Monday, December 31, 2012


"May the tree of our life be firmly rooted in the soil of love. 
Let good deeds be the leaves on that tree. 
May words of kindness form its flowers, 
and may peace be its fruit."

Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi

 Bodhi Tree photo:

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price   Mason County Progressive

Link to complete film on line:

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Bob Bottman    Mason County Progressive


2012 Crossing Over, A New Beginning 

Now that we've made it through December 21, 2012...what's next?  
2012 Crossing Over, A New Beginning explores the positive spiritual perspectives of the events of December 21st, and beyond.  
The film is loaded with amazing revelations about the times through 
which we're now living, and presents an upbeat view of our future.  
If nothing else, this film will encourage you to look beyond 
what you read and hear from the mainstream media!

Friday, December 28th
Mason County Senior Activities Center
826 W. Railroad Ave., Shelton

7:00 PM 

No admission is charged. Donations are encouraged 
with proceeds above license fees going to SOCK 
(Save Our County’s Kids) youth programs.

For more information:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by John H. and Liz E. Mason County Progressive
Excerpt from:
By Al B.

The FDA released a report on Friday that seems to point to it’s clearing genetically altered salmon to be sold to the public. The report, at the link below, is usually the final chapter, needed prior to approval. The only hurdle left is for the FDA to get public feedback on the proposal.

This is another distressing move by the Obama administration, all of them, slated to come out just after the election. There is widespread negative feedback from the fishing, environmental and food safety communities to stop this approval. The company in question apparently is not doing well financially. But there doesn’t seem to be much that the Obama administration would do to say no to jobs.

If you feel like acting on this, there are many groups gathering signatures, or you can write the FDA directly. 

Link to complete article:


Link to sign petition to tell FDA to not approve GE salmon:

Link to Label GMO Foods in Washington State website:

Monday, December 24, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis    Mason County Progressive

Excerpt from:
Green Diamond’s Holiday Gift to Headwaters: 
Clearcuts, Roads and Herbicides 
By Rob DiPerna

As the holiday season approaches, most of us are thinking about how we can give back to our friends, families, and communities. Apparently, Green Diamond Resource Company has something a little different in mind for the Elk River and Headwaters Forest Reserve. 

Instead of giving the landscape surrounding Headwaters much needed forest and watershed restoration, Green Diamond has opted instead to give clearcuts, roads, and herbicides. Comic Scrooge and Grinch-like characterizations of Green Diamond’s holiday behavior aside, there is nothing funny about the lump of coal that Green Diamond is stuffing in the holiday stocking of the ancient forest refuge of Headwaters with their new proposed logging activities in the Elk River watershed.

Specifically, EPIC’s monitoring of the timber industry on the North Coast of California reveals that Green Diamond has filed a new Timber Harvest Plan that threatens more than 70 acres of clearcutting in the upper reaches of McCloud Creek, a tributary of Elk River, and at a stone’s throw of the hard fought over Headwaters Forest. The destructive potential of this proposed industrial forestry operation merits a quick history lesson in the evolution of forest management in the Elk River watershed surroundings of the globally important Headwaters Forest Reserve.

The Elk River watershed, located south east of Eureka, is a tributary to Humboldt Bay.  The Elk River watershed has been heavily logged over the last century and a half, with only fragments of the original forest such as the Headwaters Forest remaining.  Though the Headwaters Forest Reserve provides protection for one of the worlds last remaining intact remnants of the ancient redwood temperate rainforest ecosystem, the rest of the watershed is a myriad of young, recovering forest and regenerating clearcuts.

In the 1990s, the now infamous MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Company began the process of liquidating the remaining old growth and mature second growth in the Elk River watershed.  This second cycle logging resulted in intensive road building, tractor yarding, and clearcutting throughout the watershed.  Eventually, with the advent of the 1996/1997 winter storms, the sensitive geology of the Elk River watershed began to unravel, suffering from the combined effects of weather and intensive logging.

It was not until after these historic storms of 1996/1997 that State agencies began to stand up and take notice of the damaging effects of the contemporary forest liquidation of MAXAAM/Pacific Lumber Company.  In fact, in 1997, an interagency team determined that Elk River, along with four other watersheds heavily managed by MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Company, were significantly, adversely, and cumulatively impacted, with timber harvest being a contributing factor.

