Politics: March 2011 Archives

Gregoire == Bush

| | Comments (0)

I wanted to title this something provocative, but, I am actually being a bit unfair. In truth, Gregoire is much worse than Bush.

Bush was, somewhat unfairly, but not without reason, often accused of violating government sunshine laws by withholding information that by law should have been released. In truth, it happened only rarely: usually the letter of the law was followed, even if the spirit wasn't always followed.

But Gregoire literally makes up the letter of the law, and does so routinely: she asserts that some information doesn't have to be disclosed because of "executive privilege," even though the law says that information must be disclosed absent statutory exception, and there is no statutory exception for executive privilege. And she's done it with over 500 documents since 2007.

If this were Bush, or McKenna, or some other Republican or conservative, the media and unions and legislature and so on would be up in arms. (Perhaps it's worth noting that even if it were a Republican or conservative, the EFF would be saying the same things they are saying about Gregoire.)

If you are a liberal, and you truly care about the principles of democracy you say you stand for, then write a letter to your legislator, your local paper, and our governor. Tell them this isn't a partisan issue: openness and respect for the law are required for a functioning government, no matter your party.

To Whom It May Concern

| | Comments (0)

Rep. Matt Shea (R-4) sent out an alert today containing the text of the letter below. In the letter, the Washington State Patrol is making blanket requests to gun dealers "across the state" for all AR-15 sales -- including all names, addresses, and phone numbers of purchasers -- for the past year.

Certainly, there is no obligation to comply with such a letter, and any dealer who did so would likely not have happy customers if they found out. But, as Shea wrote, "this apparent overreach of the Washington State Patrol" is troubling.

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to certify that Detective Juli Gundermann, #1113, is a commissioned officer with the Washington State Patrol (WSP), currently assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division.

Detective Gundermann is currently investigating a missing/stolen AR-15. In order to conduct a thorough investigation, Detective Gundernann is requesting information.

Please provide the following information:

  • Any and all documents/lists of sales of any AR-15 from July 1, 2010 to present.
  • Any and all documents/lists of sales of any AR-15 lower receiver from July 1, 2010 to present.
  • Any and all documents/lists of sales of any AR-15 your company purchased from a private party.
  • Any and all names, date of births, addresses, phone numbers, date of transaction and serial number from the purchaser.

I hear Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) wants to impeach Obama. Without looking at what he has to say, I can guarantee it is about Libya, it makes as little sense as his attempts to impeach Bush, and it will carry no weight in the public discourse.

In justification for the attack on Libya, Obama and his administration and other Democrats have been saying that this was a multilateral effort, apparently trying to contrast it to the attack on Iraq. Now, apart from the lies over the past many years about how the attack on Iraq wasn't multilateral, I've never understood why it even mattered.

Obama would certainly agree, as almost all of us would, that attacking another country should only be done as a last resort, when you have no other reasonable options, only when it is necessary to do so.

If it's necessary, then you should do it even if no one else is coming along with you, even if it is entirely unilateral. Necessary means necessary.

If it isn't necessary, then you shouldn't be doing it at all, whether or not you have the rest of the world on your side. Only when necessary means only when necessary.

So logically, whether or not an action is unilateral or multilateral has nothing to do with whether a military attack on another action is justified, unless you believe we should militarily attack other nations when it is not necessary, or that we should not necessarily militarily attack other nations even when it is necessary.

The bottom line is that I don't think attacking Libya was necessary, and as such, I think we shouldn't have done it. But if Obama thinks it was necessary, he should say that without reference to how many other nations are on our side: make the case that this was right for us to do, regardless of what anyone else says or does. And frankly, I don't think he's done that.

A little-recalled provision of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned.

The Social Security Trust Fund consists of about $2.5 trillion of U.S. Treasury notes, purchased by the Trust Fund, with the proceeds going to the General Fund and spent by Congress on wars and bridges and Sesame Street. The money is gone, but the Trust Fund is guaranteed -- by law and the Constitution -- to get that money back to make sure your grandmother gets her monthly stipend from the government.

The Social Security Trust Fund is solvent (unless the U.S. government goes into catastrophic default, in which case the Trust Fund would likely be one of the least of our worries). Any insinuation that retirees have anything to worry about in terms of the availability of funds to the Social Security Administration, for the next 25 or so years, is false.

However, all is not roses. Recall that I said the money's already been spent. Over the next 25 years, that's $2.5 trillion tacked on to our federal expenditures, an average of about $100 billion a year. After that, the General Fund will no longer have any Trust Fund liabilities to pay back, but Social Security benefits will be cut by about a quarter.

And if you're looking at the entire historical federal budget, don't merely include an additional $2.5 trillion in expenditures: you also need to consider the losses in revenue to the General Fund that the Trust Fund had been providing for years.

And that's starting now. The General Fund has already paid back tens of billions, and lost that historical revenue. Social Security's probably added about $50 billion to the deficit in the last year. It might go back into the black briefly, but by 2015 it will dip into the red and stay there if something isn't done.

Bottom line: for the next 25 years, we have absolutely nothing to fear about the ability of Social Security to pay retirees; we only have to be concerned with how the federal government will repay Social Security to pay retirees. The money doesn't exist. It will be paid back, but at a very high cost to taxpayers.

Shame, KIRO, Shame!

| | Comments (0)

I got an alert on my iPhone this morning from the KIRO app. It falsely informed me that Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin had just signed an "anti-union" bill.

Of course, those following the facts know that's not true: the bill is not "anti-union" at all. It does nothing whatsoever to take away or diminish the constitutional right to unionize. All it does is say that government cannot give certain special rights to unions. That's like saying a bill making it illegal for governments to fund professional sporting facilities is "anti-sports."

Now, it would certainly against the stated interests of many professional teams and their management, just as this bill is against the stated interests of many unions and their management. But being against what unions want is not the same as being anti-union. It's only "anti-union" if it seeks to destroy unions, rather than -- as here -- take away special rights for the unions.

The unions talk about fairness all the time, but this bill simply says unions have to play by the same rules as everyone else.

<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."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from March 2011.

Politics: February 2011 is the previous archive.

Politics: April 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.