All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

To look up the August 7th primary election results at The Washington State Secretary of State site, click here.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

King County proposes ban on common firearms

The King County clowncil unveiled their plan to ban “Semi-automatic, High Velocity Weapons.”  They call disarming the innocent public "common sense."

In a July 23rd op-ed, Joe McDermott, the Council Chair of King County, Washington, introduced a multi-prong “King County Gun Safety Action Plan” aimed at reducing gun violence.

The plan requires that warning signs be posted at gun shops, as well as any place a firearm is sold or discharged, to advise about “the very real and significant risk to health and life inherent with firearm ownership.” (The language of these signs is to be approved by the local board of health.) Second, gun owners will be required to securely store firearms and ammunition at all times and in all places. And, citing recent school tragedies, the third proposal instructs the County to collaborate with local youth to identify “youth-informed solutions” for reducing gun crime. According to one source, a failure to post the warning signage would expose violators to civil penalties of up to $100 per day; a violation of the storage mandate would be a criminal misdemeanor punishable by jail time of up to 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000.

Additional proposals put forward include an ordinance to compel the King County Sheriff’s Office to destroy forfeited weapons in working condition and those that have been turned in by gun owners, and a demand that Washington State lawmakers repeal the current firearm preemption law. This would clear the way for even more drastic “solutions.” Upon repeal of the state preemption law, the King County Gun Safety Action Plan will immediately impose a ban on the sale and possession of “semi-automatic, high velocity weapons” and “high capacity magazines,” and raise the minimum age for possession or purchase of a firearm to 21 years of age.

Apart from the preemption issue, the Action Plan’s requirement that every gun owner securely store firearms and ammunition “at all times, on all premises” would mean that firearms cannot legally be kept available for immediate use by police and corrections officers, those being victimized by a domestic abuser or stalker, operators of businesses in high-crime areas, ordinary homeowners, and other law-abiding residents of the state. According to a 2015 report on crime by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), a crime against the person occurs every 6.8 minutes in the state, including a violation of a no-contact or protection order every 40.4 minutes. Property crimes are even more frequent and take place at the rate of one every 1.8 minutes, with a robbery every two hours and a burglary every 13.2 minutes (the report lists robbery and burglary as property, not person, crimes because the primary object is the taking of something of value from the victim).

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A Seattle and King County Public Health analysis on firearms and crime statistics dated the same year is equally informative. Three out of four firearm hospitalizations in King County were due to unspecified “assaults.” The great majority of firearm deaths were suicides rather than homicides (68% and 29%, respectively), although for children 18 years and under, firearm suicides occurred at about half the rate of homicides. Accidental shootings made up a very small part of firearm homicides – between one and four percent. Motives for homicides include robbery, and gang and drug crimes. For victims aged between 18 and 29, for example, 21% of homicides were gang-related and 15% were drug-related; “robbery” accounted for a further five percent, and “revenge” was listed for eight percent.

The same document notes the absence of information tying these homicides to “risk factors” like “firearm ownership.” A statistical analysis in 2014 on King County gun homicides is more explicit: “Firearm ownership history (e.g. stolen, legally obtained) not collected.” In addition, information on criminal history was “missing” for three out of five suspects (58%), although out of the remaining group, almost ten percent had a prior conviction, more than five percent were on parole or probation, and almost six percent were wanted on warrants or other charges or were out on bail or bond at the time of the offense.

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Regardless of how King County residents keep their firearms, “firearm ownership” or storage practices have not been associated in any way with these crimes. To the extent information is available, the data indicate a sizable proportion of gun homicides involved criminals who were likely already precluded from lawfully possessing a firearm under state or federal law. (It follows, too, that gang bangers, robbers, and the other perpetrators of gun crimes will comply with the proposed “safe storage” mandate in the same manner as they obey existing laws on legal weapon possession and use.)

The most peculiar part of the King County Action Plan is the comprehensive ban on the possession and sale of “semi-automatic, high velocity weapons.” Without more, the language is ridiculously overbroad and will encompass most modern firearms, air guns, BB guns, and flare guns. Besides making other parts of the plan redundant, this would certainly run afoul of the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment and the Washington State Constitution (the “right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired…”).

