Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Columnist slams Bush administration for failure

Walter Williams, a guest columnist in today's Seattle P-I, blasts the Bush administration for its terrible failure of leadership during the past four years. He begins with a strong thesis stating the extent of this administration's failure:
During his first term, George W. Bush has inflicted more damage on the nation's people than any other president in the post-World War II era. Not only has the Bush administration failed, it has been far and away the most dangerous presidency in this period.
Williams is adept at comparing Bush to a CEO whose primary concern is to sell a product rather than ensure customer satisfaction:
Lawless behavior won the day, with the [Medicare] legislation acclaimed as a great triumph for the president. Deception became the administration's primary weapon.
Williams rightly asserts that the administration failed to pay attention to more dangerous threats than Iraq - particularly al Qaeda, North Korea, and Iran.
Invading Iraq was a questionable call from the beginning because that country had become a mere shell after the Gulf War. In contrast, North Korea and Iran, the other two members of the president's "axis of evil," posed much greater nuclear threats. Even more incomprehensibly, the administration turned its attention away from Afghanistan before capturing Osama bin Laden, the architect of 9/11.
Read Williams' full column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Focus.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Washington Defense relaunched

The Northwest Progressive Institute today launched the second incarnation of Washington Defense, a website which will serve to fight against Initiative 872 and the "Top Two" primary system the Washington State Grange and its allies are promoting.

NPI believes the "top two" system should not replace our brand new primary system, which gives voters much more choice on their general election ballot.

NPI noted an Olympian news story that reported, "A poll by Seattle-based Evans/McDonough shows that only 20 percent of voters support I-872 once they learn it could hurt minor parties and would place two candidates from the same party on the ballot in some elections."

To learn more about why Initiative 872 should be defeated, visit Washington Defense. The site includes several sections, including Reasons to Oppose Initiative 872 and Essays: Our Arguments.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

NPI releases 2004 primary endorsements

The Northwest Progressive Institute and Permanent Defense have made their endorsements this year for the primary ballot.

For fellow Democrats:
Governor: RON SIMS
Attorney General: MARK SIDRAN
Lieutenant Governor: BRAD OWEN (unopposed)
Secretary of State: LAURA RUDERMAN (unopposed)
State Auditor: BRIAN SONNTAG (unopposed)
State Treasurer: MICHAEL MURPHY (unopposed)
Commissioner of Public Lands: MIKE COOPER (unopposed)
Insurance Commissioner: MIKE KREIDLER (unopposed)

For Republicans:
Governor: DINO ROSSI
Attorney General: MIKE VASKA
Lieutenant Governor: JIM NOBLES
Secretary of State: SAM REED (unopposed)
State Auditor: NO ENDORSEMENT
State Treasurer: NO ENDORSEMENT
Commissioner of Public Lands: DOUG SUTHERLAND
Insurance Commissioner: JOHN ADAMS

And, for nonpartisan races:

Supreme Court, Position 1: ALSDORF
Supreme Court, Position 5: MADSEN
Supreme Court, Position 6: SANDERS
Superintendent of Public Instruction: BERGESON or BILLINGS

Finally, vote YES for the Families & Education Levy (Seattle) and YES on the King County Library bond measure.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

PDC slams Republican attack group

KING-5 owner Belo voluntarily pulls the anti-Senn advertisements from airwaves

The Public Disclosure Commission today slammed a Republican attack group led by Bruce Boram styling itself the "Voters Education Committee" with a unanimous decision asking the Attorney General to hit the group with fines for failing to comply with an order to file public dislosure records by Thursday, September 9th.

The "Voters Education Committee" has been running harshly critical ads of Democratic Attorney General candidate Deborah Senn. The committee has already outspent both of the Democratic candidates for Attorney General combined - airing negative advertisements about just one of the candidates - Deborah Senn.

An excerpt from KOMO TV's article on the PDC meeting:
"It (the Voters Education Committee) does not believe it's required to register under state law and it does not believe its advertisement attacks Deborah Senn's character," says John White, Bruce Boram's attorney.

Every PDC member balked at that. They unanimously voted the advertisement is a political ad that attacks Senn's character.
Bruce Boram and his friends can say all they want about what they think the law is. They are disobeying and outright disregarding state law just as Tim Eyman does. They are not in compliance with the PDC.

The PDC is now asking the Attorney General to go to Superior Court and seek an injunction against the "Voters Education Committtee" to force the disclosure of the committee's financial backers.

