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Saturday, October 27, 2012

On or off

A reader who lives not too far from us has more patience than we do with people who appear on his doorstep unannounced. He reports this encounter this afternoon:

A bright 30-something young man, fashionably stubbled, just knocked on my inner NE Portland door asking if I would like to vote for Charlie Hales for mayor. I seized the opportunity and asked him pointedly which was the fraud, the false voter registration or the false filing of the non-resident Oregon income tax.

His answer was that it was a really gray area and it wouldn't have been a problem if Hales hadn't decided after the fact to run for office again. My response -- "Huh?" You can only have one domicile, I told him. He said, "Well, it wasn't illegal, but I admit it was unethical."

No, it was fraud. He kept referring to gray areas, so I flipped the switch and asked him if my porch light was on or off. He looked, saw, but decided he didn't want to answer.

I told him that it made me very sad and discouraged to see a bright young guy like him who had ignored truth in order to support someone that he believed in for other reasons. We talked longer, but it's all too depressing to recount.

Of course, Hales will win overwhelmingly. Damn.

It's a painful time for Portland, that's for sure. People are realizing that the next four years at City Hall may be worse than the last four, if that's possible.

Comments (37)

I woke up today thinking about this, because I'm trying to get psyched up to vote and it's an ugly feeling. Elections force us to be unethical. They really do.

It's like morality has an epicenter and the farther away from ground zero you get, the weaker your morality becomes.

President Obama killed a 16-year-old American last year with a drone in Yemen. The kid's father was a terrorist so the idea was that he was collateral damage. One problem with that is that they killed the father 2 weeks before they killed the teenage kid.

Here's the exchange at the White House presser:
ADAMSON: "...It's an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial. And, he's underage. He's a minor."
GIBBS: "I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don't think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business."

I know if you went to Lloyd Center and tried to shoot someone, and shot a 16-year-old who was nearby, it would be murder. The idea that you weren't aiming at him, wouldn't matter. The idea that it was a mistake wouldn't matter. It would be seen as a crime, especially if it was 2 weeks after you shot the guy you were trying to kill.

But that's nearby. That's near our moral epicenters where we judge things differently.

Shouldn't morality extend further out then the local mall?
If President Obama came to Portland and killed a 16-year-old American, we'd all be freaked out. Instead a lot of us are going to vote for him. That's an ugly feeling.

Some would call these actions in Yemen the acts of a war criminal. This business of sending drones to countries we're not at war with and then killing people? What do you call that?

The classic part is when Obama supporters say that we have to vote for him because he could decide the next Supreme Court Justices. We have to vote for a war criminal in the name of justice? How far through the looking glass are we here?

The answer is that it is not the same magnitude of morality as you get further from the epicenter. Oh, and besides, those are drones. There's nobody really in them.

But Washington state is nearer, isn't it? Some people who will vote for Obama despite his moral character, can't bring themselves to vote for Charlie Hales for moral reasons. It's ridiculous.

See, Charlie is too close. If he was killing an American teenager in Yemen, we could overlook that. But cheating on his voting or his taxes nearby? We can't vote for someone like that. Give me a break.

Part of me wishes it was only in Portland, as the national--and for that matter international--stage is pretty damn depressing itself. Cynicism is the new norm, the young man combats his own with a sense of pragmatism in the name of some ideal that Hale's likely policies represent to him. The truth is that to many progressives Portland represents a hopeful beacon of forward thinking in a country of depressing ugliness. Those of us from here and paying attention recognize all the costly tradeoffs we have made to build so many empty cathedrals; shinny trains instead of functional transit, fancy condos instead of social services to those in most need.

Your reader is completely right. It's a damn sad state we are all in, but what do you do? The left is corrupt and the right is bats**t crazy and wants to take us back to the 1880's. Sucks.

One of the first significant acts Obama took on ascending to the White House in 2009 was to launch cruise missiles into Pakistan. Hence, he's been referred to as "Obomber" in some circles. Still, Romney would do even more horrid things, abroad and at home, with less rationalization because he's conscienceless. Oregon's a solid blue for the Presidential race, so vote your conscience Bill, and everyone else in town.

