Politics: August 2008 Archives

In our latest descent into the public record of Fred Walser, we look at the fact that Walser has displayed a pattern of not keeping confidences as part of his official capacity as a public servant.

He has on multiple occasions released information to department personnel -- both at the Washington State Patrol, and at the Sultan Police Department -- about investigations being done of them, and twice -- within about a year -- released information to the media that were prejudicial to criminal cases.

Any elected official must be able to keep confidences to do their job. Walser has shown on multiple occasions over many years, and leading up to the incident that resulted in his criminal conviction and one-year jail sentence this June, that he is sometimes either incapable or unwilling to do so. slashdot.org

Rick Larsen Opposes Barack Obama

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The Herald reports today that a local Congressman was complaining about a lack of experience on the top ticket in the nation:

"It is a terrible pick," said U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash. "The first question ... to ask is, 'Can this person [serve as President].'"
Oh, I'm sorry, he was talking about Sarah Palin, not Barack Obama. Huh. Never mind. slashdot.org

Can you name for me a single person in this world who will vote for Obama over McCain because Sarah Palin is inexperienced?

Just one person. Not a hypothetical one, an actual one, who isn't lying.

No, you can't, because it's a nonsensical proposition.

Obama has less experience than any President or Vice President candidate of either party -- yes, including both John Edwards and Dan Quayle -- in almost 70 years, except for Spiro Agnew, if you count both national legislative, state executive, or federal executive experience.

Read that again: except for Agnew, every Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate of either party in the last 68 years has more experience than Barack Obama.

And somehow, Palin's experience, which is in fact comparable in depth (though of a different type) to Obama's is going to make people choose ... Obama? One wonders if they realize that Obama is at the top of his ticket.

I can see the ads now: "Don't vote for McCain: he has one of the least experienced running mates in modern history. Instead, vote for Obama, who is by far the least experienced candidate for President in the last 68 years!"

How is this a good argument for Obama? slashdot.org

"This is a Moment"

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Apparently today is one of the greatest moments in American history: a black man will receive the presidential nomination for one of the two major political parties.

I do not feel like this is a special event. I do not feel, as a pundit said this morning on MSNBC, that "this is a moment." I feel like it is no different from any other nomination. I do not care one whit what color Obama's skin is.

I know that this is meaningful to a lot of people, just like it was meaningful for people when Lieberman and Ferraro got the VP nods, and when Kennedy got the nomination for President (and then won). Any time a minority group, especially a formerly oppressed one, gets "one of their own" into a position like this, it's a big deal for many people.

Not to me. Some people compare it to Jackie Robinson becoming the first black major league baseball player. But the comparison is weak because with Robinson, becoming the first was a difficult process: he was not widely lauded, he had to win over most people to the idea.

But with Obama, the fact that he is in this position means we've already become comfortable with the idea. If a ton of people were opposed to it, it wouldn't have happened. This obviously isn't the case with Jackie Robinson.

That Obama is the nominee is a signal that we've already gotten beyond race, whereas Robinson was a courageous attempt to get past race.

To use another baseball analogy, to me this is like making a bigger deal out of the parade for winning the World Series, than the World Series itself. It's anticlimatic. I do not care whether a black man is a major party presidential nominee, I care that a black man -- or woman of any color -- is ABLE to become a major party presidential nominee, and that was something that's been true for quite awhile now. slashdot.org

I fully concede that Al Gore never said that he invented the Internet. It's a misinterpretation of what he he actually said, which was that he "took initiative in creating the Internet," that he took part in the legislative efforts to get it off the ground.

Many Democrats have bemoaned this "clear example" of conservative bias in the media, complaining that it's the media's job to debunk things like this, not continue to push them. And they feel it is their job, as citizens who love truth, to point out to us all -- every time a joke is made about it -- that it's a myth.

I basically agree with all of that (except for the "conservative bias" nonsense), and I have done my share in debunking the myth on occasion.

I've also devoted significant effort in correcting the myths that John Kerry ever opposed funding of our troops back in 2003/2004, and the various Obama/Muslim myths.

So perhaps those same Democrats who decry the perpetuation of those myths will join me in setting the record straight on some other persistent myths, for example:

the myth that John McCain ever said he doesn't know much about the economy

the myth that John McCain ever said he would keep troops in harm's way in Iraq for 100 years

the myth that John McCain did anything whatsoever wrong in the Keating scandal

There's more of course, but these would be a good start.

Democrats: will you join me in spreading truth about all candidates, not just the ones you like? Thanks in advance! slashdot.org

Democrats and the Rule of Law

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The Democrats put Lilly Ledbetter on the dais tonight. She is complaining because the Supreme Court ruled according to the law.

