Monday, July 30, 2012

MIDDLE CLASS AT END OF LINE

WHAT REALLY CREATES JOBS

Submitted by Linda Gruer
Mason County Progressive

It is simply incorrect that the rich are "job creators" and increasing any taxes on them will make our economy worse. Taxes on the well to do are the lowest in over 30 years and if they were the real job creators with such low taxes we should be drowning in jobs by now!

Real job creation is caused by middle class consumption. If no one can afford to buy anything, a capitalist will not hire anyone to provide the product. So our real problem is the decimation of middle class buying power. For several decades, real incomes of middle class Americans have been flat (real income means adjusted for inflation). Trying to keep up, first both men and women in the family went to work. Then credit card debt went up. Then houses were used as equity for loans. Middle Class is at the end of the line.


What to do? We need policy to rebuild the health of the middle class, including taxing the rich, increasing the capital gains tax, taxing the financial system such as for derivative trading, and use the money to create infrastructure for main street. That is just the beginning.


Every teacher, policeman, highway worker, and yes federal, state and local government worker that is laid off means less spending in the economy and a spiraling downward of jobs and the economy. It is called the multiplier.


In short, there will be no robust recovery until this is addressed.


By the way, the inspiration for writing this column is an internet video. Take a look -- it's great -- a five minute clip by a rich capitalist, Nick Hanauer.




Photo: www.thesocietypages.org

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:

Link to KMAS News Voters Guide:
http://masoncountydailynews.com/news/voter-guide-2012

Link to Progressive Voters Guide: 2012 Primary Edition, Mason County
http://progressivevotersguide.com/2012/washington/primary/county/mason/35th

Sunday, July 29, 2012

WHAT'S BEHIND AMERICAN MAYHEM?


Excerpts from:
It's the Guns – But We All Know, It's Not Really the Guns
By Michael Moore

Since Cain went nuts and whacked Abel, there have always been those humans who, for one reason or another, go temporarily or permanently insane and commit unspeakable acts of violence. There was the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who during the first century A.D. enjoyed throwing victims off a cliff on the Mediterranean island of Capri. Gilles de Rais, a French knight and ally of Joan of Arc during the middle ages, went cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs one day and ended up murdering hundreds of children. Just a few decades later Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula, was killing people in Transylvania in numberless horrifying ways.

In modern times, nearly every nation has had a psychopath or two commit a mass murder, regardless of how strict their gun laws are – the crazed white supremacist in Norway one year ago Sunday, the schoolyard butcher in Dunblane, Scotland, the École Polytechnique killer in Montreal, the mass murderer in Erfurt, Germany … the list seems endless.

And now the Aurora shooter last Friday (7/20/12). There have always been insane people, and there always will be.

But here's the difference between the rest of the world and us: We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year! At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn't count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.

That means the United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined. Considering that the people of those countries, as human beings, are no better or worse than any of us, well, then, why us?

Both conservatives and liberals in America operate with firmly held beliefs as to "the why" of this problem. And the reason neither can find their way out of the box toward a real solution is because, in fact, they're both half right.

The right believes that the Founding Fathers, through some sort of divine decree, have guaranteed them the absolute right to own as many guns as they desire. And they will ceaselessly remind you that a gun cannot fire itself – that "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Of course, they know they're being intellectually dishonest (if I can use that word) when they say that about the Second Amendment because they know the men who wrote the constitution just wanted to make sure a militia could be quickly called up from amongst the farmers and merchants should the Brits decide to return and wreak some havoc.

But they are half right when they say "Guns don't kill people." I would just alter that slogan slightly to speak the real truth: "Guns don't kill people, Americans kill people."

Because we're the only ones in the first world who do this en masse. And you'll hear all stripes of Americans come up with a host of reasons so that they don't have to deal with what's really behind all this murder and mayhem.

They'll say it's the violent moving and video games that are responsible. Last time I checked, the movies and video games in Japan are more violent than ours – and yet usually fewer than 20 people a year are killed there with guns – and in 2006 the number was two!

Others will say it's the number of broken homes that lead to all this killing. I hate to break this to you, but there are almost as many single-parent homes in the U.K. as there are here – and yet, in Great Britain, there are usually fewer than 40 gun murders a year.

People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, "cowboys and Indians," "shoot first and ask questions later." And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it's safe to say we're not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide. Hello, Germany! That's right I'm talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn't achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.

So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation.

My liberal compatriots will tell you if we just had less guns, there would be less gun deaths. And, mathematically, that would be true. If you have less arsenic in the water supply, it will kill less people. Less of anything bad – calories, smoking, reality TV – will kill far fewer people. And if we had strong gun laws that prohibited automatic and semi-automatic weapons and banned the sale of large magazines that can hold a gazillion bullets, well, then shooters like the man in Aurora would not be able to shoot so many people in just a few minutes.

But this, too, has a problem. There are plenty of guns in Canada (mostly hunting rifles) – and yet the annual gun murder count in Canada is around 200 deaths. In fact, because of its proximity, Canada's culture is very similar to ours – the kids play the same violent video games, watch the same movies and TV shows, and yet they don't grow up wanting to kill each other. Switzerland has the third-highest number of guns per capita on earth, but still a low murder rate.

So – why us?

I posed this question a decade ago in my film 'Bowling for Columbine', and this week, I have had little to say because I feel I said what I had to say ten years ago – and it doesn't seem to have done a whole lot of good other than to now look like it was actually a crystal ball posing as a movie.

This is what I said then, and it is what I will say again today:

1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.

Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a "civil" war). It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we're afraid of. It's invasion as foreign policy. Sure there's Iraq and Afghanistan – but we've been invaders since we "conquered the wild west" and now we're hooked so bad we don't even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn't hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don't have a loved one over there don't spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage. And now we send in remote pilot-less planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.

2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer. Maybe we would take better care of each other (here's a good example of what I mean).

Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of. Like I said, I spelled it all out here if you'd like to watch it or share it for free with others. All we're lacking here, my friends, is the courage and the resolve. I'm in if you are.

Link to complete article:
http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/its-guns-we-all-know-its-not-really-guns

SHELTON BLOG NOTE: Mason County Progressive

Demand a Plan to End Gun Violence!

Join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns in calling on candidates for president to share their plan to stop the next mass shooting.

Sign the petition:
http://www.demandaplan.org/

Saturday, July 28, 2012

7/26/12 CANDIDATE FORUM REPORT

WE NEED INFORMED REPRESENTATION

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price Mason County Progressive

Kathy Haigh's experience as our State Representative for fourteen years was on display on the night of July 26th, at the Oakland Bay Junior High School, where the candidates for the two State Representative positions met in a forum. The candidates present were running to be our representative's from the 35th District to Olympia. I knew who I was voting for coming in, but I wanted to hear all of the candidates again, and cheer on my favorites. I came away from the forum more impressed than ever with candidates Kathy Haigh (Position 1) and Jeff Davis (Position 2).

These two candidates, Kathy and Jeff, both understand the job of a state legislator, and they understand the complexities of our State in 2012. The job of a legislator is not simple, it is complex, and there are no simple solutions in the really complex system that makes up operating a state as amazing as ours.

Besides understanding the job requirements, Jeff and Kathy can articulate the problems we face, and the solutions they recommend. Kathy and Jeff do not have a "one size fits all" bullet point solution for any of the challenges our State faces... because one size does not fit all!

"Restore rural jobs, traditions and values!" is a battle cry; it is not a solution to anything. Everyone wants to "restore jobs", but repeating this little battle cry over and over tells me nothing about how anyone will be a good steward of my tax dollars.

One example of a complex issue before the legislature is the designation of hydroelectric power. At present it is not included in the list of green, renewable sources of energy. Many think it should be, and mostly because we have a lot of water here in Washington. Among those who believe it should change are the Republican and Independent candidates. Their reply to the complex question about this complex, multiple part issue, is to change the designation. Short answer: "It is green and renewable", and they would so name it, call it a done deal, and on to the next problem.

If it were that simple, it would already have been done. If that were "the" solution, the designation would already have been changed. But it is not simple.

The reality of this complex issue is that the designation is connected to a number of variables including Tribal rights, environmental interests and the reality that we need to be seeking alternate sources of energy. As Kathy Haigh reminded us last night, over the next 100 years "water issues are going to be huge". In that case, we just might not be able to use it the way we have until now.

Whether you believe in climate change or not, water shortages and drought conditions are a plague on our country at this very moment. Both Kathy Haigh and Jeff Davis know this, they each know what the future holds because they believe in science, and they are both thinking about short-term and long-term solutions to see us through.

I listened raptly to Kathy Haigh talk about something she knows about, because this is a topic of discussion and debate in Olympia, and because she is smart, and because she is informed.

Jeff was equally impressive on this topic, understanding the complexities and confirming that simply "saying it is green and renewable" does not change the variables that affect the decision to keep the designation.

Frankly, until last night, I did not know some of the complexities of the issue and I learned a lot. I had simply thought we might just be able to move it over into the "green and renewable" column and that would be that. That was what I thought because, frankly, I did not know there was much more to it than simply changing its designation.

That is why I am glad that Kathy Haigh is my representative, and I am glad she got to show off her smarts and her passion last night. Kathy Haigh understands the complexities, and she did not dummy it down or try to put it into a simple "sound bite" because it is not simple.

The opponents of Kathy Haigh and Jeff Davis believe it is simple, like I did before last night. I want representatives who can understand the complexities, and who can articulate the complexities in conversation and in political forums.

Jeff and Kathy did this superbly last night. I want smart, informed leaders in Olympia who are looking at all sides of the issues before them, to see what is the best path forward for the citizens of the State of Washington. Frankly, I want representatives who are way better informed than I am (Kathy and Jeff both fit that bill). I want leaders who are way smarter than I am (believe me, they are!).

I don't want to send Joe the Plumber to freaking Olympia! I don't want to send a professional firefighter, or a corrections officer, or an emotionally challenged Mason County Commissioner. I want to send the smartest, the most informed, the most experienced, and the hardest working people I can. And that is Jeff Davis and Kathy Haigh.

And before the reader loses interest, this post was begun to share the following quote from last night's event. This is a statement from Dan Griffey, who would replace the intelligent and articulate Kathy Haigh: "My job as a legislator is to keep taxes and regulations as low as possible."

Dan Griffey and the other Republican and Independent candidates say that government is the problem. They disparage government in every answer they give by their uninformed attacks on "government". They insult the Representative at the table who is the face of government; they insult her with their platitudes and their nonsense of no new taxes and fewer regulations.

Why in heaven's name do they want to hold public office when they believe "government is the problem"? A person who believes that should not be elected to government. That is such a no-brainer!

Dan Griffey uses one-liners that are right out of the "Ronald Regan Handbook for Hood-Winking the Public". His continued use of Republican bullet phrases and the battle cry of "rural jobs, traditions and values" does not differentiate him in any way from all of the Teapot candidates who went to Congress pledging "jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs", and who got there and voted against the Jobs Act,
while managing to have hundreds of votes on issues of abortion, and a woman's right to choose, and who voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, while not delivering one new job.

