Friday, September 29, 2006

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006)

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006)
With a smug stroke of his pen, President Bush is set to wipe out a safeguard against illegal imprisonment that has endured as a cornerstone of legal justice since the Magna Carta.

by Molly Ivins - (Read It)

... The bill simply removes a suspect’s right to challenge his detention in court. This is a rule of law that goes back to the Magna Carta in 1215. That pretty much leaves the barn door open. ...

... Fellow citizens, this bill throws out legal and moral restraints as the president deems it necessary—these are fundamental principles of basic decency, as well as law.

I’d like those supporting this evil bill to spare me one affliction: Do not, please, pretend to be shocked by the consequences of this legislation. And do not pretend to be shocked when the world begins comparing us to the Nazis.

Our Washington Democrats in the House and Senate Voted against this travesty.
H R 6166 RECORDED VOTE 27-Sep-2006 4:45 PM
QUESTION: On Passage
BILL TITLE: Military Commissions Act
- Voting NO
Baird - Dicks - Inslee - Larsen - McDermott - Smith
Question: On Passage of the Bill (S. 3930 As Amended )
Vote Number: 259 Vote Date: September 28, 2006, 06:37 PM
Required For Majority: 1/2 Vote Result: Bill Passed
Measure Number: S. 3930
Measure Title: A bill to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes.

- Voting NO
Cantwell (D-WA), Murray (D-WA)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Whatcom County - Thinking Local

Who'da thunk... Whatcom County Sustainable Connections in FORTUNE Magazine.
'Small-Marts' take on Wal-Mart
Small, local groups nationwide are fighting back against big business and helter-skelter globalization.
FORTUNE Magazine
By Marc Gunther, Fortune senior writer
August 30 2006: 8:39 AM EDT

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Local businesses in Whatcom County, Wash., next month will exhort their customers to "Buy Fresh Eat Local."

Some people in the scenic, mountainous region will take a pledge to nourish themselves for a week entirely from the local food shed - drinking milk from local cows, eating fresh-baked organic bread and patronizing restaurants like Flats Tapas Bar, which will serve such dishes as flatbread with all-local smoked salmon, caramelized apple, gouda cheese and hazelnuts.

Others will enjoy the Downtown Carrot Jubilee, a chance to taste local carrots harvested that day; they'll wear "I Ate Local Today" stickers.

"We want to help raise awareness of the value of local food systems," explains Max Morange of Sustainable Connections, a network of more than 500 Bellingham-area businesses that sponsors the annual event. "We're losing farmland very quickly."

So committed to localism is Morange, a 25-year-old slow-food activist, that last year he churned his own butter rather than buy spread "imported" from elsewhere.

The campaign is a stunt, to be sure, but it's also evidence of a backlash - against look-alike chain stores and helter-skelter globalization. ...
(full article)

Whatcom County Government to go 100% Green Energy

County Council votes to go green
County facilities will be run on alternative power bought from PSE


About $62,000 in county tax revenue will be spent to use renewable sources of energy to power county facilities in 2007.

Whatcom County Council members approved a resolution Tuesday night that will require 100 percent of the energy used in county buildings to come from sources such as wind, solar, or biomass power. ...

... Council Chairwoman Laurie Caskey-Schreiber said the increased costs of the power from Puget Sound Energy would easily be handled by the county because of five years worth of energy conservation measures taken by County Executive Pete Kremen and his staff.

Kremen told the council that power conservation had saved the county about $85,000, so the contract with Puget Sound Energy would not be using all of the savings. ...
(Full article)

Torture is NOT an American Value!

George W. Bush is the guy who used to shoot his brother with a bb gun... for fun. For him torture isn't part of a National Security Policy, it's part of a Dangerous Personality Disorder.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Burner pulls even with Reichert in WA-08

Lynn Allen at Evergreen Politics has the scoop on a new poll.

New Poll Has Burner and Reichert Even

Emily's List, the national organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to Congress, commissioned a poll in the 8th CD that has Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert neck and neck at 44-43. For an incumbent to be this close at this point in the campaign is not good for him. ... (more)

Monday, September 25, 2006

New Ad - Darcy Burner (D) WA-08

Watch Darcy's new ad on youtube
Visit Darcy's website.
Donate a couple of bucks to her campaign.

Nobody likes Tim

It took a long time, but Washington Voters have finally had enough of Tim.
Geography Surveyed: City of Seattle
Data Collected: 09/19/2006 - 09/20/2006
Release Date: 09/21/2006 9:15 AM ET
Sponsor: KING-TV Seattle

Filtering: SurveyUSA contacted 600 Seattle adults; 513 identified themselves as registered voters and were asked the questions that follow.

