Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Endorsements for August 5, 2014 Primary

Posted by Warren Peterson on July 18, 2014

It is just a primary election but there is one “watch your wallet” ballot measure and several vitally important State Senate races.

Proposition #1 – Seattle Park District

This Trojan Horse establishes a new taxing authority run by a commission composed of members of the Seattle City Council. They could raise property taxes up 75 cents per thousand of assessed evaluation without a vote of taxpayers. Of course if they could they would. VOTE NO

Legislative Races

In Washington, we have the Top Two primary system. For example, If several candidates file for a legislative seat, only the top two vote getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election (assuming each of the two receive at least one percent of the total vote). Democrats have held the governor’s office, the State House of Representatives and until recently the State Senate for almost three decades. Thanks to Republican turned Democrat Senator Rodney Tom who formed a coalition with Republicans to take control of the Senate in 2012, Democrats were stopped from enacting a host of tax and spend bills. Senator Tom is not seeking reelection so it is even more important to support Republicans for the State Senate.

Senate Races in King County:

30th District – A Republican can win this district. VOTE FOR Mark Miloscia.

31st District – Conservative Republican State Representative Cathy Dahlquist is challenging the mercurial and erratic incumbent, Senator Pam Roach. If Republicans win the Senate, it will be by just a few seats. They don’t need to be constantly concerned about what Pam is up to now. VOTE FOR Cathy Dahlquist.

32nd District – Democrat district but there is a Republican candidate. VOTE FOR Robert Reedy.

33rd District – Leans Democrat but Republicans are fielding candidates for both House seats. For the Senate, VOTE FOR Martin Metz.

34th District – Hopeless, only Democrats running, two of three unopposed.

36th District – Fairly solid Democrat district but incumbent Democrat Senator Kohl-Welles is being challenged by a solid Republican. VOTE FOR Sarina Forbes.

37th District – An open seat in a Democrat district. VOTE FOR Rowland Martin.

43rd District – Hopeless. It is so bad that Democrat House Speaker Frank Chopp is being seriously challenged by a Socialist ally of the Socialist Seattle City Council Member. And to think this district used to elect Republicans.

45th District – A must win. VOTE FOR Senator Andy Hill.

46th District – Hopeless too but there is a well-qualified Republican carrying the flag for the GOP. VOTE FOR Van Sperry.

47th District – Another must win. VOTE FOR Senator Joe Fain.

48th District – Rodney Tom’s district, He’s not running so it’s an open seat. A Republican can win here. VOTE FOR Michelle Darnell.

State House of Representatives

It is highly unlikely that the House will go Republican but use your Voters’ Pamphlet and vote for any Republican that looks qualified. If they can get into the top two and 2014 proves to be a wave election for the Republicans, well who knows, lighting may strike.

Federal Offices

United States House of Representatives (King County districts).

Democrats have little or no chance of winning the House nationally but that’s no reason not to challenge Democrats in Blue Washington.

1st District – A possible win with Microsoft money vs Microsoft money, this will be a race. VOTE FOR Pedro Celis.

7th District – Please, do we have to put up with McDermott forever? VOTE FOR Craig Keller.

8th District – Clear choice. VOTE FOR Dave Reichert.

9th District – Democrat district but show the flag. VOTE FOR Doug Basler

Posted in State & Local | Leave a Comment »

It’s Obama’s Fault This Time

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 16, 2014

George W. Bush was rightly faulted for not anticipating the chaos that followed the fall of Saddam. He invaded Iraq with enough military force to overwhelm the Iraqi army but not enough to maintain order until a new government could be established. The result was a bloody campaign to regain the upper hand. It concluded with a gutsy decision by Bush to insert more troops (the Surge) which successfully turned the tide in our favor. With the presidential election in 2008, he turned over to Obama a country that still had a chance to seed democracy in the Middle East but it needed support and yes, pressure on the Iraq government and leadership from the United States.

Obama, probably the most inexperienced presidential candidate ever elected, took office in 2009 based on public frustration with Bush, soaring rhetoric (…”this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”), and a litany of promises that mostly turned out to be empty of truth. One of the promises he did keep was ending American involvement in Iraq. The last American troops left Iraq in mid December 2011. Iraq was on its own; no US air power, no US ground forces, no residual US military period. Obama failed to negotiate a Status of Forces agreement, assuming he ever seriously wanted one, to allow some level of US military to remain in Iraq as a stabilizing force and deterrent to exactly what is happening now. He’s repeating his mistake in Afghanistan by telling the Taliban when we are departing and leaving an inadequate force in country insufficient to stabilize or deter. The Taliban cannot help but notice how quickly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria insurgents took advantage of the power vacuum resulting from the end of US involvement in Iraq. One cannot say a continued military presence in Iraq would solve all issues but it could have checked the current crisis.

