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Finance, including the 2008 Crash - Bailouts, and Corporate Welfare Archives

January 9, 1984


Through my involvement with Hampshire College's pioneering S. African divestiture policy (first in the US - the year prior to my freshman year) I was able to attend several of the very early meetings of the trade organization, the SRI Forum.

Below is a letter to a Hampshire College Board Member, John Watts, a Texas born investment banker/lawyer. It concerns the board's selection of an investment adviser, post their divestment decision. This letter introduces my John Watts story, below.

I don't know Mr. Watts 'business' profile, but another Hampshire Board member, Gerald Levin, ended up running Time Warner for a time. Purely speculation, but presumably this guy had a hand in it, though I've no idea of the power career of this 1980's investment banker. He's perhaps best know on campus for giving a graduation speech shortly after the Reagan era fall of the Berlin wall. Quote "The wicked witch of the east, socialism, is now dead". No mention of who the wicked witch of the west was, or is, but I'd suspect he had something, or someone, in mind.

I'd been warned about Mr. Watts, presumably because of actions regarding some of the first generation divestiture activists. I only recall one conversation with him. It was about a mountain area in Northern Mexico that we had both visited. (Creel, Chihuahua - a base of Pancho Villa's and a favorite of mine).

Perhaps my big mistake was later suggesting Republican Dan Evans, former president of Evergreen, to replace the outgoing College President. Mr. Evans was a Senate Colleague of Brock Adams, a parent and also a Board Member. Speculating here, but I'd guess that Evans' quick departure from the Senate was Brock's doing (in hindsight, rightly) and Evans in Adams' career ending scandal (in my opinion likely wrongly).

I've got a theory about some of this, with some additional evidence - more current. Not sure if it all would hold up, but it is something that could be investigated.

Continue reading "Oops!" »

September 6, 1994

Vision Seattle Finance Survey

This is the write up of a survey I did for Vision Seattle on public finance issues. Though not a huge response the folks were quite varied and vocal - and a great way of going viral on a framework - not an agenda. Note especially the results on the Seattle Commons.

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June 5, 1995

520 Tolls

This isn't a letter I'd write today, however I do support congestion pricing with some sort of expenditure control. In my opinion the revenue need not be limited, controlled, to just autos or the specific segment of road where it is generated, but it definitely should be spent in the same corridor and general area.

How one legally defines that is tougher, especially when you've got a whole lot of people making a living off of loopholes.

At the time this was writ I was still a Sound Transit Supporter - a big booster immediately after the 1995 ballot failure. However the seeds of my conversion were well in place by this point.

February 12, 1997

Leveraging the Law through the UW Law School

Before Bill Gates became a big donor at the UW he, through his Father Bill Senior, was involved in an effort to, IMO, bully the campus in order to build a new law school building. This was at the same time they were being actively investigated for anti-trust violations by the US DOJ.

I was the first to write on the subject, below. Rick Anderson of the Seattle Weekly also wrote on the subject and did a better job than I.

Do make note of the advice of Architecture Professor Folke Nyberg, at the end of the article. The Gates would later step up to the plate and make a fair contribution, though not without a fair amount of bad blood with those departments who had been pushed to the back of the line.

(Asterisk)This **may** well also mark the start of their entire philanthropic effort, through the Gates Foundation.

For another perspective worthy of consideration look at this 'priority' as an expression of the authority of Land Use law and it's Institutional Planning regulations to hold itself above its own regulations....

December 9, 2008

Looking at the World through Venetian Blinds

This week the Hunter Douglas window blind company announced it was shutting down its Renton manufacturing facility, laying off 166.

This facility in 1997 was the recipient of $7 million in tax exempt economic development funds. The current result is typical of such financing - the business operates for a few years after the subsidy, than closes - either seeking another subsidy from another community or outsourcing offshore. This practice has evolved somewhat, this, for example, was financing, not a direct giveaway. We shall see if they pay it back though.

The bailout deal for the auto industry, now being finalized has some better conditions being bandied about - removal of the CEO for one. Further, speculation as to whether all three firms will continue to exist is continuing. Chrysler, without an engineering staff, has been mentioned as the most likely to disappear.

But still accountability within the very powerful and legally authorative finance industry continues unabated - even with talk of limiting executive pay we are still bailing out a bunch of fraudsters for their crimes and thefts. For a good a detailed explanation of this, see this story (thanks to WashBlog for the heads up)

Tea House of the August Moon

Tea House of the August Moon

Starring Marlon Brando and Glenn Ford, with Eddie Albert and Harry Morgan

Written by John Patrick and based on his Tony Award winning Play


In the spirit of the 2008 bailout a Hollywood movie that chronicles the restoration 'bailout' of post WW2 Japan. Culturally, this movie wouldn't fly today - casting Brando as an Asian is still funny. But as a statement about the economic forces at work 'Teahouse' is very relevant, and also very funny. The roles played here would typecast all of the cast junior to the great Glenn Ford. Brando's Sakini is as profound as his Colonel Kurtz gone native from 'Apocalypse Now', Eddie Albert, the gardener, would be sent off to the TV show 'Green Acres', and the old army calvary soul Harry Morgan would be promoted to head a 'Mash' unit.

In hte movie Ford is assigned to a small village, charged with setting up a municipal democratic government, building a school, and re-starting industry. However the charming peasants, very experienced at dealing with occupying cultural forces work their magic. The '"Ladies Democratic Action League" votes that they all want to be trained as Geishas, all the villagers shortly thereafter decided they'd rather have a Teahouse with a performance space than a school, and the only business that they can find is a home brewed sweet potato Brandy.

The brewing operation is organized as a community cooperative, much to chagrin of Ford's superiors - accusing him of being a communist. Curiously, the proceeds from which are 'banked in Seattle'.

December 10, 2008

The Shock Doctrine

The Shock Doctrine
-The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

By Naomi Klein


This U.S./Multinational economics book looks at conservative business practices from Pinochet to Iraq. It is definitely written to be supportive of acurrent nti-war efforts. The unintended relevance of the book, published just before the last election cycle, to this current crisis is quite large, and the basis of my recommendation.

Continue reading "The Shock Doctrine" »

December 18, 2008

Obama's Stimulus Conundrum

President elect Barack Obama must begin to address the economic situation quickly. However the most 'experienced' hands in this arena are the very source of the problem, on both the right and the left. These problems go to the very core of our capitalist democracy.