A very brief synopsis, because that's all that's required: the law says you must file your complaint within six months of the discriminatory act. Ledbetter's complaint did not include any allegation of discriminatory acts in the prior six months. Therefore, there is no valid legal complaint. Period, end of story.

Ledbetter says she supports Obama because he would appoint judges who would have ruled in her favor, that is, in violation of the law. And she is getting applauded for it.

Not that this should surprise anyone at all, because we all know the Democratic Party doesn't care about what the law actually says. The do not believe in the rule of law, but the rule of men.

Oh, and then she complained that the Democratic-controlled Senate wouldn't rewrite the law.

Now, I may be in favor of the law change she wants. I don't know, I'd need to look at it more closely. But there's no possible way I could ever be on her side on the legal issue, because this would require me to abandon my belief, the American belief, in the rule of law.

And if you don't know why the rule of law is important, I won't explain it all here, except to say that adherence to the law is all that's protecting our rights from being completely ignored by any government that simply wishes to abridge them. Rule of law is required in any democratic republic as the primary means of protecting our rights.

That so many Democrats, including Obama, don't believe in this is reason enough to oppose him and his party. No issue is more fundamental to liberty. slashdot.org

Democrats for McCain

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I don't know of anyone who is right-leaning, or even moderate, Republican who is voting for Obama. Just a few on the left. But there's plenty of moderate and left-leaning Democrats supporting McCain. The latest McCain video is going to have an impact, letting Democrats know it's OK to vote for McCain. We've even got Democrats helping us man the GOP booth at the Evergreen State Fair (and many of them are supporting both Dino Rossi and John McCain).


Question about the Convention

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Have the Democrats talked about any problems where their proposed solution wasn't more government action and more taxpayer money? Was there any problem proposed where they answered, "that's not the government's job," or "the government doesn't have the right to do that"?

Seriously, any takers on that? I have to think there's some issue where they give that answer. slashdot.org

A Reason to Like Joe Biden

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Do you remember the CNN debate last November (no, not the one I was in!), where some audience members were allowed to ask questions of the Democratic candidates? I was reminded of this tonight, seeing CNN's Suzanne Malveaux at the convention.

Malveaux offered the microphone to an audience member who asked, "if you are elected President, what qualities must the appointees possess?" Malveaux directed the question to Senator Dodd, and said, "in answering that question, also tell us require whether or not you would require your nominees to support abortion rights."

That laugh you hear in the background? That's Joe Biden. When the question came to him, Biden said, "Suzanne's decided. I'm not answering her question. I'm answering the question of the woman who was there, OK?"

Now, in fairness to Malveaux, it seems to me that it's likely that CNN had vetted these questioners previous to the debate, and that the woman was "supposed" to ask about Roe v. Wade, so she was just adding to the woman's question what she already knew the woman wanted to ask. Of course, that's a questionable practice too.

Regardless, it's an admirable characteristic of Biden that he is willing and able to stand up against the media like this. Frankly, Biden is a lot like Donald Rumsfeld in dealing with the media, and I say that as a true compliment to both men.

(Side note: Dodd's answer to the question, where he basically accused Chief Justice John Roberts of saying he would not overturn precedent, is a big fat lie, and Dodd knows it. He was taken to task by liberals for voting for Roberts, and he needed to come up with an excuse: Roberts said he wouldn't overturn precedent! He lied! It's not my fault! Except, of course, that not only did Roberts never say he would not overturn precedent, and not only did Roberts explicitly say he WOULD NOT say whether he would overturn precedent, but NO Supreme Court nominee would EVER say they would never overturn precedent. Dodd was just lying, pandering to people he hoped were ignorant.) slashdot.org

The DNC video Countdown to America's Future (who came up with that terribly ominous-sounding title?) is ... well, interesting, so far.

They have their fake "reporter" talking about states that have shifted their governor from Red to Blue in the last few years: Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado ... but they leave out Massachusetts switching from Red to Blue (as well as Louisiana, Hawaii, etc. going the other way).

Why? Because this is not about giving you actual information, but about convincing you that The West is awesomely Democratic.

And how awesomely Democratic is The West? Colorado's Governor, Bill Ritter, and Junior Senator, Ken Salazar, give us basically just two ways in which the Democrats and the West are compatible: Democrats love the environment, and Democrats love to help people.

Apparently Republicans don't. This should come as news to most of us. Well, OK, not really, since we know the Democrats have been trying to sell this for decades. But what's striking to me is that they had nothing else. They had only two ways in which they think the Democrats are better for The West, and both of them were lies.

