Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kulongoski's Duplicity

Governor Kulongoski must be called out on his duplicity. Any responsible editor, any responsible politician, any responsible citizen of Oregon would take the time to call this man on the carpet for his consistent duplicity in dealing with the public on the subject of energy.

In one breath he tells the media that they must take on the responsibility of educating the public. The media needs to be in the forefront at giving the public the information of where Oregon is really at in regards to how much energy is consumed, where that energy is coming from, what energy is immediately available, what energy resources will be available in the immediate future and long term. His goal, according to Kulongoski, is affordable, reliable, energy. In the next breath, Kulongoski cowers and hides behind his own lies.

Kulongoski’s goal is politically motivated. Pure and simple. Whether or not he wants to run for governor again, his allegiance is to his party and not to the people of Oregon. His mouth says whatever is convenient for the moment. He has allowed the working class of Oregon to be taken political hostage by groups of ecological extremists whose philosophies will be Oregon’s downfall. Ecological extremists who use Oregon as their playground while their business interests, their incomes, their other homes, are elsewhere. In states that have realistic energy plans, realistic business opportunities, realistic land use laws, realistic growth.

It takes courage to stand up to the extremist groups, the shrill voices that feel it is their right to misinform as many people as they want, as often as they want. Kulongoski chooses, instead, to champion their cause. He wants to ensure that their right to misinform is respected. While Bradwood Landing has gone through one of the most vigorous and open hearing processes in the history of siting an LNG terminal, Kulongoski has misinformed the public that FERC has rushed the process, and he publicly calls for a "full rehearing."

Can this man be so ignorant? Can he ignore 54,000+ pages of notes detailing the process that has gone into getting the permits for siting the terminals at Bradwood Landing? Calling this amount of work “rushed” when he tells the people of Oregon that he will ensure that they have reliable and affordable energy is a blatant example of his duplicity. It is an example of how he will enable the extremists to hold the working class of Oregon hostage in the political power struggle over energy.

While Oregon very well could have been in the forefront showing how a nation moves gradually, and, therefore, smoothly, purposefully and steadily towards renewable energy from a heavy reliance on fossil fuel it will now be in the forefront of the nation on how extremists use political terror to manipulate a governor while crushing the working class. Oregon will be the welfare state, with all either relying on state subsidies to keep the renewable energy plants operating or food stamps to keep themselves going.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Internet Connection

Click above to see our first newsletter.
Print it out, take it to work, mail it to your friends.

Occasionally we will put together a newletter. Our half-assed attempt at bringing you some hardcopy, REAL news, representing a range of topics that are traveling the blogosphere.

This one is about, yep, LNG! Get the lowdown that the Daily Astorian doesn't have the brains to tell you, the Signal doesn't have the man power and the Gazette doesn't even know we're in the same county!

Print it out, bring it to work, mail it to a friend. You never know if your blog's in it!

Remember to think about it. Do you want to leave your land use options open, or do you want to limit your land use rights even more? Do you want a strong transmission infrastructure for energy and technology, or do you want one so encumbered by land use laws no energy company, green, reusable, or otherwise will never want to come here? Do you understand what the job of the Board of County Commissioners is, as a quasi-judicial "court" and what your vote is doing to that process? Think about this. We're voting yes, make your vote COUNT!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

An Aboriginal Nation's Surrender

A sovereign nation of aboriginals were given checks for lands stolen that have never been cashed. In their pride they refused, a deep understanding that by cashing those checks they would have accepted to become a part of this government. They hadn't. They were independent. They were free. And they knew it.

Eighty years later this same nation has a new generation, so dislocated from its heritage, from its culture, that it sells their way of life that is the very truest definition of who they are as a people, for a government hand out. Hunters and gatherers at your heart, core and soul - whose charge is stewardship of the resources of this very land - what does the present stewardship of the land have that safeguards it? Where are the salamanders? The tree frogs? The bees and butterflies? Where are the fish? By what right do you forfeit it? On whose behalf do you surrender?

Yet, these Indians, the first stewards, the natural stewards, the only stewards, are given fish sticks for ceremonies and told that they will be allowed "government" recognition, if they eat the handouts and keep their mouths shut. They can have their bingo parlors and their casinos, painted fish on their chips, a made up language with made up stories.

And the white men praise the little Indian boys who sign, and clap one another on the back. Good boys, they say, good boys! Let’s smoke the pipe of peace, and pass the bottle of lightening. The occupiers smile and the paternals smile back. No one notices the tears shed by the maternals. Who notices the woman’s tears? The woman’s memories of where the fish runs are, where the best wapato roots lay, where the bones of ancestors rest?

