Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hope Is the Rope from Which We All Hang

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond Mason County Progressive

Excerpts from:
The Earth Cannot Be Saved by Hope and Billionaires

World leaders at Earth summits seem more interested in protecting
the interests of plutocratic elites than our environment
by George Monbiot

Worn down by hope. That's the predicament of those who have sought to defend the earth's living systems. Every time governments meet to discuss the environmental crisis, we are told that this is the "make or break summit", on which the future of the world depends. The talks might have failed before, but this time the light of reason will descend upon the world.'To see Obama backtracking on the commitments made by Bush the elder 20 years ago is to see the extent to which a tiny group of ­plutocrats has asserted its grip on policy.' Illustration by Daniel Pudles

We know it's rubbish, but we allow our hopes to be raised, only to witness 190 nations arguing through the night over the use of the subjunctive in paragraph 286. We know that at the end of this process the UN secretary general, whose job obliges him to talk nonsense in an impressive number of languages, will explain that the unresolved issues (namely all of them) will be settled at next year's summit. Yet still we hope for something better.

This year's earth summit in Rio de Janeiro is a ghost of the glad, confident meeting 20 years ago. By now, the leaders who gathered in the same city in 1992 told us, the world's environmental problems were to have been solved. But all they have generated is more meetings, which will continue until the delegates, surrounded by rising waters, have eaten the last rare dove, exquisitely presented with an olive leaf roulade. The biosphere that world leaders promised to protect is in a far worse state than it was 20 years ago. Is it not time to recognize that they have failed?

These summits have failed for the same reason that the banks have failed. Political systems that were supposed to represent everyone now return governments of millionaires, financed by and acting on behalf of billionaires. The past 20 years have been a billionaires' banquet. At the behest of corporations and the ultra-rich, governments have removed the constraining decencies – the laws and regulations – which prevent one person from destroying another. To expect governments funded and appointed by this class to protect the biosphere and defend the poor is like expecting a lion to live on gazpacho.

You have only to see the way the United States has savaged the Earth summit's draft declaration to grasp the scale of this problem. The word "equitable", the US insists, must be cleansed from the text. So must any mention of the right to food, water, health, the rule of law, gender equality and women's empowerment. So must a clear target of preventing two degrees of global warming. So must a commitment to change "unsustainable consumption and production patterns", and to decouple economic growth from the use of natural resources.

Political systems that were supposed to represent everyone now return governments of millionaires, financed by and acting on behalf of billionaires

Most significantly, the US delegation demands the removal of many of the foundations agreed by a Republican president in Rio in 1992. In particular, it has set out to purge all mention of the core principle of that Earth summit: common but differentiated responsibilities. This means that while all countries should strive to protect the world's resources, those with the most money and who have done the most damage should play a greater part.

This is the government, remember, not of George W Bush but of Barack Obama. The paranoid, petty, unilateralist sabotage of international agreements continues uninterrupted. To see Obama backtracking on the commitments made by Bush the elder 20 years ago is to see the extent to which a tiny group of plutocrats has asserted its grip on policy. . .

The environmental crisis cannot be addressed by the emissaries of billionaires. It is the system that needs to be challenged, not the individual decisions it makes. In this respect the struggle to protect the biosphere is the same as the struggle for redistribution, for the protection of workers' rights, for an enabling state, for equality before the law.

So this is the great question of our age: where is everyone? The monster social movements of the 19th century and first 80 years of the 20th have gone, and nothing has replaced them. Those of us who still contest unwarranted power find our footsteps echoing through cavernous halls once thronged by multitudes. When a few hundred people do make a stand – as the Occupy campers have done – the rest of the nation just waits for them to achieve the kind of change that requires the sustained work of millions.

Without mass movements, without the kind of confrontation required to revitalize democracy, everything of value is deleted from the political text. But we do not mobilize, perhaps because we are endlessly seduced by hope. Hope is the rope from which we all hang.

Link to complete article:

Thursday, June 28, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

Monday, June 25, 2012

9:00 AM: Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Briefing

Salaries for elected officials are once again on the table. Commissioner Sheldon suggested that, perhaps, they should be tied to salaries of Superior Court Judges, proportionately, of course. Here’s what such a process would look like:

Let’s say the yearly salary of a County Commissioner is $76,500. And let’s say a Superior Court Judge makes $144,000. The current percentage of the Commissioner’s salary to that of the Judge is about 53%. And that percentage will be used to formulate future salaries. Naturally, the numbers and percentages will change for each elected official, but the formula remains the same.

Sounds good, but I’m not too crazy about the idea for the simple reason that I don’t think a half a bucket of rocks is worth the same as a pound of steak.

The Sheriff’s Office was next up on deck, reporting that a $40K contract with the Timberlakes community for policing services will likely extend to the entire Agate Peninsula. Also: Medical care of inmates has already eaten up 61% of the jail’s health care budget, despite a 25% discount for services offered by Mason General Hospital, so requests for supplemental appropriations are a certainty.

