because we think they lack intelligent. Forever, referring to Bush and other republican leaders as stupid rather then incompetent or simply misguided.
  • Acting like snobs by thinking we, as democrats or liberals, are somehow better then and more intelligent than conservatives just because we think liberally.
  • Not being tolerant of conservative Christians or other organized religion
  • Being condesending to people who believe in God
  • Thinking big government programs will solve all our problems
  • Not supporting realistic tax breaks for business that will stimulate economic growth and create jobs
  • Not promoting personal responsibility or a willingness to see that people ultimately must be responsible for their actions
  • Be willing to cut waste in government when needed
  • Cutting bureaucracy and red tape
  • Isolationist foreign policies
  • Opposing free trade even if it protects working conditions, worker rights and the environment.
  • Supporting a strong military
  • Thinking government can solve all personal and social problems
  • Thinking the government owes us a living
  • Patronizing ethnic minorities
  • Overlooking union corruption and cronyism
  • Political correctness
  • Pandering to gay rights or abortion rights groups by overemphasizing their struggles at the expense of more relevant issues that affect a wider majority of the people. Thus becoming a one or two issue political party in the minds of potential voters who are neither gay or will every need or consider having an abortion.
  • Being condescending and/or patronizing towards working class people

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Initiative 912 Defeat Due To Leadership and Voter Common Sense

The defeat of Initiative 912 by Washington State voters on Tuesday is a hopeful sign that the State is moving back to common sense politics and trusting the judgment of our elected representatives. The endorsement by the majority of people of the transportation gas tax by their no vote on Initiative 912 stands as wonderful example of bi-partisan compromising and the timely application of leadership.

At the same time it a hopeful sign that we are moving away from government by rightwing radio wing nuts and novelty salesman “just say no to everything” initiatives. And back to trusting the judgment of representatives we elect to lead us exercising their judgment to reject or pass laws through our legislature that make Washington a better place to live. The Tim Eyman’s of the world should take notice that perhaps a new day is dawning in state politics. I like many others certainly hope so.

Governor Christine Gregoire must be given credit for her last minute arm-twisting during the last session of the state legislature to get the transportation package through a mined field of reluctant legislators who are extremely hesitant to lead on the controversial tax increase legislation. Most state lawmakers are more concerned about how their constituents will vote in the next election than demonstrating chutzpah and taking a stand on a tough issue.

Gregoire definitely demonstrated a different approach then what we were used to when in the dying days of the last legislative session she went to the floor of the capitol and began twisting the arms of members of both political caucuses, the business lobby and labor. I think it’s widely perceived that her predecessor in the Governor’s mansion, Gary Locke, would be more restrained in a similar situation during his time as governor and generally reluctant to knock heads with Republicans when it came to controversial legislation. Especially legislation that involved raising taxes. This often led to political constipation and malaise in state government during his time as governor. It also often frustrated Democrats.

It would be correct to argue that the needs of transportation would not of been address if the Democrats had not most recently gained control of the House and Senate in Olympia. For many years the legislature was split House against Senate or oddly split down the middle in the House. This made for a general lack of action on transportation and other tax heavy legislation. Republicans just saying no to any tax and Democrats reluctant to give the Republicans the right to blame them at election time for raising taxes if they should be able to maneuver a bill through Republican control committees or caucus roadblocks.

I must admit I had my doubts about Gregoire ability to lead prior to her election. But I think that she has demonstrated guts and leadership since she has been in office. Last nights election should stand historically as the end of her probationary period as Washington’s Governor.

The corporations that comprise the “enlighten” business community also need to be given credit for signing on from the beginning to defeat Initiative 912. Part of the deal struck in Olympia when the tax passed the legislature was that they would oppose any initiative to repeal it. This promise convinced a necessary number of moderate Westside Republicans to support the bill’s ultimate passage with their vote.

Corporations like Microsoft and Boeing acted responsibly and in their own interested by bankrolling the no on 912 campaigns. Labor unions also understood that the modernizing of the states transportation system was important to their member’s well being because it would create high paying jobs.

Finally something has to be said for the great number of liberal and Democrat activists and/or bloggers out there who continued to hammer home the message. BlatherWatch,, Washington Defense, Washington State Political Report, Better Donkey Pacific Northwest Portal all deserve to feel good about this victory for common sense politics.

Of course, the voters deserve most of the credit for demonstrating their common sense in the face of a barrage of rightwing BS.

Now lets build some infrastructure!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bush and Cheney Continue to Torture America's Soul

I was dumpfounded and angry after watching Senator Kit Bond of Missouri attempt to defend the confusing postion of the Bush Administration on torture of military prisioners airing on PBS newshour tonight.

Bond is the one of the nine Senators who voted against a Senate bill introduced by Senator John McCain of Arizona to outlaw torture of military combatant prisioners. The bill eventually passed the Senate on a 9o to 9 vote.

The main opponent to the bill is apparently Vice President Cheney. Bush when question about his position on the bill during his trip to South America last week stated that "we do not torture". Which seem to be at odds with Cheney's position. That torture by the CIA of military prisoners under certain circumstances should be allowed to continue. He continues to lobby the congress to not pass any laws that would restrict the torture.

I sent the following email to Senator Bond after seeing the PBS report:

Dear Senator Bond,

After seeing you on PBS this evening condoning torture I was compelled to write. In fact I'm discussed.

I'd like you to know that MOST Americans are not as stupid as you seem to think we are when it comes to this issue. You seem to be saying torture is somehow not really torture?

I think you and Vice President Cheney are apparently morally bankrupt. Just like the Bush administration for which you often play the lap dog. I wonder if we'll have a country left in three years after you people get done with it.

