Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Open Letter to Governor Gregoire

A hand delivered letter from Evergreen Freedom Foundation to Gov. Gregoire. They are right when they say, "One courageous governor can change a state's course. Washington needs you to be that governor."

The full text of the letter is below, the summary is here, and the link to the PDF is here.

***
Dear Governor Gregoire,

We fully agree with statements in your November 23 letter to legislative leaders that "we need to make sustainable policy and budget decisions that are reflective of current revenue. We need decisions that meet our immediate need and those that will provide direction for the 2011-13 biennium. There are only seven months left in the biennium, and delay will result in deeper cuts and additional harm."

In the wake of your statements, it is clear that legislative leaders are dragging their feet. The first step to compel action is to disclose the actual fiscal state of the state in a transparent manner that lawmakers and citizens can understand. If legislators do not understand the full extent of the state’s financial problems, they will not respond properly or in a timely manner. The state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is a classic case of being unable to see the forest for the trees. State spending and indebtedness levels, unfunded liabilities and financial trends are extremely difficult to locate. Critical information is buried in footnotes amidst hundreds of pages and less important details.

Therefore, we recommend that your office release a report similar to the one we created that clearly outlines and discloses the financial state of the state. Such a report would include an accurate accounting of total state spending, including the unsustainable tactics used to balance the General Fund—transfers from dedicated accounts, use of one-time federal funds, delaying pension obligations and other tactics resulting in short-term gain and long-term pain for the state budget. The report should also assess and compare state employee salary and benefit increases over time, and outline the long-term pension and retiree health care unfunded liabilities. It would clearly state the solvency problems that exist within certain state funds, such as workers’ compensation, as well as examining the growth rate of state debt.

Financial transparency is a necessary—but not sufficient—step on the road toward budget recovery. As the state’s chief executive, you must also accurately assess the state’s revenues and expenditures. The current budget problem is worse than what you and legislative leaders are describing. In the current biennium, the state will spend $2.34 billion more than the revenue forecast. You are cutting the real deficit in half by using one-time funds from dedicated accounts and the budget stabilization account to pay for ongoing expenses.

The budget fixes outlined in your draft supplemental budget do not address the real shortfall between revenue and spending in the current budget. The accounting gimmicks and funding delays you proposed only push the problem forward to the next budget. These gimmicks include: delaying college need grants until 2012 to save $76 million; using $208 million in federal “edujobs” money to balance the budget, which is a violation of the intended use of these funds; sweeping $51 million from other dedicated funds; and delaying the June K-12 apportionment payment until July to save $240 million.

The 2011-13 budget problem is big enough without these additional pressures. OFM has announced an expected $5.7 billion shortfall for the 2011-13 budget. Though we agree the incoming budget problem is substantial, is the state really planning on increasing spending by 26 percent? The current revenue forecast for 2011-13 is $32.6 billion. A $5.7 billion shortfall would mean the state needs $38.3 billion to keep up with planned spending levels. The current budget is $30.5 billion (before any supplemental cuts). Does the state plan on increasing spending by $7.8 billion in the next biennium? We believe the problem is not so large if you and legislators look at outcomes to determine spending priorities, rather than considering everything in the budget mandatory.


There are some things you can do to change the state’s trajectory and truly transform the budget:

1) Thoroughly examine all state spending, which increased $4.2 billion during the current biennium, despite the 2010 supplemental budget’s dramatic “cuts.” You and legislators tend to focus only on one account—the state’s General Fund—while ignoring total spending and opportunities for reform elsewhere.

2) Call a special session on December 6 and ask legislators to reduce the budget by $2.34 billion to bring state spending in line with actual revenue. This will end the state’s dependence on one-time funds and the savings achieved will carry forward to help with the 2011-13 deficit. Issue an executive order implementing across-the-board cuts to close the deficit effective December 13 if the legislature does not enact similar savings by December 12.

3) Call on agencies to update their Priorities of Government assessments to include prioritization of agency projects: one-third high priority, one-third medium priority and one-third low priority. Then prioritize spending as Governor Locke did within existing revenue.


You requested ideas for transforming the state budget. “Transform” by definition is a revolutionary concept. Along those lines, here are some ideas:

1) Reinstate Initiative 601. Return to the original fiscal growth factor of population + inflation growth. Using personal income as the fiscal growth factor has allowed the legislature to ratchet up spending to unsustainable levels. Restoring the original voter-approved spending limit will restrain lawmakers in the good times, so that the bad times aren’t as painful.

2) Analyze programs on an outcome basis.
a. Change higher education funding from institutionally-based to student-based using a per-credit basis. Pay for degree completion rather than student enrollment.
b. Eliminate Educational Service Districts.
c. Eliminate perverse incentives for learning assistance program and bilingual education by funding success based on outcomes from the program, not on how many students enter the program.
d. For K-12 students, fund the student rather than the institution and allow the dollars to follow them to the public school of their choice. In addition to budget savings, this will dramatically improve educational outcomes.

3) Require teachers and state employees to contribute at least 28 percent of the cost of their health care benefits. Freeze (or cancel) all STEP increases. Repeal the initiatives mandating teacher COLAs and class size reduction funds. The state can no longer afford these benefits and programs, especially when the outcomes are unproven or dubious at best.

4) Eliminate all agencies, boards and commissions that are not core functions of government (i.e. may be handled by the private sector) including ethnic commissions, the state printer, Puget Sound Partnership, the Lottery Commission, etc.

5) Replace the defined-benefit pension system for all new employees with a defined-contribution model. Modify pension benefits for existing employees that are not contractual—for example, annual cost of living raises, retirement ages, etc. Eliminate or reduce retiree health care benefits, which are not a vested right.

6) Determine the actual penalty for failure to maintain federal “maintenance of effort” requirements. Seek a waiver if necessary in order to stop funding these requirements.

7) Put more existing in-house activities up for competitive bid. This would require a change in the so-called civil service reform law passed in 2002. The law bogs down an agency’s ability to contract out with time-consuming requirements. Some examples of activities that could be contracted out include:
a. College dormitories—allow the private sector to build and maintain by charging students rent.
b. State ferries—Privatize them. Or in the meantime, consolidate the ferry unions to reduce costs and collective bargaining hassles.

8) Give some agencies the chance to become charter agencies. As you know because of your sponsorship of a presentation on the idea in 2007, charter agencies are freed from many bureaucratic regulations in order to achieve better outcomes for citizens, such as streamlining the permit process. They agree to be accountable for measurable results on a reduced budget. For example, Iowa’s charter agency program has saved tens of millions of dollars. Why not here? Why not now? Why not under your leadership?

9) Sell surplus state property and apply the proceeds toward the unfunded pension liability.

We have many more budget transforming ideas. Should you need more, don’t hesitate to contact us.

One courageous governor can change a state’s course. Washington needs you to be that governor.

Cordially,

Bob Williams, Founder and Senior Fellow
Amber Gunn, Economic Policy Director

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An open letter to the President from an American businessman

Website here. I'm reprinting the letter in full, but there is more to his original post. Be sure to read the whole thing.

Dear Mr. President,

Mr. President, please allow me to introduce you to America’s small business owners. They reside in every state and town in the country. These men and women are the backbone of the communities where they live. They represent the 20% that do 80%. They are the ones who serve on school boards and hospital boards, coach Little League, lead Boy Scout troops, serve in Indian Guides and volunteer in their churches and synagogues. They pay a disproportionate share of the property taxes that build the public schools and hospitals. They give generously to local charities and United Way, buy the uniforms for the Boys & Girls Club basketball teams and make anonymous gifts to send underprivileged kids to summer camp.

