2004 - September thru December
To January - March, 2004 archives
Wed, Dec 29, 2004
An animated map of the Indian Ocean (5.8 megs) shows how the deep ocean waves sped out from the earthquake. NOAA prepared the map. The length of the slipping fault was about the length of California, and the map shows clearly how that pushed the waves mostly east and west. It shows the multiple waves and how they bounced off islands and hit other places. This map is large, so only download it if you have a hight speed connection.
I should have an interesting personal story for posting here tomorrow about the quake.
Wed, Dec 22
Rumsfeld doesn't have a clue. He embarked on a war of conquest of a foreign country for the benefit of oil companies. He thought it would be easy. Now he is on TV - a confused man. He acts hurt. He says he is doing all he can to protect American kids. But he can't protect them. He screwed up early by sending them there at all. Iraq was not a threat to us or any neighboring country. Every country bordering Iraq was against the war. We went there for easy pickins.
We did half the right thing in Afghanistan. Those of us against the war in Iraq did support our action in Afghanistan. We struck back at the Taliban who had harbored Osama who had attacked us. But there is no oil there and so we went where the oil was. Afghanistan is an unfinished job. But we haven't the troops or focus to finish up there.
Rummy and Gen Meyers can spout all the tough words they want. The Iraqis who attack American forces are doing it in their own country. Remember that old joke - why did it take 5 boy scouts to help the old lady across the street? Because she didn't want to go. The quagmire will get worse. Now we hear that we have the mission of bringing Democracy to the rest of the world. When did we Americans decide that? I thought we were an example to the world. This is a repeat of the wars to spread religion - Christianity or Islam.
We were never threatened by Iraq or Saddam. There are worse tyrants in the world than Saddam who we cuddle up to. We really only want the oil. And we want to show other countries that we can conquer any country we choose. We want to improve our bullying ability. And that is not the America that I want.
Mon, Dec 20
Reading foreign news websites is a most enlightening process. We learn things and read perspectives not found in our controlled US media. Not that other media are not controlled to some extent also, but the controls are different and the goals are different - which makes for a diverse news process. Albeit, somewhat inadvertantly.
Even the British have serious controls on news. They have prior restraint laws which we don't. And there are news organizations that voluntarily never print some things for us Americans. As an example, for the past couple weeks we have not heard about killing in Fallugah. Why? Because we supposedly "conquered" that city. But fighting continues and American kids continue to be killed there. Now we are told they were killed in Anwar province, which is true. Sort of like saying they were killed in Iraq, or the Middle East.
You might read an opinion piece in the Gulf News by Adel Safty. He is a professor in Turkey and he writes about "Monolithic corporations can make societies sick". Check it out. And check out other foreign sites. Liberal or conservative, we should seek the truth and practice critical thinking.
Wed, Dec 15
Richard Cohen of the Washington Post has it right. You need to register with the Wa Post to read his column, Presidential medals of Failure. The fourh failure is, of course, Bush himself. But these three guys - Tenet, Franks and Brenner - are as responsible for our mess in Iraq as most any other three. Empty suits. Yes men. Corrupt bureaucrats.
Tue, Dec 14
Are US government security agencies interfering with our rights to read the news? I think so. Again today, Al-Jazeera is unreachable. Instead, we get this:
Al-Jazeera is not off line. They have multiple servers.
A week ago, I got the following request to login while accessing Al-Jazeera. But Al-Jazeera does not use logins. So, who put this up in my way to learn who is looking at Al-Jazeera? I fully suggest it is our government.
I was able to blow past this using some simple computer processes and queried Al-Jazeera about it. They knew nothing. This login was setup in the US - this side of the website. It was bogus - as I proved when I went past it.
When Al-Jazeera first went with an English version last year, they were boomed offline in the US by several never revealed Internet companies using illegal electronic processes. The common assumption is our government was either doing this, encouraging it by others or at least allowing it to continue. This lasted months - during the start of the Iraq war.
So - what are those poor kids dying in Iraq trying to protect? Our right to a free press and free speech? And what are we getting? Censorship and propaganda. So much for the Bush administration freedom talk.