I presume you're a Christian person? Would Jesus condone torture? It’s very unlikely. Nor would anyone else who considers themselves ethical or moral.

By taking the position you do, supporting the CIA use of torture, you only lower the moral authority of this country into the cesspool in which our enemies dwell? Is it really worth it in the long run? What does it say to the rest of the world? Does it put our soldiers at risk of being tortured should they be captured?

You say that the methods of torture we use are sort of “like those used in a military boot camp”. You're a bigger fool than I think you are if you try to sell that BS to the American public.

I don't want to be a citizen of a country that uses torture. You should look at the constitution. It happens to say something about cruel and unusual punishment. Something our founding fathers found cruel, repugnant and uncivilized.

Daniel O'Brien
Vashon, WA

P.S. You should probably take that ethics class their giving over at the White House. See if your can get Cheney to go with you!

Senator Cantwell Selling Out to Big Shipping Companies?

Today’s Seattle PI published a story about how Senator Cantwell is sponsoring a bill in the Senate that will allow shipping companies to discharge toxic ballast wastes into the marine environment.

The original Environmental Protection Act of 1972 banned the release of untreated ballast water from ships into estuaries and bays. Unfortunately, the EPA subsequently also allowed such dumping by exempting shipping companies from this part of the law.

For the last six years environmental activists have been trying to reverse this action by filing a number of lawsuits against the EPA. Their concerns are based on recent studies that prove that the dumping has been causing severe damage to the marine environment of bays and estuaries, especially shrimp beds like those here in Washington State. To quote the PI story:

“Considering this threat, it's difficult to understand why Cantwell is promoting a bill in Congress, S 363, to eliminate Clean Water Act coverage of ballast water just as the EPA is being forced to require permits for ships. In fact, Cantwell's bill was specifically drafted in response to a federal court decision in March holding that EPA's exempting ships from permits was illegal. In other words, S 363 is a pure giveaway to the shipping industry.”

After reading the story I sent an e-mail to Cantwell’s office requesting a explanation. I recommend you do the same. The link is here.

Dear Senator Cantwell, Today's story in the Seattle PI troubles me. Why are you supporting a bill that allows shipping companies to release toxic materials into OUR marine environment?

It's troubling that it appears that you are "selling out" to the shipping companies. Aren’t you interested in fighting for the common man and protection of our environment? Do the corporations so easily compromise you? Show some backbone for god's sake.

Is your office so incompetent that it's doesn't realize it's taking a position that is in opposition to many environmentalist who appear to be well informed on this issue and been fighting to stop the very thing your bill would allow.

I expect this type of behavior from a Republican, Not from a Democrat. Haven't the working people been hurt enough already by the incompetence of Bush and the republican congress.

I'd like a explanation!

Daniel O'Brien

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Washington State Republicans Stoop to New Low By Violating Your Sacred Right to Vote

The Washington State Republican Party, still smarting from the loss of a close election for Governor last year, has now stooped to a new low.

These Republican wing nuts recently challenged the voting rights of more than 1900 King County residents based on their mistaken belief that addresses recorded in county records by these citizens were phony. This election-eve ploy I suspect is really intended to create the appearance that there is something wrong with the way King County conducts elections. An issue that republicans still smart from after losing the gubernatorial election last year and that the Republicans have continued to whine about endlessly. Now carrying these frivolous and old hat charges into this election season.

The main motivation seems to be the need for the republicans to create the perception in the minds of voters that the election problems of last fall have not been corrected, or that someone is playing fast and loose with the ballots. The issue is also one of the main topics in a tight election for King County Executive. If voters do buy into the lie it maybe enough to swing the election for the executive in the favor of these right wing kooks.

In this case the only ones playing fast and loose are the republicans. The timing and brazen nature of this action by the Washington State Republicans hits at the very core of a citizen’s right to vote. That’s the sacred right to vote that these “red necks ” would soil their pants over if it were THIER right to vote being challenged.

The timing of the challenge gives those challenged little time to correct the mistakes prior to the election and little time for officials to respond to the substance of the challenges. Which I presume will, much like other recent republican challenges, turn out to be baseless or a tempest in a teapot.

The disgusting part of this republican ploy is that the GOP now appear to be ready to go to any lengths to actually restrict the rights of legal voters in King County if it is politically expedient. Not a whole hell of a lot different then the “Jim Crows” in the old South putting down the black vote is my way of looking at it.

I say a curse on all these incompetent fascists houses. I further recommended to any person who’s right to vote was challenged that you should be looking into suing the republican party for damages related to a violation of your civil rights and/or voting rights. I’m sure there are good lawyers out there who be more that happy to take up your case.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

So Far Main Stream Media Unable to Get to Bottom of Story Behind CIA Leak...Why, for God's Sake, Do They Call Him "Scooter"?

“a vehicle typically ridden as a recreation, consisting of a footboard mounted on two wheels and a long steering handle, propelled by resting one foot on the footboard and pushing the other against the ground.”

I've been watching MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews and Countdown with Keith Olbermann and flipping through O’Reilly’s no spin zone frantically, but have yet to have any of these, know it all, talking heads tell me yet why they call indicted White House aide Irve Lewis Libby “scooter”?

Couldn’t someone just ask some White House press spinner what the fuck the nick name is suppose to mean? You’d think that Dick Cheney himself would of come up with a talking point on how nick named people are less likely to be guilty of leaking CIA secrets, and far less likely to grandstand or hijack the US Senate then a democrat.

Indeed there are a couple of rumors in the blogosphere that his dad either thought he moved around the crib like he was on a scooter or reminded him of the New York Yankee hall of fame shortstop Phil “scooter” Rizzuto. But, why can’t the press get to the bottom of this? It’s a question I’ve had since I first hear him called “scooter”.