If you want a fellow who has no original thoughts, but thinks he can replace Kathy Haigh when he thinks this is his job description: "My job as a legislator is to keep taxes and regulations as low as possible"...then Dan Griffey is your man.

I am thinking that the job of a legislator is to listen to the concerns of constituents, to reduce challenges through legislative action, and to find resources to support our District's success.

Let's return Kathy to Olympia, and lets send Jeff along for a strong team and an articulate voice for Mason County District 35 citizens.

Vote as if your life depended on it my friends, because it does.


Graphic: www.peterpatau.com

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:

Link to KMAS News Voters Guide:
http://masoncountydailynews.com/news/voter-guide-2012

Link to Progressive Voters Guide: 2012 Primary Edition, Mason County
http://progressivevotersguide.com/2012/washington/primary/county/mason/35th

Friday, July 27, 2012

COUNTY HAS NO COMPLIANCE OFFICER!

National Cancer Institute Shows Mason County
Ranking #1
in Washington State for Cancer Incidence

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Terri Thompson
Mason County Progressive

I read a letter to the Mason County Commissioners over a month ago, informing them that Mason County has the highest cancer incidence in the State of Washington according to the National Cancer Institute.

I asked that the Mason County Commission consider hiring a full time Compliance Officer, or two, independent of grant monies so the job would be consistent and on-going, and not one that would go away when the grant ran out. The job description would be comprehensive to cover all areas of the County, and not just shorelines. I am now making this information public.

The National Cancer Institutes's Washington State cancer profiles were just redone, taking new information from
Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results
(SEER) in Nov., 2011, and from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Jan,. 2012. Mason County is still #1 in the state for cancer incidence, but we are now also #1 for kidney cancer incidence; #2 for lung/bronchus, breast, and thyroid cancer incidence; #4 for pancreatic, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder, and liver cancer incidence; #5 for ovarian cancer and leukemia incidence; and #7 for colon, melanoma, and stomach cancer incidence.

These are devastating statistics! Yes, personal life choices do cause cancer (smoking, poor eating, etc.), and heredity may also be a factor, but the environment factors, including the water we drink and air we breathe, are cancer causing as well. Mason County has too huge a problem with cancer incidence to ignore the environment causes.

I have spent the last two years of my life reading reports and investigations regarding many sites and locations within Mason County. I have found potential cancer causing chemicals in the ground water; which is water in the aquifers that is our drinking water. I have researched hazardous sites where monitoring may be completed and the tests exceed maximum contaminate limits, according to the Clean Water Act, without enforcement.

Since we lack an Environmental Compliance Officer in Mason County, we have no assurance that our drinking water is as clear and clean as it looks. A Compliance Officer would test not only for chemicals and bacteria presently required by the state for public water systems, but also for all other cancer causing chemicals and agents; especially with Mason County’s high cancer incidence.


Mason County Department of Health is the accountable, responsible party for all biosolid and solid waste issues in Mason County, according to the Dept. of Ecology (DOE). The DOE stated that they only deal with permitting issues. Vicki Kirkpatrick, with the Mason County Health Department, recently communicated with
Dr. Diana Yu, the Mason County Health Officer, regarding the National Cancer Institute findings, and asked her to look into Mason County's cancers for a Board of Health presentation/discussion.

My question is: How can Dr. Yu give an educated answer to Mason County’s high cancer incidences when she does not have the complete history of contaminated sites, their locations, the susceptibility of the land and aquifers, including a map of the CARAs (Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas) to really know what may be spilled on the soil that could be in the drinking water?


We have not had an Environmental Compliance Officer in years. The job would entail ensuring permitting for only allowable businesses upon a critical recharge area, making sure that sampling is complete and up to date, and that hazardous sites are regularly monitored and they are compliant. They would theorize and plot present toxic movement directionally, and give home owners on private wells a heads up that they should have their wells tested for certain chemicals.

There are state rules about testing public water systems, but not private wells. Many private wells go untested, and if the water remains clear, the has no idea what may be in their water. They would also make sure that businesses and the public comply with State and Federal laws, and enforce them with penalty. Isn’t this the only way that we can have confidence that the citizens and water are being protected and are not the possible cause of cancer?

Years of pouring dioxin ash and all types of garbage including septage in unlined landfills, over Class 1 aquifers, has been basically forgotten. Every time it rains, chemicals may be recharging the aquifer. Goose Lake, a Superfund clean-up site over a shallow aquifer, is still contaminated with no clean-up started.

The Port has chromium and other industrial chemical issues, and has several sites that are paved over since there are so much contaminated soils still in the ground. Years of heavy military and industrial usage of our lands over the shallow aquifers makes me very concerned, since we have no Compliance Officer enforcement. It is like running the County without a police force enforcing the laws: imagine the chaos and misconduct. The same is true for the environmental laws: we need enforcement to protect from misconduct and environmental chaos. Presently, we have no enforcement whatsoever!


The Board of Health completed a health study this year that showed Mason County ranks 35th out of 39 counties in Washington State in overall health. I researched that study and discovered that only 4% of the weight of the study had anything to do with the environment, and was based on estimated bad air days. We need to start looking at more than 4% of "estimated" numbers. We want to see 100% of the ‘real’ numbers and find out why the high number of cancer incidence.