The results of the intensive forest management of the MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Company, as well as other ownerships in the watershed, such as Elk River Timber Company and what was then the Simpson Timber Company (now Green Diamond), were significant landsliding related to both harvest and roads, and significant channel capacity modification in the Elk River itself, leading to high instances of nuisance flooding that threaten the health and safety of downstream residents.

With the creation of the Headwaters Forest Reserve in 1999, a new management regime began to be employed in the Elk River watershed.  The BLM immediately began removing roads and selectively managing second and third growth forests in the Reserve in an effort to grow larger trees faster, and to manage for older forest to compliment the newly protected ancient groves.  

After the MAXAAM bankruptcy of the Pacific Lumber Company, and the subsequent ownership change to the Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) in 2008, an even greater land base in the Elk River watershed would be managed selectively and for the purpose of growing older, bigger trees faster, with the goal of restoring the watershed to a more natural, unevenaged forest.

Though serious concerns remain related to the volume of HRC harvest in Elk River, the company has without question taken a sophisticated approach to restoration potential and selective forestry in the watershed, and has engaged in an open manner with local and statewide stakeholders with an interest in the long history of industrial forestry reform around Headwaters. In particular, HRC has been attentive to conservationist interest in maximizing the ecological potential of forest management activities in those areas closest to the Headwaters Forest Reserve.

Unfortunately, Green Diamond has chosen to follow the destructive path of their Simpson Timber roots, and the ecologically and economically bankrupt MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Company, rather than the forward-looking and selective approach of HRC and the BLM.  

In late November 2012, Green Diamond filed THP 1-12-113HUM “McCloud Creek East #5.”  In this THP, Green Diamond proposes to clearcut 70 acres within McCloud Creek, a tributary to the South Fork of Elk River.  The THP is located adjacent to a Green Diamond Northern Spotted Owl set-aside, which is adjacent to the Headwaters Forest Reserve.  

Instead of managing to grow big trees faster, Green Diamond plans to intensively manage for young, evenaged homogenous tree plantations through the application of clearcuts. These practices can cause significant modification to drainage patterns in the watershed and will result in the generation of a significant amount of surface erosion.  These effects will in turn be felt downstream as channel capacity in the Elk River proper is continually compromised.

The State, for its part, has been shown to be complicit to Green Diamond’s plans to intensively manage its holdings in such a sensitive and cumulatively impacted watershed.  CAL FIRE has thus far shown every inclination that it will approve the THP as written.  Meanwhile, the Regional Water Board, in adopting Green Diamond’s property-wide programmatic Waste Discharge Requirement permit in the fall of 2012 (a permit that EPIC has challenged to the State Water Board), placidly accepted the fact that Green Diamond would intensively manage for clearcuts and short harvest rotations in its Elk River holdings near Headwaters. To add insult to injury, the permitting of this new Green Diamond THP will be financed by common consumers through the new lumber tax on retails sales of wood products in the state of California that the legislatures passage of AB 1492 made into law.

Despite Green Diamond’s appearance of compliance with the law through acquisition of Habitat Conservation Plans and other programmatic agreements, the company continues its rapacious march to convert recovering native forests into homogenous evenaged tree plantations.  

The proposal by Green Diamond to clearcut in the direct vicinity of the Headwaters Forest Reserve is more evidence of how Green Diamond is a nationally relevant case study of “green washing,” and that underneath their public relations campaigns the company really has no inclination or commitment to becoming a responsible forest manager now or into the future—and that the State of California is a willing partner by playing along with their “green washing” politics by providing regulatory cover for their activities.

In conclusion, the filing of THPs such as the “McCloud Creek #5 East” show that Green Diamond is not sensitive to the needs of watersheds or its neighbors, and that the privately-held company is far more concerned with its short-term bottom line than with the long-term well being of the redwood temperate rainforest ecosystem.  

EPIC will vocally expose the threat that this type of forest management continues to present to the public interest, to local residents, and to the ecological integrity of the most threatened temperate rainforest ecosystem on the planet. Stay tuned for more news and actions from EPIC’s Industrial Forestry Reform program as we prepare to challenge this destructive logging proposal, and to protect the integrity of the Headwaters Forest Reserve.