Already one media company has decided to stop allowing the smear campaign to permeate through its airwaves. Belo, Inc., which owns KING-5, has pulled the advertisements. Its competitors, Fisher (KOMO), and Entercom, (KIRO), would be wise to follow suit. Voters don't need to hear this garbage from a committee that won't even disclose its financial backers to the public. They claim it somehow has nothing do do with the election - less than a week before the primary.

We disagree completely - and so does the PDC.

This has everything to do with the election, and Bruce Boram and his attorney know it. The Republicans need to stop their dirty tricks - now. They have brought negative campaigning in this state to a new low. The heavyweights backing this slew of negative advertisements are apparently so uncomfortable with revealing their involvement that they have chosen to disregard public disclosure law.

The PDC has rightly acted in its capacity to enforce the public disclosure law. Now, the Voters Education Committee will comply the law, or it will find itself in deeper trouble than it already is. And Bruce Boram could find himself out of a job.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Republican shadow group blasts Senn in attack ads

Group refuses to disclose finances, P-I calls ads "cowardly" in new editorial

This week an “anonymous”, “independent” committee stepped into the Democratic primary for attorney-general by launching a million dollar media campaign attacking the front-runner, Deborah Senn.

This shadowy group is filled with ties to the Republican Party: its executive director, Bruce Boram, works for the Dave Reichert campaign (for 8th District).

With an astounding total media buy of $1,170,000 during the final two weeks of the campaign, the VEC will outspend the four Democratic and GOP candidates combined.

This is not only ridiculous, but it is an outright violation of Washington's public disclosure law. Boram and his other cohorts on the "committee" say they do not have to register and file with the PDC.

But the PDC today said the ads are clearly political advertising, and promises to take action against the "Voters Education Committee" for not registering as a PAC.

The P-I slammed the group and its attack ads, saying:
Questioned by P-I Capitol correspondent Chris McGann, Boram made the brazenly disingenuous claim that buying hundreds of thousands of dollars in attack ads within 10 days of the primary "has nothing to do with the election."

It's a dodge -- a way to avoid reporting expenditures and contributors to the state Public Disclosure Commission. "This is just trying to highlight an issue," Boram said. "... It's not political."

Horsefeathers.
Read the full editorial from the Seattle P-I.

The PDC should pursue enforcement action against this rogue group that is clearly violating Washington's public disclosure law.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Kerry blasts Bush, GOP

President Bush's speech ended the Republican National Convention on Thursday, without much of any agenda for the next four years outlined.

It seemed all the President could do was drag his speech on and on about bringing freedom to the Iraqis. It's not the spreading of democracy that is troubling. What is troubling and disheartening is that this administration, from day one, set its sights on Iraq. They said there were weapons of mass destruction over and over, we haven't found any. The cost is staggering, and coupled with trillions in tax cuts for the wealthy, America is now deep in red ink.

The convention, the nastiest in American history, was several days of barbaric attacks on John Kerry, his record of service and his character.

And, as the Center for American Progress reports, Dick Cheney set the negative tone:
In a 2,800-word speech, Cheney devoted just 50 words of his speech to health care, 92 to the economy and 102 to education. There was no mention of energy policy, trade or the environment. Even Iraq, undoubtedly the focus of Cheney's term in office, merited just 34 words. Number of words Cheney devoted to personally attacking and distorting the record of John Kerry: 671.
Along with Zell Miller, Rudy Guiliani, and other speakers, a slew of taunts, attacks, and distortions was directed at John Kerry and John Edwards.

But Democrats won't be taking that kind of garbage any more. The following excerpts were released by the Kerry-Edwards campaign as Kerry prepares to speak to a rally in Springfield.
The election comes down to this. If you believe this country is heading in the right direction, you should support George Bush. But if you believe America needs to move in a new direction, join with us. John and I offer a better plan that will make us stronger at home and more respected in the world. And we need your help to do that.

For three days in New York, instead of talking about jobs and the economy, we heard anger and insults from the Republicans. And I'll tell you why. It's because they can't talk about the real issues facing Americans. They can't talk about their record because it's a record of failure.

We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief. Well, here's my answer. I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.

The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.

Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without health care makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America.

And we have a specific plan to do just that. So tomorrow morning, John and Elizabeth and Teresa and I are hitting the road across America's heartland. From here, we'll go out and talk with Americans in towns across Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. And because a stronger America begins at home, we'll talk about our plan to create jobs, cut taxes for the middle class, lower health care costs, and make America safer and more secure.
The level of these attacks has only redoubled our support of the Kerry-Edwards campaign. The tired old negative politics of the past will backfire on the Republicans. We will not allow slime attacks to slow us down.

