Tag Archives: right wing

Eyman’s Proposed Initiative Continues his Libertarian Attack on State Government

Tim Eyman’s latest proposed initiative continues his right wing libertarian approach to try to shut down state government.  He is proposing to limit tax increases to one year and push for repeated votes at tax payer expense for  minority rule that would let a 1/3 minority of Legislators run our state government by taking over the Washington State  Legislature.  It is a recipe for disaster.

Our current problem in the legislature is not one of over taxation but of out of control tax expenditures given by Legislators to special interests. The state has a revenue problem – giving away tax exemptions instead of collecting revenue.  See http://dor.wa.gov/docs/reports/2012/Exemption_study_2012/Intro_and_Summary_of_findings.pdf

Take B&O taxes listed in the 2012 State Tax Exemption Report -on B&O taxes on business – the state gave out 176 tax breaks totaling some $7.5 billion while collecting only $6.5 billion in revenue. The exemptions were 54% of the potential tax base.

The 2012 Tax Exemption Study also stated that in the 2011 – 2013 budget some $21 billion was collected in B&O taxes and sales/use taxes.  At the same time some $20 billion in these same taxes was not collected and was essentially an expenditure of state funds to support those that got the exemption.

The state currently has some 640 tax exemptions in place. Under a 2/3 Constitution Amendment tax expenditures could be put in place by a majority vote but would require a 2/3 vote to repeal.

A 2/3 vote constitutional amendment would lock in all these exemptions that are forcing higher taxes on those that pay and don’t get an exemption.  It is a recipe for disaster.

Eyman’s  anti-tax hysteria  borders on the ludicrous. It serves no purpose but to push a radical philosophy exposed by those like Grover Norquist and Tea Party fanatics to shut down government.  It is irresponsible and harmful to the state government and Washington State’s residents. It would prevent significant tax reform and benefit special interests and corporations while hurting those who need state help. It would prevent adequate funding of education and other essential state services.

People need to say NO to Eyman’s  continued anti-tax monologue. Enough is enough.

Conservatives Plan to Spend Mega Millions to Win Congressional Lottery

Conservatives are betting heavily that they can bring back their nefarious philosophy of corporate control of America by spending mega millions of dollars this year to convince conservatives and independents to get out and vote for right wing candidates to help takeover the US House and Senate. Think Progress reports that right wing spending for the November Election will drastically rise to around $400 million.

Under such well known previous players like the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association are also all American sounding names like Americans for Job Security and Americans for Prosperity.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision and Tea Party fanaticism and continuing libertarian ideals and free market advocates are all contributing factors stirring up a whirlwind of right wing dollars. Also contributing and giving these fanatics hope are polls that suggest the waning of the  idealism and fervor of new voters and others that helped to elect Obama and put Democrats in control over the last several national elections. They are hoping these Democrats and independents don’t make the effort to vote this year.

All I can say is WAKE UP to those that thought electing Obama was the end of the need to fight for the future. Wake Up to the reality that what we won is in danger of being lost.  Wake up to the realization that despite all the problems inherited from Bush and the Republicans that much progress has been made for a better future.  Maybe its not all you wanted but it is a hell of a lot considering where we were.

I say to those not yet energized to vote this year  – Are you willing to just roll over and play dead and ignore the damage to our future that this right wing fanaticism and greed will bring to us all? I hope not. I urge you to get engaged in this year’s elections and help battle off the attempt by the right wing to bring back the Bush/Cheney/Rove corporate greed machine that puts profit over people lives and dreams and hopes for a better future.

This election year is too important to sit out! Vote and urge your family and friends to vote. Give money to candidates you support and volunteer for their campaigns.

To give an idea of the magnitude and scope of the spending by conservatives here is the list of right wing groups and their proposed spending as tabulated by Think Progress. Do you really want these folks back in charge?