The corporate welfare left and the public asset thieves on the right are all currently salivating for an infusion of new funds, yet, curiously, it is exactly these same folks that have created the melt down in the economy. Funding these individuals is, in my opinion, guarantee the failure of America - likely within the decade.

With Bush II's attempted rescue of Wall Street under former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson the debate between FDR Keynsians (New Deal) and Reagan Friedmanites (Supply Siders) is over. This abusive alcohol fueled ideology has collapsed in a pile of corrupt public officials who treat the authority and importance of government like Ted Bundy treated his penis.

But this does not mean the right wing criticisms of government are wrong.

The sad story is that both sides are right, as you know, Washington D.C. is corrupt and it's sub 20% approval ratings - both Bush's Whitehouse and the Democratic legislature is ample evidence of America perceiving, and knowing, this fact.

But the failure of the Bush federal Republican crew does not say that there is not a role for the free market, and, in fact, in certain areas, including labor, it could atill work a whole lot better. The question though is the form of the balance between government and business. This is, and should be, a source of endless debate.

As case in point, consider the Western Washington Law firms of Foster Pepper Shefelman and the former firm of Preston Gates Ellis.

Continue reading "Obama's Stimulus Conundrum" »

December 23, 2008

Other People's Health-
Insurance Coverage and the Bailout

One of the crucial issues in the de-facto bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler is that of so-called legacy costs. Old Union benefits, including health care, which are a major drag on those companies viability. (and, for that matter, every company in America's)

As such, a modest proposal for Barack Obama on structuring the his domestic economic agenda. How about 'bailing out' the private sector for health care costs for everyone, rather than leaving it to negotiation?

FWIW, if done right, this would also mean a drastic reduction in administrative and overhead costs. Sure, that does mean some jobs lost. But preserving the jobs that should have been re-structured due the economic collapse only guarantees the continuation of that collapse.

'Doing it right' is of course the big question. The current effort to automate medical records (hopefully with strong privacy safeguards) is the place to start. Constructive involvement of the private sector in the creation and ongoing management of this simplified system will be the way to finish it - as opposed to previous right wing corporate efforts at undermining same.

Corporate co-pays, anyone?

Other People's Money, Other People's Lives

This phrase, other people's money, is resonating with me. As you know, much of this blog is dedicated to exploring various aspects of societal responsibilty, including fiscal. I'm also a legal critic believing that much of the current problem we face goes to the lack of responsibility in the bar, to, you guessed it, other people's money.

Kent Kammerer, convenor (sp?) of Seattle's most diverse (best) civic forum had a recent piece on Crosscut regarding money and leadership in the City of Seattle which brought this all together for me.

I used the term in my comment on this piece - and coincidentally, heard it on the radio just that same day by the author of a book by the same title, Nomi Prins, published in 2004. Though Ms. Prins rose to the top at Goldman Sachs she is not a fan of Wall Street's excesses and her tales remain relevant.

But why am I blaming the legal profession for the sins of the financiers?

Continue reading "Other People's Money, Other People's Lives" »

December 29, 2008

Washington Mutual and Downtown Seattle's Real Estate Market

Is Downtown Seattle still a healthy commercial real estate market? The Puget Sound Business Journal thought so back as recently as Friday, December 19.

But things can change quickly.

The next Tuesday, the 23rd, the online paper announced that JP Morgan was vacating over 700 thousand s.f. in downtown Seattle.

Curiously, the very next day, based on pre-WAMU meltdown statistics, Downtown became 'distressed', making a top ten list of worst off cities....

Perhaps it's just me, but I'm smelling a Pike/Pine Parking Garage style bailout play. Such a pity, these poor oppressed commercial real estate folks.

Washington Mutual and Wall Street's Financial Crisis

“We hope to do to this industry what Wal-Mart did to theirs, Starbucks did to theirs, Costco did to theirs and Lowe’s-Home Depot did to their industry. And I think if we’ve done our job, five years from now you’re not going to call us a bank.”

Kerry Killinger, CEO of Washington Mutual, 2003

This is the lead quote from the front page of yesterday's Sunday New York Times.

Understanding what happened here is important, both to the region and to the country.

Washington Mutual, the 'Law', and the 'business' of personal responsibility

It's amazing how much local business history remains a mystery. Consider the question of who actually controlled Washington Mutual. Was it the shareholders? - no. Was it CEO Kerry Killinger? - perhaps. Was it their law firm? - I think so.

That firm is Foster Pepper Shefelman, whom I've often railed against.

The law firm, like the bank, has been around for quite awhile. The 'Pepper' in the name is Louis Pepper who was actually CEO of the WAMU through the savings and loan crisis until Kerry Killinger took the reins in 1990.

Consider also Downtown Seattle's Washington Mutual Tower. Although you'd think a bank could afford to own its own headquarters, it does not. Instead it is owned by a company called Wright Runstad. That company is controlled by the couple Jon (who inheirited it) and his wife, Judy.

Guess what? Judy is a senior Partner at, drum roll please, Foster Pepper...

Even though there is a shareholder class action suit still going forward FPS and the other clients it controls (via marriage or otherwise) seem to be doing okay.

Heck, they were even able to keep nearly 200,000 s.f. out of the hands of the FDIC.

In the case of Washington Mutual Tower, owner Wright Runstad & Co. has worked out a deal in which JPMorgan assumed WaMu’s lease on 180,000 square feet of space and then immediately turned it back over to Wright Runstad, said Greg Johnson, president of Wright Runstad.

That move prevented the space from being turned over to the FDIC and allowed JPMorgan to continue to lease about 7,000 square feet in the tower that’s used for a WaMu branch. WaMu’s space was also 70 percent subleased, so it allowed those tenants to remain in the building without disruption, said Johnson.

From the Puget Sound Business Journal

To be honest, I don't completely understand how these deals work and what the FDIC's claims would be, but I bet it's interesting. And I'd also bet it's not the only such deal around this bank, it's law firm, and its other 'clients', many of them in real estate.

January 6, 2009

The Future Road

The US Department of Transportation is getting ready to release a commission based study of the future of highway funding arguing for a high tech tolling solution. The folks at the Discovery Institute, whom I've been railing at lately for their support of a financially questionable bore tunnel proposal for downtown Seattle, have done a great job at predicting the likely recommendations of this Commission.