(NOTE: In the past, I suggested that suspected lawbreakers be made to undergo a complete physical before arresting them, and then weigh the severity of the offense against the cost of medical care. Well, so much for thinking "outside the box".)

Up next was Utilities and Waste Management: John Cunningham offered up a dark projection of possible rate hikes for users of the Belfair Sewer System, depending on growth patterns and the progress of Phase II. Fees for one Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU/155gal) could climb as high as $245 per month by 2026, and residential hookups to $17,000. Some grant money is on the table, but not for long, so the County better s—t or get off the pot. Anyway you slice it, it is likely long term debt will be in the $3.5M range.

And then came Washington State Parks: Larry Fairleigh and Steve Hahn went two on two with Commissioners Bloomfield and Sheldon (Commissioner Ring Erickson was on vacation). The topic was acquisition of lands for the proposed Fudge Point State Park, on Harstine Island. Commissioners treated the “Parkies” like vegans at a pig roast, and I think they got the hint. But just in case, Tim Sheldon encouraged a Harstine Island resident to jabberwocky about how “Islanders” don’t want no stinkin’ State Park.

6:00 PM: Belfair Candidates Forum

I don’t think my laptop has enough characters to report on some of the performances given by some of the candidates. So let’s just call it a dry run, and give a couple of these guys an opportunity to escape from Disneyland with a bit more pragmatism than Pinocchio.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2:00 PM:
Mason County Finance Committee Meeting:

Lisa Frazier, MC Treasurer and Theresia Ehrich, Chief Financial Officer, gave a rousing presentation of the County’s financial status.

Long story short:
As of June 22, 2012, we (and by “we” I mean, not you) have a total of about $123.5M in cash and bond investments. As of May 31, 2012, “we” have about $8.6M in unencumbered cash. Sales tax revenue for the first 6 months is up about $3,000 from the same period last year, at about $37K. General fund revenues were said to be trailing expenditures by about $1.5M, but let’s wait a few months till the real numbers are in before jumping out any windows.

6:00 PM:
Regular session of Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)

Commissioner Ring-Erickson was absent, leaving Commissioner Sheldon to keep her chair warm. Considering so few in attendance, we could just as well have skyped the proceedings and saved us all the gas money. Nothing worthy of reporting was on the agenda, which left the public comment period to provide the evening’s entertainment.

The usual big mouth got up to complain, again, about the lack of process in the recent solid waste contract with RDC/Allied Waste. Only this time there was a twist: Cutting through all the legal jargon, a group calling itself “Advocates for Responsible Government” filed a lawsuit against Mason County, alleging violations of the open meetings act and failure to comply with the competitive bidding process. Petitioners asked the court to set aside the County’s decision to award the solid waste hauling contract with Allied, or place an injunction on the exercise till the matter could be adjudicated. And then it was off to the Martini Bar…almost.

Another pesky citizen stood to complain about the Sheriff’s lack of response to a criminal act that his wife managed to solve, without benefit of local law enforcement.

The tale is long and winding, and best told in cryptic narrative form:
Man’s house is robbed; wife calls Sheriff; told “Too late, don’t wait, have a nice day.” Man’s wife discovers theft is by tenant, gives make, model of truck and license number to Sheriff’s office; told: “Thank’s, Hon, have fun, but still can’t make it out there.” Wife tracks down possessions in a pawnshop in Kitsap County, and has thief arrested up there; calls back to MC Sheriff to see if they can process thief; told: “Sorry Mum, no can come, we out of bucks down here.” Wife calls Sheriff’s Office to say she’s going to report this matter to County Commissioners; told: “Bet you a buck you’re out of luck, but you all come back now, hear?”
And you think I have to make this stuff up!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Bob Lynette
Mason County Progressive


Our Department of Ecology is proposing changes to our air pollution laws that would have a chilling impact on our regulations, Federal oversight, and our rights to pursue legal action. We all need to send DOE comments on this matter – now!

Numbers of comments really matter. Please take the time today to submit your comments on this - it is super important to our Peninsula. If you have already commented on this, it was likely to object to DOE’s proposal to not regulate greenhouse gasses and to limit Washington State’s Implementation Plan (SIP) to only a handful of pollutants that the state is required to regulate under federal law. But please ask DOE to include these additional comments from you.

You can just copy the following into your email:
Re: Proposed changes to Washington's Clean Air Regulations: Proposed changes to Chapter 173-400 WAC, and proposal to submit portions of the rule proposal (WAC 173-400-020 and 173-400-030(3)) to EPA for inclusion in the SIP.
Please include these comments from me on the subject proposals:
1. Do not remove from federal enforceability -- including citizens’ rights to a citizen suit, the more than 150 carcinogenic Toxic Air Pollutants (Class A TAPs) and over 400 non-carcinogenic Toxic Air Pollutants (Class B TAPs) regulated under the state clean air program (WAC 173-460). With federal enforceability, the citizens retain some control over Ecology through EPA oversight and enforcement. We do not want to lose this! I want the State's clean air regulations (WAC 173-460) to remain under the SIP.
2. I oppose weakening the definition of BACT.
3. I oppose all changes to WAC 173-400 that in any way would result in making our state laws’ regulations less stringent .
4. I oppose granting Ecology authority to manage the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program.

