We have moved to a different host and changed the blog's name to The American Choice
Aberdeen Daily World
Pacific County Press
Willapa Harbor Herald
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Willapa Magazine was a blog created by a need for a voice of political activism at a time when I felt a need to go after crooks and liars.
Over the years the blog changed design and format and also extended out to a more local emphasis as I perceived a need to publish in opposition to any assumption of power by the Washington State Republican Party - a group I viewed then and still do as the child of a national organization that has demonstrated repeatedly its willingness to act against the best interests of the country in support of their own partisan objectives.
I'm going to continue to blog but in a different framework. I have a new personal blog at BlogSpot entitled Willapa View
I am also now writing a column at NewsVine and spend more online time there than at any other pursuit.
Thanks to all those who have read and returned to read the articles at Willapa Magazine.
The following is a Veterans' Day Editorial in the Fresno Bee.
I endorse it fully.
Abraham Lincoln concluded his second inaugural address, as the Civil War wound down, with the words that have come to define the nation's obligations to its veterans:
"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan -- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."
Caring for those who have "borne the battle" is a year-round, ongoing duty. We recall it, and celebrate the service of veterans today, on Veterans Day, but the obligation stretches out years from now. It's not just about today's veterans, but about those yet unborn who will wear the nation's uniform, fight its battles and defend its liberties.
We haven't always treated veterans as well as they deserved. The original GI Bill -- officially the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 -- was transformational for millions of World War II veterans and for the nation itself. They used its benefits to attend college and trade schools and to buy homes. In the process, they created a vastly larger American middle class.
Some form of GI Bill has been in place ever since, though the benefits have varied over the decades. A new GI Bill, affecting veterans in the post-9/11 period, will take effect in August of 2009, and offer expanded education benefits. It's an improvement over the current program, which pays a flat sum over four years, and isn't enough to finance a bachelor's degree at many colleges.
Funding for veterans health care is also going up, partly in response to media coverage in recent years of abysmal treatment for some veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mental health care must have a particularly high priority. That's crucial, because adjusting to civilian life after military service is difficult for many veterans. The enormous psychological and emotional pressures of combat must be addressed, and that's hard for many veterans, and their families, because of the stigma that's still attached to mental health issues.
It's worth remembering that veterans benefits -- particularly for education -- have a way of paying dividends to the nation all out of proportion to their cost. It's estimated that every dollar spent on the original GI Bill for World War II veterans was returned seven-fold to the nation in economic growth.
It's also worth remembering that Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, celebrating the end of World War I -- the "war to end all wars." There have been more wars since then, of course, and we must expect still more in the future. We will always have veterans among us, and we must always remember the debt we owe them. But mere remembrance, though essential, is not by itself enough. These men and women have earned special consideration, and we can't let that be forgotten either.
Fair Use Notice: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
The News & Observer in North Carolina has an article about the losing Dole senatorial campaign and their explanation of why the famous "godless" ad was necessary.
Dole's campaign thought it would run such an ad only as a last resort. And then it would be the mildest version of the ad.
So says Fred Davis, the Hollywood-based media consultant who produced the ad, which became one of the most discussed TV commercials in the nation during the past election.
Critics of the ad from the right and the left accused Dole of questioning Hagan's faith.
Hagan, a Sunday school teacher and elder in her Presbyterian church in Greensboro, called the ad "despicable" and ran her own ad accusing Dole of "bearing false witness against fellow Christians."
A candidate thus reveals the presence of a sufficiently clear and present
danger to failure of the campaign as to justify hiring a spin doctor to empasize the trivial at the expense of the important.
But Davis insists the commercial was not designed to question Hagan's faith. He said it was about her decision to attend the fundraiser.
"It was about her judgment," Davis said in a telephone interview last week. "I never questioned her faith. A lot of people questioned that in hindsight. But that's not the point."
"That's not the point?"
How appropriate. The point is that all over this country candidates keep shallowly trusting consultants and advisors, effectively handing over their own sincerity and honesty in asking for votes based on reality.
Instead, they bring into play hired mind-slingers to create and promote the shallowest of messages using Viagra or Cialis tactics.
They hand over their own integrity regarding political ethics. They do not encourage thoughtful civic participation by bringin a fast-talking narrow-minded snake oil sales person into the game.
They declare then that civics takes a back seat to deceptive marketing.
This elevation of suppossed 21st century political and media sophistication to a pedestal defined by 30-second messaging is a sacrament of worship that will not make us a better nor wiser society.
That is what "the point" is.
This guy Davis produces an insulting piece of ad-trash that assumes a tremendous stupidity and gullibility of voters
- an ad that lowered the civic standard in an entire state
- and calls it a meaningful piece about judgment.
It was a meaningful piece about judgment .... his employer's Mrs. Dole's.
There has to be a more honest living than being a professional manipulator.
Post-election, Sarah Palin is talking like a pageant entrant who only understands that she lost but not that she did the campaign harm nor turned the electorate against her party.
Her responses merely imply that she knew all along that Africa is a continent and the the Vice President does not run the Senate.
This beauty pageant intellect had not idea of the impact of the inflammatory rhetoric her coaches told her to mouth. That she willingly and enthusiastically attempted to combine her hockey-mom winking charm with junior-high style gossip that casually declared Obama to be an execution-deserving traitor underlies the junior-high shallowness of her world view.