I think unless you’re professional athletic, a boxer or the Mayor of New York City prior to 1933, or a hip hop artist with a criminal record, you should immediately drop the nickname you’ve picked up when you turn 18. Plus “scooter” is a rather lame nickname anyway. It has that frat boy smell to it or may indicate sexual dysfunction.

How about something more manly like Lewis “Air” Libby or “ the Candy man” Libby as a nickname? Perhaps something more political sounding like “Boss” or “Kingfish” Libby. Or in honor of his buddy Tom “the hammer” Delay maybe he could be “the nails”, “reciprocal saw” or “the drill” Libby.

Alas he’s just “scooter”. Here are my guesses why they call him scooter.
  • He was very adept at “scooting” out of the house before her husband showed up.
  • He worked for the drain cleaning company Roto Rooter while in college and his actual nickname is “Roto Scooter”.
  • He liked to pound down shooters at Yale fraternity parties and sanitized the nickname when he went into politics.
  • He worked as a meter maid while in college.
  • He scoots over so much while sleeping he always end up on the floor.
  • He rode a Vespa in College because his dad wouldn’t let him buy anything above 100 cc’s.
  • He liked to go to “hooters” and when he was introduced to Bush the president thought he said “scooters”. Everyone in the White House was afraid to correct Bush on the mistake after that and started calling him "scooter" to cover up the mistake.

Healthcare Crisis an American Disgrace..10 Reasons for Universal Healthcare Now!

When will politicians have the guts to do the right thing about the healthcare crisis in this country? Who will speak for the common people to right this glaring wrong?

The state of healthcare coverage in America is a tragic national disgrace. We remain the only country among modern industrialized Western democracies that does not offer some form of universal healthcare coverage for its people. The Republican indifference and band-aid approaches to a comprehensive solution to the problem, and need for universal health care coverage for all Americans is disgusting and Neanderthal. The Bush administration continues to do little or nothing. Acting at the whim of the insurance industry, drug, and powerful hegemony of the medical industrial complex to stonewall progress.

Recently ABC News reported that infant mortality, widely held to be an important barometer of a nation’s health, have risen in the United States for the first time since 1958. We now have more infants dying then Croatia, Lithuania, Taiwan, or even Cuba. The US currently ranks 28th in the world, which is far behind other modern industrialized nations like Sweden, France, Japan, and Germany. This is sort of the canary in the coalmine statistic that should motivate voters to look at the political choices they make and how they effect their healthcare.

By not having a universal form of healthcare we remain backward and out of step with the rest of the modern industrialized world and the times.

* We limit our ability to be a healthy and more productive as people.
* We impair out ability to be competitive in the global economy.
* We stifle creation of small businesses.
* We subject the children, the poor, and elderly to misery, suffering and fear.
* We fail to control skyrocketing healthcare and hospital costs.
* We fail to practice common sense and prevent illness before it becomes an emergency.
* We bankrupt and rob the savings of many in the middle and working class who must spend their life savings on medical care if a major illness strikes them or a member of their family.
* We fail to control the cost and the availability of life saving medications.
* We allow medical professionals, the insurance industry and hospitals to earn obscene profits at the expense of children, the sick, the weak, the disenfranchised and the poor.
* We fail to make insurance industry, hospital, drug companies and medical professionals business operations and profits transparent for all to see.

When will enough Americans see that it would be a tremendous benefit to us to not waste time any longer and as soon as possible elect candidates who will bring America into the new century in terms of how we treat illnesses that afflicts all our citizens.

Many in the US business community are beginning to understand the simple economics of universal healthcare as a way to stay competitive in the global economy. The often-used example is that it cost $1500 more to produce an automobile in the United States as compared to Canada. This is due to the health care insurance cost that the automaker passes on to the consumer in the US.

More the 11 million children in this country are not covered. Because of this many parents are reluctant get treatment for their children until their illness have reached the emergency stage. When the illness is more difficult to treat, cost more to treat and is more likely to cause death or permanent injury.

In 2005 the cost of medical insurance for the average family topped $10,000 per year. It shouldn’t be hard to understand that if the amount of insurance payments could be reduced or eliminated it would potentially mean billions of dollars of disposable income that would become available to Americans to spend directly. This would stimulate economic growth and jobs.

The lack of universal healthcare also means there are lots of sick individuals who don’t practice preventive medicine. This makes them more likely to become sick, and in the case of infectious decease, make them a threat to infect others. It also makes it more costly in the end because they end up in emergency rooms in the terminal stage of their medical problem where it is more expensive to treat them.

A comprehensive and universal healthcare program would control deficit spending by the federal government and the states by controlling the overall costs that the government spends on entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid and other government sponsored health and drug programs. It would reduce business sector medical insurance cost for retired employees and therefore stimulate industry. It would actually pay for itself eventually when healthcare cost are better controlled and citizens, through practicing preventive medicine, become healthier and less likely to become sick.

Americans must WAKE UP and take action. We must see and understanding the shortsightedness we suffer from concerning universal healthcare. We must stop letting politicians politicize the basic right and need for quality healthcare for all our citizens NOW.

Finally Good News.. Senate Hijacked by Democrats

Bill Frist Senate inside trader and majority leader claims that the US Senate has been "hijacked" by Democrats. Well I say, thank God. It could be a great Democrat campaign slogan for 2006.

Hijack control of the US Senate in November 2006!

Latest KING TV polls shows Initiative 912 failing. Initiative 901 smoking ban winning big and perforance audit 900 to close to call!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Main objective of Bush operatives perjury and obstruction was to protect outcome of 2004 election.