The Democratic Convention is off to a great start! slashdot.org

Cornfield on Primary Results

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Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield weighs in on some interesting primary results, including Mike Hope's run against Liz Loomis in the 44th LD:

Republican Mike Hope of Lake Stevens can't be faulted for feeling the third time will be charming in his pursuit of a legislative seat in the 44th District. He's a mail tray of votes behind appointed incumbent Rep. Liz Loomis, D-Snohomish, far closer than he ever came during his failed runs for state office in 2004 and 2006.
Note that back in January, Cornfield said of Hope's view of his chances, "I think the shelf life of his tea leaves expired long ago." You were saying, Jerry?

Yes, it's only the primary, but Mike Hope is only down by a point and a quarter (and with ballots left to count, and Hope gaining every day, he might end up with the lead when the counting's done), against an incumbent Democrat in a Democratic district, where the other Democrat in her district -- Hans Dunshee -- has seven more percentage points than she does. The Democrats have every reason to fear losing this seat, which was vacated by John Lovick when he was elected Snohomish County Sheriff.

Cornfield also says that Val Stevens' haul of 59 percent of the vote for 39th LD Senator "may prompt the state Democratic Party to start snipping its financial umbilical cord to [Fred] Walser." Maybe, but since the Democrats have given him over $25,000 -- most of it after his criminal conviction in June -- it's not clear that anything could ever happen that would convince them to not give Walser their money (and, like Sheriff Lovick, their endorsement).

Cornfield also correctly notes that in November's race for school superintendent between Dorn and Bergeson, "look for ballots marked with 'none of the above.'"

And in the funniest-stat-I-hadn't-seen category, he offers, "[Rob] McKenna even won in Pierce County, where [John] Ladenburg is the county executive." Yeah, I'd say that counts as a bad sign for Ladenberg this November. slashdot.org

Pudge's Picks

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Please, if you wish, go to join Pudge's Picks for 2008, now hosted on ESPN.com.


After logging in (create a new login if you don't have one), create an entry.

Then for each entry, click Join a Group. Type in "Pudge's Picks" in the search field, submit the form, then click on Pudge's Picks when it shows up in the list. The password to join is "longhorn."

Invite others, if you wish. slashdot.orguse.perl.org

Re: Biden, From Pudge's Archives

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Time for a Change

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Someone yesterday told me that Dino Rossi was copying Obama by saying "it's time for a change." At first I didn't get the point: they just said, did you notice that Rossi's campaign slogan is "It's time for a change"? does that sound famillear?

Yes, it did, but I didn't get the point. The point was, they later said, that Rossi copied Obama.

Of course, anyone who follows politics and is older than The Simpsons knows that this phrase is used by pretty much every candidate running against an incumbent party or candidate. Clinton used it against Bush 41 in 1992. Dukakis used it against Bush four years earlier. Nixon used it against Humphrey in 1968.

So really, I guess Obama copied Nixon.

Calls for change from politicians are nothing unique; on the contrary, it's rare that a challenger to the incumbent party or candidate does not call for change. As many have said of late, every election of a new candidate is inherently about change, so Americans are getting change no matter whether the elect McCain or Obama. The question is, of course, what's going to be changed, and to what.

Washingtonians get change whether they elect Rossi or Gregoire, too: if they elect Rossi they get reductions in spending and better management of the state, and if they elect Gregoire they unleash all the liberal policies that she's been -- by her and the Democrats' own admission -- holding back for the last few years. slashdot.org

Decmoratic State Senate candidate Fred Walser was in the Washington State Patrol for 28 years. Let's review his final few years at the Washington State Patrol and let his superiors speak, from Walser's own personnel records. For example:

"Your actions ... cost the department and the Snohomish Police Department several thousand dollars, lessened the public's confidence in the department's operation and training, and was motivated by your friendship to Patrick Slack, Sr."

"Fred has made serious allegations resulting in no significant findings. Fred's credibility will be affected by this action."

"It is my opinion that Fred's motives are completely self-serving without regard to the internal damage his allegation causes."

"Fred's self-discipline, integrity and conduct are in doubt."

Read more. slashdot.org

I Voted

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Today I voted. In person. At the town library.

I know that Washington is almost all vote-by-mail now, but you're still allowed to vote in person at disabled access voting sites.

I do not like voting by mail personally, I think that it should be restricted generally, and I won't do it. I don't even trust the mail for money, why would I trust it with my vote? There are myriad problems with mail voting: ballots could be intercepted either going to or coming from the voter, or simply lost.

Even apart from the USPS, there's still big problems with voting at home: it takes away the guarantee of secrecy. You could sell your vote, or be subject to bribery or blackmail for your vote. And with voting at home by paper, signature verification is much less secure than physical ID verification, and you also have all the problems inherent with paper ballots: they are more susceptible to errors in transferring the votes from paper to electrons, with a greater potential for overvotes, undervotes, and the election board's "interpretation" of my vote, and they degrade over time.