You may not care about the community service and enrichment activities that mark the lives of so many small businesspeople. But did I mention that the 34 million small businesses provide 144 million jobs (75% of the jobs in this country) and generate over half of the private GDP? Since our country is in the midst of a recession that you say is “the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,” I assume that the health of the engine that sustains employment might be of some concern to you. However, your proposed tax increases upon the “rich” will land squarely on small businesses like a ton of bricks. You see Mr. President, 66% of those who earn above $250,000 are small businessmen. I understand that you believe that business owners are rich predators who “need to give more,” but have you considered the effect of your policies upon their employees? I respectfully direct you to Boetcker’s warning that “you cannot lift up the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.”

As a businessman facing the prospect of higher taxation, please allow me to personalize the likely effect upon my own small enterprise. First, you must understand that taxes are a direct deduction from my bottom line and capital reserve. Why is this important? Every dollar you subtract from my bottom line is a dollar I cannot use to give raises, increase benefits or add employees. Although this may appeal to your “spread the wealth” instincts, it may not be such good news to my current employees or to job-seeking college graduates. Every dollar you take from my capital reserve is a dollar I cannot invest in new property or equipment. This may satisfy your sense of “shared prosperity,” but will not be as heartwarming to my suppliers or to those hoping to market assets next year. Is this beginning to make any sense to you?

The decision to increase my taxes will of course also reduce my disposable income. This will result in fewer dollars allocated to consumption which, ironically, you say is critical to the economic recovery of the nation. Although you may be delighted that I won’t have as much discretionary money to travel, buy a condo at the beach, or remodel my home, those employed by the airlines, mortgage companies, real estate industry and the construction trades may not be as cheery. And though you may be pleased to see me mowing my own lawn and cleaning my own pool again, it may not bring as much joy to my long-time contractors, Bibiano Ortega and Gina McDaniel.

We have observed your tendency to punish your “enemies” and borne witness to your willingness to use executive power to sanction certain industries. Your unwarranted drilling moratorium that has decimated the oil and gas and service sectors in the Gulf States provides a recent example. This policy has already created more unemployment and inflicted more economic carnage on small businesses in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and the other gulf states than the actual oil spill could have ever done.

Finally, Mr. President, let me assure you that we have nothing in common with your friend Tony Rezko and we bear no resemblance to your benefactor George Soros. After laboring all of my adult life in the private sector, I know a thing or two about real entrepreneurs. First, we were made to innovate and risk capital to support our dreams and visions. But we will only do so when we feel that the rules of the game are fair and predictable. Secondly, we will not put our hard-earned money at risk if we feel that the portion absorbed by taxation is too great. Lastly, when we sense an animus toward us from the highest office in the land that questions our motivations, integrity and patriotism, we begin to take defensive measures, not increase our investments. I hope this letter provides you with a more accurate view of who the real small businessmen in this country are. And I hope it helps you realize the destructive consequences of your policies on the small businessmen you profess to support.


Kyle Stallings is the Managing Partner of a small oil and gas investment company in Midland, Texas and serves on the Governor’s Business Council of Texas.

Two Thoughts on Socio-Economy

By Littlefish

If one has received a certain amount of compensation for performing a certain procedure, they should not expect more money at a later time for performing the same procedure.

Unless some new element has been invented, or some procedure has been streamlined, or some other proactive benefit to production has been introduced, there is no new value added and therefore no new reason for increased income. Furthermore, without such increases in productivity or invention, there is no reason to expect that some new amount of money has been created to be distributed.

If a group of employees have been performing the same task for a period of time, and the only thing that has changed is the profit margin of the company, the workers that are still performing the same duty as ever were not the cause of the increase in revenue, unless they increased efficiency or procedure in some way. It was more likely a cause of more targeted advertising, better input sourcing, or a shift in consumer need. Employees are hired to perform tasks, a task is only worth as much as any other individual capable of performing that task would charge to perform it, absent any obfuscating government intervention that may make the employee feel as though they deserve more when in fact they are performing the same task as always, and that many other people could also perform.

This is even more true when talking about government jobs. For example, processing licensing applications (for anything, business, autos, etc), managing the office in which such processing happens, or cleaning the room in which the processing occurs, are each the same job today as they were yesterday. There may be more license applications to process, but there are still only eight hours to work with in a day, so, processing, managing, or cleaning will occur for eight hours, and then pick up again tomorrow, no matter how many applications were processed. Why is someone, who’s job it is to file, or manage, or clean at the government level, paid more one year than they were paid the year before? Did the work get harder? Likely, in recent history, because of technological advancements (created by people actually creating wealth in society) have made the jobs less technically and or physically difficult, and logically, this should allow for the positions to pay less, not more. Remember, there is no profit in a government agency, any savings at that level is a savings for every member of society.

Cost of living increases have the same insidious affect on the economy as artificial minimum wages or ‘prevailing wage’ contracts, inflation, inflation that eliminates any perceived gain that a cost of living increase or any upward movement in a false wage such as a minimum wage was supposed to provide. Without value added, there is no value added. That is why milk used to cost a nickel and now costs 5 bucks, while people used to make 70 a week, now likely make 700 a week and are no better off. Why?

People expect increased pay without increased effort or productivity, and there is an entire industry of snake oil salesmen that continually spout off about the evil businessman profiteering off the backs of the lowly working man, never mind that both are trying to raise families.

It seems to be assumed that making more money is some measure of increased value in society. That might be one basic metric of success if there weren’t hundreds of government programs designed to allow people to believe that the same amount of effort should garner ever increasing shares of pseudo wealth. Actual wealth, the kind that spreads throughout society and increases living standards for all, isn’t created by using political strong arm tactics to cause people to be paid more to do the same thing they’ve always done, wealth is created by people inventing, creating efficiency, and generally doing new things that add new value, new products, new systems and new opportunity to society by fulfilling needs in a new or more efficient way.

Along the same lines…

If you think the answer to your problems lies in a government program, I am sorry to say, you are the problem. Until you realize that you are the only path to your own salvation, whether it be financial, physical, spiritual, or in regards to any other possible human consideration; until you realize that you are the only person that can be dependably consulted as to how to actually advance or even maintain your position in life in a comfortable and sustainable way, you will always be part of the problem.

You are not part of some socio-economically oppressed minority, as those who profit from selling you continued plight would have you believe. You are a capable and beautiful individual, who has more than a thousand thoughts on how the world could be a better place, and you have every asset at your disposal to enact those positive changes if you would just get up and ignore the doom salesmen that profit from your plight and take a stand yourself.

Have an idea, and fulfill it. You are needed in society! You have thoughts that no one else has, every one does. If everyone acted on their own dreams, instead of waiting for someone to provide the bare minimum, then we would finally approach true equality. Equality will never be found by having one group of people confiscate wealth from another group of people to distribute to a third group of people, all the while selling themselves as saviors, implying that the ‘saved’ are helpless without them. They are modern day slave masters, nothing more, parading as saints. It’s despicable. Anyone who creates a system that purports to help you, yet only passes out favors, money, food; those people aren’t trying to help you, they are trying to bring meaning to their own lives, whatever the long term cost to your psyche may be.

Unless you can’t walk, talk, or breathe, I suggest you practice this mantra: “I am fine, and I do not need your hand out. You cannot buy my vote with your incessant stealing and gifting. It is shameful that you would suggest I need help, don’t you think I am capable of doing this myself?”

Friday, October 15, 2010

Campaign Events this weekend and early next week! Updated - More events added

Scroll for updates

With ballots coming out this week, we must get out there to impact the voters that will vote right away! That doesn't mean we stop working after this, but we need to make a really concerted effort to influence these early voters before they vote!!

