Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Senator Murray asked for my views.

Dear Senator,

Thank you for asking our views. I'm a hard core progressive, so my view on how to reduce the deficit and pay down the debt comes from that perspective. First, the deficit is a problem because our economy is in the tank. To improve the economy, we must get people back to work. To get people back to work, the overall demand in the economy must increase. The Federal Government can best help with that by awarding contracts for projects. I do not believe that ANY tax cuts will do ANY good, even "targeted" tax cuts meant to "help" the middle class. Those are failures from the word "cut". People don't mind paying taxes when their income is sufficient to pay their bills and put some money aside for the future.

One important aspect of the Contracts must be this: No foreign companies. None. Not one good or service paid for by US Tax Dollars should originate outside of our borders, and not one of those dollars should go to the profits of a non-US (tax-paying) corporation. If doing this means we have to withdraw from the WTO, do it. If this means we have to withdraw from NAFTA, do it. There are no shortcuts or substitutes for putting our own citizens back to work.

Second, take Social Security and Medicare off the cuts table. Period. Social Security should be changed so that it is self-funded forever, which could be done easily by eliminating the cap on the FICA tax. We also need to add a savings component, something similar to a National 401K, where anyone can put additional money into the Social Security Administration which would be invested in Treasury Bonds, Bills Notes or Municipal Bonds of their choosing.

Medicare should be expanded by initiating a public option where any US citizen can buy into the program. Nothing else will do more to help eliminate the deficit in Medicare funding.

Military contractors should be shown the door. No private company should ever be given a contract to do what our own soldiers are perfectly capable of doing. I mopped floors in the Galley when I was in the Navy. Now I hear we're paying people from the private sector more than an E6 to do that. That's insane, and stupid. End that.

Rebuild our roads, our water systems, our sewer systems, our power grid and our rail system. Do what Eisenhower was not able to do by putting rail lines alongside every Federal Highway.

Reverse the Bush, Reagan and Kennedy tax cuts. People in the top 1% of income earners should be paying 70% in taxes. People in the top 0.1% should be paying 90%. Prevent the concentration of wealth and power that leads to the corruption of power in Washington DC and everywhere else by making them understand that all the money they are earning belongs to the country, not to themselves personally. If they don't like that, they are welcome to fund Space Exploration so they can move to the Moon or Mars.

I'm a hard core progressive. Those are my views. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More work in Victory Creek Park

My son and I continue to work on Victory Creek Park, just East of the QFC along Northgate Way. We're focused on the Eastern ravine, which we believe belongs to the Seattle Department of Transportation because it aligns with the right-of-way from 12th Avenue down to Northgate Way NE. I don't think anyone has touched that portion of the park for years.

Here's the report I gave to the Parks Department via their "Report Illegal Dumping" form:

My son and I found a bunch of junk while working in Victory Creek Park. There is a large soft bottle of black oil sludge of some kind in the Eastern ravine. The bottle does not have a lid. The remainder of the junk including two tires, some metal pieces and a planter box with some broken glass bottles are across the walkway, visible from Northgate Way.

If you have any questions, please contact me. My son and I work in that area every Sunday.

Correction, this is what I would have sent as a comment if their comment character limit wasn't 150. Which is way, WAY, too short for me.

Here's the response I got when I submitted the form:

Thank you for your message to Seattle Public Utilities regarding Illegal Dumping. We will respond to your report as quickly as possible.

If the illegal dumping violation is on public property, Seattle Public Utilities will dispatch a clean up request to the appropriate department or agency. Public property includes alleys, sidewalks, planting strips, streets and rights-of-way. Our goal is to inspect reported complaints within 10 business days and remove debris within 14 business days.

Private property dumping is a civil matter between the property owner and the violator. For information on illegal dumping on private property, please contact the DPD Code Violation Complaint Hotline at (206) 684-7899.

We share your concern, and appreciate your message. It is citizens like you who help to keep our communities clean and beautiful.

SPU Customer Service

I don't think this is NEAR fast enough. Of course, I'm not sure how many reports per day they get of people dumping stuff within the Seattle city limits. Probably way to often.

Here are some pictures of what we found.

I'll add more pictures as soon as we get them uploaded.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years

I arrived to work on time, around 7:00am. My job was to unpack the boxes that came in to the Sportswear department and get the floor ready for the day. The building was usually buzzing with the Department managers and stock people doing the same, but this was a quiet morning. My manager came down and asked if I knew. He sent me upstairs to the lunchroom where the television was. I watched the second tower fall.

I had been in the military. I knew what this meant. We were at war. With someone, not sure who yet. The manager of the shoe department was ranting about someone from the Middle East. I told him that another plane had gone down in Pennsylvania. We thought it had been going after Camp David.

Someone threatened the Irdis Mosque and shot a bullet into the ground there. I wrote up a sign and took it to the Imam to have translated. "We are one people, stronger than before". I meant it to mean America.

Most people were sent home that day. Nobody was coming in to shop. Everyone was at their televisions. But Nordstrom immediately geared up for a sale. Their first and only Fall Sale, to clear our inventory, and send a percentage of the sales to Ground Zero. The Mens Buyer walked into a local embroidery manufacturer and told them he wanted shirts and hats with the US Flag on them in every store. We probably sold hundreds. I wanted to buy one, but they all sold too fast.

There was an image in the news, with people from Pakistan holding up a banner that read "America, think why you are hated around the world." So I stopped to think. And I remembered my oath.

"...against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

I was in the military. I knew what this meant. We were at war. And I knew who with. They're not from the Middle East.