They are arguing for a concept called VMT, vehicle miles travelled, presumably technologically similar to the GPS based system now before the state of Oregon. Gas taxes will be gradually phased out, though, personally, those words are as questionable as the financing for the Seattle Tunnel.

I disagree with this proposal on the basis of what seems to be politically feasible for local voters, not to mention saleable to the Washington State driver.

I have a counter-proposal for advancing Highway funding based on what is already working in this State - HOT lanes, limiting tolling to converted HOV lanes with pricing based on congestion levels.

Continue reading "The Future Road" »

January 12, 2009

The Future 520 Lake Washington Bridge

On Thursday an ad hoc group released a study on 520 tolling looking at various alternatives, including tolling the I-90 Bridge.

Lake Washington Bridge tolling has been a big part of funding scenarios for the rebuild of the 520 Bridge. The legislature, concerned about general opposition to tolling in Washington 'State, started a project to study alternatives and, most importantly, guage feedback. Also on the table was the identification of likely 'diversion' impacts and ways to mitigate those, including among lower income drivers.

The amount of feedback was incredible - roughly 8000 letters and petition signatures, nearly as many via a web page, as well as a statistically valid phone survey. As typical, Commissioner Bob Drewel made a snide comment about public involvement, insulting all those citizens who participated as in need of 'catharsis'.

Continue reading "The Future 520 Lake Washington Bridge" »

My .02 on the Future Seattle Viaduct

The Washington State Citizen's Legislature convenes today for it's 2009 season, and, at the risk of reinforcing Seattle centrism in media, let me throw in my solution for the viaduct replacement, arguing that the surface option is the best way to act now.

Governor Gregoire once took the leadership on this subject, but she has now bailed once again, taking along with her Ron Sims and Greg Nickels. Though she claims to have a solution proposed in January we've been hearing similar promises for quite some time - in reality the ball is in the Legislature's hands.

And on this subject they have proven quite able.

Continue reading "My .02 on the Future Seattle Viaduct" »

January 13, 2009

More on 520 Tolling - Bob Drewel TVW Clip

Here's that clip (1 min, 10 seconds) of Bob Drewel talking about public participation being an opportunity for 'Catharsis' - on a task where public participation, the evaluation of tolling, is the primary charge.

Fellow ad-hoc Commissioner Dick Ford sets the stage. FWIW, he interprets Drewel's comments as regarding his, contrary to my interpretation. Ford is very smart and regardless of flaws by association he has made legendary contributions to State Transportation Planning in many commendable ways.

Drewel, in contrast, has, IMO, made a career of being a bureaucratic bully. He was hired to head the PSRC after being booted from the Executive office by the voters of Snohomish County. In my opinion he chose to sell out his County in order to advance his career with the downtown Seattle corporatists. My personal experience with him confirms this, that's another story.

Here's my opinion on the subject.

Washington State Legislature's Opening Day
- #?!@ $$$$ Budget

I was in Olympia yesterday afternoon testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee about the budget. I repeat my concerns here for your edification.

The attempt of Christine Gregoire to cut spending for Performance Audits in her submitted budget reflects long standing opposition to sound management of the public's financial resources by Gregoire. This started during her tenure as Attorney General including this specific issue. This is a problem and goes to larger practices within the practice of law in Washington State and this Country. The question here is who actually controls public funds and how government has been manipulated by 'them'.

Rather than cutting Performance Audits the State Legislature should use this office to guide many of its cuts.

Continue reading "Washington State Legislature's Opening Day
- #?!@ $$$$ Budget" »

January 19, 2009

Obama and those who pander to Jeremiah Wright

Let us hope that we find god, not the devil, in the 'details' of this countrywide racial transformation symbolically manifesting itself today, the holiday celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, one day before the inauguration of Barack Obama..

Besides a racial change Obama's rise to power also marks a generational change of leadership. To see the current situation we need to see this also in the context of the accomplished dream of racial equality. The age of Jeremiah Wright and deep bitterness manifest in political abuses is also, hopefully, over.

Continue reading "Obama and those who pander to Jeremiah Wright" »

Not Ready for Prime Time - Tolling and the Seattle Deep Bore Tunnel

Though deep bore tunnel proponents are declaring a 'consensus' decision ending years of process the clear facts are that these folks have been delaying the process until they could turn this project into a boondoggle exceeding the realistic funding levels provided by the Washington State legislature in 2005. This consensus is in reality nothing more than typical Seattle PC bullying tactic from desperate folks reeling from recent losses due the financial crisis, including WAMU. Don't forget also that leadership of the deep bore team includes folks directly responsible for WAMU.

Local committments for additional funding are definitely appropriate, however the project already has an initiative filed against it preceding even a request for funds from the voters. Remember that a tunnel has also been voted against. Albeit this is not the same tunnel, but, most significantly it was the deep bore tunnel proponents previous prefered option...

Continue reading "Not Ready for Prime Time - Tolling and the Seattle Deep Bore Tunnel" »

January 21, 2009

Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross

Written by David Mamet

Starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris and Alan Arkin, with Jonathan Pryce


New York financial salesmen are forced by tough competition to cheat in the selling of Florida real estate in this taught gritty drama.

The speech given by Alec Baldwin, the big boss, as he introduces the contest:

First prize is a Cadillac, Second Prize is a pair of steak knives, third prize is, you are fired.

Harsh Reality in the Obama Age, #1

America, each and everyone of us, the Country as whole, and every one of its companies, IS BANKRUPT. Sure, some folks, the oligarchs, have cash sitting around, first off the republicans controlling TARP bailout funds and the oil companies. But is having cash in an economy that is in reality nothing more than a giant ponzi scheme a sign of merit?

I think not.

George Bush turned us into a socialist country, and to paraphrase Marx, we are now entering the 'Bankruptcy Trusteeship of the Proletariat' phase of world history.

Continue reading "Harsh Reality in the Obama Age, #1" »

January 26, 2009

Harsh Reality in the Age of Obama, #2

Everything you own is worth less than you think it is.

Though the $700 Billion TARP, Troubled Asset Relief Program, is supposed to protect those 'asset' values it is doing exactly the opposite. It is an excess of finance that created this problem and nationalizing the banks under the argument of them being 'too big to fail' will only make it worse.