Overall, it is hard to tell how the components of the Action Plan will accomplish any meaningful change in public safety or the behavior of violent criminals, apart from making honest citizens more vulnerable by impeding their ability to defend themselves. What is obvious, though, is the credibility gap: anti-gun activists who roll out purported “common sense” gun laws, together with the oft-raised assertion that they aren’t going to take anyone’s guns away, shouldn’t be surprised at how few people are willing to take them at their word.



National Rifle Association, Institute for Legislative Action

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Gun control Initiative 1639 is 'fake and switch'

Proving that money can’t buy everything, Washington State’s most recent anti-gun ballot initiative may end up being derailed over a failure to comply with mandatory legal requirements, despite seven-figure funding through hefty donations from local billionaires and other big donors.   
Under state law, the sponsors of a ballot initiative must collect signatures using a prescribed petition format and process.

The State constitution requires that every petition must “include the full text of the measure so proposed,” which is echoed in a state law that mandates all petitions circulated for signatures must have “a readable, full, true, and correct copy of the proposed measure printed on the reverse side of the petition.” This guarantees that every voter being asked to sign the petition has an opportunity, beforehand, to review the complete text of the measure, so as to reduce misinformation, deception, or fraud regarding what is actually being proposed and supported by the signer.

The Secretary of State’s Handbook on initiative laws confirms that the “Office of the Secretary of State must ascertain that the signer, at the time of signing the petition, had the opportunity to read the complete text of the measure. Otherwise, the Office of the Secretary of State cannot verify the signatures on that petition.”

The group behind Initiative I-1639, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility (AGR), has turned gun-control initiatives in Washington State into a cottage industry, with two previous ballot initiative campaigns. According to the AGR, I-1639 represents its “most comprehensive” initiative in Washington State to date.

The Initiative document itself consists of 30 pages of wide-ranging and extensive changes to the state’s firearms laws on rifle sales and transfers, “assault rifles,” training requirements, gun dealer compliance, age to purchase or possess restrictions, new purchase and transfer fees, new firearm storage crimes, and more. This shows changes to the existing law in the traditional legislative manner, with underlining for additions and strikeouts for deletions.  

Each petition sheet circulated to the signing public reads that the “undersigned citizens and legal voters…direct that the proposed measure known as Initiative Measure No. 1639… a full, true, and correct copy of which is printed on the reverse side of this petition, be submitted to the legal voters…” Not only were 30 pages of changes (now reduced to teeny-tiny text) crammed onto the back of each petition page but – unlike the original Initiative document – the petition pages lacked any indications, by way of strikeout or underlined text, to show the actual amendments being proposed to existing state law.

Concerned citizens initially raised these compliance issues in June. In their application seeking a court injunction to prohibit Washington’s Secretary of State from accepting the signed petition, the court declined to intervene, concluding that court review was “authorized only if the Secretary [of State] refuses to file the petition.” In the meantime, I-1639’s sponsor continued to use the same petition pages to collect signatures.

The Secretary of State acknowledged that “significant” constitutional concerns had been raised regarding I-1639’s petition format and confirmed that the “petition sheets presented a text of the measure that lacked underlining and strikethroughs to explain its changes to existing law,” but Initiative 1639 was, regardless, certified for inclusion on the November 2018 ballot.

Early this month, the NRA and Alan Gottleib of the Second Amendment Foundation filed two separate lawsuits against the Secretary of State, seeking to enjoin the certification under state law.  By incorrectly labeling the petition information as the actual text of I-1639, the Initiative sponsor violated the explicit, mandatory statutory direction that a “readable, full, true, and correct” copy of the Initiative be included with the petition pages. More significantly, this was also false, misleading, and unfair to voters.