So I won't even drop my paper ballot off, because it still has the problems inherent in paper ballots, plus the lack of secrecy guarantees. That's not to say voting machines don't have their problems too, but they are fewer, and easier to fix.

I wonder if I am the last person since all-mail voting went into effect in Snohomish County to have never missed an election, and never voted by mail ballot (dropped off or mailed). When it goes into effect statewide, I wonder if I'll be the last in the state. Everyone else I know has either missed elections, or has voted by mail. slashdot.org

The Evidence Against Fred Walser

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I realize that not everyone has followed all that we've written about Democratic Senate candidate Fred Walser, and we've written so much, and made so many serious claims, that some people think that some of what we've said isn't true (some have claimed it's a bunch of lies). I assure you, every word we've claimed is true.

But it is, of course, understandable that people want to see the evidence without digging through the thousands of words we've written, so here's a summary of the major claims, with direct links and quotations. If there's anything in there you believe is not well-sourced enough, or if you have any questions, please let me know, and I will provide whatever information is required. slashdot.org

Worst Moral Failure

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When Rick Warren asked Obama for the nation's worst moral failure, I paused the DVR and told my friend, "The worst moral failure of our nation is our repeated attempts to define away the rights of individuals, whether it is with slaves, or segregation, or (in my opinion) abortion, or even today in terms of property rights. We don't come out and say we are taking away rights, we simply deny that you have any rights, so that we no longer have any problem taking from you what is rightfully yours."

I unpaused the DVR and Obama said:

I think America's greatest moral failure in my lifetime has been that we still don't abide by that basic precept in Matthew that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me ... and a notion of -- that basic principle applies to poverty. It applies to racism and sexism. It applies to, you know, not having -- not thinking about providing ladders of opportunity for people to get into the middle class. I mean, there is a purvasive sense I think that this country is wealthy and powerful as we still don't spend enough time thinking about the least of these.

To me the greatest moral failure is that the government steals from the people their very essence of liberty. To Obama, the greatest moral failure is that the government doesn't give enough to people.

Call me crazy, but I think stealing from people is worse than not giving to people. Active wrongs are worse than passive wrongs. Aggressively taking what belongs to me is worse than simply not giving me something that I have no right to in the first place.

I do believe, of course, that it is vitally important for us to help those in need, but this is not the primary responsibility of governments. The primary responsibility of governments -- as stated in our founding document -- is to secure individual liberty. And in many ways, our government has abjectly failed to do so, and continues such failures.

McCain took a similar tack as Obama, talking about giving to others, but focused his remarks on the failings of Americans as individuals, rather than its government:

I think America's greatest moral failure has been throughout our existence, perhaps we have not devoted ourselves to causes greater than our self interest although we've been at the best at it of anybody in the world. I think after 9/11, my friends, instead of telling people to go shopping or take a trip we should have told Americans to join the Peace Corps, Americorps, the military. Expand our volunteer, expand what you are doing. Expand the create missions that you are doing that you are carrying out not only here in America but throughout the world, especially in Rwanda ... The first words of your very successful book is this is not about you. And you know that really also means, serve a cause greater than yourself interest.

Yes, it absolutely is a moral failing that we do not do more for our fellow man. And together as individual Americans, that probably is our greatest moral failing. But corporately, as a nation -- embodied in the government -- no, our greatest failing is disregarding liberty and individual sovereignty.

Note carefully the language used, even though they sound similar. McCain speaks of individual choices to help others. Obama speaks of government programs that ignore liberty. I don't know what McCain would have said, had he spoken of the greatest moral failing of our government, but given everything he's said in the past, my guess is he'd be a lot closer to me than to Obama.

So Obama is wrong on two points: first, that "not giving" is worse than "stealing," and second, that it is the government's responsibility to "give" at all (for in order to give, it has to take).

And this is our choice, in a nutshell: individualism that includes respect and care for the rest of society, or collectivism that disregards individualism for the supposed sake of society.

The words expressed by both candidates regarding the Supreme Court -- where Obama sided squarely with jurists like Breyer who, by his own admission, does not respect the rule of law -- is enough to make me vote for McCain. And I have, actually, many reasons to vote for McCain. But even if I had no other reasons, the individualism vs. collectivism views would serve as a powerful reason on their own. slashdot.org

Riddle Me This: Russia Edition

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I was listening to Bill Richardson on "This Week" say that it's basically Bush's fault that fighting was continuing in Georgia, because if only he had a better relationship with Russia, we could put pressure on them to stop, and Obama would do just that.