If it were not for EPIC, the destructive activities of Green Diamond Resource Company (ex-Simpson Timber) would go unexposed and unchallenged. No other organization is watchdogging the timber industry in Northwest California like EPIC does. Your year-end donation can make all the difference for giving EPIC the resources we need to keep up this crucial work to continue to defend Headwaters for the future generations. Please consider donating today!

Link to complete article:


Excerpt from:
By Michael Moore

After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference on Friday, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA's. Their bullying power to set gun policy in this country is over. The nation is repulsed by the massacre in Connecticut, and the signs are everywhere: a basketball coach at a post-game press conference; the Republican Joe Scarborough; a pawn shop owner in Florida; a gun buy-back program in New Jersey; a singing contest show on TV, and the conservative gun-owning judge who sentenced Jared Loughner.

So here's my little bit of holiday cheer for you:

These gun massacres aren't going to end any time soon.

I'm sorry to say this. But deep down we both know it's true. That doesn't mean we shouldn't keep pushing forward – after all, the momentum is on our side. I know all of us – including me – would love to see the president and Congress enact stronger gun laws. We need a ban on automatic AND semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets. We need better background checks and more mental health services. We need to regulate the ammo, too.

But, friends, I would like to propose that while all of the above will certainly reduce gun deaths (ask Mayor Bloomberg – it is virtually impossible to buy a handgun in New York City and the result is the number of murders per year has gone from 2,200 to under 400), it won't really bring about an end to these mass slayings and it will not address the core problem we have. Connecticut had one of the strongest gun laws in the country. That did nothing to prevent the murders of 20 small children on December 14th. . .

I am sorry to offer this reality check on our much-needed march toward a bunch of well-intended, necessary – but ultimately, mostly cosmetic – changes to our gun laws. The sad facts are these: Other countries that have guns (like Canada, which has 7 million guns – mostly hunting guns – in their 12 million households) have a low murder rate. Kids in Japan watch the same violent movies and kids in Australia play the same violent video games (Grand Theft Auto was created by a British company; the UK had 58 gun murders last year in a nation of 63 million people). They simply don't kill each other at the rate that we do. Why is that? THAT is the question we should be exploring while we are banning and restricting guns: Who are we?

I'd like to try to answer that question.

We are a country whose leaders officially sanction and carry out acts of violence as a means to often an immoral end. We invade countries who didn't attack us. We're currently using drones in a half-dozen countries, often killing civilians.

This probably shouldn't come as a surprise to us as we are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves. We slaughtered 600,000 of each other in a civil war. We "tamed the Wild West with a six-shooter," and we rape and beat and kill our women without mercy and at a staggering rate: every three hours a women is murdered in the USA (half the time by an ex or a current); every three minutes a woman is raped in the USA; and every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the USA.

We belong to an illustrious group of nations that still have the death penalty (North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran). We think nothing of letting tens of thousands of our own citizens die each year because they are uninsured and thus don't see a doctor until it's too late.

Why do we do this? One theory is simply "because we can". There is a level of arrogance in the otherwise friendly American spirit, conning ourselves into believing there's something exceptional about us that separates us from all those "other" countries (there are indeed many good things about us; the same could also be said of Belgium, New Zealand, France, Germany, etc.). We think we're #1 in everything when the truth is our students are 17th in science and 25th in math, and we're 35th in life expectancy. We believe we have the greatest democracy but we have the lowest voting turnout of any western democracy. We're biggest and the bestest at everything and we demand and take what we want.

And sometimes we have to be violent m*****f*****s to get it. But if one of us goes off-message and shows the utterly psychotic nature and brutal results of violence in a Newtown or an Aurora or a Virginia Tech, then we get all "sad" and "our hearts go out to the families" and presidents promise to take "meaningful action". Well, maybe this president means it this time. He'd better. An angry mob of millions is not going to let this drop.

While we are discussing and demanding what to do, may I respectfully ask that we stop and take a look at what I believe are the three extenuating factors that may answer the question of why we Americans have more violence than most anyone else:

1. POVERTY. If there's one thing that separates us from the rest of the developed world, it's this. 50 million of our people live in poverty. One in five Americans goes hungry at some point during the year. The majority of those who aren't poor are living from paycheck to paycheck. There's no doubt this creates more crime. Middle class jobs prevent crime and violence. (If you don't believe that, ask yourself this: If your neighbor has a job and is making $50,000/year, what are the chances he's going to break into your home, shoot you and take your TV? Nil.)

