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9.11.13  - A visit to Senator Merkley's Office

Report of the Adventures of Individuals For Justice and Noble Friends,

Barbara, Malcolm and I met Tuesday at 2:45 PM at The World Trades building. It was going to be an interesting meeting with the staff of Senator Merkley.  Read the full story of what happened on our BLOG







Water Reservoir Protest - Portland Oregon - Mt Tabor

July 15, 2013 we stood on a hill near reservoir 6 practicing our song to be sung as we were arrested for defending our pure wonderful water.  Then midnight came and the park rangers made an announcement that the park was closed and we had 30 minutes to leave.  Nan and I were probably the oldest that were going to give up some of our liberty for the water.  The thunder bolt came at about 0010 from the recognized leader of what was called Camp Cascadia. 

Jessie had a bull horn and was telling the people gathered that he changed his mind and would leave the park as ordered at or before the cut off of 0030, (12:30 AM).  I and others were stunned, we could not believe that he would do that.  This was supposed to be the crowning moment for this group to make a statement about the lack of representation we have on the city level. 

Jessie talked about a great victory; Individuals For Justice saw it as a sellout. We had spent that last four days standing with our signs on 60th to let people know that we love our wonderful water and many of us were willing to go to jail to make a point that we were pissed.  It all came to a head last night or this morning when we were divided not by the cops but by our own leadership. 

Individuals For Justice walked out in disgust.  We withdraw our support and endorsement of this effort because we no longer trust the leadership and that is just sad.  We have gone to meeting after meeting, stood on the Hawthorne Bridge, spent four days on 60th and Hawthorne near reservoir #6 holding signs and telling people who passed by Monday night was going to be the night that the city council would take notice. 

There was no victory, the water is not following in the open reservoirs and charlie is laughing at us this beautiful morning because we lost months of protests to a last minute decision by a group of wimps.  Being arrested is not fun, it takes some serious thought and making arrangements so your family does not just hear it on TV or the radio that you are in jail. 

My health is not good, so it takes some talking to my wife Patty not to be mad when I do put myself in the way of the corporate cops.    


So, what now folks?  The reservoir construction will continue and we may see them under ground; we will have shit water and pay higher prices for the privilege of drinking what the corporations sell us. 


Congratulations Camp Cascadia, what a great victory you had last night.  Individuals For Justice will continue our fight against this madness of spending $400,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 of rate payers’ money covering the reservoirs, and laying piping down for something that is working just fine.  We will not be working with Camp Cascadia because we feel they wimped out and we cannot trust them.  They managed to do what the cops or park rangers could not do, divide the group and that is unforgivable. 


See you in the streets.           


For Justice,Peace and *Laughter,

Joe Walsh-Lone Vet

Individuals for Justice

Proud member of Oregon Progressive Party,







Arrest of this noble man; our shame


Why Keep The System Going?

12/12/12 - Joe Walsh



You who volunteer, give your time to helping others are part of the problem. You who serve on committees for the city, state or the federal government are keeping the system going. Without people of good will


this system would collapse, so why do we do the very thing that keeps a system that will screw us going? Man, is that the 64 thousand dollar question? How many hours do you give? Just stop it now and let the system collapse. Man, am I going to get into trouble now!



I have been wondering about this very question for a long time, volunteering is against what most of us want, but we keep doing it. Volunteering is the very backbone of our society, a society that says you cannot sleep on the street, but must have thousands of dollars to get into any apartment. Got to have a job to get a job, place to live or food to eat. I know many of you will say, “Well, we give to charity and that takes care of the poor.” You are not serious are you? You do know that at any given time we have thousands of people living on the streets and we have never come close to adequately housing our “Houseless.”



Most jerks use the wrong description to describe the problem when dealing with homeless, houseless, those who are about to be on the street. Most of us walk by and do not want to know how bad it is out there. So, why have we not solved this problem, why have we not done what all our religions tell us we are suppose to do? It is a mystery.



Most of us believe that someday we will stand before a god and have to answer for our way of life, many of us believe that justice demands we take care of human beings who are in trouble, the poor, the people who cannot make positive decisions for themselves and those who have just had a hard time and need help. Most of us would not argue about having enough housing for those who need it. Then why do we not just get the job done? That my friend is no mystery.



We are creatures of words, and words too often become the reality, we say we must take care of those who need our help and that is as far as we will go; talking shit but doing very little. Some of us do more, but it is never enough. I have actually heard politicians say, “If we create enough housing for our homeless, the word will go out that Portland is the place to come to, because we are so generous.” If you have been around the poor for any length of time you probably heard some jerk say something like this. We have never and there is not one city that has come close to answering the needs of those who find themselves without money. Never!!!! These cities in the United States of America are run by jerks and we keep voting for them again and again. Vote for Obama you young students and watch as your Pell Grants get cut. Vote for progressive democrats you people of good will and watch your sons and daughters go away and kill people for Exxon and Blackwater, (or whatever it is called now.) We are all so stupid and the rich are just loving it.