(Your name and address)

Send your comments to:

Linda Whitcher:

Please forward this to everyone that you believe might help.

Bob Lynette

Monday, June 25, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price
Mason County Progressive

Tom Davis has done a good job of keeping us up to date on the antics of our County Commissioners, particularly Lynda Ring Erickson, who seeks even higher office than County Commissioner, and Tim Sheldon, who seeks re-election to his current County Commission seat. If you find either of these events alarming, you might be onto something; if you find both of these events alarming, your mind is firing on all cylinders.

August will be upon us before we know it. We have the opportunity to do some things in this next election. We have the opportunity to put someone in Fred Finn's seat who will work as hard for the citizens of Mason County as Fred did...Jeff Davis. This is the seat Lynda Ring Erickson aspires to. I think Lynda should take a break from political life, and after the August primary, I hope she has lots of free time to enjoy life's simple pleasures.

If we want to put right-minded people in the seats up in this primary, we need to start working very hard right now.

This primary is going to be critical for our environment. Critical for our ability to pass the resolutions we need passed now, and to later pass the ordinances we will need to challenge the next ADAGE. Critical to challenge Solomon Resources coming online in the harbor, and yes, even critical to challenge the right of Simpson Timber Company and Olympic Panel to fail to meet the Dept. of Ecology standards in the harbor, and get a pass for it again, and again, and again.

The top two go forward. That is what makes this primary so important. In the County Commission races there are innumerable candidates. We could have no one to vote for if the top two going forward are not qualified, or if their interests are not the health and welfare of the citizens, but the health and welfare of POLLUTING industry.

We need many hands to make this light work, and we can only affect change locally right now. We need to get up, and get loud, and help our neighbors understand how critical voting for the right candidate will be this August.

We need to get back into the streets for the candidates who will work for CITIZEN INTERESTS. After the August primary, we can take a moment to breathe if Roslynne Reed is on the ballot; if Denny Hamilton is on the ballot; if Jeff Davis is on the ballot; and if Derek Kilmer (running for Norm Dick's seat) is on the ballot.

We need to make sure we have candidates running in the general election who understand the concept of considering our actions in the light of how it will affect the NEXT SEVEN GENERATIONS.

Let's get up, get involved, find a candidate, and come wave our candidate signs at the Clock Tower on Railroad Ave., on Thursday, June 28th, at 5:00 PM.

I have never seen more serious times. We citizens need to get very serious indeed.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stand with Shelton Postal Workers on 6/25

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Karen Sandberg Mason County Progressive

Excerpt from:
Local hunger strikers to protest
Congress starving the USPS

Three local members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) will stage a hunger strike in Washington state June 25 through 28, in solidarity with their fellow unionists and community activists in Washington, D.C. and other locations throughout the nation. The local APWU hunger strikers, Clint Burelson from Olympia, Anthony Foster from Tacoma, and David Yao from Seattle, contend that U.S. Postal Service cuts are a direct result of a 2006 law that pumps more than $5 billion per year from USPS coffers into the Federal Treasury. They say Congress is responsible for its failure to reverse that law.

Labor and community supporters of the hunger strikers are invited to join them as they carry out public protests across the state. . .



In solidarity with APWU across the country,
Shelton citizens supporting our local Post Office
are invited to stand with Shelton postal workers on:

9:00 AM to 1:00 PM


Link to complete article and activities:


Vandana Shiva:
'Making Peace With the Earth Is a Survival Imperative'

Indian activist Shiva discusses environmental activism,
Rio+20 Summit in interview

By Common Dreams staff

Indian eco-activist Vandana Shiva urges a paradigm shift away from the pervasive short-sighted growth model we see failing all around us, and says that "making peace with the earth" is now a "survival imperative". Vandana Shiva: "You cannot separate the issue of sustainability from the issue of justice from the issue of access to resources and from the issues of peace."

Shiva made the comments in an interview with Salim Rizvi of Free Speech Radio News.

Speaking about current environmental activism in India, she says the grassroots movement "has never been stronger because the crisis is deeper." She adds that rights issues are intertwined. "You cannot separate the issue of sustainability from the issue of justice from the issue of access to resources and from the issues of peace."

Emphasizing the urgency of our times, Shiva says "Making peace with the earth" is now "a survival imperative."

Speaking about the Rio+20 United Nations sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro which officially starts today (6/20/12), Shiva says that Rio "was very important 20 years ago," and that India played an important role then. But now India is "playing second fiddle to the United States," which "wants to dismantle Rio."

Shiva says that India's civilization is based on "compassion and sharing," and "you cannot sacrifice that very very open generous civilization for a short-term growth model that is failing all around us."


