T.A. Barnhart's blog

Vic Gilliam's bait-and-switch now is reality

On November 1st of last year, Peter Nordbye, vice-chair of the Clackamas County Democrats, wrote a piece in BlueOregon accusing Republican incumbent state representative Vic Gilliam of Silverton of pulling what he called a “classic bait-and-switch” —

In House District 18, we have the classic bait and switch scam played out before our eyes. We think we are voting for Representative Vic Gilliam, but instead we are getting Mike Early or some unknown entity. Democracy is not supposed to work that way. We are supposed to elect our representatives; not so in HD 18.

Here’s a sampling of the comments Nordbye received:

This is an atrocious article and I'm deeply offended by it.

These indentity politics commie eco terrorist left wingers will stoop to any depth.

What absolute, unmitigated TRASH!! Peter Nordbye's mother would be ashamed of him.

I hope all fair minded people will reject the underlying arguments of this article-- that an individual with ALS or any disability is somehow unfit or unable to run for office.

To assert that Representative Gilliam is running a bait and switch campaign is a specious allegation and quite frankly, incredibly offensive.

Quite an accomplishment to be the author the most shameful and nauseating piece of slander in an unprecedently ugly election cycle.

This is the ugliest campaign season I have ever seen in the Oregon House, but this might be the lowest attack I have seen yet.

And so on.

Then this morning, we learn this from OregonLive:

Rep. Vic Gilliam, R-Silverton, announced his resignation Monday, saying in a statement that he is "grateful and honored" to serve his constituents, but that it is time to step down.

Peter Nordbye was...

proactive empathy

Ok, I’ll say it since other people are thinking it and no one wants to sound like a heartless asshole:

Those two people who died on the streets: They could have, should have been in shelters.

I know there's a lot of complicated reasons for people refusing to go to a shelter even in dire conditions, and even when they are in desperate need. That's not something I know much about and will leave to others to explain.

But those in need should never have the ultimate responsibility to act when they are under duress. “Just get your ass to a shelter, man.” No. That's how the extreme conservatives, the heartless Ryan/Trumps would have it: You either take care of yourself or too bad.

Empathy and compassion demand that progressives act proactively. Opening a shelter is great; acting proactively to get everyone possible into those shelters, in a respectful and humane way, is essential. Not "open the doors & wait". Hell, no business would do that; they advertise their asses off.

I know people were doing all they could to reach those in need, but the need is bigger than the resources right now. How much better if there'd been enough people to comb the parking garages, to walk the streets, to search all night if necessary? I didn't do that, so I’m not affixing blame – except on myself.

Because as a good Portland progressive with the best of intentions, I’m not doing my part. That’s on me and no one else. Except –

No one asked me to be part of that effort. I don’t if I would have said yes, but, after this past week, if asked to do an all-night patrol looking for those in need, I’d say...

salvation is no hope

I spent ten years of my life believing in salvation. That promise was a lie, and I paid dearly for my belief. Rather than moving forward with my life, my depression and my inability to be a responsible adult became the truth the truth of my life.

I am still paying for believing in salvation outside of my own being. But at least I no longer look for others to save me or save the world.

The Electoral College was never going to save us from the results of November 8th.

Bernie Sanders will not save us, nor will Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker or any other politician, thinker, artist, or religionist.

Getting rid of Citizens United won’t save us. Ending dark money won’t save us.

Bill Moyers won’t save us. Molly Ivins will not be rising from the dead to save us.

Give it up. There is no salvation waiting for us, and we waste our lives, our resources, our hope in waiting for that salvation to appear.

Politics is about what is possible. Politics is about what we can accomplish today – and, if we’re smart about that, and a bit lucky, that can lead to accomplishing other things in the future. But since we can’t do a damn thing about either the past or future, we are stuck with the present. That’s where politics happens.

Salvation happens in a magical future that never will never exist. For over two thousand years, Christians have believed that Jesus was going to return and set up an eternal kingdom for the “saved”. Two thousand years and counting.

(Also counting: the number of times Christians have believed that special day was right around the corner.)

Other religions have similar beliefs. In my opinion, they...

base thoughts

Perhaps, he thought, Mormons don’t care if their kids get hurt in a car accident.

It was the early 1990s, and I was in grad school at the University of Oregon. I was in the Public Affairs program taking an economics class, and our professor was giving an example of how baseline data matters.