Our beautiful County is dumped on by other counties. I hope our community can come together and ask for better things. Let’s make Mason County a model county. We need to become responsible and educated concerning water and aquifers. We need to demand our local government and permitting agencies put clean drinking water as a priority on their list, including hiring a compliance officer. This may mean working together for Federal and State funding to clean up many of our contaminated sites. Let’s make sure there is plenty of pure clean, drinking water for future generations. If we work together, we could expect this to be a place for future generations and clean businesses to live and flourish together.


If you would like to be actively involved in working on this issue, email me at
mwtat@hctc.com.

Also, please let your government officials know that you support a full time Compliance Officer to try to identify contaminating sources.


We need to get rid of our title of Number One in the State for Cancer! We may not be able to afford it right now, but we may not afford not to.


Visit:
http://www.ewg.org/tapwater/whatsinyourwater/WA/CityofShelton/5378170/

And:
http://oaspub.epa.gov/enviro/sdw_report_v2.first_table?pws_id=WA5378170&state=WA&source=Groundwater&population=10122&sys_num=0

Graphic: www.petpalstv.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

WEEK OF 7/23/12 MEETINGS IN REVIEW

TOM'S TALES FOR THE WEEK

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

Monday, July 23, 2012

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

For the second time in as many months, Commissioner Sheldon suggested tying salaries of elected officials to that of a Superior Court Judge, proportionately. I reported on the improbability of this in a prior post, likening the relationship to half a bucket of rocks being compared to a pound of steak. After hearing the idea proposed a second time, I have come to feel that I may have inadvertently maligned the character of rocks.

Tom Moore, the recently enriched Deputy Director of Public Works/Utilities and Waste Management, announced a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of the Belfair Wastewater Project set at 8:00 AM, July 30th, which also happens to be Commissioner Lynda Ring-Erickson’s birthday. A breakfast potluck was planned, but after some discussion it was decided the two events were incompatible. Commissioner Ring-Erickson breathed a sigh of relief, saying “A sewer ceremony, just what every girl wants on her birthday.”

And here I thought it was jewelry.

Executive Session - RCW 42.30.110 (1) (i) Potential Litigation


I looked up the referenced RCW and here’s part of what I found:

“The Board may conduct a closed meeting to “discuss with legal counsel representing the agency litigation or potential litigation” by or against the employee. RCW 42.30.110(1)(i). The agency attorney must be present either physically or telephonically. In order to use this provision for a closed meeting, the litigation must be between the agency and the employee, and not for the discussion of some other agency’s potential litigation. Potential litigation must be more than merely speculative. Potential litigation is defined as either “specifically threatened”, or where an agency “reasonably believes” that litigation may be commenced.”
Tim Whitehead, the assistant prosecutor showed up, so I waited in the lobby for the scallywag plaintiff to make an appearance. But with nothing to do, my attention quickly turned to the half-eaten burrito in the glove compartment of my truck, and left my post for a higher calling.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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

As is becoming a habit, the highlight was contained in the public comment period. Led by Mr. Bob Dicks, residents of Lake Nahwatzel once again lined the chamber’s back wall. Mr. Dicks rose to inform the Commissioners of how deeply disappointed residents were at being left out of the process to rezone a section of shoreline from Timberland to Rural Residential (RR-5).

Rumor has it that some 250 acres of waterfront property belonging to Green Diamond Resource Co., will be sold to a developer, and then subdivided into 48 home sites. Mr. Dicks implied that a long-standing relationship with Green Diamond was now a thing of the past; and in a thinly-veiled threat of legal action, promised Commissioners that lake residents would not be excluded from the process.


Great! Just what we need: another lawsuit.


Next week’s BOCC briefing has been cancelled and the regular meeting will be held in Belfair (Homey don’t do Belfair).


FYI: Judging from the agenda, I suspect County Commissioners would like to disappear between now and the primary, as everything they touch seems to turn into something the Belfair Sewer Project was designed to handle. It is fair to say that past misdeeds have come home to roost. And it may just be that people are beginning to realize the effect of public policy decisions favoring special interests, i.e. the recent amendment to the County Comprehensive Plan that allows Green Diamond to do exactly what it is now doing to Lake Nahwatzel residents.


When a concerned citizen tries to raise an alarm before these decisions are made, they are branded as a “chicken little”. Sadly, it is only after the effects of such policies are felt that people start to pay attention, but alas, it is too late.


And it is with that thought in mind, I find the temerity to close with the following:


The Moving Finger writes, and having writ,
Moves on:
Nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line

Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

Omar Khayyam c. 1300
(From Edward Fitzgerald's translation
of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam)


Later…

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:

Link to KMAS News Voters Guide:
http://masoncountydailynews.com/news/voter-guide-2012

Link to Progressive Voters Guide: 2012 Primary Edition, Mason County
http://progressivevotersguide.com/2012/washington/primary/county/mason/35th

TONIGHT:
STATE REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE FORUM

(Positions 1 and 2)
Oakland Bay Junior High School
3301 N. Shelton Spring Road
from 6:00 - 8:00 PM
(Sponsored by MCCC, MCLWV, & Mason Web TV}

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

YOUR VOTE MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

WE NEED A CHANGE
IN
M
ASON COUNTY!

Mason County Progressive
VOTE BY AUGUST 7th!