Free Speech Radio News:
Interview with author, activist Vandana Shiva
on the practice of sustainability

Indian author, activist and philosopher Vandana Shiva is one of many people in Rio this week calling for a paradigm shift in how countries practice sustainability, one that puts the rights of mother earth and future generations above profit and corporate control of the planet’s resources.

In a recent article published in The Asian Age, Shiva writes, “None of us are immune to the crisis, or the response to it. None of us are bystanders. We are all immersed in processes that are either threatening the planet and our own future, or finding creative ways to shape a sustainable and just future."

FSRN’s Salim Rizvi recently sat down with Vandana Shiva to discuss environmental struggles in her own country and what she expects of the Rio+20 summit.

Link to complete article and radio interview:

Thursday, June 21, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

Monday, June 18, 2012

2:00 PM: Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Briefing

As previously reported, last week’s briefing of the BOCC included a slow roasting of Mr. Frank Pinter, Finance Manager for the Sheriff’s Office. This week, Mr. Pinter returned for yet another turn on the spit, only this time he brought along a few friends.

There’s nothing quite like having the second string of the Green Bay Packers walk into a room to make you feel like a soup bone; when that much cop-power shows up, you know we’re in for a good, old fashioned showdown.

Here’s what happened:

The Sheriff was serendipitously notified that the Commissioners were thinking about having jail administrator, Tom Haugen, report directly to them. And that was enough to bring out the big guns. The problem is there’s not enough staff to oversee the inmates. But what ensued was less a conversation about staff and money, than it was a hasty retreat to safer ground. In the end, it was decided to put all options – except that one – on the table. But not now. Unfortunately I’d left my Captain Video secret decoder ring at home, so that’s all I can tell you.

6:00 PM: City of Shelton Commissioner’s Meeting

I got there at my usual time (10 to 6), to find someone sitting in my usual seat (as near the exit as possible). As it turned out, the crowd was there to support Jay’s Farm Stand located up on Olympic Hwy. North.

Here’s what happened:

About 13 months ago Jay's opened up, displaying produce inside the store and outside, under portable (“membrane” covered) carports. At the heart of the matter was the structural integrity of the carports. The City claimed that when owner, Lee Dixon, applied for a business license and permits, he was told the carports did not comply with city building standards, and he agreed to replace them with something that didn’t look like it blew in off a tsunami.

Long story short, that didn’t happen, and after a year of playing "catch-me-if-you-can", the City threatened to close the business down.

But hell hath no fury like the fruit and apple activists from around the area who came to support The Little Farm Stand That Could.

My own stand was quite different: I rose to remind Mr. Dixon that pitting the popularity of produce against local building standards was not in anyone’s best interest, and that while the community supported him, it was reasonable to expect him to support community building standards. Lucky for me, no one thought to bring tomatoes.

In the end, the Mayor reached for the low hanging fruit, moving to give Mr. Dixon another 45 days to comply. And then we all went out for burgers and beer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

9:00 AM: Regular session of Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)

There were few items on the agenda and no public hearings, and Tim Sheldon has now missed four BOCC meetings in 2012.

I found his absence today particularly annoying, as my comments were aimed at the County’s long-standing association with RDC/Allied Waste, the recipient of a recent 8 year, $15M long-haul, solid waste disposal contract.

Supporting documentation had revealed the original contract between the County and Allied went into effect in 1993, and through a process of amendments and extensions, was due to expire on August 26, 2012. But a new contract (the County calls it an amendment, but it’s really new) was approved at the BOCC meeting of June 5, 2012. And that contract runs through August 26, 2020, with a three year extension option. This brings the total length of the original contract 30 years to term, without benefit of having ever gone through a competitive bidding process.

Even for politicians, that waste contract stinks to high heaven.

2:00 PM: Port of Shelton Commission Meeting

I was surprised to see the Port’s attorney, Charles (Skip) Houser, at the Port. Given the vast sums he’d made representing the Port in the ADAGE and Hall Equities debacles, I’d have thought he’d be somewhere down in the Bahamas surrounded by 79 virgins and a wheelbarrow full of Pina Coladas. But maybe that’s just me, projecting.

On the action agenda were three items, though only one is worthy of reporting: “Timber Harvest Bid”. Somehow the fairgrounds worked its way into the discussion, even though it was not on the agenda.

Last things first: The potential timber harvest of 100 acres of Port property on Johns Prairie Rd.

Commissioner Hupp presided over a power-point presentation aimed at not harvesting the 100 acres, at least not yet. As expected, his presentation was as succinct as a dagger in the eye. (You gotta hand it to the guy; he’s as convincing when he’s right as when he’s wrong.) But long-time observers of political histrionics have learned that when it comes to decisions involving money, being right doesn’t carry much weight, so I expect those trees will go the way of the Dodo bird.

And now the reason Attorney Houser traded his Speedo in for a suit and tie:

In an effort to support his desire to have the fairgrounds moved to another part of Sanderson Field and avoid any FAA blowback, Director Dobson crawled into the attic in search of archived documents. But why get dirty when you can hire someone whose used to traversing cramped, dark spaces?