Riddle me this: when has any nation anywhere, ever in modern history, put such pressure on Russia to stop doing something like this? slashdot.org

In a Fred Walser mail piece I received today, under the header, "Sometimes, our elected officials do confusing things...," Fred Walser claims that incumbent Senator "Val Stevens told local residents they didn't have to cooperate with police. She said, they should hold up a card that reads, 'you don't have authority over me.'"

As usual -- Fred Walser was convicted in June of lying to public officials, and sentenced to a year in jail for it -- Fred Walser is lying. His language clearly implies that Stevens is talking about all residents and all police, but Stevens was specifically and clearly talking about tribal police having no authority over non-tribal residents. Lies by omission and implication are still lies.

And what she said was based on an opinion from the state Attorney General's office, which had just concluded that tribal police officers "generally lack authority to issue citations to non-Indians for traffic activity on public roadways and highways" on reservations.

Apart from the fact that Fred Walser is lying, Walser also is apparently implying that he believes that tribal police SHOULD have authority over non-tribal residents, which isn't necessarily the best position to take in the 39th District.

Fred Walser continues to have a serious problem simply telling the truth, like when he filed a false sexual harassment report, manufactured a fake log in a coverup, told an officer to fake an overtime log, and so on. On Tuesday I went to a forum held by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, in which Fred Walser took credit for things he never did, including getting money for U.S. 2 safety during the last legislative session.

Fred Walser even had the gall to say he wants to work on "accountability" and "openness and transparency" in government, despite -- as a public official himself -- lying to the public for over a year.

Fred Walser has not given the people a single reason to trust him in the face of his many violations of the public trust, and blatantly lying about his opponent in a mail piece isn't going to help him gain a single voter's trust. slashdot.org

Of Foxes and Henhouses

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President Bush wants to give more latitude to federal agencies to determine for themselves whether projects might harm endangered species.

The author of the AP story doesn't understand what's going on: they write, in the lead, "Parts of the Endangered Species Act may soon be extinct." It's not true. They even tell us it's not true a few sentences later, saying the changes "don't require the approval of Congress." If they don't require the approval of Congress, then the Act is not being changed. I hate to say it, but, Duh.

The AP author shouldn't feel too badly, as the environmental attorney interviewed for the story, Eric Glitzenstein, doesn't understand it, or even the Constitution, very well either. Glitzenstein called this "the fox guarding the henhouse," but to the extent that's true, it has always been true, and it's no more true now than it was before.

Article II of the Constitution says: "The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." This means that the President has all the executive power, every bit of it, and everyone under him only acts directly subject to his constitutional authority. The President has every right under the Constitution to dictate to each of these people exactly how to do their jobs. As far as "who" is in charge of the process -- foxes or some other creatures -- nothing's changed, because it's still the President.

I should add though that if Glitzenstein were in charge, he'd probably put the hens in charge of the henhouse, which might sound fairly democratic, but since hens are pretty stupid and I actually might want to eat some of them for dinner, that seems like a pretty bad idea to me. slashdot.org

Thomas Frank is Still Pretty Dumb

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Bestselling author Thomas Frank, who previously wrote a book telling people that he knew what's better for them than they do, has now written a book called "The Wrecking Crew," in which he takes his question-begging sideshow to the next level, proclaiming that conservatives are wrong because he says so.

Again, as before, it's not as though he has no points at all (although he misdirects his attacks at large government against "conservatives," when actual conservatives argue that the people responsible for such things are NOT conservatives). But his real problem is that he has no actual argument to tie it all together. He said on The Colbert Report that it is a "redefinition" of "government" to say that "[federal] government isn't about looking after the general welfare ... the problem is that's not what we have the elections about, that's not what they were elected to do."

Colbert asked, "What were they elected to do?" Frank ignorantly replied, "I'd start with enforcing the laws."

You see, that's funny, because when Frank was talking about blanket federal government care of the general welfare, I was thinking about the fact that such a thing is illegal according to the highest law we have, the Constitution.

Colbert joked about how labor laws are subject entirely to personal interpretation, and Frank guffawed. But that is precisely what you have to believe in order to intellectually accept his view: that the Constitution is not objectively interpretable, that laws do not have to mean what they say. That's the only way you can think that most, if not all, of his desired social programs are not unconstitutional.

On Colbert, Frank extended his themes self-righteousness a little bit further than before. Colbert was talking against wealth redistribution, and Frank responded, "there was a time when a lot of people shared your view on this." "A lot of people share my views now, sir," Colbert responded.

Frank followed, "Maybe so, but hopefully it's not the people who vote." Colbert and his audience went virtually silent at that point, and even a few boos were elicited from the audience. (You know you've crossed the line from "leftwing" to "commie fascist" when you're getting booed for being too far left on Colbert.)