2. FEAR/RACISM. We're an awfully fearful country considering that, unlike most nations, we've never been invaded. (No, 1812 wasn't an invasion. We started it.) Why on earth would we need 300 million guns in our homes? I get why the Russians might be a little spooked (over 20 million of them died in World War II). But what's our excuse? Worried that the Indians from the casino may go on the warpath? Concerned that the Canadians seem to be amassing too many Tim Horton's donut shops on both sides of the border?

No. It's because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period. The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live in the suburbs or the country. When we fantasize about being mugged or home invaded, what's the image of the perpetrator in our heads? Is it the freckled-face kid from down the street – or is it someone who is, if not black, at least poor?

I think it would be worth it to a) do our best to eradicate poverty and re-create the middle class we used to have, and b) stop promoting the image of the black man as the boogeyman out to hurt you. Calm down, white people, and put away your guns.

I think it's the every-man-for-himself ethos of this country that has put us in this mess and I believe it's been our undoing. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You're not my problem! This is mine!

Clearly, we are no longer our brother's and sister's keeper. You get sick and can't afford the operation? Not my problem. The bank has foreclosed on your home? Not my problem. Can't afford to go to college? Not my problem.

And yet, it all sooner or later becomes our problem, doesn't it? Take away too many safety nets and everyone starts to feel the impact. Do you want to live in that kind of society, one where you will then have a legitimate reason to be in fear? I don't.

I'm not saying it's perfect anywhere else, but I have noticed, in my travels, that other civilized countries see a national benefit to taking care of each other. Free medical care, free or low-cost college, mental health help. And I wonder – why can't we do that? I think it's because in many other countries people see each other not as separate and alone but rather together, on the path of life, with each person existing as an integral part of the whole. And you help them when they're in need, not punish them because they've had some misfortune or bad break. I have to believe one of the reasons gun murders in other countries are so rare is because there's less of the lone wolf mentality amongst their citizens. Most are raised with a sense of connection, if not outright solidarity. And that makes it harder to kill one another.

Well, there's some food for thought as we head home for the holidays. Don't forget to say hi to your conservative brother-in-law for me. Even he will tell you that, if you can't nail a deer in three shots – and claim you need a clip of 30 rounds – you're not a hunter my friend, and you have no business owning a gun.

Have a wonderful Christmas or a beautiful December 25th!

Link to complete article:

Friday, December 21, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond  Mason County Progressive  
May all beings be filled with joy and peace.
May all beings everywhere,
the strong and the weak,
the great and the small,
the mean and the powerful,
the short and the long,
the subtle and the gross:

May all beings everywhere,
seen and unseen,
dwelling far off or nearby,
being or waiting to become:
May all be filled with lasting joy.

Let no one deceive another.
Let no one anywhere despise another.
Let no one out of anger or resentment
wish suffering on anyone at all.

Just as a mother with her own life
protects her child, her only child, from harm,
so within yourself let grow
a boundless love for all creatures.

Let your love flow outward through the universe,
to its height, its depth, its broad extent,
a limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

Then as you stand or walk,
sit or lie down,
as long as you are awake,
strive for this with a one-pointed mind:
Your life will bring heaven to earth.

Shakyamuni Buddha

(from the Sutta Nipata: Discourse on Good Will)


Thursday, December 20, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Prem Mulberry


New EPA Rules Hit Pernicious Pollution
New standards affecting fine particle pollution 
bring protection from lethal polluters
By Common Dreams staff

In a step for improved public health, the EPA has issued updated standards for fine particle pollution, which has been linked to a range of health effects including asthma, heart attacks and strokes, and has killed millions worldwide.

"The new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will reduce the amount of soot released from power plants, diesel engines, refineries, and other industries," the Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg reports.

The new standards, the EPA says, are based on "an extensive body of scientific evidence that includes thousands of studies – including many large studies which show negative health impacts at lower levels than previously understood."