Link to KMAS News Voters Guide:

http://masoncountydailynews.com/news/voter-guide-2012

Link to Progressive Voters Guide: 2012 Primary Edition, Mason County
http://progressivevotersguide.com/2012/washington/primary/county/mason/35th

STATE REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE FORUM

(Positions 1 and 2)
on
THURSDAY, JULY 26th
from
6:00 - 8:00 PM
at
Oakland Bay Junior High School
3301 N. Shelton Spring Road

(Sponsored by MCCC, MCLWV, & Mason Web TV}

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

DENNIS KUCINICH ON VIOLENCE

Mason County Progressive
Friends,

As we share the grief of the family and friends of the victims in Aurora, it is important to be mindful that each year over 30,000 Americans die from gun violence. This is one of those moments in our national experience when it would be important for all of us to slow down and absorb the impact of a small community of people at a theater, anticipating with excitement the premier of a movie before meeting tragedy. The act is horrific.


There is a level of violence in our society which continues to represent a major social, political and public health challenge. The accounts of violence are so ubiquitous and have become so commonplace, that even the most ghastly events recede in our awareness. We are riveted to aftermaths and consequences of violence, but we have yet to, as a nation, fully explore their origins and roots -- and how to stop these horrific acts from ever happening.

On July 11th, 2001, exactly two months before 9/11, I brought to Congress a broad plan which called forth a new approach to deal with gun violence, gang violence, racial violence, domestic violence, child abuse, spousal abuse, violence in the schools, and violence against gays. The legislation, embodied in HR 808, would create a coordinated, nationwide, systematic approach to dealing with the presence of violence in American society through non-violent conflict resolution, instilled and acted upon through the aegis of a cabinet-level Department of Peace and Non-Violence.

We cannot continue to grope in the dark, hoping to stem a rising tide of violence within our nation through hope or words of consolation alone. We must be resolute in creating a new America, free of the scourge of violence. We must act.

I ask that you contact your member of Congress and ask them to cosponsor HR 808, legislation to form a cabinet level Department of Peace to address violence in our society and create new structures to deal with it directly.

Let us grieve for those whose lives ended or have been irrevocably changed by the shootings in Aurora, Colorado. Then let us act to change our nation.

Go to Kucinich Action and get your Representative involved on this meaningful issue.

With respect,

Dennis Kucinich

Monday, July 23, 2012

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION INCREASING

Excerpt from:
Rate of Climate Change's 'Evil Twin'
Has Scientists Worried

Ocean acidification is moving at a rate faster
than scientists had expected

By Common Dreams Staff

Climate change's "evil twin" -- ocean acidification -- has been increasing at a rate unexpected by scientists, says Dr. Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Lubchenco told he Associated Press that surface waters, where excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has been concentrating, "are changing much more rapidly than initial calculations have suggested." She warns, "It's yet another reason to be very seriously concerned about the amount of carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere now and the additional amount we continue to put out."

Lubchenco made the comments while at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in the Australian city of Cairns, where thousands of scientists are meeting and calling for action to save the world's coral reefs.

"The carbon dioxide that we have put in the atmosphere will continue to be absorbed by oceans for decades," Lubchenco added. "It is going to be a long time before we can stabilize and turn around the direction of change simply because it's a big atmosphere and it's a big ocean."

A study published in March in the journal Science found that the Earth's oceans are becoming more acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the past 300 million years due to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

At the conference, scientists warned of the urgency to act on climate change.

"There is a window of opportunity for the world to act on climate change, but it is closing rapidly," said Terry Hughes, convener of the symposium.

Jeremy Jackson, senior scientist at the Smithsonian Institution in the United States, says that while climate change is bringing ocean acidification, it is also causing droughts and sea rise, so "what's good for reefs is also critically important for people and we should wake up to that fact," he said. "The future of coral reefs isn't a marine version of tree-hugging but a central problem for humanity."

International Society for Reef Studies president Robert Richmond urges immediate action to save the earth.

"The scientific community has an enormous amount of research showing we have a problem. But right now, we are like doctors diagnosing a patient's disease, but not prescribing any effective cures," he said.

"We have to start more actively engaging the process and supporting public officials with real-world prescriptions for success."

Link to complete article:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/07/09

CORAL REEFS AT RISK

For more information: www.wri.org/reefs

Sunday, July 22, 2012

AT WHAT COST TO MASON COUNTY?

CAN TAXPAYERS AFFORD ANOTHER TERM
FOR COMMISSIONER/SENATOR SHELDON?


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price Mason County Progressive

Commissioner Tim Sheldon draws a very generous taxpayer salary as a member of the Mason County Board of Commissioners, it is something in the neighborhood of $76,000 in wages, plus benefits we associate with public sector workers.

Senator Tim Sheldon draws a slightly less generous taxpayer salary as a member of the Washington State Senate, it is something in the neighborhood of $42,000, and again, has benefits we associate with public sector workers.

Without benefits, without per diem, without mileage, and without whatever else the legislators have voted to reimburse themselves for, Commissioner/Senator Sheldon's base compensation from you and me (Jane Doe Citizen and John Doe Citizen), is $118,000.

In addition to salary and benefits, Senator Sheldon, in his capacity as Commissioner Sheldon, recently cost you and me (Jane Doe Citizen and John Doe Citizen) $114,000 for the settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit brought against the Commissioners and the County.

However, we ought to only credit him for one-half of that settlement; the other one-half, or $57,000, should be credited to his partner in incompetence, Board of County Commission member Lynda Ring Erickson. Even with only half of this settlement added to Tim's base compensation, we are now up to $175,000 that Tim Sheldon cost the taxpayers this year.


But the cost of a lawsuit is not just the $114,000 paid to the plaintiff. There is the cost of our prosecuting attorney's office. This office is tasked with having to defend each and every lawsuit brought against our illustrious Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) .