The war is heating up over there and our government is again trying to prevent us from knowing what is happening. Those 8 marines killed over the weekend were possibly killed in Fallouja, but the US military report only says Anwar province - where Fallouja is. That is like saying killed in Texas when they were killed in Dallas. Why? Because we supposedly conquered Fallouja and no marines should be getting killed there.
As things go wrong for the Bush administration we can expect more censorship of our news. And more restrictions on how news reporters can operate from Iraq. You can bet another hot question to a visiting Rumsfeld or other official will not happen again. Not with any reporters present.
One last comment. If you have read this far on today's post they you probably are against the war and are a progressive or liberal. I keep hearing from my good conservative friends in Whatcom County that they don't read NwCit anymore as they are only interested in posts about local news. They don't like reading news that disturbs their comfort zone of rah rah war. I feel the war is an issue that every community in the USA should be debating and be concerned about. It is the issue that will wreck our country in the near future if we don't end it. We are on the road to perdition with this insane war. It serves no national purpose at all.
Fri, Dec 10
So, that soldier didn't think of that question all by himself. An energetic reporter set it up - and made sure it would happen. Edward Lee Pitts, embeded with a unit going north to Iraq, saw the troops working with unarmored vehicles and saw an opportunity to get the issue some light. Good old American entrepreneurship.
Lets watch the soldier and reporter be given a couple weeks grace and then be trashed. The military powers will want to send a strong message that no one else should even think of exposing the shortcomings of US troops. I'll keep track of them and let you know.
3:45 pm addition
Thur, Dec 9
Israel is restarting the terrorist violence. Since Arafat died a month ago, there have been no serious Palestinian attacks - and all the world has been watching the Palestinian leaders try to organize to work for peace. So Israel has restarted the killing. When the Palestinians do strike back, it will be reported as a sad resumption of terrorist tactics by them, while ignoring Israel's actual aggressions.
I know many friends refuse to check Middle East news websites, assuming they are skewed in their reporting. However, all news is skewed - to serve corporate causes, for patriotic reasons, and to bolster personal political beliefs. To even get close to the truth we need competing news sources - and we need to bring critical thinking to the process. If we don't, then we are living in our fantasy world of choice - and it might be comforting but it is not real.
You can quickly check book marked sites for news reports of interest to you. There is a good selection to the right for starters. Try checking a couple sites that are readable to you and see if your perception of events becomes more complete. What are the civilian death tolls in Iraq? How much did we destroy the city of Fallugah? What are the Jewish Israeli human rights activists trying to tell us?
If you are not already, I can tell you that once you get in the swing of checking various websites and start tracking issues and processes, it can be quite fun and more interesting than reading books of fiction. It is real, it is complicated, there are real dramas being acted out and - and it all does affect us in the short or long time span. For the first time in human history, we common folks can read what is happening in other countries and around the world without the official filters of our domestic media.
Sun, Dec 5
To be concise, if we start to rationalize torture then we are lost. It is the absolute opposite direction of democracy. It is the basic tool of the tyrant - the dictator. Terror is created by torture. Terror is a state of mind that prevents clear thought and impedes free actions. And destroys a person.
The Bush administration has been pushing torture since 9/11 and it seems Americans are beginning to actually feel some torture is needed at some times - if only for our survival. Maybe a little torture is OK. Maybe a little that does not spill blood but just drives the victim half insane is not really torture. Yah, like Chinese water torture is not torture.
Here are some analogies to this rationalization.
Maybe your wife needs to be hit just once so she understands limits.
Maybe a girl can get a little bit pregnant, without going all the way.
It's OK for the CIA to have a secret agent pretend to be a news reporter so as to gain access to rebels. Well - only on rare occasions.
Assassination is OK if it is not overdone.
Murdering Karen Silkwood was necessary to protect shareholders.
Pointing a gun at a prisoner's head at 4 inches in not torture.
Somehow we can slip into thinking a little torture will gain us valuable information and prevent a terrorist attack. But what we ignore is that torture also creates more terrorists. Torture tells all other peoples that we also will stoop to terrorist tactics to gain our ends. Torture of captives drives good people into a state of sympathy for the enemy.