The impostors come with their braided hair. They wa-wa and wear leather. They play politics and follow “government criteria.” And fat white men in newspaper offices praise them and life is good. For them. For awhile. Until they die. And there is no tomorrow, for those who don’t. But it doesn’t matter. The Chinooks have a bingo parlor and maybe a casino. They have forgotten how to fish and white men always like to gamble. There is a government payroll for a few at the top, and maybe a reservation to drink on for those at the bottom. The average lifespan for an Indian woman on a res is 54. This is good. She doesn’t have too long of a life to remember what was, or suffer what is, or watch what her children become.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Time for Socialism Has Come

Either by turns in the economy or by personal misfortune, we often find ourselves in a pickle while trying to maintain a life style; even modest life styles. There are very few people that are able to walk through life without financial care.

Americans have always been known to lift themselves up by their boot straps and this is commendable, however one could wonder if this is the most civilized way of living. Through fiction we are promised that money will no longer be used in the future, which must surely agitate those who believe in less government. Centralized goods and services would be considered as government handouts to the extreme by a population that wants to see all goods and services privatized.

The anti government people have found disappointment and abundant reasons why our government doesn’t work. Oddly, being a government of the people, for the people and by the people; this reflects poorly on the citizenry. Those who complain about the government failing are not doing enough to remedy the problems. There is a lot of them out there and one would think that a population of that size should be a force to reckon with and would have solutions at the ready.

Getting back to the haves and the have nots and especially those who suddenly find themselves struggling in a sea they never anticipated swallowing them. Is there anything that a government could do to make all of its citizens more secure?

There are countries in Europe that embrace Socialism where the needs of their citizens are met from cradle to grave. All medical, educational, transportation needs are met. Even in retirement the needs are met weather one chooses to live at home or in a facility. Imagine a life where the government pays students to stay in school through graduate school. It pays doctors very well to take care of their patients. Residents never have to worry about if they can afford the medicines they need to live healthy lives.

As stated earlier this all comes from the feared Socialism. The evils of Socialism were drummed into our heads all through the Cold War. If we start down that path we would be giving up our freedoms, our God (gods) and we would soon be living in box like, gray room apartments that are illuminated by a single 25 watt light bulb.

The European model of Socialism never looked like the Soviet model. It is based on a high tax rate, around 50 percent. Most people in the United States presently pay around 18 to 25 percent in income taxes. Would it be worth it if the citizens were to pay 50% and never have a care from cradle to grave? If this question already has a negative answer in your head, consider the present economy and what your chances of retirement are. Where will you be living if health becomes an issue? How will the present economy with down turning financial markets change how you will pay for your childs education? Wouldn’t this all be a lot easier if you paid it up front and shared the burden? Wouldn’t we be a more productive society if we spent less time worrying about how we are going to accomplish all we are expected to do in society? Wouldn't there be less crime if basic needs were met?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Energy Wars

In four years approximately two hundred people have spoken out at local hearings and in letters to the paper against siting LNG holding tanks at either Skipanon or Bradwood. Two hundred people told the media, their legislative representatives, the governor and the Federal Energy Regulation Commission that the local board of county commissioners in Clatsop County refuse to listen to the majority of their constituents in working through the process.

Out of a population of 36,000, with 21,104 being registered voters, 200 people have declared themselves "the majority"! We will forego the obvious conclusion of what kind of math they were doing.

This group of people have ignored the fact that the county commissioners and the City Council of Warrenton "heard" that 20,904 people didn't have the same concerns. Yet, still these 200 still claim rights over the top of 20,904 people who chose not to speak against LNG, against neither Oregon LNG's project nor Northern Stars.

Now, this same group wish to isolate Clatsop County, completely cutting it off of access to the outside world's options of technology or energy, saying they do so "for our own good."

Using scare tactics, half truths and outright lies the group will do whatever it takes to keep Clatsop County small and "manageable". Industry and technology to be kept out, service and tourism companies in.

The same group that quotes the Oregon Dept of Energy report that LNG isn't needed ignores the rest of the dirty little secret. ODE says LNG isn't needed because 146 new nuclear plants are to be built in the next decade.

What would you rather see in Warrenton or Bradwood, two LNG holding tanks or nuclear plants? Which is more of a terrorist target? Which has a larger "blast" zone? If the government sites a nuclear plant here do you think a referendum that they can't cross a few parks will stop the Feds?

Don't worry about that, the protesters will tell you. "We'll fight the nuclear plants, too! And we'll win, like we did against the LNG plants."

Which will leave us right back where we started, with rising energy costs and dirty coal fueling our electric plants. We won't have access to the solar, wind or hydro power because of this group's opposition to 4-131, voting no and forbidding the transmission of any of that kind of energy to cross our county and enter our homes, even if these options were ready within the next decade which they won't be.

