By: Dianne Foster (5)

Call for Congress! Jason Call

Dianne Foster explains why, after 21 years, Rick Larsen has got to go!

Dianne Foster explains why, after 21 years, Rick Larsen has got to go!

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Editor note:  A Meet and Greet for Jason Call will be held  Tuesday, July 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm , at the Squalicum Boathouse, 2600 N Harbor Loop in Bellingham. 

Why Vote Jason Call for Congress:

Jason Call is running for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District against incumbent Rick Larsen; this primary is key to that campaign, and ballots will drop in the mail July 13th. Jason will fight for the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, Climate Action, fair trade, racial and gender equity, housing as a human right, criminal justice reform, rethinking policing, and an end to endless wars. As a math teacher, musician, lifelong peace activist, and former Washington Democratic Party central committee member, Jason is a refreshing alternative to the incumbent who has voted consistently to fund the Pentagon over human needs. Jason’s campaign consists completely of individual donations.

Wall Street vs. Main Street:

Rick Larsen is a corporate Democrat who’s been in Congress since 2001, 21 years. Larsen voted against regulating big banks, and in fact, in 2018 he voted to weaken the Dodd-Frank Amendment. Earlier, in 2004, when he voted for the credit card industry’s bankruptcy bill, it cost him the endorsement of the Whatcom Democrats. Larsen voted for the George Bush repeal of the estate tax, and during the Obama years he joined the Tea Party to further cut programs in the name of “deficit reduction.” He also favored a tort reform bill that limited consumer’s rights to sue for damages or medical malpractice.

Climate and coal terminal:

Larsen’s history of involvement with the Gateway Pacific Terminal (the defeated Cherry Point coal terminal) goes back to February 2011, when he said, “I am pleased to see an in-district company making a major private investment in our nation’s export infrastructure.” In 2015, it was reported that Larsen supported an amendment that would allow reviewers to disregard concerns brought forward by Lummi Nation regarding the development’s violation of treaty rights. The amendment was agreed upon by voice vote. Democrat Frank Pallone of New Jersey rose against the amendment specifically identifying its violation of treaty rights the Lummi Nation has with the U.S. Finally, in 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers declared that indeed, the GPT did violate their rights, but Lummi Nation got  no help from their own Congressional representative, Larsen, who was busy palling around with donors who sought to profit off the project. Larsen’s PAC donors include: SSA Marine: $6,000 by 2011, followed by $28,000 since; and Goldman Sachs: $5,000 in 2011. Goldman Sachs had been an investor in the GPT until major protests signaled its demise.

Foreign Policy:

Starting with a series of votes in 2001, Larsen has helped keep the U.S. from becoming a member of the International Criminal Court. According to Wikipedia, “…the ICC is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression." Further, Larsen consistently voted to fund the Iraq War, even as constituents pressured him to take a stand against it. In 2005, he voted against ending the war, and voted for a resolution “to express the commitment... to achieving victory in Iraq.” Not coincidentally, he received at least $635,500 from 38 companies with PACs linked to the military-industrial complex: Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Raytheon, United Technologies, Honeywell, Boeing, and multiple others. He gives unwavering support to Israel, to whom Boeing sells fighter jets for its war on the Palestinians, and voted for Mike Pence’s amendment against humanitarian aid to the later. In 2020, he attended an American Israeli Public Affairs Committee conference that was later determined to have been a “super-spreader” event. A staff volunteer has admitted that after peace activists leave Larsen’s office, he makes fun of them.

PACs:

Since 2014, a majority of Larsen’s funding has come from corporate sources, including $15,000 from Koch Industries; $1000 each from two tobacco companies; and at least $433,699 from the fossil fuel industry; including BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Marathon Oil, and others. In 2011, he voted to undermine federal gasoline emissions regulations. By 2014, he voted to cut the EPA budget by $8.5 million and instead redirect that money to grants for police.

Free Trade vs. Fair Trade:

Rick was a staunch supporter of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a “trade agreement” written in secret by 600 corporations, many of whom are his donor base. This treaty proposed to give corporations the power to sue governments for regulations that interfered with their right to make a profit in any participating member nation. Though the entire Democratic base, all labor unions, and environmental groups such as Sierra Club opposed this measure, Rick would not be moved. Therefore, we were forced to hold a  sit-in in his office. The TPP was ultimately defeated by the Trump election. However, when Trump re-wrote the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as promised, it was worse than the original. Rick supported NAFTA 2.0 - “TrumpTrade,” as well as the TPP, (though most likely the Donald had been elected because of bad trade agreements that outsourced good American jobs to slave labor countries).

