Category Archives: News

The Verdict in the Rachel Corrie Wrongful Death Suit is Next Week

 Verdict in Rachel Corrie Lawsuit to be Announced August 28th – Family to Hold Press Conference in Haifa

This is a big deal in Olympia because so many of us are connected to the Corrie family.  You are not forgotten, RachelRachel was a well-known Oly activist.  She was loved, she is missed.  Rachel’s death in the occupied territories of Palestine welded the communities of Olympia and Rafah together

 

The verdict will be announced on the 28th in Haifa.  On Wednesday, Aug 29th, we will have a video conference call with Craig and Cindy Corrie at Traditions Cafe at 6:30 pm.   I hope that many of you will be able to join us at Traditions next Wednesday to support Craig and Cindy and to pay your respects to Rachel.  

Here is a link the Rachel Corrie Foundation website if you want to know more.   Here is an update and some background from the Corrie family:

Posted in News and Updates, Trial, Trial Press Releases on August 21, 2012 by .

 

(Haifa, Israel – August 21, 2012) – The verdict in the civil lawsuit against the State of Israel for the killing of peace activist Rachel Corrie over nine years ago will be announced August 28, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. at the Haifa District Court.

Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death March 16, 2003, by an Israeli military Caterpillar D9-R bulldozer while nonviolently protesting demolition of Palestinian civilian homes in Rafah, Gaza.

Download: English (pdf, 289.14 kB) العربية (pdf, 395.01 kB) עִבְרִית (pdf, 459.65 kB)

 

The lawsuit, filed in 2005 on behalf of the Corrie family by attorney Hussein abu Hussein, charges the State of Israel with responsibility for Rachel’s killing and failure to conduct a full and credible investigation in the case.

“The lawsuit is just a small step in our family’s nearly decade-long search for truth and justice,” said Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father. “The mounting evidence presented before the court underscores a broken system of accountability – tolerated by the United States in spite of its conclusions that Israel’s military investigation was not ‘thorough, credible, or transparent.’”

Winning the War of Position

 Austin Kelly sent along this link.

Winning the War of Position

August 19, 2012

| Filed under For discussion


This article makes a number of arguments about the direction the IWW should take in its organizing, including taking a longer-term perspective than the next few years. 

Winning the War of Position: Working-Class Hegemony and Class Unionism
by B.C.

It is readily apparent to any working-class person that the economic oppressions of capitalist society, numerous though they may be, are only one facet of the system of social control exercised by bourgeois society. The dominant culture is one of homogenous individualism, materialism, and intellectual vapidity. It is not a culture natural to a free and free-thinking people; but rather a culture designed to maintain the integrity of an unjust social order, designed to favor an exploiting class over a mass of oppressed working people – using each and every tool, political and ideological, that it can exploit in its battle for continued dominance.

Read the whole article? 

Oh yeah,  a republican congressman said something stupid about birth control and a lot of the media thought that was news.    It may be an entertaining story and it’s always fun to see a politician twist in the wind, but I don’t think it’s news that right-wingers are ignorant on topics of science, biology, conception etc.  It is kind of ironic that this particular ignorant republican congressman sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.  But hey, he sits there, drawing a salary, nobody claims he brings anything to the table.

Eppo sings his Thurston Public Power song

M & I are working on two campaigns for the regular election.  The first is Thomas Bjorgen’s run for the Court of Appeals.  Tom would simply make a superb judge and I think it’s going to happen.

The second campaign we are pounding on is the Thurston Public Power Initiative.  This initiative will allow the existing Public Utility District to expand from water services to water and electricity.  Thurston is the only county in SW Washington that does not have a public power option.  We are going to fix that. This is a pretty simple matter of keeping electric rates low by allowing for competition.  A private banking company from Australia purchased Puget Sound Energy a few years ago.  PSE is not a local company and the Macquarie Group that owns PSE took 17 million dollars out of Thurston County last year in profits.  These profits were offset by the power outages that occurred in Thurston County last winter with the ice storm.  I am on PUD power in Lewis County, my power never blinked.  Some PSE customers in Thurston County were without power for a week or more.  Some advocates for the PSE power monopoly think the solution is that homeowners buy generator sets for back up power.  Lots of us think the solution is local jobs trimming the trees and maintaining the lines, local power generation through a PUD that is rooted in the local community and has a commitment to local, sustainable power generation, and local accountability.  The PUD commissioners get to face the voters on a regular basis.  When do we get to vote on the management of the Macquarie Group or Goldman Sachs or other private financial institutions?