Measure 4-131 must be passed to keep ALL options open to ALL Clatsop County citizens. The West Coast States must have the same options and access that the East Coast and Southern states have to safe, clean and reasonably priced fuel and energy sources. The east has three LNG terminals, the south has three terminals and the west has nothing.

LNG protesters, Common Sense, CFOG, or whatever name they go by next are striving to eliminate options, take away choices, shut down and out the average citizens, those living paycheck to paycheck. A vote of yes on measure 4-131 in September takes back what is our right, it maintains our options, leaving them open to be exercised on a project by project basis.

Write Governor Kulongoski and FERC today. Tell the governor that we want our options left open. We are tired of his bowing to special interest groups. Ask him if he is going to guarantee the nuclear plants will be built and what are his plans to ensure they will be? We want equal access to the energy that the east coast and southern states have access to. We want the option to fuel with LNG or CNG as other green technologies are worked out. This is the true common sense approach to our energy problems and no one is going to do it for us folks. Senators Johnson, Wyden and Smith, Reps Boone and Wu have all but declared themselves completely against LNG. They are listening to the minority voice because, right now, those are the voices screaming the loudest.

Twenty thousand-nine hundred and forty of us haven't opened our mouths. Now is the time. Write, email or call the governor, Johnson, Wu, Wyden, Smith, Boone and FERC. Tell them LNG is a viable option that you don't want taken away. Don't shut us out in the cold, don't allow us to be isolated at the mouth of the Columbia River with no options, no alternative energy, no voice.

FERC is supposed to be making a ruling on whether or not to allow Bradwood to proceed sometime this week. Governor Kulongoski has recently written to FERC asking them to delay their decision, after Bradwood has waited three years for it, until more people have a chance to complain. Kulongoski and Oregon's Attorney General have both said they will use whatever means available to stop Bradwood, which means denying them state permits. Your voice is needed NOW, if you want to see this LNG and stable energy costs any time in the neat future. Fax you letters to reach the governor before FERC makes its decision. FAX:

Contact FERC here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weakly To Weekly

There has been self indulgent back patting sessions at the Daily Astorian and the East Oregon Publishing Company over their series on climate change and the environment. It seems disingenuous for a business that uses gross amounts of pulp, fuel and natural resources to call all the other kettles black.

If the Daily Astorian wanted to walk the walk they should reduce their newspaper to a weekly publication. Consider all the paper they use and all the fuel they use to distribute this paper five days a week. This came to mind after looking at the Daily Astorian the other day. There was local news on the front page, maybe 1/10th of page 2 had any local content, 1/3 of page 3 had local content, and page 11 had 80% news. Summing it up there was slightly more than two pages of local news of which one quarter was fluff.

I recently read through a copy of the Chinook Observer, a weekly paper which is owned by the same company as the Daily Astorian. This paper had substance and a good professional look about. It contained a weeks worth of news which seemed much more substantial than the Astorian and its scant daily effort even when all five days are combined.

The Astorian can counter and say their readers need the news on a daily basis, where in actuality it is the Astorian that needs the daily ad revenue from five day a week publication. This paper is obsolete moments after they publish. Their online presence is more useful for up-to-the-moment news, though the effort of, with a smaller staff and fewer resources out-scoops the local standard on a daily basis.

The Astorian may also be afraid to disturb the steady stream of biased journalism and propaganda that they use to dictate their vision to the readers along with the manipulation they inflict upon the local political climate.

The Daily Astorian will probably never reduce their production to save the environment or to put out a better publication. It is a shame. How long can they suffer a declining readership before they decide something needs to be changed?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Respectfully Submitted

Political blackmail has been discussed since there has been politics, essentially since man has begun living in tribes. Human relations, being what they are, power is hungered for often more than wealth. The meaning of wealth changes. Power is power and the weaker then human being is that seeks power the more often the tool that human will use is fear.

Much like an animal, the weak human has learned that fear is a tool that can be wielded by anyone of any stature, as long as one has no scruples. Just start our slow, using fear against the weak and defenseless, to get a feel for it. How far can you push people in fear before they they are cornered and lash out? What can you use to protect yourself against repercussions? Who do you look to as an ally (even if temporary)? Who do you target as an enemy? How long before you can take down bigger foe?

Using fear as a lever for respect is the way of the weak. The way of the strong is through earned. It is slow and often goes through a process of being earned and loosing it and being earned again. It is the hard road, where people misunderstand good intentions, where the percentage of failures far outweighs the percentage of successes. It is the way of those who, actually, are not striving to be respected, it is merely a bi-product of the life they are leading. It is what makes the good leaders.

