Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rick Santelli - Asshole of the Apocalypse

Holy cow! Here's one time when guys can say they read Playboy for the articles and mean it. A detailed article exposing how that business news peckerwood Rick Santelli is in the pay of the ultra-rightwing Koch family and his TV rant was the opening shot of an astroturf campaign to stop Obama from fulfilling his campaign promises.

02.27.09 1:40 PM CST • Politics • Playboy Staff
Backstabber: Is Rick Santelli High On Koch?
By Mark Ames and Yasha Levine


What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a “Chicago Tea Party” was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing
John Birch Society.

As you read this, Big Business is pouring tens of millions of dollars into their media machines in order to destroy just about every economic campaign promise Obama has made, as reported recently in the Wall Street Journal. At stake isn’t the little guy’s fight against big government, as Santelli and his bot-supporters claim, but rather the “upper 2 percent”’s war to protect their wealth from the Obama Adminstration’s economic plans. When this Santelli “grassroots” campaign is peeled open, what’s revealed is a glimpse of what is ahead and what is bound to be a hallmark of his presidency.


So today’s protests show that the corporate war is on, and this is how they’ll fight it: hiding behind “objective” journalists and “grassroots” new media movements. Because in these times, if you want to push for policies that help the super-wealthy, you better do everything you can to make it seem like it’s “the people” who are
“spontaneously” fighting your fight. As a 19th century slave management manual
wrote, “The master should make it his business to show his slaves, that the advancement of his individual interest, is at the same time an advancement of theirs. Once they feel this, it will require little compulsion to make them act as becomes them.” (Southern Agriculturalist IX, 1836.) The question now is, will they get away with it, and will the rest of America advance the interests of Koch, Santelli, and the rest of the masters?

The full article:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Energy, Is It Clean OR Safe Just Because PR Guys Say So?

Get clean coal clean! (NEW Air Freshener) In reality, there's no such thing as clean coal. Learn more. Join the campaign.

But not to be out done by the Clean Coal people, the Nuclear Power people have come up with the phrase "carbonless energy parks" to describe four unfinished nuclear plants left mothballed from the costly WPPSS fiasco. And they've enlisted 40th District Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon to the cause.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I.C.E. in Bellingham Draws Secretary Napolitano's Attention

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) officials don't seem to have gotten the memo that there won't be anymore spending buckets full of taxpayers dollars to employ shock tactics and overwhelming force just to check up on workers citizenship status.
Napolitano orders review of WA raid


SEATTLE -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has ordered a review of a raid earlier this week at a Bellingham, Wash., manufacturing plant that ended with the arrests of 28 illegal immigrants.

Napolitano told lawmakers during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that she did not know about the raid before it happened and was briefed on it early Wednesday morning. She has asked U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which conducted the raid, for answers.

"I want to get to the bottom of this as well," she said. She said work-site enforcement needs to be focused on the employers. ...(full article)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Keep the Border Patrol ON THE BORDER

Keep the Border Patrol ON THE BORDER

The film "Keep the Border Patrol ON THE BORDER" features Washington residents across political, social and economic divides who are speaking out against the Border Patrol presence in their area. Included are talks by Border Patrol agents, a local attorney & an ACLU legislative director. Residents say that the Border Patrol/Homeland Security's intrusion, up to 100 miles inside our nation's borders, is a misuse of tax dollars, violates our civil liberties and creates a climate of fear in our communities. A 52-minute version is also available. For more information go to Please feel free to embed, copy and share this video as you wish.

what a maverick !!!

grampy's fiscal angst is just palpable...not

Is McCain jealous of the helicopter Obama will get?