Public power or private profits?  That is the choice.

Here is Jon Eppo Epstein sharing his thoughts on the matter:

PUD or Macquarie PSE Power?

Power for the people?  or  Power for Profit?  That’s the other regular election issue that I am really geared up to work on for the next few months. 

We have a chance in Thurston County to assert local control through the ballot to establish local power, local accountability, and local jobs.

The Thurston Public Power Initiative is on the ballot.  This a very simple measure that opens the door for competition for efficient power generation.  The Macquarie Group PSE is pulling out all the stops to defeat the Initiative and it’s easy to figure out why.  I think the figure is 17 million dollars in profits that were take out of Thurston County last year and deposited in the coffers of the Australian banking giant – the Macquarie Group.

I notice that an R Castaneda was posting in the Daily Zero with a letter in favor of the The Macquarie Group PSE yesterday.  Castaneda says he(?) lost power for one day last winter with the ice storm.  and his recommendation to folks who lost power for many days is simple:  buy a generator.

Who needs local jobs maintaining the lines, trimming the trees, restoring the power.  Just ship the profits to a struggling international bank and buy a generator set.

I am not sure what to say about that, but I am not planning to buy a generator set.

Here is some history to consider:

Puget Sound Energy was a locally developed  energy company that formed with the 1997 merger of Washington Energy and Puget Sound Power & Light.  You can get a possibly factual primer on PSE at  Wikipedia.

Here is an interesting set of newspaper articles that provide a longer term look at questions about Puget Sound Energy and the takover by the Macquarie Group.

Take special notice of these particular articles:

from the last article:

Referred to as “the millionaire’s factory” before the onset of the financial crisis, Macquarie’s net profit fell 25% in fiscal 2012 to an eight-year low of A$730 million Australian dollars as a slump in deal volumes and volatility in global markets cut earnings at Australia’s only listed investment bank.

A Macquarie spokeswomen wasn’t immediately available for comment.

So, we have a decision to make in Thurston County about power.  Do we continue to buy our electricity from the millionaires factory or should we establish a public power option to keep the private sector competitive?  This does not seem like a hard decision.

Primary Election? Did we have one?

Turnout was low.  I think it was first primary in August and maybe competing with the Olympics played a part as well, but anyway you look at it, the election turnout yesterday looks a little low.  Secretary of State shows turnout at 22.1%.

I was at election night party for my friend, Thomas Bjorgen, who is running for the Court of Appeals, Division 2, Position 2.  That election was a real scramble with six candidates traversing six counties to get the top two positions and advance to the regular election.  Pam Loginsky did well in all six counties and was the top vote-getter overall.  Thomas Bjorgen appears to be in second place and ready to take on congrats, Tom.  What's with that clean desk?Loginsky in the regular election.  I think Loginsky worked hard for votes, she is a qualified candidate to be on the bench, and she is backed by some powerful folks who want her on the bench.  In a six name race with five men opposing, I think she also was the beneficiary of WA gender politics.  We like to elect women in this State.  I think there is some reason to believe that change may be available through simple gender choices in elections, but in this regular election match-up, I will be working for the election of Thomas Bjorgen.  He will be a wonderful judge.  Fair, considerate, beholden to none and inclined to uphold the law over and over and not play politics for any powerful interests…   except ours, the electorate.

We will be watching the votes as they continue to be counted over the next few days, but last night and this morning I am thinking that it is Bjorgen and Loginsky in the regular election.

Happy Wednesday morning to all you sleepy election wonks out there.

Posterity Economics v. Austerity Economics

Are we keynesians or would we prefer to be serfs?  It’s an election year, soCourtesty Billy Hathorn Wiki Commons we get to weigh on this and other questions.  I really think we need to be thinking about creative economics.  Market-based economics that are sustainable, that create useful commons instead of quarterly profits, dividends and obscene bonuses.  We all get to decide how to make that happen.