The only weapon we have is our vote, and some of you will not even do that. We let the rich run our voting machines to such an extent that we are not sure what happens after we take the time to vote, and in some places that may mean waiting on lines for 4-8 hours---what the hell is that. We have known that there is something wrong with our ability to vote for years now and yet we do nothing about it. “ Storm the Bastille” should be our cry, not just standing on lines for hours. What a bunch of wussies we have become. The most powerful thing that we have done so far is pulling our money out of big banks, that is having some effect, are you doing it? Do you think hospitals can keep running if there are no volunteers to give out things, greet people, no---but we keep volunteering and paying out our savings if we get sick; why is that?



There is a concept in non-violent actions that says just sit down and let the cops drag you out of a protest, it is a great image for the cameras but we rarely do that, why? The people who have run our groups who are active should be replaced because they either don’t know what they are doing or have been co-opted. The unions have lost any way of fighting against tyranny because you idiots think that unions are corrupt. I hear working people say that they will not join a union and want right to work laws passed. Are you idiots or just stupid, and where do you get the notion that you will not be part of an organization that is corrupt---ever hear the word BANK.



Occupy has taken some hits by people who have never joined, been part of, or just don’t understand what Occupy stands for. The MSM has led the charge and if you don’t know it, the MSM is owned by the corporations and why you would believe anything they have to say is beyond me. Occupy is the best thing that has happened in generations, it may not succeed but that will be because you are idiots.



Tell you the truth as I am writing this, I really don’t care what you do or don’t do. The reason I say this is that what we do at this moment is not what is driving this country, what is leading us off the cliff is your lack of understanding what is happening around you and you don’t even see it. We will go off the cliff, and I don’t mean what is happening with the taxes, I mean crash and burn. We are now in the realm of storms that tear apart buildings, cause flooding that brings major cities to their knees, ice is melting so fast that the salinity of the oceans are being affected. We have droughts that make the great lack of water in the past look like just a warm day. We are collapsing on every level and people are only interested in what’s on TV. So what should we do now?



I don’t have a clue, we have screwed things up so badly that there is nothing we can now do to change directions, so enjoy the time you have left because we are living in a self-fulfilling prophecy. The end of the world as we know it is coming to your neighborhood and I hope it does not interrupt your TV show.



I am 70 and not in good health, I may not see the end of this country that could have done so much good in the world, but is too busy killing kids with drones to notice that judgment is close at hand. We arrest peacemakers and let mass murderers write books. All you religious folks hope and pray that god is not an overweight woman of color who is gay, you are in deep shit. Merry Christmas.



You politicians, you are all going to hell. (or wherever)



Me, I’ll stay in the streets when my health allows me, not because I think I will change the way we do things, but because I need to sleep at night and have to look in the mirror from time to time. One never knows when something good happens, I have been surprised before, it is up to all of us to yell, Enough!





By Joe Walsh  9.17.12 


Orignally Posted on FaceBook




My first day in front of City Hall was filled with drama, and I love drama. I arrived about 0900 and started to put up my sign. The announcement sign was made up of PVC piping that would hold two signs, and people could read it from both sides. When I started to put the frame together I heard and saw a police car come next to me. It was no other than officer *stuart palmiter #27244; I said under my breath, “Oh boy, this is going to be one of those days.” You see this police officer gave me a hard time not very long ago and today he was walking around giving our beloved protesters, who have been in front of the City Hall for at least the last nine months a hard time. The first thing he said to me is that you cannot build anything in front of City Hall. I said I am going to put a sign here and it is about getting people to sign a petition to put the fluoride question to all Portland voters, not leave it in the hands of the 5 shi-s who call themselves our representatives. The officer’s reply was, something like, “Well this is not going to happen here.” I said, oh yes it is.”

The officer left and went into the City Hall as I continued putting together my sign holder. After a bit, officer palmiter returned and said, “We are going to let you have your sign but you must not leave it.” My response was that I was exercising my legal right to collect signatures and he was interfering with that right. He said a strange thing, something like, “I can talk to you if I want, I also have freedom of speech.” I continued having fun with him now, I pointed out, “If you are not on the job, then you should be moving your car, it’s in a place right next to a sign that says, “Government automobiles forbidden.” He continued to say something but I did not pay too much attention, he departed, but I just knew we were not finished. About two hours later I had to use the restroom, just before I went inside I heard office palmiter yell at me not to leave my sign unattended or he would arrest it. I yelled back that because I am on oxygen, walk with a cane and considered disabled he had to make “Reasonable Accommodations.” I went inside to the warm welcome of the uniformed security and asked if I could use the restroom. Coming out of City Hall I noticed my sign was gone, stolen, taken into custody. I was not happy. 99 was there and he told me what happened.