Reproductive Health and Rights Lobby Day

citizens from across the state came to Olympia yesterday to ask our legislators to maintain our $10 million dollar budget for state family planning. a 10% cut ($1 million) for Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood would cut $634,600. 300 patients would lose services.

read about it and participate with a message to your legislators here:

It's Virtual Lobby Day 2009!
On Monday, February 23, hundreds of people from across Washington State will travel to Olympia for Reproductive Health & Rights Lobby Day.
They will be fighting for funding for family planning, fighting to reinstate the CSO family planning nurse program, and fighting for common sense sex education programs that work. And you can too. It's easy, it's fast, and it's free. It's Virtual Lobby Day!
There are two ways to participate:
1. Phone it in. The best way to make sure that your legislator gets the message is to make a phone call. It's simple- just call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and the operator will help you find your legislators. Then deliver this simple message: "Family planning saves money, and Washington can't afford to cut it. Please retain $10 million for family planning services in the operating budget."
2. Send a message. With just a click of your mouse, you can add your voice to the hundreds of others in Olympia right now and urge your legislators to fund family planning services in the budget. Add your personal story to make it really count!

we also asked them to pass Proven Programs Act: HB1612 and SB 5629 which would have our state only apply for funding for proven sexual education programs.

currently Washington State Dept of Health is required by law to apply for Title V abstinence-only -until -marriage funding. we can't use these funds since the Healthy Youth Act (2007) requires schools, who choose to teach sex education, to teach comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. (this does include abstinence-only-until-marriage as one option)

we should not be using precious resources applying for funds we can't even use. this is a no brainer!

what fun day we had!! Rep. Doug Ericksen and Rep. Kelli Linville met with us....thanks to both! part of our group was able to meet with Sen. Dale Brandland's assistant. thank you!

hopefully our legislature will see the wisdom in spending $1 now to save $4 in costs for unintended pregnancy we will start seeing immediately if services are reduced.

thanks to Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington for making this great day happen. here are a few photos.....(sorry about the quality of some of the "no flash" interior ones)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Following The Money - GRITtv: Terry Jones: Arms Manufacturer

Yes in deed, the Military Industrial Complex has created a replacement for the "threat of Communism"... it's "the threat of Radical Islam".

If you don't think there is a Military Industrial Complex, then you just aren't really paying attention.

GRITtv gives us Terry Jones, (of Monty Python), observations on the global arms manufacturing industry and their influence.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Lesson About Bipartisanship

To Congressional Republicans, bipartisanship is just an opportunity to screw things up and then blame it on Democrats... with Maron and Seder is LIVE weekdays, 3-4pm from the Air America Break Room. Another episode of Remedial theater from Marc and Sam. Here they break down how Republicans in Congress are working with Obama on the Stimulus bill. Catch comedy sketches, interviews, political and cultural discussions, and interact with hosts and guests live: 3pm, M-F @!BreakRoomLive with Marc Maron and Sam Seder is a production of

Thursday, February 19, 2009

moving from casino capitalism to disaster capitalism

here they come 2005 their mantra was to privatize social security....they were going to give us a "real choice" this article and the losses taken at the casino prove, we were right to stand up and loudly shout "keep your picks off our social security"......

now they have a new scheme. they want to have their tax cuts, war without end, greedy corporate profits and continue to charge it all on our credit cards while stiffing us (baby boomers) at a time in our life when many of us will be struggling with the declining years.

hopefully President Obama will not drink the kool aide and go along to get along.

Looting Social Security
By William Greider
This article appeared in the March 2, 2009 edition of The Nation.
February 11, 2009

Is Social Security threatened by entitlement reformers? David M. Walker, president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation responds to William Greider's essay here. Read William Greider's answer to Peterson's criticism here.

Governing elites in Washington and Wall Street have devised a fiendishly clever "grand bargain" they want President Obama to embrace in the name of "fiscal responsibility." The government, they argue, having spent billions on bailing out the banks, can recover its costs by looting the Social Security system. They are also targeting Medicare and Medicaid. The pitch sounds preposterous to millions of ordinary working people anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years. But an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea--Washington's leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly.

full article

wake up america

Doug (the demagogue) Ericksen (R-Ferndale)

Somebody else has noticed that Doug Ericksen (R) is prone to some pretty inflammatory rightwing rhetoric when he's away from the District (42nd Legislative District that is)

Dear Bellingham,
by Josh Feit, 02/19/2009, 3:11 PM

I wonder if the voters of Bellingham know that their Republican state
representative, Rep. Doug Ericksen (R-42, Ferndale, Bellingham), is prone
to lapsing into demagogue-level rhetoric down in Olympia. ...(more)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Doug Ericksen (R) - Quid Pro Quo?