Q. #5
Asked of 513 registered voters
Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.2%

Is your opinion of initiative promoter Tim Eyman favorable? Unfavorable? Or neutral?

11% Favorable
65% Unfavorable
23% Neutral
1% Not Sure
Now maybe we can start thinking about how to insure that Ballot Initiatives are about what the citizens of Washington want instead of what special interests want to stick us with. Maybe we can start with regulations that make paid signature gathers wear signs identifying themselves.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Making It Worse

...Can't the United States see that when we allow someone to be tortured by our agents, it is not only the victim and the perpetrator who are corrupted, not only the "intelligence" that is contaminated, but also everyone who looked away and said they did not know, everyone who consented tacitly to that outrage so they could sleep a little safer at night, all the citizens who did not march in the streets by the millions to demand the resignation of whoever suggested, even whispered, that torture is inevitable in our day and age, that we must embrace its darkness?

Are we so morally sick, so deaf and dumb and blind, that we do not understand this? Are we so fearful, so in love with our own security and steeped in our own pain, that we are really willing to let people be tortured in the name of America? Have we so lost our bearings that we do not realize that each of us could be that hapless Argentine who sat under the Santiago sun, so possessed by the evil done to him that he could not stop shivering?

Ariel Dorfman, a Chilean American writer and professor at Duke University, is author of "Death and the Maiden."
(full article)

So torture will be Ok with Warner, McCain and Graham just as long as Bush keeps it secret. Lovely, just lovely; we have fools in charge. Republicans have disgraced our Nation and they are plunging full speed ahead into making things worse instead of better.
The Pro-Torture Pact

Ari Berman

Democrats chose to outsource their policy on military tribunals to John McCain. And McCain did what he's done best the last year: capitulate to Bush.

"Senators Snatch Defeat From Jaws of Victory: US to be First Nation to Authorize Violations of Geneva," Georgetown University law professor Marty Lederman writes of the so-called "compromise" between Senators McCain/Graham/Warner and President Bush. ...(full article)

The hand writing is on the wall... as it were. Bush's staying-the-course is making things worse. The Neo-cons grand strategy is a nightmare that's destroying our military and making more enemies faster than we can count them.

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Fuels Terror
The conflict spreads extremism and serves as a laboratory for deadly tactics, says a bleak analysis by 16 U.S. intelligence units.
By Greg Miller, Times Staff Writer
September 24, 2006

WASHINGTON — The war in Iraq has made global terrorism worse by fanning Islamic radicalism and providing a training ground for lethal methods that are increasingly being exported to other countries, according to a sweeping assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The classified document, which represents a consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, paints a considerably bleaker picture of the impact of the Iraq war than Bush administration or U.S. intelligence officials have acknowledged publicly, according to officials familiar with the assessment.

"They conclude that the Iraq war has made it worse," said a government official familiar with the document who spoke on condition of anonymity because of its classified nature. ...

... "It paints a fairly stark picture of what we all know, and that this is a movement that is spreading and gaining momentum around the world," said the official familiar with the document. "Things like the Iraq war have given the terrorists recruiting tools and places to ply their trade and a training ground."

The official said the estimate touches on a number of factors fueling the jihadist movement, but that "the reference to Iraq was the main one."
...(full article)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

42nd LD Going All Blue?

The Primary vote count for the 42nd Legislative District is almost finished (88.5% counted) and the results are mighty exciting. Whatcom County is 100% vote-by-mail, so it couldn't have been any easier to vote in the primary and of those in the 42nd LD who choose to vote and pick a party, 56% picked The Democratic Party. Jesse Salomon is running for 42nd LD Senator, Jasper MacSlarrow is running for 42nd Leg Dist Rep Pos 1 and Kelli Linville is seeking re-election as 42nd Leg Dist Rep Pos 2. All of our Democratic candidates have won! And won by hefty margins! Even though it's not a face-off, with only one candidate from each party in each race and a 40% voter turnout, it sure looks like winning.

2006 Primary Election Results
Total Registered Voters: 102,452
Number of ballots returned to date: 41,106
-- Approximately 40% voter turnout
-- Approximately 4,600 ballots left to count
State Senator District #42 - Whatcom*
CandidatePartyVote Vote %
Jesse SalomonDemocrat1032454.2%
Dale BrandlandRepublican870945.8%
Vote Totals
State Representative District #42 Position #1 - Whatcom*
CandidatePartyVote Vote %
Jasper MacSlarrow Democrat1022854.0%
Doug EricksenRepublican872346.0%
Vote Totals
State Representative District #42 Position #2 - Whatcom*
CandidatePartyVoteVote %
Kelli LinvilleDemocrat1108156.6%
Craig MayberryRepublican850443.4%
Vote Totals

I looked back to 2002 for a point of comparison. The winners of the primary were the winners of the general election. Although from the primary to the general ex-sheriff Brandland's margin decreased he still managed to unseat incumbent Senator Georgia Gardner (D). Incumbents Rep. Ericksen (R) and Rep. Linville (D) were re-election in '02 and again in '04 by approx. the same margins. Again in this years primary Kelli Linville received about 55% of the vote, but Ericksen isn't looking too good with only 46% and Brandland looks just as bad.