– Chamber of Commerce has pledged to spend $75 million

– American Crossroads has pledged to spend $52 million

– Americans for Prosperity has pledged to spend $45 million

– Republican State Leadership Committee has pledged to spend $40 million

– American Action Network has pledged to spend $25 million

– American Future Fund has pledged to spend up to $25 million

– Club for Growth has pledged to spend at least $24 million

– National Republican Trust PAC has pledged to spend at least $20 million

– An unnamed health insurance industry coalition has pledged to spend $20 million

– National Rifle Association has pledged to spend $20 million

– Faith and Freedom Coalition has pledged to spend $11 million

– FreedomWorks has pledged to spend $10 million

– Americans for Job Security has pledged to spend $10 million

– Susan B. Anthony List has pledged to spend $6 million

– Our Country Deserves Better (Tea Party Express) has already spent $5 million

– Tax Relief Coalition has already spent $4 million

– Republican Majority Campaign has pledged to spend $3 million

– Campaign for Working Families has pledged to spend $2 million

– Heritage Action for America has pledged to spend $1 million

– Financial Services Roundtable has already spent $0.5 million

– Family Research Council has raised $0.5 million

– Citizens United Political Victory Fund has pledged to spend $0.2 million

TOTAL: $399.2 million

Karl Rove Working Hard to Put Right Wing Politicians Back in Power

Karl Rove is back, working his brand of in your face right wing hard ball politics. He’s joined with former Republican Party Chair Ed Gillespie and others to set up a network of  right wing campaign organizations to raise money and push their agenda to bring the former Republican Party politics and policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney back to America. Sounds like they are trying to make Halloween a year round event for America.

As outlined in more depth in an article in Politico a few days ago:

The Republican Party’s best-connected political operatives have quietly built a massive fundraising, organizing and advertising machine based on the model assembled by Democrats early in the decade, and with the same ambitious goal — to recapture Congress and the White House.

The new groups could give Republicans and their allies a powerful campaign apparatus separate from the Republican National Committee. Karl Rove, political architect of the Bush presidency, and Ed Gillespie, former Republican Party chairman, are the most prominent forces behind what is, in effect, a network of five overlapping groups, three of which were started in the past few months….

The network, which doesn’t have a name, attempts to replicate the Democracy Alliance, an umbrella group — founded in 2005 and funded by George Soros and other billionaires — and to borrow tactics from liberal groups established to help Democrats regain power after eight years of the Bush administration 

The new organizations include:

American Crossroads plans to raise $50 million as a shadow alternative to the Republican National
Committee. Ed Gillespie is a chief advisor.

American Action Network is headed up by former Sen Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Their focus will be polling and media advertising.

American Action Forum includes former Governor Jeb Bush and Tom Ridge and former Senator Norm Colman on their Board. It appears to be another right wing policy generating machine.

Resurgent Republican is another free market conservative policy shaping group trying to influence politics through polling and focus groups and blogging.

The Republican State Leadership Committee raised $22 million in the last election cycle and is focused on trying to aid conservatives in down ballot races.

This is an important election year that will have repercussions for years to come. Republicans in affiliation with Tea Party fanatics and others are organizing and revving up the right wing noise machine with all its slanted polling and opinion pushing efforts.  They are gearing up fundraising and campaign organizing.

Democrats need to regroup and realize we have a tough fight on our hands.  The key comes down to motivation and voting. Obama is moving the country in the right direction.  It is easy however  for many to be swayed by the right wing noise and yelling and shouting and slanted polling. It is up to the Democrats to get back to the basics of organizing and reaching voters and getting them out to vote.

The Republicans are motivated, seeing blood in the water. For Democrats the choice was never more clear. We can’t afford to go back to corporations setting our environmental policies and threatening our health and the future of our planet.  We can not afford to go back to an unregulated free market economy that puts greed and corporate profit over jobs and homes and education for middle class Americans.

We can’t afford more right wing activist judges in our court system and on the US Supreme Court. We can not afford to waste energy and send hard earned dollars overseas when we could be spending them creating jobs in America. It amazing that after 8 disastrous years of Bush/Cheney that Americans might once again buy the right wing propaganda of corporatism and militarism and isolationism of the Republicans when serious national and world problems confront us all.

The choice is yours. Get involved in campaigns and get your family and friends involved. Vote in the Primary and general Election. The choice is clear. Vote for a sane future with the Democrats, not a return to the Bush/Cheney Republican nightmare years that brought us the current Great Recession.