What puzzles - and appalls - me is the lack of protest by the vast majority of Americans to Bush's program of torture. We Americans have never believed the Germans who said they didn't know Jews were being exterminated. Well, it is our turn now - and we pretend to be deaf and blind to the crimes of our government. To speak out seems too hard - too awkward. We value our comfort and our secure lives. We think a little torture will protect us and be soon forgotten.
Tue, Nov 30
Below is a response from John Poirier to my post of Nov 6. He sees things differently, and I think he is right. I received several emails on that post, but this is the one that explains things best.
The gay "issue" did not lose the election for John Kerry. Your quote: "The party - and party members - have pushed extreme gay rights issues up the noses of conservative Christians the past several years. Gay marriages being the big hot issue."
The Dems did not want gay marriages, John Kerry did not support it, Pres. Clinton and most Dems voted with GOP for DOMA, and the eleven state initiatives were not put on the ballot by gay activists, but by Rove surrogates, hoping to rile up the base. Rep. Barney Frank was furious with Mayor Gavin of SF for grandstanding on the gay marriage issue last summer, knowing that there would be a backlash against all gay folk.
There was no clamoring of hundreds of gay couples in Ohio for marriage, or any of the other ten states with initiatives, except maybe a few in Oregon. Most of us gay people were appalled when the Mass. Supreme Court made that decision last year, seeing it as a perfect gift to the GOP and Rove as a wedge issue.
Believe me, there is NO consensus in the gay community regarding gay marriage, and most of the gay people I've met in my fifty plus years as a gay hardworking, taxpaying circumspect man would be perfectly happy with civil unions, as would I, if I had a lover. As a single and celibate gay man who volunteered at Kerry HQ on Holly and Bay St. I am as disappointed as you that Bush stole the vote again (now that's a REAL issue you should blog about, like Keith Olberman is doing.)
But what a cheap shot at blaming all gay people for the selfish and minority agenda of a few lucky gay couples who INSIST on gay marriage in SF, Mass. and NY, mostly. They should be so lucky that they at least found a partner in life. I agree that the state should get out of the marriage issue completely, and marriage should remain a church issue, and if some gay couple feels it should be "blessed by some priest or rabbi," let them work it out in their own churches.
Thur, Nov 11
Shame on Israel. Today they again arrested Mordechai Vanunu. We expect the worst for him. This courageous Jew has dared to speak out against Israel's madness. This in a country that says it is tolerant. But he has also revealed that Israel has created weapons of mass destruction - nuclear bombs - against the international laws. This is why the US supposedly invaded Iraq. But, of course, we wink and nod to Israel. And Israel may well use a nuclear bomb against another country - Syria or Iran are the most likely. Vanunu is a political prisoner and his fate should be of concern to all in the US who speak out for other freedom speakers. Israel agents kidnapped him in Italy, drugged him, took him to Israel, held a secret trial and put him in prison for 18 years - most of it in solitary. Now they have arrested him again. Shame on them.
What can you do? Write your US Senators, Patty or Maria, and tell them that Israel must release Vanunu if Israel wants to continue receiving its gift of several Billion dollars a year from the US. Write the the Israeli ambassador and tell them that you as an American find their actions shameful and contrary to a free society. And write a short letter to the Herald saying that we all should read about him and urge readers to learn more.
Do you want to learn more? Do a google on his name.
Sat, Nov 6
The Democratic Party continues to be unable to understand people and what motivates them. The party - and party members - have pushed extreme gay rights issues up the noses of conservative Christians the past several years. Gay marriages being the big hot issue. And the Ds have shown little concern or understanding for how this issue really upsets many normal folks.
Meanwhile the Ds have gone ballistic over Ralph Nader running for president, saying he takes votes away from Gore or Kerry. How dare he stand on his principles. How dare he run for office. And they have heaped scorn on any liberal who said they were voting for Nader.
Now it is turning out that the gay marriage issue is the key reason that Kerry lost. And not Nader votes. The 11 states with anti-gay marriage initiatives drew the winning swing votes over to Bush. Normal folks - blue collar, educated, family folks - just could not stomach the gay marriage crusade. They went to the polls - they voted against the gay marriage initiative and they voted for Bush because he spoke out against gay marriage.