Healthcare:

Larsen has always opposed single-payer or Medicare for All, given his many donors from the private insurance sector. He recently posted a photo of himself hobnobbing with insurance company lobbyists in D.C.! Yet tens of thousands of people died in the pandemic due to lack of insurance. As a retired Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP), I am speechless at this hubris. Here are a few of his pro-insurance donors: American Dental Association - $55,500, Premera Blue Cross - $35,000, McKessen (pharmaceutical and medical supply corporation) - $34,500, American Hospital Association - $31,000, American Medical Association - $23,000. My source is the Federal Elections Commission.

Constituent experiences:

On every occasion I have met with Rick Larsen, I have come away angry and discouraged. Perhaps the worst episode was a get-together of the 4th Corner Coalition, made up of Whatcom Peace and Justice, Community to Community (farmworker justice), Occupy Bellingham, and Veterans for Peace. One of the issues we raised was comprehensive immigration reform. Larsen had previously voted for a watered down version, and when Edgar Franks from Community to Community introduced his more comprehensive bill, Larsen looked at him and said, “Why can’t YOU PEOPLE get your act together?” Meaning, why can’t they be just as neoliberal as One America (an immigrant rights non-profit) whose requests are minimal. My biggest regret is not walking out with Edgar after that insult.

I have been targeted by Larsen’s sarcasm as well over the years, and especially irritated by his “pivot trick.” That is, when you bring up a subject, he redirects the conversation back to you, which thereby avoids the point. For example: In February 2014, our 4th Corner Coalition wanted to know why the U.S. was installing a neo-Nazi government in Kiev, which would be certain to provoke a Russian response and cause undue suffering to the Ukrainian people (a position in hindsight that was prophetic). Larsen turned to me and said, “Do you know anyone that’s Ukrainian?” Before I could answer, “Yes, I work with a Ukrainian doctor,” Larsen butted in, pivoted the conversation, and wouldn’t let me finish.

We need a representative who represents us. Vote Jason Call for Congress. https://www.callforcongress.com/

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About Dianne Foster

Citizen Journalist • Member since Jul 10, 2015

Satpal Sidhu

Jul 05, 2022

Hi Diane

It would be nice to know more about Jason Call and his past work and accomplishments. Just denouncing Rick Larsen is not enough to ask people to vote for the other candidate.

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Dianne Foster

Jul 05, 2022

Satpal,

Here is Jason’s website: www.jasoncallforcongress.  

He was a math teacher and lifelong peace activist who was on the Washington Democratic Central Committee.  He campaigned two years ago as well,  and I have been a donor ever since.   He represents the public interest over private, for-profit corporate interests.  I recieve his emails daily, which are in-depth essays on the relevant topics of the day.  He understands the desperation of people with inadequate health insurance, as his mother died from complications of a routine surgery, when she requested one more day in the hospital but her company denied her request.   She was sent home to develop a secondary infection that was ultimately fatal.   He believes in healthcare for all, not just some.  He believes Democrats like Larsen have had 20 years to codify Roe, but didn’t take the leadership.   While President Biden just appointed a privatizer to the Social Security board,  I have never seen Rick break rank with a corporate Democrat in office.  We are drifting toward the neoliberal dream of privatization, de-unionization, de-regulation, and “free trade” agreements.  That drift needs to be halted by electing as many local officials as possible who will take leadership.  If you would like to meet him in person and ask questions,  I would be delighted if you attend the meet and greet sponsored by myself and Barbara Rofkar next Tuesday, July 12th, at Squalicum Boathouse, 5:30-7:30.  You can ask your questions directly at that time. 

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Carol Follett

Jul 05, 2022

Thanks, Diane! It would be great to have him in. His website is:https://www.callforcongress.com/

 

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John Servais

Jul 06, 2022

Satpal, there are two factors relevant to whom we vote for.  First is whether the current elected is doing what they promised in their campaign and what we think they should be doing.  The second is if we think a challenger might do a better job.  Many of us are more than disappointed in Rick Larsen as our representative to Congress.  He is the epitome of the empty suit.  Nothing there.  All things to all people.  Changes shirts on campaign stops to be dressed for his audiences in different places on the same day.

Trump became president in large part because the Democrats such as Rick Larsen have never fulfilled their campaign promises nor have they acted according to their speeches and press releases.  I know several friends who would have voted for Bernie Sanders in 2016 but because the Democratic Party managed to cheat him from the nomination, they refused to vote Democratic and voted for Trump.  

We voters have legitimate cause to vote someone out of office whom we are disgusted with and take a chance on a replacement.  If the replacement is just as bad, then we replace them. 

Our 2nd District will elect a Democrat to the House of Representatives.  We know that as the district was carefully gerrymandered to do that.  In the primary election we have the chance to put up a different Democratic Party candidate in Jason Call.  

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Tip Johnson

Jul 07, 2022

There is a lot of inertia in politics. 