Republican Naysayers Present Challenge to Democrats on Health Care Reform

Politics is a rough and tumble contact sport and health care reform is no exception. Republicans and conservatives are rallying their right wing base and trying to change the outcome by confrontational tactics. Do Democrats and Progressives have what it takes to fight back? Do they have the tenacity to engage and fight to the finish? Questions like these are relevant and vital to the outcome of health care reform in Congress.

The basic question is whether Democrats and health care advocates going to roll over and let a few rabid naysayers determine the outcome of health care reform. If they do, then they are only fair weather advocates that ignore a vital fact in any type of reform effort. You must stick in the fight to the finish and you must engage the opposition at every turn.

It’s not surprising that the battle is turning nasty and confrontational because huge amounts of money are involved. It’s a continuation of the election in that it pits so called free market advocates against those that believe in fair play and regulation. Republicans and conservatives are also fighting to continue their dominance of a style of politics that is not based on fact but rather emotion and division. If conservatives can divide the American public by their “in your face” tactics, they will stop health care reform and much more.

The conservative’s goal is to negate the last election by having Obama lose a major policy battle. Democrats and Progressives and Independents who want to see change need to engage now and remain engaged. They need to e-mail and call their elected representatives and voice strong support for health care reform that includes a public option and coverage for all and that reduces health care costs.

You can also contribute to efforts like those of MoveOn.org which is trying to mobilize the public in support of the Democrats Health Care Reform proposals.

As MoveOn.org notes in an e-mail sent today:

“It’s getting ugly out there.

All across the country, right-wing extremists are disrupting congressional town-hall meetings with venomous attacks on President Obama’s plans for health care and clean energy.

Last night in Tampa, Florida, a town hall meeting erupted into violence, with the police being called to break up fist fights and shoving matches.

A Texas Democrat was shouted down by right-wing hecklers, many of whom admitted they didn’t even live in his district.

One North Carolina representative announced he wouldn’t be holding any town-hall meetings after his office began receiving death threats.

And in Maryland, protesters hung a Democratic congressman in effigy to oppose health-care reform.

We’ve got a plan to fight back against these radical right-wingers. We’ve hired skilled grassroots organizers who are working with thousands of local volunteers to show Congress that ordinary Americans continue to support President Obama’s agenda for change. And we’re building new online tools to track events across the country and make sure MoveOn members turn out at each one. “
You can make a contribution to MoveOn.org to help by clicking here:

Make contribution to MoveOn.org

Data Mining and Privacy Concerns at WashingtonVotes.org

WashingtonVotes.org is a website being sponsored and promoted in Washington state as a way to empower citizens to take a more active role in government. The website says it is free and nonpartisan. However its Washington State promoter and sponsor, the Washington Policy Center, is ideologically right wing and has an ideological agenda that is anti-government regulation and pro free market business interests.

The Washington Policy Center is a member of the national State Policy Network which Source Watch characterizes as “a professional service organization for the “state-based free market think tank movement.”

Visiting the Washington Policy Center’s website let you see what some of their recent action agenda has been.

They recommended repeal of Washington State’s inheritance tax which Washington voters rejected last year.
They supported land use policies like Oregon’s measure 37 to compensate property owners for zoning changes. Voters also rejected that proposal.

They opposed banning PBDE’s – toxic flame retardants urging that Washington state not adopt a “precautionary” approach to environmental hazards. The Washington State Legislature just passed a ban on PBDE’s.
They opposed stricter air emissions standards for cars. The Legislature passed a measure to follow California’s lead to reduce air pollution.
They questioned the validity of recent global warming impacts reported in Washington State.

So what is their interest in setting up and maintaining a website that allows voters and citizens to access information about the Washington State Legislature? Isn’t this a good thing they are doing, helping citizens to be more informed on what the Washington State Legislature is doing?