Whatcom County 2002 Primary Election
Total Registered Voters: 90,104
Total Turnout: 32.59 (0%)
42nd Legislative Senator
Peter Tassoni (GRN)88504.17%
Dale Brandland (R)1153754.38%
Georgia Gardner (D)839739.58%
Donald Crawford (L)39801.88%
42nd Legislative Rep Pos 1
Doug Ericksen (R)1257161.12%
Jim Boyle (D)799838.88%
42nd Legislative Rep Pos 2
Gene Goldsmith (R) 943845.53%
Kelli Linville (D)1128954.47%

Whatcom County 2002 General Election
Total Active Registered Voters: 91656
Total Turnout: 55066 (60.08%)
42nd Leg Dist Senator
Georgia Gardner (D) 1756546.20%
Dale Brandland (R)1872149.25%
Donald Crawford (L)72401.90%
Peter Tassoni (GRN)100602.65%
42nd Leg Dist Rep Pos 1
Jim Boyle (D)1572642.44%
Doug Ericksen (R)2132857.56%
42nd Leg Dist Rep Pos 2
Kelli Linville (D)2095056.49%
Gene Goldsmith (R)1613843.51%

Friday, September 22, 2006

Whatcom County Growing Pains

The brakes are on for new subdivisions because development has outrun infrastructure. In this case it's fire protection. Everybody just expects police, medics and firefighters to be there when they call 911. But the population of Whatcom County has increased by over 50% in the past twenty years and new home building is out pacing government budgets. The old funding mechanisms worked fine when growth meant a new house here and there but not now that developers are building hundreds of houses at a time.
Fire wards raising red flag on growth
Emergency service letters withheld on housing projects


Faced with rapid population growth and a shortage of money, North Whatcom Fire and Rescue District commissioners have decided to take a step that could bring new subdivision approval to a halt across a broad swath of the northern county.

The district has stopped issuing letters agreeing to provide emergency services to new real estate developments. Developers apparently need those letters as one of several legal requirements for subdivision approval.

North Whatcom Fire Chief Tom Fields said the issue is money: The district doesn't get enough from its property tax levy to keep up with residential growth. If hundreds of new homes are added to North Whatcom's service area, Fields said, its response time for fires and medical emergencies could drop to potentially dangerous levels. ... ( full article)

The hucksters ramble on about imaginary "you can't tell me what to do" property-rights , but the reality is that what people do with their land has an impact on everyone else in a community.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spooks Spooked - They smell the sulfu(R) too

CIA ‘refused to operate’ secret jails

By Guy Dinmore in Washington

Published: September 20 2006 22:07 | Last updated: September 20 2006 22:07

The Bush administration had to empty its secret prisons and transfer terror suspects to the military-run detention centre at Guantánamo this month in part because CIA interrogators had refused to carry out further interrogations and run the secret facilities, according to former CIA officials and people close to the programme.

The former officials said the CIA interrogators’ refusal was a factor in forcing the Bush administration to act earlier than it might have wished. ...

... But the former CIA officials said Mr Bush’s hand was forced because interrogators had refused to continue their work until the legal situation was clarified because they were concerned they could be prosecuted for using illegal techniques. One intelligence source also said the CIA had refused to keep the secret prisons going. ... (source: Financial Times)

Bush and his pals have operated beyond the law long enough that nearly everybody has figured it out.


Follow international agreements
Do what it thinks right, regardless of what other nations think

Source: CBS News

Smell the sulfu(R)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez calls President Bush 'the devil' during speech at U.N.
UNITED NATIONS, Sep. 21, 2006
By IAN JAMES Associated Press Writer
(AP photo)

... "The devil came here," Chavez said. "Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of."

He then made the sign of the cross, brought his hands together as if praying and looked up to the ceiling.

Chavez's words drew tentative giggles at times from the audience, but also some applause.

He later spoke to hundreds of New Yorkers who filled a college hall Wednesday night, saying he hopes Americans choose an "intelligent president" in the future.

"I'm not an enemy of the United States. I'm a friend of the United States ... the people of the United States," Chavez said during his speech to an audience including union organizers and professors. "They're two very different things _ you the people of the United States, and the government that's installed there." ...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

more Jim Hightower......

Everybody does better when everybody does better.

what a wonderful time i had seeing Jim Hightower in Seattle recently....his words have been been an inspiration to me for a couple of decades.