And there have been more lawsuits than this one, many more... and at the candidate forum last Wednesday, July 18th, Tim Sheldon, himself, informed us citizens of yet another lawsuit against him and "us". He said that this lawsuit was against him, and his wife, and "you".


Yes, citizens, there is another lawsuit pending against Tim, and against "us". Yet another lawsuit only because we keep electing Tim to be our representative.

Tim is really angry about this
latest lawsuit. He actually spit a little he was so mad when telling us about it at the forum (long after his time for answering a question had run out). It was a display worthy of a petulant child who has forgotten for a moment that he is both a commissioner and a senator.

What is this lawsuit that has our Tim spitting mad? This one is apparently for "wrongful termination", and was filed by one of the candidates running against Commissioner Sheldon for his seat on the BOCC, namely, Mark Core. Wow, only in Mason County!


I don't know if the Core lawsuit has legs, it probably does; and whether it does or not, it will cost the taxpayers something.

We know what Lynda Ring Erickson's role was in the age discrimination lawsuit. and I am sure she played a part in the lawsuit brought by Mark Core.

Speaking of Mark Core, I am thinking I do not want to vote for anyone who is involved in a lawsuit against my County and me, whether deserved or not. If Mark Core wants to resolve this lawsuit and then seek a seat on the Commission, well and good. Once all of the facts are known, we can evaluate whether his experience at the County, which is not negligible, trumps the fact that he sued "us"!

I do not doubt for a minute that Tim was seeking just such a reaction from citizens when he "appeared" to lose his cool to such an extent - how better to be sure we all remember it than to appear to be that petulant child.

However, I am of the opinion that there is an inherent conflict of interest in being a plaintiff against the very body that you would work for. Tim, no doubt, was hoping that someone would bring this up. Happy Tim? I agree with you. There is a terrible conflict in Mark Core suing the Board of County Commissioners and running for the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). And while Tim Sheldon no doubt hoped that we would become indignant as citizens and stop our thought processes here, I feel the need to point out the obvious:

This lawsuit means that Tim and Lynda are at it again. They likely got rid of an annoying County employee who saw too much, who knew too much, and who probably asked too many questions of the BOCC, with whom he worked for years. While Jane Doe Citizen and John Doe Citizen can go through their lifetime without anyone filing a lawsuit against them, Tim and Lynda can only go months.

As Mason County voters, we pay two very generous salaries to our Commissioner/Senator Tim Sheldon, I suggest we take this opportunity to divest him of one of his public sector jobs and replace him with the experienced, level headed Roslynne Reed. Roslynne Reed has promised to make the full time job of County Commissioner for District 2 her full time job. Tim never has, and with his other job, he never can.

And as for elevating Lynda Ring Erickson from Mason County Commissioner to the Legislative seat being vacated by Fred Finn: Mason County, are we mad as hatters? I sure hope not. Lynda Ring Erickson deserves a rest. Let's see that she gets it. Vote Jeff Davis. Fred Finn will be hard to replace, but Jeff Davis will serve us well if elected.

Such an important primary, the first two go forward. Ballots have gone out on July 20th, and lots of folks vote the week after getting the ballots.

Talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends, consider the truth that these commissioners, Lynda Ring Erickson and Tim Sheldon, have cost the Mason County taxpayer enough. Retire these commissioners and hire some forward-thinking candidates. The future is uncertain and our leaders in the coming years are going to have to be imaginative and innovative.

Use wisely your power of choice, Mason County...please use wisely your power of choice.

Graphic: www.123rf.com

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:

Link to KMAS News Voters Guide:
http://masoncountydailynews.com/news/voter-guide-2012

Link to Progressive Voters Guide: 2012 Primary Edition, Mason County
http://progressivevotersguide.com/2012/washington/primary/county/mason/35th

STATE REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE FORUM

(Positions 1 and 2)
on
THURSDAY, JULY 26th
from
6:00 - 8:00 PM
at
Oakland Bay Junior High School
3301 N. Shelton Spring Road

(Sponsored by MCCC, MCLWV, & Mason Web TV}

USA GUN LAWS WRITTEN BY GUN LOBBY

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond Mason Count Progressive

Excerpt from:
The Gag Rule on Guns
By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

For all the dysfunction in our political system, a healthy pattern usually takes hold when a terrible tragedy seizes the nation’s attention.

Normally, we engage in a searching conversation over what rational steps can be taken by individuals, communities and various levels of government to make the recurrence of a comparable tragedy less likely. Sometimes we act, sometimes we don’t, but at least we explore sensible solutions.

Unless the tragedy involves guns. Then our whole public reasoning process goes haywire. Anyone who dares to say that an event such as the massacre at a Colorado movie theater early Friday morning demands that we rethink our approach to the regulation of firearms is accused of “exploiting” the deaths of innocent people.

This is part of the gun lobby’s rote response, and the rest of us allow it to work every time. Their goal is to block any conversation about how our nation’s gun laws, the most permissive in the industrialized world, increase the likelihood of mass killings of this sort.

First, the gun lobby goes straight to the exploitation argument—which is, of course, a big lie. You can see this because we never allow an assertion of this kind to stop conversation on other issues.

Nobody who points to the inadequacy of our flood-control policies or mistakes by the Army Corps of Engineers is accused of “exploiting” the victims of a deluge. Nobody who criticizes a botched response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to a natural disaster is accused of “exploiting” the victims of a hurricane or a tornado. Nobody who lays part of the blame for an accident on insufficient regulation of, say, the airlines or coal mining is accused of “exploiting” the accident’s victims.