In my recent post “WashingtonVotes.org Lacks Privacy Policy” I raised a serious question about whether or not the website is being used to collect and mine user data from unsuspecting users for information. I contend that it is. Reading their “terms of use” posted on the site says that a private entity, USA Votes, Inc actually owns the site and that, in their own words

“By posting comments, inputting data, or engaging in any other form of communication on, with, or through the Washington Votes web site, you are granting USA Votes, Inc. a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, irrevocable, unrestricted, worldwide license to:Use, copy, sublicense, adapt, transmit, publicly perform or display any such communication. Sublicense or transfer to third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the foregoing rights granted with respect to the communication.
The foregoing grants shall include the right to exploit any proprietary rights in such communication, including but not limited to rights under copyright, trademark. “

The WashingtonVotes.org site is patterned after MichiganVotes.org which has an almost identical “terms of use” agreement. What is curious here is that both Washington and Michigan have official state government Legislative websites which detail privacy protections for people using the state websites. I previously wrote about Washington’s.

Reading Michigan’s official state site privacy policy points out even clearer what it is you are giving up by using these websites that are privately run and owned by “free market” right wing think tank interests. You are agreeing to give up your privacy and letting information about your legislative and voting and political interests and positions be sold or used by those on the right wing for their own financial, political or ideological gain.

Here is the Michigan State Legislative website privacy statement:

“Types of Information Collected Online
Information collected online is usually defined as being either anonymous information (data that cannot be tied back to a specific individual) or personally identifiable information (data that tell us who you are, such as your name, address, e-mail address).
Anonymous Information Unless you provide additional information, the Michigan Legislature website collects only the following anonymous information as you browse through the website:
The domain name and browser used to access the Internet (e.g., aol.com, if you are using an America Online account); The date and time of visits; The pages visited; and The address of the website visited immediately prior to visiting the Michigan Legislature website We collect this information for statistical purposes(e.g., to measure site traffic) and to help us make our site more useful to visitors.

Personally Identifiable Information You do not have to provide the Michigan Legislature website with personally identifiable information to visit our website.The Michigan Legislature website collects personally identifiable information on visitors in the following ways:

Optional User Registration.You are sharing personally identifiable information when you sign up to become a registered user. When you register, it is not necessary to provide us with either your true name or your e-mail address. We request this information because, if you lose or forget your User ID or Password, this information will assist us in helping you regain access to your account. If you become a registered user, you will have complete access to your account information, and may change or delete any registration information that you choose.
Correspondence. If you contact the Michigan Legislature website by e-mail, we may keep a record of that correspondence as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication. However, we do not collect the e-mail addresses of users who communicate with the site’s administrators via e-mail.

Use of Cookies

The Michigan Legislature website does not use cookies.

Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information The Michigan Legislature website does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personally identifiable information (to the extent given) to third parties, unless: We need to share the information to provide the service or information you have requested; or We are authorized to do so bylaw (e.g., to respond to subpoenas, court orders, or legal process).”

Contrasting the WashingtonVotes.org and MichiganVotes.org “terms of use” with their respective state’s official Legislative website’s privacy protections points out the lack of privacy protections on the USAVotes websites, which also include MinnesotaVotes.org, KentuckyVotes.org and UtahVotes.org.
From an organizational sense a website like WashingtonVotes.org can provide a lot of valuable information to the sponsors. The site is set up to encourage people to register for specific services, including being e-mailed about specific bills and preparing legislative watch lists and posting comments on bills. The site lets the sponsors know what e-mails are being sent to legislators. It lets them know what bills people are searching for by bill number, keyword or one of 50 categories. It lets them know what bills members of the media are tracking if they register and can track IPO’s even if they don’t register.

In addition the site let’s a right wing think tank prioritize what bills it wants to emphasize to the public. For example in searching by category like environment a series of 60 bills came up. They were not by bill number or date of action. Deciding which bills come up when is a subtle form of controlling access to legislative information.

Likewise, some 25 newspaper buy services of WashingtonVotes.org on voting information on the top five 5 bills each week. Again a right wing free market think tank is determining what is chosen and printed in newspapers.

One has to admit that WashingtonVotes is a clever way for the right wing to try to influence the legislative agenda and information voters access in Washington State. Re-packaging and promoting the information from the official Washington State Legislative website at http://www.leg.wa.gov/ and posting it on WashingtonVotes.org gives them a pulse on what is happening with both constituents and citizens while also controlling information access.