So, here's Thomas Frank's message in a nutshell: I am right because I am right, even when it comes to your own personal life, and if you disagree you're wrong and shouldn't vote. slashdot.org

McCain and Keating Five Update

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When last we met on this topic, dinesh repeated to us some lies about McCain and the Keating Five that he found at a site called McCainKeatingFive.

dinesh did retract one of the lies, though not all of them. A shame.

However, I went to set the record straight at the source, and posted the comment below. It was deleted. I posted it again. I suspect it will be deleted again. But here it is, for those who care.

This article is full of lies.

Let's start with the fact that McCain was NOT formally rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee. On the contrary, the Committee explicitly stated that there would be no institutional action taken against McCain.

Further, McCain never admitted to intentionally filing a false tax return. It didn't happen. You're completely making that up. There is not a single shred of evidence or even a hearsay statement that McCain's neglect of putting those gifts on his tax returns was intentional.

Further, to rectify the tax gifts problem, he never gave any money to the Treasury: he instead reimbursed Keating for the gifts. The money he paid to the Treasury had nothing to do with his taxes, but was the money that Keating had raised for McCain, that McCain was literally donating to the U.S. government.

Basically, whoever is running this site is telling a boatload of lies. They clearly do not understand what actually happened, and are twisting the few things they do know just to slander someone, irrespective of facts and truth.


Who is Endorsing Fred Walser?

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Does it send a good signal to teachers, students, and parents that the Washington Education Association is endorsing someone who is under a one-year jail sentence for lying to investigators?

As you should know by now, Fred Walser filed to run as a Democrat State Senator in my legislative district, the 39th, and three days later he pled guilty to providing false information and was sentenced to a year in jail.

I ask in my song Best Week Ever, what makes him think that people will trust him or vote for him after his breaches of the public trust? But another related interesting question is: who would endorse Fred Walser at this point?

The sad answer is that several prominent groups and individuals do, including the aforementioned WEA. I hope parents and teachers demand answers for that one.

There's the Democratic Party, of course. They've even given him $10,000. But it gets more interesting: we unfortunately expect the Democrats to continue to support a criminal, just because he has a D next to his name.

More troubling is John Lovick, former Senator (D-44), and Sheriff of Snohomish County. Walser actually tried (and failed) to get Lovick's predecessor, Rick Bart, to violate the law (by trying to convince him to reject a legitimate public records request), and Lovick is endorsing him for public office? So much for respecting law and order. Our law enforcement should be held to the highest ethical standard, so what do we have to say for law enforcement officials who endorse other law enforcement officials who lie to investigators? And we can say the same thing for Sheriffs Richard Grimstead of Skagit, and Steve Boyer of Kitsap.

That his wife, Monroe Mayor Donetta Walser, is endorsing him is no surprise, but how about Dave Somers, a Democrat on the Snohomish County Councilman? What message is he sending to his constituents in Sultan and Monroe? What about Mayor Don Gough of Lynnwood, Mayor Ray Stephenson of Everett, Mayor Mike Anderson of Sedro-Wooley, and State Representatives Dave Quall (D-40) and Mark Ericks (D-1), and Senators Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1) and Steve Hobbes (D-44)?

Are the Monroe Firefighters 3315 supporting him only because Walser's wife is their mayor, or do they actually support what Walser has done? What about the Washington State Labor Council and the Teamsters? With the history of criminal activity unions like the Teamsters have in their past, it can't be a good thing for them to support a criminal now.

The question simply has to be asked: do these people and organizations support Walser's criminal activities? If not, what justification do they have for supporting him for Senator while he is under a jail sentence? Some of them endorsed him before his conviction, of course, but they can revoke their endorsements. Apparently they haven't done so in the two months since his guilty plea, so we must assume the endorsements still stand. slashdot.org

Bush Should Boycott Olympics

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Until now I didn't really care: while I have my issues with China, I am all for setting aside differences, when possible, for the Olympics.

But now China is banning American Olympians from the Olympics. And they are arresting protestors, and evicting them from their homes.

So much for the Super Awesome Smiling Beijing Traffic Police.

I dunno. Maybe Bush shouldn't actually boycott. It would be powerful to say, "yeah, I am already in China, but if you don't let our Olympians come, then I will just go home myself," but then again, that might be more harful for our relations with them in the long run. That's a decision for Bush to make. But if he doesn't boycott, he should at least say a lot against China while he's there. He's already spoken out in general terms about Chinese human rights abuses, and he should specifically address their latest violations, especially against our American Olympians. Maybe he should wear one of those black masks.