One can be for gay rights and not be for gay marriage, imho. Indeed, the whole marriage thing should be a church thing and the government should get out of the marriage business. If hospitals won't allow a gay partner to visit, then change the damn hospital rules. Dah. Same for a lot of the other issues. Despite my best efforts, I have trouble with the concept of "gay marriage". At the same time, it seems beyond me why any pair of people living together cannot have basic courtesies and benefits.
I have experienced more litmus tests from my Democratic Party friends than I have from my conservative and Republican Party friends. Indeed, I consider myself liberal but most of my liberal friends consider me conservative because I fail one or more litmus tests. My beliefs for private enterprise, against excessive bureaucracies, against extreme endangered species regulations, against a gay marriage act, for Ralph Nader, and more are sufficient for ostracism. No whining here. The point is it happens to many people who otherwise fully support a liberal, open, tolerant and progressive society. But the Ds just don't understand that.
The Ds have to look to themselves for Bush's victory. They pick issues and a lead candidate that are not comprehensible to normal Americans. The Ds rant at those who admire Nader but then adopt poison pill election issues. They pull their own dirty tricks to defeat Gov. Howard Dean in Iowa but then whine about Karl Rove. They have only themselves to blame for the loss.
Wed, Nov 3
Well, Americans like the Bush vision and values. He is elected by a majority of the people and electors. And he has a Senate and House of Representatives that are able to carry through his programs.
It is certainly not my vision of America. But we shall see how events proceed. We have a new reality. Americans have decided to go the same route every super powerful country in the history of the world went - in pursuit of empire. The Kerry vision was to back away from empire and work with other nations and the UN. That is now behind us. We have stepped on the path to world dominance. I think it is the path to perdition.
In this country we can expect environmental protections to drop. Forests will be "saved" from forest fires by cutting down the best trees. Our civil liberties will be erased one by one - in the names of security and order. Freedoms of speech and press will be restricted. Patriotism will become the watchword. Ahh, you Bush supporters, it will be interesting to have a discussion with you in two years.
I would encourage supporters of Bush to write down their own thoughts on why they are happy. What they think will develop. And post them. I would encourage my right wing friends to start a blog and post their visions. Lets see how these read two years from now. It is time NwCitizen had a couple other local Bellingham blogs to exchange views and links with.
This is one of the oldest blogs in the US, going steady and involved in local issues since 1996 - before they coined the name blog. I saw back then that the Internet was going to be an efficient and viable way to inform others of political issues. I thought then that soon others would pop up. But no, this is still the only local political blog. If anyone - left or right - wants to have a beer and talk about how to start and run a blog, just email me. We need more local blogs.
Mon, Nov 1
Some election recommendations. I don't kid myself that these have much affect, as most who check this blog have their own strong opinions. But, for the record, and for those who ask me each election, here are some issues and candidates that I think best serve fair and open government.
City of Bellingham.
Vote No on Charter Amendment no. 1
I'll probably vote Yes for the Proposition No. 1 - jail levy
Robin Bailey for State Legislature to replace Doug Ericksen
Sam Reed for Secretary of State - a Republican, Sam has done an outstanding job these past four years. He is a great public servant.
Mike Cooper for Public Lands Commissioner to replace Doug Sutherland. Mike is very well qualified to run our state lands and he actually cares about the environment. Sutherland has ignored state laws in his pursuit of a closed agency grand plan of some sort.
Governor - either will be a good governor. We are lucky.
Mary Kay Becker for State Supreme Court. I've known her going back over 30 years. She is an exceptional person who will provide common sense on the court. Conservatives and Liberals can support her.
No need to go further. You are either for Kerry or Bush, for Murray or against her, etc. See you on the other side of the election.
Mon, Oct 18
The beauty of a website is you don't force yourself on others. I got an email today from TL - and he graciously gave me the email addresses of dozens of people. And he gave them to many others. All of us will end up on another spam list. And he jammed a long email of blather on me that he thinks I need.
Here is my reply.
In the spring of 1942, it looked like the Axis were unstoppable. They were bringing a new order to the world. They did not shrink from challenges. Hitler believed that a strong will, determination and steadfastness would win in the end. Sound familiar? To hell with the facts. We don't plan based on reality, we will our desired reality into existence. Hitler decided Russia was weak and ripe for conquest. Today, we have decided the Mideast is weak and ripe for us to bring democracy to it.