From the Puget Sound Conservative Underground
Tidal-Wave Sign-Wave - Oct. 15, 22, 29
  • A “get out the vote” effort via campaign sign-waving on I-405 and I-5 overpasses all at the same time during all the remaining Friday afternoon rush hours in October;
  • Since this election is supposed to be a “tidal wave” win by Republicans, this event will be a “tidal wave” like concentration of sign waving on all of the freeway overpasses stretching from Shoreline to Lynnwood and from Kirkland to Bothell;
  • Needless to say, we’ll need everyone to participate to pull this off and “wow” the rush hour drivers in liberal King and Snohomish Counties.
RSVP here - http://www.meetup.com/PugetSoundConservativeUnderground/calendar/14990162/

Phone bank while Patty parties with Obama - Oct. 21
On October 21, President Obama is making his 2nd trip to Washington State to campaign for Patty Murray. (In 2008 when running for President, he only visited our state once.) He'll be partying at the U.W. campus with any Puget Sound progressives who are still supporting him. What do you say about the idea that at the same time he and Patty party, we conservatives work at the the Victory Phone Banks to talk to voters about Dino Rossi?
Here's how you can help: http://www.kcgop.org/sitemax/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx


From Kirby Wilbur and AFP
Eastside - doordrop initiative guides, anti-income tax literature, and incumbent voting records - Oct. 16
Location #1:
Saturday, Oct. 16th - Meet at the Houghton Park and Ride (405 and NE 70th ), 8-10 AM, to pick up materials
Location #2:
Saturday, Oct. 16th - Meet in Federal Way, the parking lot in front of 32610 Pacific Highway South, 9-noon, to pick up materials

Questions should be directed to Kirby Wilbur at afpwa2010@gmail.com.


From FreedomWorks
Two days of activism to support Dino Rossi - Oct. 18, 19
DAY ONE
1. Morning - Monday, October 18th:
9am-12pm Get out the Vote Training/Activist meet and greet, phone bank with FreedomWorks
  • Presentation introducing new information and GOTV tools for local organizing
  • Presentation and discussion about what comes after Election Day and how we Take America Back
  • Collect GOTV materials for use in your neighborhood as FreedomWorks has created yard signs, bumper stickers and door hangers for our key GOTV efforts
  • Link you to the new online, at home, phone banking technology, allowing you and your neighbors to be more effective when you work to get out the vote for Dino Rossi
Holiday Inn Express, SeaTac Airport
19621 International Boulevard
SeaTac, WA 98188
MAP
Please RSVP to dspielman@freedomworks.org as soon as possible

2. Afternoon - Monday, October 18th:
1pm Bring Back Boeing Rally (Where did all the jobs go Patty?)
Join us for rally to ask, where did all of the Boeing jobs go, and how can we get them back? Patty Murray will be holding a fundraiser with Bill Clinton simultaneously and we want to change the messaging of that fundraiser. While she claims to have helped Boeing, we all know the real story. We are working very hard to ensure this is not a political/campaign rally, but rather a rally of citizens concerned about a lot of jobs that are now nonexistent.
Flying Heritage Collection Paine Field
3407 109th st SW
Everett, WA 98204

Please RSVP for the rally here: http://tinyurl.com/22uxeaf
Check out ideas for signs and see the kind of message we want to send: http://bit.ly/9v7Xjd


DAY TWO
Tuesday, October 19th:
9am-dark Get out the Vote for Dino Rossi with signs and walking lists, and other materials
Meet at the hotel to get signs followed by campaigning in the surrounding area. If you have a truck or other type of vehicle that can carry a lot of signs, please bring that with you. Also, hammers or sledge hammers to place signs in the ground, as well as comfortable walking shoes! :)
Holiday Inn Express, SeaTac Airport
19621 International Boulevard
SeaTac, WA 98188
MAP
Please RSVP to dspielman@freedomworks.org as soon as possible


From the James Watkins campaign
Phone banking and meet & greets - Oct. 16, 17, 21
Victory Phone Bank in Silverdale
Saturday, October 16, 2010
9330 Silverdale Way NW Suite 202
Silverdale

James Watkins Meet & Greet in Woodinville
Saturday, October 16, 2010 - 3:00pm
Carlson Residence
14724 173rd Ave NE
Woodinville, WA, 98072

James Watkins Meet & Greet in Snohomish
Sunday, October 17, 2010 - 1:30pm
Sutherland residence
6410 - 158th Street SE
Snohomish, WA

Edmonds-Woodway High Candidate Forum
Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 12:15pm
Edmonds-Woodway High School
7600 212th St SW
Edmonds, WA


Update: More events added as they come in

From the Olympia Tea Party
Sign waving during Bill Clinton's visit
We need help constructing 20+ signs for the I-5 Communication Project when Clinton and the Obamas come to town.

I say Communication Project because
we intend to reach 1/3 Million motorists in I-5 each of these three days:
  1. Monday Oct 18th - Clinton in Everett (details to follow)
  2. Thursday Oct 21st - Obama in Seattle (7 - 8 AM during morning rush hour)
  3. Monday Oct 25th - Michelle O in Tacoma (details to follow)
The point is to put the damper on Obama's attempt to run up enthusiasm. Putting the damper on their enthusiasm has lots of value because when 1/3 Million people see us up and down I-5 with a single message - well, you get the idea.

This Saturday, Oct 16th
You are invited to my home in Olympia
To help make the signs and plan details
  • From Noon to about 2 PM
  • We will have Pizza.
  • The signs cost about $12 each to construct
  • We intend that you keep these big (very useful) signs for your group to use
  • If you can put a few bucks into the hat for the pizza and sign materials we will gladly accept your help.
  • Reply to this email and let me know if you are coming (so we can plan the pizza).
If you can't make it Saturday but want a sign, let me know and we will figure out a way to get you one or tell you how to construct it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Messaging for the Bring Back Boeing Rally

Hey everyone! Thanks for joining us up in Everett for the Bring Back Boeing Rally. Again, this is not so much a campaign rally for Dino or against Patty, rather we are trying to show that it is time for new leadership considering what Boeing (and ultimately our state) has lost over the last few years.

Here are some ideas for signs that go along with that sort of message:

New leadership creates new opportunity
Time 4 new leadership and new opportunities
A better future starts with new leadership
A brighter tomorrow begins with a new direction
Chicago and South Carolina endorse our current leadership.
It is the responsibility of leadership to provide opportunity.
Snohomish County needs Boeing Jobs not Poor leadership!
With new leadership we can bring Boeing back!!!
With new leadership anything is possible
Our current leadership has taken us as far as we can go…
Our leaders have lost Boeing jobs, it’s time they lose there.
It was hard losing all those jobs, and it won’t easy bringing them back but with new leadership anything is
possible.
Our current leadership is out of possibilities.
We need new leadership
We need a brighter future
Boeing 72,200 less jobs.
Any sign with a total amount of Boeing jobs losses and dates
Current representatives please understand we need new leadership
Please understand that we need a new direction
Aerospace workers for a brighter tomorrow
Our leadership has shipped jobs to South Carolina and offices to Chicago. It’s time to send them a care package.
New Leadership = More/New Jobs
New leadership, brighter future
A brighter Future for Boeing depends on New Leadership
The future is only better ….ect
Send our leadership to South Carolina and bring Boeing back!
Our current leaders shipped offices to Chicago. Now ship our leaders out of office.
Our government is broken
Outsource our leadership not jobs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

All the leaves are brown...

By Littlefish

What an exciting opportunity for voters in California with two extraordinary candidates to vote for this year, and what an exciting opportunity to alter the course of a government that has deteriorated in its ethics and management of our society and economy. Senator Boxer and Governor Brown have been whole heartedly involved in the last 3 decades of debt and deterioration. This year, after all these decades, Californians have the opportunity to replace them with proven managers, proven leaders of the new economy, and both extraordinary women that should give great momentum to the cause of forming dreams of success in young women everywhere.

A lot is said about the money Meg Whitman has spent on this election, but few discuss how impressive it is that she has earned such monies. She knows how to grow business. She knows how to create jobs, create wealth, and create opportunity. Jerry Brown has been milking the tax cow his entire life, it’s the only skill he has, and the tax cow is milked, its over, there is no more free milk. California needs someone who knows how to improve the lot of all Californians, nut just penalize some for the benefit of a few others.