(Now, I realize it is possible that Cheek and and Zanotto were actually banned for good reason, but while China maintains that they do not have to give a reason, that should be considered unacceptable to us. China deserves no benefit of the doubt.)

China has a golden opportunity to turn things around for themselves here, at least in terms of public opinion, and they are muffing it. slashdot.org

Pride in Ignorance

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Barack Obama said people who are making fun of him "take pride in being ignorant."

The problem is that the facts do not back up his claim that everyone inflating their tires would save 200,000 barrels of oil per day.

The claim is based on a 2001 estimate by the Department of Transportation that 1/4 of cars and 1/3 of SUVs have significantly underinflated tires. They then attribute the same percentage of miles to those vehicles, and do a simple calculation.

The problems should be obvious. First, at the estimate was made, gas cost a whole lot less, and chances are, many drivers are already far more conscientious about proper inflation now than they were in 2001.

Second, there is no way to know how many miles those underinflated tires account for. People who drive more probably tend to care better for their vehicles, so if we had to guess, we should say that these underinflated tires are the ones less likely to be driven on.

And of course, that's all assuming that the original estimate was a decent one to begin with, and there's many huge problems inherent in such estimates.

So: no. Obama is not right to say that we can save 200,000 barrels per day by proper inflation, if for no other reason because he simply can't know, because the data doesn't actually show it.

That said, it's still a very good idea to check your tire inflation and keep your car well-tuned, as these things can contribute significantly to better mileage. But it's not a very good idea of accusing people of ignorance for making fun of your claims that can't be backed up by the facts. slashdot.org

King County Young Republicans

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I am going to be speaking at the King County Young Republicans tomorrow, August 7, at 7 p.m. in the North Bellevue Community Center, 4063 148th Ave., NE Bellevue, WA 98007. And Red Robin afterward. Mmmmmm, burgers. slashdot.org

Who will receive your vote for Washington's next governor? I imagine most people reading this, who are eligible to vote, will quickly reply that it is Dino Rossi. A handful of others will provide the name of the incumbent, Christine Gregoire.

But there are other choices, if you are for some reason unhappy with those two choices. Very few Republicans seem to dislike Rossi, but for those who do, there are other candidates on the Republican side.

For example, there's Javier Lopez, who, like most Republican candidates, is against waste and fraud in government, in favor of accountability, thinks we need tougher laws against sexual abuse of children, and has a strong solution to the energy crisis: he has invented a car that is fueled by air.

Republican John W. Aiken has an energy plan, too: purchasing hundreds of thousands of acres to have government-grown ethanol from sugar beets. He also wants to have huge increases in affordable housing subsidies, year-round schooling (with longer hours because parents can't always pick up their kids until later), and casinos at highway rest stops.

Then there is former Republican Will Baker (watch your speaker's volume level ... crank it up for a beat that matches the hair!), now of the Reform Party, who is perhaps best known as the Republican candidate for State Auditor in 2004, who was disowned by the Party when it was revealed that he was being habitually arrested for disrupting public meetings.

The Democrats have another French Chris: Christian Pierre Joubert. He is perhaps hoping to win on name similarity, but he also could be hoping his compelling platform of complete and total socialism will win the day, by granting new "fundamental freedoms" such as freedom from diseases, pollution, waste, war, excessive mortgage, debt, homelessness, ignorance, alienation, recession, hunger, desert, world misery, injustice, and tyranny.

If you were looking for a candidate to the immanentize of the eschaton, Joubert is your man. And he has a plan to do it: his first act as governor would be a toxicity test of every person in Washington, followed by true universal health care (including, of course, holistic medicine), which will be the cornerstone to his "New Holistic and Spiritual Civilisation."

The Green Party has is own candidate, Duff Badgley. But honestly, how can the Greens top Joubert? I'll tell you how: by forcing Boeing to stop making airplanes and weapons, and start making solar and wind power equipment, and making it a crime to ride in a car by yourself!

There are, of course, several independents running as well. James White -- a Boeing airplane inspector, so I'd love to see him debate Badgley -- wants to do silly things like respect constitutional rights and hold government accountable. Yeah, keep smoking that doobie, man.

Mohammad Hassan Said, M.D., Ph.D., DPH, MACP, FAAFP, is for states' rights, wanting to delegate the power to declare war and regulate international trade to state legislatures. He would also pull us immediately our of Iraq and work on a one-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Oh, and he wants to protect us from the Jewish threat. (Just a friendly tip: if your name is Mohammad and you don't want people to think you're a radical Muslim, don't say things like "AIPAC and other Jewish Zionist Lobbies who represent less than 2% of American People are using the United States through their mighty power in the News Media, Financial Institutions, Hollywood and Entertainment Industry, Both Political Parties, Congress and the White House. ..." Hope that helps!)