Under this “I-1639 bait-and-switch,” not only were voters asked to sign a petition containing a copy of the proposed measure that was almost impossible to read, the text made it impossible to distinguish between current law and the changes being proposed. “None of the voters who signed the Submitted Petition had a copy of the actual text of I-1639 on the petition that they signed, and there is no proof that any of the voters who signed the Submitted Petition had an opportunity to review the text of the initiative to be placed on the ballot.”

These failures, according to the lawsuits, invalidate the petition and the signatures, and the Secretary of State should have rejected the signatures and withheld certification. The lawsuits ask the court to apply the constitutional and statutory requirements and suspend or deny certification.

In addition to the defective, incorrect text and print so voluminous and small that voters could scarcely be expected to read it, the lawsuit also raises claims of “misleading signage [and] untruthful signature gatherers” – one source contends that “paid signature gatherers were caught on film telling voters the initiative had nothing to do with gun control.”

A hearing date has been set for August 17.

The National Rifle Association is the source of this article.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Health care scams

Most people realize that the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, is a money laundering scam.  It turns out that ObamaCare isn't the Left's only medical care racket.

A new report released this week by the Freedom Foundation documents for the first time the history and scope of the unionization of state-paid home care workers around the country and the resulting diversion of hundreds of millions of Medicaid dollars to government unions.

In 2017, at least eight states — including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — skimmed nearly $150 million in union dues out of state payments to more than 350,000 home caregivers serving Medicaid-eligible disabled and elderly clients.

All told, states have deducted more than $1.4 billion in union dues and fees from caregivers’ wages from 2000-17.

In most cases, caregivers are related to the clients they serve.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last month issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to rescind a regulation adopted in 2014 by HHS during President Obama’s administration that gave some legal cover for states to deduct union dues from caregivers’ pay.

Dues skimming from Medicaid started long before that, beginning in California in 1992, and appears to violate federal statutes requiring payments for services to be made directly to providers.

CMS estimated in the NPRM that states siphoned about $71 million in Medicaid funds to unions per year, but based its estimate only on a handful of news reports discussing the subject. The Freedom Foundation’s state-by-state analysis relies primarily on state payroll data and financial reports unions have filed with the U.S. Department of Labor and is the first attempt to quantify the scope of the practice.

"It is very heartening to see this administration taking the first practical steps to stop states and unions from deducting money from the Medicaid checks of home caregivers serving our society’s disabled and elderly," said Freedom Foundation director of labor policy Maxford Nelsen.

"This illegal and exploitative practice has victimized hundreds of thousands of caregivers. It has only been allowed to persist because it generated significant funds for a politically connected special interest group. Hopefully the administration follows through with meaningful action and does the right thing for caregivers."

Some states have already taken the initiative to end union dues skimming from Medicaid, including Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. An attempt to unionize home caregivers in Pennsylvania is on hold pending a state Supreme Court ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to the unionization of home caregivers in 2014 when it ruled in Harris v. Quinn that “partial-public employees” like Medicaid-paid caregivers could not be forced to pay union dues or fees against their will.

Nevertheless, unions and their political allies in state governments have since devised a number of coercive countermeasures designed to keep skimming funds from caregivers’ Medicaid payments, like collecting dues automatically and forcing caregivers to opt out, only permitting resignations during narrow annual periods as short as 10 days, and pressuring caregivers to sign up for union membership in captive-audience meetings with union organizers.

"States’ role as dues collectors has enabled many of [the] unions' most coercive practices,” Nelsen said. "Taking states out of the union dues collection business would help put power back in the hands of the caregivers,” he said. “It wouldn’t prevent anyone from choosing to join and pay dues to a union if they wish, but it go a long way towards ending some of unions’ worst practices."

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The Freedom Foundation’s report, "Getting Organized at Home: Why Allowing States to Siphon Medicaid Funds to Unions Harms Caregivers and Compromises Program Integrity," is available here.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Guide explains how unions indoctrinate employees into joining

The Freedom Foundation explains

A report released last year by the union-backed nonprofit Jobs with Justice explained in detail how unions can use new hire orientations to indoctrinate employees into signing up for union membership and becoming union activists.