In fact, we will simply rededicate ourselves to the cause with even more energy and vigor than before. We will fight to the finish. Because America cannot take another four years of this garbage that is a complete failure of leadership.

Onwards to victory and triumph in the struggle to take America forward.

Mission NOT Accomplished

The Democratic National Committee has set up a website, Mission NOT Accomplished, which highlights the failures and massive shortcomings of the Bush administration.

The introduction:
At his convention four years ago, George W. Bush said he would be a compassionate conservative. But he shifted the tax burden to the middle class, made it harder for kids to get school lunches, and last week cut out overtime pay for millions of the hardest working Americans.
Nothing rings more true than this statement. Find out more about Mission NOT Accomplished here.

Responding to the overly negative rhetoric of the convention, including the traitor, Zell Miller, and Vice President Cheney, Democrats Tom Vilsack and John Street said the following:
"Are Americans going to react to a message of fear or respond to a message of hope?" said Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who joined Democratic Chairman Terry McAuliffe and a half-dozen Democratic mayors in the closing session of the party's rapid response effort.

"Delegates love this kind of stuff, but when this settles down and we get past Labor Day, I think this convention will prove to be a big mistake," said Philadelphia Mayor John Street. "People out in the country's neighborhoods want to know what you have to offer us."
Democrats know and understand that relentless negative attacks anger many Americans who aren't interested in the "dirty, tired old negative politics" of the past.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Republican noise machine on full spin

Cheney, Miller, Romney focus on Kerry-bashing instead of their own record

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN- Without much of a record to run on, Wednesday night's lineup of speakers were focused heavily on Kerry-bashing. Dick Cheney made it the highlight of his speech, zipping barbs at Kerry and taunting him on his years of public service. Zell Miller, the traitor who has abandoned his own party, also seemed to revel in attacking Kerry - and his own party. Among his remarks:
And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on Terror.

Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security but Americans need to know the facts.
But that wasn't enough for Zig Zag Zell:
I could go on and on and on: Against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel, Against the Aegis air-defense cruiser, Against the Strategic Defense Initiative, Against the Trident missile, against, against, against.

This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces? U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs? Twenty years of votes can tell you much more about a man than twenty weeks of campaign rhetoric.
Traitors have a long reputation for being disliked in the United States: from Benedict Arnold on down.

Miller's comments are disgusting and disturbing. Zell does not have the priviledge to call himself a Democrat. He is clearly a right-wing Republican, speaking at an extremist Republican convention and unloading criticism on his opponents. Zell is not a Democrat, he cannot claim to be one, and in this speech, he has destroyed whatever shards of credibility he had remaining within the Party. Democrats don't like traitors and liars - especially traitors like Zig Zag Zell Miller.

Miller has waffled on pretty much every issue. It's hard to believe what he says because he seems willing to change his position whenever it's convenient for him.

The Center For American Progress has an excellent backgrounder on the history of Zig Zag Zell Miller, his voting record, and why his criticism of John Kerry is ironic and awkward.

Even Jimmy Carter says Miller is a traitor.

"Former President Jimmy Carter says the appointment of Georgia's Zell Miller to the Senate was a mistake because his fellow ex-governor 'betrayed all the basic principles that I thought he and I and others shared,' the former president first said. 'I would rather not even comment about Zell Miller on the radio,' then proceeded to call the appointment 'one of the worst mistakes' then-Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes made in his four years in office." [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 12/11/03]

As for Vice President Cheney, who has always been eager and willing to attack somebody else, (rather than talk about his own record) his speech was filled with lies and hypocrisy - and lots of criticism of John Kerry.

Since Swift Boat Veterans for Bush is already trying to undermine Kerry's credibility on his service in Vietnam, Cheney skipped right over that and proceeded to complain and whine about all the "flip-flopping" that John Kerry has done, again taking votes out of context, as Zig Zag Zell did.

John Kerry's record in public services is outstanding and admirable. Kerry has championed environmental causes, dug into the roots of terrorist financing, and worked with John McCain on veterans' issues.

The Republican Noise Machine is now on full spin. And the dirty cycle has been thrown into gear with Swift Boat Veterans for Bush and other Karl Rove-backed operations. All while Republicans try to portray themselves as compassionate, freedom-loving, and respectful of values- all things the Republicans are not.

It is time for progressive Americans to stand up and fight against this tyranny: it is time to restore real leadership to the White House and aid the disenfranchised in this country. It is time to elect John Kerry and John Edwards to the White House.