The Washington Policy Center is cleverly using the WashingtonVotes.org website to enhance it’s image as a good government group. But its lack of a privacy policy that protects its users from information on them being sold or used to promote right wing causes undercuts its credibility as an unbiased player in the political arena.

Until and unless the Washington Policy Center, WashingtonVotes.org and USAVotes Inc publicly disavow any collecting of personal information and sale or use of such information for either private monetary or political or ideological gain I urge people to not use their website. Almost all of the information is available at the official Washington State Legislative website at http://www.leg.wa.gov/. You don’t need to have some right wing snoop group invade your privacy and use or sell information on you to others.

Right wing WashingtonVotes.org Lacks Privacy Policy

If you want your communication between you and your Washington State Legislator to be private do not use WashingtonVotes.org because they don’t have a privacy policy. If you want your search results for Legislative bills and any other legislative searches to be private and not sold to private parties, do not do your search through the Washington Policy Center’s WashingtonVotes.org website. Use the official Washington State website at http://www.leg.wa.gov/ instead.

One can not accuse WashingtonVotes.org of not warning you. Each page contains a “terms of use” link at the bottom. Here’s the language that says your communication with your Legislator is not private and can be sold and given to third parties.

“By posting comments, inputting data, or engaging in any other form of communication on, with, or through the Washington Votes web site, you are granting USA Votes, Inc. a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, irrevocable, unrestricted, worldwide license to:
Use, copy, sublicense, adapt, transmit, publicly perform or display any such communication.
Sublicense or transfer to third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the foregoing rights granted with respect to the communication.

The foregoing grants shall include the right to exploit any proprietary rights in such communication, including but not limited to rights under copyright, trademark, “

Contrast this with the “Privacy Notice Information ” posted on the official state legislative website at http://www.leg.wa.gov/.

If you use a Representative’s or Senator’s email form, the address you provide is used to determine your voting district. The address and content that you submit via the member’s email form are forwarded to the receiving member. Your name, address, and the content of your message are not retained on legislative systems for any other purpose.”

The WashingtonVotes.org disclaimer says that

“This site is owned and operated by USA Votes, Inc. and contains material which is derived in whole or in part from material supplied by USA Votes, Inc. and other sources, and is protected by international copyright and trademark laws.”

While the site states that,

USA Votes, Inc. may provide links and pointers to Internet sites maintained by third parties. USA Votes, Inc. does not operate or control in any respect any information, products or services on these third-party sites.”

The link to communicate to your Legislator is not identified as an external link but is part of the site. So it is covered by the “terms of use” agreement.

In addition the site can collect information on you when you use other services it has. These include when you use its ability to search:

“….. every bill, amendment, roll call vote and voice vote.
Ability to track all the votes of a particular legislator, or search by bill number, category or keyword.
Ability to view all the bills and amendments introduced by a particular legislator.
Ability to post a public comment, view others’ comments, and participate in citizen surveys on each bill.
Automatically e-mail legislators or others about a bill.
Ability to follow action in any one or more of 50 different categories of legislation (such as Education or Land Use or Taxes).
Ability to sign up for e-mail notifications of action on any bill or subject area of interest, including new bill introductions.

The site can also track when you click “to register to vote”.

What WashingtonVotes.org is set up to do is collect information on you and your legislative interests and concerns. It is spying on you and your communications with your legislator as well as that of others who use the site. The site is set up to collect information and help in identifying and microtargeting voter’s positions on issues and their specific concerns. And it is being done by right wing free market conservative interests.

WashingtonVotes.org states that it is

“a free public service of Washington Policy Center, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization that does not lobby or endorse candidates”

However there is more to this than meets the eye. The Washington Policy Center is actually part of a national group of so called “free market” think tanks that oppose government regulation and taxes. Former Republican candidate Jack Kemp is quoted on WashingtonVotes ‘ website as calling them “The Heritage Foundation of the Northwest”

The information gleamed from Washington Votes.org becomes the property of USAVotes Inc. They can use and sell the information they collect on you about your legislative communications and issue searches through the website to others, like the National Rifle Association or the US Chamber of Commerce or marketing research firms that do micro-targeting for conservative causes.