The nearly 30-page guide, “Making the Case for Union Membership: The Strategic Value of New Hire Orientations,” is not specific to public or private-sector unions, but takes on added significance for government unions because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s pending decision in Janus v. AFSCME, in which the Court is generally anticipated to strike down state laws requiring public employees to financially support a union as a condition of employment.

Nervous unions and their political allies in state governments have been hard at work for years to preemptively blunt the impact of the decision and make sure the cycle of government-facilitated union dues collection helping to elect union-friendly politicians continues unabated.

One of the more common methods government unions are implementing involves requiring newly-hired public employees to participate in captive-audience meetings with union organizers. Sometimes these requirements are negotiated with favorable government employers, as was the case when SEIU 775 and Gov. Jay Inslee agreed to allow union organizers access to newly hired home care workers in not one, but two captive audience settings.

In other cases, the requirements are simply written into state law, as occurred when the Washington State Legislature, under Democratic control, this year adopted SB 6229 and required all public employers in the state to give unions at least 30 minutes access to new hires.

These tactics, and similar efforts underway in other states, largely mimic the recommendations of the Jobs with Justice report issued in September 2016 and revised in October 2017.

Describing the orientations as “a strategic tool for building union power,” the guide explains in detail best practices to pressure, coerce and indoctrinate employees with the goal of persuading them to join the union at minimum and, if possible, become activists.

The report encourages unions to think of the orientations as “formal socialization” — a “structured and organized experience, typically occurring in a group setting” — the purpose of which is to “instill in new members… loyalty to the union, willingness to volunteer on behalf of the union, and sense of responsibility to the union.”