“If we don’t re-dedicate ourselves to education with the same attitude Americans have applied to going to the moon and fighting wars, the results will be profound. We will gradually lose our successful workforce.” – Meg Whitman

“People ask me, how is managing in the New Economy different from managing in the Old Economy? Actually, it's a lot the same. It's about the financial discipline of the bottom line, understanding your customers, segmenting your customers by their needs, and building a world-class management team.” - Meg Whitman

For Senate, Carly Fiorina, besides being a successful business woman, is also a cancer survivor. I find this amazing. She announced her candidacy while she was still mostly bald. That must have been an amazing moment of clarity in her life, facing death, seeing problems that she knew how to solve, and having been blessed with success and the ability to manage large economies, she fought back to health and decided to run for office. Growing her career from secretarial and receptionist positions all the way up to CEO of Hewlitt Packard, this is a person who knows how to grow and manage complex organizations. Barbara Boxer? To quote campaign manager Marty Wilson, “In contrast, Barbara Boxer presented the same ‘solutions’ she has championed for the last 28 years: grow government and raise taxes, killing jobs and mortgaging our children’s future with sky-high debt. The choice between a practical problem solver versus a failed career politician couldn’t be clearer.”

“My mother...taught me about the power of inspiration and courage, and she did it with a strength and a passion that I wish could be bottled.” - Carly Fiorina

“Do not be afraid to make decisions, do not be afraid to make mistakes.” - Carly Fiorina

“But ours was intended to be a citizen government. It is what ‘of, by and for the people’ means. And when our most important issue in California is the creation of jobs, I think it's quite helpful to have someone in the U.S. Senate or in the governor's seat who actually knows where jobs come from.” - Carly Fiorina

We elect representatives to manage the society and economy they preside over, it is clear from the run away debt and the deteriorating conditions, that things are not going well, and have not been going well for some time now. Are the same managers the right answer? After 30 years of debt and deterioration, how exciting to be able to finally change this condition and start working toward a more successful future. The opportunity to vote for Whitman and Fiorina is one of the most empowering opportunities citizens of California have had in decades.

God Bless America

Monday, October 4, 2010

EFF's Informed Voter Guide and a free policy book from the Heartland Institute!

Informed Voter Guide
Please, please, please take some time to look over the Evergreen Freedom Foundation's Informed Voter Guide. It. Is. Awesome. They have done so much research on state legislators' voting records, supreme court candidates' records, and a review of all of the initiatives on the ballot.


The Informed Voter Guide from Evergreen Freedom Foundation on Vimeo.


Free policy book
The Heartland Institute is providing free copies of their book called "The Patriot's Toolbox."

So here’s our next big thing: The Patriot’s Toolbox, a 263-page book that consists of eight chapters, each presenting ten principles for free-market reform in clear and precise English. Each chapter originally appeared in the Legislative Principles series, which means they are specially designed and edited to meet the needs of busy elected officials and opinion leaders. No rhetoric, no history lessons, and no long-winded lectures. Just solid facts backed up with bibliographies.
Make sure you get your copy today. Order it here.

Dumping on the Greatest Generation

How disrespectful or ignorant does one have to be to leave this kind of mess at the WWII memorial in DC? There are no words for this.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Left's incomplete definition of diversity

Reading about the "One Nation" march yesterday, watching clips of the speeches, and watching the talking heads discuss it afterward, made me realize the sad state of the word "diversity" among many of those on the left side of the spectrum.

Al Sharpton and just about every other speaker and promoter of the event, including attendees interviewed at the event, sounded like a cd that was skipping. The point they all kept making was, "look at how diverse our crowd is." They continuously spoke about how there were so many different colors of people represented in the crowd. That's nice, but diversity is so much more than skin color - so incredibly much more. I believe that the "professional left" has forgotten that. They seem to think that diversity only means that we look different.

The professional left, time and time again, has shown that diversity of thought and opinion is not so welcome. Case in gruesome point, the 10:10 mini-movie that aired last week. Another example: education theory is rife with examples of groupthink and expectations of "consensus" or ideological litmus tests. As an educator myself, I can tell you right now that "collaborative learning" and "promoting community" are just code words for groupthink. For instance, I listened to a program on NPR last week about solutions to bullying, that by itself is a very worthy topic. However, the two guests, both professors of education, went well beyond solutions to bullying.

The language they used, in combination with many of their ideas, betrayed their fixation on ideological consensus and purity, displaying that their real goal is groupthink. They wanted to make sure that schools prioritized,
...a commitment to kindness, to putting the needs of other people first and a sense that a community – a shared identity – is as important as anything achieved by individuals within the community. [Emphasis mine]
These women want to teach kids that being part of the group - a "shared identity" (what does that even mean??) - is as important as individual achievement. They went so far as to lament the fact that in traditional education, more weight is placed on math, science, and reading, rather than on "collaborative learning" and "kindness." Um... sorry? And you wonder why American children rank 25th in math and science but 1st in self-confidence? This reminds me of a blog entry I accidentally stumbled across the other day, about a Kindergarten class here in Seattle where the teachers used legos to teach socialism and indoctrinate the kids against capitalism. Groupthink!

These women, like many others on the left, talk a great game when it comes to diversity, but just try being a young conservative in a place like Seattle. You learn very quickly that diversity does not mean diversity of thought. It means that someone's pigmentation varies from someone else's. And here I thought we had moved past judging people based on the color of their skin. The reason so many liberal journalists freak out when they see that I have piercings and tattoos, and that I am hispanic is because they have a preconceived notion about how a person that looks like me should think. I look a certain way and therefore I must think a certain way. Black conservative get this all the time. They are called race-traitors, Uncle Tom's, House n*****s, etc. because they have the right look, but they don't fall into line ideologically.

Racism and other beliefs that separate people based on their skin color are all founded in collectivism. You cannot lump all black people together, for any reason, other than a belief in collectivism. Is it a coincidence that socialism and communism are also founded in collectivism?

On the other side are people like me who are considered individualists, who view each person as an individual, regardless of what they look like. When I meet someone, I am never surprised by their beliefs because I don't prejudge them based on their looks. I have a friend who looks like the biggest redneck you've ever seen, and he is a total progressive, almost a socialist. Am I surprised? No, because I don't believe in collectivism and I don't group people based on their looks.

Al Sharpton was so proud of his "diverse" crowd, but I can guarantee that my friend circle is waaaay more diverse than any crowd that Al Sharpton has ever been around because my friends aren't afraid to disagree and challenge each other about their beliefs and ideas. It's what inside that counts, who cares about the packaging?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Which One, Patty Murray?

Dino knocks it out of the park again with his new TV ad.

Norm Dicks Lies Again - Call his offices!!

Norm Dicks was scheduled to debate challenger Doug Cloud on Monday of this week, but ducked out at the last minute. Apparently Dicks sent a representative to tell the 300 people there that the absent Congressman had to get back to DC to cast super important votes. And in Norm Dicks' world, casting votes in DC apparently means meeting with Boeing employee union members in Everett - a city totally and completely outside of his district.

Incumbents have come up with some unusual strategies to avoid debates in this election.

Take Democrat Norm Dicks, a 34-year veteran of the House from Washington State. You'd think he'd be eager to tout all he has done for his Tacoma district, but this past Monday he pulled out of a debate with his GOP opponent after the local newspaper had announced he would attend. Mr. Dicks' office sent a representative to the debate who told the 300 people in attendance that his boss had to miss the event to cast "several important votes" back in Washington. The only problem is that there were no votes scheduled for Monday or Tuesday of this week. While the debate was going on, Mr. Dicks was actually in Everett, a city outside his district, meeting with a group of unionized Boeing employees.

Doug Cloud, Mr. Dicks' opponent, took full advantage of the Congressman's absence. "I'm drawing a line in the sand and Norm Dicks doesn't want to face that line and the mistakes he's made," he told the audience for the aborted debate.
(H/T: Steve Beren)

The people of Kitsap County have been unrepresented by this buffoon of a man for THIRTY-TWO years. You would think the man could pony up a few minutes of his day to debate his challenger, in front of 300 of his constituents.