Consider this, with the passage of the first round of the Obama stimulus, we will have spent $17,000 per household in 'rescue' funding since February of last year - money that will need to be paid back.

Continue reading "Harsh Reality in the Age of Obama, #2" »

January 27, 2009

Nobody is 'Too Big to Fail'

Justification for the bank bailout was based on the assertion that these banks were 'too big to fail'.

Nobody, nothing, is too big to fail, not any bank, not any politician, not any corporation, not Washington D.C., not the nation's legal system, not even Barack Obama.

The proper solution to insolvent banks was to break them up into pieces that were small enough to fail - anything less does nothing but guarantee the failure of America.

Harsh Reality in the Age of Obama, #3

The bank bailout money will be used to buy your foreclosed house.

The people who buy your former home are the ones who were big enough to have both profited from, and survived, their culpability in the unrealistic prices in the housing market - the same people who bear the responsibility for creating the problems..

January 30, 2009

Some Math for the Seattle School District

The Seattle School District last night made the tough choice of closing 5 schools, continuing a decades long decline of that instititution. Most recently this had included racist policies against whites by their so called diversity office.

I heard an interesting statistic lately, not sure if it is true or not, but certainly a factor worthy of consideration.

Supposedly 20% of all transferred students will end up leaving the District. The amount of revenue lost from these lost students will actually exceed the savings from the closures...

Go Figure!

February 5, 2009

Harsh Reality in the Obama Era, #4

In order to preserve business profitability many more jobs will be lost.

TARP and Stimulus funding will be used to support those in the 'echo chamber' of Washington D.C. and the executive board rooms of Corporate America, but nothing will be used to help you out.

Jobs will be outsourced overseas, if not filled with illegal immigrants, in a continuing desperate effort to support the excesses of the oligarchical lifestyle.

A few government jobs will be created. The primary responsibility of these 'public servants' will be to tell you how much of a loser you are and how it's time to be responsible for their failings. Most of the time these folks will be very professional and polite in how they do it, but you do run the risk of getting shot if you dare to stand up for yourself.

Though the Enron corporate scandal foretold these problems we have not learned our lessons yet - in fact our leadership is flagrantly flaunting their power.

March 2, 2009

Stimulating Paul Allen

Wisely the Washington State Legislature refused to fund Seattle's Mercer street redesign through a neighborhood largely controlled by former Microsoft executive Paul Allen (and his professonial staff).

Why, why in the world should we be spending stimulus money 'bailing out' Paul Allen?

Continue reading "Stimulating Paul Allen" »

March 30, 2009

A Point of Disagreement with the Mainstream Media

Mainstream media has made a big point about protecting the recipients of corporate corruption in New York City, most notably in the AIG bonus matter claiming these were contractually 'legal'.

I'm sorry, but regardless of what a corporate lawyer tells you is legal you are still responsible for your actions. These folks **chose** to actively participate in a fraud and profited from it greatly.

These are not people to respect, nor do they deserve a penny of all of their ill-gotten gains. Via civil means it is time to move these people and their families into the homeless shelter as quickly as possible.

If they are in fact talented and not just sophisticated thugs they should have no problem working there way back to a comfortable lifestyle, if not, so be it. There are certainly families in homeless shelters right now for far less of a mistake.

These corporate practices have to end - using justifications of political correctness to cover scams is no more than puting a white sheet on a KKK member - accusing those who would hold you responsible of sexual harrassment IS a sex crime.

A Point of Disagreement with Bill Gates, Senior

Bill Gates Senior recently wrote an op-ed in favor of an income tax for upper bracket individuals and companies.

This is a good idea, but coming from Gates it is kind of like Al Capone making a $50,000 donation to M.A.D.D. Gates has profited greatly from government revenues through his former legal practice. I would go so far as to say Preston Gates and Ellis dominance in this field manifested itself as a typical abusive control freak - some of the worst of public/private interaction.

Thanks to their corrupt lobbying practices in D.C. through Jack Abramoff the firm has quietly dissolved. Some of the private practice folks split off to form Dorsey and Whitney, while the remainder were aquired by Pittsburg based K&L Gates, now one of the nation's largest firms.

The passive aggressive politically correct tools PGE used to manipulate bureaucracies at the worst were as poltically motivated and degenerate as Michael Nifong's prosecution of the Duke Lacrosse team in North Carolina. Worse, they've used their success as leverage to bring these practices into the private sector, along with others.

No connections to Enron have been established yet but their long time practice in privately owned utilities makes them suspect. Involvement in other matters is not even a question. What he and his did to the University of Washington as regent is sufficient justification for the faculty of that institution to string him up in self defense.

Another favorite of Mr. Gates senior is an inheiritance tax - kind of a way of bragging about the success of his son, in kind of a back hand way. Unfortunately the only legacy Mr. Gates will leave to his son is his sexually motivated abusive corruption, a son who made a very bad choice as to who to hire as legal counsel.

Right pop?

June 9, 2009

Bernanke without Hanke

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, nominated to replace Allen Greenspan during the reign of Bush's Treasury chief, Hank Paulson, made historical precedent in a first ever broadcast interview on 60 Minutes Sunday night.

He hit his marks in his interview and did bring a calm reassuring message to the airwaves. I, for one though, am sceptical.

Perhaps his speechifying is nothing but a defensive move, a la Dick Cheney, someone definitely on the outs in D.C. and 'in' when it comes to media appearances.

To me the central point concerns accountability for bailing out certain firms - a point Bernanke did make - that folks should be held accountable, once the crisis is past.

We have yet to see that. Most tellingly Bernanke completely avoided the question of Hank Paulson and any mention of his firm Goldman Sachs, the Haliburton of the financial world.

Bernanke also restated the need to bail out firms that were 'too big to fail'. Quick action was needed, but breaking up mega firms is very often easy to do. Consider, for example, AIG. The arm that was involved in the sub-prime mortgage scams was completely different from the relatively healthy insurance operations - why not split those up?

It may well be the case that we are in for a short term recovery. I, for one, don't believe we've solved the problem, we've merely taking out yet another loan, this time on the US Treasury as opposed to our personal houses.

It all needs to be paid back, and the price of failure is still failure.