Throughout, the focus of the report is on overcoming “anti-union stigmas and political biases” and getting employees to view the union favorably through messaging and manipulation, not by providing a better product or service. It is, at its core, an indoctrination how-to guide.
To summarize some of the report’s key points:
  • Unions are advised to conduct orientations “as close to a new hire’s start date as possible,” since “(w)aiting to orient new hires on the union and its value to them allows others, like an employer or friend with anti-union views, time to have more influence over a new hire’s perception of the union.”
  • If possible, the report strongly encourages unions to conduct their membership pitches during the employer’s regular orientation program:
    • “Employer orientations are typically mandatory, on the clock, and during new employees’ first few days on the job. If a union’s own orientation is part of a formal workplace orientation program, the union has the means to interact with every new employee in person. Participation in an employer’s new hire orientation can also validate the union’s role in the workplace, giving it legitimacy in the eyes of new hires.”
  • Lengthy orientations are strongly promoted: “The longer the orientation, the better.” The report notes, “If your local union’s orientation is 15 minutes in length, increase it to 30 minutes. If you typically hold a 30-minute orientation, increase it to 60 minutes. If there is a way to make it three hours, then do so…”
  • Ever mindful of progressive identity politics, unions are encouraged to send organizers, called “facilitators,” who share the same “race, age, gender, language preferences and other characteristics” of the employees they are seeking to persuade.
  • Defending unions’ high levels of political activity is emphasized throughout: “Don’t assume people will know why unions choose to participate in politics or engage in community service. And when it comes to politics, do not shy away from the role of unions…”
  • One of unions’ biggest peeves is being described as third-party entities separate from the employees which is, of course, precisely what they are. Standard union messaging involves telling employees that they are the union. This point is driven home ad nauseum in the report, which notes, for example:
    • “Facilitators should also find ways to talk about the union as ‘we’ to develop a sense of identity, rather than talking about the union as a third-party institution that is separate and apart from bargaining unit members.”
    • “Referring to the union in the third person (‘they’ rather than ‘we’) should also be avoided, as it can create a sense of separation between the union and the members and new hires present at the orientation.”
    • “…(R)esisting the inclination to describe ‘the union’ as a third party that acts for people, and instead using terms that give members agency, such as ‘joining together’; replacing terms that people don’t identify with, like ‘worker,’ in favor of humanizing terms such as ‘working people…’”
  • Another means of suggested subtle coercion involves having organizers present union membership forms as though signing up is normal, expected and, implicitly, required:
    • “Unions should present the cards and related forms with confidence. Assume the new hires want to join the union.”
      “…(P)resent the union application as matter-of-factly as any other paperwork.”
  • The use of peer pressure and group-think is strongly encouraged:
    • “Telling new hires that many members participate in one union activity or another can encourage participation since people tend to do what is popular. Explaining to new hires that members are expected to participate can also encourage follow-through, by establishing a norm.”
  • Conflict should be downplayed, even if it exists in the workplace and the union is part of it:
    • “Facilitators should also remain upbeat and positive, even if the union has an antagonistic relationship with management. New hires must associate joining and forming unions with a move toward something positive. This is an important time to demonstrate that unions are a source of solutions, and not a source of problems. New hires do not know any past bad history with management and do not want management to view them as troublemakers.”
  • Bribe workers with trivial giveaways:
    • “Unions should also hand out branded freebies at their formal orientations. People like free stuff, and they like to show that they are a part of something… Giving new hires free union gear and goodies can build an identity with the union inside and outside the workplace…”
  • Apply a little extra pressure to employees who are reluctant to join up:
    • “Unions should also clarify that certain benefits are only available to full, dues-paying members. Providing a calm, matter-of-fact explanation can help win over new hires who are ‘on the fence’ about joining, and don’t realize all that union membership has to offer.”
    • If that doesn’t work, “There are still opportunities for unions to educate members about the benefits of union membership with individuals who initially decide against joining. The Michigan Education Association developed a useful approach to sign up new members in a right-to-work environment. When new hires indicate that they do not want to join the MEA, a facilitator asks them to complete a ‘non-member informed consent form.’ This document lists all the rights and opportunities the new hires are choosing to decline by not joining the union. The facilitator walks them through every item, creating the opportunity to explain one more time the value and benefits of union membership. The MEA reports that many new hires who initially decline to join the union eventually decide to sign up after reviewing the non-consent form.”
  • Use “rituals” to make people feel like they just joined a cult and can’t get out:
    • “Celebrate a new hire’s decision to join the union.”
    • “The unions should play up the fact that it is now a part of a new member’s life. If unions already have initiation ceremonies or rituals to recognize new members, they should maintain and improve them as necessary. Unions that lack initiation ceremonies or welcoming rituals should create them. Rituals can include:
      • Recognizing new members at their first union meeting, including providing a round of applause from other members and the presentation of a small token of appreciation.
      • Written recognition of new members in the union’s newsletter or other member communications.
    • “Actors’ Equity, the union for stage actors and stage managers, exemplifies this practice. Equity members celebrate the moment they join the union. The union takes photos of new Equity Members with their union cards at their orientation session. Soon after, the union posts these pictures on social media channels, and encourages the new members to do the same on their social media accounts. A public celebration of a person’s induction into the union helps develop commitment and a positive attitude toward the union, while also creating free, positive public relations exposure for the union.”
While some legislative advocates of these captive-audience meetings attempt to defend them as merely educational opportunities for employees to learn about their new job, the report is clear about the ultimate goal of these meetings: “Encourage new hires to become active union members”; “sign up new members”; and make sure the union “does not lose out on dues money and the potential participation of new active members.”
As bad as the fairly sanitized report may sound when read by a detached observer, the reality on the ground is far worse.

For example, public records obtained by the Freedom Foundation from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) indicate the captive audience meetings state-paid home care aides sit through with SEIU 775 organizers are highly coercive. In the documents, DSHS staff describe SEIU 775 organizers presenting at the IP contracting appointments as, “aggressive,” “forceful,” “rude,” “unprofessional,” “coercive,” “demanding,” and “bullying.” These same staff report caregivers feeling, “pressured,” “misled,” “tricked,” “coerced,” “intimidated” and “forced” into signing SEIU membership forms. In at least one case, DSHS staff report a caregiver being reduced to tears by the high-pressure tactics of two SEIU organizers.

Due to the Legislature’s passage of SB 6229 earlier this year (a bill sponsored by Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, a union-represented fire fighter from Sequim), all public employees in the state will soon be subjected to similar treatment.