Strong people earn respect not because they want it, nor see it as a tool to use to defeat an enemy, but as a natural part of life that is everyone’s just due. Strong people respect everyone. Low and high, poor and rich, minority and majority, all not only deserving of respect but also receiving it. Strong people do not say, “Everyone, except for …” They say, “Everyone, including …” Strong people look for a way for everyone, including the weak, to come out ahead, to prosper. Strong people know that a community is as strong as its weakest member and they don't rid of the weak, they help to make them strong.

As you put your pen to the ballot this weekend think about that. Do you vote for a weak person to lead, or a strong one? Do you vote for someone because of what they are against or because of what they are for? Do you vote because of fear or because of strength? Do you vote for someone to lead you into a future, or because they say they must guide you out of a past?

If there is only one name to vote for and you do not know the name, or if you do know it and know it to be that of a weak person, leave it blank. Let me repeat that. LEAVE IT BLANK. Do NOT write in any name. If the individual running for that position gets less votes than the number of ballots turned that is called an under vote and it sends a clear message to the candidate that ran that the people are not pleased with their conduct and they had better learn to do better as leaders and it sends a clear message to someone who was thinking of running for the position that they would have had a chance.

Use your ballot wisely, think about the future of the county. Tourist economy? Trade economy? Someone who is looking for a diverse economy? Should city folk run the county? Should the county have more say in the cities? Is the sheriff deserving of your vote, or of anyone’s vote? Do you know the judge? What do you know of that candidate for commissioner? Enough to vote for them? Leave it blank if you don’t know. Leave it blank if they didn’t convince you. Don’t vote out of fear. Vote for strength, not weakness.

One more thing, look at the ballots. See how many people are running unopposed? See how many get on water districts, fire districts, even some school districts completely unopposed? Now listen to the whining voice on the radio, complaining, complaining and complaining about this that and the other that is wrong, wrong, wrong with our cities and our county because of “cronyism” or the “good ole boy” system.

Remember these ballots, filled with all those people running unopposed. Cronyism and good ole boys? Or lack of people willing to put their names on ballots or on volunteer forms? Those whiners on the radio? Most have never run or volunteered. A few have tried one or two things and then dropped them because they didn’t get the instant respect they thought should be theirs.

The volunteers and elected officials that are there, year in and year out, are there because they did dare to put a name on the ballot or on a volunteer form despite nasty press and new, troublesome, ethics laws. They allowed themselves to be scrutinized by the media and now by you. Remember that much and vote for those who have EARNED respect, not those who have frightened you into giving it to them.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Political Economy of Fear

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” wrote Benjamin Franklin. Attempting to gain security by sacrificing liberty is also a foolish action, is ACLU’s stance, because it only increases the potential for harm. A short while ago a very dangerous action took place right under the noses of the people of Clatsop County and very few chose to even blink.

Our United States Constitution guarantees each of us to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment guarantees that we “shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The US Supreme Court (US v. Katz 389 US 347) has made it clear that this core privacy protection does cover government eavesdropping. The law takes account of the need for emergency surveillance but the need for quick action cannot be used as a rationale for going outside the law. FISA allows wiretapping without a court order in an emergency; the court must simply be notified within 72 hours. In cases of espionage. In cases of public safety. And always, at some point, public disclosure.

Ironically, in August of 2003 the City Council of Astoria, Oregon, became the 150th local government body in the U.S. and the eighth in Oregon to declare their city a ‘civil liberties safe zone.’ Astoria’s resolution directed Oregon’s delegation to U.S. Congress to work to repeal all laws that threaten civil liberties and requested the City Manager to instruct city employees to continue favoring practices and policies protecting rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.

Even more ironic the very people who, so avidly and angrily, screamed for the Patriot Act to be renounced by our local governments cheered when a local agency revealed it had turned over a list of names of people to be interrogated by an Oregon Department of Justice (ODOJ) investigator not once but twice within the last year! But these people, these “lovers” of social justice, so hated the man being hounded they felt it was okay for his civil liberties to be violated. They not only looked the other way at this barbarous act they used its rancid drippings to inflame public sentiment against the man.

Numerous local media sources reported that an ODOJ agent had received a list of names of local people from the Sheriff specifically to interrogate regarding their interaction with one man. No media source could tell its readers who had filed the complaint nor what the complaint was regarding. The Department of Justice first denied an investigation had taken place and then said it wasn’t an investigation but merely an “inquiry”. It doesn’t matter what it was labeled, folks. The fact is the agent got a list of names of people to interrogate from one of our law enforcement agencies regarding a legal citizen and no one, apparently not even the citizen, to this day know why the agent was here! Despite the fact that the Department of Justice has stated that, “Someone asked us to investigate a complaint that proved to be unsubstantiated.”