Yes, Satpal, it is easier to disparage an incumbent than promote a challenger.  But it is an asymmetrirical challenge.  The Incumbent always has the advantage - inertially, financially, in terms of media coverage, name recognition, and in every way.

It is reasonable, tactical and fiscally responsible to start by outlining the incumbents failings, by way of contrast to any alternative.

Please don’t disparage that slightest point of leverage.

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Ronna Loerch

Jul 16, 2022

Actualy,, having tried to speak to Larsen about issues in the past and be virtually dismissed.  Either he does not show and leaves his staff to deal with the public or he is demeaning and dismissive in his attitude towards us.  His actions against the folks on Whidbey Island who are being literally harmed by the noise from the growler jets is shameful.  IT is most appropriate to vote for a new comer who has the courage to stand up to such entrenched corproate shills.  Dianne Foster who has followed Larsen for quite a while has a letter explaining why we do not need someone like Larsen as our elected official.

 

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Jon Humphrey

Jul 21, 2022

So I’ll put the end first. Noticing all of the terrible candidates on my ballot I voted for a combination of myself, my wife, and Deez Nuts (I use the term in the election satire way as denoted here) with one exception. Jason Call. Jason was the only candidate on my ballot that didn’t suck and wasn’t a corporate shill or probably a corporate shill. He also takes broadband seriously.

I will put my commentary in the main statement then the (result in parentheses).

Larsen takes money from weapons manufacturers especially Lockheed Martin (so no gun reform, police reform and perpetual warfare).

Larsen takes money from big telecom (so he will make sure that we will not join the rest of the developed world in fiber to the premises. Satpal is all about pretending to know about this but providing no real data, so no next-gen STEM jobs, telemedicine, online education, etc.)

Larsen is a fake environmentalist wanting only 50% clean energy by 2030 when the IPCC report tells us we have less than 7 years left to reach net-zero, he also has lots of ties to fossil fuel companies (so children and the elderly, etc. starving to death, forest fires, water wars.) So he’s just like Alex Ramel with his NOx producing hydrogen in natural gas scheme. NOx is 300 times worse for the environment than CO2. Shhhh, someone might figure out that Rick and Alex are full of shit.

He is a fake advocate for affordable housing. Like Sharon Shewmake, Seth Fleetwood, etc. he takes lots of his money from companies that intentionally build unaffordable housing while claiming to care. Sharon loves that big Hammer Properties money. So no Myra Ramos, no one is smearing Sharon, she really doesn’t care. (So things will keep getting harder for working families if we reelect the same people. Since unaffordable housing hurts single moms the most, I wonder again how these candidates claim to care about women).

Come to think of it Satpal, this is what you and all of your buddies in the Shewmake Cartel do. No wonder you love Larsen. You’re peas in a pod. You think working on a team is banding together to screw taxpayers over. Well I guess at least you guys are good at something because you’ve definitely made things harder for most people in Whatcom County and there is no end in sight, but you did it as a TEAM. Now that’s team spirit.  

Time for voters to admit, our elected officials are in it for the money and Larsen is no different. If they cared they wouldn’t have sat on their hands during the pandemic. Still, can you blame them? The pandemic was a perfect time for them to swim in their piles of cash and count it.

I’m sorry, I forgot that Andrew Redding set a standard for the Whatcom Democrats where whenever someone tells the truth or says something they don’t like he submits it as a CoC violation and even bullies non-profits to get his way. Better tell him about this Satpal. Maybe he can find some bullshit CoC to exploit on yours and Larsen’s behalf. Then it doesn’t seem like a 1st Amendment violation, even though it totally is! (wink, wink) Do it as a team!

That kind of fascism is what you pay him for after all right? Then you can go on making weapons, starting wars, building unaffordable housing, runing the planet, lining the pockets of big telecom donors, etc. and pretend to be progressive. That’s what it’s all about right. Pretending to care about progress to get votes but never accomplishing anything to keep big money donors happy. That’s the Corporate Democrat way and you’ll get there as a TEAM!   

 

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Dianne Foster

Jul 21, 2022

 

Jon,

In this case,  I have to say that Andrew Redding was courageous and showed up to our Jason Call event at Squalicum Boathouse,  where he gave a glowing recommendation to Jason.   This was after  host Tom Goetzl listed Larsen’s donors,  and said “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”   Which we know is true.   Our survival as a species is on the line, and every dime spent on war adds to the melting of glaciers.   Jason pointed out that now Antarctica is melting faster than anyone anticipated, 

One other thing,  my neighbor who works in drug court recommends Jenkins for judge, as he is most responsive to the needs of addicts, and goes above and beyond the call of duty to help them succeed. The other 2 are DUI lawyers, which is where the money is.   I didn’t place any vote for Murray, as she stauchly defended the TPP, which is a Trojan Horse to war/domination in Asia.   As for military adventures,  Russia is the appetizer, while China is the main dish.   We need to give humanitarian aid to Ukraine, not escalate into a nuke war.