No one is above that law - the only question is how many innocent folks will pay in order to avoid the pain?

And, Mr. Bernanke, are you going to hold Hank Paulson accountable, or not?

June 23, 2009

Foreclosure Update

If one reads between the lines on the barrage of media stories on a topic a very simple, evolving, story.

Perhaps the most important of these today is the foreclosure 'story' - many typical conservatives would have you believe that the whole financial crisis was the result of lower income households purchasing houses they couldn't afford via sub-prime programs that were completely legal and appropriate.

Continue reading "Foreclosure Update" »

June 28, 2009

My $.02 on Russell Financial

Russell Investments is considering a relocating its Headquarters as part of it's current planning processes - a big topic in the Pierce County media of late.

Seattle is a major suitor for Russell - and there is definitely a logic to it - Russell is an international company, and Seattle, an international City.

But Seattle is also a City marked by major financial scandal and a power structure that has not yet evolved away from that Corruption. Moving into the former WAMU HQ would be an apparent coup for Russell, but if you are bailing out the corrupt and, at least in part, acknowledging even a smidgeon of authority then is that good for anyone?

My $.02 for Russell - punt on this one, for now - turn down both the Seattle and Tacoma offers.

The global finance world is changing - most likely becoming much more decentralized as a response to the corruption in such centers as Seattle and New York City. Your location in Tacoma might turn out to be just about right - very near a large global powerhouse, but far enough way to remain, uh, honest.

When it comes to attacting business, whether it be a firm or a City - it is really only honesty and accountability that matters. Any other strategy will only bring the undesirable, of whatever stripe, and income.

My $2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 on Health Care

Obama's health care reform effort is laudable - as well as revealing of the structure of power in this Country. Unfortunately due the fiscal crisis and the recent bailouts of right and left, there is no money to do this - or, at least, financially prudent political will.

My long term brainstorm, now to repeat, is somewhat similar to the Wyden/Bennett proposal now being revitalized. I suggest requiring medical coverage for all drug useage, including alcohol.

Specifically, require that to purchase drugs an individual must be have medical insurance - include with this MD review of purchase history. This might seem burdensome but with today's technologies and barcodes on drivers licenses it is just a software fix - with a license that's already supposed to be out in front of the store scanner anyway, right?

This also opens up the possiblity of using marijuana revenues to fund health care, along with a re-structured alcohol taxing system.

And, yes, that does mean I'm saying the pot heads could do a better job with health care than either the Republicans or the Democrats - presumably with a healthy portion of former pot heads in the mix.

For what it is worth, I also support legalization of psychedelics, including Ecstasy, LSD, and Peyote - though use of these should be highly restricted - maybe only once a year, give or take.

June 29, 2009

Convicted Financier Bernard Madoff and the Jewish Community

Perceptions of Bernard Madoff as a member of the Jewish Committee at this particular moment are interesting. Certainly there is anti-semitism, but there is also condemnation from within the Jewish world as well.

I did a google search on the subject, perhaps most interesting was a story in the Huffington Post from an outsider about Madoff's exclusively Jewish Club in Palm Beach, Florida (December, 2008)- a retirement area for many wealthy New Yorkers.( And, perhaps as an example of the divine hand at work, also home to many of Madoff's victims.

Here's the google for 'Bernard Madoff Jewish Community', for some of the rest.

August 5, 2009

More on the Dome District -
Tacoma/Pierce News Tribune

Peter Callaghan has a great piece on the Sound Transit Berm through the Dome District of Tacoma. Instead of repeating myself I'll leave it to Peter to put his spin on matter. See also the piece in the Tacoma Weekly.

August 19, 2009

The Bankruptcy Trusteeship of the Proletariat

From January 11, 2009:

Harsh Reality in the Age of Obama, #1

August 26, 2009

Seattle Biz Columnist Bill Virgin

Seattle Business columnist Bill Virgin has made the leap from the failed P-I to a series of contracts, including replacing Dan Voelpel at the Tacoma/Pierce News Tribune.

Bill is every bit Mr. Voelpel's equal, we should be very proud to have him. Who knows, he might even bring a few friends of his caliber with him.

For a measure of this, see his first article in the TNT.

August 28, 2009

Krugman on Borrowing

Paul Krugman has a timely NYT column on deficit spending, and how it **might** be okay. (If it works!)

Krugman's right on the debt numbers, but besides the additional political hazards he mentions there may be others.

1. The U.S. Housing market has not yet, definitively, found its bottom. Foreclosures resulting from the meltdown of a year ago are just now hitting the pipeline. Home equity loans have been a source of money that has been used to 'stimulate' the economy for quite awhile now - in a period when America's relative economic competiveness is declining. This a borrowed money is not on the government books, but it definitely does effect the overall financial 'credit rating' of the United States.

2. Subsidizing housing (and commercial property!) values with the deficit is a downward feedback loop. Spending deficit money to prop up the equity of property owners will not work, long term.

3. Who are we bailing out? If we pour good money after bad supporting the very people and practices that created the problem in the first place at the expense of honest blue collar America we are subject to a spectrum of problems, of which the least may be political.

September 3, 2009

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah

Though Ms. Palin was clearly, painfully, not ready to take over had President McCain passed away in office it is also clear that she sets a leadership example that all of us, D, R, and I should show respect.

Ms. Palin attacked the obvious corruption in her State, and in her Party quite effectively at a time before the current crisis of national corporate and government leadership. Viewed in this perspective the continuing righteous vitriol from the left, strongest from 'independent' women, takes on a different meaning. Are these vocal folks actually nothing more than the patsy retaliators for the man? For the alcohol drug addicted man who thinks anyone who asks for personal responsibility from them is a sex predator?

We need more Sarah Palins, lots and lots, and each in her own style, whether it be Democrat, Republican, or truly 'independent'. And, FWIW, who cares if they are qualified to be President or not?

The de facto Republican in the King County (Seattle and environs) Executive race, Susan Hutchison is running her race as a Sarah Palin. Her campaign is really just getting going after an easy cruise through the primary based on name recognition - but as of today it sure looks like we've got a Sarah Palin - **without** the predilection for tackling Washington State's not unrelated corruption,

Perhaps what we truly need right now is a Sarah Conner?

And, of course, Arnold?