When it comes to campaign contributions and Legislators actions, I don't know exactly where the line is between Ok and Quid Pro Quo. However, the legislation that Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) just introduced certainly has a bad smell.

First the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association asks Puget Sound port pilots to back off from increasing their charges.

What's The Buzz 02/08/2009

...The folks at the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, citing the lagging economy, are calling on Puget Sound port pilots to back off the latest pilot tariff increase they are seeking from the state Board of Pilotage Commissioners.
And a week later Doug Ericksen (R) introduces a Bill to regulate Puget Sound port pilots pay.

What's the Buzz 02/15/2009

... Washington State Rep. Doug Ericksen introduced a bill last week that would require the Board of Pilotage Commissioners to work with the state Utilities and Transportation Commission when it set tariff rates for pilots ...

What's the connection? Campaign contributions:

So has Ericksen made an illegal move? Is it Quid Pro Quo? ...Or is it just unsightly and less than ethical? I'm just presenting the, fair & balanced, facts: I report... You decide.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Doug Ericksen (R), Our Ferry Fairy

Report: Ferry to Friday Harbor subsidy depends on use

BELLINGHAM - A passenger-only ferry between Bellingham and Friday Harbor could inject nearly $1.3 million into Whatcom County's economy, but it could end up costing taxpayers to operate it, a study found.

Depending on how many people ride, the service could lose between $2 million and $3 million a year, or, with high ridership, it could net between $1 million and $2.4 million a year. ...

... State Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, has introduced a bill that would direct the state to spend $25 million in federal economic stimulus money for five passenger ferries. The bill calls for one of the high-speed, low-wake boats to be reserved for northwest Washington. ...(full article)

A passenger-only ferry between Bellingham and Friday Harbor that could cost local taxpayers between $2million and $3million per year and generate $1.3 million of economic activity? That sounds like a pretty bad deal; spending two tax dollars to generate one dollars worth of local business.

"The consultants recommended a public-private partnership, in which local governments own the boat and essentially provide a financial backstop for a private operator, guaranteeing the company a profit."

It figures that State Representative Doug Ericksen(R) would be a co-conspirator in this proposal to rip off taxpayers with another "public-private partnership" scam. Ericksen(R) wants to have the State pay to build passenger-only ferries, and give them away.

"State Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, has introduced a bill that would direct the state to spend $25 million in federal economic stimulus money for five passenger ferries. The bill calls for one of the high-speed, low-wake boats to be reserved for northwest Washington."

At a time when the State budget is so far in the whole that ferry services are being cut, Ericksen is part of the scheme to saddle Whatcom county taxpayers with a losing proposition that guarantees private profits and public loss.

If a passenger-only ferry to Friday Harbor is really such a great idea, why not license a private company to run their own ferry at their own risk? If businesses in Bellingham and Friday Harbor stand to profit from ferry service, why don't they take up a collection to make it happen? Where are the Chambers of Commerce, why aren't they organizing a private fund?

If there's a significant public good to be had from running a passenger-only ferry, why not have a publicly owned and run ferry? The profits from good years could be set aside to balance out the slow years and the cost to taxpayers would be minimized. Why pay out extra tax money to have a private company do what could be done better and cheaper by a public ferry authority?

I am sick to death of phony free-marketeers like Ericksen, who are always looking for ways to suck the vitality out of our society and economy by socializing the risks and privatizing the profits.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bellingham Herald Editorial, Fact-Challenged

I must admit Saturdays Opinion piece by the Bellingham Heralds Editorial Board turned out to be good for a laugh. They challenged the Whatcom County Council & Administration to fix the way property taxes are re-assessed.

Tax time a reminder system still needs fixing


Whatcom County property owners began receiving their tax bills for 2009 on Friday, Feb. 13.

We'd like to challenge the members of the Whatcom County Council, and the county administration office, to do the right thing in 2009 and - after a too-long delay - modify the property tax assessment system so that it more fairly divides up taxes among property owners annually. ...(full editorial)

It sound like a problem that really needs fixin'.