Some years earlier, he’d lived in Salt Lake City, and he started noticing something as he drove around town: He was seeing a noticeable number of cars with the kids not in carseats. So many, in fact, that he began to question if people there were concerned for their children’s safety.

He knew this thought was wrong. Family is precious to Mormons, literally sacred in fact. There had to be something else involved, and, being an economics professor with a strong grounding in statistics, he finally figured it out: Baseline.

Simply put, there were so many young families in SLC, so many people driving with kids in their cars, that of course he was seeing more cars without carseats than he was used to. He had not accounted for the change in baseline: the fact that he was also seeing more cars-with-kids than he was used to.

The baseline for “families with small kids in cars” is pretty big in Salt Lake City. So if they have the same ratio of cars not using safety seats as, say, Portland, the gross number is going to be larger. Those cars will stand out because there are more of them.

When we look around us and make an observation about public behavior – eg, the number of rude, inconsiderate, scofflaw bicyclists – we have to understand the baseline data. In Portland, we have a relatively huge number of people riding bicycles,...

positively moving forward

One day in the fall of 1972, my mom took me to Logan International Airport in Billings, Montana, to see the arrival of George McGovern. This was the day my life in politics began.

He was late, of course; they always are. I don’t recall how late, probably an hour or two. I now know this is standard practice. But it wasn’t that bad. The small concourse was packed with people; it wasn’t often someone as exciting as the Democratic nominee for president came to town. Hell, the first “rock” concert I saw in Billings was Kenny Rogers and the First Edition along with the Cowsills.

The electric life in a small inland city in the early Seventies.

Eventually McGovern arrived, worksed his way up the concourse, shaking hands, acting far more happy than I bet he felt. When he got to me, I handed him a piece of paper and a pen; he signed his autograph, handed it back to me, and then – asked if I wanted the pen back! He did so with a twinkle in his eye, and I can verify that, to this very day, it’s the only time I’ve been teased by a presidential candidate of any party.

All Obama did in 2007 was promise to take are of my son when Alex deployed to Iraq.

McGovern got creamed that year, of course, and the Democratic Party roiled with breast-beating and blame-throwing. They tossed in some reforms that promptly got rejiggered when Carter won utilizing the “Iowa Strategy”. The party again roiled after the 1980 theft, I mean, election (a big Thanks? to the Ayotollah and Reagan for teaming up to keep those hostages long enough to defeat Carter), and then in 1988, and 1992….

We Dems...

the opportunity for Dems

There is no sugar-coating how awful a Trump-Ryan administration is going to be. There is also no doubt that this presents American progressives with their greatest opportunity to not merely form a “loyal opposition” but to overturn the grab of power by the uber-conservatives and put the country on a firm forward course based on core American values.

I’m not talking silver linings or lemons-from-lemonade. I believe that 2017 will be a fantastic political opportunity to change the nation for the rest of the century – and it’s an opportunity we cannot let slip, or those who are going to suffer and die under the new regime will do so in vain.

Where we are now

Let’s start with the reality of the 2016 election. Democrats won the popular vote for president by at least 2.5 million. They gained seats in the House and Senate, garnering more of the votes cast as well. America voted for Democrats more than they did for Republicans, and this is a Democratic Party that has been half-hearted in its commitment to progressive goals, principles, and practices.

Imagine if we had been the progressive party we needed to be.

But we have to also remember why the GOP seems to be dominant: Gerrymandering. Voter suppression. Dark money. Citizens United. Gutting the Voting Rights Act. And horrible voter turnout numbers in off-year elections.

The United States is not turning to the Republicans in vast numbers. Between corruption, cheating, and the inability of the Democrats to get their voters to the polls, they are winning elections that do not reflect majority values.
It’s only a few years since Barack Obama won two elections with over fifty percent of the vote. The potential for more of the same, and in...

Eudaly: Past as prologue

I am proud of the support I’ve given women candidates in Oregon. I will always support a woman candidate if she’s qualified for office; I might defer to a man of color under certain circumstances, of course, but for the same reasons I support women. But I do what I can to push real representation forward.

Which is why not simply opposing a woman candidate but doing so vigorously is difficult for me. I know a lot of people are enthused about Chloe Eudaly; I’m not one of them. I’ve not only seen no indication that she is qualified to sit on the City Council, her past practices as a business owner demonstrate to me just how unqualified she is.

Let’s start with what we learned from The Oregonian’s report on Eudaly’s business:
She did not monitor her bookkeeper, as in: Did you file my taxes this year? How come I haven’t seen any tax forms to review and sign?