The site allows very detailed microtargeting because a person can search both legislation and legislator’s voting records by 50 different categories or by bill numbers or keywords. USA Today in the 2006 election discussed

the sophisticated microtargeting techniques that have enabled Republicans to find and motivate potential supporters across the country….
Over the past six years, Republicans have become expert at finding them and anyone else with potential GOP leanings, even in states where voters don’t register by party.
In a process called microtargeting they collect as much information as possible about voters from public records, Census data and marketing research firms. That’s used to create profiles including everything from voting history, job and marital status to where people live, what they drive, what they read and whether they fish.
The end product is a score indicating someone’s likelihood of voting, of supporting one party or the other and of being interested in certain issues. Advocates then use that information to determine whom to contact and what kind of pitch to use.

In a press release issued in Jan 2006 by the Washington Policy Center it claimed that WashingtonVotes.org had 1.1 million visits and nearly 5 million hits for the 2005-2006 Legislative session. That’s a lot of identifying data.

Washington State is not alone in this collection of data for microtargeting. USAVotes.org is the brainchild of a Michigan based right wing free market think tank called the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. An identical looking website to WashingtonVotes.org is at MichiganVotes.org. It has an identical “Terms of Use” agreement except for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy owning the information.

Michigan was one of the first states that used microtargeting in elections. They still do. An analysis of the 2006 election by the Michigan Republican Party included the following information:

“Voter Vault and MicroTargeting
More than $250,000 was invested in technological upgrades to the RNC based Michigan Voter Vault file. Microtargeting, we dissected the statewide voter file containing records of more than 7 million voters using a hybrid of political survey and consumer marketing data. The result was a highly effective targeting tool that places those 7 million voters into more than 40 unique segments based upon their likelihood of voting Republican. Furthermore, those 40+ segments are dissected further into both propensity to vote and responsiveness to key issues. This allowed the MRP to highly target the messaging that was delivered to each voter via phones, mail, or in person at their doors.”

MSNBC.com in an article on Oct 18, 2006 entitled “Micro-targeting may be key to election” had the following statement:

“Saul Anuzis, chairman of the Michigan Republican party, explained how micro-targeting works:“We have two sets of IDs (voter identifications). We have the Republican National Committee ID that is done on the national level, and then each state has the ability to add what we call ‘affiliation codes.’ Each state will take different things they can get information on and add them to its micro-targeting universe.

WashingtonVotes.org and MichiganVotes.org are part of a larger strategy nationwide by conservative right wing groups to collect information on voters. USA Votes Inc, based out of Midland Michigan says on its website that it is “an organization devoted to assisting state-based organizations to launch and maintain state legislative information web sites.”

USA Votes states that they use

” the technology developed by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy for their highly successful web site,

MichiganVotes.org. USA Votes is the organization providing the Internet application and technical training to allow organizations to replicate this effort in their state. Our goal is to expand this concept so that all 50 states will have their own “Votes” web sites.”

“The network that we are using for sponsoring organizations is the State Policy Network, (www.spn.org), a national association of state-based, public policy research institutes. We will also be working through local Chambers of Commerce and other nonprofit organizations that support accountability in government.”
To date they have set up voting websites in 3 additional states besides Michigan and Washington. The other sites are: MinnesotaVotes.org, and Utah Votes.org, and KentuckyVotes.org

The irony is that the Minnesota State Legislature has its own website just like Washington State does. It’s at http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/legis.asp. Utah also has an official state legislative website at http://www.le.state.ut.us/. So does Kentucky at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/. The Michigan Legislative site is http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(gobsc455dm50ylfejmbvz255))/mileg.aspx?page=home

What the right wing is doing is repackaging information it takes off of the official state websites and then is trying to promote people using the USA Votes websites so they can mine information from citizens using their websites. They promote their websites as a free “nonpartisan” public service and can solicit money to support their collecting data which they can then sell or give to others to do things like microtarget voters for conservative campaigns or candidates or build up membership lists for right wing issue groups.