September 13, 2009

9/11/2009 - Thinking globally, Thinking Locally

In economic theory positive thinking has been proved to be directly related to economic performance. Positive or negative expectations are self fulfilling, but not as some elected leaders would like to believe are they the only thing that matters.

So, on this 9/11, 2009, let's take a look at our mental economic twin towers - are they standing tall or collapsing in a pile of dust? What will it take for our perception of economic details to reset with reality?

Continue reading "9/11/2009 - Thinking globally, Thinking Locally" »

September 15, 2009

World Trade Center - Too Big to Fail?

September 11 should stay as a day of reflection on the operation of our financial markets. As such I wonder if the massive removal of senior Financial professionals due the World Trade center disaster was a factor in the collapse of the financial markets last year?

Could it be that professional integrity was so concentrated in the industry that a single disaster removed the ability for the profession to self-regulate itself, to keep it's 'penis' in its pants?

Could be, but who knows?

October 7, 2009

Tacoma Berm Bums?

Though it might seem like a minor point, the issue of the Sound Transit heavy rail route design through the south part of downtown Tacoma is becoming the defining issue of the 2009 mayoral race and having regional impacts as important as the defeat of Sound Transit Board Chair Greg Nickels in the Seattle mayoral primary.

The Tacoma Pierce News Tribune did a multi-article feature on the October 4 Sunday front page - including an online opinion poll. The poll is near the bottom of the middle column. As of the writing of this piece on Wednesday morning there have been 2900 votes, 85% in favor of the local business/citizen 'Post and Beam' alternative compared to the Sound Transit 'Berm' design.

Last night was the public hearing.

The crowd here was in support of post and beam in similar proportions, and the testimony and comments both well thought out and dramatic.

Continue reading "Tacoma Berm Bums?" »

October 14, 2009

Remembering when I was a Socialist

I am reminded of my first publication, a compilation of research on the subject of Socially Responsible Investment - on the heels of an administration occupying expansion of my alma mater's pioneering South African divestment.

The Hampshire College Report on Socially Responsible Investment

Ed. by Doug Tooley,

April 1983.

In 1976, Hampshire College bacame the first school in the country to divest from companies in South Africa. This opened the door for us to a much larger idea, that of using investments to reflect our ethics instead of those of the capitalistic ideology.

Continue reading "Remembering when I was a Socialist" »

November 5, 2009

Transportation Planning Districts - 2009

The City of Burien, an affordable suburb south of Seattle, resoundingly rejected a Transportation Planning District (TPD) for sidewalk and bike trail improvements. TPD's are a revenue mechanism drafted by the Washington legislature last year.

This is unfortunate, but also telling. Though some might respond with a knee jerk response to those who vote against taxes, it is crucial that the community planning effort be engaging enough to sell the product of the effort, as well as produce good design based on competent engineering. In this regard it is the planning effort that failed. So, it is back to the drawing board, and rightly so.

The measure may well have also suffered from the particular form of tax used, a surcharge on vehicle licensing ($25). This particular form of taxation has been highly politicized due its role in the career of highly controversial initiative guru Tim Eyman. The drafting of this enabling legislation was done on the heels of a failed Eyman initiative on the subject of transportation. This political context may well have been the largest factor in the defeat of the measure.

Though Burien does have some expensive waterfront homes it is largely a blue collar town and it appears likely that the 'democratic' bureaucracy made errors in the community planning effort which offended the common sense of these individuals - not unlike the political dynamic that led to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

November 23, 2009

Procedural Comments on the Tacoma I5 Environmental Impact Statement

Below are procedural comments on the I5 Tacoma HOV project, including a description of my own interests.


Date: August 29, 2009

To: Carrie Berry, Tacoma HOV Environmental Coordinator

CC: Claudia Cornish, Communications Manager

RE: Tacoma/Pierce County HOV Program Supplemental Environmental Assessment

The following comments go to procedural issues concerning your current Tacoma HOV environmental review. My substantive comments will follow shortly.

I have received and preliminarily reviewed the IJR report for the Tacoma HOV projects. I had assumed that a report describing the WSDOT analyses direct access HOV ramps for Freighthouse Square and Downtown Tacoma would be included, apparently incorrectly.

Additionally appendix ‘E’, the Wetland and Stream assessment is missing from both the distributed CD and the website for the NEPA assessment. Lastly, please note that although I have lay qualifications read the environmental appendices associated with this project there is too much material to reasonably review in the time allotted.

Continue reading "Procedural Comments on the Tacoma I5 Environmental Impact Statement" »

Comments on the Interstate 5 HOV Tacoma Project

Below are my comments on the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) review of the current Tacoma I5 project, from August.


To: Carrie Berry, Environmental Manager I-5 HOV Team

CC: Multiple

Re: Tacoma I-5 HOV NEPA Comments

Some 2 years ago I was walking my dog near my residence, less than 2 blocks from this WSDOT project’s stretch of I-5, and noticed the almost natural grading suitable for a bike trail on the recently completed I-5 projects just to the South. As such I was inspired to restart my civic involvement starting with the analysis of the feasibility of a local connector bike trail at the periphery of I-5 between S. 38th Street and McKinley Avenue.

Continue reading "Comments on the Interstate 5 HOV Tacoma Project" »

February 15, 2010


New York Times stringer and author Tim Egan (The Good Rain) opines in the New York Times on the steep decline of housing prices in the greater San Francisco 'sprawl' zone. Anecdotally Egan cites the case of Lathrop California, two hours from the Bay Area in the Central Valley. Housing prices there have dropped from a peak of $500,000 to $150,000.

This is an interesting phenomenon, certainly both worthy and timely. But where Egan takes his analysis of this tragedy is truly irresponsible.

First, he implies that the problem in Lathrop and surrounding communities is the model of foreclosure throughout the United States. Then, curiously, he defines such areas as slums in a typical Seattle passive aggressive manner.

Continue reading "Slumburbia?" »

April 26, 2010

A 'Bull' Market?

The stock market is plugging along, showing consistent gains - even while the total number of foreclosures go up (don't forget to count all the mortgages delayed in the name of 'mitigation') and so does unemployment (don't forget all the folks dropping off the 'official' statistic).

Sure, Goldman Sachs has a minor civil action against them, but if we hadn't bailed them out they'd be rightly bankrupt, not the new owner of a shattered economy - with a stock market buoyed by TARP bailout funds.