What a WUSSY. Kick him out of office Kitsap. The man already has a giant, plush office building (that remains half empty, wasting tax payer dollars of course) named after himself, it's time to retire his drunk ass, pardon my language. (It's a well known "secret" that ol' Dicks is a total drunk.)

One thing you can do now, before you get your ballots, is to call his offices and ask why 1.) he missed a debate with his challenger, 2.) he lied about his whereabouts, and 3.) we should rehire a liar such as himself. Call his office today and call them next week because he needs to be accountable to the people he pretends to represent.

Contact Norm Dicks
Washington DC: 202-225-5916
Tacoma: 253-593-6536
Bremerton: 360-479-4011
Port Angeles: 360-452-3370

***

This just in: Jay Inslee in the 1st Congressional District in WA refuses to debate his challenger too!! From James Watkins' campaign:

Inslee’s Avoidance of Public Debates No Joke

LYNNWOOD—James Watkins, candidate for the 1st congressional district has responded to Jay Inslee’s strange assertion that Watkins diminishes the value of community forums, and he presses Inslee to face the voters in a debate.

Watkins says, “I’ve been enthusiastically attending community forums and other unfiltered events open to the public since January. I’ve only seen Jay at one public candidate event, where he came late, but just in time to answer one question. Community-minded groups inviting all the local candidates to a meeting on behalf of voters is no joke. But for Jay Inslee to substitute this format for a full debate when our future is hanging in the balance is a serious display of bad faith on the part of a ‘people’s representative.’”

Watkins believes this is just another tactic Inslee is using to hide his record from voters.

“I’m sure Inslee would love his allotted six minutes at the next forum to be devoted to discussing the six-minute time slot rather than issues voters are interested in,” says Watkins. “He would much rather do that than explain why he voted for the largest deficit in U.S. history, a pork-laden stimulus plan that created no jobs, and a national energy tax on working families.”

The Watkins campaign has been requesting debates of Inslee since the primary election in August. Inslee refused to debate Watkins until, pressured by the media last week, he made a vague commitment to attend candidate forums which limit the engagement between candidates and one debate late in the election season.

Watkins stands with 1st District voters in supporting good government principles of transparency, independence, and fiscal responsibility. Inslee voted for a budget with a $1.34 trillion deficit and took no significant action as Boeing cut 30,000 jobs.

Watkins is the only candidate that has fostered the creation of new private-sector jobs. At the federal level he cut government spending as an FDIC troubleshooter. For more information on James Watkins, visit www.WatkinsForCongress.com.

Eco-NutBars! Tastes great! Less filling! - Updated

Scroll for updates.

I LOVE it when people show their true colors. It's so nice to finally see a group be honest about what they really want. (H/T: Geobent)





Ed Morrissey comments:
What makes this fascinating is that the people who produce this dreck have no clue as to just how far removed they have become from normal human sensibilities, or at least they didn’t until the video began provoking the fully-predictable reaction. They have become so wrapped up in Gaia that they seem to have little connection to humanity.

The other, mainly unrelated point that comes to mind is that this represents a reductio ad absurdum of the view from the hard Left about how dissent gets treated by the mainstream American populace, vis-a-vis the Iraq war especially. Can you imagine the reaction had an organization like Move America Forward produced a video like this, where those who didn’t support a robust strategy for the war on terror were blown up by a button-pushing advocate for the strategy? Especially children in a classroom being terrorized by their teacher into compliance with the groupthink?
Apparently the eco-nutbars are upset that AGW skeptics are sharing the video, while the group who produced the film is trying to erase its existence. Of course we are going to share it! People should know how crazy some of the eco-crazies really are, and the power they dream of holding. Now of course, many people who consider themselves environmentalists are also completely disgusted with this video and the ideas behind it - and thank goodness for that - but we all need to realize that there are some sick fanatics behind a portion of the "green" movement so that we can stop them before they do any actual damage.

***

UPDATE:
I want to make sure that it was clear that I explicitly mentioned the fact that many mainstream environmentalists were disgusted with this film. The Guardian newspaper in the UK has an article with comments from various "green" charities discussing the rising backlash against the film - from environmentalists.

However, it's just as interesting to note that some of the reactions from mainstream environmentalist groups show us that they still don't quite get why the film was appalling. Some of them are sorry that people were offended, but don't mention anything about being sorry for the ideas behind the content. Some of them think that it's just darn hard to joke about serious issues, and really, that was the problem. Some of them say they were just trying to be creative about how dangerous climate change is, but that the film "missed its mark."

I find it disturbing that none of the groups said anything about (or at least the Guardian didn't report it if they did) the idea of punishing people for thinking differently (see this morning's post on groupthink). People are disgusted by the visuals of children exploding, yes, for sure. But more than that, most of us are genuinely chilled by the fact that the filmmakers and some of their backers (including the Guardian) don't seem to make the connection between what they see as a critical issue and the notion of freedom of thought. To say that the film missed its mark completely misses the point. The Guardian had this to say:
The film may have been somewhat tasteless, but it was an imaginative attempt to challenge public apathy over climate change.
There is such a disconnect for these people between trying to motivate people to take action on an issue and the message that their film delivered. The film accomplished nothing close to motivating people to care about climate change. The film threatened to kill people who disagree about climate change. The fact that the filmmakers and some (I said some) environmental groups don't get this is worrying. Though, I think the everyday person who is concerned about global warming probably gets it. It's probably the insulated, entrenched activists who live in a groupthink bubble and have lost touch with reality that don't quite understand why this video is so appalling.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS

(This was written in response to a hugely ignorant comment left here a few days ago.)

By Littlefish

It is important to separate the real issue here. The issue is not about whether or not drawing various religious icons is acceptable or not, the issue is: is it OK to threaten people with death? A religious Icon is important to someone who practices that religion. If one does not practice that religion, the icon is just an image. Whether it is offensive or not is a personal decision.

That is why government is not supposed to interject into religious issues, because it is individual and personal. Death threats, however, are exactly what government is supposed to concern itself with! It is a horrible state of affairs that a US citizen, exercising her right to free speech and working her craft as she is allowed to do, is told by her own government that she needs to go into hiding because they can’t protect her from some criminal that is threatening her life. How about going after the Criminal? The issue is FREE SPEECH. Please see below, I have copied a letter from The American Muslim along with the many signatories of the letter. Clear thinking people agree, this is not a Christian vs. Muslim issue. It is a human rights issue.



A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS

We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.

We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.

We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims. We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qur’an burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.
We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.

As Muslims, we must set an example of justice, patience, tolerance, respect, and forgiveness.
The Qur’an enjoins Muslims to:

* bear witness to Islam through our good example (2:143); 

* restrain anger and pardon people (3:133-134 and 24:22); 

* remain patient in adversity (3186);

* stand firmly for justice (4:135); 

* not let the hatred of others swerve us from justice (5:8); 

* respect the sanctity of life (5:32); 

* turn away from those who mock Islam (6:68 and 28:55); 

* hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199); 

* restrain ourselves from rash responses (16:125-128); 

* pass by worthless talk with dignity (25:72); and

* repel evil with what is better (41:34).

Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of both hateful speech and hateful acts, but always within the boundaries of the law. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of reflexive emotion, but with dignity and intelligence, in accordance with both our religious precepts and the laws of our country.

We uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both protect freedom of religion and speech, because both protections are fundamental to defending minorities from the whims of the majority.

We therefore call on all Muslims in the United States, Canada and abroad to refrain from violence. We should see the challenges we face today as an opportunity to sideline the voices of hate—not reward them with further attention—by engaging our communities in constructive dialogue about the true principles of Islam, and the true principles of democracy, both of which stress the importance of freedom of religion and tolerance.