In Washington state they are also yielding power and exposure by selling information to newspapers. According to their Jan. press release Twenty-five newspapers around the state have subscribed to the WashingtonVotes.org Legislative Roll Call service for 2007 including The Seattle Times, Seattle PI, Spokesman-Review, Olympian, and Tacoma News Tribune. Each paper will publish the top 5 bills of the week and how legislators in their area voted on them. See examples – Tacoma News Tribune and tmcnet.com

In January a number of newspapers also responded to their press release and gave free promotion to WashingtonVotes’ website despite the fact that the Washington State Legislature’s website is the source for most of WasingtonVotes’ information.

All this helps to give WashingtonVotes more exposure in the legislative arena and get more people to use their website. In addition they are exerting information control on issues by deciding which 5 top bills they promote. They gain more control over state policy exposure and newspapers give up independence by letting a “free market”, anti regulation, anti tax right wing think tank decide what the 5 top bills of the week are.

Meanwhile the free to use publicly paid for nonpartisan official state Legislative website is not promoted by many of the news media. It is mostly state taxpayer funded compilation done by the Washington State Legislature and available at http://www.leg.wa.gov/ that is being used by the Washington Policy Center, USA Votes INC. and WashingtonVotes.org to promote and push the visibility and credibility of a conservative right wing free market agenda .

Frankly it is a rip off, deceitful and deceptive. The above is my interpretation of what to all intents and purposes appears to me to be a blatant invasion of privacy, a deceitful mining of data for ideological purposes and private gain. I think the Washington State Legislature and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office need to look into the operations of WashingtonVotes and determine if there is a deceptive and disguised effort to obtain information for private purposes and use of this data by nonprofit, for profit or partisan microtargeting consulting businesses or groups like the US Chamber of Commerce which is associated with the State Policy Network.

No matter how you interpret it, WashingtonVotes like MichiganVotes and the other websites, have been set up to help further the agenda of the “free market” anti regulation right wing think tanks. Using terms like free and nonpartisan are only a cover for the real purpose of these websites. I urge Washington citizens, organizations, the media, bloggers, political activists and others to not use WashingtonVotes to communicate with Legislators or to promote this site set up to help further the right wing agenda pushed by conservative and libertarian think tanks.

"The Path to 9/11" – Conservatives Attempt to Re-write History.

Melanie McFarland in the Seattle PI today makes an outrageous statement about the controversial Disney/ABC movie on 9/11 slated to be aired this Sunday and Monday.

Some groups, including members of Congress, also requested the show be pulled from broadcast altogether. Wrong move. No political body in a free society has the right to pressure any network into censoring entertainment, even one with factual misrepresentations.”

There is a stange concept here. Two months before an election that could change the political party controlling Congress, McFarland considers a conservative re-writing of what actually happened on 9/11, entertainment and that one shouldn’t question the truthfulness of what is depicted.

Republicans and Bush are trying to make 9/11 and fighting terrorists part of their political game plan to retain Republican control of Congress. Yet McFarlard in her article headline says “Fudged drama put ‘Path to 9/11’ on slippery slope”. So how is it censoring something when members of Congress and others, including those actually represented,say that the movie is full of factual misrepresentations and untruths and should not be aired as written.

Does McFarland really believe that a movie entitled ‘The Path to 9/11″ will be seen as a fictional made up ‘story’ for entertainment? Most members of the public will see no distinction between a so called docudrama and and a documentary. They will see what appears to be a truthful rendition of what happened. Problem is, it isn’t truthful.

Just like H.G.Wells’ infamous radio reading of “The War of the Worlds”, presented as if true for entertainment value, most viewers also will not notice the disclaimer by Disney/ABC which also says it based on the 9/11 Commission report.

The Washington Post on Thursday noted:

Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright called one scene involving her “false and defamatory.” Former national security adviser Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger said the film “flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions.” And former White House aide Bruce R. Lindsey, who now heads the William J. Clinton Foundation, said: “It is unconscionable to mislead the American public about one of the most horrendous tragedies our country has ever known.”

ABC’s entertainment division said the six-hour movie, “The Path to 9/11,” will say in a disclaimer that it is a “dramatization . . . not a documentary” and contains “fictionalized scenes.” But the disclaimer also says the movie is based on the Sept. 11 commission’s report, although that report contradicts several key scenes.

As the
Washington Post notes, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative media are not considering it fictional.