Someone? Who??? No paper trail, even though state law says there must be one. How did the Sheriff know whose names to give to the agent? Apparently, no media thought to ask him. Think about it, if this were you. If you picked up the paper tomorrow and found out that the sheriff had given an agent a list of names of people to interrogate about you. Wouldn’t your first question be, “How come the SHERIFF has such a list?” Then the next question, “Who is charging me with what?” Personally, myself, I would be more worried about the sheriff having a ready made list of people to question about my associations, lifestyle and viewpoints that he promptly handed it over to another law enforcement agency and, apparently, there is no enforceable law to keep him from doing just that.

Oregon law states that no enforcement agency can collect or maintain information about the political, religious or social views, associations or actions of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless the information was collected in a criminal investigation or reasonable grounds exist to suppose that the person is involved in criminal activities. Not violations, not parking tickets, not a building code violation. Criminal activity as defined by law. The Sheriff has repeatedly stated that the commissioner was not being investigated by his department. Why hasn’t anyone asked the sheriff the obvious question: “Why did you have a list of people to give the DOJ agent?”

Where are the voices of outrage? Silenced. The attorneys in Clatsop County silently allow this to happen, frightened to speak or else be aligned (and maligned) with the commissioner who was thrown to the jackals? Where is the Astoria City Council now? Silenced. Afraid they will be the next to be “investigated” by one man, sitting in an office, with a direct line to the Attorney General’s office?

When you go, once again, to hear the orator recite Niemöller’s First They Came, can you honestly hold your head up high? What price did you pay for this recall? What price did you pay for the imagined “safety” of the river? What price did you pay for your silence?

It’s your fear now, bought and paid for. Own it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The New Anger Movement

People have remarkable memories. Some memories and bitterness linger on for generations. Armenians to this day have strong dislike and or hate for the Turks. There have been factions in the Arab world who have a thousand plus years of hating their neighbors. The Jews have been the whipping post for generational hate as well. The French and the English have been at odds for years.

Closer to home, though World War II has been over sixty years, I still occasionally hear anti Japanese or German sentiment from Americans. Though slavery ended over a hundred and fifty years ago, there is still a residual bad feelings not only from relatives of the slaves that are six or seven generations removed from those horrors, but also from the relatives that are six or seven generations removed from the confederacy. The confederate flag is still flown with pride in many southern states in a pissed off defiance.

There is a generation who are still bitter that George Bush was appointed President by the Supreme Court, and they are bitter that he won the election four years later. There are people still bitter about Richard Nixon.

People carry the hurts and the scars of their childhood right up until the day they die. We carry anger for things that have happened to our families, friends and neighbors. Yet we wonder why election losers remain bitter. Every body is pissed off and it doesn’t go away when an election is over. Professional politicians say that they are able to shake it off and accept their loss, but somehow I think those polite days of politics are long over. Fanatical supporters carry the torch using the Internet as a weapon of slander and defamation. Failed campaigns take on a life of their own with the monsters that reside within the faithful. “Game over / move on” is a lost concept and has been replaced by spite, revenge and ill will that is sometimes carried to the grave.

This new unforgiving nature calls like a crow for a new field of psychology; political anger management psychological therapy. There are so many who are in need of this therapy. A key to the therapy would be to get the opposition to better understand any possible benefits of opposing proposals. One doesn’t need to embrace the concepts, but they should use reasoning to see that the concepts will do some good somewhere down the line as they were envisioned.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Polarization of a Community: Us vs Them

As one watches the destruction of one’s community the need to know who is at the core of it materializes. Who is it pulling the strings that is triggering this to all happen? Who benefits the most to have an elected official thrown out of office? Who benefits from public humiliation? Who benefits from the hatred dripping from once kind mouths that shriek at those who oppose their viewpoint? Who stands to benefit from spreading lies that someone’s a crook, someone else a thief, another corrupt? Who does their best work with lies, innuendo and gossip?

The process called polarization causes neutral parties to take sides in a conflict. Individuals on either side of the conflict take increasingly extreme positions that are more and more opposed to each other. As parties move toward these opposite "poles," they define themselves in terms of their opposition to a common enemy. Slowly at first and then more rapidly "distorted perceptions and simplified stereotypes emerge" while trust and respect diminish. Parties refuse to negotiate and assume more rigid positions.

Polarization is caused by a number of related psychological, sociological, and political processes. Damaging the relationship between the adversaries, as conflict escalates, is the emergence of enemy images and stereotypes. Important lines of communication and interaction that are normal to peaceful relationships are cut off, and trust diminishes. The more each party involved attributes their grievances to the other side, they more often they likely to reduce the number of non-conflictual relations and interactions that they have with the other party.