If she thought that over-the-top campaign speeches were standard fare because her Party had been successful more than once in doing so, she was either as politically naive as she appears or she flat out slept through any civics class presented to her.
The Telegraph is publishing a story today and I've posted excerpts below. Click on the link to read the entire article.
Anyone pretending outrage at the implication that Palin is the victim in this story is either equally civics-challenged or equally as stupid as Palin herself.
Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama
Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.
The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.
The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.
But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.
The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.
Whether in photos and films doctored by the pros to look both appealing and intelligent, Mrs. Palin revealed herself as a shallow thinker who has spent most of her life making knee-jerk decisions based entirely on self-interest.
Put such a person in the hands of consultants and image-mongers who themselves have little if any conscience and her own gullibility and world view from the shallow end of the pool only gets magnified.
He late-campaign remarks whining about criticism of her campaign criticisms of Obama revealed just how much Sarah Palin is a small-town rural personality. Nothing wrong with small-town and rural personalities so long as within that environment upbringing necessary skills like critical thinking and an ability to see both sides of an issue are taught or acquired.
... so long as within that rural environment (one in which I also dwell) a dominant us/them either/or attitude is not the overriding norm.
Mrs. Palin seems to be in oblivious denial of the consequences of her own actions. She is too interested in self-promotion to worry about ethics.
Obama Positions Himself to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions on Environmental, Social Issues
By Ceci Connolly and R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writers
[Excepts. Click on link at the top to read entire article]
Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse the president on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.
A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.
"The kind of regulations they are looking at" are those imposed by Bush for "overtly political" reasons, in pursuit of what Democrats say was a partisan Republican agenda, said Dan Mendelson, a former associate administrator for health in the Clinton administration's Office of Management and Budget.
The list of executive orders targeted by Obama's team could well get longer in the coming days, as Bush's appointees are rushing to enact a number of last-minute policies in an effort to extend his legacy.
Still, the preelection transition team, comprising mainly lawyers, has positioned the incoming president to move fast on high-priority items without waiting for Congress.
Obama himself has signaled, for example, that he intends to reverse Bush's controversial limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a decision that scientists say has restrained research into some of the most promising avenues for defeating a wide array of diseases such as Parkinson's.
The new president is also expected to lift a so-called global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal, said Cecile Richards, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
The president-elect has said, for example, that he intends to quickly reverse the Bush administration's decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. "Effectively tackling global warming demands bold and innovative solutions, and given the failure of this administration to act, California should be allowed to pioneer," Obama said last January.
Some related reforms embraced by Obama's transition advisers would alter procedures for decision-making on climate issues. A book titled "Change for America," being published next week by the Center for American Progress, an influential liberal think tank, will recommend, for example, that Obama rapidly create a National Energy Council to coordinate all policymaking related to global climate change.
The center's influence with Obama is substantial: It was created by former Clinton White House official John D. Podesta, a co-chairman of the transition effort, and much of its staff has been swept into planning for Obama's first 100 days in office.
Other early Obama initiatives may address the need for improved food and drug regulation and chart a new course for immigration enforcement, some Obama advisers say. But they add that only a portion of his early efforts will be aimed at undoing Bush initiatives.
Despite enormous pent-up Democratic frustration, Obama and his team realize they must strike a balance between undoing Bush actions and setting their own course, said Winnie Stachelberg, the center's senior vice president for external affairs.
"It took eight years to get into this mess, and it will take a long time to get out of it," she said. "The next administration needs to look ahead. This transition team and the incoming administration gets that in a big way."
Staff writers Juliet Eilperin, Spencer S. Hsu and Carol D. Leonnig and staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.
I invite you to click on the following link and live blog your thoughts to the Washblog.com site. Washblog is a statewide progressive blog in need of more opinions from South West Washington State.
If you're watching the election returns tonight, join in our conversations.
Live blogging throughout the day ...
... news, thoughts, predictions, bets, hopes and fears.
Multiple entries desired ... shout outs, high fives, moans & groans.
I lean toward KOS's predictions ... what the country needs is Obama at or above 400 electoral college votes.
I think it's in the best interest of the country to express a total repudiation of Bush Republican politics and a complete sweeping out of office of every rubber stamp politician who put party above country.
King 5 news reported late last night a Gregoire poll lead of 42% to 36%. Okay, but even in solidly Democratic Pacific County there are a powerful lot of Rossi signs on front yards.
Are there enough stampeded individuals in this Blue state to elect Rossi against their own best interests? If a cold emotionless stare and blank face when talking serious stuff ever suggested a Manchurian Candidate devoid of genuine sincerity and a desire to communicate honestly it's Mr. Rossi.
I repeat what I've said before. I see and talk with them every day. I listen to their concerns and fear for their personal health and well-being.
Any citizen of this state on a fixed income who votes for Dino Rossi has been blinded by something other than a light.
Any small business owners who think Rossi will shoulder-to-shoulder with them about the things which really make a difference in their prosperity - or even survival - have sucked on the kool-aid big time.
MSNBC has an article on its front page entitled "Praying for election miracles". It's about politically active priests and preachers exhorting their faithful to petition God to vote on Tuesday.