Enter Attorney Houser.

In a soliloquy to rival the length of the Magna Carta, Mr. Houser laid out the sequence of events that brought us to the current deed restrictions on fairground property. And though the FAA may in fact have the authority to exercise those restrictions, it seems unlikely they will do so. (It’s kind of like when your older brother made you flinch, but never actually threw a punch; in other words, a “fake-out”.)

Nevertheless, I encourage all who care about protecting the fairgrounds to throw that punch by responding to the Port’s invitation for public comment (cut off date July 31), at

Not to overplay the analogy, but when you go up against Big Brother, only a knock-out blow will do.


Link to Port of Shelton fairgrounds press release pdf:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis
Mason County Progressive

If it were possible to talk away violent crime, pollution and a bad economy, these things would not be taking place in Mason County. But they are.

In an effort to distract from the issues, citizens are made to endure the occasional official self-congratulation and interdepartmental awards. But the only real measure of how a community is doing is how people feel about their safety, their prospects for the future and their overall well-being.

County Commissioners tell us that times are tough and cutbacks to services are necessary. But the fact is current cash/investment have exceeded expenditures in each of the past three years, with reserves now at $7.2M, a six year high. For whatever reason, Commissioners would like us to think we can’t even afford a full time receptionist at the County Administrative building; walk into the lobby on any Friday and you are greeted only by your own echo.

Have a concern? Don’t bring it to a County Commission meeting, unless you want to be drowned under a wave of excuses, ranging from “Our hands are tied” to “You’re misinformed". If you happen to represent a special interest group, however, you can expect to have the County Comprehensive Plan amended to accommodate your needs.

Given all the attention to special interests, you’d think they were the primary source of revenue, but you’d be wrong; the County budget is balanced on the backs of ordinary citizens who dutifully pay their property taxes to the tune of over $68M in 2011 (over $70M, if you include property excises tax).

Why is all this so important? Because the job of local government is to protect the citizenry, provide services and create public policies that benefit the community at large, not cater to special interests. When it comes to the contract of taxes vs. public services, ordinary citizens are getting the short end of the stick.

Am I being unfair? Perhaps. But ask yourself this question: In public policy decisions involving safety, jobs, growth and the environment, are your concerns being addressed? Now ask yourself the same question, only this time imagine you have political influence and pocket full of money.

Ordinary people are the heart and soul of Mason County. Not big business, not the politicians, and certainly not special interests. It is ordinary people doing extraordinary things that make our county a place worth living in. And it is ordinary people who can bring a sense of community back by electing the right people.


Thursday, June 21, 2012
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Shelton Fire Hall
110 Franklin St.



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond Mason County Progressive

Mason County Progressive
May the earth be wholesome everywhere,
The world blessed with prosperity,
May the poor and destitute find wealth,
And the stooping animals be freed.

May every being ailing with illness
Find relief at once from suffering.
May all the sickness that afflict the living
Be instantly and permanently healed.

May those who go in dread, have no more fear,
May captives be unchained and set free,
And may the weak now become strong,
May living beings help each other in kindness.

May travelers upon the road,
Find happiness no matter where they go,
And may they gain, without hardship,
The goals on which their hearts are set.

From the songs of birds and the sighing of trees,
From the shafts of light and from the sky itself,
May living beings, each and every one,
Perceive the constant sound of Dharma.

(from the Bodhicaryavatara, c. 700 AD)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Jake Rufer
Mason County Progressive

Now we have a continuing problem in our country.

Assume for a moment that I make a scathing speech condemning U.S. action In Afghanistan on the basis that the United States had no interest in pursuing action against the Taliban.

Assume further that some agency within the Department of Defense of the USA decided that my action fell within the parameters of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Assume again that I am detained by whatever U.S. agency is responsible for detaining persons such as myself and charged me with violating Section 1021 on the basis that I have given aid and comfort to the enemy with whom we are at war.

I am not here leading up to a defense -- No, I merely am trying to examine the the parameters of what can be done to me by my country under that which is stated in statute to be Articles of War.

Given the above, can I be whisked away to a secluded interrogation center in Hungary? Now, what I've read on the Articles of War, that would not be legally tolerated (under international law).

Yet, best reports suggest that the US does send such folks as I (as described above) to foreign lands where local folks are not particularly limited by their interrogation processes. I now might face the water board. During my 19 years in a naval intelligence unit, two or three of the unit members took their two week annual training in a school where each and every one experienced the water board. Frightening was their report. And I suspect they received minimal treatment.

Where goeth the USA? If the Obama Administration appeals its loss on the constitutionality of Section 1021, as ruled by Justice Katherine Forrest at the District Court level, will the Court of Appeals sustain the trial court? How about the Supreme Court if the case winds up there?

These are questions I dearly would like to have answered because I am very angry about the habitual trend of our presidents to simply announce that we are at war and, in consequence, hold all accountable.