As for the Mayor's "race" -- write in somebody else other than the 2 rotten apples in the ballot barrel. Looks like Jack's going to have to crank up another countdown clock.

Trick or Trick? Give us someone else to pick!

Bill, you have to take into account the degree of damage that the worse of two evils will do. If Nutsy Smith is elected mayor, we'll have a mentally unstable person running the city government. That is not new, and what's the worst that can happen? Degradation of municipal services? That's going to happen under Hales, too.

In contrast, three more Scalias on the Supreme Court would roll back the Bill of Rights to the Stone Age. Young American women who want abortions will be hitchhiking to Mexico and dying in back alleys. The cops will be crawling even further up our cavities than they already are. Dick Cheney will be back.

I'm willing to hold my nose just to stop Romney. I'm not as willing to do it just to stop Smith.

Then again, if Obama really needs my vote to win Oregon, he's going to lose. I may yet vote for the Libertarian Party guy.

Bill, you still thinking about Tony Lloyd Stevenson and Ben Linder? Me too.

We may feel uneasy about the choices we have in Portland for mayor, but the media is covering up a more important story about the President of the United States and his involvement in the Bengahzi murder of our ambassador and 3 US citezins.

It is clear now that the White House at real time video from drones over the Bengazhi consulate and that the CIA post in Bengahzi had asked twice for permission to help the consulate and was told to stand down twice. In the end the CIA operatives disobeyed orders and went to the consulate and saved 30 people, but unfortunately did not save the ambassador.

It is now clear that even though the consulate and the CIA building in Bengahzi were under attack, that no help was immediately dispatched and planes that could have reached both sites in time to help were not dispatched.

The decisions not to help were purely political--to bolster the president's claim that Al Quaida had been defeated and Lybia was a friend of the US.

The lack of coverage by the mainstream media is astounding and maybe the end of them. If you want to know anything about this story you have to turn to Fox News as they have the story and are telling it.

This is a sad time for the president who would rather campaign than take care of his duties to protect US citizens and a sad time for the mainstream media that is failing to tell the truth.

Good post, Dick Smith. I agree that the cover-up of Benghazi is disturbing. From all I have read and synthesized (and I never watch Fox News) I think it is testament to the fact that Obama has no idea what he is doing. That is why, as I have said elsewhere, I think he is the biggest fraud ever elected as US President. I will hold my nose and vote for Romney (not that in Oregon there is any contest).

On the other hand, this arrived tonight, unbidden. (I wish you had printed up 50,000 preprinted labels for Lavonne, you'd have gotten her elected.)
This is Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson – one of the Wisconsin 14. (Now, the Wisconsin 17 after winning 3 recall elections!) I’m writing you with a request. 

As cable news shows focus on the race for President and Congress, please don’t forget what happened in Wisconsin.

In 2010, the Koch Brothers and right-wing organizations like ALEC operated below the radar and seized power in the states. With that power, they declared war on voting rights, unions, students, teachers, nurses, the safety net, and government as a whole. They did more harm in the states than the Tea Party was able to do in Congress.

Right now, there are local progressive candidates who need your help -- including Jefferson Smith, running for Portland Mayor. These are the leaders who, if they win, will fight hardest against these right-wing assaults. More important, these bold progressives will go on offense instead of just playing defense. 

Can you sign up to make calls from your home for Jefferson Smith at 4pm Pacific Time this Sunday? Click here.

You can also chip in $5 to his campaign here.

Jefferson Smith is a movement progressive who started a grassroots organization called The Bus Project, which was so successful it spread to other states. He is a young elected official who served in the Oregon legislature and is now running for Portland Mayor on an agenda of enlightened progressive urban policy. He deserves your support, and is worth your time this Sunday.


Senator Chris Larson

I think stopping Jefferson Smith now is more than just keeping an unstable guy from running the city. He would use the mayor platform to begin a run for governor and from there...
Need I remind you George W. Bush was once a governor.

