About Me

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I am William S. U'ren and I am dead. I was once a big noise in Oregon politics, an activist back in the days when Republicans were called progressive and there was an actual Populist Party. The history books say I am largely responsible for things like the initiative, referendum and recall here, as well as the direct election of US Senators. I ran for governor, once, when William Howard Taft was the Republican president, and I lost. Then I retired from politics and, thirty years later, I died. And almost everything I accomplished has been turned on its head and against the very people it was meant to help. Enough is Enough in Oregon!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Catching up on the Mail

Although there is a "comment" feature to this blog people seem to want to respond by email. No Problemo. But really...

So Representative Wingard was kind enough to respond to my quoting the union official about the use of the rainy day fund. He wrote:

"Mr. Uren:

The Democrats control the House and Senate in this State. They and they alone decide whether or not we use the Rainy Day Fund money. Your union organizer has you focused on the wrong party. Democrats currently run this state.
Rep. Matt Wingard"

So I am pleased that Representative Wingard is in favor of using the rainy day fund to tide over state employees and schools and apologize to anyone I might have misled (the union will have to do its own apologizing) for associating Representative Wingard with "Republicans."

And the same to Senator Kruse...

Dear William,
You have that wrong. The republicans have been advocating for the use of the rainy day funds for months. It has been the Governor and the democrats, but mostly the Governor who have been saying no. In fact the Governor said he would veto any bill spending any of the rainy day fund.
Senator Jeff Kruse

I hope they will write me soon and let me know how they feel about the NW Republican website's lying about the Employee Fair Choice Act, too.

At the bottom...comment...

So I haven't heard from the union organizer...about this...where do we suppose she got her information?

Another Big Lie in the Relentless Class War on the Middle Class

You have to admire their nerve. The NW Republican website is the worst commercial ever for free speech and is a prime example of why the Greeks and our Founders had it right when they feared factions and tyrannical government based on democracy.

When you step out of the picture--and trust me some day you will be joining me "out of the picture"--you'll see what a shocking irony it is that there is a now a political party called "Republican" that has no idea what a republic is. Well, maybe they do and cynically use the name, but I rather think that they are hiding something that they don't know anything about, to begin with.

This party of republicans (and if you stop long enough to reflect you'll realize that those two words are in contradiction to one another) has ruled and is attempting to regain power, with bankroll democracy.

They spend vast amounts of money to manipulate, brainwash, condition and confuse people so that they either don't vote or vote against their own interests. They have waged a class war against the middle class for more than 40 years now and they aren't about to quit now. They have successfully convinced the American middle class to commit mass suicide. Smart Republicans, like Mark Hannah, understood that a strong middle class...never mind. Another story, for later, maybe.

The NW Republican is but one small, home grown example of how this works (for "writ large" look at Rupert Murdock). Take this website's Big Lie Piece about the Employee Free Choice Act. This legislation, they say, will take a way the "right to a secret ballot" in the process of workers choosing whether or not to be part of a union. It does not do that, at all, and if you don't believe that go here, or here, or here. Or do your own Google search. If I am lyin' I'm dyin'.

So it's untrue. Yet the NW Republican website repeats the lie.

A great line I saw on on this is that business has been claiming that union membership has been declining for years--proving that workers don't want unions. Yet a bill comes along that would provide some balance against the power businesses have to stop union organizing and business has gone completely off of the farm with fear and dire warnings of...of..."socialism" and the loss of the "sacred" right to a secret ballot.

(You want to know about socialism? Google "single tax." You'll be as glad as I am that I failed that that one!)

So, if workers don't want unions how come the hysteria over the non-loss of the "sacred" secret ballot?

(And frankly the only thing "sacred" to Republicans is keeping secret the fact that the real ballots--the ones that really count in getting elected and running the state and the county--are dollars contributed)

Why is it necessary to lie about doing away with the secret ballot to defeat the enhanced ability for workers to get something they "don't want?"

The idea is to repeat this lie so often that middle class people (or people who once were middle class or people who would like to be middle class) will be convinced that it's true.

The only thing sadder than to see such a blatant lack of integrity on the part of the NW Republican is the numbing realization that so many people are going to believe it's true.

The people behind the NW Oregonian web page should be ashamed of themselves. But I don't know they are capable of shame. It appears to me that their corrupt ways have finally made them blind.

Had enough, Oregon?

Enough is Enough in Oregon?


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a great one liner

I heard a union organizer say the other day that some Republicans in the Oregon legislature are hesitant to use the "rainy day" fund to help get through the next year or so.

You are looking at cuts in the school year, big increases in tuition as state schools, massive cuts in the state workers who make up the social safety net and who knows how many people thrown out of the middle class or what other kinds of hardship will heaped onto them as the country works its way out of this mess--and the R's can't put their hand out the window and feel the wetness?

And you have the second highest unemployment rate in the country (being just a little bit better off than Michigan in this regard is like having a few more paved roads than Mississippi).

"If there was ever a rainy day," said this union organizer, "this has got to be it."

Perhaps Fox News needs a weather channel.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Buddy, can you spare $959,800,617?