There have been too many wars: War on Poverty, War on Drugs, and War on Terrorists -- and none of them have an identifiable enemy.

And I'm overlooking all the other wars we have initiated: the Mexican War wherein the U.S. stole the S.W. portion of the US from Mexico; the Spanish American War which gave U.S. control of Cuba and the Philippines; the wars against Native Americans as the U.S. conquered them to the west of the Atlantic Seaboard; the marines sent to Central America on behalf of the United Fruit Company (bananas for all); our provoked revolution against Columbia so as to create Panama near the turn of the century; our actions against Grenada because of alleged Cuban involvement; our invasion against Panama merely to depose a drug running dictator -- and on and on it goes.

And when our flag majestically passes with the troops in review, I do dutifully stand and bow to the honor of our country. Why do I do that ? Why do I do that?

Very truly,


Monday, June 18, 2012


Excerpts from:
Spurred by Earthjustice,
EPA Issues Limits for Deadly Soot

Final standards, due in December, must be strongest possible
By Sam Edmondson

Just two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency was dithering on a proposal to strengthen protections against an air pollutant that causes tens of thousands of avoidable deaths every year.

Enter Earthjustice attorney, Paul Cort, who on behalf of citizen groups asked a federal judge to order the EPA to get moving. So compelling was the case that the judge ruled in Earthjustice's favor directly from the bench, ordering the EPA to proceed without further delay. This motivated the EPA to settle the remainder of the suit and release a proposal. The agency also committed to release a final standard by Dec. 14, 2012.

Today (6/15/12), the agency released its proposal, and we have Cort's legal action to thank—a prime example of how citizen enforcement of our nation's environmental laws can produce real results for public health and the environment.

Here are the specifics: The EPA proposed tighter limits on soot pollution, a mixture of solid and liquid particles—each 30 times thinner than a strand of your hair—that can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing asthma and heart attacks and tens of thousands of avoidable deaths every year. Soot comes from coal-fired power plants, factories, diesel vehicles and other sources. Because so many of us are exposed to elevated levels of particle pollution, it's hard to find a deadlier air pollutant than soot.

Cort told the Washington Post that today's action is an opening offer. "There's no question that EPA's proposal is going to save lives," he said in an interview.

But despite this long overdue step in the right direction, Cort told me, "the EPA needs to set a stronger final standard to fully protect people from this deadly pollution".

The report Sick of Soot, released last year by Earthjustice, the American Lung Association and Clean Air Task Force, found that a truly strong soot standard could prevent nearly 36,000 premature deaths every year. We'll be pushing hard for such a standard when the public comment period opens up in a few weeks.

Please join us in the push for the strongest soot standards possible, and please share with your friends this important first step in what could be a major victory for public health and the environment.

(Earthjustice represented the American Lung Association and the National Parks Conservation Association in the legal proceedings that led to this proposal.)

Link to complete article:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Johnson & Johnson 19th to Drop ALEC

Excerpts from:
ColorOfChange Applauds Johnson & Johnson's
Decision to Cut Ties with ALEC

Move Follows Civil Rights Group's Ad Buy Targeting
African Americans and Tying Company to ALEC

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced today (6/12/12) that it would no longer fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The announcement comes a week after ColorOfChange launched radio ads targeting African Americans in Chicago, DC, New Brunswick, NJ, and Sanford, FL, and exposing the connection between Johnson & Johnson and the policy group, which has pushed legislation that hurts black communities such as voter suppression bills and so-called Stand your Ground laws. . .

"As Americans learn more about ALEC's extreme agenda, companies understand that their brands suffer through association with a group that has weakened our democracy and made it harder to earn a living wage," said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson. "The ColorOfChange community commends Johnson & Johnson for acting in the best interest of consumers and cutting ties with this shadowy organization."

With today's announcement, the company becomes the 19th to announce it has dropped ALEC. Johnson & Johnson joins Wal-Mart, Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Yum! Brands, McDonald's, Wendy's, Mars Inc., Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Reed Elsevier (owner of LexisNexis and publisher of science and health information), Kaplan, Scantron, Medtronic, American Traffic Solutions and Arizona Public Service.

"We're continuing to reach out to corporations directly to tell them that now is the time to leave ALEC, and that our members are prepared to hold them publicly accountable if they refuse," Robinson said. "We applaud those companies that have stopped funding the group."

In December of last year, ColorOfChange members began signing a petition targeting ALEC’s corporate partners for their role in suppressing Black votes. The petition can be found here:

Link to complete press release:

Thursday, June 14, 2012



Monday, June 11, 2012

2:00 PM: Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Briefing

The meeting started off with a bang, when Commissioner Ring-Erickson tore into Frank Pinter, Finance Manager for the Sheriff’s Office.