History is replete with crusades. And Empires. And huge failures and defeats. And all crusades were justified to the home country as needed to advance civilization, save the country, spread religion, bring freedom to others - or whatever would sell at home. The Spanish were bringing Christianity to America, not looting it for gold and conquest. Ya, sure.
And we are bringing democracy to Iraq, not looting it for oil. Give me a break.
If Bush wins and we go down the path of perdition, it will be too late when you say 'Who could have known'. Strange, but a lot of us knew two years ago that Saddam didn't have WMD and was not a threat to the US.
The mantra that we are bringing democracy anywhere in internally contradictory. If we force it down their throats then it is not democracy. We western powers - England and the US - have been screwing Iraq since 1918. It is time we stopped.
We the US gave Saddam power and bombs and whatever he wanted. We forced Saddam on the Iraqi people. We destroyed what democracy there was in Iraq. It was part of the Cold War and also to punish Iran for their hostage taking of US citizens.
We are not bringing democracy anywhere. We are building an empire. Vote for Bush if you want to risk all - our very country - on world conquest. Every time in the history of the world that a country or ruler thought they could conquer the world, they tried. All were ruined in the end. We now think that we could if we tried. We are being tempted.
If we say no, then we might save our country and enjoy freedom, a robust economy, good relations with the rest of the world, and actually build a nice society where all can enjoy the benefits of the good life.
I'm voting for John Kerry for President of the United States. Lets get back to being America, not the bully of the world. I don't want empire and the ruin that follows.
Sat, Oct 16
Jon Stewart - host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central - was guest on CNN Crossfire on Friday. They thought he would be funny as well as plug his book "America (The Book) A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction" which is a best seller just now.
Well, he declined to be their monkey. Instead he bitch slapped them, He ripped arch conservative Tucker Carlson and pseudo liberal Paul Begala. He severely chastised them - and boy does Crossfire ever deserve it. Jon Stewart spoke for me.
You can watch the 13 minute video of his interview on a page here at NwCitizen. You need Quicktime and a high speed Internet connection - cable or DSL. Allow 2 or 3 minutes for the download before the 35Mb video starts. Go to this page - and be patient. It is worth the wait. Thanks to JM for the clip.
Or - you can read the transcript. Here is a direct link to the CNN transcript. His interview starts about 1/3 the way down the page. The transcript is actually a better way to learn what Jon is saying as the "hosts" keep interrupting him on the video.
Fri, Oct 15
Robin Bailey is running to replace Doug Ericksen as state representative. Check her website and her positions. Whatcom County would benefit greatly if she wins. Ericksen has not represented even his conservative backers that well. And after three terms, there is little that distinguishes him.
Robin Bailey especially opposes the Commerce Corridor which Ericksen helped sponsor and supported - and has since avoided giving any straight answers about. We citizens were not supposed to learn about this $500,000 waste of taxpayer money this supposed fiscal conservative helped push through the legislature. Ericksen is not accountable to us citizens about this study. He should be voted out. Check his website for what he has to say.
Thur, Oct 14
Regarding the presidential election. (My conservative readers can now stop reading. Nothing local posted this morning.)
At the debate last night, Bush stressed that rather than controls on who buys guns, we should more strongly punish those who commit crimes with a gun. Bush is against the gun control legislation and against banning assault guns. We all know this.
This contrasts, to my way of thinking, with his opinion of preemptive war where he favors invading or bombing other countries before they have a chance to support a terrorist attack on us.
Why not a preemptive attack on gun use in crimes? Why not try and keep the guns out of the hands of felons? Why not reduce or do what we can as a country to reduce the number of assault rifles? Why not do what we can to reduce the number of police and law enforcement deaths from criminals using these weapons of efficient killing? Why is Bush against preeptive action on a horrible domestic problem?
Mon, Oct 4
Note. Tue, Oct 5 - I have tweaked this post to correct a confusing statement.
Mike Cooper for Commissioner of Public Lands. Rarely are we allowed a vote for real choice. And for real improvement in our government. If you value our environment then you want to vote for Democrat Mike Cooper and get rid of Republican Doug Sutherland. Doug has ignored laws and showed a contempt for public process. And for our forests.