SIGNATORIES:
Prof. Hassan Abbas, Quaid-i-Azam Chair, South Asia Institute, Columbia University
Anisa Abd el Fattah, Founder and Chairwoman, National Association of Muslim American Women (NAMAW)
Ammar Abdulhamid, Executive Director, Tharwa Foundation 
Imam Johari Abdul Malik, Director of Outreach, Dar-Al-Hijrah Islamic Center 
Mehnaz M. Afridi, PhD, Adjunct Professor (Judaism, Islam & Genocide Studies) Antioch University 
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, PhD, Director, Minaret of Freedom Foundation
Ahrar Ahmad, PhD, Professor of Political Science, Black Hills State University
Prof. Akbar S. Ahmed, PhD, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University
Osman Ahmed,PhD, President Islamic Society of Essex County, Newark, NJ
Prof. Parvez Ahmed, PhD, Fulbright Scholar & Assoc. Prof. University of North Florida 
Barbara Al-Bayati, Co-Founder, Orphan Whispers
Aman Ali, writer, stand-up-comedian
Javed Ali, founder and publisher, Illume magazine
Wajahat Ali, playwright, journalist, and producer of “Domestic Crusaders”
Sumbul Ali-Karamali, JD, LLM (Islamic Law), author of “The Muslim Next Door”
Salam al-Marayati, Pres., Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
Shahed Amanullah, Editor-in-Chief, Altmuslim
M. Saud Anwar, Co-Chair, American Muslim Peace Initiative 
Abdul Cader Asmal MD, PhD, Past President, Islamic Council of Mew England 
Aref Assaf, PhD, President, American Arab Forum
Hussam Ayloush, Exec. Director, CAIR Greater Los Angeles Area
Hazami Barmada, Pres, American Muslim Interactive Network (AMIN)
Victor Ghalib Begg, Senior Advisor, Chairman Emeritus, Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan
Farah Brelvi, Board of Directors, ACLU-NC
Arsalan Bukhari, Executive Director, CAIR-WA 
M. Ali Chaudry, PhD, President, Center for Understanding Islam (CUII) 
Kamran Cheikh, Activist, Committee member, Muslims for Peace, Justice & Progress (MPJP), researcher for Deen Research Center (DRC) 
Robert D. Crane, JD, author of numerous books
Prof Golam Dastagir, PhD, Visiting Research Scholar, New College, University of Toronto, Canada
Almoonir Dewji, blogger - “That We May Know Each Other” 
Mustafa Stefan Dill, blogger;/PR/social media analyst for Muslim issues; musician 
Lamia El-Sadek, political and human rights activitist
Mohamed Elsanousi, Director of Communications and Community Outreach for the Islamic Society of N America (ISNA)
Mona Eltahawy, journalist
Aziz Enhaili, Political analyst, columnist for Tolerance.ca
Prof. Mohammad Fadel, PhD
Fatemeh Fakhraie, Editor-in-Chief, Muslimah Media Watch
Mike Ghouse, President, World Muslim Congress 
Iftekhar Hai, President, UMA Interfaith Alliance 
Rabia Terri Harris, Coordinator, Muslim Peace Fellowship 
Hesham Hassaballa, M.D., author, journalist, blogger - “God, faith, and a pen”
Amir Hussain, PhD, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymound University
Iftekhar Hussain, Chair, Board of Directors, CAIR-PA
Arsalan Iftikhar, author, human rights lawyer, blogger - “The Muslim Guy”
Jeffrey Imm, Director, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.)
Ghazala Irshad, journalist, blogger - “The Floating Lotus”
Nakia Jackson, writer 
M. Zuhdi Jasser, MD, President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Safi Kaskas, President & CEO Strategic Edge 
Prof. Muqtedar Khan, PhD, author of several books, Blogger - “Globalog”
Farah Kinani, Journalist, blogger - “Global Voices”
Shaikh Ahmad Kutty, Resident Senior Scholar, Islamic Institute of Toronto 
Faisal Kutty, Visiting Asst. Prof. of law, Valparaiso University School of Law and Adjunct Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto)
M. Junaid Levesque-Alam, writer, blogger - “Crossing the Crescent” 
David Liepert, M.D., blogger and author of “Muslim, Christian AND Jew” 
Radwan A. Masmoudi, PhD, President, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID) 
Melissa Matos, President, Al-Ghazali Legal Society, Saint Louis University
Shelina Merani, community activist, artist, blogger “Muslim Presence”
Melody Moezzi, JD, MPH, writer and attorney
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, author of many books of poetry
Ebrahim Moosa, Assoc. Professor of Islamic Studies, Dept. of Religion, Duke University
Lt. Col. Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, U.S. Army Chaplain 
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, President Sound Vision 
Sheila Musaji, Editor, The American Muslim (TAM)
Muneeb Nasir, President, Olive Tree Foundation, Editor IQRA Canada
Q. Amin Nathari, National Representative, Islam in America Movement (IAM)
Aziz H. Poonawalla, PhD, scientist and blogger - “City of Brass” on Beliefnet
M.Waheed-uz-Zaman Rana, Imam, Prof. Emeritus, Dept. of Surgery, Saint Louis University 
Hasan Zillur Rahim, PhD, journalist
Shaykh Ahmed Abdur Rashid, The Circle Group
Prof. Hussein Rashid, PhD, blogger - “Religion Dispatches”
Shafi Refai, President, United Muslims of America 
Muhamed Sacirbey, lawyer, diplomat, writer
Louay Safi, PhD, Common Word Fellow, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Christian Muslim Understanding, Georgetown University
Ghulam Abbas Sajan, Director Islamic Ahlul Bayt Assembly of Canada
Robert Salaam, blogger - “The American Muslim”
Raquel Evita Saraswati, activist, writer, blogger
Sarah Sayeed, President of One Blue 
Sophia Rose Shafi, MA, MTS, doctoral candidate (Islamic Studies), writer
T.O. Shanavas. MD, Vice President, Islamic Research Foundation, author
S. Abdallah Schleifer, Distinguished Prof., Dept. of Journalism & Mass Com, American University Cairo 
Ricka Shorish, M.S., R.N., volunteer/consultant, Avicenna Community Health Center 
Jihad Shoshara, community organizer and activist, Chicago
Jafar Siddiqui, blogger - “Penjihad”
Prof. Laury Silvers, PhD
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, PhD, Sr. Lecturer, Islamic Studies & African American Religion, University of Florida 
Prof. Ibrahim B. Syed, PhD, President of Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc., author
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, Nat’l Director, Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances, Islamic Society of N America (ISNA)
J.Tayeb, MD, President, CAIR-MI, ISNA founders committee member, Vice chair, HUDA free Clinic, Detroit 
Pamela Taylor, Co-founder Muslims for Progressive Values, Panelist for On Faith 
Tayyibah Taylor, Editor, Azizah Magazine
Dr. Hashim El-Tinay, President, International Peace Quest Institute (IPQI) 
Tarik Trad, writer, humorist, photographer, artist and activist 
Asma T. Uddin, Attorney, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Editor, Altmuslimah 
Wahida Valiante, President, Canadian Islamic Congress and Chair of Islamic History Month Canada 
Jason van Boom, Host of “Islam and Authors”, writer 
Amina Wadud, PhD, consultant on Islam and gender, visiting scholar Starr King School for the Ministry
Danya Wellmon, Co-Founder Women Transcending Boundaries interfaith group
Svend White, blogger - “Akram’s Razor”, activist, writer
G. Willow Wilson, author of “Butterfly Mosque” and “Air” graphic novel series 
Ani Zonneveld, President, Muslims for Progressive Values

Friday, September 24, 2010

18 years is long enough Patty!

We want our seat back Patty! You can keep the misery!


Real Racism

It's sad and pathetic. Some people accuse tea partiers of being racist because we are upset with President Obama's policies, and apparently because the President is black, opposing his policies makes us racist - according to some on the Left.