Adversaries become increasingly isolated from each other, and all inter-group communication is channeled through more antagonistic lenses. As the parties begin to have fewer and fewer ties to individuals from the other group, they begin to feel freer to employ more severe actions against that group. There is a tendency of the participants to “win” the bystanders to their side, often forcing people to chose with the "with us or against us" mentality, aggravating group isolation and polarization. The conflict intensifies as more people are drawn into the conflict.

Those who would normally urge moderation and attempt to mediate the conflict are recruited by participants in the controversy, and forced to take sides. The moderate position is not tolerated with their proponents ostracized at best, or seen as traitors to the cause at worst. Further segregation, as the process continues, results in relationships with outsiders becoming increasingly hostile and competitive.

The polarization of this community is heart wrenching. Watching once good friends turn their backs on one another, families raked over the coals, and people's reputations destroyed is more than a community should stand for. Smart, intelligent people allowing themselves to be led, to be pulled apart and destroy their own community. Who will be left standing? That’s what we should be asking ourselves.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What If?

What happens if they get their way?

Let us consider what will happen if CCFOG gets a toe hold in local politics. Let’s say they successfully unseat Richard Lee. They will demand and probably get someone to replace him who may appear moderate on the surface, but will pupate into a Commissioner they desire. They will then pursue removing Ann Samuelson, which they (CCFOG Members) have already started trying to remove her from the School Board in Jewell, thus tarnishing her accomplishments. Not that any accusations of any wrong doing have any basis in reality. It is a propaganda war where the first shot is often the one that is noticed most.

Riding this wave, momentum builds for Burr Allegaert, a major contributor to measure 4-123 and a member of CCFOG, who is running against Patricia Roberts in District 2. Candidate Dirk Rohne, known for a Josh supporter gets a bump in Knappa. After they take down Samuelson the finally go after Hazen.

This is the way it is mapped out, but they will accomplish what they want with a simple three to five majority on the Board. What happens next is that the stipend will be restored to Josh. Though his workload has dropped he will get more staff to not handle what they already don’t have. It will be a good day for the County Police as well.

Next, Scott Derickson will made very uncomfortable and he will probably be forced to seek employment else where. Though the BOCC is not an agency that should regulate or impede business they will throw up road blocks to stop all aspects of the LNG industry, which will land them in major trouble with the federal government and will be brought to court by the LNG industry, ending up wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal battles that they can not possibly win.

The planning department can continue making up their own policies on a whim and serve or not serve anyone they wish. If you hope for approval there will be a line for you to wait in to kiss the ring.

Joe Gamm will be given a courtesy office in the 800 Exchange Building and exclusive rights to the news. Forrester will be able to print anything he wants. If it's not true, he can make it true with a few phone calls. The people will be lulled into a false sense of security because the Daily Astorian will tell everyone that everything is OK.

The BOCC will once again enter the dark ages it was in under the Westbrook administration where the public had little say and little time in which to say it. Questions were never addressed and citizen concerns were ignored as per instructions of Blair Henningsgard the then council. You will hear the name Baghwaddi Podar again. A FOG of bitterness, revenge and retaliation will come over the county until the voters return to their senses in future elections.

This recall campaign is unreasonable and unacceptable. The charges against Lee are made by a group who has been out for Lees blood for a long time. Lee has not been charged or even investigated for any crime, though one of two people with the capability in the county did ask the DOJ to investigate and the Sheriff stated that he didn't do it.

There is a black hole at the center of these unreasonable spiral arms of this recall campaign. The spiral arms need to be careful not to be sucked into this black hole because if they ever want to be taken seriously in this county again, distance should be gained, quickly.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What Is Justice?

What concerns society is conduct, not opinion: if only our actions are just and good, it matters not a straw to others whether our opinions are mistaken.

Sir James Frazer, Psyche's Task [1909]

When Socrates is convicted of rejecting the gods of the city and corrupting the young he makes a compelling argument for justice. He explains why he must stay in prison and accept the death penalty, rather than escape and go into exile in another Greek city. He puts forth his idea that he has acquired an overwhelming obligation to obey the Laws of Athens because they have not only made his entire way of life possible it is to them he owes the fact of his existence. Through these Laws it made it possible for is father to marry his mother thereby making their children legitimate. Once born these same Laws required his father to care for and educate him. The way in which he flourished throughout his life has been due to these Laws.

What was most important to Socrates, though, was the fact that the relationship between the individual and the Law was not coerced. Once the individual had grown up and was able to judge for himself how the city conducted its business he could chose whether to stay or to take his property and leave. By staying this implied an agreement both to abide by the Laws as well as accepting the punishments that they mete out. This is a good description of an implicit contract, implied by his choice to stay in Athens even when he was free to leave it at any point. He determined that the Laws were just when he was flourishing. He felt he couldn’t now contend that the Laws were unjust when he was no longer flourishing.