This choice overrides partisan politics. I may vote for Republican Dino Rossi for Governor. I wish Democrat Dave Quall had an opponent in the general election as I would probably vote for that person. Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed definitely gets my vote. I want accountable and responsive elected officials.
Mike Cooper promises to better care for our forests and watersheds. He actually values our environment. Doug Sutherland has made a mess of things. His proposed rampant cutting around Lake Whatcom and Glenhaven are only recent examples. All moderate Republicans can support Mike Cooper without risking their values. I strongly urge you to vote for Mike and to spread the word. This guy deserves our support.
Fri, Oct 1
FoxNews.com posted fabricated Kerry quotes today - and was caught. Of course it was a "mistake" - but it had already done some harm. The reporter, Carl Cameron, is their reporter covering Kerry and he made up quotes to show Kerry as a feminine sort of liberal.
Here, read for yourself, what FoxNews.com posted today.
Rallying supporters in Tampa Friday, Kerry played up his performance in Thursday night's debate, in which many observers agreed the Massachusetts senator outperformed the president.
"Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!" Kerry said Friday.
With the foreign-policy debate in the history books, Kerry hopes to keep the pressure on and the sense of traction going.
Aides say he will step up attacks on the president in the next few days, and pivot somewhat to the domestic agenda, with a focus on women and abortion rights.
"It's about the Supreme Court. Women should like me! I do manicures," Kerry said.
Kerry still trails in actual horse-race polls, but aides say his performance was strong enough to rally his base and further appeal to voters ready for a change.
"I'm metrosexual he's a cowboy," the Democratic candidate said of himself and his opponent.
A "metrosexual" is defined as an urbane male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.
Yep - all made up by FoxNews.com. Later today they supposedly posted an explanation that it was a mistake, but I have not been able to find that on their website The false quotes were reportedly up for hours. I wonder how few minutes the explanation was posted.
Why? Well, anyone's guess. I think the reporter was so bent out of shape by Kerry's solid showing against Bush that he coundn't help himself in filing a false report to belittle Kerry. How could Kerry hide his true nature from the American people so well. Maybe it was a joke - to suggest what the reporter thought Kerry was like.
DrudgeReport had nothing on this embarrassing post. Drudge only pretends to be objective with his exposes. The point? The Bush machine will be doing a lot of dirty tricks over the next 32 days to get Bush elected. Anything goes. Anything. And FoxNews is a loyal member of the Bush team. As is the DrudgeReport.
Tue, Sep 28
An E-Newsletter from Larry Klepinger is required reading by any political junkie from Whatcom County. Larry just barely lost to Suzanne Sinclair for Republican challenger to Rick Larsen for US Congress. You can download it from the above link, or you can go to Larry's website and read it and his other E-Newsletters.
Larry swept Whatcom County with 53% of the Republican vote, to Sinclair's 30% and Coggeshell's 17%. He lost in the 2nd Congresional District with Sinclair 41%, Larry 37% and Coggeshell 22%.
A couple statements from his post ring very true for me and are posted below, while taking the risk of quoting out of context. Please read his full post.
"However, my biggest disappointment was how so many "Republicans" spoke to me in private about how they wished that the Evangelical Element were out of the GOP all together. They promised to speak up against this element if I were to run for office but - in the end - lacked the courage and fortitude of their oft voiced opinions.
But the lack of courage in these individuals is very understandable. For to show outright support for me - and to stick to that conviction to the very end - would have put their standing in the GOP at risk - not to mention the monetary loss to their livelihood for themselves and their families in the future."
"Imagine running a campaign with no outside financing - and keeping the expenditures under $5,000 - and going down to the wire. Pretty amazing, to say the least. And all of you who voted for me are the reason why. It was you - not me - that proved all the critics wrong."
If you follow local politics you will enjoy reading his full post.
Mon, Sep 27
74 US Soldiers killed in Sep. The daily rate of deaths is the second highest since the war "ended". And this is the 4th straight month of increased deaths. But daily we are told by the Bush government that things are getting better.
Sun, Sep 26
70 US Soldiers killed in September - so far. Another 10 of our kids may be killed by Friday, the end of the month, for a total of 80 - the fourth highest since the war "ended". Wounded and maimed? Very hard to get those numbers, but hundreds. Several hundreds.