“These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act. We will save lives and reduce the burden of illness in our communities, and families across the country will benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The NRDC's Frances Beinecke praised the standards, echoing Jackson's comments in writing that they mean "all our family members who are vulnerable to these health problems now have an extra layer of protection from dirty polluters. And it means people living in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, New York, and the other top 10 metropolitan areas identified by the American Lung Association stand to benefit the most. "

40,000 premature deaths, 32,000 hospital admissions and 4.7 million days of work lost due to illness will be prevented due to the changes affecting diesel emissions alone, the EPA states.

The changes come after opposition from industry and climate change-doubting politicians.

The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg writes:

The main oil lobby group, the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement: "There is no compelling scientific evidence for the policy decision to develop more stringent standards. The existing standards are working and will continue improving air quality."
James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is the Senate's biggest doubter of climate change, said the new rules were the first wave of "an onslaught of post-election rulemakings that will place considerable burdens on our struggling economy and eventually push us over the 'regulatory cliff'".
The lethal impacts of air pollution can be seen worldwide, as John Vidal writes in the Guardian:
In 2010, more than 2.1m people in Asia died prematurely from air pollution, mostly from the minute particles of diesel soot and gasses emitted from cars and lorries. Other causes of air pollution include construction and industry. Of these deaths, says the study published in The Lancet, 1.2 million were in east Asia and China, and 712,000 in south Asia, including India.
Worldwide, a record 3.2m people a year died from air pollution in 2010, compared with 800,000 in 2000. It now ranks for the first time in the world's top 10 list of killer diseases, says the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study.
Link to complete article:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


 By Bill Quigley

Remember the 20 children who died in Newtown, Connecticut.

Remember the 35 children who died in Gaza this month from Israeli bombardments.

Remember the 168 children who have been killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan since 2006.

Remember the 231 children killed in Afghanistan in the first 6 months of this year.

Remember the 400 other children in the US under the age of 15 who die from gunshot wounds each year.

Remember the 921 children killed by US air strikes against insurgents in Iraq.

the 1,770 US children who die each year from child abuse and maltreatment.

Remember the 16,000 children who die each day around the world from hunger.

These tragedies must end.

Link to complete article:

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price   Mason County Progressive

Friday, December 14, 2012


By Lisa Belkin

More than a dozen children went to elementary school this morning and were dead before lunch.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says today is not the day to talk about gun control.

I disagree. That's all we should talk about today.

We are heartbroken, yes. But saying that will fix nothing. It won't bring anyone back, and it won't keep this from happening again. And of course we know the parents of Newtown could have been any one of us. That's important to remember, but it isn't enough, because the knowing doesn't change the fact that we could still be next.

So we can't just do as we did after Columbine, after Virginia Tech, after Aurora. We can't just grieve and hold our children close. We have to demand that our country earn the right to call itself a civilized nation. We need to do this because our central job as parents -- maybe our only job, really -- is to keep our children safe so they can grow up. Easy access to guns keeps us from doing that job.

A study in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery found that the gun murder rate in the U.S. is almost 20 times higher than the next 22 richest and most populous nations combined. Every one of those nations has stricter gun control laws.

And then there's this fact: add together all the gun deaths in the 23 wealthiest countries in the world and 80 percent of those are American deaths. Of all the children killed by guns in those nations, 87 percent are American kids.

Please don't tell me that if only the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School were also armed that this would have ended well. It might have ended differently, but concealed weapons in the teachers lounge is not the way we want to raise our kids.

Jose Luis Nunez had a handgun in order to protect his son. The 4-year-old accidentally shot himself in the face with it in Houston on Tuesday. Joseph V. Loughrey had one for the same reason. His 7-year-old son Craig died on Saturday outside of Pittsburgh when that handgun accidentally went off while the boy was getting into his safety seat in front of a gun store.

And that was just this week. The same week that the NRA proudly tweeted it had reached 1.7 million "likes" on Facebook.

We cherish individuality in America. We see raising children as no one else's business, and we have never managed to band together as a "parenting" bloc. It is time. Guns are a parenting issue and we need to control them in the name of the children who died this morning. Even more, we need to do it in the name of their mothers and fathers.

So cry today. Comfort your kids. Curse, and pray. Then pick up the phone, a pen, a keyboard, or your checkbook and make your demands heard. All day and every day. But most especially today.