Last, but not least (well, maybe least, it's hard to say, really), is Christopher Tudor, who seems to be saying that Rossi is right about all the problems -- lack of government innovation, throwing money at problems, unreasonable taxes, lack of transportation growth, weak public education, and so on -- but also believes that a governor without the support of anyone in the legislature is the best way to actually fix those problems. Worked well for John Adams!

I hope this has been a useful guide for you. While none of these candidates have raised cash amounting to even one-quarter of their filing fee, they paid that filing fee and deserve to be heard. Or, seen. Or, something. slashdot.org

I saw a very puzzling story on NewsHour recently, about an art exhibit in Minneapolis that "tackl[es] the stereotype about suburbs, that of a colorless, design-free zone."

These are, unfortunately, people who believe in and perpetuate suburban stereotypes ... even within the exhibit itself. One of the curators says, "I grew up in suburbia and escaped as soon as I possibly could. And so it required a certain amount of effort to maintain a kind of objective or non-judgmental stance." Unfortunately, she utterly failed to do so: the exhibit judges the suburbs simply in order to highlight things that are, by contrast, good about suburbs.

To wit, one artist notes, "[T]he governor of Minnesota to me was the archetypal suburbanite. He was white; he was middle-class; he was evangelical Christian Republican. And then I was just asking myself some harder questions. I don't want anyone to paint all Italians in the same way or all gay people in the same way. And so that's how this started. I just started looking around. It's so massively uniform, and, I mean, I do feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone right now."

There's two ideas that bother me about this. The first is that they don't see that to people in the suburbs, the cities are massively uniform. Just because you have a nose ring doesn't mean you're unique (it tends to imply the opposite, to me).

The second is that they implicitly believe that demographic diversity is actual diversity, or at least, the most significant and important diversity. But just because you're brown and I'm white doesn't mean we necessarily have little in common. I have a lot more in common here in suburbia with the average Hispanic immigrant than I do with the average white urbanite; would having him live next door to me actually make my neighborhood more diverse, other than by adherence to a strictly demographic view of the world?

The reason diversity is important is because it broadens our perspective and helps us think in different ways. I daresay that most urbanites I know need this than a lot more than most suburbanites. Find me any street in suburbia, and you'll find Democrats and Republicans; strong atheists and strong Christians; anti-public school homeschoolers and anti-homeschooling public schoolers; global warming proponents and skeptics. I've done my share of doorbelling in suburbia, and I never expect that the people I run into will be like everyone else, and they never are, unless you look at superficialities like minivan ownership and soccer participation.

You find a much broader spectrum of beliefs and views and people here than in the city. Perhaps it is because many people who choose to live in the city want to live a certain "sophisticated" lifestyle, either among people who think like they do, or away from other people who don't, and this is strongly associated with specific modes of thought and views of the world; whereas, many people who live in the suburbs just want to live in peace, and that characteristic is found among every demographic. Everyone is different here, and they always have been. The only thing that draws us together is that we like to live in a place that is relatively quiet and peaceful.

Artists don't always know this, but all good journalists do: everyone has a story. Everyone is interesting. Everyone is unique and different and creates diversity wherever they go.

The exhibit actually perpetuates the stereotypes it attempts to tackle by implicitly saying that if you're white and Christian and Republican and don't shoot pornos in your back yard, then you're not contributing to your suburb's diversity.

However strongly I fit their profile, I think that wherever I go, I increase the diversity of where I am. And in this, I am not at all unique. slashdot.org


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Today in the same breath someone, to me, attacked Bush for violating the Constitution, and not supporting Social Security enough.

Apart from the fact that the "raiding" of Social Security actually makes the S.S. Trust Fund more solvent and is a good investment (as it is guaranteed safe by the Constitution, and earns interest), and apart from the fact that Congress controls that more than Bush (and that it has continued under the Democrats) ... there's also the fact that Social Security is an unconstitutional violation of our rights, as per the Tenth Amendment.

Feel free to complain about violations of the Constitution. But don't do so while propping up OTHER violations of the Constitution. It makes you look like you don't care about the rule of law.

And don't argue with me about the Tenth Amendment. No one who understands the Tenth Amendment can honestly say it allows for Social Security, unless from the position of arguing that we are not under the rule of law, but the rule of men, and I reject that premise out of hand. slashdot.org

Pudge Meets PC Police

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Tonight I attempted to sing a song of unity and hope for both our presidential candidates, but I ran into a problem with Tweedley, from the Internet Citizens Committee. It seems no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't say anything inoffensive.

Hopefully the message gets through regardless.


<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from August 2008.

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