Walker summed it up beautifully here

thanks to Noemie and all that made this happen!

Citizen's Steve's post

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Democrats Campaign in Ferndale, WA

Japser MacSlarrow is running for Wa. State Legislature 42nd Dist. pos. 1
Kelli Linville is running for re-election to Wa. State Legislature 42nd Dist. pos. 2

Kelli and Jasper wave to passing motorists on the Ferndale Main Street Bridge.

Supporters wave to motorist going the other way.

Jasper and supporters wave and commuters smile and wave back.

The reaction from commuters was 99.99% positive.

Jim Hightower Was Here

I've been meaning to write about Jim Hightowers appearance at Town Hall Seattle. Ever since we got back home Thursday night, I've been meaning to write about what a pleasure it was to actually meet Jim Hightower and shake his hand. Meaning to write about what an awesome job Noemie Maxwell did organizing the event. Meaning to write about how great the Seattle Peace Chorus was and how they warmed up the crowd before Jim spoke. Meaning to write about how funny and inspiring Hightower was. Meaning to write about what a great time everyone had.

But like my Grandma used to say, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".

At least I was on the ball enough to get David Postman to correctly refer to Jim Hightower as a populist rather than simply as a lefty. (read the comments)

Monday, September 18, 2006

your tax dollars at work

come and screen the new Robert Greenwald film with friends and neighbors

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers is the story of what happens to everyday Americans when corporations go to war. Acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed, and Uncovered) takes you inside the lives of soldiers, truck drivers, widows and children who have been changed forever as a result of corporate greed in the reconstruction of Iraq. Iraq for Sale uncovers the connections between private security companies making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so.

WHAT: Ferndale, Washington screening of Iraq for Sale
WHEN: Wednesday, October 11 2006 07:00 PM
TICKET PRICE: FREE, RSVP required below

HOSTED BY: Sponsored by Kathleen Page (No WCLS Endorsement implied).

WHERE: Ferndale Public Library
2222 Main Street
Ferndale, Washington 98248
Map & Driving Directions

details here

Thursday, September 14, 2006

PDC Complaint Filed - Groen's mystery money

As if it weren't bad enough that Right-wing groups are trying to purchase a seat for Groen on the Washington State Supreme Court, now it appears they're breaking our laws in the attempt.
Majority Rules Blog Files Public Dislosure Commission Complaint Against Groen Supporters

... Zemke's complaint is based on violation of RCW 42.17.020 (43) which states that the "Sponsor of an electioneering communications, independent expenditures, or political advertising" means the person paying for the electioneering communication, independent expenditure, or political advertising. If a person acts as an agent for another or is reimbursed by another for the payment, the original source of the payment is the sponsor."

The sponsor not the agent needs to be identified under Washington law. Americans Against Frivolous Lawsuits is obviously just a phony name to hide the true identity of the funds.

Because this election will be decided in the Sept 19, 2006 primary Zemke asks that the PDC tell Americans Tired of Lawsuit Abuse to immediately identify to the public the source of their funding. ...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bellingham Picks Interim Mayor

The Bellingham City Council couldn't have made a better pick than Tim Douglas.

Council taps Douglas as interim mayor
Former mayor says he won't run for office next year


Former Bellingham Mayor Tim Douglas will return to helm the city for the next year, a divided City Council decided Monday night, providing stability after the surprise resignation of Mayor Mark Asmundson.

Former Bellingham Mayor Tim Douglas will return to helm the city for the next year, a divided City Council decided Monday night, providing stability after the surprise resignation of Mayor Mark Asmundson.

The council's 4-3 vote ended sharp debate between individual council members, several of whom openly vied for the seat. It also gives voters a wide-open mayoral election next year, as Douglas has said he will not run for the position. ...

... "We know there is a lot in front of us," Douglas said. "I will do what I can to work very closely and cooperatively with the council."

Douglas, previously a city councilman, served as mayor from 1983 through 1995. His tenure as the city's top elected official saw the City Council allow the construction of Bellis Fair mall, which Douglas opposed. When he stepped down in 1995, he pointed to remodeling of City Hall, the library, police and fire stations and adding new trails and parks as his major accomplishments.

After serving as mayor, Douglas worked as director of the state's Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. He resigned in 1999 and served as a Peace Corps director in Russia. ... (full article)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Clear the man’s name, for Christsake!

Today, as I was out front tending my grapes, a couple of nice young men in suits, with pamphlets, approached me. After discussing my grapes, rose hips and whether my son was home (my neighbor’s son had come over to check), they started asking me questions about my personal relationship with Jesus and sharing their “good news.” I explained I had my own beliefs that were serving me well.