While those accusations are totally false and insulting, real racism and race baiting exists. Case in point: Loretta Sanchez from deep in the heart of Orange County, CA. This story broke a couple of days ago on conservative blogs, and today was picked up by the LA Times, in a surprising show of journalistic integrity.

First, the video:



Second, Ms. Sanchez states that her opponent is "anti-immigrant..."

...pero, quisas, se le olvido, que el senor Tran es un immigrante. Yo creo que Ms. Sanchez, quien nacio en California, es la persona que tiene problema con immigrantes.

(Her opponent, Van Tran, is an immigrant himself. So maybe it's Ms. Sanchez who has a problem with immigrants, or at least those immigrants who hail from countries other than Mexico.)

She also attempts to walk her comments back by saying that "she was referring not to some entire ethnic group invading Hispanic turf but just to those Vietnamese who are supporting Van Tran." Riiiiiigggghhhht.

Oh, the OC Weekly also refers to Tran's supporters as "trannies."

Can you imagine the absolute outrage across the MSM if a Republican candidate had complained about the "Vietnamese trying to steal my seat," or if a newspaper called a Vietnamese candidate's supporters "trannies?" The double standard in the media is so ridiculous at this point that it's no wonder that they and their profits are tanking.

This brings me to our own local candidate with ties to a very racist organization, La Raza: Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, running for reelection to the WA state legislature, position 2, in the 46th district. Ms. Kenney is on the board of the National Council of La Raza. Allow me to translate that for you: The National Council of The Race. How is that acceptable in America today? How is possible to get elected to public office while simultaneously sitting on the board of an organization that calls itself "The Race." (BTW - my friend Beau Gunderson is running against her and would appreciate your help and your vote if you live in the 46th district. Kenney has been in office since 1997, me thinks it's time for CHANGE.)

First, check out how Kenney has voted on issues that really matter to you, such as raising taxes. She is a rubber stamp for the most liberal, tax and spend policies in this state. She has no interest in reforming the budget process or in increasing the prosperity of the residents of our state. No, she would rather sit on the board of a racist organization. In fact, she helped to spend all the money with no concern for the future or for the taxpayers - it is literally her fault our state is in a budget crisis. Last time I wrote about her, I think one of her staff members must have seen the post pop up on their Google news alert because almost immediately someone commented and tried to defend Kenney's involvement with La Raza.

I welcome her staff back to my site with this post, and I say this: As a fellow hispanic, it is shameful to watch people like you Ms. Kenney, and your Orange County counterpart, Ms. Sanchez, race bait in order to maintain your own personal power. You are both blemishes on the identity of Americans who happen to be of hispanic ethnicity. My abuelos would be downright embarrassed by your cheap attempts to turn the people of this country against each other using race to divide. You are both modern day conquistadors - dividing and conquering for your own personal gain. You know, I believe that neither of you are actually racist, rather, I think you would both use racism and race baiting to keep the seat of power that you believe now belongs to you. It's hard to give up those perks, eh?

For those who claim that La Raza is just a sweet, little book club for hispanics, I leave you with these, for a start. (Included in my indictment is MEChA, another militant, racist group that I had personal experience with in college.)



Do you think that any of these people know that as hispanics, specifically Mexican hispanics, that we are descendants of the Spanish who conquered this land?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How are these different?

Seattle Weekly cartoonist, Molly Norris, goes into hiding because of threats from radical Muslims; journalists ignore her plight and refuse to report on her story.

Mexican journalists offer a deal to the drug cartels and agree to stop reporting on the drug war so long as the cartels stop killing their journalists.

Monday, September 20, 2010

If only...

Mark Halperin on Sarah Palin:
You are right to complain that she is not offering specific policy proposals and that her inaccessibility to media outlets other than the one that pays her — Fox News — puts her beyond the kind of scrutiny and accountability we have come to expect for our leaders.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ahhh. Ah ha haha.

*Wiping tears from eyes*

Ahem. Where were you when we were trying to get you to scrutinize candidate Obama and his experience, ideas, and worldview? And where are you now that we are trying to hold him accountable? Things we have come to "expect" indeed.


Newsflash: You don't get a do-over

If you have been following Lisa Murckowscki's sad, sore loser rhetoric regarding her write-in campaign, you have probably noticed statements like these:
Believe you me, the easier path would be to pack it all up and go do something different,” she said. “If I had not heard this call from Alaskans, I would not be deliberating as I am...

It is people from all walks of life, every corner of the state, who are concerned about Alaska’s future and concerned enough to take action on it,” she said. “I’m a public servant. My job by definition is to listen to my constituents. And there was a process in place — a primary election — that’s certainly one way that you listen to your constituents.
Or like these:
Murkowski said Friday that Miller's tally was just 11.9 percent of Alaska registered voters, although state Republican Party Chair Ruedrich called it a Republican primary turnout record.

She said she kept hearing from Alaskans who felt they couldn't vote for either Miller or the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat, Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams.

Murkowski said that "to the tens of thousands of you who didn't vote in the primary, I ask you to join us. ... your vote has never, never been more important...
She's hearing from people who feel like they cannot vote for Miller or McAdams? Where were all of these people during the primary? She gives a shout out to the "tens of thousands" who supposedly didn't vote in the primary... but that's their own fault. In American politics you do not get a do-over. I understand that Murrkowskee and her supporters feel jilted. I would too if I had been lazy or cocky enough to stay home during a primary. These people are basically upending our system to suit their own needs. They didn't feel like doing the legwork to get Merkousky through the primaries and so now they are scoffing at the process we all agree to, because losing sucks and they apparently can't handle it. And losing especially sucks when you have no one else to blame but yourself.

Murkousckey - It's time to behave like an adult. You don't get a do-over.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My thoughts on September 11

Today, on the anniversary of 9/11, I was lucky enough to participate in one of my favorite activities - flag waving on Freedom Bridge. Freedom Bridge, for those that don't know about it, is the overpass that leads into Fort Lewis, near Camp Murray. A wonderful group of people, known as the Bridge People Regulars, have made a showing every Saturday since 2003, rain or shine or snow or wind, to wave Old Glory and to say thank you to our troops and their families as they drive by.

My family started going in November of 2007 and for a long time we went every Saturday as well. I prioritized it above every other activity I did. At the time I wasn't involved in politics at all. In fact, I guess Freedom Bridge was my first foray into, not necessarily politics because we keep it apolitical and nonpartisan on the bridge, but expression of ideas in a public forum. I stopped going regularly as all of the political and tea party stuff started taking up more and more of my time. So it was such an honor to be back there today to say thanks to our men and women in the military, and to see old friends and smile with them, particularly on a day like today, September 11.

That bridge is possibly the most hopeful place I have ever stood. There is an energy that is palpable, especially when my fellow bridge people are there with me. To stand there, unashamedly, holding an American flag, looking soldiers in the eyes as they drive past, yelling thank you to them, fills my heart with such happiness and love. It's so hard to explain until you've been there. I jokingly call it "patriot crack" because once you start going, you need to get your fix pretty regularly. There's nothing like a jolt of hope and love for your country to brighten your day and to clear away the cynicism that politics inevitably brings into your life.

On the way home, I was thinking about politics and how it relates to the experience of Freedom Bridge on 9/11. It reminded me that although I think my political opponents - liberals, progressives, social democrats, etc. - are totally and completely wrong about policy, they are still Americans. They are not, in any way, shape, or form, similar to the radical Islamic terrorists that perpetrated the attacks on 9/11. And I think that we need reminders of things like that more often, especially as we move into a fierce election season. For all of (what I consider to be) their misguided ideas, liberals are not mass murderers; they're not terrorists; they're not evil. Remembering these seemingly obvious facts lifts a weight off of my shoulders because all of a sudden, I'm not fighting against evil, genocidal, killers; I'm fighting against fellow Americans who have a different idea about the right balance of government vs. free enterprise.