So, my friends, this is bigger than stopping Jefferson Smith from becoming mayor. This is about saving America.
(Roll campaign slogan and patriotic music)

Don't let Jefferson Smith Give Uncle Sam a Kick in the Balls.

Dick Smith..."Dick" pretty much sums it up...

Bill...there's a lot I want to say right now about your post, but I'm not going to say it because I'd like to think I have too much respect for your intelligence and insight. Romney as P.O.T.U.S. will be a frikin' disaster to this country of epic proportions, beyond anything we have seen in generations. Apparently, you are all set up in retirement, or whatever, but many of us need to eat, and we have kids who need a future. Life is often about compromise. Obama's foolish mistake was running for president of a country that was already in the toilet. Within days after the election I was thinking...wow...maybe the Republicans wanted him to win because they knew he'd be easy pickings the next time around. This race shouldn't even be close...maybe my instincts way back then were spot on.

I wonder what color the sky is on Senator Larson's planet?

Hales, like so many electeds in the Portland region who survive by the group fraud they feed off of,
is defective in many ways.
Mostly with the kind of dishonesty that gets license to deceive from the inept and unethical group preaching livability.
They are creeps and they suck.

"The [second] City That Works" has become "The City of The Damned."

Some historical reference for the Gen Yers here -- "Return of the Cuckoos"

Moral dilemmas: Nakoula Besseley Nakoula has been in jail for over a month, with no bail hearing (it's conveniently scheduled for after the election).


Nakoula drew the Administration's ire for posting a crummy trailer for a stupid movie on YouTube. The Administration knew that the movie had nothing to do with anything when they had him "brought downtown" in the middle of the night by the L.A. County Sherriff.

New Jersey's own Jon Corzine -- big money bankster, the type of which is ruining the country according to some -- walks around free, after he somehow made (or allowed) over $1 billion in his client's money to disappear. No criminal case is likely:


Oh, and one more thing -- Corzine is a big campaign bundler (one of the top fundraisers -- and that's saying something) for the guy in charge, the guy who had Nakoula locked up.

Moral dilemmas.

Sounds like last September's Bengahzi attack was another 9-11 in the making.

Oh, wait!

Earlier today you wrote:

If Nutsy Smith is elected mayor, we'll have a mentally unstable person running the city government. That is not new, and what's the worst that can happen? Degradation of municipal services? That's going to happen under Hales, too.

I already addressed my feelings on that in my piece on Blue Oregon:

"This is not a game. This is not a Portlandia skit. Think of the worst-case scenario: a major earthquake. We have one candidate who spent a decade at city hall learning how to run this city."

Tonight in BC we were reminded what we could face here at any moment. At that time I think it would be a lot better to have an emotionally stable adult in charge of Portland, rather than an emotional mess like Jefferson Smith.

Got the Katz endorsing Hales flyer today.
Please, haven't we had enough of the Katz/Hales/Adams regime?
Bill, I agree that stopping Jefferson is critical, but I think he pretty well did that to himself. Years ago, I thought Charlie Hales should have been recalled and needed to be done to stop him from coming back. I also was worried he would be back wanting in as Governor. The irony is that both of these two may have used this race as a stepping stone. But here Hales is, it appears to be "waltzing" back in, he has been given a pass and for those of us who know his mode of operation and who he represents, this is disturbing and heartbreaking.

The only way to extract ourselves from this choke hold is a write-in at this point.
The last I heard over 50% of the people are undecided. For those who cannot bring themselves to vote for these two, please check the website of Scott Fernandez,
a serious write-in candidate.


If it's so over, why do I see references to a 7-point gap between Hales and Smith, and does anybody have any numbers showing any traction for Scott or the city auditor?

If Smith sneaks in because people are voting for gestures, it will be a tragedy. Can you imagine a major earthquake here and everyone turns to Jefferson and he starts into some ridiculous stream of ideas speech: "I know...let's get 15,000 volunteers to build a sea wall..." Maybe he'll call his dad and ask for help to get out of it.