Link to complete article:

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:        Mason County Progressive
Links to sign petitions: (#2): (#3):

Link to send condolence letter to Newtown families:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


 Excerpt from:
Lake Nahwatzel Rezone Denied 2 To 1
By JE, KMAS News 

The Commission Chambers was full of Lake Nahwatzel land owners requesting denial of the proposed rezone/land swap of the 240 acres located along Lake Nahwatzel with 240 acres located at Kennedy Creek. The unapproved rezone keeps the Lake Nahwatzel property as “long term forest” for the time being.  If Green Diamond wants to pursue the rezone for a second time, they must wait another year for a hearing; Green Diamond must submit a new application and go through the process again if a rezone is to be completed. . .
There were approximately 10 people testifying against the rezone, all were associated with an effort by the Friends of Lake Nahwatzel.  The group effort was organized by the current President Malcolm R. Dick (A.K.A. Bob Dick) when one of the land owners learned by “accident” that the request for rezone was underway by Green Diamond. Only when the land owner came across a Green Diamond survey team that would not tell why the land was being surveyed did the land owners start their effort.

Items of consideration as requested by the land owners was the emotional impact of what was being done to “right next door” and the pristine environment that has been enjoyed for years by those same residents, statements in the hearing examiner’s report regarding concerns of maintaining the water quality of the lake. . .

President Dick went on to emphasize issues with how the comprehensive plan and the subsequent rezone proposal process failed citizens who should have been involved far earlier. Dick offered suggestions to the Commission to prevent this “missed communication” from happening again.

Lynda Ring-Erickson - against approval for rezone
Terri Jeffreys - against approval for rezone
Tim Sheldon - for approval for rezone

Link to complete article:


Excerpts from:
Like in New York, Washington State Senate to Be 
Run By Republicans Despite Democratic 
Victory at the Ballot Box
By David Dayen 

For the second time, Democrats who won the most votes in one chamber of a state legislature will not actually run the chamber, thanks to conservative dissidents who swung the balance of power to the other side. We already saw this kind of power-sharing arrangement in the New York State Senate, and now we’re seeing the same thing in the Washington State Senate.

Senate Republicans announced today they have formally reached a deal with Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon (of the 48th and 35th Districts, respectively) to run Washington’s Senate for the next two years, which means that Democrats will be in the minority for the first time since the 2006 session.
At a press conference in Olympia, Tom and Sheldon confirmed that they have signed an agreement to form a “Senate Majority Coalition Caucus” which will consist of the two of them plus the twenty-three Republican senators. The Republicans have all agreed to allow Tom to serve as their majority leader and Sheldon to serve as the Senate’s president pro tempore. (The president pro tempore presides when the Lieutenant Governor is not available to run the Senate.)
In return for getting these plum assignments as Majority Leader and president pro tem, Sens.Tom and Sheldon allowed Republicans to set up committee assignments for the state Senate. And not surprisingly, Republicans took committees like Ways and Means (essentially the main budget and tax-writing committee), Commerce and Labor, Education, Government Operations and Health Care for themselves. In other words, all of the main budgetary committees for states. Incoming Democratic Governor Jay Inslee will now have to contend with Republicans to get his budget passed, despite the election results.

The unifying thread here, I think, is that power-hungry conservative Democrats in New York and Washington saw the opportunity to aggrandize their own power at the expense of their party. They obviously believe they will never face sanction for this, either from the party apparatus or their voters. In New York, the state Senate has pretty much always been dysfunctional, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has basically engineered things so that Republicans will keep control of the Senate, and therefore a “check” on power he doesn’t want to use. In Washington, the top-two primary structure makes it very hard to dislodge incumbents, who can almost always make it into the final two.

So this enables opportunists to essentially defy the will of the voters and set up operations as they see fit, for maximum political influence for themselves. It’s pretty sad.

Link to complete article:

Monday, December 10, 2012


I-522 Label GMO Foods Campaign Update

Great news! As of this week we are confident in letting everyone know that our signature count is at 280,000. We're super motivated moving forward and believe that we will accomplish our goal of turning in the necessary amount of signatures to the legislature.

The countdown has begun. We still have three weeks to gather signatures and are confident that with everyone's involvement we will be successful in getting 40,000 more signatures, putting us at our goal of 320,000. YAY!

Now is a great time to remind the friends and family you've shared petitions with to keep mailing them in. If you have sheets that are even half full, please send them in as early as possible so we can continue to update our count.