It's good to remember this. I hope that some of the liberals out there had an opportunity for self-reflection today and maybe came to these same conclusions because, honestly, I'm really tired of being called a racist; a bigot; a domestic terrorist wannabe; a cruel person with no heart who wants all poor people to die; a fascist; etc. Can we come to the table and assume the best about each other until facts dictate otherwise? This isn't to say we won't be passionate and that we won't argue. This isn't to say that I won't claim that progressivism is philosophically flawed, or that I believe it leads to great suffering and is inherently unjust - the difference being that I don't believe that people who call themselves progressives are seeking great suffering or injustice. Those are two hugely different concepts. Make sense? (Similarly, this isn't to say that progressives won't throw those same accusations back at me, hopefully with the caveat that they don't actually believe that I want horrible things to happen, even if they think my ideas will lead to bad things.)

It means that I will make an effort to assume that the heart and the character of the people I clash with are basically good. It means that I will not assume they have hate in their heart.

Can the liberals reading this join me in this effort? I hope so, because we need to stand together as one, unified people against radicals who seek to destroy our way of life, and life itself, simply because we don't live like them.

Lastly, I know that I fight for ideas that I believe provide the best framework for individual liberty, prosperity, freedom, hope, and love. I believe that those ideals are timeless human desires that span generations and centuries, and that cannot be snuffed out. There is an eternal fight for freedom, and for the laws and systems that best achieve that freedom. I will tirelessly fight people who hold ideas that I think threaten freedom - it doesn't mean I think those people hate freedom - but I will fight them, goodhearted though they may be, until I cannot fight anymore.

I'm going to repost Doctor Zero's article about the meaning of the American flag. As always, he writes so beautifully about the power of the American flag and how no matter what people do to it, they can never destroy it. Also be sure click on over to Ace of Spades where they've posted tons of video from CNN's coverage of 9/11. Watch it again so that you don't forget what happened. It was really awful. (Understatement of the century.)

In memory of everyone who died on 9/11 and the soldiers who lost their lives in the ensuing battles: May you rest in peace. And to our men and women across the globe who have been injured, or made other sacrifices so that I can sit at home, blogging: my eternal gratitude and love to you all.

By Doctor Zero

An odd little church in Florida touched off a global controversy by threatening to burn a Koran on September 11. They announced the burning had been postponed, but there have already been riots in Indonesia, and injuries in Afghanistan. Naturally, these riots have been accompanied by the burning of American flags. When rage and hatred blaze in the dark corners of the Earth, the symbol of American freedom is usually the first thing to catch fire.

American flags were burned on September 11, 2001 as well. They dissolved into ash while Palestinians danced around them, singing and passing out candy to celebrate the fall of the Twin Towers. They were vaporized in the blasts of superheated jet fuel that ripped through the corridors of those towers, and the Pentagon. They melted on the shoulders of heroic firefighters who ran into a million tons of cascading rubble and never came back.

That grand old American flag has seen her share of abuse. The sight of her riding the winds of dawn, her beauty unspoiled by a night of cannon fire, inspired the poetry which became our national anthem. She was made to march along the Trail of Tears, where brave men died of exhaustion in her shadow. She was carried into battle against her own sons, and drifted sadly over ground soaked with their blood at Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg. She greeted the morning of December 7, 1941 above the decks of eighteen doomed ships, warmed by their last gorgeous Hawaiian sunrise. She was burned and spat upon as an insult to the men who carried her honor into the jungles of Vietnam.

And yet, the American flag has never been desecrated.

She is the symbol of a unique nation: born in the defiance of tyranny, baptized in the destruction of slavery, and coming of age when it rescued the world from genocidal evil. Those who destroy our flag earn nothing but our contempt. They abuse their freedom of speech to level such an insult… but if you embrace the freedom to perform only virtuous deeds, you will soon find that what you’re holding isn’t “freedom” at all, as the arbiters of “virtue” lay their heavy hands upon your shoulder.

Anyone who seeks to desecrate the Stars and Stripes, on either foreign or domestic soil, is a fool. The power of that flag is far beyond their reach. It is a flame that warmed the freezing waters of the Delaware, as George Washington and his force of starving yeomen brought defeat to the invincible British army. It was raised above the bloody rocks of Iwo Jima by men who would have acted no differently if they had known half of them would be dead within a matter of weeks, resting beside seven thousand of their brother Marines. Our flag rose again above the rubble of the World Trade Center, in the hands of firemen who spent the day pulling survivors from the burning dust. They wanted to do something for all the people they couldn’t save… a gesture of enduring love, and defiance of the sickening evil that tore them from their loved ones.

The image of those firemen and their flag passed through the lens of photographer Thomas Franklin, and into eternity. The blood of liberty is made from the remembrance of such moments. Franklin would later say, “This was an important shot. It told more than just death and destruction. It said something to me about the strength of the American people and of these firemen having to battle the unimaginable.”

That’s what America is: a never-ending battle against the unimaginable.

No cretin with a cigarette lighter can touch the compassion and courage woven into the cloth those firemen raised above Ground Zero. Burn that flag and prove you are a savage, or a spoiled brat. Spit upon it and soil yourself. Stamp it beneath your feet, and diminish. You might as well try to extinguish the Sun. Instead of protecting your symbols with promises of destruction and murder, think about what makes the American flag untouchable, and be elevated.

No nation has ever loved the whole of mankind as much as the United States of America. Our fallen soldiers lie in every corner of the Earth as proof. Love is patient, and love is kind. We forgive the world its trespasses. On September 11th, we ask its patience and kindness, as we recall the day unimaginable evil descended upon New York and Washington, and we once more took up the burden of doing battle with it.



Friday, September 10, 2010

Two great videos for your viewing pleasure - and Doug Cloud's campaign kickoff!

Just a couple of videos I wanted to share today.

Tea Party Across America




Norm Dicks = Money Pit




Doug Cloud is having a campaign kickoff BBQ on Sunday, September 12!
Where: 265 3rd Ave Fi, Fox Island, WA 98333
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Be sure to visit his website and sign up for his newsletters so you can stay up to date on his campaign to CLEAN HOUSE!!

Happy Friday!

Illinois Counties Splurge on Lobbying: Millions of taxpayer dollars chasing bigger government

Press release from Sunshine Review

Alexandria, VA— Unbeknownst to most taxpayers, Illinois counties are lavishing millions of public dollars on lobbyists to increase the size and scope of government according to an exclusive analysis by Sunshine Review, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to transparency.

Because transparency laws frequently do not require disclosure of taxpayer-funded lobbying, Sunshine Review compiled data from Freedom of Information requests for the 10 largest counties in Illinois. The report revealed a whopping $6.2 million in lobbying expenses incurred by the counties between 2005 and 2010. Payments were funneled into 31 individual lobbying contracts and membership in 64 lobbying groups with the express purpose of influencing the Legislature and federal government to increase counties’ revenues—and thus grow the counties’ budgets and powers.

"This practice packs a double whammy for taxpayers who must first pay the lobbyists fees and then pay again in the form of higher taxes for the lobbyists "success" in increasing spending and growing government," said Michael Barnhart, president of Sunshine Review.

The 10 counties splurged $2 million on lobbying the Illinois State Legislature. DuPage County spent the most overall, with a total exceeding $1.8 million, while Will County reported $1.2 million in lobbying payments. Spending by county is as follows:


For more information, visit www.sunshinereview.org.

Contact
Diana Lopez
Senior Editor of Government Lobbying
Dlopez@sunshinereview.org
P: 630-392-1226

Sunshine Review is dedicated to state and local government transparency. The Sunshine Review wiki collects and shares transparency information, and uses a “10-point Transparency Checklist” to evaluate the Web site content of every state and more than 5,000 local governments.

***

Unbelievable, eh? They spend our tax dollars to lobby for bigger, more intrusive government in order to spend an ever-larger portion of our tax dollars. Crazy.