No, it’s only where a gun massacre is concerned that an absolute and total gag rule is imposed on any thinking beyond the immediate circumstances of the catastrophe. God forbid that we question even a single tenet of the theology of firearms.

The lobby then goes to its backup moves. The problem, it insists, lies in the failure to enforce existing laws—conveniently ignoring that the NRA’s whole purpose is to weaken the gun statutes we already have.

The worshipers of weapons also lay heavy stress on the psychological disabilities of the killer in a particular incident to create a sense of futility and resignation. Crazy people, they say, will do crazy things, and there is nothing we can do about this. Never mind that more rational laws would help keep guns out of the hands of people with a history of mental illness. Never mind that it’s harder to get a license to drive a car than it is to own a gun. Never mind that even a Supreme Court ruling that gave an expansive reading of the Second Amendment nonetheless acknowledged the right of the people through their legislatures and Congress to enact sensible gun regulations.

Oh, yes, and then there is their trump card: We’d all be safer, says the gun lobby, if every last one of us owned a gun.

Why is there so little pushback against assertions that are so transparently designed to prevent rather than promote dialogue? The answer lies in a profound timidity on the part of politicians in both parties. The Republicans are allied with the gun lobby and the Democrats are intimidated.

Sure, there are some dissenters. Many of the nation’s mayors, led by Mike Bloomberg of New York and Tom Menino of Boston, have tried to organize a push for carefully tailored laws aimed at keeping guns out of the wrong hands. But they are the exceptions. President Obama has done little to challenge the NRA, and yet it attacks him anyway.

There are many reasons for this politics of timidity, not the least being a United States Senate that vastly overrepresents rural voters relative to suburban and urban voters. (The Electoral College overrepresents rural voters, too.) Add to this a Republican Party that will bow low before any anti-government argument that comes along, and a Democratic Party petrified of losing more rural support—and without any confidence that advocates of tougher gun laws will cast ballots on the basis of this issue.

So let’s ask ourselves: Aren’t we all in danger of being complicit in throwing up our hands and allowing the gun lobby to write our gun laws? Awful things happen, we mourn them, and then we shrug. And that’s why they keep happening.

Link to complete article:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_gag_rule_on_guns_20120720

Saturday, July 21, 2012

VOTERS! TAKE BACK CONTROL!

We Need Commissioners Who Will Work for Citizens

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Annette McGee Mason County Progressive

It is time that we, the voters, take back the control of our Mason County government.

Responsibility, integrity, honesty, common sense, and full time working County Commissioners that truly represent the citizens are what we need to vote for.

We have had eight years of dishonest or no answers to many questions, reckless spending of our tax dollars, and very little leadership by two commissioners that spend much of the working day away from their office. They have turned their duties over to others and not bothered to answer all phone calls or letters. It appears that they think they are better than others and above the law when they choose not to attend a required meeting on age discrimination, not calling for bids, choosing not to listen to the taxpayer' concerns, spending more money than the County has budgeted in revenues in some years, and other undesirable representation. It seems that they spend much of their time feathering their own nest.

The fights that have gone on between Commissioner Tim Sheldon and Commissioner Lynda Ring Erickson, instead of working for the residents of Mason County, have been almost comical, except it is sad, because it hurts the County as a whole. We have heard too many times, "He said, She said or She said, He said". It almost sounds like kindergartners tattling on each other.

Speaking of age discrimination, the above two Commissioners were caught in an age discrimination lawsuit that was settled in favor of a longtime employee that they fired. Consequently, this cost the taxpayers many dollars, due to stupidity on their part.

These same two Commissioners seem to find a way to increase their own salaries every year, even though they have caused over sixty employees to be laid off, and have not allocated enough money to the Sheriff's budget for public safety, criminal investigations and patrol. They will tell you that they have increased the Sheriff's operations, but ask him the truth.

These same two Commissioners blame staff, other elected officials, or the economy for the problems that they have created.

Another item of interest is that it is a known fact that there have been more lawsuits filed against the County during their tenure in office than in past terms, due to their actions. Some have been settled and some are pending. The most recent one is in regard to bid laws.

They are also the reason that we are in jeopardy of losing our County Fair because they cancelled the fairground's contract four years early and have done nothing to work toward another location, in spite of the law that says County Commissioners are responsible to hold county fairs. Mason County has had a fair for over one hundred years.

Do we want this kind of representation representing us? Please consider your options when voting this year. Let us vote for someone with common sense and who is honest. We need commissioners that will work for the citizens and will serve full time.

It is too bad that we will not see Commissioner Steve Bloomfield's name on the ballot. He is a responsible hard worker who tries to listen to the citizens before making decisions.

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:

Link to KMAS News Voters Guide:
http://masoncountydailynews.com/news/voter-guide-2012

Link to Progressive Voters Guide: 2012 Primary Edition, Mason County
http://progressivevotersguide.com/2012/washington/primary/county/mason/

ANOTHER TRAGIC USA MASS SHOOTING

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond Mason County Progressive

Excerpts from:
After Colorado Massacre, Calls for Urgent Gun Reform
By Common Dreams staff

A heavily armed gunman opened fire in a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, early Friday, killing 12 people and injuring at least 38 more (updated count: 59 w/23 hospitalized, 11 in critical condition) including children. Victims' accounts of the horrific events have filled the airwaves; however, today's incident has also brought out many voices pleading for greater gun reform in the United States.