After I went inside the cop and a City Attorney representative got together and decided I had abandoned my sign, so they could steal it, I was pissed. I went back into City Hall to the City Attorney’s office, was very polite to the receptionist, but very firm with the CA Rep. “I want my sign back.”

The rep looked at me and said I had abandoned the sign and the police locked it up for safe keeping and the officer would come back and give me a receipt. Now I was even more pissed, “I want my fuc-ing sign back and I want it replaced where you stole it!! I told the city attorney that if it wasn’t replaced in one hour I would go home and return tomorrow to file a small claims action against officer palmiter and the City Attorney for stealing my sign. About an hour or so later I got my sign back. There was more to this adventure but I am getting bored writing about it. Bottom line, stand up for your rights, if we don’t use them we will surely lose them. There were some funny parts but I did not take this lightly and will do some formal things that says, “Don’t do this anymore.” I will return tomorrow and expect more adventures, we are having a time!
* Will not cap due to being pissed or just plain disrespect!

















I never have voted for a republican, I believe unless you are a millionaire you should never vote for the “Goppie.”  I spent forty years of my life voting, working for the democrats.  I like to kid my friends by saying some people take longer to learn.  I was so angry at my democratic house member that I ran against him in the primary.  I know what Nader and others have said about the two parties being two faces of evil.  Obama brags about his accomplishments but also kills at will.  He has the final say when sending in a drone to kill his enemies that he and only he decides should die; and cocktail liberals will vote for him.



I left the democratic party back in 2008 just after the primary because I could not look in the mirror anymore.  I want this country to be a beacon of good and not a war loving group of jerks.  Secretary of Defense, (or as one of my close friends calls WAR) Leon Panetta has turned out to be as bad as that Rummy Guy under Cheney/Bush.  Secretary Clinton’s legacy is enshrined by her actions or lack of action when a hero of mine stood up during one of her lying speeches and turned his back to her, letting her know what she was saying was a lie.  She was talking about freedom of speech and watched as a 70+ year old man by the name of Ray McGovern was dragged out of the room and beaten.  She never missed a word in her speech.  She represents exactly where we are as a nation; corrupt.



President Obama wants to have another four years in office and the cocktail liberals are lined up to give it to him.  You can hear people like Randy Rhodes, Ed Schultz and Carl Wolfson here in Portland tell you how it is most important that you vote against Romney and for Obama---it is mind boggling.  There are other people of a noble nature who are running.  I just heard that Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan will be running on the Peace and Freedom Party.  I just love the idea of these two strong woman running.  The Justice Party has nominated another progressive by the name of Rocky Anderson who would make you proud to be an American again and not hang your head in shame.  The Greens have nominated Dr. Jill Stein to be their leader and run for the presidency.  You have many choices of good people but you want to vote for a man who has done more damage to our constitutional rights than Cheney/bush ever thought about. 



If you vote for Obama you are selling out, if you vote for the Mitt man you may be just crazy and need some professional help.  Vote for honorable people, it will make you feel better.  We have very little time left, if we don’t change we will all perish, end of story.  The next few elections will tell the story of this nation that we all call home; will you finally step up or just go along and watch as we commit mass suicide? Some say no to voting as a principle of protest, for me that is not worthy of consideration, you’ve got to fight hard to keep this republic, you cannot sit on the fence and wonder why we are so screwed up.  Get into the streets, vote, work for good people and we have them, they are not Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama.         




For Justice,Peace and *Laughter,




Joe Walsh-Lone Vet 8.5.12


Individuals for Justice Proud member of Oregon Progressive Party, War is failure, occupation a disgrace! “Funding these wars is killing our troops” * Why laughter??  Because without it I would have gone insane years ago. Sen. ** harry reid must be replaced as Majority Leader, call me when you agree or just go away! An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching. Mohandas Gandhi Thoreau may have also brooded over the reaction of Emerson, who criticized the imprisonment as pointless. According to some accounts, Emerson visited Thoreau in jail and asked, “Henry, what are you doing in there?” Thoreau replied, “Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?”   Molly Ivins, "It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." "I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth,          

and I am a citizen of the world."              

Eugene V. Debs 





Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil


We like to think of the drone war as something far away, fought in the deserts of Yemen or the mountains of Afghanistan. But we now know it’s closer than we thought. There are 64 drone bases on American soil. That includes 12 locations housing Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, which can be armed.




Public Intelligence, a non-profit that advocates for free access to information, released a map of military UAV activities in the United States on Tuesday. Assembled from military sources — especially this little-known June 2011 Air Force presentation (.pdf) – it is arguably the most comprehensive map so far of the spread of the Pentagon’s unmanned fleet. What exact missions are performed at those locations, however, is not clear. Some bases might be used as remote cockpits to control the robotic aircraft overseas, some for drone pilot training. Others may also serve as imagery analysis depots. 






Map Of Drone locations:













Written by Joe Walsh [ The Lone Vet ]



Concerning The Mayor’s Race. 

The commercials have started and I am already annoyed at their lies.  If you base your vote on what the candidates put out, you are a fool.  You deserve the corrupt government you’re going to get, but what about me?  I work hard and try to cast votes that will bring us justice and peace.  Your stupid vote screws over me and that pisses me off to no end.

There are three main characters running for mayor and the corporations are already limiting your choices to these “Three Stooges,” how sad for us.  Let’s take a look at all 3 and wonder out loud why you should look for one of the non-media-approved candidates for mayor:

Ex-Representative Jefferson Smith,  a democrat who has always followed the democratic line and has little original thought, will have to get permission from mommy to make any decision.  He comes from a family of politicians and should just go away.  He will do what the Democratic Party/Business Community tells him to do, want another Adams, vote for this guy.

 Charlie Hale, I don’t know a lot about Hale except his commercials are annoying and he comes across as a joker.  A wild joker at that.  So I had to do some work to find out what this guy is up to.  Here’s what I found out.  He got the Oregonian endorsement and that is enough for me to say no!  But let’s see what we can find out about this smiling guy.  Charlie will support our schools, he will do everything to help our schools out---The City Council is watching as our schools are closing, will this guy stand at the doors and say, “You will not close any more schools?”  This is a lie, the city is busted, laying off people and the schools are not even on the agenda to receive any help from the city except maybe lies by candidates.  A candidate who mentions schools should be rejected by the voters but you idiots may vote for this liar anyway.  Now here is a new idea, let’s take money from the city to guarantee loans to small businesses who need some money honey to get by; me thinks Charlie calls this, “Community Credit Portland.”  I call it Bullshit!!!!

Now we have the lady of the Three Stooges, Brady.  I watched and listened to Eileen Brady on a number of occasions and she is good, good like Obama; she loves to tell you how good it will be if she is the mayor.  She loves to brag about her creation of New Seasons but when pressed she gets a little fuzzy about what she did or was doing during the start-up of her overpriced grocery store.  She seems to takes credit for things others have done.  But if you want a bridge built just call on Eileen who shouts, “Build Baby Build.”  She is defended by Kari Chisholm, that is enough for me.  I run!

Most organizations will tell you these are the choices you have-not true.  There are at least 19 others who have stood up and signed up to be our mayor.  I like Cameron Whitten, he is a guy out everyday talking to people and not just sitting on his ass looking at his commercials on TV.  He is a student, has little money but does have values.  He believes in equality, police accountability, dignity for the houseless, really trying to help schools, unity!  Don’t know Cameron, of course you don’t, you need to do some research to find him on the Web or attain one of the few community events that included more than the “Three Stooges.”  So once again I will remind you there is more to being a citizen than filling out your voting package, you should investigate who just might represent you and not just vote for one of the Stooges because some organization, TV ad or radio commercial told you how wonderful they are---it is a lie!!!!!!

Next week District 1 Comments.                
For Justice,Peace and *Laughter,
Joe Walsh-Lone Vet 4/18/12
Individuals for Justice
Proud member of Oregon Progressive Party,









4/10/12 Individuals For Justice recommends a vote for the following:

Cameron Whitten for Mayor, Individuals For Justice has often called for young and noble people to step up and Cameron is just that, we like the way he thinks and calls for "Unity."

Commissioner #1 Teressa Raiford, We like her position on gun control and she thinks about how to create jobs in Portland.

Commissioner #4 Mark White. We watched Mark's work on the Charter Commission and know he was concerned about the least among us. He wants to help and has the experiences to do just that--help! Only single candidate to receive the Oregon Progressive Party's nomination.

We looked at the following criteria:

1. Non-career politician, understands that they are representatives of the people and not a know-it-all elitist.

2. Understands that to be a leader one must listen.

3. Will work to re-establish the Charter Commission.

4. Are not bought by the Business Alliance.

5. Equitable treatment of all.

6. Will hold police accountable.

We, IFJ, refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils. We want candidates that we can believe in and support. These are three noble people who will do their best.


All have not signed on to our criteria but have talked about most of the issues we are concerned with during our evaluation of the candidates.

Dream candidates must include:

Dan Meek for attorney-general. Or, better still, secretary of state.

And how about Joann Bowman Hardesty for Commissioner?















March  5  -  9








5 days of reporting back from the BUG JUDGE Protests




in front of the Ninth Circuit Court












Good-bye 2011 

Written by: Joe Walsh-Lone Vet   [Individual For Justice Member]







2011 is saying goodbye and I am happy to see it go into that place called history; it was a sad year for me. We do not have an end to the wars we started, we cannot end them. Iraq is not over as the president tells us and the scumbags called journalists echo without checking to see what end means to the people who lead us.


There are over 20,000 contractors still working in Iraq and they have to be protected by about 5,000 armed contractors from the fury of many, many Iraqis who have suffered under our invasion and occupation. The article below has to do with our friend and ally Israel who massacred children in Gaza because they could, think of what we did to Native Americans before and after that first Thanksgiving Dinner, if you don't know you are a fool and should stop reading this rant.

It took me two sittings to read the article because of the tears running down my face, it is an indictment of the place known as Israel, but funded by our money. Where are the people who write about things like this? Where are the liberal journalists? People like Randy Rhodes, Thom Hartman, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and many others. Fox news is a joke and I don't even consider any of them anything other than pretenders.

The whole question of the Palestinians' Right of Return should be taken up by a neutral commission under the UN with some kind of credibility. The problem with the UN is that the US of A pays a large part of its operating funds and can cause havoc if the organization does not do as we dictate. I do not know of any organization that can listen to the evidence and come to a reasonable decision and have the courage to present it to the world. I know there are people who would do the world a favor and settle the terrible problem that the creation of Israel has caused the world. The question seems to be, why don't they form a group of respected people and start the work to investigate and report what really happened from 1945 to the present time concerning the mass exit of Palestinians and the creation of the state of Israel. The world just watchers and does nothing to stop Israel and America from killing people around the world. My guess is that we are too strong and Israel is our friend that can do no wrong. To criticize Israel is to risk being called an anti-Semite; what a joke!


I spend most of my time now criticizing my own country about illegal wars, unjust laws, jailing protestors, putting people on show trials and mass murder. Does my search for justice make me UN-American? If your answer to that question is yes, again, stop reading because you are a fool, and I don't spend much time with fools. The citizens of Israel criticize their own government more than Americans do; does that make them Anti-Jews? We both love our country but want them to be what they say they are, Democracies.

My hopes are 2012 will be better, people around the world are demanding more and more freedom to oppose their governments when they are oppressive and that is a good sign. People are telling their governments ENOUGH and that is a wonderful sign. You cannot sit on your ass anymore, into the streets I say and be part of the citizens who are willing to risk our lives for justice and accountability!

I will return to the Hawthorne Bridge this Friday at 1530 with a sign saying the wars are not over, and we need our rights back from this administration and all political prisoners should be released. As many noble people say, "I am Bradley Manning, Occupy, and all people who have given so much to this country."

PS I just talked to one of my closest friends and the thought came to us when people ask "Occupy" what is it that you stand for?" Their answer could/should be, "The real question is what does America stand for and why do we not act that way. America for me stands for a light at the end of darkness. We are a country that once welcomed refugees but now scorn them. We told people, "Come and help us build a country that honors democracy." We told the world that we will defend the freedoms as written in our Constitution. We thought we would create a heaven on earth. People came and built the most powerful nation on earth. The first to fall were the Native Americans, they suffered terrible depression and lost most of their lands, suicide was/is common and the destruction of their homes and lands is just about complete. One should wonder why we did not learn that destroying a culture is never a good thing, we are now doing it again in Gaza, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Pakistan, in Yemen and yes to ourselves. It is only recently that I notice when people are arguing about politics they look around to see who is listening. We, who fight the tyrant with non-violence can only lose if we give up, that is our advantage, so back to our bridge to tell people they must stand for what America really stands for and not what we are today. See ya in the streets!!!

For Justice,Peace and *Laughter,
Joe Walsh-Lone Vet










* Put 15 Million Back to Work Fixing $2.2 Trillion in Infrastructure: the Works Progress Administration


By Barbara G. Ellis Ph.D.,   [Individual For Justice Member]


July 23 2011


Perhaps all is not lost for the republic's economic future, even as its leaders let this nation hurtle toward the abyss of the Great Depression II. An immensely successful, sensible and practical solution is being signaled by increasingly thunderous shout-outs from prominent people: pundits Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, Rich Lowry, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, filmmaker Michael Moore and two new web sites - not to mention millions of voters with long memories and the friends and families of the nation's 15,000,000 unemployed.



Their solution? Resurrect the phenomenally successful Works Progress Administration (WPA) of 1935-1943. It put food on the table, kept a roof overhead and put spending money in the pockets of nearly nine million jobless. They built everything from roads, bridges, dams and utility systems to schools and hospitals. They staffed libraries and taught more than a million adults and 90,000 draftees how to read.



Why not a WPA-II? We do have that civilian army of 15,000,000 unemployed, which could tackle the $2.2 trillion dollars of vital work needed by 2014 on our ramshackle infrastructure system.













Advocates celebrate, but critics warn: A few details—like, er, funding—have yet to be worked out.


Mon May. 30, 2011 3:15 AM





PDTAs Gov. Peter Shumlin took his spot on the granite steps of the Vermont State House, a row of people fanned out behind him wearing bright red t-shirts proclaiming, “Health care is a human right.” The slogan sounded noble, and wildly unrealistic. Until the governor spoke. “We gather here today to launch the first single-payer health care system in America,” began Shumlin, a Democrat who has been governor barely four months. “To do in Vermont what has taken too long: have a health care system, the best in the world, that treats health care as a right, and not a privilege."Moments later, the governor made history, signing a law that sets Vermont on a course to provide health care for all of its 620,000 citizens through a European-style single payer system called Green Mountain Care. Key components include containing costs by setting reimbursement rates for health care providers and streamlining administration into a single, state-managed system.


The federal health care reform law would not allow Vermont to enact single payer until 2017; Vermont is asking the administration to grant it a waiver so that it can get there even faster, by 2014.The push for single payer system in Vermont was built slowly and methodically over the last decade, but has moved with remarkable speed since Shumlin took office in January. A few weeks after the new governor’s inauguration, the Democratic-controlled legislature convened a rare joint session to hear from Dr. William Hsiao, a Harvard economist who has been involved in designing health care systems in seven countries. Last year, the legislature commissioned Hsiao to analyze the costs and benefits of various health care options, ranging from single payer to a fully privately managed system. The soft-spoken economist told a packed state House that a single payer plan would be about 25 percent cheaper for consumers, businesses, and the government than the current system of private health insurance, saving about $500 million in just the first year.


The data emboldened Shumlin, the legislature, and the single-payer advocates who had organized throughout the past decade, even as Shumlin’s Republican predecessor dismissed their ideas. Last fall, Shumlin had campaigned on twin themes of job creation and health care reform, and he often cited his experience as the owner of a successful travel business. (“I know firsthand that the biggest obstacle to job growth is the 10, 20, 30 percent increases in insurance premiums.”) He slammed the current “unsustainable system that will...bankrupt us.”


Single payer advocates have been a constant and visible presence around the state. The independent Vermont Workers’ Center launched its “health care is a human right” campaign in 2008—inspired, said health care organizer James Haslam, by the desperate calls the Center was receiving on its workers’ hotline. “It was becoming more of a health care hotline,” he said. The group’s members went door to door, conducted numerous forums for legislators and organized health care rallies that drew thousands.


Health care providers also spoke up. Dr. Deb Richter, a family physician, moved to Vermont in 1999 from upstate New York, where she despaired at seeing her patients getting sicker and even dying as a result of problems with health insurance. As chair of Vermont Health Care for All, she gave 500 talks around the state, and helped bring along many reluctant health care providers. Richter was beaming when I saw her in the State House lobby last week. “I feel ecstatic,” she told me. “It’s like giving birth.”


Shumlin, a wiry, hyper-energetic lawmaker who often insists on shaking every hand in the crowd, staked his gubernatorial candidacy on single payer. It was a bold and risky move. The former president of the Vermont Senate, he was narrowly elected governor last fall after winning a five-way Democratic primary by some 200 votes, and defeating a popular Republican Lieutenant Governor by just 2 percent. Shumlin pointedly ignored the national Democratic strategy of tacking to the center, and instead championed progressive issues, from abortion rights to closing the state’s lone nuclear plant, to health care reform. I asked him why he’d hitched his star to single payer.


“It’s first of all a huge jobs creator, secondly we can’t sustain the current system—we are spending money faster than we are able to earn it,” he told me before heading outside to sign the bill. “So we think it’s an economic development issue as well as a human right.” But when I asked whether Vermont might a national model, the governor sounded a humble note. Major questions—such as how the program will be funded—have yet to be worked out. “You know, we are launching an ambitious effort here,” he said. “We want it in place by 2014. But I don’t think we should ask anyone to follow us until we figure it out. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”


Opponents have focused on the unknowns in the reform effort. Not a single Republican in the House, and only one Republican in the Senate, supported the bill. Republican Rep. Patti Komline, assistant state House minority leader, told me, “When people ask questions like how much is it going to cost and who’s gonna pay for it—they say, ‘Well this bill is more fact finding and information gathering.’ Which doesn’t make it very historic.”


Physicians for a National Health Program has also been ambivalent about the bill, saying Vermont’s law “is much more modest in its actual reach than a single-payer plan would be.” Richter, a past president of the organization, responded, “You have to think positive and continue to take action to try to get to next level and the next step. Some of the criticisms are over details that haven’t yet been worked out.”
Organized opposition to Vermont’s health reform was relatively muted in the last few months, and was mainly led by insurance agents. But advocates are bracing for an influx of national money and media. “There are definitely people who want to see this fail. We cannot let that happen,” said House Speaker Shap Smith. “We need to work together to show the way for the entire country.”


Shumlin’s early success on health care has caught the attention of Washington. In April, Congressional Democrats asked Shumlin to appear opposite Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker before a Congressional committee. In a rebuke to Walker, Shumlin talked about his approach to Vermont’s fiscal challenges. “I don’t start with collective bargaining, and I don’t start with my public pensions. I start with the true costs. In Vermont—and this is true of most of the states of the country—health care is my biggest rising cost.”


On this muggy late-May day, Shumlin reveled in the success of his signature effort. He walked over to shake hands with a group of University of Vermont medical students, conspicuous in their white lab coats. Therese Ray, a first year medical student from Denver, told me that as a result of single payer, "I will absolutely stay in Vermont." Another med student, Larry Bodden from New Orleans, said he grew up in an uninsured household. “My family had a deep seated fear of having to go to the doctor because we didn’t have insurance. I look forward to Vermonters not having that fear.”


Gov. Shumlin suddenly called for the several hundred people who had gathered to come closer as he signed the bill. “Everybody in,” he shouted.


“Nobody out!” came the reflexive reply, a call and response version of a slogan of the grassroots single-payer campaign. Shumlin chuckled, then made the single-payer bill the law of the Green Mountain State.










Voter ID Is an Attempt to Suppress Democracy


by Richard Means

At this critical time in our nation's history, when wider participation by the American people in their own democracy should be encouraged, Republican politicians are instead suppressing that participation by limiting access to the voting booth. 

So-called "voter ID" laws signed into law this year in several states have nothing to do with their purported aim of protecting the sanctity of elections and everything to do with concentrating political power in fewer and fewer hands.

As a former prosecutor of election-law violations in Chicago, I know a little something about election fraud. But what I found in years of pursuing cases of ballot abuse is that it almost never involved ordinary citizens who, say, voted when they weren't eligible, voted under an assumed name, or voted multiple times.

Instead, the fraud was almost exclusively perpetrated by political operatives, who stuffed ballot boxes, "lost" ballots or otherwise manipulated the vote totals in their precincts and wards.

On the unusual occasions when individual voters were involved, they were bribed or intimidated into cooperating with the scheme by a political operative. National and local investigations over the years have confirmed my personal experience.

Since the supposed target of the new laws is a non-existent problem - systematic or widespread fraud by individual voters - these laws, which require citizens to present a photo ID in order to vote, can only be interpreted as an attempt to further politically marginalize already marginalized populations in our country, including the elderly, the disabled, rural residents, low-income citizens and minorities.

These are the groups who are less likely to have government-issued photo identification, and often face financial and logistical hurdles in trying to obtain it.

While many have voted for years at the same polling place and are well-known to the friends and neighbors who serve as precinct election officials there, they may now be discouraged from exercising their franchise by these onerous new requirements.

In New Hampshire, where a voter ID bill is pending in the legislature but some local clerks posted the proposed law's requirements prematurely for a special election recently, voters were seen turning around at the polling-place door.

These laws can even exacerbate the very problem they are purportedly passed to combat. A clerk in South Carolina has noted that since several of the acceptable forms of ID have no address and yet must be accepted as proof of voter eligibility, the traditional duty of elections officials to ensure that people vote once and only once in their correct districts is actually undermined.

These new ID laws are part of a larger Republican program to limit the franchise of people who are more likely to vote for Democrats, an effort that includes: suppression of the youth vote by rejecting student IDs as acceptable identification and shortening the early voting periods young people disproportionably use to exercise their franchise; voter-roll purges that target minority voters; and lifetime bans on voting by ex-felons who have paid their debt to society.

The sanctity of the ballot is in no danger in our republic, but the trust and engagement of the American people in their own political system is.

Even as citizens across the Middle East are basking in newfound opportunities for political expression in the warmth of the Arab Spring, Republican politicians in America are limiting democracy with chilling voter suppression laws. Long ago we should have learned that the problems of democracy are resolved by more democracy, not less.



© 2010 Pioneer Press


 Richard Means is a national board member of Americans for Democratic Action and a former prosecutor in Cook County, Ill.








By Joe Walsh 7/30/1



Two Down One To Go



They are coming for me and you

We will continue our vigil



Roberto and I were on our way to the Friday protest, against wars and occupations, on the Hawthorne Bridge when the radio announced that Mayor Sam Adams has decided not to run for reelection. That make two down and one to go.

Individuals for Justice has kept and will continue to keep a vigil at City Hall on Wednesdays to point out why we want all three people defeated in 2012 for reelection. Randy says, "I want to spend more time with my family." Sam says he needs to spend more time trying to get some work done and running for reelection would be too hard. Amanda has not said anything about anything. We will continue our protest. The new candidates, and there will be many, should answer the questions about at least three things:

1. Will you work to rescind Portland rejoining JTTF, the Joint Terrorist Task Force?

2. Will you work to rescind the Sit-Lie ordinance?

3. Will you call for the city to fight to get a waiver concerning the covering of the reservoirs?

These three are deal breakers for Individuals For Justice, if a candidate does not answer these three questions with a resounding yes, no support here.
Come join us on Wednesdays, we are in front of City Hall calling for the defeat of all three who are scheduled to run for reelection in 2012--two down one to go, we now oppose only Amanda Fritz. We have asked both Mary Noland and Steve Novick to state their positions on the above issues, but no reply as yet. We are not happy with that and will continue pushing for some answers to these and other questions. We want people in the council to work for the most vulnerable among us, no BS, they must stand for the weak against the strong. Saying you support the houseless is not enough, you must always cast your vote to help and not screw over the people who need you the most in our city. The police must know that there are people in city hall who will come down on them if they violate civil rights or shoot people in the back. The business community must know that there are people in city hall who will help them do business but not at the expense of the poor, houseless, and those who are struggling. We don't have that at the moment but we have a chance at electing the majority on the city council. Will we succeed or just stand by and hope?

An infant can't drive a car as well as a 7 year old, but that doesn't mean the 7 year old SHOULD be driving...
From Willamette Week comments, (Seymour)










































I Have Finally Gone Mad












Written By: The Lone Vet 


They are coming for me










They are coming for me and you


They are coming for me and you




I Have Finally Gone Mad

There are times that I just want to scream at the top of my lungs, Why? What is the matter with us as a nation, a people who talk about peace, but have the largest empire ever. In order to sustain this adventure we must keep somewhere between 1000 to 1500 bases around the world; nobody knows the true number for sure. We are the arms dealer of the world, number one! We interfere with nations like mother-in-laws try to interfere with family matters. One year you may be our best bud, the next we are calling for your head--literally.

Terrible dictators have found favor in DC, they keep the status quo and all is good, they start to think nationally, all is bad, very bad.

This psychotic behavior is having a terrible effect on our way of life. We are now at the brink of an economic disaster and we go about like nothing important is happening, nothing to see here, move on please. The republicans are truly insane, they talk about the Constitution and often you can see tea baggers waving it around and if you listen you might hear me yelling, "Read the damn little book, stop just waving it around." The democrats are truly in some kind of depression, how else do you explain what they are doing in DC? They are dealing with lunatics on the other side of the aisle and lost 63+ seats to them in 2010. The democrats after such a great loss kept their leaders who suck, Pelosi and Reid should be run out on a rail but the democratic caucus voted them back in, "Holy shit!" Ralph, I am so sorry you did not get elected, we need you or Sanders, will you try one more time? I understand if you say NO, we do not deserve to be led by good people, we are all idiots. There are millions of us who still think President Bush was a good leader, there are more millions of us who think that President Obama is a good leader; yes--we don't deserve you or Sen. Sanders.

I write this after coming from a protest about a college student who just got 2 years in the big house for stopping a sale of forestland to an oil company. He knew that they would destroy it, so he went in and acted as a bidder and outbid the oil company. He was found guilty of financial fraud and lying on an official form, two felonies. The federal judge, (apparently a giant in the legal system) decided since Tim DeChristopher would not keep his mouth shut to the judges liking he should spend two years in a federal penitentiary; the judge even said something to that effect during the sentencing phase, I am going insane!

We, as a people, are putting in prison people of faith, nuns and priests, ministers and rabbis are now inside because they wanted to stop some ugly violent act, yet Karl Rove makes more money. Rupert the Murdoch buys another TV station; I am going mad.

There is a point where you could go back and see a country that stood for freedom, "Send me your poor" and all that sort of stuff, where did it go? Maybe if you are Native American you would laugh at me and say it never was! I am going mad! I know my parents were good and noble people, worked hard all their lives and died thinking that they did the best they could during difficult times. They loved America, now their son is learning drip by drip to hate America. I am going mad.

Where are my heroes? Are they all in prison, are they all gone--no, there goes one---Mr. Moore, will we survive the next few weeks? There goes another, Sen. Sanders, will you stop the assault on the middle class? I don't see any more heroes, time to rest. Tomorrow I will be back out in the streets, telling all who will listen that wars and occupations are not good for our long term health, they cause people to hate us around the world. Wars and occupations cost lots of money, you cannot have a good education system and kill people around the world, you must choose. You cannot hire many generals and have enough teachers, you must choose.

I am surely mad, I think that good leaders would allow us to hire teachers, firefighters, train operators, doctors, scientists and all those who help others before we hire generals to go and kill, destroy things around the world. I think I need to be locked up, my mind is gone--poof! They are coming for me now. I hear voices of the dead in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, and now Somalia. I can hear Matthew, "Blessed are the peacemakers... .." They are here.