--- Maxford Nelsen

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The rich man's gun control is only for the masses --- Initiative 1639

Washington State’s would-be oligarchs are attempting to buy Evergreen Staters’ rights again. Four years after West Coast elites dumped $10 million into the campaign for Initiative 594, which criminalized the private transfer of firearms, some of the same plutocrats are spending big bucks to back I-1639, an even more restrictive anti-gun ballot measure.

Gun control advocates and their media lapdogs are mischaracterizing I-1639 as a measure that would merely prohibit the sale of so-called “assault rifles” to those ages 18 to 21. In reality, I-1639 is a wide-ranging initiative that would impose new burdens on all Washington gun owners and severely curtail access to some of America’s most popular firearms.

Stretching the already prevalent misuse of the term “assault rifle” to new extremes, I-1639 defines “semiautomatic assault rifle” as, “any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.” This means that any semiautomatic rifle whatsoever, from an AR-15 to your grandfather’s tube-fed .22 squirrel gun would be considered an “assault rifle” and subject to severe restriction.

As for those restrictions, all prospective semiautomatic rifle purchasers, regardless of age, would be required to submit to a gun dealer certification that they have completed a firearms training course. In order for the certification to be valid, the course must have been completed within the previous five years. This means that gun owners would be forced to repeatedly take firearms training courses in order to remain eligible to purchase any semiautomatic rifle.

Further, I-1639 would impose a 10 business day waiting period on the purchase of all semiautomatic rifles, extend the Washington State Department of Licensing’s handgun registry to cover all semiautomatic rifles, and authorize a $25 fee to be assessed to semiautomatic rifle purchasers.

I-1639 would also impose criminal liability on otherwise law-abiding gun owners who do not store their firearms to state standards.

For more on I-1639, click here.

According to articles from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Associated Press, at a May 21 luncheon hosted by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the group received two $1 million dollar donations to support I-1639.

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers owner Paul Allen was one of the $1 million donors. The other was tech venture capitalist Nick Hanauer. Some have labelled Hanauer a hypocrite for his massive contribution, given his purported support for campaign finance reforms.

Reports indicate that mere millionaires were also in attendance. The Post-Intelligencer reported, 
[The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s] annual luncheon has become a kind of bidding competition of who can donate the most money… The event yielded three donations of $100,000, two givers of $50,000, three people donating $25,000, seven gifts of $10,000, plus 13 givers coming in at $5,000.

The identities of these big money donors have yet to be made available on the Washington Public Disclosure Commission’s website.

If history is any guide, even more cash is forthcoming. Billionaire gun control patron Michael Bloomberg personally bankrolled I-594 to the tune of $285,000, while funneling another $2.3 million to the cause through his front group Everytown for Gun Safety. Hanauer dumped $1.3 million into the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility to support the measure, while Allen contributed $500,000. Former Microsoft CEO and current Los Angeles Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie together spent more than $1 million to strip Washingtonians of their rights and were joined by fellow Microsoft Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, who gave more than $1 million combined. Rounding out the mega-contributors was Ann P. Wyckoff, widow of lumber magnate T. Evans Wyckoff.

With this deluge of billionaire cash, gun control advocates were able to outspend gun rights supporters by a margin of more than 10 to 1.

Despite the lopsided financial support that gun control initiatives receive from anti-gun tycoons, gun rights supporters should not lose hope. In the face of massive anti-gun spending in a series of background check initiatives, grassroots efforts by gun rights supporters have been able to shift public opinion on the topic, with the pro-gun position faring far better in election day results than the opinion polling touted by gun control supporters.
Facing another “avalanche of money” Washington gun owners will need to muster the same sort of grassroots enthusiasm that carried Maine gun rights supporters to victory and has repeatedly shocked pollsters.

To find out what you can do to preserve firearms freedom in the Evergreen State, please visit https://www.nraila.org/grassroots/.

What other people read on this blog

Effing the ineffable - Washington State elections sometimes have been rigged.

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
-- Joseph Stalin