Timing is everything in elections. When reviewing the findings of Prosecutor’s Fitzgerald’s investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame one of the significant conclusions that pops out is the time line. The outing of Plame came in a Robert Novak column of July 14, 2003.

The repercussions of the Wilson stories, on that lack of WMD uranium in Africa, triggered discussion and arguments about the reasons for war put forth by the administration. Because of this it became imperative to the damage control people in the Bush Cheney Campaign that Wilson, at all costs, be discredited and silenced as soon as possible. It can be argued that Bush Cheney determined that outing Plame would work to this end by silencing Wilson and others who wanted the truth to be known about misrepresentation of the facts in the run up to war.

It must have been reasoned within the Bush campaign that any findings of an investigation of the breach of national security by the illegal disclosure of Plame’s identity, that was sure to come, would have to be delayed till after November 2004. When Bush subsequently, would be narrowly elected to a second term. It is interesting to look at Prosecutor Fitzgerald’s comments from the press conference.

QUESTION: “In the end, was it worth keeping Judy Miller in jail for 85 days in this case? And can you say how important her testimony was in producing this indictment?

FITZGERALD: Let me just say this: No one wanted to have a dispute with the New York Times or anyone else. We can't talk generally about witnesses. There's much said in the public record.

FITZGERALD: I would have wished nothing better that, when the subpoenas were issued in August 2004, witnesses testified then, and we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005. No one (Miller) would have went to jail.”

One has to think that if the American People had known what they know now prior to the November 2004 presidential election, George Bush would not have been elected.

It is significant, in retrospect, that Judith Miller of the New York Times by refusing to name the source of her information for the NYT story, about covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, delayed the investigation. She contested it all the way to the Supreme Court and subsequently spent 90 days in jail for contempt of court. She also claims she needed to be released from her obligation to withhold her source, now known to be Libby, before she was willing to testify. So Libby ultimately has control over the timing of any potential damaging testimony.

Her published collusions in the NYT and special treatment by the White House, which a number of recent news stories have alleged, certainly call into questions her motives for writing what she did in the NYT during a period just prior to the war. The stories seemed to supported administration justification for going to war. It’s a strong indication that she was in bed with the administration all along or, at the very least, being manipulated by them to get favorable stories published in the NYT about the reason the United States should go to war.

This and the indicted perjury and obstructing of “Scooter Libby”, White House aid to Bush and Cheney, ultimately delayed the findings of the investigation until last week. Had the revelations of investigation been known prior to the election it is easy to see that it probably would of change enough votes in key states to give the election to John Kerry. The war and reasons for going to war cover up, and lying about it, would have been a major consideration of most voters. Approximately 100,000 votes in Ohio and 6000 votes in New Mexico would of made those states blue.

Ambassador Joe Wilson’s revelations where seen by the Bush Cheney operatives as a ticking time bomb in the run up to the election should they be allowed to go unchallenged. Wilson’s accusations have led today to obvious conclusion that the Bush administration had contrived many of the main reasons to justify the war with Iraq.

Bush, Cheney, Libby, Rove and Miller stonewalling, obstructing and phony first amendment rights theatrics eventually succeeded, keeping the damaging information under wraps so it could not hurt them in November 2004. In the perverted world of political ethics, that is the Bush administration, the damage control strategy, it turns out, was well worth the risk of any legal problems administration officials face today. It gave them a second term in office.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fitzgerald baseball analogy explained for baseball challenged!

Let me then ask your next question: Well, why is this a leak investigation that doesn't result in a charge? I've been trying to think about how to explain this, so let me try. I know baseball analogies are the fad these days. Let me try something. If you saw a baseball

(Conspiracy to discredit a political opponent by revealing that his wife was a covert CIA agent that discourages him from talking to press about his trip to Africa related to WMD's and Iraq)

game and you saw a pitcher

(Carl Rove and/or Dick Cheney, perhaps Bush)

wind up and throw a fastball

(Talk to Robert Novak who eventually outed Valerie Plame)

and hit a batter

(Ambassador Joe Wilson)

right smack in the head, and it really, really hurt them,

(Credibility of Wilson saying that there was no link to Niger and Saddam’s alleged WMD’s in Iraq and to create fear for Wilson’s wife’s safety)

you'd want to know why the pitcher

(Cheney, Rove or perhaps Bush)

did that.

(Wanted to destroy Wilson credibility and get him to shut up)

And you'd wonder whether or not the person just reared back and decided, "I've got bad blood with this batter.

(The presidential election is riding on this perhaps)

He hit two home runs off me.

(His writing about lack of WMD’s undermined justification for the war in Iraq in the midst of presidential campaign)

I'm just going to hit him in the head as hard as I can."

(Out Wilson's wife, a undercover CIA agent, and get him to shut up)

You also might wonder whether or not the pitcher

(Carl Rove and/or Dick Cheney perhaps Bush himself)

just let go of the ball or his foot slipped, and he had no idea to throw the ball anywhere near the batter's head.

(Get caught)

And there are lots of shades of gray

(Covering up, perjury, lying, stonewalling)

in between.

You might learn that you wanted to hit the batter in the back and it hit him in the head because he moved. You might want to throw it under his chin, but it ended up hitting him on the head. FITZGERALD: And what you'd want to do is have as much information as you could. You'd want to know: What happened in the dugout?

(White House)

Was this guy complaining about the person he threw at? Did he talk to anyone else?

(Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rice)

What was he thinking?

(Wanted to stop war desent and destroy Wilson’s credibility)

How does he react? All those things you'd want to know. And then you'd make a decision as to whether this person should be banned from baseball,

(Impeached jailed fired discredited)

whether they should be suspended, whether you should do nothing at all and just say, "Hey, the person threw a bad pitch. Get over it." In this case, it's a lot more serious than baseball. And the damage wasn't to one person. It wasn't just Valerie Wilson. It was done to all of us.