I then took the opportunity to tell them “a lot of bad things are being done, right now, in the name of Jesus.” They shook their heads in agreement when I said, from what I have understood, Jesus was a man of peace.

I suggested they might want to use their connections to do whatever they could to stop bad things from happening and restore his good name. We went back and forth a few times. They wanted to talk about my baptism and I stressed the urgency of what I thought should be their mission.

They asked if they could stop back in a week to discuss my thoughts about future baptism and I declined. We shook hands and as they were leaving I stressed to them, “you have your work cut out for you!”

Just then my neighbor came back over and I told him about their assignment. He was amused and not at all offended. Said he agreed. I wasn’t sure cuz he was raised by fundies. (And 2 nicer people you will never meet.) He also just served in the marines, in Iraq. I've known him since he was 2 years old.

We live in interesting times.

…So often the darkest hour is that hour that appears before the dawn ……
-Dr. Martin Luther King


Saturday, September 09, 2006

No on initiative 933, Yes on Jim Hightower

Noemie’s post is one of the best explanations of what Initiative 933 would mean to all of us who live in the state of Washington. The decisions we make today WILL make the difference for all who are here now and those who come after us. I 933 takes us full speed ahead in the wrong direction. I love a quote from the movie The Power of Community, “we have one earth and it belongs to all of us.”

Declaration of Interdependence
I-933 is wrong: Private property rights and the common good must be protected together
Institute for Washington’s Future
The property rights movement, which has been gaining increasing political power in Washington state, proposes an interesting foundation for human rights: property ownership. Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights, a Washington group that backs I-933, the “property fairness” initiative, tells us that “Property rights are really human rights and the very foundation of a free society.” So, what about the rights of people who don’t own property? Full article

Noemie Maxwell is on the board of the Institute for Washington’s Future, a nonprofit research and education center dedicated to the renewal of progressive values: community, equity, participation, and a sound environment. The Institute for Washington’s Future is sponsoring “On Common Ground: Innovations in Energy and Agriculture and a New Civic Awakening,” a forum with Jim Hightower. It’s part of the institute’s Back to the Roots program, which facilitates dialog and action on critical questions of sustainable development, environment, and community. Town Hall, 8th and Seneca, Thurs., Sept. 14, at 7 p.m More information

and read Noemie's excellent piece: September 14: Jim Hightower at Town Hall -- Will Speak On the Political Momentum for Sustainability
author: Noemie Maxwell Sep 04, 2006 17:11

(i have tickets!! and i'm so looking forward to this!!!!)

The list of endorsers to No on I 933 is diverse and long.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Jesse Salomon fund-raiser - Big Success

Yesterday, DfA-Bellingham sponsored a fund-raiser dinner for State Senate Candidate Jesse Salomon - D (42nd LD). It was a huge success! Eighty-plus showed up to generously support Jesse and dine on fresh caught Barbecued salmon.

WA State Senate (42nd LD) Candidate Jesse Salomon and
42nd LD Democrats Chairperson Shannon O'brien

more pictures

Here's what Jesse had to say to the gathering:

JESSE SALOMON: Prior to running I worked as a prosecuting attorney for the Lummi Nation, focused on child welfare and hunting and fishing laws. I am a proud graduate of WWU and obtained a law degree at the UW School of law. I have been involved in public service for over a decade, getting my start working in the non profit sector with homeless youth. I also worked in Olympia on behalf of higher ed… and spent some time learning the political ropes in Washiongton DC.

I will talk about growth, Ag, HC, Education, and taxes. While I respect Mr. Brandland for the years of public service he has given to Whatcom County, we need to a change of representation in the senate. The Senate is so closely divided beween parties and common sense bill like stem cell research civil rights and medically accurate sex ed have been blocked by Sen Brandland and his republican collegues.I will discuss the ideas I have for helping Whatcom county and Washington state and how my opponent has voted on these issues.

We need to do a better job of controlling growth and preventing urban sprawl. There have been government missteps and overreaches which have hurt landowners and we must address that, but we must also continue to plan for growth. We need to do a better job of purchasing development rights so farmers are paid the value of their development rights in exchange for making sure the farmland remains as farmland and is not turned into urban sprawl. We need to infill our urban areas in a way that maintains architectural character and quality of life.

Instead of finding constructive approaches to controlling urban sprawl while ensuring that property rights are respected, my opponent took the radical step of voting to abolish the growth management hearings board which would render growth planning more confusing (See bill digest for SB 5282 and attached roll call vote showing B voted for the bill).

Clean and renewable energy provides us with an opportunity to use our farmland and open space and natural resources in a way that helps our environment and economy. Whatcom County has over 60,000 dairy cows which produce an average of 1.2 million gallons of manure per day ( Already, a biodigester is extracting methane energy from this local resource. We need to expand this technology so that all farmers can sell this resource for a profit. We need to make use of our abundant wind to create electricity and we can develop a biodiesel and ethanol industry in this state and help get away from high gas prices. Unfortunately, Mr. Brandland voted against the biofuels bill designed to increase local clean fuels. The time is ripe for change in our energy policy, we must be inventive and creative and not stand in the way of new ideas. We must do it for our economy, for our environment, and for energy independence.

Health care is a mess. We need to find ways to increase accessibility and affordability for everyone. 600,000 Washingtonians are uninsured including 3,000 children in Whatcom County. Prescription drug prices are increasing about 15 percent per year. Nearly three times as many families file for bankruptcy due to medical emergencies than did a decade ago.( No one person has all the answers and reforming the health care system and it will require a bipartisan cooperation. Mr. Brandland will likely talk about his work to cap damages, but we can’t rely on taking a jury’s right to compensate victims of medical malpractice as the solution to our health care problems. It is too easy to blame lawyers, but it won’t solve the problem.

One positive step the legislature took last session was to make it more affordable for small businesses to provide insurance for their employees. Again, Mr. Brandland voted against this bill and voted against providing the funding mechanisms for it.

Getting back to the issue of prescription medicine, the very same drugs are often sold for less than half the U.S. price in Canada and now it is time to expand this drug purchasing pool to allow all government entities and private purchasers to join in the savings. Mr. Brandland voted in 2005 against allowing the state to purchase drugs in bulk and driving down costs. Luckily, the bill passed the Senate, but only by one vote. We must take the next step and authorizing the re-importation of less costly prescription drugs from Canada. Illinois and Minnesota have already passed such laws. Republican talking points urge legislators to say they voted against it because the drugs are not safe, but that is not true, we are talking about the same drugs we use here at home. It is time for legislators to stop cow towing to pharmaceutical and insurance lobbyists. Massachusets has passed a bill that makes HC accessible for all. We can take bold steps here at home to do the same.

Education is the number one duty of the state government according to our state’s constitution and by many measures, we are failing. Washington ranks 46th nationally on

K-12 public school funding ( We need to invest in early childhood learning, so that all kids get the best start in life. We need to lower the cost of tuition and also introduce better vocational education in high school, so our kids have the best options when they graduate. Mr. Brandland campaigned in 2002 on a promise to assure higher education is funded” yet he voted against the budgets the last two sessions. In fact he has not voted to fund public education one single cent since 2004.

People often say that these are good ideas, but want to know how we will fund them without raising taxes. There are currently 30 billion dollars worth of tax loopholes, which is more than the entire state budget. Last session the legislature passed a bill to audit tax loopholes so they can consider closing them if the loopholes are not producing jobs. The money collected by closing any unnecessary special interest loopholes can be put into education, health care, and economic development and reducing property taxes for people on fixed incomes. Too often people who have lived in their home for years are victimized by rising property taxes. They never plan to sell their home and thus will not profit from the housing boom, only pay for it in increased taxes. Auditing and closing special interest tax loophole is smart fiscal stewardship, and I differ from my opponent in that I would have voted for this bill.

If elected, you will find that I am a hardworking, practical minded legislator rather than a partisan one. We have important issues in Whatcom County that must be solved. I have talked to thousands of people in Whatcom County and have learned so much. I am committed to being a great Senator for Whatcom County. Thank You.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Whatcom County Growing and Growing Bluer

We've got news from Lynden.

Lynden (pop.10,000 or so) is Whatcom Counties second largest city. BeefyD sends us a report on the changing complexion of a growing city from the Lyndens suburbs.


Like it or not, Lynden is expanding. The Homestead developments are filling up north of downtown, and the elementary schools are getting a tad crowded. Even City Hall is looking (begging) for a little more elbow room.

Who lives in Lynden? Depends on how you define "Lynden." If you mean "within city limits," maybe the local stereotypes still apply: Dutch Calvinists, really uptight about their lawns and the Sabbath. If you mean "has a Lynden address," the stereotypes begin to break down. My wife and I moved up here last year from King County (don't panic: My wife is a WA native, and I've lived here for 21 years, and I'm NOT from California), and we had both heard such dire predictions about this place that we were a bit on edge about moving in with all of our bumper stickers and crazy lefty ideas. We were pleasantly surprised.

While the redneck racist element exists (witness the unhinged white woman in the laundromat yelling epithets and racial slurs at the Hispanic woman because she's using too many machines), and Roulstone and McGavick yard signs abound in this election cycle, my house sits between a very nice liberal family on our left, and a very nice apolitical or conservative couple on our right. An educated guess, there; they don't talk about politics much.

We've been here a year: So far, so good.

