Archive for July, 2011

July 31, 2011

Deal Reached on Debt Limit, But What About the Debt?

by lewwaters

Obama has announced a compromise deal has been reached between leaders in D.C. on raising the debt limit for the US Treasury to borrow more.

Politico

So far announced, future spending cuts and no tax increases.

Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver says, “early reports of the new deal appeared to be ‘a sugar-coated Satan sandwich’.” HERE

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said, “This deal trades people’s livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it,” before he had even received a briefing on it.

Rep. Kurt Schrader, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition says, “While we’re a very diverse Caucus, at the end of the day, we’re not going to put our ideology ahead of the good of the country,” indicating enough House Democrats will support it.

House Speaker John Boehner, rounding up votes to pass the deal in the House said, “the agreement isn’t the greatest deal in the world, but it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.”

News Tribune reports,

“In the first stage under the agreement, the nation’s debt limit would rise immediately by nearly $1 trillion and spending would be cut by a slightly larger amount over a decade.”
“That would be followed by creation of the new congressional committee that would have until the end of November to recommend $1.8 trillion or more in deficit cuts, targeting benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, or overhauling the tax code. Those deficit cuts would allow a second increase in the debt limit.”

Friday, July 29 Moody’s stated the Country will likely lose its AAA rating no matter what deal is reached.

See also CNBC

We get almost $3 Trillion more in debt this year with promises of lowered spending in the future.

July 30, 2011

Either Brancaccio Never Served in the Military or It’s Been a Slow News Week

by lewwaters

I often look forward to reading Columbian editor Lou Brancaccio’s Saturday column, Press Talk. It gives me a chance to see how he thinks on pertinent issues that have impact on our community and occasionally the country.

We have a proposed tax increase being discussed to bring a Class A ball team to town, still fighting over the Columbia River Crossing, Loot Rail, another tax increase for C-Tran, a lawsuit filed to overturn an initiative passed by a wide margin of voters, 3 city council seats up for grabs and of course, the ongoing brouhaha back in Washington D.C. over how fast each political party wishes to increase our national debt to bring the country to collapse.

I eagerly looked forward to getting Lou’s take on what he felt was the burning issue of the week as although I often disagree with Lou and have never actually met him face to face, have shared cordial and friendly email exchanges. I respect Lou.

I was disappointed to turn on my computer this morning and signing into the Columbian webpage, did not see Lou’s new column.

July 27, 2011

WE NEED YOU THERE

by lewwaters

Spending is not Sustainable Rally Thursday July 28th 4-6 PM

Jaime Herrera Buetler’s Office
O.O. Howard House on Officer’s Row
750 Anderson Street, Suite B
Vancouver, WA 98661
Thursday, July 28th
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Spending is out of control. The interest paid monthly on the national debt amounts to billions of dollars of our taxes that could be going to infrastructure, necessary social programs, Veterans Care, backing up Social Security and caring for our citizens.

Instead, that is billions of dollars paid every month to those that hold the debt.

The debt limit has been raised 74 times since 1962 and we see is more and more debt.

Both Democrats and Republicans business as usual approach is responsible.

Just raising the debt limit again without real and actual spending cuts, not just merely decreases in proposed future spending increases as we have been seeing will just put us deeper in debt and paying even more of our hard earned tax dollars in interest payments.

This madness must stop. We are mortgaging future generations with paying off our staggering debt.

Please, make ever effort to be outside of Jaime Herrera Beutler’s office tomorrow and send them the message, ENOUGH! Begin paying it off, not just running it up.

July 26, 2011

Liberals Should Be Madder At Debt Limit Increases Than Conservatives

by lewwaters

Bottom line, Democrat or Republican, wrong is wrong and continually giving yourself permission to borrow more, never paying the debt down, is wrong. We taxpayers, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Anarchists, Minarchists, even those who don’t give a hoot about politics are on the hook for Trillions of dollars in debt.

It has to stop and yes, it’s not going to be pretty, but we have to begin actually getting out from under this ever increasing debt.

All of the money going out in interest payments should be going into the country’s infrastructure, Veterans Benefits, necessary entitlement programs and yes, we may disagree on just which ones are really necessary. But, paying all of that interest to foreign investors, nations or even domestic investors amounts to nothing more than fattening the coffers of those wealthy who own our debt at the expense of struggling taxpayers.

The left continually condemns the wealthy, calls on them to “share in the sacrifice” and “pay their fair share,” yet the left also approves of giving them even more of our tax dollars in the form of interest payments on the debt by supporting yet another increase to the debt limit?

It doesn’t make sense that the left isn’t demanding even louder than we are for this madness to stop.