Then there's The New York Times article about the organization, Media Matters, entitled An All-Out Attack on `Conservative Misinformation that includes a complaint from Republican pollster and talking point framer Frank Luntz.
Let's start with the God who will be shirking civic duty if HE does not vote.
In some instances the prayerful petition appears to focus somewhat on an innocent desire to get out the vote. The underlying assumption however seems to be that those "gotten out to vote" by God will be voters aligned with those who are making the politically prayerful petition.
On the other hand there are those who are openly asking God to forget about freedom of agency or choice; asking instead that HE impose HIS will on the people. This in some sort of spiritual puppet string-pulling and mind control that will cause a majority of the American electorate to vote in harmony with the God-and-Politics stampeders.
These preach values that demand personal subordination to a religious party line. They are not values of fairness, compassion, peace, charity nor understanding. These are values based on an assumption of a punitive and judgmental God that looks, talks and acts like Pat Robertson or John Hagee.
In these final moments of this election season, they are pleading with God to confirm and validate their own assumptions as to what God and religion are supposed to mean in the United States of America.
Of an impartial civic mind they are not. But they do want to get out the vote.
Then we have Frank Luntz on Media Matters:
"I think they are one of the most destructive organizations associated with American politics today," said Frank Luntz, a pollster forRudolph W. Giuliani and Newt Gingrich who this year has led on-camera voter focus groups on Fox News, a frequent Media Matters target.
"They are vicious. They only understand one thing: attack, attack, attack."
"If I were a Democrat, I would tell them to shut up," Mr. Luntz said. "If I were a Republican, I would tell my candidates to ignore them."
If you've ever listened to Luntz in person (I've watched him spar with Bill Maher on Real Time several times) you will see an almost smug declaration of how Democrats would be more successful if they would listen to his interpretation of the perceptive gullibility of the American electorate.
But currently Luntz has his career at stake with this election. His words attempt to hide the fact that if the American electorate gets uppity and starts insisting on something more than sound-bite and talking-point campaigns, he's done with his fame, fortune and cosmetic high-regard on cable TV.
I've long held a view that when a political candidate hires a campaign consultant of the Frank Luntz spin doctor ilk - that candidate has robbed his/her potential constituency of a relationship of trust.
Such an act places a manipulative gate-keeper smack dab between the citizen and the elected representative. If we accept that sort of arrangement with our candidates the common denominator of civic intelligence is dramatically lowered.
Luntz can't deny that. No spin doctor can deny that. These folks do not raise civic intellectual awareness in this country any more than the do purveyors of American Idol, Survivor or Heroes who merely want you to watch and buy.
I've appreciated what Media Matters has done in helping the curious cope with a conservative radical partisan stampede tactic.
Rather than agreeing with Luntz and his whine about destructive organizations, I believe that so long as there are any ideologically driven information predators communicating with voters, organizations like Media Matters and Fact Check are necessary.
As for political prayer circles, I don't want God jumping in the middle of American life like an overbearing moral Genghis Kahn who proclaims "Live subordinate to me and my BOOK or you'll hurt my feelings, die in your sins and be sent to hell!"
Preachers who goaded their flocks into American voting booths in 2004 managed to get trusting people to cast purely negative-minded votes for false civic reasons.
In 2004 the pain and frustration for me was not limited to the Kerry loss. Much more than that was the sense that the election - if not stolen - was still severely impacted by information manipulation and outright lying.
I perceived that the majority of those who voted were misled. Non-voters remained off the beaten path because political tacticians wanted them out of sight and out of mind - voluntarily self-suppressed.
We were not even left with the consolation that a definite majority of the American voters had spoken; that the will - wise or unwise - of the majority of American citizens had been expressed.
We were stuck with the realization that the majority of those who had spoken were manipulated and led to the booth under false pretenses (including 14 states with God & Politics initiative ballots put in place by people like Rove and Luntz.)
Civically and spiritually, I counsel that we do not let someone else -in any context - tell us once again what to think and how to vote.
I counsel that we make an effort to perceive the lies and half-truths proclaimed in campaigns.
I counsel an activist - even formally organized - civic campaign to put limits on purchased political ads, sound-bite advertising and contests decided by whoever has the most money available to flood the media with shallow inflammatory nonsense.
I've already made my arguments for and against the candidates of my choice. Repeating any of that is not appropriate to the theme of this opinion.
As we move forward, I intend to advocate more and more for genuine civic wisdom and participation in this country.
"Change" can be a spin-doctor word use to get out the vote. I hope real change means a return to the idea that America is essentially one big town hall.
I'd like to see a circumstance where voters are renewed, re-aroused and willing to insure that never again will the bamboozle trump the truth.
I'd like to see political apathy become as unacceptable as sexual harassment, domestic violence, child abuse, identity theft and belching in church.
I want to move past next Tuesday satisfied that this time voter apathy, ignorance and gullibility has not once again harmed this state and this nation to a much greater degree than another terrorist attack.