No matter how beautiful it is in Whatcom County, though, we still have a psychopathic primate in the White House, and that affects every last human in this country. If your income exceeds several million dollars per year, you're cheering, and throwing bananas toward D.C. You're a champion of Bring It On wars that enrich the wealthy at the expense of the poor, more tax cuts (they'll benefit you the most), and an ideology that Charles Dickens would instantly recognize: A small, wealthy, ruling elite, and everybody else.

If you're not an ultra-millionaire, you're struggling to keep what you have, and if you're married, both of you work. If you have kids, a good chunk of that second income is lost to child care and transportation. We non-millionaires know all too well how much it costs to own and operate a car. And if you're a single parent, well, you're "uniquely American," according to the Simian King. Maybe you're working two or three jobs to keep those other folks in Hummers and Armani. Have a credit card? Of course you do: How else can you cover co-pays and medication? Well, thanks to legislation written largely by credit industry lobbyists, if you miss a payment or otherwise transgress Bank Amerishark's fine print, they can jack your interest rate to 30%. I'm still thanking Rick Larsen for that one.
Jeez, I haven't even caught up to this year yet.

A few days ago, I heard that President Stay The Course and Team Goebbels are spending 20 million dollars to dig up some good news on the Iraq Occupation (BTW: It's an occupation, not a war. Start saying this out loud; we can't keep using Frank Lunz's frames). Twenty million bucks! Hell, I could find good news about a porn movie starring Ann Coulter for that kind of coin. But perhaps, he mused in an understated, yet sardonic way, that's the idea. I might even be able to pay off most of my credit cards.

And don't get me started on the concept of W even attempting to read Camus between bouts of brush clearing while on Vacation in Crawford. I don't think even Tony Snow took that one seriously.

- BeefyD

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The ABC's of Right-wing Propaganda

Millions have been spent to make a propaganda film that attempts to rewrites history and blame the Clinton Administration for the 9/11 attack. There are lies and there are damned lies and then there's this film. This is a film Joseph Goebbels would be proud of.

From Think Progress:
ABC Insider Assures Right-Wing Bloggers: ‘The Message of the Clinton Admin Failures Remains Fully Intact’

It's necessary to push back hard or we'll see democracy slip through our fingers as the average citizen is tricked into thinking that it's better to feel safe than to be free.
House Democrats Demand Accuracy in ABC 9/11 Film

Representatives John Conyers, Jr., John Dingell, Jane Harman, and Louise Slaughter today called on ABC to fix the inaccuracies in its mini-series The Path to 9/11, before its scheduled airing on September 10th and 11th. Read the letter:

Please add your voice and help stop this propaganda garbage:
Keep "Path to 9/11" Propaganda Film Off The Air

Monday, September 04, 2006

Remembering Mother Jones on Labor Day

Quotation from Mother Jones, 1915.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Why bother having laws anyway?

My last post, "Bellingham - Local Workplace Terrorized" drew a comment similar to many of the comments attached to the article about the immigration raid in Bellingham. Here's part of what it said:
Yeah, what a shame when the authorities actually ENFORCE the laws, and go after people who ILLEGALLY enter and/or work in our country!

Your slanted views are akin to anarchy. Why bother having laws anyway?

Your characterization of the matter, using the word "terrorized", indicates you sympathize with those who do not respect the law. ...

# posted by Anonymous : 12:40 PM
So, Great; here's an anonymous commenter spewing the talking points of Right-wing race-baiting demagogues. But that's fine. Let's go ahead and talk about slanted views akin to anarchy and those who do not respect the law. Yes! Let's talk about Speeders!
Traffic Safety Facts
2004 Data - Speeding

... Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by NHTSA to be $40.4 billion per year. In 2004, speeding was a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, and 13,192 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.

Motor vehicle crashes cost society an estimated $7,300 per second. The total economic cost of crashes was estimated at $230.6 billion in 2000. In 2000, the cost of speeding-related crashes was estimated to be $40.4 billion — $76,865 per minute or $1,281 per second. ...
That's right, Speeders are a menace threatening to destroy our Nation! They're scofflaws stealing from our economy at the rate of $76,865 every single minute! They killed 13,192 in 2004! Those Speeders are everywhere and there are more of them all the time! It's not safe on the streets anymore because of the Speeders.

And it's not just the speeding, those Speeders are a criminal class. Read any big city newspaper and you'll see; 'Police stop Speeder and make arrest for rape or murder or band robbery or drug dealing'. And who knows, mixed in among those Speeders could be al Qaeda Terrorists!

Think that all sounds stupid? See how easy it is to take something out of context and blow things out of proportion?