Here’s what happened:

Everyone was expecting Sheriff Casey to respond to rumors that some officers were telling the public the Sheriff’s Office could not respond to calls for help because the County Commissioners had cut their budget, and (now get this) there was not enough money to put gas in the patrol cars. But Sheriff Casey didn’t show, which left Mr. Pinter in the Lion’s den, with a pork-chop tied around his neck.

What happened next was not pretty: my ears are still ringing from the shriek let out by Commissioner/Candidate Ring-Erickson. Not to be outdone, Commissioner Bloomfield joined in the attack, and set Mr. Pinter marching back to the Sheriff’s Office, with a terse message and arrow through the heart.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

9:00 AM: Regular session of Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)

During the public comment period, Terri Thompson, a local clean drinking water activist, stepped up to the podium to educate Commissioners on the dangers of aquifer contamination. Ms. Thompson read from a prepared statement, laying out the need for a compliance officer to test the county’s drinking water for cancer causing agents.

During her presentation, she also mentioned that Mason County had a higher rate of overall cancers than any county in the state, and offered statistical evidence to support that claim. The implication that all these cancers may have something to do with our water supply was not lost on the Commissioners. Tim Sheldon seized upon the reference to “footnotes” in the report, saying he was not inclined to accept any conclusions until he had time to research the source of the references. And Steve Bloomfield wondered out loud how it could be that eastern Washington was a healthier place to live than the western part of the state, given we have all the trees, and stuff.

At the end of the day, it really didn’t matter who thought what, because when you approach a potential problem with an attitude set to discredit or dismiss, it’s doubtful anything meaningful will be done.

Be that as it may, while public health ratings in our county may not be anything to brag about, it’s nice to know that somewhere in Oshkosh there’s a healthy 90 year old farmer sucking on a jug of Wild Turkey and doing the Hokey-Pokey.

And now for the Port report fermenting since last week:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2:00 PM: Port of Shelton Commission Meeting

As promised, now that my own Martini Meditation Period has ended, let’s get back to the events of last week:

What set me on my heels was the Port reaching out to the community for input on the future of the fairgrounds. In the past, the only community cooperation the Port sought from the public was to attend the county fair and not throw up on anybody. Commissioner Hupp acknowledged the relationship between the Port and the Public was not good; that the community did not trust the Port, and that needed to change.

Hupp went to considerable lengths to drive this point home, going so far as to say that the fairgrounds belong to the public, not the FAA, and challenging his fellow Commissioners to ignore FAA demands to return the property for aviation purposes.

But good relations, in and of themselves, do not solve problems, and it will take much compromise to save the fairgrounds. Commissioner Hupp wants to keep it where it is, give or take a few yards. Commissioner Wallitner and Director Dobson think it should be moved to another part of Sanderson Field. And Commissioner Taylor appeared to be either deep in thought or enjoying a quick nap.

The question in my mind is not so much where the future fairgrounds will be located, but if it will be managed as a for-profit or not-for-profit endeavor.

It is not often we mere taxpayers get to weigh in on the decision making process, so don’t let this opportunity go by. Go to and click on the press release and give the Port a piece of your mind (Lord knows, they can use it).

But do it before the cutoff date of July 31.

And if you don’t think you give two hoots and a holler about the future of the fairgrounds, think about the time your grand kids released the brake on your 1987 Buick and sent it rolling down the driveway, all because they had nothing better to do. There you go.


Link to Port of Shelton fairgrounds press release pdf:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Jake Rufer Mason County Progressive

Naomi Wolf's article which appeared in The Guardian and posted on this blog on May 19, 2012, should not be forgotten. The article praises US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest for her courageous action in ruling Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act as "facially unconstitutional". The Obama administration may appeal to the Court of Appeals and thence to the Supreme Court.

It is extremely disturbing that President Obama signed the Act into law. Although the Constitution requires the President to faithfully enforce laws passed by the Congress, I read Ms. Wolf's characterization of the administration's lawyers as zealous. I strongly supported Mr. Obama for the position of President of the United States, and I probably will vote for him again, but this time while holding my nose.

Because readers may not be aware of Section 1021, I copy it immediately below. It should be read many times over until every phrase is embedded within one's memory. Then contemplate my assertion that the United States is rapidly becoming a fascist nation.




(a) IN GENERAL.—Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

(b) COVERED PERSONS.—A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
(c) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR.—The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111–84)).
(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.
(d) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.


The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be ‘‘covered persons’’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Pat Jerrells Mason County Progressive

Excerpts from:
A Global Call: Eco Warriors, Arise!
Ahead of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, a Call for a Paradigm Shift
by Vandana Shiva

In June 2012, movements and leaders will meet in Rio for Rio+20, two decades after the Earth Summit was organised in 1992 to address urgent ecological challenges such as species extinction, biodiversity erosion and climate change. The Earth Summit gave us two very significant international environmental laws: the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change. It also gave us the Rio principles, including the Precautionary Principle and the Polluter Pays Principle.