July 26, 2011

“Underdogma: How America’s Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power” [Review]

by lewwaters

I was recently privileged to receive a copy of the book “Underdogma: How America’s Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power” for my review. My thoughts are below.

Our innate sympathy for routing for the underdog is so ingrained in us that we easily miss when those opposed to us twist that regard to strip us of our power and standing in the world. Michael Prell expertly guides us step by step through how those jealous of US Power gently at first, then with more force did just that, twisted our senses to make America the terrorists instead of the radical extremists.

From early news releases shortly after September 11, 2001 to politicians’ claims in campaigns, Prell shows how Americans have been misled to believe that somehow, we are the oppressor instead of the target of terrorism.

Gay activists have remade themselves into an oppressed class crying victim to suppress our natural makeup and legitimize their lifestyle.

Liberals desiring to impose socialism on us and bring us under the authority of a “central command” (the United Nations) have ridiculed our wealth building ability, marginalized our might and twisted the meaning of the words of our constitution.

With ease and the use of several documented quotes, Michael Prell shows us how we have been made out to be the greedy gobblers of energy, ruining the earth’s atmosphere instead of the nation striving the most to curb pollution and purchase goods from other nations, supporting their economies in the process.

July 26, 2011

Show The Yakima Bears the Door

by lewwaters

[Updated to reflect a major correction by the Columbian in who owns the stadium]

[Update 2: More on specific ownership of the stadium from Stephanie Rice added]

Vancouver’s city council got their first formal presentation for the Class A ball Team, Yakima Bears planned move to Vancouver. All council members except Pat Campbell have given City Manager “Erik Holmes the OK to research the issue and engage in potential discussions with Clark County” for adding a 5% entertainment tax throughout the county pay for construction of a $23 Million stadium adjacent to Clark College.

The Columbian

There are several pros & cons to relocating a Class A ball team to Vancouver, a large con being that 5% entertainment tax added to movie tickets, golf courses and several other forms of entertainment.

Although Clark County taxpayers will be on the hook for 70% of the costs of the proposed stadium, we were told “the stadium would be owned and maintained by Short Season LLC.” Stephanie Rice, the writer of the article posted this morning, “Key correction: the sentence should read (and now does) ‘the stadium would be publicly owned but maintained by Short Season LLC’.”

UPDATE 2: Comment from Stephanie Rice, “Lew, to be even more specific, the team would own it while the debt was being repaid, then it would be publicly owned. Here’s what I was told by the team when I asked why in documents it says the team would own it: ‘Ownership is during the period in which the facility is indebted. It secures the asset until the debt is retired. Then it is free and clear a public facility’.”

City council members Larry Smith and Jack Burkman asked to hear alternatives to the entertainment tax and were told of none.

Asked why taxpayers should pay for the stadium, Mike Thiessen of Short Season LLC said that “the team would be putting up 30 percent of the construction costs for a stadium it would use 13 percent of the time.”

That’s not exactly reassuring.

I have kept an open mind on this proposal, even though voicing concerns over its location next to the Vancouver Campus of the Veterans Hospital, but reading “After the workshop, co-owner K.L. Wombacher said the team does have alternate plans, but they don’t involve the city of Vancouver seals it for me.

It’s time to close the books and show these people the door.

We do not need to be threatened into coughing up tax dollars for a new stadium to be owned by a private enterprise “at a time when public services are being cut, a fire station closed, federal grants used to keep cops on the street and the city lacks money to fill all its potholes,” as expressed by Tim Leavitt’s former campaign manager, Temple Lentz as she “questioned the rationality of raising a tax for a stadium.”

Ms. Lentz expressed, “The terms political will and vision were used as qualities to make this happen. But giving $20 million of other people’s money to the first guy who comes up and asks for it is not political will or vision.”

July 26, 2011

Jim Moeller, Democrats and Unions vs Washington Voters

by lewwaters

I can’t really say I was surprised to read in the Columbian: Moeller joins lawsuit to overturn Eyman initiative

Just last year, Tim Eyeman’s Initiative 1053 was passed by voters with a wide 64% margin, requiring a 2/3 majority for the Washington Legislature to be able to rise of impose new taxes upon us.

Democrats including 49th L.D. Jim Moeller and Teachers Unions don’t like that and have filed a lawsuit challenging the initiative in court, seeking to have it overturned.

The Columbian tells us, “Democratic leaders could not get Republicans to support any tax increases this year, forcing lawmakers to balance the budget with heavy cuts to education.”

The article also tells us those heavy cuts “reduces salaries for teachers and classified educational staff by 1.9 percent while slashing pay for administrative staff by 3 percent. It suspends programs designed to keep class sizes low.”