Thousands of Oregonians who thought they were members of the middle class have been dropped into free fall; laid off, their savings and their homes sucked into the black hole of corporate privilege and profit.

How are you doing? Trying to figure out what to do when the unemployment runs out? When the beginning of the fall semester in Corvallis starts?

So, your cut of a billion dollars pulled out of the collective ears of middle class Oregonians would come in handy, right now.

But it's not in your collective ear. You paid that much last year in reparations...taxes...for having lost the class war waged on you by the Insider District of Columbia Corporate Funded Public Relations Shops and Lobbying Groups (IDCCFPRSLG) on behalf of the corporate tax relief.

That particular group, by the way, with one of its subsidiaries in Oregon, asked you to tie tea bags on your glasses yesterday and blame progressive taxation and spending on a social safety net (two things that don't really exist, anymore, if they ever did) for the fact that you are being impoverished.

The United States Public Interests Research Group (USPIRG) and The Oregon State Public Interest Group (OSPIRG) marked the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's death and the deadline to pay federal taxes by issuing reports to tell you that the middle class is being downsized by use of the federal and state tax codes.

You are not dead, yet, are you?

By the way, the total amount of tax subsidies paid to US corporations, according to these reports, is $100 billion per year. And in case you think this is something new the total for last ten years is $1 Trillion.

Why hasn't Bill Sizemore snapped to this?

As I have pointed out: dollar for dollar you are all equal in Oregon, in this country.

How much equality do you have in your wallet?


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Getting Rid of Party Primaries

I used to be big on party primaries.

I am one of the people who left you saddled with them.


Lame, I know, to say this, but I wasn't alone.

We Populists and Progressives liked the idea that the people would go to the polls and choose the candidates who would run for office representing their parties. Made sense. Candidates that most of the people in a party wanted to vote for was the person to be the standard bearer. Much better candidates would emerge, we were sure, than those chosen by the bosses of the parties in smoke filled rooms.

I'm not much on "makes sense," anymore--I am more into results. Death has made me an empiricist. What are the results of having party primaries? Have they done for you what we thought they would?


And so much "no" that it begs the question: how could we have been so wrong?

(I've been over this with you before but the answer to that question is so obvious that it bears repeating often. If those at whom reforms are aimed can spend as much money as they like to resist them then all such efforts will be undermined and turned into vehicles to perpetuate the evil it was hoped they would eliminate. Live--or in my case, die--and learn.)

So, check the outcomes.

Get to know some of people in political office today. If you have a long perspective you will find that the quality is not a bit higher, today, than it was when we started agitating for primaries; not one little bit better.

The Oregon Legislature, for example, is just as much a "representative body" today as it was 1n 1890--you will still find some of the smartest and finest people you ever met there, and you will also still find some of the most ignorant and corrupt popinjays to every walk the face of the earth. And you will find that most of those legislators know this is true although they have different lists of which among them is in which category.

Although there are far more women there now (one of the few real improvements in government that we actually made back then was helping women get the vote), as many of them have joined the ranks of the latter as the former group.

These "representatives" still, of course, represent the same forces as those who, before them, were chosen at conventions. If you doubt that check out the campaign financing. Buying "access" means getting to hold the strings that make them dance and making sure they dance with them that brung them.

OK. No change. None. Nothing. (Today I believe you call that "Bupkis?")

So, how many millions of (your) dollars are spent on these primary elections that have not changed the quality of candidates running for office or helped build the middle class? How many of those (your tax) dollars came from those among you who don't care about any party on the ballot; from those who cannot get the party they do care about on the ballot, from those who are not particularly inclined toward any party except those on tailgates at Civil War games?

Party primaries have turned out to be a government (taxpayer) subsidy for political parties--for the two party stasis--and to ingrain in power the very factions that the Founders of the Republic predicted would be a pox on our political houses.

In other words, the descendants of the wealthy and powerful interests that chose the candidates before party primary election system still choose the candidates but now in a dog and pony show of democracy that is paid for by you.

If the result is the same, why not save the money (or spend it on schools--many of your children still cannot afford college) and let the parties choose their own candidates any way they want to?

The only difference party primaries has made to your system is that vast amounts of money get raised and spent to manipulate you in to casting vote after vote based on slogans and lies to elect people acceptable to (and ultimately funded and owned by) the same kinds of wealthy and powerful interests that selected them in the 19th Century. And they get to call this "democracy" like that was some kind of great deal for you to pick up the tab.

The only way to get control of all this democratic tyranny you have going on is to get control of the money.

(Another quick review: You will always be equal to one another in this country--dollar for dollar. If you have $100 to contribute then you are $900 less equal than a guy with $1000 to give. If you want everyone to be equal in your "democracy" then everyone has to be worth the same small amount of money to the candidates).

Because if you don't get control of the political money it will subvert anything you try to do--just as it has turned around the initiative, party primaries and most every other reform I or anybody else ever took a shine to.

I'll be discussing most of these reforms, in time, as I have discussed some of them, previously.

Because I think that sooner or later you are going to wise up.

I have lots of time and little else to do.