Obama’s leftist ideology and inexperience will snatch defeat from victory and possibly lead to a regional war. Shiite Iran is making noises about helping fellow Shiites in Iraq defeat the ISIS. Imagine, the potential nuclear armed enemy of the United States pulling our bacon so to speak out of the fire. Could anyone mishandle this crisis more than Obama? Maybe he will break out some of his famous “red lines” or have Michelle start a hashtag campaign, #Iraq for Iraqis – more “leading from behind.” 

Posted in National Politics | Leave a Comment »

Paglia and Prager Find Common Ground

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 31, 2014

The name Camille Paglia or Dennis Prager may well cause a visceral reaction depending on where one sits on the Left/Right political spectrum. Prager, a Jewish conservative (both religious and political) and nationally syndicated talk show host conducted a fascinating interview with Paglia, a Yale PhD, college professor, lesbian, feminist politically far to Prager’s left. No shouting, interruptions or ad hominen attacks, just a straight forward exchange on various political and cultural views. Listen and see if you hear some common ground (about 23 minutes).

CLICK HERE: INTERVIEW

Posted in Other | Leave a Comment »

One Christian’s View of Homosexuality

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 28, 2014

World Vision finds itself embroiled in the same controversy as many other Christian organizations including churches. It is over the question, ”Is the practice of homosexuality a sin?” For the answer, Christians turn to the Bible which at the very least they hold to be the inspired Word of God. On this question and the related issue of same sex marriage, the scriptures are unambiguous. From Genesis 2: 18-24 and Leviticus 18: 22 through St. Paul in Romans 1: 18-32, I Corinthians 6: 9-11 and I Timothy 1: 9-11 in no instance is homosexuality presented in a positive light. When homosexual relations are commented on they are clearly called sin. In the wedding Jesus attended and in any verses on marriage same sex marriage is never mentioned. Reading the Bible specifically as well as by implication can only lead to the conclusion that the practice of homosexuality is sinful.

It may be easy to oppose this sin since only a small minority engages in the lifestyle. It is not so easy, however, if your son or daughter comes “out of the closet.” Former Senator Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic, was asked what he would do if his son told him he was gay? He answered, “I’d love him just as much as I did the second before he told me.” A good answer but it still does not lessen the conflicts that arise in application. For instance, would you attend your son’s wedding to another man? On another level, my church welcomes all sinners but holds to higher standards those ordained into leadership – elders, deacons and pastors. An individual with a reputation as an adulterer, swindler, prostitute or yes, a practicing homosexual, would be disqualified for ordination. Needless to say, not everyone in the church agrees with the policy on sexual orientation. Even if they accept the lifestyle as sinful, they claim God’s grace (forgiveness) promised in the Bible. But grace is not a “Get out of jail free” card. Society need not seek the lowest common denominator for its moral standards even if some of its citizens opt out.

This issue is explored in a sermon by a Presbyterian pastor in 1990 when the demand for acceptance was just coming to a boil. After exploring many of the questions and concerns he closes with a message of hope:

So, Is there No Good Word for Homosexuals?

Must we end in only hard words? No! Our text for today comes to a glorious conclusion. After naming all these ten sins, Paul reminds his readers that they “were” guilty of these sins. BUT — they “have been washed (cleansed), justified (forgiven) and sanctified (transformed) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” No sin is beyond grace, mercy and power that comes to us in Jesus Christ. He is the hope — for all of us!

You are encouraged to read the full sermon by clicking HERE

Posted in Religion | 1 Comment »

Transparency in Congress

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 25, 2014

I am not a supporter of Rand Paul for president but his short speech on the floor of the United States Senate should be required viewing for all voters regardless of political party. Congress could raise its dismal approval ratings just by eliminating the hypocrisy called out in this You Tube video.

To view the video, click: HERE

Posted in National Politics | Leave a Comment »

A Thousand Years of European Boarders

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 20, 2014

Thanks N.T.T. for posting the below video on Facebook.

If you ever wonder why Europe has over the last thousand years been at the center of two world wars and centuries of one political or military conflict after another the below link offers one reason. The current Russia/Ukraine crisis is just the latest iteration.

Click HERE to view the short video.