As for me, I will be voting for posterity economics.  Raise taxes and reinstate the steeply progressive tax rates that discourage bald-faced greed and encourage investment in useful infrastructure.  You will hear that taxing the rich won’t raise the funds that we need, that we will have to tax the middle class.  That is a calculated threat by the rich to discourage taxing the rich. And besides, look at the demographics, where is this vaunted middle class?

Where are the middle class jobs?

Time to downsize? Ouch!  Click me please

A couple of stories from the Washington Post this morning caught my attention:

The Mittster is chillin’ in Israel for a few days after his tour of the London Olympics where he wowed them.    well, maybe not.  but anyway, he’s out to Israel now.  Checking the real estate in Jerusalem.  Making contacts with car elevator contractors in case he decides to build a get away place in the Other Holy Land (not salt lake).

Mittster did have kind words for the Israeli health care system.  Unfortunately that health care system is exactly the kind of big government interference that the right wing is certain will destroy the soul of a great nation.  Here is a piece of the WAPO article on that:

Romney praises health care in Israel, where research says ‘strong government influence’ has driven down costs

Posted by Sarah Kliff on July 30, 2012 at 11:10 am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had some very kind things to say about the Israeli health care system at a fundraiser there Monday. He praised Israel for spending just 8 percent of its GDP on health care and still remaining a “pretty healthy nation:”

 When our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs.

Romney’s point about Israel’s success in controlling health care costs is spot on: Its health care system has seen health care costs grow much slower than other industrialized nations.

How it has gotten there, however, may not be to the Republican candidate’s liking: Israel regulates its health care system aggressively, requiring all residents to carry insurance and capping revenue for various parts of the country’s health care system.

Israel created a national health care system in 1995, largely funded through payroll and general tax revenue. The government provides all citizens with health insurance: They get to pick from one of four competing, nonprofit plans. Those insurance plans have to accept all customers—including people with pre-existing conditions—and provide residents with a broad set of government-mandated benefits.

Read the whole article?  Go for it. 

It’s too bad that the conservatives have no sense of humor or appreciation of irony.  They really miss out on the best that their leaders have to offer.

Second piece from the WA Post that jumped out at me:

As ‘fiscal cliff’ looms, debate over pre-Election Day layoff notices heats up

 

 

By , Published: July 30

  The deep federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the start of next year may trigger dismissal notices for tens of thousands of employees of government contractors, companies and analysts say, and the warnings may start going out at a particularly sensitive time:

Days before the presidential election.

Read the whole piece.  I dare you. 

I hope that the Dems find a semblance of spinal material and will hold certain feet to the fire.  Imagine a budget cut so severe, so fair that it would even cut into defense jobs.  Well, try to imagine that.  What are the chances?

Each moment we are faced again with the choice of austerity politics or posterity politics. Think on.

 

 

 

If an Agent Knocks on Your Door…

Well, the news in Olympia is that the agents came knocking in the last few days.

Our free society has generally embraced the political freedom of aligning with either the Republican or the Democratic Party!

For those of us that find that range to be a little too tight, you can stray into the fringes of the Justice Party or the Green Party.

If you are drawn to politics beyond this range, you should expect to be surveilled, investigated, possibly indicted and maybe jailed for your politics.

True political freedom in the land of the free and the home of the brave has always been illusory.

There are some important considerations to consider if you have a hoody on your coat rack in the closet today.

Claim and exercise your Constitutional rights.  Don’t fall for lying schemes and conversational gambits such as “you know why I am here, don’t you?”

“Let me come in and let’s talk.”

You may want to exercise your right to remain silent.

You may want to exercise your right to counsel.

I expect we will be having meetings to discuss the suppression of political thought, the continuing criminalization of poverty, the politics of oppression.

Sunday, July 29th at Sylvester Park at 2:30.  See you there?

Here are a couple of online resources:

http://ccrjustice.org/files/CCR_If_An_Agent_Knocks.pdf

http://grandjuryresistance.org/

Dana Walker for Washington State Treasurer!

It’s official.  We are running a write-in campaign against Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer.