Do we have a Bull Market now, or just another taxpayer financed 'Pump and Dump' scheme waiting for the next round of Pension Fund and individuals to sucker up?

Bull Market? How about a Bull**Shit** Market?

April 27, 2010

What's Up in Olympia

The 2010 Washington State Legislative session has wrapped up - with both the Governor and the Legislature curiously 'closing' government to observing eyes - the results of which are already obvious. These are trying times, but hiding from accountability solves nothing and makes many things worse.

To a larger point, what does this say about our Democratic Party, which controls the Governor's Office as well as both legislative houses?

Does it say this generation of leadership are hypocritical failures only concerned with their personal 'entitlements'? Does it say Christine Gregoire and her many associates in the practice of Law are nothing but Corporate lackeys for the right wing?

Certainly, in Washington State AND Washington D.C., there is the same amount of freedom for an individual under a corporate controlled government as their would be under the government alone - and perhaps even less!

June 6, 2010

What Motivates Us?

Dan Pink prepares a great summary about what really motivates the creative class. It leans to the left a bit, but bases that argument on an MIT study. Just my cup of Tea!

FWIW, the effect documented here may well be what it takes to end a recession. Certainly learning to be happy with zero dollars is not a bad thing.

August 21, 2010

Opportunity Missed?

Last Tuesday, 8/17/2010, was the Washington State Primary - a crucial decision point in this crime of economic crisis, but not apparently in Washington State which did not 'turn the bums out'.

Washington is a largely Democratic State, and this makes dubious the common wisdom that the National Democrats will lose power come this November when final decisions are totaled and meanings therein prognosticated. The simple fact is this, voters are aware that the Republican party is the responsible party and in spite of the 'socialist' democrats are far likely to be much healthier under them than under a draconian Republican administration attacking its citizens to pay for its own corporate failings.

In the context of this gestalt comes an interesting op-ed piece by Seattle Port Commissioner Jack Creighton - 'Don't Waste a Good Crisis for Considering Consolidation of Municipal Services'. That's a strategic argument that makes apparent sense, and one that I'm supportive of, but consider the Port's own recent actions in the 'gestalt' of corporate and government accountability - being shown to have wasted hundreds of millions of public monies in crony contracting benefiting that particular establishment headquartered in Downtown Seattle.

This is exactly the governmental and corporate 'entitlement' behavior that has created the situation we are in - an authority that is both corrupt and bankrupt, though as of yet only profiting from their own 'mistakes' in the calculation of risk - financial and otherwise.

As such a counter-proposal
- how about we 'consolidate' the management of Downtown Seattle with the Port, including the assumption of adult financial overrun responsibility for the currently proposed 'Big Dig' project through Downtown?

October 19, 2010

Dr. Paul and the Racists

Dr. Ron Paul has his work cut out for him, attracting droves of the fanatic right wing. His mission here should be the same as it is with the rest of America, personal, individual, responsibility comes first.

Regardless of what the mainstream media tells you Dr. Paul is the real leader of the Tea Party, and one who is positively contributing to the civic dialogue. This October 9 speech to the Virginia Tea Party aptly demonstrates this.

November 22, 2010

Corporate, REPUBLICAN, Socialism?

In what now appears to be prophetic Ralph Nader penned a piece defining 'Corporate Socialism'. The article was originally published in 2002 in the Washington Post.

Here's an excerpt; point number one:

Consider the following assumptions of a capitalistic system:

1) Owners are supposed to control what they own. For a century, big business has split ownership (shareholders) from control, which is in the hands of the officers of the corporation and its rubber-stamp board of directors. Investors have been disenfranchised and told to sell their shares if they don't like the way management is running their business. Nowadays, with crooked accounting, inflated profits and self-dealing, it has proven difficult for even large investors to know the truth about their officious managers.

Here's the full text.

I was an active member of the Nader Campaign in 1996, about the same time as the more conservative local Seattle Commons issue - which some perceived as politically inconsistent. I would beg to disagree - and would hope that the best of the right and left would agree with above, and only the worst, disagree.

February 1, 2011

Economic **Un** Pundit

I'm going to make a positive economic forecast.

If you've been a regular reader of this modest blog you'll have noticed a strong economic awareness and context for pretty much everything I do - including I believe foreshadowing the 2008 crisis not long after I started this endeavor.

No numbers on this, just my own particular call.

However, the fundamental problems remain and even a modest recovery will not address the fundamental "failures' of corporate America. The question is not the ability of these organizations to revitalize America, but of Americans to do as they always have before.

February 8, 2011

'Socialism', Law and the "Span of Economic Control"

Do the public own the practice of the law or do they own us, our jobs, our families, and our individual souls? 'Span of Control'; analyzing who really controls what is a good tool to analyze this.

It is a rather curious fact that 'Law and Order' Republicans rely so much on court records to determine wages, all the more so in this intellectual information age. Is this socialism?

Continue reading "'Socialism', Law and the "Span of Economic Control"" »

February 17, 2011

A Few More Thoughts about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

In a recent post analyzing some of the curious sexual politics behind the recent repeal of Ronald Reagan's policy of homosexual discrimination I touched on the desirability of avoiding all sexual politics in every workplace. Doing this would actually be the outcome of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' if it were literally enforced, and not merely a media spun euphemism for discrimination also attributed to Bill Clinton.

Consider, if you will, the sexual politics of those Clinton years - where the right wing disrupted the government and nearly overthrew it with nothing more than gossip about consensual sex - under the leadership of Southern History Professor Newt Gingrich as a newly anointed Speaker of the House.l

Continue reading "A Few More Thoughts about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" »

April 7, 2011

The Law and Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct

The replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is turning out to be as much a legacy project for its legal precedents as it is for whatever civic edifice rises in its place - major issues so far include the State's ability to ignore environmental law before issuing contracts and contrary to public vote and the separate 'lead' authority of the Council and Mayor in that context.

This Seattle Times article concerns a third player rising to 'lead' status - the Seattle City Attorney, Pete Holmes, who has now filed suit on behalf of the City without explicit authorization from either the Mayor or the Council.

Continue reading "The Law and Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct" »

June 30, 2011

Washington State Needs Brian Sonntag

"If you speak the truth, have one foot in the stirrup"

(Curiously this quote is claimed by a variety of cultures, including Romania, Ireland, Arabic, Turkish, and Armenian - all making the first page of a Google Search, plus also John Wayne!)