If the ground starts shaking you don't want a mayor who's already shaky to begin with.

I say start with our worst case scenario (a 9.0 earthquake) and prepare for that. If it does happen having Hales as mayor over Smith is a no brainer.

I think it's sad that this time of year, I don't even bother to answer my phone or doorbell (except for trick or treat & I only get 1/10th of a few years ago).

I'd glady answer if I knew it was a candidate, but I know that's not going to happen. Robocalls and paid canvassers ... THEY should pay ME.

Sometimes I embrace my cynicism ... sometimes I regret it.

Imagine if all of those people who wasted their votes in 2000 on Al Gore had voted for Ralph Nader instead....

Mojo, I voted for Nader in 2000. Not sure if I'll ever protest vote again, but I don't regret it.

In case of a big earthquake, Hales would just move back to Stephenson, Washington.

Voted for Hales. He is not a good candidate, was tempted to write in Brady, LGV, or Fernandez. But I really think Smith would be a true disaster as mayor. Hales will be Vera, maybe worse, but behind the corruption at least there is some sense. Smith is a wildcard in every sense of the word, and while Hales plays politics when he sees an enemy (the OLCV fiasco and union jabs), but Smith showing up at that woman's house scared me - he has no self control, and nobody around him can keep him in line.

just saw pictures of Nutsy doing a handstand at a political gathering, with no reference to date/place.

When he starts stripping for donations, I'll LIKE his Facebook page.

The St Johns Parade is held every spring, and during an election year it is particularly entertaining to watch the politicians. Usually some vintage car collector will have one or two policians riding in their pristine convertible, they wave and keep going.

Despite the fact that his car had giant bull horns on the grill, I don't think one city commissioner knew that his car also had balls hanging next to the tailpipe but everyone next to me thought it was great and they would vote for him again. One year Randy Leonard was sitting on top of a sports car and I could hear him pay respect to a particularly rowdy St. John's Bar (now sadly yuppified) I was impressed. Other anecdotes are too numerous to mention.

This year I got to see Jefferson Smith doing handstands and cartwheels. Lots of them. Where I was standing was at the end of the route so he had to have been doing this all along. He didn't appear tired in the least. It was pretty awesome. I didn't see Charlie Hales in the parade at all. I did get distracted by a food booth and could have missed him but he probably was riding in a beautiful convertible, waving. Or he could have been obscured by those crazy pirates.

I generally won't vote in a city election unless I've seen the candidate in person on at least one occasion. I've met Charlie Hales before; he is very polite and even though it was for only less than 30 seconds I feel he is my friend for life. However, his policies favor a Portland I can't afford to live in, and I am shocked that he is so clueless about police matters despite his 10 years as a commissioner.

My only personal interaction with Jefferson Smith was at the parade. I had to stop myself from marching along with him the rest of the route. I still can't figure out why. I did snap out of it.

This, of course, goes far beyond Portland. Hales and Smith are tools of the oligarchy, reaching all the way to the US Government:


This is for me, an important read.

This is what the 2 party system offers us Americans.
You have to vote third party, that's the only option left to thinking citizens.

"Plutocracy Rising"
October 19, 2012

Journalists Matt Taibbi and Chrystia Freeland discuss how far America’s super-rich will go to keep the One Percent in charge.

Moyers & Company

The One Percent is not only increasing their share of wealth — they’re using it to spread millions among political candidates who serve their interests. Example: Goldman Sachs, which gave more money than any other major American corporation to Barack Obama in 2008, is switching alliances this year; their employees have given $900,000 both to Mitt Romney’s campaign and to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. Why? Because, says the Wall Street Journal, the Goldman Sachs gang felt betrayed by President Obama’s modest attempts at financial reform.