July 23, 2011

Mr. Obama, It’s Time to Oil the Economy and Get it Moving Again

by lewwaters

Just about everybody understands the concept of lubricating something to free it up and get it moving. From squeaky door hinges to sliding parts, difficult to open windows to even removing a ring off of a swollen finger, putting a lubricant on it allows it to move freely and gets it moving again.

Although lubricants come in many forms, we commonly refer to them as “oil.” Of course, a good many lubricants are derivatives of oil, just some of the many uses of petroleum. Just a little dab of these lubricants, working the rusted part back and forth and soon, it is moving smoothly again just as it was designed to.

America’s economy can be likened to a machine that when lacking proper lubricant freezes up and stops working properly. Just a like a rusty wheel bearing doesn’t roll smoothly, the economy must be “oiled” from time to time to keep it rolling along smoothly. Restrictive legislation causes the economy to rust up and stop moving smoothly.

The “oil” to lubricate our economy comes in the form of relaxing such restrictive legislation, be it in reasonable taxes for all or removing barriers set in place by legislators who, perhaps well-meaning, overly restrict business from growing and ends up costing the American taxpayer their jobs.

July 22, 2011

No More Money To C-Tran

by lewwaters

It seems every time we turn around, some government related entity is demanding we in the struggling middle class cough up more of what few dollars we have and give it to them. We are being asked to approve more tax to C-Tran, so they can maintain services we are told, pay a 5% entertainment tax so a marginal Class A baseball team will move to Vancouver and a have a shiny new stadium 70% paid for by taxpayers.

Soon we will be asked for yet another tax increase to fund Loot Rail maintenance and operation once they shove that down our throats, face tolls to cross the I-5 bridge, even before construction begins if they get their way and if Leavitt’s cartel gets their way, pay an additional $20 to register our cars to also fund Columbia River Crossing cronies.

Even though we have been mired in deep recession with double digit unemployment for over 2 years now, it seems there is no stopping of the picking our pockets by the elected ruling class. Feeding our families or keeping our homes is our problem, not theirs, apparently.

July 21, 2011

Should I Care What Life Pac Says?

by lewwaters

As a political blogger I am approached from time to time by candidates and supporters asking for support, inviting me to their events or speaking against a candidate I might have decided to support. But, I have to say that tonight was the first time a PAC has contacted me to ask that I consider withdrawing an endorsement of a candidate.

What strikes me as odd, besides the fact that I have not endorsed Anne McEnerny-Ogle, or any candidate for Vancouver City Council for that matter, is that the link shown is to a recommendation I made a year and a half ago, when she was vying to be appointed to the city council seat that Bart Hansen ended up winning the nomination to.

July 21, 2011

It Appears Those “Ankle Biting Hounds From Whinerville” Were Right

by lewwaters

Oh those “Ankle biting hounds from Whinerville” as John Laird, the Columbian’s editorial page editor so eloquently described those who have spoken out in opposition of the Columbia River crossing project. They’ve been ridiculed, demeaned, shouted down, gaveled down, marginalized and mostly ignored. Speaking out against the CRC, especially the loot rail component of the project has been treated as blasphemy by supporters such as John Laird and others at the Columbian.

But they didn’t stop, they kept speaking out, writing letters, holding meetings, scheduling seminars inviting experts from all walks knowledgeable about such projects. Seeing that some $130 Million was spent with nothing to show for it, cronyism in people hired and paid quite handsomely for producing very little and questions continually ignored, Vancouver Businessman David Madore, at his expense, hired a forensic auditor to go through the mountains of documents finally given under a FOIA request.

It’s an old tactic to flood a ton of documents, many unrelated when trying to hide what is really there. The concept is the one seeking information will get bored with pouring over frivolous papers and either give up or miss what is right before their eyes.

It didn’t work.

July 20, 2011

Kassab Asks For Tax Break, But Doesn’t Mind You Paying More Tax

by lewwaters

Millionaire developer Ellie Kassab is raising controversy in Vancouver again. Now he has approached the city council asking for a tax break for his planned 92 unit apartment complex he desires to build on the soon to be torn down site of the Mill Plan downtown Burgerville.

According to Kassab, his multi-million dollar project “won’t pencil out” unless city council agrees to “limit property tax assessments to the land beneath his proposed 92-unit apartment complex and its ground-floor commercial spaces, while allowing him to forego taxes on the upper three stories of the buildings for the next 12 years.”

How many homeowners in Vancouver or Clark County would like a deal like that to help with their homes in today’s economic downturn?

Kassab, it should be remembered, caused a stir in town back in April 2007 when he purchased the old Police Station for a measly $200,000, while the median price for single family homes in Vancouver was $260,000.