But on the other hand, I'm not the only one who's found a parallel between undocumented workers and speeders.
White House compares illegal immigration to speeding

Bill Sammon, The Examiner
May 26, 2006 12:13 PM

WASHINGTON - The White House on Friday said a Senate bill that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants is analogous to a traffic law that allows a speeder to pay a fine and continue driving.

"If you had a traffic ticket and you paid it, you're not forever a speeder, are you?" White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said in response to questions from The Examiner.

"So the fact is, you have paid your debt to society," he added. "And we have come up with a way to make sure that the debt to society gets paid. Then you move forward." ...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bellingham - Local Workplace Terrorized

Last Wednesday Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) Raided a business here in Whatcom County. I heard about it from a listserv on Thursday:
August 31, 2006
Alert! Local Workplace Terrorized

Bellingham, WA

Yesterday, Wednesday August 30, a group of Federal Officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) raided a local workplace and removed 28 workers. 40 Federal agents in bullet proof vests with weapons, terrorized the local business, quickly rounding people up, while two special agents from Seattle in dark suits and ties stood at the main entrance and monitored traffic coming in and out. These workers, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters were transported to a detention facility in Tacoma . One of the workers taken away is a pregnant Mom, her baby is due next week. According to eyewitnesses it was a traumatic experience filled with fear, people crying and others trying to keep calm. Five of the detained workers, including the pregnant Mom, were eventually released because they were identified as the primary caregivers of children.

Word of this raid has traveled quickly in our County and today there is a palpable chill in the immigrant and Latino community. We object strongly to Federal Enforcement agents from I.C.E., which is part of the Dept. of Homeland Security, coming into our community and terrorizing workers. There is a devastating ripple affect of this kind of "lawful" enforcement to immigrant families in Whatcom County . We cannot and should not tolerate this disrespect to our community from our Federal Agencies. This is our home and the folks terrorized yesterday are our friends, neighbors and contributing members of our community and as usual even our local authorities have no access to information about this incident. We in Community to Community are outraged, because we know that there is a more just and humane way to deal with immigration issues in our community. ...

- Rosalinda Guillen
Executive Director, Community to Community
I emailed Rosalinda and got some more details:
... These were not arrests - these were immigrant workers removed with excessive force from their workplace for deportation to their home countries, they are not criminals - there were 28 removed – 23 of them are now in detention in Tacoma at an I.C.E. Immigrant detention Center. And no none of the local media covered this incident and Sheriff Elfo and the Bellingham Police Chief knew nothing about it, until I called them and notified them

And finally this morning the local paper covered the story:
Saturday, September 2, 2006
Immigration agents raid firm
26 Mexican workers are arrested at Northwest Health Care Linen


Federal immigration agents arrested 26 Mexican nationals working at a Bellingham company Wednesday on suspicion of being in the country illegally, an official said Friday.

The raid took place midmorning at Northwest Health Care Linen, located on Strider Loop Road just off of East Bakerview and Hannegan roads. Armed with a sealed civil search warrant, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents entered the business to question employees, said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice. ...

... Jim Hall, owner of Northwest Health Care Linen, said all of his 90 employees pay taxes and had completed I-9 forms. The company, which supplies linens for hospitals throughout Puget Sound, was shut down for two hours as armed agents in bulletproof vests interviewed workers, he said.

However, Hall questioned the need for Wednesday's operation. He said the agent investigating his business promised to give him a list of employees with questionable documents within 60 days. Instead, agents raided the business, which Hall described as an "extremely emotional event" that could have been avoided.

"It was just too bad that it was handled this way," he said. "It sure leaves a lot of questions for Whatcom County with what Homeland Security is doing." ...

concluding the article is a quote from the ICE spokeswoman:
"We see this as a very important part to restore the integrity to our nation's immigration system," Kice said. "We need to ensure people who are coming here are who they say they are."
I can't remember the last time there was an immigration raid up here in Whatcom County and this one seems awfully odd. I'm left wondering if this wasn't more about creating some talking points for WA-02 Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen's Republican challenger who thinks that the Minutemen border vigilantes are "a program that makes sense".

The Republican Congressional Hearing roadshow that blew through here a month ago didn't impress anyone. Actually the hearing exposed the lousy job Republicans have been doing:

...The U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Blaine sector, which includes the Peace Arch border crossing, remains 400 officers short, said Ronald Henley, the sector's chief patrol agent. While adding an unmanned aerial drone to patrol the border from the coast to Montana would help, Henley said technology could only do so much.

"It doesn't do any good to see anything at the top of the Cascades if I can't respond to it," he said. ...

... Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office told Congress that undercover investigators had entered the United States using fake documents repeatedly this year - including some cases in which Homeland Security Department agents didn't ask for identification.

At nine border crossings on the Mexico and Canadian borders, agents "never questioned the authenticity of the counterfeit documents," according to the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, ... (source)