Limbaugh, saying that the screenwriter, Cyrus Nowrasteh, is a friend of his, told his radio audience that the film “indicts the Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger. It is just devastating to the Clinton administration. It talks about how we had chances to capture bin Laden in specific detail.”

Elsewhere the Washington Post notes: “Nowrasteh, who has described himself as a conservative …”

Do you start to get the picture? The screenwriter for this movie is not unbiased but is producing a movie in which he is adding made up dialogue that represents his political bias. He did not consult with the principals like Madeline Albright as to what she may have said or how she reacted but is instead putting words into their mouths to say that are not true.

And as ThinkProgress notes, while Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives received copies of the movie, requests by principals in the movie, like President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger, were not given copies of the film to review, despite sending letters requesting to get a copy.

And to further call into question that this movie is not politically motivated, answer why George W Bush has scheduled a press conference at 9 P.M. on the second day of the movie. This will preempt the show on that day and move it’s starting time back. Bush wants to be associated with this movie and has set himself up to be the leadin on Monday night.

See also:

The Oregonian – ABC’s “Path to 9/11” problematic, no matter what
CoolAqua – Willful Deception, ABC/Disneys Partisan & Libelous Attack on History
CoolAqua – Disney Management Puts Party (RNC) Above Fudiciary Responsibilities
Evergreen Politics – The Story Behind ABC’s “Path to 9/11”
PamSpalding.cpm – The Pet Goat excised from ABC’s “Path to 9/11”
ThinkProgress – ABC Refuses to Provide Copies of Path to 9/11 to Clinton, Albright, Berger
Northwest Progressive – President Clinton to ABC – Pull this Trash

You’re Kidding? Rumsfeld Approved Photos?

No, I kid you not. The Republican war hysteria noise machine pulled a fast one on the American people and the news media. New York Times photographer Linda Spillers told Glenn Greenwald in an e-mail that:

“Ironically, photos were taken with Secretary Rumsfeld‘s permission.”

Greenwald wrote a detailed scathing commentary on the bogus Republican hit on the New York Times Travel section, that included pictures of Rumsfeld‘s vacation home, entitled “Conservative pundits reveal murderous plot by the Travel Section of the NYT! “

As Greenwald reports in a new post today entitled, “What is Left of Malkin,Hinderkaer and Horowitz’s Credibility?”

“The reprehensible lynch mob hysterics – Michelle Malkin, John Hinderaker, Red State, David Horowitz – spent the weekend screaming that the Times was guilty of gross recklessness and/or a deliberate intent to have Rumsfeld killed, by virtue of publication of this article. That bloodthirsty frenzy caused other bloggers to
the home address and telephone number of Spillers and urged that other NYT editors and reporters be “hunted down.” Other followers of Malkin and Hinderaker suggested to their readers that this was yet more evidence of the unpatriotic recklessness of the NYT.

All along, Don Rumsfeld gave his express permission to the NYT for these photographs to be taken. How can anything other than complete scorn be heaped on Malkin, Hinderaker, Horowitz, Red State, and all of the uber-patriotic copycat accusers who spent the weekend spewing the most dangerous accusations possible based on completely false premises? Who would think that any of them have a shred of credibility after seeing how irresponsible and impervious to facts they are — even when knowingly catalyzing lynch mobs against people?”

Once again the Republican’s have succeeded in diverting attention from the real issues by putting up a smokescreen and changing the topic away from issues they can not justify. Instead of questions being pursed about Bush’s Presidential authority to go through bank records in pursuit of terrorists, the issue becomes the New Times Times and patriotism. Then it becomes trumped up charges of trying to kill Rumsfeld. Again noise, noise, noise and the media follows the noise like children following the Pied Piper.

Where is the backbone of the press? Is our countries destiny to have a press approved by Presidential fiat only? Say bye, bye free press, unless everyone wakes up and sees the lies and deceit of an arrogant President and his followers who believe they are above the law. The issue here is one of Presidential power and a free press.

The Republican noise machine is in full force. Divide and conquer. The Republican answer to any questions of Constitutionality and Presidential power is to say we are in a war and that trumps all else. But if we give up a free press we have lost the war anyway.