The shooter burst through the exit door at the bottom of a Denver area movie theater during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises". In a bullet proof vest and armed with several weapons, the shooter threw a tear gas canister into the auditorium before opening fire.

Police arrested the suspect outside of the theater who told them he also had explosives in his car and apartment. Police have not found any explosives in the vehicle but reported that the suspect's apartment does appear to be rigged with explosives.

Police have now identified the suspect as James Holmes, 24, of Aurora.

Some suggest "this is not the time" to debate gun violence issues; however, writing for the Guardian, Gary Younge, instead, insists today,
At least 12 people have died. Their families must be given space to mourn, and that space should be respected. But it does not honor the dead to insist that there must be no room in that space for rational thought and critical appraisal. Indeed, such situations demand both.
For one can only account for so many "isolated" incidents before it becomes necessary to start dealing with a pattern. It is simply not plausible to understand events in Colorado this Friday without having a conversation about guns in a country where more than 84 people a day are killed with guns, and more than twice that number are injured with them...
The trite insistence that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" simply avoids the reality that people can kill people much more easily with guns than anything else that's accessible. Americans understand this. That's why a plurality supports greater gun control, and a majority thinks the sale of firearms should be more tightly regulated...
The gun lobby has proved sufficiently potent in rallying opposition to virtually all gun control measures that Democrats have all but given up on arguing for it. In the meantime, the country is literally and metaphorically dying for it. . .
In response to the Virginia Tech shooting not so long ago, a board member of Small Arms Survey, Moser-Puangsuwan had stated: “Other Western countries like Australia and the UK have one mass shooting, then institute policies on guns and don’t have a repeat. In the U.S., it happens again and again.”

Today Moser-Puangsuwan continued: 'It’s tragic that my comment remains true and this has happened — yet again.'"

Link to complete article:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/07/20

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:

Link to Mayors Against Illegal Guns "Stand With Aurora" Petition:

http://signon.org/sign/stand-with-the-aurora?source=s.fwd&r_by=3706498

Friday, July 20, 2012

TIME FOR A CHANGE, MASON COUNTY?

How Many Lawsuits Does it Take to Unseat Tim Sheldon?

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price Mason County Progressive

The Shelton-Mason County Journal informs us (July 19, 2012 issue) that our Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) or the "Tim and Lynda Show", if you prefer, has once again attracted a lawsuit by citizens, this time for their failure to follow the law in granting contracts.

The Journal reports that this latest lawsuit, brought by a nonprofit group calling itself "Advocates for Responsible Government", alleges that Mason County failed to comply with requirements of state law in connection with granting a contract for long haul and disposal of solid waste. Here we go again: Our Commissioners have embroiled the County in still another lawsuit which the County is likely to lose.

In support of this statement, and rather than trying to type a page and a half of text, I refer my gentle reader to RCW 36.58.090 (just Google that), which sets forth a number of steps our Commission MUST take prior to entering into contracts. By a review of Tom Davis' fine reporting on this blog about how this contract went down (Week of 6/25/23 Meetings in Review), our Commissioners (not for the first time) missed the steps which precede the granting of a contract and went straight to granting the contract.

This lawsuit is being heard in Grays Harbor County, and the plaintiff's attorney, Wayne Hagen, is a very competent and capable attorney (his nick name as a child was "Tiger").

Included in the text of RCW 36.58.090 are a couple of lines that spoke to the statutes' intent:

"...to be fair and reasonable and in the best interest of the county."

and

"... that it is in the public interest to enter into the contract, that the contract is financially sound, and that it is advantageous for the county..."

I cannot argue the merits of this lawsuit, but I suspect it has some. On the other hand, I really like it when I can find statutory language that includes the citizen, and the citizens' interests. As Rachel Maddow loves the word "infrastructure", I love the phrase "public interest".

Such a quaint phrase, no doubt to be someday removed altogether from the statutes, as citizens rights are reduced and revoked, and corporate rights are elevated and made grand! God, to be a corporation... but I digress terribly.

What about this latest lawsuit? Should we be worried as taxpayers?

Heck yes! Even a "nuisance" lawsuit gets money thrown at it to make it "go away".

We must stop the flow of blood from our County coffers, and from increased insurance rates charged to our County because the BOCC has become a lawsuit magnet. It is the BOCC who embroils our County in these lawsuits, not the citizens. Logically, to stop these lawsuits, we should replace the current Commissioners with commissioners whose interests are aligned with those of the citizens.

We, the people, pay a lot more in taxes than our local businesses do. Why is our interest last in discussions concerning the direction of our County?

It's time for a change, Mason County!

When have three seats on the Mason County Commission been up before?

We really do have candidates who will put citizen interest first, their names are Roslynne Reed and Denny Hamilton. With Lynda and Tim no longer on the BOCC, this County can move forward without the weight of lawsuits dragging us backward. But a change in leadership is required if we are to move forward. Status quo is killing our County, and these lawsuits drain our County's resources unnecessarily.

Vote Denny Hamilton and Roslynne Reed for forward-looking, solution-based Commissioners, whose interests are aligned with the citizens, and who see the citizens as partners rather than pests.

Use wisely your power of choice, please!

Photo: www.insidearm.com

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:

Link to previously related article:
http://masoncountyprogressive.blogspot.com/2012/06/week-of-62512-meetings-in-review.html

Link to KMAS News Voters Guide:
http://masoncountydailynews.com/news/voter-guide-2012

Link to Progressive Voters Guide: 2012 Primary Edition, Mason County
http://progressivevotersguide.com/2012/washington/primary/county/mason/