(Plus more then 2000 American dead in Iraq with countless Iraqi civilians dead scores of Americans and Iraqi civilians wounded and billions of US tax dollars wasted)

And as you sit back, you want to learn: Why was this information going out?

(To silence opposition to the war)

Why were people taking this information about Valerie Wilson and giving it to reporters?

(To give the story legitimacy and discredit Wilson)

Why did Mr. Libby say what he did? Why did he tell Judith Miller three times?

(To use her like a cheap journalistic prostitute to be the conduit reporter writing misleading stories in the NYT about WMD's , and Iraq war)

Why did he tell the press secretary on Monday? Why did he tell Mr. Cooper? And was this something where he intended to cause whatever damage was caused?
FITZGERALD: Or did they intend to do something else and where are the shades of gray? And what we have when someone charges obstruction of justice, the umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes.

(Cover up, Libby lying to protect others probably Cheney or Rove, maybe even Bush)

He's trying to figure what happened and somebody blocked their view.

(Libby falls on his sword like a good soldier and announces he'll fight the charges because he got what happen screwed up and just couldn't remember the facts)

Photos of the Week!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I saw America at its best today

It was embodied in an individual that we have come to know in the course of the CIA leak investigation. One affable young prosecutor from Illinois name Patrick Fitzgerald. From what I’ve seen, heard and read of him I think he should hence forth be known as “robo-prosecutor”.

Is he not the walking definition of a noble public servant, who works mostly in silence and obscurity? Perhaps a modern Mr. Smith goes to Washington whose all too unique character traits are fairness, selflessness and a complete distain for anyone who is not strait forward or honest. He reaffirms that we are a nation of laws. That no one is above the law, at least in theory.

“But I think what we see here today, when a vice president's chief of staff is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, it does show the world that this is a country that takes its law seriously; that all citizens are bound by the law.”

As the CIA leak investigation unfolded the pundits heaped praise on Fitzgerald and referring to him as such things as an alter boy or the new Eliot Ness. An incorruptible Irish strait shooter, who has time and time again demonstrated unquestionable fairness when investigating high profile federal crimes. Rove couldn't even find a way to smear him. It is apparent that Fitzgerald is both hard working and brilliant in his role as defender of the law, truth and our constitution. The Harvard educated 44-year son of Irish Catholics from Flatbush Brooklyn personifies his family’s blue-collar sensibilities. His father was a doorman in Manhattan. I’d bet my money he was a damn good doorman too, if someone doesn't believe me I dare you to check.

Fitzgerald’s news conference today reminded me so much of the first time I saw Barak Obama, the new young Senator from Illinois. It was his, now memorable, keynote speech at the 2004 Democrat Convention on television. It was like someone had slugged me in the stomach. His words inspired me and made me think of the dream I had in my head about my country.

America longs for men and woman like these. Because they stand above the fray and they stand for fairness, honesty and integrity. They urge us to move to higher ground. They are not petty. Isn’t this the place where we really want our country to be? On the mountain top standing for something besides the common denominator of politics as usual. Against fear and wars of misguided ideology. A nation of competent governance. The fleeting thought that we are truly brother and sister after all. A nation moving amongst other nations. We can do better perhaps?

These men stand out because we live in a cesspool of lies surrounded by death and dying. Continuing to foul our own nests while many of us are more interested in our own selfish ends. Shallow, dumb, weak fearful. We have become too use to it. We all know that this administration has lied and manipulation. This has lead to death for many and a warped sense of patriotism. Haven't we become like most polititians we see today so contrived, image conscious and fake that we can not speak the truth spontaneously?

We see also a cancer in the Democratic Party that consist of many Democrats sticking their finger in the wind before taking a stand on the tough positions, like the war in Iraq. Many Democratic leaders are apparently unable to really risk anything because they perceive honesty as weakness or a threat to their hold on power. We know deep down it is really only vanity. Democrats must learn to tell the truth, not just say what they think people want to hear in order to get elected. Because telling the truth is what will get them elected.

We waste time gloating at the mis-steps of Bush and his incompetent administration rather then striving to lift our eyes up to the sky to offer our own vision. We only get down in the dirt with the Republicans, lowering ourselves to their level, when we hate them and call them stupid.

This is why when we sense real honesty and integrity in government officials it shines like a beacon into our memory of what we once expected our country to become. We as a nation must strive to be something noble and good again. People like Fitzgerald and Obama show us the way.

Democrats must resist gloating over these indictments and cease continually resorting to only calling Bush stupid. He is not stupid. But he is extremely incompetent. Incompetence should be our talking point, not just the personalized and sophomoric Air America style, holier then thou, assaults on him and his administration that we liberals seem to always resort to, apparently they make us feel personally superior or more intelligent. Who cares.

We must focus the electorate on the incompetence of his government and the incompetence of the congress and offer Americans a viable alternative. We must point out the way to return to the higher ground and return to integrity and intelligence in government. We must once again learn how to tell the truth.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

KVI Boycott Update Note: Call Fisher Communcations Directly
Fisher Communications, Inc.
100 4th Ave N
Suite 510
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 404-7000

Boycott KVI Radio Sponsors Part II

Here is a partial list of KVI advertisers and their contact information. (I hope to add more as I go along but in order to do that I'm forced to listen to Wilbur and Carlsons painful halfbaked arguments) I urge you to contact them today by email, phone or letter to voice your opposition to KVI Radio being used as a platform to support initiative I-912. Also contact Fisher Communications the parent company of KVI and file a complaint about their misuse of the public airwaves.