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Jon Humphrey

Jul 21, 2022

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but anyone in their right mind would have endorsed Jason. Fiber is a huge part of solving the environmental crisis too and Andrew is now working double time to ruin that. He has always been able to publicly comment here but never has so he can play the victim while using the full weight of your party to bully whoever gets in his way. For example, Andrew told TAGNW in one of his secret meetings that he would use his full personal weight, therefore the weight of the party, to remove donations from TAGNW if he didn’t get what he wanted. So he threatened a group, on behalf of the Dems. that gives computers to the homeless and helps kids win STEM competitions. But I see, all of the fascism is ok cause he did this one thing right. And then the Dems. wonder why they’re probably going to get their asses handed to them this election cycle. Newsflash Dems. Americans don’t like fascism.

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Dianne Foster

Jul 21, 2022

 

I wouldn’t call it “my party.”   I voted for Socialist Gloria La Riva for President, and left the Dems some years back when they were apparently taken over by the Riveters on that “missing middle” platform,  which was shilling for Hammer Properties in the guise of affordable housing.  So if Americans vote for Trump Republicans next time around,  it isn’t that they oppose fascism,  it’s that they themselves are in bed with it.   Let’s face it,  both parties are funded by the corporate complex, be it telecom, military, or Big Pharma.   I watched 2 years ago as Jason was torn to shreds by the Whidbey Island Dems,  a bunch of old biddies who loved Larsen.   Larsen is also embraced by the Shewmake mob,  so I was quite surprised by the appearance of Andrew  in defiance of that special interest.  Jason doesn’t have Big Money on his side, so there’s nothing in it for Whatcom Dems.

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Jon Humphrey

Jul 22, 2022

Dianne, the benefit is that the Whatcom Dems. get to appear to be progressive without actually committing to anything. Essentially, having no real credibility, they steal it from others. 
I’ll give you a specific example from the world of broadband.
In the TAGNW Broadband Solutions Document I am the primary author of, Andrew Redding and Jamie Douglass made sure that Christine Grants’ wishes to remove all possible broadband models other than LUDs (Local Utility Districts) came true.
Since Community Broadband Networks recommends CO-OPs for rural areas, and since many models work equally well, I argued that many models should be included.
Anyway, Grant go her wish and LUDs are the only model really being discussed with only a brief mention of fiberhoods even though most of the authors wanted multiple models discussed. When I tried to add other models back in, a total of 5 others including LUDs, CO-OPs, etc. the Corporate Dems. flipped out. 
Grant’s current actions? The heads of the proposed LUD test sites tell me that Grant, and PUD officials and staff in general, are avoiding all meetings on the topic and stonewalling them on actually forming LUDs. The test sites would have only been for a few dozen homes. So there you go. In all likelyhood there will be no actual progress.
So they pretend to be progressive by talking about progress all day, but in the end they hire anti-Dig Once staff and intentionally make no real progress. Then Grant, etc. can blame the staff knowing full well that they hired them intentionally to stop progress. It’s the game they play of pretend to be a progressive.  
Why do it? It gets the Dems. votes by spreading false hope among voters that progress will actually happen, but keeps special interests happy because they know that no progress will happen that they don’t approve of and in the end and that the party is always for sale. 
It’s part of their Razzle-Dazzle routine. Jason is an excellent candidate and I wish him the best. Still, I’m not sure if an endorsement from the Whatcom Dems. is good or bad for him. They have proven themselves dishonest and untrustworthy many times. Smearing anyone that disagrees with them and pathologically lying about anyone they dislike. If I didn’t know how amazing Jason is first hand I would look at an endorsement by the Whatcom Corporate Dems. as a negative. Because it generally is.
Again, the party has no credibility. The only thing they seem to be good at is smearing people Sharon Shewmake doesn’t like. Notice how they never speak for themselves on sites they don’t control like this one.
Almost every good idea that the Dems. have laid claim to actually originated elsewhere. For example, People First, originated with the DSA. Dig Once and the TAGNW Broadband Strategy Document was written mostly by me, an editor named Erik, and Michael Gan (who removed his name after political pressure was applied to him). Before being approached to author the document, I worked on it for 7 years on my own. Jamie Douglass and Andrew Reding of the Dems. mostly babysat us while we worked. Add all of Bernie’s ideas here and sort through the ones they tried to crucify him with and preteneded to accept. Then look at what hasn’t come to pass. No medicare for all, no living wages (Sharon is specifially anti-minimum wage, btw), no affordable housing, no declaration of a climate crisis, hell even our schools aren’t being built green, etc. But they’ll stand around all day and talk about how much they care about progress, while making sure it never actually happens.    

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