To discuss how the super-rich have willfully confused their self-interest with America’s interest, Bill is joined by Rolling Stone magazine’s Matt Taibbi, who regularly shines his spotlight on scandals involving big business and government, and journalist Chrystia Freeland, author of the new book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

Following the conversation, Bill shares his thoughts on corporate executives who — enabled by the Citizens United ruling — are strong-arming their employees to vote as they say, from the Murray Energy CEO who reportedly made his workers spend unpaid time at a pro-Romney rally; to David and Charles Koch, who sent anti-Obama and pro-Romney materials to the 45,000 employees of their subsidiary Georgia Pacific; to ASG Solutions boss Arthur Allen, who sent an intimidating email to his employees.

...how far America’s super-rich will go to keep the One Percent in charge.

The control of the media is keeping the One Percent in charge as well, and here locally, "our oligarchy" is doing what they need to do. First, by only paying attention to the pre-selected candidates and then the control on our elections by not allowing others to participate in important debates and the follow up with the inner circle glossy expensive flyers and endorsements. The majority of the people are essentially left out without a choice other than what the oligarchy has set up. In my opinion, we have a club or class warfare right here in river city. How many do we have who support this for a small favor or a handshake making them feel a part of it?

President Obama always acted as if going easy on his opponents would garner him some kind of good will further down the line. Even when he had leverage, he gave it away, thinking the other side would remember and wouldn't just accept the good breaks and press for more.
Remember his famous quote where he told the bankers, "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks"?

So he spent 4 years kissing up to Wall Street, while he should have been going after these financial gangsters, and if he had he would have been a shoe-in for reelection. Oh, and along the way, just maybe we could have straightened America out.

In a way, it serves him right for being played. In fact, if I were advising him - and I tried to send this idea to the White House through someone I know in Washington - I would base his campaign on a football analogy: the rookie quarterback who was learning the game; who after 4 losing seasons could be finally ready to play for a championship. I don't think that's spin. I think that's how it happened.

"Romney as P.O.T.U.S. will be a frikin' disaster to this country of epic proportions, beyond anything we have seen in generations."

Don't we hear this same refrain, every election, from both sides of the aisle? Along with a few promises to move to other countries if it happens (none of which have probably ever been kept)?

Don't we hear this same refrain, every election, from both sides of the aisle?

One of them is bound to be right.

So far, the right has been right about Obama. He is a disaster. The question this time is:

"How far off the deep end?"

"Romney as P.O.T.U.S. will be a frikin' disaster to this country of epic proportions, beyond anything we have seen in generations."

Obama is pretty lousy and he has proven to be a frikin' disaster - he is even worse than W. Hard to believe that.

There is no way George W was better than Obama. Just one word proves it: Iraq.
I sure hate to listen to Bill O'Reilly and other right wingers who now admit that Iraq was a mistake for America.
That's on George.

It's a painful time for Portland, that's for sure. People are realizing that the next four years at City Hall may be worse than the last four, if that's possible.

It has been too painful already here, don't know how much more people can take.
How many if they can, are planning to leave if either of these two gets in?

Some of my acquaintances respond that the people are like sheep.
My point is that keeping truthful information away from the people, keeping them uninformed makes for more apathy. How can we expect people to say "I'm mad as hell" as in Network if they are left in the dark?

Go get the information? How easy is it when some are kept so busy they haven't space to even think? Work, children, being tugged every direction, isn't almost everyone you know just exhausted with "the busy?" We are so inundated with entertainment, meetings, and it becomes like a merry go round along with the media spin, waaaay too much for most. It is like a spin out of control into the control of those who are promoting this way of life. It is one holiday escape after another, the next one being Halloween! Unfortunately, there is more thought given to decorating a yard and preparing one's costume than to our election and consideration of democracy.
Maybe people have just given up, the task of achieving any semblance of sanity is too much.

It takes an enormous amount of fortitude and some cash to extract oneself from the scene. The problem also is that much has become global, where to go?

World English Dictionary
oligarchy (ˈɒlɪˌɡɑːkɪ)

— n , pl -chies
1. government by a small group of people
2. a state or organization so governed
3. a small body of individuals ruling such a state
4. chiefly ( US ) a small clique of private citizens who exert a strong influence on government

[C16: via Medieval Latin from Greek oligarkhia, from olígos few + -archy ]

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