You should indicate that you will not purchase products of services from them until unfettered equal time is granted to the vote NO opponents of I-912 or KVI refrains from using the public airwaves unfairly supporting initiative. I-912.

Sample email copy and paste:

Dear KVI Radio Advertiser,

KVI Radio Seattle is unfairly using the public airwaves to promote the passage of Initiative I-912 the anti gas tax initiative. They are not willing to allow opponents free equal and unfettered airtime to fairly argue against the passage of initiative I-912. In fact recently a Thurston County Court ordered KVI’s in house proponents of initiative I-912 to report all air time devoted to passage of I-912 as an in-kind political contribution required by law to be reported to the Public Disclosure Commission. The Judge in the case determined that KVI radio personalities have played a intricate role in creating and promoting initiative I-912 from the beginning.

The purpose of the message is to inform you that effective immediately I will not be purchasing products or services offered by your company. I will also make every effort to convince others to boycott your product or service. I will continue to urge everyone to boycott KVI radio sponsors until the station refrains from unfairly promoting the passage of the initiative I-912.

Further, I am disappointed with your company's apparent lack of perspective when it comes to the need to build and maintaining a modern highway and transportation system in the State of Washington. I believe the increase in the gas tax is a necessary expense if we hope to keep this region's businesses competitive. Whether you realize it on not you are indirectly supporting the passage of initiative I-912 through your advertising revenue paid to KVI radio. I am sure many progressive members of the community, including many business people, would be upset if they fully understood that you are indirectly supporting opposition to the gas taxes needed to maintain a modern transportation system in this state. A transportation system needed to deliver products to market and necessary to keep Washington State businesses competitive.


Your name or organization here

List of advertisers follow with contact information:

Washington Mutual Bank
206 461-2000
Attn: General Inquiries
1201 3rd Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101

Home Depot

State Farm Insurance
State Farm Insurance
One State Farm Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61710

Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air

Carrier Furnace,,CLI1_DIV28_ETI144,00.html
Director, Communications
Carrier World Headquarters
One Carrier Place
Farmington, CT 06034-401

Big O Tires

Mcclendan Hardware
877 505-1202

King County Auction
877 546-4243
6722 Pacific Hwy East
Fife, WA

The Power Shop
800 935-8839
1920 Garrett Street
Enumclaw, WA 98022

Doug’s Lynnwood Mazda/Hummer
22130 Highway 99
Edmonds, WA 98026
Dr. Finnegan Lasik

Destination Harley
2302 Pacific Highway East
(253) 922-3700
Tacoma, WA

Walla Walla Tourism

Luxury Bath
2711 152nd Ave NE
Redmond, WA 98052

Genesis Financial
1-800 511-9010

Dr. William Thompson

RCS Equipment Rentals
1 800 222-7777

Boycott KVI Radio Sponsors Now!

Thurston County Judge Chris Wickham rejected a civil rights law suit by KVI’s right wing talk show hosts Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson again Wednesday. The two had claimed their right to free speech was being infringed on when the judge told them that they must report to the Public Disclosure Commission any airtime promoting the anti gas tax initiative I-912 as a in-kind contribution to the campaign in favor of its passage. An organization calling itself

Since the two right wing talk show hosts are principle organizers behind the inception and promotion of the initiative to repeal the gas tax the judge ruled that any on air promotion on KVI Radio in support of a yes vote should be treated as a in-kind campaign contribution and reported to and monitored by the Public Disclosure Commission.

The incremental 91/2-cent per gallon gas tax increase was passed in the last session of the legislature to rebuild the state's highways and jump start major projects like the replacement of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct. The viaduct has been determined to be a risk, and would probably collapse if another significant earthquake should hit the Northwest. The state’s highways have been neglected for years mainly due to Republican opposition to any taxes that would be needed to maintain or modernize the highway system. When Democrats finally took control of the State Legislature and State House last year they passed the gas tax with the help of a few progressive Republicans and many in the business community who saw it as a necessary move to maintain the state's infrastructure which is so vital to the delivery of goods to market and transportation in general. See NO on I-912 website here for more background.

The ruling is a double edge sword for the Carlson and Wilbur. The publicity they receive from the law suit is free and helps promote their radio show. But it also shows that they are not impartial about the issue really when using air time on KVI to promote the initiative. Airtime that is unavailable to the opponents of the initiative.

The law suit is mostly a "win win" situation for KVI Carlson and Wilbur. The promotion of the anti gas tax initiative galvanizes conservative listeners who listen because they are most likely in support of the initiative to repeal the tax while at the same time the station gets free publicity for Carlson and Wilbur that potentially may draw new listeners to KVI. Something the station needs to do based on recent listener ratings.

But the playing field is not really level in this battle of ideas. KVI Radio is in effect promoting the repeal of the gas tax. If this major Seattle radio station is not willing to grant free equal time to the opponents of the initiative I-912, I think its time that the opponents let KVI know that they intend to boycott the sponsors who continues to support KVI programming with their advertising. Starting immediately.

I urge you to email call or write Fisher Communications KVI's parent company today and tell them you intend to boycott the sponsors advertising on their station as a protest against the unfair use of the public airways by them to promote initiative I-912. I would also encourage you to also contact the sponsors directly and inform them that you will not buy their products unless unfettered equal time on KVI Radio is granted to the opponents of the initiative or Carlson and Wilbur cease using airtime to promote the passage of I-912.

Fisher Communications, Inc.
100 4th Ave N
Suite 510
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 404-7000

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Puppet Government in America

Recent revelations that Dick Cheney is a power hungry master manipulator with a hidden political agenda have begun to come in to focus. No true Democrat or freethinking person is really that surprised! Cheney has always delighted in his macho tough guy grumpy bad boy image. It doesn’t take much Carl Jung 101 to realize that he is probably just the opposite. Probably a resent filled egotist whose real fear or people places and things make him want to act the tough guy role.

News from the CIA leak investigation and with recent mea culpa(s) from the likes of Lawrence B. Wilkerson former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and Brent Scowcroft former national security advisor with Bush I, we begin to see into Dick’s sinister world of smoke and mirrors that became the manipulated lie of an argument that the United States should go to war in Iraq. Wilkerson went as far as to call the plan to start a war in Iraq the work of a white house “cabal” headed by Cheney in concert with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Cheney has in effect hijacked our country. George W. Bush is painted as a president somewhat diconnected and weak on the intellectual tools of the trade that would be needed to make a difference. Credence is added to this when we see that many of the decisions coming from the White House have proven to be half-baked. Case in point Harriet Miers ill faded nomination to the Supreme Court. Even Democrats have to ask themselves is this the best America has to offer up in the field of jurisprudence? The answer of course is no.

It is George Bush at his best appointing cronies to positions of power who are totally unqualified. Unfortunately the mistake is not often discovered till after the damage has been done. Example “your doing a hell of a job Bownie” episode with former FEMA director Michael Brown who resigned in disgrace after the complete bungling of the hurricane Katrina emergency aid program.

Wilkerson’s statement and the observations like those of Maureen Dowd of the New York Times point out the complete monkey wrench has been thrown into the constitutional works of government. Something that is entirely different then what most American people expected when they voted. We in effect have a Vice President running the country not the president we elected. That is if you accept that Bush was actually elected president in 2000 or 2004. Of course neo conservatives probably would of really preferred that Cheney were at the top of the ticket in the first place, and it could be argued that they knew what most Democrats widely suspected. Cheney would be the one really running the show in the White House anyway. Now we have some definitive proof of that.

Bush is further painted as a President who is not always completely in the loop on major policy decisions. Recent revelations in the news about the administration have reinforced the image of Bush as incompetent, disconnected, without vision or imagination. Condoleezza Rice is seen as a “go along to get along” advisor who rarely would tell the emperor that he has no clothes or who is more interested in her future ambitions then creating friction or rocking the boat by questioning Cheney or Bush policy decisions.

More far reaching is the continuing saga and conflict of interest that Cheney’s ties to companies like Halliburton present. Halliburton is profiting immensely from no bid contracts associated with the war in Iraq and the gulf coast disasters. The white house has suspended laws that call for open bidding on contracts for the war and rebuilding the gulf coast. Contracts that eventually got awarded companies like Halliburton from which the vice president directly benefits.

Bend over America! President Clinton was put up for impeachment for having consensual oral sex with Monica Lewinsky. Maybe Cheney and Bush should be impeached for metaphorically having non-consensual anal sex with American voters. I think a far more serious offense base on the number of lives we lost directly due to their lying, profiteering and manipulation of the truth.

Dingell Berries

ABC News political unit “The Note” had some interesting quotes from Representative John Dingell who is celebrating 50 years in congress. Proving term limits was a lame idea that was origninally pushed by a bunch of political nitwits who couldn't understand the political process. If you want to limit someone's term don't vote for them. I for one think expericnce is important.

Dingell will officially mark 50 years in the House of Representatives on December 13, 2005, making him the third longest serving House member in U.S. history.

THE NOTE: "Retired Gen. Odom has said the longer we stay in Iraq, the worse it gets. As someone who voted against the war, do you agree? And if so, is it time to get out?"

DINGELL: "Well, remember I voted for going into rescue Kuwait from the Iraqis. I voted against going into Iraq. Having said those things: is it time to pull out? It is time for the President to present a plan that will work — clearly his plan is not working at this time: hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent over there. Thousands of Americans are dead. A hundred thousand Iraqis are dead. . . It is becoming a terrorist training ground . . . But I'm not sure that we can get out. . . If we don't come up with a way of addressing this, we're going to destabilize the Middle East and sow the seeds of World War III. And it's going to have a tremendous economic impact. There would be a loss of energy sources upon which we are now dependent."

THE NOTE: "Why do you think that the war in Iraq might lead to World War III?"

DINGELL: "I can't prophesize that. What I can tell you is that World War I started in a little place called Sarajevo. World War II started when the Germans invaded Poland — it was really just a continuation of World War I. . . Some Arab extremist group can take over a country drop a dirty bomb. Terrible trouble."

THE NOTE: "What do the Democrats need to do in 2006 to recapture Congress?"

DINGELL: "Let the people know what George W. Bush is doing to the country . . . George W. Bush has brought us the most intolerable international situation. He's doing nothing to resolve the troubles in the Middle East. He's involved us in a war. This is caused in caused in good part by intellectual laziness. He sold an attack on Iraq on the theory that there were weapons of mass destruction and that there were ties to terrorist organizations, neither of which was true. Show what they are trying to do to Social Security . . . Show that they are hostile to Medicare . . . George W. Bush came in with a $2 trillion surplus. We now have a $7 trillion deficit . . . This is the worst and most incompetent administration since Coolidge."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Family Feud and Other Observation

Dysfunctional King County Politics

The revelations this last week concerning the David Irons family crazy dysfunctionality and how it should relate to the qualifications of David Irons to become the King County Executive border on the bizarre. Local blogger David Goldstein of broke the story this last week with the MSM picking it up and running with it through the weekend.

Although I believe that Ron Sims is better qualified I now worry that the revelations into the wacky snake pit that is the Iron’s family feud will be perceived as the ultimate dirty trick by Sims against Irons rather then good investigative blogging by Goldstein. Sims categorically denies that he had anything to do with the story. Goldstien vehemently denies any connection to the Sim’s campaign for the genesis of the story. Goldstien an unabashed liberal democrat insists he felt it was important that the story be told to inform the voters about possible character flaws of candidate Irons and only that.

Irons response to the revelations has been to paint the family members who oppose him or made accusations about his character as cracked and/or politically motivated acting on the direct orders of Sims.

Who will the voters believe? I fear it may be Irons. The story, which paints Irons as an unstable dishonest person with anger management problems is rather bizzare. But it is also a classic he said she said tale. It is also so bizarre that it plays I suspect rather like a bad episode of Jerry Springer in the mind of the average voter. I'm more afraid that it may be perceived more as a campaign dirty trick engineered by the Sims campaign then what Goldstien intended it to be. If this is true it could end up costing Sims the election. Then we will be stuck with real horse’s ass of a County Executive.

Sims main problems were the Critical Areas Ordinance and the Green Party Candidate Gentry Lange. The CAO is widely perceived in urban King County as a land grab. or worse, by liberal county egg heads. Rural county voters see the ordinance as environmental overreaching by the Sims administration and a general loss of freedom to do what they please with their property. Whether is it or not, that is the perception. Sims has not done a good job of defending the reasons for the ordinance to rural voters and it has worked as a rally point for the opposition.

Gentry Lange as the Green Party candidate is taking votes away that would normally be going to Sims. A sort of “Ralph Nader” effect within the county that may end up giving Irons the margin he needs to win the election. The race seems to be neck and neck at this time with Irons slightly ahead and Gentry pulling from 5% to 7% or the vote. Sims will need to overcome these problems prior to election day if he is to remain County Executive.

What may history say?

The constant bickering and spin control by politicians and pundits on the issues of the day often can make it impossible to see the deeper issue or any true perspective on the question of how history may view our current situation when it is review at some time in the future.

I think that the historians will write is that the administration of George W. Bush and his white house cabal completely changed the dynamic of American foreign policy that had existed, for the most part, since before World War II. It did this when it decided it should start a preemptive war in Iraq. Its foreign policy approach in general became adversarial rather then defensive or diplomatic, the old policy being perceived as a weakness by the administration neo-cons. Gore Vidal refers to this policy as sort of America’s in the face of every country in the world, which they, including our traditional allies, consider insulting.

The administration then engaged in strategy of selling the justification for the war to the American public, or at least to congress, and especially democrats in congress, who needed to vote to support it. It successfully did this without sufficient debate on the merits of going to war on such grounds because the mood of the country in the shadow of 9/11 put democrats in the peculiar position of seeming unpatriotic if they opposed it. This neutered democratic criticism of the war during the 2004 presidential election and continues to haunt them to this day. Even now when it is widely understood that the argument made by the administration to support the war were false or at the very least greatly flawed.

Twinkie defense?

Republican Senator Kay Bailey-Hutchinson today on Meet the Press pooh-poohed any indictments that may be forthcoming from the CIA leak investigation if the charges are based on perjury or conspiracy only rather then the act of being involved in the leak itself. Both charges are felonies. This appears to be the tact that the Republicans will most likely pursue since it is widely suspected that the special prosecutor will in fact find violations of the law based on lying to grand jury or a conspiracy. At one point Bailey Hutchinson compared the case to that of Martha Stewart who was convicted of perjury. Stewart was convicted of lying about her insider trading rather then the trading itself. Bailey-Hutchinson comparison is a considerable reach since Stewart’s perjury didn’t eventually lead to American reasons to go to war in Iraq.

MR. RUSSERT: Based what's in the public domain from Judith Miller when she wrote in The New York Times and others have said publicly, do you believe that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby discussed Joseph Wilson's trip and his wife's employment at the CIA?

SEN. ALLEN: I don't know. I know that's rare from a politician. I don't know. I've been more focused on Harriet Miers' qualifications and reducing energy prices and others, and I'll leave this to the prosecution and by the way, again, due process rather than a lot of speculation on what actually is known or not said in testimony in a very closed grand jury proceeding.

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Hutchison, you think those comments from the White House are credible?

SEN. HUTCHISON: Tim, you know, I think we have to remember something here. An indictment of any kind is not a guilty verdict, and I do think we have in this country the right to go to court and have due process and be innocent until proven guilty. And secondly, I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury.

I think we should be very careful here, especially as we are dealing with something very public and people's lives in the public arena. I do not think we should prejudge. I think it is unfair to drag people through the newspapers week after week after week, and let's just see what the charges are. Let's tone down the rhetoric and let's make sure that if there are indictments that we don't prejudge.

MR. RUSSERT: But the fact is perjury or obstruction of justice is a very serious crime and Republicans certainly thought so when charges were placed against Bill Clinton before the United States Senate. Senator Hutchison.

SEN. HUTCHISON: Well, there were charges against Bill Clinton besides perjury and obstruction of justice. And I'm not saying that those are not crimes. They are. But I also think that we are seeing in the judicial process--and look at Martha Stewart, for instance, where they couldn't find a crime and they indict on something that she said about something that wasn't a crime. I think that it is important, of course, that we have a perjury and an obstruction of justice crime, but I also think we are seeing grand juries and U.S. attorneys and district attorneys that go for technicalities, sort of a gotcha mentality in this country. And I think we have to weigh both sides of this issue very carefully and not just jump to conclusions, because someone is in the public arena, that they are guilty without being able to put their case forward. I really object to that.
She continued to use the term “technicalities” when referring to possible finding of lying or conspiracy. A sort of speak understood by her legally challenged supporters in Texas apparently. Being found guilty of a technicality rather then the substance of a charge is a common conservative complaint about the judicial system. Though it didn’t seem to mean that much when it was the technicalities on which the Republicans based their case to impeach Bill Clinton.