She’s not registered as a business with the City of Portland. As a quick comparison, I looked up Powell’s Books; they were listed as “In Compliance”. (It is illegal to do business in the city of Portland without a business license.)

She has repeatedly failed to register her business with the Secretary of State’s office; as of now, she is not registered to do business in Oregon. Has not been for over six years. Her business is listed as “Inactive”, and her business address isn’t even correct. Filing this paperwork is simple; even I’ve managed to do it in the past. (And since she markets herself as an “LLC” she underscores her failure to maintain her legal business status with the state.)

A major...

my ballot 2016

Huzzah! My ballot arrived today, and I just voted. Here is your guide to voting in lockstep with me, your local democratic socialist Democratic blogger.

President: Hillary Clinton

I remember in 2003 swearing I would never vote for Hillary when she voted for Bush/Cheney’s war in Iraq. I still carry deep misgivings about her as Commander-in-Chief; not because she won’t be tough enough but because I fear she’s too much of a hawk. Especially on Israel, a nation that needs to stop blocking justice, and nationhood, for Palestine. And I thought, with Oregon firmly in her column, I could write-in someone else and keep that promise to myself.

But I have three granddaughters (and one grandson). When they ask me about this election one day, would I be able to look them in the eye and say, Nope, I didn’t vote for the first woman president. She was terribly wrong about the war vote, and I hope she’s learned from that. But she’s also right about a lot of issues, and there’s no question: she’s far and away the most qualified candidate in this election and possibly since Humphrey ran.

Governor: Kate Brown

I expect greatness once she has her own mandate.

Senator: Ron Wyden

I seem to have voted for Ron about forty or fifty times over the years. I might be exaggerating, but damn. I have voted for him a lot.

Secretary of State: Brad Avakian

Brad’s a great progressive. I expect to see both sides of him in this office: The smart, thoughtful bureaucrat taking care of our good systems and examining areas of difficulties; and the aggressive activist challenging the state, and its citizens, to do better.

Not to mention, Richardson is a god-awful candidate. He’s running a...

Hales: leaving Wheeler an effing mess

Well, Portland, we tried to warn you about Charlie Hales. You’ve kind of brought this on yourself.

My hypothesis right now: Hales is trying to leave Ted Wheeler a burning slagheap of a city. Charlie knows his legacy is, to borrow another political phrase, worth a bucket of warm spit. So why not make life as hard as
possible for the guy who ran him out of office just by showing up and say “Hi” to Portland last September?

After learning what happened with the police contract vote and the subsequent “sweep” of protesters from City Hall, my thoughts went here (as I posted on Facebook):

it's a waste of time in real terms, but gathering recall signatures against Hales would still send a message.

I then took a look at what was needed to do a recall. I also contacted a few folks about it. I didn’t need much to be talked out of it. With less than two-and-a-half months remaining in his term, the best thing to do in regards to this Mayor is run the clock out. Can he make things worse? Probably. He’ll probably do so regarding those facing a winter outdoors.

One way or another, he’ll make it worse.

So I’m not angry at Hales over this; I’m just resigned to whatever ridiculous shit he tries to do. I am instead pissed off at Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz. Fritz bills herself as the “People’s Commissioner” because she won her seat initially using public funds. Yet they not only went along with the police contract despite widespread public opposition – especially in various minority communities – and since there was no deadline until next fricking summer.

And they went along with moving the meeting from...

RBG, not Kap, is being dumb and disrespectful

In case you missed it, here’s what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to say about Colin Kaepernick’s on-going anthem protest:

“I think it’s really dumb of them. Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful.”

“I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag-burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do,” she added. “But I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”

“It’s dangerous to arrest people for conduct that doesn’t jeopardize the health or well-being of other people. It is a symbol they are engaged in,” she said.
Asked whether she meant it was their right to protest, Justice Ginsburg agreed.

“If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive,” Justice Ginsburg said. “If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”

Like many progressives, I love me some Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s standing tall for the things I appreciate about America’s liberties, and she’s becoming bolder with each session of the Supreme Court. Long may she serve.

But, damn. She sure got it wrong this time.

Of course, she’s made injudicious public comments before. Earlier this year, she ripped Donald Trump. She didn’t say anything that tens of millions of Americans do not disagree with, but for a Supreme Court justice to attack a presidential nominee was wrong. Dangerously so.

(That point is underlined by Trump, in the second debate, saying that if he were president, he would...

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