Brian Sonntag, the Washington State elected Auditor, fiscally responsible Democrat, and open government advocate has previously announced he will announce his decision to run for Governor by July 4th, this weekend. Already running and evidently anointed by their respective parties are Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee and Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna.

Inslee's liberal party insider support makes Brian Sonntag's potential candidacy, to some degree, a de facto third party effort, no doubt a factor in that decision he is now finalizing. The importance of this decision, at this time, could not be undervalued - America is on the brink of a double dip depression that will challenge the future of not just Washington State, but the Country as a whole. Washington has the opportunity to lead this Country in responding this crisis at the risk of 'reinventing' the FAILED power dynamics that have brought us to where we are now.

Continue reading "Washington State Needs Brian Sonntag" »

November 28, 2011

Utah and the Feds

Never mind Mitt Romney's strong bid for the Republican party's nomination to be the next U.S. President, but do consider these three court cases between Utah and the Federal Government.

Perhaps symbolically most important is a case regarding public access to Federal Lands - of which there is an awful lot in Utah. I've touched on this issue in another area of the State, but not far away.

With greater business implications, but also symbolically revealing of corporate business practices in America today, consider the Utah based anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft, for the benefit of the Utah based Novell, once the leader in word processing (Word Perfect) and computer networking.

Lastly, there is a Federal action against Utah for its current immigration law.

As you might recall, I'm having my own battle with the Federal Government over the abusive handling of a camping ticket in SW Colorado, less than an hours drive from that State, and perhaps the heart of the Four Corners region.

Occupy Access to America's Public Resources and PROSECUTE THOSE THAT TRASH OR PREVENT THEIR USE!

December 19, 2011

UPDATE: Alaskan Way Viaduct Growth Management Act Challenge

My somewhat Quixotic battle against the Gregoire power machine continues with my very symbolic Growth Management Act challenge of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project.

Two key issues which go to the edge of the Growth Management Hearing Board's authority concern the financial aspects of the Comprehensive planning. RCW 36.70a.120 concerns internal financial requirements. Perhaps even more important for the future of Growth Management is the regional coordination requirements, including fair financial dealings, as in RCW 36.70.100.

As you will recall, the State Legislature required the City of Seattle to cover any cost overruns. Numerous legal authorities have said this is unenforceable, including Rob McKenna and former King County Prosecutor Sally Bagshaw who infamously stated that "virtually every Attorney in Seattle" concurred. I argue, Pro Se, the contrary, extending the Growth Management Act to the full (and appropriate) limits of its authority.

Here's the original petition:

There were some interim pleadings, refining issues and the like that I believe are safe to omit. The Central Puget Sound GMHB's final response was in a PDF:

Download PDF File

Follow the jump to see my response, a 'MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION'.

Continue reading "UPDATE: Alaskan Way Viaduct Growth Management Act Challenge" »

August 29, 2012

Secrets of Our Republican Corporate Masters, Revealed

The leadership 'strategy' of the Republican corporate elite is much simpler than you might imagine, simply put all they do is send their Democratic abusers on anyone, including independents like moi, who does not toe their political line.

In such a case, you have two choices - either hate the Democrats and start toeing the Republican Party line OR become one of their abused Democratic Pit Bulls. Doing otherwise only guarantees you a spot in America's corporate concentration camp, the streets of our big cities.

The cycle of abuse, racial and sexual, is a dangerous thing and our Corporate masters have pandered to the degenerate in order to divide and conquer. Though they think they are building a military industrial **empire**, they are, in fact, nothing but "Uber-Perverts" and the font of evil in today's modern world. Not just failures, but f***ing failures.

Christian religion is based on Jewish attempts to fulfill an ancient prophesy, that a 'Son of David' would defeat the Roman Empire. It is time for the Christians to stop being hypocritical spinners and get that job done. FWIW, as far as I'm concerned, I'd be okay with crucifying the lot of them, from 'Herrod' on down. And it shouldn't be all that hard - though our military is by far the toughest in the world the domestic arm of the machine is really nothing but pitiful and disgusting.

November 4, 2014

A crack in the wall of the 'Uber DV' of post 2008 American Policing

Having been motivated to follow the recent coverage of the La Plata County Sheriff race I am surprised at the lack of outrage of the threatening behavior of current Sheriff Duke Schirard in his efforts to combat Domestic Violence allegations. These threats are to our Republic’s institutions as domestic violence is to a family.

Personally, I believe this abusive governmental authority, under color of State Law, to be the very root of the cycle of abuse – abuse whose very worst example is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ under Judeo-Roman law two millennia ago. Call it ‘uber DV’, if you will.

Continue reading "A crack in the wall of the 'Uber DV' of post 2008 American Policing" »

March 23, 2015


Growth for the sake of Growth alone is the ideology of the Cancer cell.
-Edward Abbey
(Author of Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang)

My corrolary-

Wealth for the sake of Wealth alone is the ideology of the Cancer cell.

May 17, 2016

The Profiteers

The Profiteers
Bechtel and the Men Who Built the World

By Sally Denton



The Reagan era history is just now being compiled and 'The Profiteers' by Sally Dentonis a solid contribution into the emerging canon of the period. The 'Shock Doctrine' by Naomi Klein and 'Subersives' by Seth Rosenfeld among others outline the international and domestic control strategies of these modern masters. The privately held Bechtel corporate 'person' is first among these oligarchs and their corporate socialist no bid construction business did, in fact, build the world from their American West roots.

Continue reading "The Profiteers" »

July 15, 2016


The Parties versus the People

How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans

By Mickey Edwards


Mickey Edwards spent 16 years in congress starting with the Reagan years and in leadership during the Gingrich takeover led by many Reagan era College Republicans. In this book he analyzes the crisis level problems of partisan politics and proposes detailed solutions in a compact and easily readable tome. My only critique would be his omission of the legal profession in the partisan context, including the large numbers of that profession occupying our national legislature.

Political parties are not inherently bad - citizens of common disposition will naturally seek each other out and combine to seek out agreed-upon ends. But when the pursuit of party power becomes the end goal and not merely a tool for achieving a better society, it is democracy itself which is laid beneath the guillotine's blade.


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