I have imposed on my friend Dana Walker to accept the role of running against the previously unopposed Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer.

Here is what Dana had to say about the write-in campaign:

Hi, I am Dana Walker and while I am somewhat ambivalent about this ad (I am proud of the fact that I would make a lousy politician) I approve of it nonetheless.

Now it’s official.

Do you think McIntire would debate me?

I don’t think McIntire will want to debate Dana, but we will make the offer.

Jim McIntire has been running unopposed for State Treasurer.  He has been running unopposed despite the fact that he has done everything in his power to keep the power of the big banks intact in the State of Washington.  He actively opposed the State Bank legislation that could provide economic stability for investment in Washington State that Chase Bank and Goldman Sachs never will.  McIntire is the State Treasurer for the 1% and he is running unopposed.  Our democratic system could not even muster an opponent to challenge McIntire’s corporatist economic agenda as State Treasurer.   Until now.

As an act of conscience, as a symbol of resistance to the unopposed dominance of Wall Street Banks that are dictating the policies to the Washington State Treasurer, we are encouraging you to cast your ballot for a write-in candidate for State Treasurer.  Every community in Washington State has a better candidate for Washington State Treasurer.  In South Puget Sound, the Olympia Coalition for a Fair Budget has drafted Dana Walker as our write-in candidate for State Treasurer.

Dana Walker for State Treasurer.  Write it in.

Or write in your favorite candidate who is not a creature of the Wall Street Banks.

We deserve better than Jim McIntire as Washington State Treasurer.

Justice for Washington Foundation Rates the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Candidates

It can be hard to figure out how to cast your votes in the non-partisan judicial races.   It’s also hard to figure out if election or appointment is a better way to put a judge on the bench, but in Washington State we vote for judges. So, here we go.  Who are we going to elect to serve as judges in the State? 

There are a a couple of reasonable sources for gathering information about who to vote for.  Let’s just start with the question of who is running and well-qualified for the position.

The Justice for Washington Foundation says it is the only bi-partisan judicial rating process in the state.

JWF issued a press release on July 24th about the races and here is what they had to say:

Justice for Washington Rates

Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Candidates

The Justice for Washington Foundation released its bi-partisan 2012 rating for appellate level judicial candidates in the contested races for the state Supreme Court and Division II of the Court of Appeals.

OLYMPIA, WA – The Justice for Washington Foundation released its 2012 evaluations for contested appellate court elections in Washington State. The Foundation operates the state’s only expressly bi-partisan evaluation of appellate level judicial candidates. The Foundation rated only one candidate as “exceptionally well qualified” and four as “unqualified”.

Washington State Supreme Court, Position #2

Susan Owens – Qualified
Douglas McQuaid – Unqualified
Scott Stafne – Unqualified

Washington State Supreme Court, Position #8

Steve Gonzalez – Well Qualified

Washington State Supreme Court, Position #9

Bruce Hilyer – Exceptionally Well Qualified
John Ladenburg – Well Qualified
Richard Sanders – Qualified
Sheryl Gordon McCloud – Qualified

Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II, District 2 (Clallam, Jefferson, Grays
Harbor, Kitsap, Mason and Thurston Counties)

Pam Loginsky – Well Qualified
Tom Bjorgen – Well Qualified                                                                                                  Michael Lynch – Well Qualified                                                                                                            Tom Weaver – Qualified
Brendan Williams – Unqualified
Jim Foley – Unqualified

The member of the committee were:

Jerry Rubin – Democrat with the law firm of Stoel Rives
Chris Bayley – Republican and former King County Prosecutor.
Phil Sorenson – Democrat with the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office
Alex Hays – Republican and Executive Director of the Mainstream Republicans of
Washington. Mr. Hays is actively supporting a candidate in the Division II District 2
Court of Appeals race and recused himself from that evaluation.

The Justice for Washington Foundation works to preserve a well qualified elected judiciary
committed to judicial restraint. The Foundation also works to educate the public about the
history and content of the Washington State Constitution.

Read more here: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2012/07/24/justice-for-washington-gives-just-one-judicial-candidate-its-top-rating-supreme-court-candidate-bruce-hilyer/#storylink=cpy