Posted in Military | 1 Comment »

Starbucks Annual Meeting – Seattle’s Premium Entertainment Event

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 20, 2014

Every year Starbucks shareholder meeting (Click HERE to view it) features inspiring individuals and performers along with company performance data and factoids. For instance, did you know that during the most recent holiday season, 1 in 8 adult Americans received a Starbucks gift card? Or that a small Seattle coffee company launched in 1992 with 125 stores now has over 20,000 stores and 200,000 partners (employees) worldwide? This year’s meeting, however, topped them all. Yes, there was a great band (unfortunately not on the video), free coffee, lattes and “fat pills” (pastries) and the usual goodie bag handed out at the meeting conclusion but this year Oprah was there. She and CEO Howard Schultz sat down in a stage set like Oprah’s TV show to talk about two topics, her love of Chai tea and her charities. On the former, she and Schultz announced Oprah’s Chai Tea would be available by Mother’s Day. She had come to Seattle earlier to personally help create the blend. Her tea is not a paid brand endorsement but Starbucks will donate to Oprah’s youth education charities with every tea sale. Not unexpected, the audience reaction was electric, bigger than the other announcement about a new Starbucks iphone app that will allow payment including tip and eventually preorders. Will pouring coffee directly out of your smart phone be next?

Starbucks bills itself as a capitalistic company with a social conscience. Not everyone agrees with all they do in support of the latter but there are few complaints about the former. Since 1992 the stock has risen from just over $7 to a high of about $82 in November 2013 (March 19, 2014 after close price was over $76). They have a goal of growing the company from its $57 billion market capitalization to $100 billion. With over 7.2 billion people on the planet susceptible to coffee addiction, the goal may be a little low.

Posted in Other | Leave a Comment »

A Must Read Book

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 14, 2014

Just finished Dr. Charles Krauthammer’s book, “Things That Matter -Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” which has been on the New York Times best seller list for weeks. He graduated from McGill University in Canada and went on to Oxford but left to attend Harvard Medical School. Despite becoming a wheel chair bound quadriplegic from a diving accident, he obtained his MD degree in psychiatry and may well have made medicine his career but in a series of “pure blind luck” events he left medicine for writing, including a stint as a speech writer for Vice President Walter Mondale. Today, a liberal Democrat turned conservative, Dr. Krauthammer pens a weekly syndicated column for the Washington Post and appears frequently on Fox news. His book is a compilation of columns and essays he authored running from the eighties through 2013. Regardless of your own political leanings. you will find him entertaining, challenging and on solid intellectual ground. “Things That Matter’ is a must read.

Posted in National Politics | Leave a Comment »

Texas Holdem – Putin vs President ….

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 3, 2014

Obama: Putin has aces in the hole with two aces showing on the flop. As the last two cards are dealt, Obama, with nothing, bluffs. Putin takes the pot.

Reagan: Putin has kings in the hole with two kings and two aces showing. Reagan goes all in. Valdimir folds.

Know your opponent.

Posted in National Politics | Leave a Comment »

Let Someone Else Pay

Posted by Warren Peterson on January 28, 2014

In the Sunday, January 26, 2014 edition of the Seattle Times, we are treated to Pro and Con opinion pieces on a $15 minimum wage for Seattle. The Pro side saw the higher minimum as a means of closing the gap between low and high income earners; not an unexpected argument. (For one of the most cogent articles on income inequality see: David Brooks Column in the NY Times) It was on the Con side where a surprise occurred. The writer has a small business and makes the case that jumping Seattle’s minimum wage by over $5 an hour would add significantly to existing stresses on small business. One more increase on top of rising rents, utilities, employee benefits and completion from online merchants not to mention regulations (remember the City of Seattle imposed parking changes and mandated sick leave). The Con article noted that small businesses with less than 50 employees would be exempted, “But, if Fred Meyer, Home Depot and Starbucks are all paying $15 an hour, other businesses would be forced to follow suit if they want to compete for competent, capable employees.” Additionally, raising the minimum to $15 would force up wages for other workers. If all these costs cannot be offset by reducing labor or moving to a cheaper location, they would have to be passed on to customers. It would not be too long before these increased costs would flow into the general economy ($5 lattes anyone?) and the $15 minimum would be called too low. Off we’d go chasing our socialist tails once again.

Unfortunately, the Con plea veered hard left by proposing alternate ways of improving the lives of minimum wage earners by shifting taxes on small business to big corporations and wealthy people and implementing rent control. Every day there is another call for taxing the rich. As Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with Socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money.” As for rent control, do not some landlords qualify as owners of a small business? Also rent control has unintended consequences such as deferred maintenance, damping of new construction and landlords being forced to subsidize long time renters through below market rates.

Before we tinker with our economic system by mandating wage and rent levels not supported by the market, we should concentrate on policies that encourage investment, job creation and education that produces graduates with skills commensurate with higher pay. These are harder to do than voting for a $15 minimum wage and limiting rent but they do offer a greater possibility of a permanent solution.

Posted in State & Local | Leave a Comment »

 
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