When someone chooses to live somewhere with complete knowledge of the conditions under which they live and when they have complete freedom to leave, they have entered into the type of implied contract that Socrates felt he had entered into. A just man is, in Socrates' viewpoint, one who recognizes his obligation to the state by obeying its laws. Because the state is morally and politically the most fundamental entity it deserves the deepest respect and highest allegiance. Knowing this just men act accordingly. Socrates goes on to argue in another essay that justice is more than merely obeying laws in exchange that injustice won’t be done as a consequence. The just man has a well regulated soul which makes him a happy man. This leads to a win-win situation in which the individual is receiving a benefit (happiness) and society is receiving a benefit (just men who do not commit injustices). True justice is more than the simple reciprocal obedience to law. Justice begets just men which begets more justice.

Justice is a two pronged process. It is not just doing something merely for the expected recompense but something which requires the effort of well-regulating oneself. It goes beyond doing just things but truly being a just person. When one accepts to live somewhere, to do a specific job, and has the freedom to leave true justice requires not only abiding by the Laws of where one lives or works but in self regulation. One not only acts just, one is just.

This is justice. Obeying the Laws in of the place where you chose to live when you had the choice to leave and regulating yourself to be law-abiding. This combination leads to both happiness and justice. It is with just people we create a just society, we do not force a just society onto the people.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The New Junkies

It is somewhat frightening when one considers the unhealthy diet that most Americans have adopted these days. Incidents of obesity and diabetes are drastically on the rise to the point where these two conditions are becoming something most Americans have to look forward to, and all to often it is a condition that manifests itself in children in middle school and high school.

Though diabetes can now be controlled pretty well with medical intervention the underlying fact is that it will one day it will kill those with the condition. They may go blind. Circulation problems may one day cause them to lose a leg or two. Their kidneys may eventually fail.

Just because you can eat something it doesn’t make it food. Products that are bad for you are priced to encourage those with little money to buy them. Just because you can buy something is a grocery store doesn’t mean they should be eaten.

What would happen if certain unhealthy foods that lack useful nutrition to humans were excluded from eligibility for payment with food stamps? If you were on food stamps and suddenly faced with the fact that you can no longer buy snack cakes wouldn’t you consider providing fruit for a snack to your family instead?

It is difficult to change the shopping habits of people, but if we were to give a responsible nudge to those on a budget to make better choices, we could help prevent diet based disease down the road which will lessen the burden of the tax payers.

It may sound easy on the surface, but you can bet that Hostess and Frito Lay will lobby this action to death. They may even add vitamins to their products to make them more food like, but nothing they can do can possibly turn that stuff into food.

If food stamps were only able to buy unprocessed meat, eggs, bread, dairy, fruits and vegetables; an epidemic health crisis among the poor may be stopped and reversed.

How about if we take this a little further? How about making it so school lunch rooms are only allowed to vend unprocessed nutritious food. The government runs or subsidizes all sorts of food programs across the country. It’s amazing when you consider just how many there are out there from Head Start to VA Hospitals. Everyone in the military has to eat. It would be to the long term advantage of the government to stop pushing processed foods.

I understand that there are those who will say the government should get out of the free meal business, but the fact is that will never happen, and even if it does move food responsibility over to one of the “thousand points of light”, the government still has oversight and control of what is placed into the mouths of recipients. They need to lead the way to get America off junk.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sea Fog Threatens Livelihood of Coastal Community Once Again

Over 2,000 ships lie scattered at the mouth of the Columbia River. Each holding crews between 10 to 300, their people dead, or if lucky merely their livelihoods destroyed as they pulled themselves out of the raging surf, many remaining on the shores shipwrecked, struggling to stay alive. The Pacific Graveyard is littered with the bones of many a nautical old timer, sage captains and novice deck boys alike, blinking lights luring the desperate to what appeared to be safe shore; sea fog shrouding shifting sands, sharp rocks, and crashing waves. Too late, the desperate found the false lights belonging to Wreckers, far worse than pirates, using the fog and lights for the Wreckers’ devices. In the end the Wreckers’ pockets full, the desperates’ pockets as empty as their eyes.

Long gone are the days when fog would ground the fleets and leave this community dependent on its capricious whims for its economic survival. We no longer need to worry about fog, our economy diversified and growing. No false lights of Wreckers luring us astray. A storm blowing means we depend on our neighbor for a borrowed hammer, a shared generator, a pot of coffee and a game of gin rummy. But now, once again, a forecast of an unnatural event has come in and it isn't the winds we have to worry about, nor the frozen pipes.