The stupidest thing said is those kids are dying to defend my freedom. Horse pucky. Those kids are dying in a futile quest for empire and riches for international corporations. Those kids are dying because of the demented and misplaced machismo of the Bush administration. Those kids are dying for the fantasy goals of neo-conservatives idiots in our US Government.
They are dying because they signed up to serve and were ordered to Iraq. Our freedoms were never threatened by Saddam or by Iraq. Never. Not for a minute. And my conservative friends side step that fact in every discussion. Those kids are dying for nothing. And there is no reason on earth for any more to die.
I hear we should stay and "finish" the job. Or that we caused this mess and therefore we should stay long enough to fix it. Again, horse pucky. If we pulled out this week, there would be chaos and civil war and eventually the Iraqis would sort it out. If we stay another year, then when we pull out there will be chaos and civil war. No difference. Remember - the ancient Iraqis invented civilization - the rule of law was invented there. They can take care of themselves, given the chance. But we want their oil and there is the rub.
Fri, Sep 17
A tip of the hat to Larry Klepinger. Larry is running for Congress. He wants to replace Rick Larsen as the 2nd District's Representative. He is a Republican but prefers to call himself a 'New Republican' because he has a broader view of what a Republican should believe in. Larry is for a bigger tent - more tolerance of diversity, no litmus tests on such issues as gays and religion.
Larry believes with all his heart in the basic Republican values. Self responsibility and accountability. An open and free market place. Fiscal restraint by government. A careful approach to change and reform. And public accountability by elected officials.
Local Republicans snubbed Larry and refused to even allow him to use their mailing lists. I picked up some of the talk and they were not interested in the guy. They had their marching orders from the State Party bosses to support a party loyalist who had paid her dues. And to let Larry fade away. Ignore the guy. Give him absolutely no help. Even if it doesn't cost a penny.
I first met Larry last May. He is a very forthright guy. Solid. Knows who he is. Has lived an active life and has experience. He has used the Internet a lot in his campaigning - which says to me that the guy is not afraid of new ideas. Nor is he afraid to tell you exactly where he stands on any issue - even local issues that have no bearing on his run for Congress. All you need do is read his email newsletters.
You can subscribe to his frequent newsletters at his website - www.larryklepinger.com In fact, they are almost too frequent. But then again, he is presently ahead in the primary vote count. His website is easy to read, not complicated, and packed with information. I hope he doesn't let the too smart young Republican geeks revise his website. His opponent - the anointed Suzanne Sinclair - has only hard to find (in kickoff) vague old mantras on her party crafted website. If elected she would never be allowed to speak or vote her own mind.
I will vote for Larry if he makes the General election. I bet a lot of Independents and Democrats will. Why? Because Rick Larsen is an empty suit. He is claiming credit in his TV ads for the Pipeline Bill, but he was a follower all the way on that. He spends his time hiding behind his paid staff - asking them what he should say about issues. He is obsessed with what people are saying about him and what they want to hear. He follows orders blindly from the Democratic party bosses and the senior Democrats in Congress. Rick is a lousy representative.
Lets hope Larry wins the primary. He has too much class to rub it in on the Republican mucky mucks. But we can enjoy watching them trip all over themselves to pretend they like the guy - while they are stewing in anger. If Larry wins then he owes nothing to the party and everything to the voters. And this is what we want in a representative. Way to go Larry.
Thur, Sep 16
The fix is in. Rhea.
Tue, Sep 14
Yes, our legislators screwed up our right to vote. Even Harriet Spanel, our supposed liberal champion of fairness, was one of the leaders in the legislative process to weaken our votes. Last March she kept quiet and went along with the Democratic party boss Paul Berendt and followed his orders to push through this screwed up primary election process. All, supposedly, because it was the only legal solution.
There was another legal solution. Candidates could have used 5 words to describe their politics on our ballots. Authorized party candidates could have used one word - democrat or republican Others could have used 5 words, such as 'Progressive and environmentalist' or 'Fiscal conservative and social progressive'. This legal solution was even in the primary legislation at one point in the process - but then the party bosses ordered the legislators to delete it. And they did. And passed the double primary bill the party bosses gave them. And Locke vetoed the part he was told to veto and we have the other part. Last March this website informed you of this dirty process day by day as it happened.