A new email newsletter from James Hutchens and his "Jerusalem Connection" Christian Zionist outfit directs me to "A Prophetic Warning" from Pastor Steve Foss. Foss (a protégé of Morris Cerullo) apparently received a message from God in 2000 that George Bush would just about scrape home for his first term, and that there would be an economic crash at the end of his second term. Now that it's all come true Foss has chosen to tell the world what God revealed to him, including what's in store next:
God spoke to me that after George W. Bush, America would elect its most ungodly president ever.
That is, unless Christians intercede in some unspecified way - like, for example, voting against a particular candidate:
...I had a vision earlier this year. I saw Barack Obama in this vision. He was speaking to a large crowd and being broadcast on television. He was speaking incredible words of unity, peace, and bringing all sides together; the words were elegant, the words were comforting, and the words were inspiring.
But while he was speaking I saw all a powerful spirit of violence coming out of his spirit feeding into the spirits of those that were hearing him. That spirit of violence was directed at anybody who opposed what he was saying. Those who heard his words and received it had the spirit of violence being implanted inside of them. It was a rage like I have not seen before.
It was the rage that would be unleashed against those who oppose and stand in the way of Barack Obama's agenda. We are already seeing the beginnings of this spirit manifested here in America. The vicious attacks against Sarah Palin have been unlike anything we have ever seen before. The sheer hate for this woman from people who knew nothing about her, and who claim to stand up and protect the little people, and women, has been shocking.
Editor and Publisher has the story. Read the entire article and find the list of who did and who didn't there.
BMOC: College Papers Back Obama -- By 79 to 1
By Dexter Hill
Published: October 31, 2008 2:20 PM ET
NEW YORK The Obama campaign leads in newspaper endorsements from dailies and weeklies, based on our tally so far (see separate story). The Democratic ticket has an even more impressive lead when it comes to college newspapers — 79 to 1, according to our own list and UWIRE’s Presidential Endorsement Scorecard.
A candidate illegally fund by sneaky corporate lobbyists cannot really promise "change" by riding the coat tails of Barack Obama and asking us to vote for Barack and Dino ... no, he can't.
Dino is left promoting his own deceptively packaged change as well as hoping we won't recognize the truest friends he has.
Republicans have single-partyedly fractured their base out in their last remaining bastion states.
This headline and the following comment titles at Democratic Underground say it all.
Idaho's flagship newspaper endorses Obama.
Idaho Statesman endorsement: America needs Obama's steady hand
W0W! Idaho!! -- and Powell Endorsement
Holy Shit!!! Idaho???
Latest list of newspaper endorsements ... 76-19
62% for McCain Idaho?
Hell definitely just froze over. Salt Lake Tribune (Utah!) endorses Obama!
The Salt Lake Tribune has been there since the 19th century. In the twentieth century the Tribune is the successful competition to the other daily there, The Deseret News - more the voice of Utah conservatism and the LDS Church.
In terms of profit and loss, endorsing the Democrat for president would not be a wise economic decision unless ...
Nationwide: The rest of the Red Wall looks like a dam about to break:
Newspaper Endorsements for Obama:
Raleigh NC News & Observer
Bryan-College Station, Texas Eagle (next door to Crawford)
Tuscaloosa News Alabama
Nashua N.H. Telegraph
Houston (Texas) Chronicle
Austin (Texas) American Statesman
Cleveland Ohio Plan Dealer
Rossi and the Working Family
Let's start with Rossi wanting to lower or roll back the state minimum wage.
He explained why:
"Minimum wage was not meant to be a family wage; it's meant to be an entry level wage."
That's a curious statement.
Who profits most by an entry level wage?
We know that cheap labor is the basis upon which Wal-Mart has a price advantage in its competition with local businesses in communities all over. Aberdeen, Washington has had a seriously slowed down economy for years ... except at the Wal-Mart store.
Wal-Mart doesn't put Real Estate Agents out of business however. In fact, a Real Estate Developer would be interested in big-box stores.
Can Mr. Rossi can tell me what percentage of families are surviving on that minimum wage he thinks is too high? What does he consider the non-entry-level wage upon which families should be able to make do?
I don't think he cares about that. He just needs a Republican talking point and the level of minimum wage is always a talkable point.
Do you remember how Mr. Bush, the head of Dino Rossi's Republican party who - guided by the likes of Cheney and Rove - tried to capitalize on unemployed victims of Hurricane Katrina by imposing a "prevailing wage" and suspending the minimum wage on the Gulf Coast?
That is the Rossi thought in this state. He needs this current economic disaster to sell his snake oil the same way Bush used Katrina to sell the same kind of nonsense.
I also understand that Rossi says the minimum wage in Washington is part of an overall "unfriendly business" environment in Washington, a state environment that causes employers to flee or not come here in the first place.
I used Google to learn that the number of other states who have raised the minimum wage with cost of living increments like what was done by our own legislature is now up into double digits.
I then ask Mr. Rossi to tell my why more, not less, states are doing it. Is it that his particular talking point has failed many times elsewhere?
Google "Rossi minimum wage" and read what Association of Washington Businesses president Don Brunell said about the state minimum wage:
"AWB is no longer fighting the minimum-wage law, which is adjusted every year in line with the consumer price index.
You don't see us screaming out loud about this," said Don Brunell, president of the trade group, which represents 6,300 members.
"... Washington's robust economy, which added nearly 90,000 jobs last year, is proof that even with the country's highest minimum wage, "this is a great place to do business,."
Dino Rossi does not have a valid minimum wage argument.
How about that Wall Street?
How about those Republican Economic Geniuses who were paid by those corporate Lobbyists all those years?
How about that deregulated free-market banking and loan system?
There's what used to be WAMU ...
In Arlington 800 employees lost their job last week.
In my own county, this week a local wood products company laid off their entire production staff.
Is that what we want, someone trying to make hay out of our own suffering by blaming it on a governor who - like the rest of us - has to react after the fact and exerts little or no impact on the national Republican-destroyed economy?
Our kitchen table budgets are definitely not written by comfortable real-estate agents in King County. However, if we put the Real Estate guy in charge, our budgets will get worse very quickly.
Think that running a real estate agency is representative of the small business environment where many hourly wage citizens are employed?
Think again. A real estate agent manages a budget based primarily on sales, commissions, facilities, supplies and clerical expenses. The most vulnerable employees in any real estate agency are hourly or salaried clerical staff at the bottom of the agency earning scale.
Commission-earners only lose their jobs if they cannot sell - or if the economy goes to hell and leaves not much to sell because Republicans took us all to the landfill.
On the other hand, small businesses that employ a staff predominantly paid an hourly rate are much more representative of the type of business where the size of the minimum wage is critical.
For Rossi to imply that his small business experience is greater and wiser than that of the local mom and pop cannery, the bowling alley, the restaurant or independent seafood processor is laughable.
Both Dino Rossi and Chris Gregoire are asking for my vote. I don't live in Kansas and I'm not about to vote according to party affiliation nor philosophical bent.
I'm going to vote my health, well being ... and my wallet. I'm giving my vote to the sitting incumbent who has earned it and demonstrated her ability.
In every debate Rossi has responded to questions about health care with some sort of thin gruel about free-market competition and allowing more insurance companies entry into Washington State.
That means Rossi constantly suggests that market competition in and of itself will drive health care premium costs down to the kitchen budget level.
That's a blatant con ... and an out and out bamboozle from someone who not only thinks we are stupid but that he can sneak one by us.
I'm voting what I think, not what Dino thinks. I'm sixty two and more than ready and willing to retire. I can't WAIT to retire - but in this current economic circumstance I flat out can't do it.
I can't retire while Mr. Rossi's free-market corporate capitalism remains part of America's health care package. I can't do it while too many incompetents act as if good health is a marketable commodity.
Bringing more insurance companies into Washington State or letting me shop insurance companies in other states is not going to work for me. If I retire right now, my monthly health care premium will be $900 and I have that in writing.
If Mr. Rossi is suggesting that more access to health care insurers will lower that monthly rate by even 50% isn't that still like spitting on a bonfire?
The resulting monthly cost would still be too much; the equivalent of paying an additional half my mortgage every 30 days.
Purchasing such a market-valued commodity would still result in my making the equivalent of a car payment on a vehicle I can not afford and still not being able to drive - unless I get catastrophically sick when I might not be able to drive at all.
The average state worker monthly retirement after twenty years is less than $2000. If married - in order to unsure that your spouse will continue getting your pension if she outlives you - that amount is reduced by at least 25%.
Therefore, as currently constituted, a retirement of $1500 will be reduced by $900 health care premium to $600 per month.
So for 20 years work, a retiree takes home approximately $600 per month plus medical.
Now isn't that just deregulated free-market delectable?
To put it in perspective, a Washington State TANF recipient with one child and who has shelter expense obligations receives $453 in monthly cash plus medical coverage.
I certainly am not declaring myself more worthy of a comfortable living than a single parent with one child.
But as a tax payer I am saying that a retiree who has worked all the way to retirement ought to have a right to expect more than an inflexible and irrational political party's lies about free-market treatment of health care as the only choice.
What's with these Republicans who are as tied to corporate capitalism as Ahab was to Moby Dick?
The only citizens who might justifiably vote for Rossi are those upper income Republicans or self-styled conservatives who can afford to be self-styled conservatives. Those are the folks who can talk the conservative talk as if they had intellectual depth and vote their philosophy and or social conservatism moral beliefs because they have much less skin in the game.
Republicans of lesser income who self-style themselves as conservatives or vote with Republicans because they have a moral-values social conservatism WILL vote against their own self interest if they vote for Mr. Rossi.
Among the rest of us - Seniors, single parents, young couples with children, middle-income and low-income voters, students - any tax-payer, consumer, and civic-minded voter will prove that Rossi isn't as smart as he assumes himself to be.
We will tell the former budget writer that we are not moving to Kansas.
One Editor's View of the Rossi Candidacy Pt. II
The molded candidate? Has Mr. Rossi always been a
Conservative Without Conscience?
Rossi's campaign promises are the promises of his party and national sponsors who put him in this position. Dino talks about how his economic philosophy will serve him and us well.
However, when faced with unavoidable budget choices, a leader whose sole intellectual perception is a rigid and inflexible economic or political philosophy sees his judgment collide head on with need, pragmatism, common sense and compassion.
The leader has to choose an alternative to his own slick promises that had no substance in the first place ... or he must fail.
If you do not believe me, ask Herbert Hoover. Better yet, ask George Bush about the socialized bail out of Republican cash cows.
With his blatant attempt to capitalize on this economic crash by tying it to Governor Gregoire's leadership - and despite Rossi's blatant attempt to ride the Obama coattails of change in Washington State - it seems that Mr. Rossi's campaign strategy and themes are right out of the Rove historical playbook.
Rossi attacks what he apparently considers to be Gregoire's strongest attributes. His campaign ads and sound bites are quite purely a "swift-boat" attack strategy.
Not this time.
When your party has been top-dumb-dog for 8 years, you'll throw your back out trying to place the blame on someone else.
Mr. Rossi still seems intent on running a Republican 2004-style attack campaign but without major big-time backup.
Dollars perhaps, but if there is any mentoring or support, it has had only limited usefulness. His campaign style in fact reveals his party's desperation. His own desperate party is reduced to praying only for significant and credible survival .
McCain can't come and help.
Bush coming to campaign would be nothing more than a powerful comparison to and confirmation of Dino's intellectual shallowness. Like Bush, it seems that Dino has learned everything he needed to know only in the recent Republican history.
Fact is, Dino is on his own. He doesn't seem to be receiving anything new from those old partisan coaches at the RNC. Gone is the mentoring by confident and cocky party partisans in high positions of national power.
As a force for positive change in this country and state - for cleaning out a soiled house - Republicans and Dino Rossi don't matter much right now except for ownership of responsibility.
Dino Rossi has not successfully communicated to Washington voters that he is anything more than a local surrogate for the National Republican Party to put an agent in this blue state's governor's chair.
One thing about fiscal conservatism and its less-government talking points, legitimate conservatives are learned with self-acquired knowledge. (Read John Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience)even self-taught. Rossi's dialogues do not suggest a self-taught learned fiscal conservative with deep Adam Smith convictions.
He seems to have acquired his economic philosophy in the same way McCainers are currently attempting to educate Sarah Palin. Talking points remain shallow because sales persons have to keep prospects' perceptions in the shallow zone.
Otherwise, Mr. Rossi struggles to hide the fact that he is a pretend ideologue claiming affiliation to a discredited corporate deregulated free-market theory.
As I both watched and listened to the debate in Spokane I was struck by the consistent and rapidly-worded monotone in Rossi's speaking style.
That's the sort of fact-presentation and point-making that comes out of sales training and practice. It's how successful sales persons are trained.
It's how Rossi would attempt to govern by insincere salesmanship more focused on self than community.
I know about sales training ... I've been there. Over the course of my 48-year working history I've been trained to sell vacuum cleaners, encyclopedias, life insurance, Shaklee, Amway - even as a proselyting missionary selling salvation door-to-door.
I've seen that peddler look on Rossi's face.
Rossi's look-you-occasionally-in-the-eye gaze is a look not sincerely invested in a business transaction where both sides win. It is more interested purely in making the sale.
It is also the gaze of someone always ready to move on and try to sell a product to a more pliable prospect.
It is a gaze a governor Rossi would hide behind in order to further his own importance in the scheme of being a governor and celebrity.
When someone insists that he has the best interest of families and individuals at heart we ought to know how he is managing his own affairs - what experiential success he has that relates to our own kitchen planning.
I'd also like to know - from anyone else who does know - just what the source of Mr. Rossi's personal funding is.
If he has been campaigning full time and supporting himself on his own income, what income is that? How is he meeting his own obligations ... you know, writing his own budget?
Is Rossi loaded?
If so does that make him empathetic to Washington's middle class families, fixed-income senior citizens and low-income vulnerable citizens?
Our experience with Republican promisers like McCain and Mitt Romney has made an honest revelation of a candidate's personal financial circumstances highly relevant and significant.
Do we have with Dino Rossi a McCain-like image of multiple cars and houses?
Intimate open honesty and not snake-eyed stares from Mr. Rossi are what matter. Otherwise messages that imply strong empathy remain mere empty words.
Open honesty should include Rossi's willing acknowledgment that he is asking us to let him experiment with our lives.
He asks us to let him apply his own, his party's and his corporate support base's economic theory to state government.
It's just that simple.
Thomas Frank in his book, What's The Matter With Kansas?, examines the consequences in a state where voters made election choices that ran against their own best interests. Voters did so because they were gullible; because political propagandists lead by big business politicians and social conservative activists were overwhelmingly convincing.
Voters in Kansas voted their anger, not their own common sense. They voted for candidates and policies of a party whose heart and soul belong to big business and corporate lobbyists.
Their naive and trusting gullibility hurt their lives seriously. Although voting their outrage and resentment in those elections might have been personally satisfying, they have paid for that mistake in judgment.
Rossi is tempting us to do the same.
Is it our turn to succumb to his temptations out of our apathy and ignorance? Or will we be stampeded by anger and outrage fueled by campaign falsehoods?
Washingtonians, like Kansans before them, are being asked to vote against their own best interest. We are asked to support a candidate whose principal promise is and remains detached cost-effectiveness and a de-regulated market across the board.
By this Rossi and his party support deregulated public utilities, de-regulated financial markets, and de-regulated transportation. Need I mention that the McCain Republicans were willing to propose deregulated health care as a way to mislead voters made angry by other issues.
Isn't Rossi's dumbed down suggestion of letting more insurance companies into the state a form of de-regulating health insurance and health care by waiting for market competition to bring health care costs down. Same old song, same old lyrics, and same old calliope.
There's a difference between concern and anger.
Rovian politicians like Dino Rossi know this.
Concern is not what made Rush Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Hannity rich and famous.
Misplaced and misguided anger was the formula.
Rossi wants voters to vote while they're mad. That's a tactic much like stoking anger in someone who is about to go out and speed away on a rainy night driving a car with bald tires and faulty brakes.
We are being asked to vote against our own best interest by supporting a party whose financial political base is founded on cheap labor;
who push for corporate advantages rather than advantage to kitchen budgets,
who do not seek advantages to small businesses nor to those small family farms until the big businesses have had first dibs.
Next: Rossi, the Working Family and me.
It is biased because it reflects my personal opinion. My bias is based on my concerns and reasons for how I intend to vote next month.
It is about concern for family, for self and a willingness to speak up.
This writing is based on the positive or negative expectations engendered by candidates' records and presentations - sales pitches, if you will - in asking for my vote.
Those expectations have primarily to do with what I see as my priorities:
my family's well being,
how we plan to cope with the imposing economic circumstances,
our personal health and the costs of maintaining adequate health coverage,
and finally, what I'd like to do on behalf of my children's and grandchildren's future.
Who am I to opine as an editor?
WashBlog.com is a liberal blog with an editorial board that reflects a variety of progressive points of view.
Some of us are Democrats, others are not.
Along with founder, Brian Moran, we maintain an insistence that this blog is not an arm of the state Democratic Party or any party for that matter. No one gives us our talking points or article topics except by suggestion.
This has been a hard-won independence that is the historical result of having had to cope with attempts to insert party talking points and control of Washblog's overall message and themes to our readers.
If we have an overall theme it is that of progressive advocacy much more than political liberalism.
The majority of our posts are political but our writings include an assortment of issues beyond party politics i.e., economics, the environment, law and order/criminal justice issues, social justice, and religion in or outside of politics.
Another issue is vote integrity. One of our editors, Jason Osgood, has gotten involved in a major way. He is the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State this year.
As a WashBlog contributing editor and member of its board, I remain an independent voter. I returned to being an independent voter officially the Wednesday following election Tuesday in 2006. That was when I resigned from the Democratic Party and notified my local precinct committee officer.
Although I flirted with rejoining the Democrats after participation in a single Democratic Party Caucus in Naselle this past March, I backed off and was content to support my wife, Lietta, who became an Obama delegate to the Pacific County Convention in April.
I want to write an opinion on the candidacy of Dino Rossi for governor that is based on my own experience and participation in state government at a level that Mr. Rossi has no personal first hand day-to-day experience.
In that regard, folks like me possess a view of citizen concerns from inside the very state agencies about which Mr. Rossi makes critical observation. We know more about some of those topics and issues and their importance to citizens than does the candidate himself.
This is also fair to a public who might believe Rossi has ground-level experience and therefor whose views are much more than merely based on his theory of government.
For example, if candidate Rossi can publish a video ad in which it is implied that the ad's star witness is someone with inside knowledge of the state's foster care system then that individual needs to have her own credentials as a knowledgeable insider questioned and confirmed.
I will write more on that ad another time.
The truth is, Rossi is an outsider, far removed from the daily nuts and bolts of the state social services delivery system.
Governor Gregoire - as the one who presides - possesses a clearer picture but is still echelons-removed from where the rubber hit's the road. She can speak anecdotally but not with contemporary authority in the same context as one who is there every day all day.
I can and will.
When candidate Rossi offers a statistic and includes his one-dimensional interpretation of what that number really means, it can be quite probable that he truly doesn't know what he is talking about
or he is deliberately playing with facts in the same way a fast-talking preacher is able to prove anything with a Bible quote or two.
As someone inside the system, as a professional at what I do and as a civic-minded and civically active citizen, I want to challenge Dino Rossi's campaign asssertions.
Now as a state worker I am prohibited from speaking as if I were an official representative of DSHS, state government or any state officer.
But I am a citizen and voter who is a professional employed by the Washington DSHS as a TANF/WorkFirst case worker. I am tasked with administering the family cash assistance program (TANF), state General Assistance (GA) and Medicaid programs in this end of Pacific County.
I am a tax-payer, property-owner and voting consumer in the state of Washington who is entitled to his opinion and has the right to express it.
To me that means much more than just having a state job. It also means that as someone authorized to spend state funds, approve food benefits or open medical coverage, I do so with knowledge that I am s pending my own tax dollars.
I deal with individuals young and old and families who come to us needing cash help, food assistance and/or medical coverage. Often that coverage is needed out of desperation to help cope with illnesses or injuries for which the cost of treatment and medications does not fit in their budgets.
As a tax-payer and case worker, I then have a personal fiduciary interest in a wise and effective management of my little corner of the state budget.
And as a citizen who will vote, I want to discuss Dino Rossi's vow to be a governor of fiscal and political conservatism.
This week I watched that last debate in Spokane on channel 9.
The essence of Mr. Rossi's argument seems to be two propositions:
(1) Dino Rossi wrote budgets.
(2) There are people who like Dino Rossi as revealed to him when he holds Republican rallies around the state.
There was little beyond those two talking points to recommend Rossi as a governor with leadership traits.
Writing budgets is not a leadership trait.
Rather, writing budgets is a legislative tasking for those who desire that kind of responsibility and are chosen to do so based on political popularity within one's party.
Consequently, "reaching across the aisle" to write budgets is a given - since a budget has to be approved by the legislature and not a mere committee chair person.
I hope Mr. Rossi was not trying to say that he personally wrote budgets that were approved solely by him, then forced out of committee and into the legislature's main floor by sheer force of his indomitable will.
Is writing budgets a greater leadership virtue for a governor than managing budgets?
I guess Mr. Rossi wants us to believe so.
The greater role and where leadership matters with budgets is not what group of politicians write a budget. The greater role is taken by the leader authorized, tasked and trusted to spend taxpayer funds wisely and efficiently.
Leadership is how that budget is managed. This of course includes choices to spend or not-spend that will have unavoidable consequences.
Mr. Rossi has never sat in that chair and therefore has never been required to choose when conflicts within a budget of that magnitude and importance arise.
Mrs. Gregoire has sat in that chair.
Mr. Rossi has not made the case that she has done poorly.
Part II tomorrow.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
We are a stalwart and stouthearted people, and never more so than in hard times.
People weep in the dark and arise in the morning and go to work. The waves crash on your nest egg and a chunk is swept away and you put your salami sandwich in the brown bag and get on the bus.
In Philly, a woman earns $10.30/hour to care for a man brought down by cystic fibrosis. She bathes and dresses him in the morning, brings him meals, puts him to bed at night. It's hard work lifting him and she has suffered a painful hernia that, because she can't afford health insurance, she can't get fixed, but she still goes to work because he'd be helpless without her.
There are a lot of people like her. I know because I'm related to some of them.
Low dishonesty and craven cynicism sometimes win the day but not inevitably. The attempt to link Barack Obama to an old radical in his neighborhood has desperation and deceit written all over it.
Meanwhile, stunning acts of heroism stand out, such as the fidelity of military lawyers assigned to defend detainees at Guantanamo Bay ¿ uniformed officers faithful to their lawyerly duty to offer a vigorous defense even though it means exposing the injustice of military justice that is rigged for conviction and the mendacity of a commander in chief who commits war crimes. If your law school is looking for a name for its new library, instead of selling the honor to a fat cat alumnus, you should consider the names of Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, Lt. Col. Mark Bridges, Col. Steven David, Lt. Col. Sharon Shaffer, Lt. Cmdr. Philip Sundel and Maj. Michael Mori.
It was dishonest, cynical men who put forward a clueless young woman for national office, hoping to juice up the ticket, hoping she could skate through two months of chaperoned campaigning, but the truth emerges: The lady is talking freely about matters she has never thought about. The American people have an ear for B.S. They can tell when someone's mouth is moving and the clutch is not engaged.
When she said,
"One thing that Americans do at this time, also, though, is let's commit ourselves just every day, American people, Joe Sixpack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars,"
people smelled gas.
Some Republicans adore her because they are pranksters at heart and love the consternation of grown-ups. The ne'er-do-well son of the old Republican family as president, the idea that you increase government revenue by cutting taxes, the idea that you cut social services and thereby drive the needy into the middle class, the idea that you overthrow a dictator with a show of force and achieve democracy at no cost to yourself
¿ one stink bomb after another,
and now Gov. Palin. She is a chatty sportscaster who lacks the guile to conceal her vacuity, and she was John McCain's first major decision as nominee. This troubles independent voters, and now she is a major drag on his candidacy.
She will get a nice book deal from Regnery and a new career making personal appearances for 40 grand a pop, and she'll become a trivia question,
"What politician claimed foreign policy expertise based on being able to see Russia from her house?"
And the rest of us will have to pull ourselves out of the swamp of Republican economics.
Your broker kept saying, "Stay with the portfolio, don't jump ship," and you felt a strong urge to dump the stocks and get into the money market where at least you're not going to lose your shirt, but you didn't do it and didn't do it, and now you're holding a big bag of brown bananas.
Me, too. But at least I know enough not to believe desperate people who are talking trash. Anybody who got whacked last week and still thinks McCain-Palin is going to lead us out of the swamp and not into a war with Iran is beyond persuasion in the English language. They'll need to lose their homes and be out on the street in a cold hard rain before they connect the dots.
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Too dumb to vote? Well what's so significant about that age group. Look at all the voters in 2000, 2004 - even 2006 who were too dumb to vote but voted anyway.
The Show: ABC's 20/20 Friday 10th October. The message: young people are too dumb to vote and should stay home instead. That's the thrust of a segment by John Stossel, self-proclaimed "libertarian" and regular contributor to the hard-right's fanzine, Commentary.
Click on C&L link to read entire article. Well worth it.
Sisters Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte have been “secretly branded by Maryland State Police as terrorists and placed on a national watch list” due to their participation in anti-war protest activities. They were added to the list after Maryland state police spied on them.
The nuns said they were not involved in the protests that state police say they targeted. “The spying occurred during the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican.”
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