The only problem with the Editorial Boards idea is that the County Council and the Assessor are already fixing the problem, as County Councilman Carl Weimer pointed out in a comment left on the Heralds website:
carlweimer wrote on February, 15 10:25 AM:

Good editorial, except I guess you missed the inclusion and passage in the budget last year by the County Council for an upgrade in the Assessor/Treasurer's computer systems to allow them to go to these annual appraisals. Many of us wondered why it cost so much ($2.9 million)and would take so long (a couple years), but we did approve the money because we see the value and fairness in an annual system. The County's Assessor, Keith Willnauer, told us that once the system was in place he would be able to do the annual appraisals at the same or less cost than the every four year system. Hope this helps clarify that this switch is in the works.

Looks like the Bellingham Heralds Editorial Board's zeal in criticizing all things 'government' got in the way of looking into the facts. Oops...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Declining Coverage at the State Capitol

There's a worrying trend at the State Capitol, fewer and fewer government reporters. The MSM is faced with declining revenues because of cheaper advertising on the internet and they're shedding reporters in an attempt to reduce costs. Yikes!

TVW's news program "The Impact" covers the story:

It's already tough staying on top of what's going on in State government. This trend toward fewer reporters isn't going to help. Let's hope that bright minds will figure out how to make internet political reporting pay, so that we can all have the information we need to keep our democracy operating the way it's supposed to.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

State Rep. Linville (D) Rescues Elders

The 42nd Legislative District sure has a strange mix of representation in the State Legislature. As usual, Democrat Kelli Linville is working hard to care for the citizens of Washington State, while Republican Doug Ericksen is off grandstanding.

Eliminating adult day health will hurt Snohomish County seniors

By Nancy Dapper and Nora Gibson

If Gov. Gregoire's proposed budget is enacted the adult day health program, a vital part of the safety net that protects our most vulnerable citizens, will vanish. The consequences for Washington State's elderly and disabled citizens will be terrible.

Thousands of seriously ill seniors and disabled people will have their lives upended and their fragile health put at risk. Yet even as their quality of life decreases, the state will end up paying more, because many will be forced into nursing homes or other expensive care facilities -- at a far higher cost to the taxpayer. ...

... Some legislators recognize the important role that adult day health plays in improving the lives of our elderly. As the session began, ADH funding was under threat of being eliminated in the supplemental budget, which would have meant ADH shutdowns beginning on May 1. House Ways and Means Chair Kelli Linville deserves applause for restoring short-term funding for ADH, at least through June. ...(HeraldNet - Snohomish County: full article)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Spending Is Stimulus - - Why Don't Republicans Get It?

Do Republicans really want the U.S. to slide into an economic depression because they think that would improve their prospects in the 2010 election? Why else would they be obstructing a Bill intended to stimulate a faltering economy? Why else would they be calling help for families that have lost jobs, pork?

Our economy is in real trouble, this isn't a time for Republicans to be playing the same old stupid political tricks.

Obama Rallies Democrats on Stimulus Package
By Kate Phillips

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — President Obama urged House Democrats tonight to set aside their differences with the Senate and Republicans in order to push forward quickly with the stimulus package. At times, he sounded irritated with critics who contended the bill was too big or its purpose wrong-headed.

And while he was indeed before a friendly audience, or, as the House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, phrased it, “among family,” Mr. Obama sought to chide his former congressional colleagues just a little bit:

  • “These aren’t just statistics. This is not a game, this is not a contest for who’s in power, who’s up and who’s down. These are your constituents. These are families you know and you care about. I believe it is important for us to set aside some of the gamesmanship in this town and get something done.”

... Continuing in a mocking tone of critics who complain ” “this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill,’ What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point. No, seriously, that’s the point. Now I got carried away,” he joked. But, “Here’s the point I’m making. This package is not going to be absolutely perfect, and you can nit and you can pick. That’s the game we all play here. What I’m saying is we can’t afford to play that game.”
... (NYT - full article)

Obama: Spending is Stimulus. That's the Whole Point!

Op-Ed Columnist
On the Edge
Published: February 5, 2009

A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to economic recovery. Over the last two weeks, what should have been a deadly serious debate about how to save an economy in desperate straits turned, instead, into hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clich├ęs about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts.