If that is too complicated for you then you should know it is supposed to be too complicated for you. And thus you will stay ignorant of how you were deprived of your voting rights. By our Republican and Democratic state legislators. And Gov Locke.
What to do? Each of us should carefully vote in the primary. I wanted to vote for Dino Rossi, a Republican, for governor but also Paul EveryHope, a Democrat, for the legislature. I can't vote for both, so I made a choice as to which party ticket to use. Then on Nov 2, in the general election, vote "Yes" to Initiative 872, and we will have our top two primary process. You can bet the party bosses will raise hell and we will spend a couple years voting on voting processes. But we must take our voting rights back from the party bosses. And their obedient legislators.
Mon, Sep 13
The Whatcom Peace and Justice Center has just opened their new website. It is refreshingly easy to read and well organized It is now listed in the right side column. They are providing a schedule of all local events. As we stare into the abyss of losing our freedoms and civil rights, this may become our best local resource for much needed information.
Tue, Sep 7
We have passed 1,000 killed American soldiers in Iraq. 23 killed since last Wednesday when most of us were planning our Labor Day weekend. I hope you know that over 1,100 were "wounded" in August. That can mean losing limbs, eyes, jaws, intestines, gonads - things we humans use for living normal lives. And how many loved ones and close relatives torn apart by these human tragedies.
Mon, Sep 6
I'll be voting for Chuck Snyder for Superior Court Judge. He is impartial and has been dedicated for many years to being a fair judge. The fact that outgoing judge Nichols has endorsed him rates high. Nichols has been without question, the best of our three Superior Court judges. With Nichols retiring, we need to be sure we get at least one fair judge in there.
When the sheriff and police endorse a prosecuting attorney for judge, that is enough for me to not support them. I mean, hello. These folks are focused on getting their way in court. Let us not be naive.
Chuck Snyder just gives me confidence that he will not have any axe to grind - no old scores to settle - no record of using his power of public trust to get what he wants in private life. Chuck is a very ethical person and will probably be an outstanding judge - fair to all. He is far and away better than either of the other candidates. Please join me in voting for him.
Thur, Sep 2
I'll be voting for Paul EveryHope over Dave Quall for State Representative in the 40th District. Quall willingly participated with the secret deal of giving us this horrible Primary Election process. He is touted by some as being independent minded but every time I've interacted with him, he has shown he takes his marching orders from the party bosses. His stand on public education alone is enough to get him replaced by true Democrats. As an independent, and as a very active citizen, I have watched him grow more elitist and distant from voters while he perfects his gee whiz persona. 12 years is enough for a guy who has been obsessed the entire time with charter schools and little else. Quall's get along to go along attitude is appalling.
The Primary Election will decide this election. Why? No Republican filed and the new - screwed up - primary election will be between the only two people who filed - two Democrats. As such, if you vote the Democratic ballot then you don't have to worry about whether EveryHope can hold off a Republican challenger - the usual reason for not voting out the tired incumbent and giving a vigorous and energetic newcomer a chance.
If EveryHope wins the Primary then he wins the election. And Quall has to blame himself for this absurd process. It is humorous that the first - and apparently the most important - the Herald can say about Quall is he is experienced and has seniority. Well, that is true of the person in for 2 years and being challenged.
By the way, Republicans who want to scew up the Democrats will use the Democratic ballot. Democrats cannot do the same because they have very close primaries. Virtually no Republican is in a close race but Republicans can vote for the weaker Democrat for Governor and a few other statewide offices. With the new system, the Republican party bosses have been quicker to set things up so they emerge stronger for the General Election. Rossi will easily be the Republican candidate and he would prefer to run against Sims than Gregoire. And regardless of hopes, none of the Republican candidates will unseat Larsen. The new primary process is an open sandbox for mischief.
Wed, Sep 1, 2004
More US soldiers killed in August than in 13 of the 18 months we have been at war in Iraq. 66 killed and over 500 wounded - most seriously. We will hit 1,000 killed on Sep 9 - a week from today. And the Bush government can't wait for the election to be over so they can start a war with Iran or Syria. Or both. They are increasing their efforts to demonize both.
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