While the weather man is predicting icy blasts of Nordic frost for the area this weekend we heard a blanket of fog, its tendrils weaving up from the blinking lights of the Cannery Pier Hotel, quietly blanketing the nooks and crannies of the city, filling some heads with doubt and others with visions of undeserved grandeur. The fog seems to have entered the minds of many, and, like the psychedelic mushrooms that grow so well in many areas of the damp rain forest, causing them to believe they are the center of the universe and all must bend to their will or suffer the dire consequences.

The Son of Sam’s 4-123 has begun its labor pains. It is hoped that it is premature, coming much too early to be saved. In attendance, ripping it from its womb, are the wet nurses of the Columbia Pacific Alliance for Social Justice. Justice, to their mind, can best be served, by depriving the constituents of their right to allow their duly elected commissioner from serving out his term. They want him recalled and to have someone appointed in his place, their plan enforced, their agenda addressed, or consequences must be suffered, by all.

That’s right, appointed. Those living in district three won’t be allowed to vote for someone to replace their commissioner; they merely get to vote to toss him. Then this Group (they have designated themselves a group with a capital “G”), who have already threatened the remaining commissioners with similar retaliation if crossed, will continue their goal of dominating the board -and our county- with their will, their say, their vision. This they have avowed on their website.

Is their vision good? Is it bad? Who is to say? We won’t get a chance to VOTE on it to know, ever. In the back of our minds will be the knowledge if we don’t vote as the Group tells us in their daily paper, they will recall the person we voted for, and they will appoint the person they intended to win.

Clatsop Citizens For Open Government, CCFOG, are rolling the fog over our heads. This is their vision of open government. Telling us ahead of time, tongue in cheek, that the fog is coming. Blowing their horn, waving their lanterns, laughing at us. They have no intention of opening up the government process, their intention is to close it down. They have ninety days to do it. Friday and Saturday, January 25th & 26th are their target dates but they can drag it out until April 22nd. It is no mistake their acronym can be pronounced sea fog. Their intent is death for our community (our consequence for an earlier defiance?), left to fend for ourselves as the shipwrecked once did, and profitable only for their chosen few.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The New Face of Clatsop County

The face of a community is important. For many that is one of the reasons they oppose LNG corporations putting even one terminal on the lower part of the river, it ruins the face of the community, in their mind.

For many the Riverwalk in Astoria is the face of the community, showing an eclectic community, loving the outdoors with an artistic bent. There are those who still cling to the days of yore looking wistfully to the mooring basins, in their minds eye each berth full of fishing vessels or looking out to the river where rafts of logs from old timber stands are gently pushed to market by tugs.

With a shudder many of us turn our faces from a spreading mall, the word making our shoulders shrug and noses lift. What is the face of Seaside? Cannon Beach? All of it is Clatsop County and whatever face you don’t want certainly you do want it to have one, or even two or three. So, have you googled our county lately? If a business has, they won’t be pleasantly surprised.

We now have a new face of being unprepared for disaster. You felt proud of our abilities during the storm? Not the Daily A! Suddenly, after 200 years of sustaining all sorts of disasters and catastrophes, it has dawned on our daily paper and one of our commissioners that our disaster mitigation plan isn’t finished yet. Funny, it wasn’t finished after last year’s storm, (or the year before that or that or that) but our lone commissioner that’s publicly bitching out the county manager while posing for the editor of the Daily A, didn’t notice the lack of the mitigation plan then. No one had. Why? Because, it really doesn’t matter, all that much, in the grand scheme of things.

Will a project or two have to wait to get funding? Possibly, but so will half a dozen others for lack of something else. It’s not that big of a deal, because it was already being taken care of and no one thought it was a big deal until the Daily A manufactured the story. What is a big deal is when the area’s only daily newspaper writes it up as a big news story and puts it out on the Associated Press as a big news story and suddenly, that is what Clatsop County is known for. How many businesses will want to move to the area if they think they will be hampered with costly building delays while waiting for mitigation plans to be put into place? Thank-you, Daily Astorian, for manufacturing the news and giving our area its new face. It wouldn’t be so bad if the news was real and it was an actual problem to be contemplated and resolved, but the fact that it’s being made up is irksome.

This is the same paper bemoaning the county commissioners approving zone changes for LNG corporations to move in. It seems that this newspaper’s editor doesn’t want any growth, any new businesses or industry whatsoever, and it will do its best to make sure growth doesn’t happen whether it means maligning individuals or a county as a whole.

What is ironic is not so long ago the Daily Astorian’s editor complained, "Deceit is in the saddle. The Wall Street Journal too frequently carries business news that befits a supermarket tabloid. Our president is using deceit for the third time in his career to smear an election opponent. We stand on the edge of a very slippery precipice.” One wonders how he looks in the mirror when he shaves in the morning.