The world has changed radically since 1992, and sadly, not for the better. Ecological sustainability has been systematically sacrificed for a particular model of the economy, which is itself in crisis. 1995 created a tectonic shift in what values guide our decisions, and who makes the decisions. Rio was based on values of ecological sustainability, social justice and economic equity - across countries and within countries. It was shaped by ecological movements, ecological science and sovereign governments. The establishment of WTO, and the paradigm of global corporate rule, inaccurately called "free trade" (more accurately described as corporate globalisation) changed the values and the structures of governance and decision making.

Conservation of the Earth's resources, and equitable sharing was replaced by greed and the grabbing and privatisation of resources. Sustainable economies and societies were replaced by non-sustainable production systems, and a relentless drive to spread the virus of consumerism. Decision making moved into the hands of global corporations, both directly and indirectly. It is therefore not surprising that when we meet at Rio+ 20, the ecological crisis is deeper than what it was at the time of the Earth Summit, and the will and capacity of governments is weaker.

"Instead of polluters paying and being regulated at the national and international level to stop pollution, the biggest atmospheric polluters who have contributed most to climate change are now laying the rules on how to deal with climate change".

While the corporations wrote the rules of WTO and global free trade, they have also subverted the environmental rules which were supposed to regulate their commercial activities to ensure sustainability. They have mutated environmental laws which are supposed to regulate commerce into laws for commercialising and commodifying the earth's resources and ecological functions.

Profiting from pollution

They have subverted the Climate Treaty and the Biodiversity Convention. Instead of polluters paying and being regulated at the national and international level to stop pollution, the biggest atmospheric polluters who have contributed most to climate change are now laying the rules on how to deal with climate change. The biotechnology industry which has caused genetic pollution by releasing genetically engineered organisms into the environment is making the rules on how to manage biodiversity and how to govern Biosafety. The attempt to introduce BRAI, the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India, is one example.

The original objective of the Climate Treaty was to put in place legally binding emission reduction targets for the historic polluters, who in the pre-globalisation period were concentrated in the rich industrial North. The treaty was destroyed at the Climate summit in Copenhagen, by an attempt to replace it with a non binding Copenhagen Accord. The Kyoto Protocol introduced emissions trading, which in effect meant the polluter got paid, not punished. The big industrial polluters were first paid by allowing them to get private rights to our atmospheric commons. They then got paid by profiting from carbon trading.

Profits increased and emissions increased. Climate chaos is worse today than it was in 1992. And the polluters look for new avenues to make money and grab resources. Now they want to commodify the ecological functions and services that nature provides. This will be the big Climate debate in Rio+20.

"None of us are immune to the crisis, or the response to it. None of us are bystanders. we are all immersed in the processes that are either threatening the planet and our own future or finding creative ways to shape a sustainable and just future."

The original objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity was the conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable and equitable use. This objective has been subverted and is being increasingly replaced by objectives of trade in genetic resources, profits and privatisation. The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing restricts access only to global players, ignoring the access of local communities. It treats as utilisation only utilisation for research and commerce - ignoring the survival needs of local communities. It is in fact legalised Biopiracy, because it enables the transfer of genetic wealth from local communities to global corporations, it undermines the biodiversity economies and cultures which have conserved biodiversity, and are necessary for conserving it for the future.

In both the Climate Treaty and the Biodiversity convention, trade and commerce is replacing conservation and the commons. Rights of Corporations is replacing the Rights of Nature and People.

And this change in values, from conserving and sharing to exploiting and privatising, is justified in the name of economic progress and economic growth. Yet the economic paradigm for which the Earth and Society are being pillaged and destroyed, is itself in deep crisis. Look at the farmers suicides and hunger and malnutrition crisis in India. Look at the protests in Greece, Spain or the Occupy movement of the 99% in the US.

A paradigm shift is desperately needed. And it will not come those who have created the crisis, and who are looking for new ways to extend the life of the Greed economy by commodifying and privatising all life on earth. They will come to Rio+20 to paint the Greed Economy Green, and call it the Green Economy. And they will have powerful governments on their side.

Movements for ecological sustainability, social justice and deep democracy will come to Rio+20 with another paradigm, one centred on the Rights of Mother Earth, the rights of future generations, of women, indigenous communities and farmers.

It is this epic contest between a destructive and dying outmoded paradigm and a life enhancing emergent paradigm that will be the most significant aspect of Rio+20. The outcome of this contest will determine the future of humanity. It will not enter the negotiations, which can only be the lowest common denominator in the current context of corporate influence. But it will provide the energy for the People's Summit, and many government initiatives at Rio Centro. This contest will continue beyond Rio, in every country, in every village and town, every farm and workplace, every home and street.

None of us are immune to the crisis, or the response to it. None of us are bystanders. We are all immersed in processes that are either threatening the planet and our own future, or finding creative ways to shape a sustainable and just future. Every day is an earth summit in our lives. And each of us is negotiating our collective fate on the earth.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist and eco feminist. She is the founder/director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis; Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs, including the International Forum on Globalization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and the Third World Network. She has received numerous awards, including 1993 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.

Link to complete article: