(Lettter-to-the-Editor) The Republican party seems to think that because they are in charge of Congress that they have a mandate from “the people” to pursue their conservative agenda during President Obama’s final two years. Sorry Charlie. Even if they can get past the high hurdle of a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, they are nowhere near the number of votes required to overturn a Presidential veto. And it should have been clear to anyone watching the State of the Union address that President Obama is no lame duck. Hey, Party of “no,” meet the President of “not on my watch.”
The Washington State Republican Party is no better off. Many of the WSRP positions (trickle-down voodoo economics of tax cuts for the rich and no minimum wage adjustments, no new taxes, “greed-is-good” deregulation, “climate change has yet to be proven,” opposition to Obamacare, anti-gay marriage, etc.) are unpopular with the majority of Washingtonians and across America. Yet, according to the WSRP web site, Chairman Susan Hutchison expects to build upon the Republican victories of 2014 over the next two years to elect a Republican governor and president.
Oddly enough, the WSRP supports keeping the Electoral College. Perhaps they should study the numbers. There is no Republican candidate that can win the White House in 2016. The Democratic candidate can expect to win 257 electoral votes without even trying and it only takes 270 to win. The Republican base of aging, white, rural voters has been in decline for 20 years nationwide and in Washington State.
The President’s approval rating has returned to the 50 yard line, meaning in the last quarter of his presidency, the Republicans are going to be playing defense again. Not a good position to be in for the 2016 election. Why? Because that is when far more liberal voters will be paying attention. The Party of “no” will be remembered as the party that got nothing done even after gaining nominal control of both houses of Congress.
Basking in the glow of a short-term victory is not a viable long-term strategy. Washington State needs a transportation plan now. Last term, the Democratic-led House passed its version but the Republican-led Senate could not garner enough support for a plan.
The clock is running out on state Republicans. They have less than two years to participate in shaping the next era of our economic future or they will lose to opportunity to participate politically after 2016.
(Letter-to-the-editor) So the Republican House of Representatives leadership now wants to sue President Obama over certain executive orders, even though he has made less of them than most other presidents. But the real ethical, if not legal, offense is that the Republican leadership, including our Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, won’t allow a vote of the full House on the Senate-passed immigration bill S.744 even though it has enough House votes to pass and thus become law with Obama’s promised signature.
Please join me and vote for Joe Pakootas who will represent all of the people with an independent voice rather than simply echo the political leadership.
[Below] is the story of a young person, Steve, who lost his life because he wasn’t able to access oral health care. As some of you know, I nearly lost my life to infection due to tooth abscess because I was not able to access oral health care.
I have a friend who’s brother died from abscessed tooth infection, like Steve.
I have many friends and neighbors and family members who suffer because they cannot access oral health care.
All of us have friends, neighbors and family members suffering because they cannot access oral health care.
[By Bart Haggin] I am almost reluctant to to send this out because it oversimplifies wealth in the US and in the world.
The real power of the rich resides in families of the wealthy who OWN the country. They do this with outright purchase or inheritance and by owning controlling interest in private or public corporations. These are the people who really pull the strings. Most of these billion ares are just campaign contributors and lobbyists for corporations that they have an interest in. The real movers and shakers are, largely, out of the public arena.
Locally [here in Eastern Washington], think the Cowles foundation here in Spokane.
Oxfam International, a poverty fighting organization, made news at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year with its report that the world’s 85 richest people own assets with the same value as those owned by the poorer half of the world’s population, or 3.5 billion people (including children). Both groups have $US 1.7 trillion. That’s $20 billion on average if you are in the first group, and $486 if you are in the second group.
As a result, by the time Forbes published its 2014 Billionaires List in early March, it took only 67 of the richest peoples’ wealth to match the poorer half of the world. (For the purpose of this blog, I will put aside the conversation about the importance of income inequality versus impoverishment. This has recently been skewing strongly toward recognition of the importance of income distribution and its inequality, most recently with the publication of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty.)(Forbes, March 25, 2014)
It took long enough to happen. However, after months of nurses and other medical workers performing their jobs without a contract, the management at Spokane Deaconess Hospital and Spokane Valley Hospital have given a bargaining date to employees. Nurses and other medical workers represented by SEIU local will be negotiating on workplace issues and other matters to agree on a new contract between their collective bargaining unit and Community Health Systems. The quality of patients care at Valley and Deaconess Hospitals and safe staffing levels will be a key part of the talks.
Nurses and other medical workers await a bargaining date for long-awaited contracts with the Deaconess Hospital, Spokane, Wa. and Valley Hospital, Spokane Valley, Wa. Their key demand for more staffing to improve patient health and safety goes unanswered by the hospitals’ for-profit owner Community Health Systems Inc. Read the rest of this entry
(Letter-to-the-Editor) Interested in a job for $174,000 a year, all the benefits and only 126 days of work? Cathy McMorris Rodgers has found it’s worked well for her since 2005.
The House of Representatives‘ work schedule for 2013 was 126 days. For 2014, they decided to cut it to 113 days. That’s about 50 days of work for $174,000…or $3480.00 per day. For the remainder of 2013, they will work 8 days in November and 8 days in December. They’ve even commented that they might have trouble filling their schedule for all those days. Evidently there is nothing important happening in our country.
As of August 1, 2013, only 22 out of 4315 introduced bills have been enacted into law. (0.5%), making this the least productive Congress ever. That could be because the GOP faction of the House of Representatives has spent their 126 days obstructing our government and the people as much as possible. Maybe it would be money better spent to have them work zero days, and we could take their salaries to help move our country forward. Or, we could get involved and elect people who care for and will work hard for our country .
Exploding kitchen sinks and contaminated drinking water, that is what happens when you get fracked by the natural gas industry.
I just saw Gasland II by Josh Fox. The showing was hosted by Ron Reed of Pacificad, Spokane, WA. It is the muckraking expose’ of the petroleum industry’s use of fracking to obtain natural gas from the earth and leaving scraped landscapes, contaminated aquifers, and destroyed communities. Fracking has even caused earthquakes and has put homes at the risk of exploding.
Fracking, as you have probably heard, is the practice of injecting water and chemicals into wells to force the natural gas out of the gas bearing shale. It is called fracking because it fractures the shale to releases the natural gas. Read the rest of this entry
Someone is lying it appears. It is either Pastor Mark Hamilton, candidate, for Spokane City Council or it is his handyman. However, I don’t know what motivation George White would have for lying and a church member vouches for the laborer’s integrity.
Mark Hamilton’s legal problem
What motivation would Republican Mark Hamilton have for lying? Well, let’s see. He is running for Spokane City Council and the law is that he must have lived in he City Ward for which he is running to represent for at least one year. However, as the Spokane Review notes, utility bills and his handyman George White call that into question. Mark Hamilton is being challenged in court for his right to appear on the ballot.
(Letter to the editor) We know Mother’s Day is a day in which we honor women for the good they have done. However, some Congressional folks just don’t agree. Ironically, one of those Congressional women is Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State’s 5th district.
McMorris Rodger’s has shown her lack of caring of women by : Opposing raising the minimum wage, voting to stop overtime pay for working families and opposing the Lily Ledbetter Paycheck Fairness Act. She was adamantly against the Violence Against Women Act until 10 minutes after her amendment against it was defeated, then voted for it. She is against any background checks for gun purchases. She supports decreasing funding for Head Start and education as well as supporting the layoff of thousands of teachers, most of whom are women. In healthcare she opposes the Affordable Care Act and supports decreasing funding for Planned Parenthood. She solidly supports the sequester, which will cost Americans 750,000 jobs.
We now know what she gave us for Mother’s Day; I wonder what she got? For more on Rep. McMorris Rodgers, see this website.
I met Dr. David Warner while we were both graduate students at Washington State University. It appears that the assault that left him unconscious and near death was initiated because he tried to do the right thing and “keep the peace” when a fight broke out. However, I cannot help to wonder. Was it because David Warner was an out spoken Native American with articulate views on the rights of Native Americans that his attackers beat him as brutally as they did? Even if (when) the assailants are caught, we may never know.
However, I do know from my experiences with David Warner that he is a peace loving man. He has strong political views, but I have never seen him do or say anything out of anger. He is a friendly, ,jovial guy. Whenever David talks to people about politics, he always does so with a smile and joke along with way. Read the rest of this entry
Conservatives have been waging class warfare on working class Americans for decades. Here in the State of Washington, they are at it again with bills to lower minimum wage and weaken workers compensation.
However, first, on the national scale over the last few decades, the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer. The rich used their increased wealth to create the dot.com bubble, real-estate bubble, and Wall Street bubble. As we all know, those bubbles burst and much of that wealth disappeared from our economy that could have used to build schools, pay for Medicare, or lower the national debt. Of that wealth which did not go into creating bubbles, the rich loaned much of it back to us in the form of mortgages, credit card debit, and student loans and siphoned even more money from the middle class through high interest rates. Would not it have been better for the average American for our country to merely leave that money in the hands of working class so they would not have to borrow so much to pay for homes, consumer items, and college education? I know so. Read the rest of this entry
Nothing is more important than early childhood education. Emotionally healthy young children grow up to be happy, loving, responsible adults. In the end, that is the only thing that really what matters.
I say this in full awareness of all the serious problems that our world faces. The environment for example. If we don’t take care of the Earth, we are screwed. Nuclear weapons is another. A push of button could make our planet uninhabitable for centuries. Ya da, ya da. We are struggling to find solutions to these problems, but actually we already have many ways at our finger tips to solve them. However, our human failings, our fears, our greed, make those solutions unworkable. Its our own sanity, our emotional balance that is in short supply.
I do believe that as a race of beings, we humans are making progress in this regard. Generation by generation we are becoming wiser, more center, more spiritual balanced, and early childhood education is a crucial part of it. Read the rest of this entry
Vote NO to Reject Requiring a 5/7 Majority Vote on any revenue increase or to close tax loopholes at the city level.
We just can’t say enough how devastating this would be for our community. This Tim Eyman-style measure would cause gridlock on the Spokane City Council and allow as few as 2 members of the council to obstruct legislation or derail the democratic process. Your NO vote would help support efforts on the council to provide funding for firefighters, public safety, and other important community services. If It Ain’t Broke by Terry McGregor Inlander.com
Vote YES on the Library Levy.
Prevent closing the Hillyard and East Central branches and increase other library branch hours, making vital education services for families & kids more accessible.
We are all tools of the machine that we call society. Most of us do not realize it. Some of us realize it, and do nothing. A few of us know it, and do what is trendy among our friends to oppose it. Then there are the rare few who make the conscious choice to rebel and risk it all regardless of what any of their family, friends, and colleagues, critiques and media may think. Major General Smedley Darlington Butler of the U.S. Marine Core was one such brave soul. He declared in 1935 that “War is a Racket,” a bloody racket that kills and cripples young men and makes the rich even richer. To the right is a video portrayal of Retired Major General Smedley D. Butler by Bart Haggin of Spokane, Wa giving one of his speeches. Read the rest of this entry
That is true if the rich and the powerful aren’t able to steal it and the US government doesn’t default!
Social Security is the most successful social program ever invented. It requires less than two percent overhead expenses. It covers millions of people besides retirees. And it is secure financially, under present circumstances, until about 2035 with a surplus until then! Any other US government programs like that?
This was one of the 2012 races that a lot of us felt strongly about. It is nice to see the race resolved on election day without a controversial recount, and now it is even nicer to see an announcement of Governor-Elect Jay Inslee’s Inaugural Ball. I wanted to go to Gov. Gregoire’s second Inaugural Ball, but it did not fit more my schedule or match my pocket book. May be this year I will make it. Congratulations Jay Inslee. I know you will do a fine job.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation and their coalition of allies had a significant victory in the protection of your online freedom of speech. Specifically, they are making progress on requiring government to get the proper search warrant before reading your emails. Below is an update from their December 2012 newsletter. If you want to learn details about this issue, read this page on their site. The Electronic Freedom Foundation has been protecting the internet for over a decade and is on the front lines of the battle to defend net neutrality.
Yesterday was a watershed moment in the fight for electronic privacy: the Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly passed an amendment that mandates the government get a probable cause warrant before reading our emails. The battle isn’t over — the reform, championed by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), still needs to pass the rest of the Senate and the House, and be signed by the President to become a law. But yesterday, thanks to thousands of people speaking out, we were able to begin the process of overhauling our archaic privacy laws into alignment with modern technology. Read the rest of this entry
Ever think that your State Representative would pull a loaded gun on you? This is what happened in November, 2011, to Leroy Norris of Spokane. Washington State Representative Matt Shea, Spokane Valley, 4th Legislative District, pulled an illegal handgun on Leroy as he was running home. Republican Matt Shea ,was cited for two violations of state firearms law in the road rage incident. Norris was not cited for any offense. To the right is a video that we made about this matter involving the Republican Matt Shea who has proven himself to be unstable many times before. Read the rest of this entry
Kathleen Drew came to Pullman, WA, for the Lentil Festival to talk about her run for office and her support of the Washington State Voters’ Guide a few months ago. I was impressed with her. Kathleen Drew has got experience in the various parts of government to do a good job as the next Washington State Secretary of State. She is personable. She has a good clear grasp of the issues affecting the Office of the Secretary of State, including the need to better fund the Washington State Voters’ Guide.
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