It’s as if the dismal economic failure of the last eight years never happened — yet Democrats have, incredibly, been on the defensive. Even if a major stimulus bill does pass the Senate, there’s a real risk that important parts of the original plan, especially aid to state and local governments, will have been emasculated.

Somehow, Washington has lost any sense of what’s at stake — of the reality that we may well be falling into an economic abyss, and that if we do, it will be very hard to get out again. ...(NYT - full article)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Boondoggle Doug... R-Ferndale

Legislator Wants Stimulus Funds to Build Five Foot Ferries

By Ed Friedrich
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

... Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, is sponsoring House Bill 1209, which
would direct the state Department of Transportation to buy five passenger-only
ferries for $25 million. The bill does not address how or where the boats ought
to be used. ...

... Port of Kingston director Mike Bookey said Ericksen's bill won't likely
help his efforts to start passenger-only ferry service between Kingston and
Seattle next fall. It'll be too late. The challenge is finding operating funds,
he said. Buying a boat is pretty straightforward.

Kitsap Transit executive director Dick Hayes, like Bookey, said new boats
are great, but the problem will be finding somebody to operate them. ... (full article-Kitsap Sun)

I'm all for stimulating the economy to prevent us from slipping into a Depression, but this idea of Doug's smacks of either lameness or cronyism.

Doug Ericksen is always playing the naysayer, going on about wasteful spending, but now he wants to have five ferries built and then figure out if the State Ferry System would be able to use them. And(!) if there's any way to fit operating them into the State budget. Doug sez just get 'em built and then figure it out. Very strange since he's the one who keeps voting NO on the State Operating Budget.

Ericksen's Bill doesn't sound very responsible to me. As a matter of fact, it sound rather like a pork-barrel boondoggle.

note: Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against 'All American Marine' and I'm not accusing them of anything.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Democrats to Discuss Top-Two Primary

Roni Beall, the Chair of the 40th Legislative District Democrats sent me this meeting notice:

40th LD Quarterly Meeting Announcement

- 1 PM, Saturday, February 7, 2009 at the Fairhaven Library -

"Top-two Primary" status & influence on local party organizations"

Distinguished Speaker: Todd Nichols, Chair, Washington State 2nd Congressional District Democrats

Join us for this interesting and informative meeting. Meet the new 40th Legislative District board, and find out the nuts and bolts, and current status of Washington State's "top-two Primary" system and its importance to our local politics.

1 - 3 PM, Saturday, February 7, Fairhaven Library upstairs meeting room
- 1117 12th Street, Bellingham (Fairhaven District) -

Yes, the top-two primary has changed elections in Washington State and those "I want to vote for the person, not the Party" people have gotten their wish. Although I don't see how the top-two primary has helped anyone to clarify who the best candidates might be, you can't even figure out who the Democrats & Republicans are backing by looking at the voter pamphlet and ballot.

There are a lot of divergent views about how the top-two primary will effect the political party's. The presentation, on Saturday, by Todd Nichols should be very interesting.

Monday, February 02, 2009

freedom still on the march.....

here we all are feeling the pain of the mess that has been made over the last 8 years right here in our country and yet i don't think we should forget what all this borrowing (in our name) and stealing (war profiteering used to be illegal) has bought the people of Iraq..... and this story doesn't even mention the genocide we are committing with the depleted uranium we spread far and wide in their sovereign nation.....

wake up america!

Iraq's Shocking Human Toll: About 1 Million Killed, 4.5 Million Displaced, 1-2 Million Widows, 5 Million Orphans
By John Tirman, The Nation. Posted February 2, 2009.

Now that Bush is gone, perhaps we can honestly face the damage
we have wrought and the responsibilities we must accept from it.

We are now able to estimate the number of Iraqis who have died in the war instigated by the Bush administration. Looking at the empirical evidence of Bush's war legacy will put his claims of victory in perspective. Of course, even by his standards -- "stability" -- the jury is out. Most independent analysts would say it's too soon to judge the political outcome. Nearly six years after the invasion, the country remains riven by sectarian politics and major unresolved issues, like the status of Kirkuk.
full post