July 18, 2011

Why Aren’t The Unions Fighting For Energy Sector Jobs?

by lewwaters

Labor Unions in the U.S. lay claim to a long and successful history of bettering the working conditions, promoting higher wages and gaining benefits for America’s working people. They claim standing up for the “little guy” against oppressive corporations and government efforts that may be perceived to hurt the working class. They claim they fight for jobs for Americans.

So why are they so absent in fighting for jobs available and waiting in the energy industry?

We read how the Longshoremen are fighting an effort at non-union jobs in the Port of Longview in shipping grain. But, where are they in the ongoing effort to block jobs at the Port of Cowlitz in shipping coal to China?

Does the powerful Longshoremen’s Union, that claims support for other Labor Unions not realize that there is a United Mine Workers Union in Wyoming that will lose their jobs if there is no shipping of the coal mined?

July 17, 2011

Cry Me a River Hanoi Jane. Still Blaming Vietnam Veterans?

by lewwaters

Not exactly how I like to begin a Sunday morning, but in reading today’s emails I ran across Jane Fonda: QVC axed my appearance over politics wherein the dried up old prune, Jane Fonda, aka Hanoi Jane for her anti-war activities and stabbing Vietnam Veterans in back is upset over QVC cancelling her appearance to hawk her book, Prime Time.

The fiery supporter of communism years ago, who has made several Millions of Dollars through the capitalist system she condemned now claims, “this has gone on far too long, this spreading of lies about me! None of it is true. NONE OF IT!” on her personal blogsite.

She further claims, “I love my country. I have never done anything to hurt my country or the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for us” and “Most people don’t buy into the far right lies.”

Really, Jane? Far right? It’s been Vietnam Veterans, the very ones you now say you never did anything against that have been holding you accountable all of these decades. We are nothing more than far right liars in your book?

Well, screw you, you dried up old lying bitch! We remember well what you did, when you did it and how it affected us. We recall your activities in enticing soldiers to desert. We recall your ill fated and major flop of a movie, FTA.

We’re well aware of the email circulated years ago peppered with lies in order to discredit the truths about your treasonous activities.

July 16, 2011

Josephine Wentzel Brings a “Taste of Guam” to the Campaign Trail

by lewwaters

Josephine Wentzel

Several people attended the Josephine Wentzel campaign kick-off for city council last evening, July 15 and were treated to a mouth watering sampling of treats prepared by friends and supporters. All were treated to generous amounts of delicious island BBQ ribs & chicken, Spanish red rice, Pancit, potato salad and more.

Dr. Rick Lee Jackson provided live entertainment with his musical talents and in the capacity of Master of Ceremonies.

But, savory food and live entertainment is not what drew as many as 100 people to Vancouver’s Historic Academy last evening. People turned out to meet and hear Josephine Wentzel, known to many simply as that “NoTolls woman,” for her community activism in opposition to exorbitant tolls on a new Columbia River Crossing. They came to hear what she stood for in her quest to gain a seat on the city council, now held by Bart Hansen who was first appointed in occupy the seat vacated by now Mayor Tim Leavitt after the 2009 general election.

July 15, 2011

Ft. Vancouver, Artillery Barracks Ribbon Cutting, Larry Smith Remarks

by lewwaters

Remarks today by city council member, Mayor Pro Tem and retired US Army Colonel Larry Smith at the ribbon cutting for the renovated Artillery Barracks at Vancouver Barracks.

July 15, 2011

Ft. Vancouver Artillery Barracks Ribbon Cutting, Royce Pollard Remarks

by lewwaters

Remarks today by former Mayor Pollard and past commander of Vancouver Barracks at the ribbon cutting for the renovated Artillery Barracks

July 14, 2011

A Soldier Has Died

by lewwaters

Clint Haines was just 59 years old. We served together in Vietnam, he on AH-1G Cobras and me on my little OH-6’s. We met last year at a mini-reunion and although there was but a slight spark of recognition, we were buddies again serving our country. Shortly after the reunion, he called and we planned to meet for dinner, but somehow it never happened.

He was staying overnight in the VA Hospital in Portland, Oregon for just a short time. I knew he had health problems and they were serious. But, we planned on meeting for that dinner. We lost contact again and I often thought of him over these last few months, hoping we would get the chance to have that dinner together.

After Vietnam, he had a long career as a union rep in CA, NV and OR. He also worked for United Airlines before retiring. After retirement he cofounded Amerasian Childfind, which took him to Vietnam 18 times. He helped many veterans reunite with their children.

July 14, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walkers Budget Reforms Are Working

by lewwaters

When union members lose the greed and contribute a small portion toward their health care premiums and pensions, jobs are saved for everyone. In the case of teachers unions, the children win.

July 14, 2011

Who Really Got bin Laden?

by lewwaters

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