If you have not received petitions yet or would like some more, let us know and we will get you a packet in the mail asap. Just send us a quick email request to with your mailing address.

It's also time to start calling and emailing our representatives to ask them to support I-522.  With this being a petition to our legislature, we need to let them know that the people of Washington State want labels on GMO foods.

Please consider making a donation of at least $25 to the campaign. Your financial support now will help us finish our signature drive strong and get ready for the next stages of our campaign. Can we count on you for support? You can make a donation online or mail a check to:

Label It Wa
PO Box 65018
University Place, WA 98464

Thank you for your continued support!
Label It Wa Newsletter

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:  Mason County Progressive

Friday, December 7, 2012


Help Keep AM 1090 KPTK Progressive
Talk Radio Seattle on the Free Airwaves! 

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond   Mason County Progressive
On January 2, 2013, CBS plans to convert AM 1090 to a $port$ radio format. Apparently, CBS executives are concerned that AM 1090′s current format just isn’t making enough money 

Consequently, Seattle's progressive talk radio is planned to be pulled from the airwaves, just like Clear Channel recently did with AM 620, Portland's progressive talk radio, converting it to a Fox $port$ affiliate.



1271 Avenue of the Americas FL 44
New York, NY 10020


Thursday, December 6, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Bob Bottman    Mason County Progressive



The Second Sunday movie this month is Hungry For Change,
a new film from the creators of the best-selling documentary  
Food Matters. We all sense there's something wrong when 
processed food makers promise their food will make 
us happy, healthy, and young, while truly we’ve never 
been in worse health. "Hungry For Change" shows us a 
simple solution to this dilemma.

Sunday, December 9th
Mason County Senior Activities Center
826 W. Railroad Ave., Shelton

2:00 PM 

No admission is charged. Donations are encouraged 
with proceeds above license fees going to SOCK 
(Save Our County’s Kids) youth programs.

For more information:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


(Those we think are driving the car won't be in it if it goes off the cliff)

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis     Mason County Progressive

The re-election of Tim Sheldon for a third term as County Commissioner, Position #2 all but cements in place a paternal form of governance that percolates down to every Citizen Advisory Committee in Mason County.   

Let’s face it, some leaders in our community see themselves as beneficent benefactors; entitled by stature and endowed by heritage to maintain the status quo. As a result, every solution to every problem carries with it the same mindset that helped create the problem we’re attempting to fix. Citizen Advisory Committees, therefore, are the only means by which the public has any meaningful say in the process. But whatever objectivity those members may bring to the issues that come before them, it would be foolish to think decisions are not influenced by outside forces. 

At the end of the day, committee members are citizens first and advisory members second, and no one wants to be the lone voice that speaks out against the status quo. Adding to this problem are committee members that represent special interests, staff support, elected officials and ex officio watchdogs. They may or may not have a vote in the proceedings but leave little doubt as to their preferences.

There are all types of methods by which influence is exerted, and citizens come to the table unprepared for the pressures asserted by knowledgeable professionals with an agenda. In this way a member may be nuanced or even bullied into a decision.

On a larger scale, well-intentioned decisions that appear to benefit the community may turn out to enable a sea change of unanticipated consequences, as was the case with last year’s comprehensive plan amendment that allows Long Term Commercial Forest Lands to be rezoned for residential development (just ask the folks out at Lake Nahwatzel).

Still, there can never be too much citizen participation.  Case in point: County Commissioners’ mismanagement of labor negotiations that turned a budget surplus into a mandatory minimum ending balance. Only after the fiscal plane crashed, was the flying public asked to participate in the flight plan. Until then, negotiations were held outside of public view. Yet, when these conditions are challenged, reaction is quick and decisive: new regulations are adopted and existing regulations are manipulated in such a way as to keep the old machine churning out new mistakes. 
In this manner the status quo is carried forward on a carpet of what would appear to be clear reasoning, but is nothing more than blind allegiance to a corrupted system. And when things fail, as they so often do, the revisionists are all too ready to roll out the smoke machine and ask citizens to shoulder the consequences.  

For this reason, pitfalls notwithstanding, public participation at every level of government and at every stage in the policy process cannot be overstated.

Because, if things go really bad and it looks like we’re headed over the cliff, you can bet that the folks you thought were driving the car will not be in it.