Friday, December 16, 2011

An Open Letter to SEN Wyden

My dear Senator;

I'm dreadfully afraid to hear that you appear to have been drinking heavily. At least, I hope that is the reason your name appeared in the Oregonian coupled with SEN Ryan in some sort of scheme to "reform" Medicare.

Because if you ARE compos mentis I find this hard to explain. We elected you based on what we understood as your liberal principles, which include a belief that one cardinal purpose for which governments are instituted among Men is to aid those who are in difficulty. Which is, still, the principle behind such programs as Medicare.

Now given that SEN Ryan has made much of his belief that government has no such brief, and that his so-called "plan" consisted of a thinly-veiled attempt to "reform" Medicare into largesse for private insurers, I find it appalling that I find your name, a name I respected as a doughty fighter for liberal values, lending respectability to the latest Ryan scheme. If not inspired by ethanol I hope, at least, that you are attempting to infiltrate the enemy camp in order to dynamite their supplies. Given the extent to which the GOP and SEN Ryan have gone over to the raze-the-New-Deal-social-contract I can find no other rational explanation for the news of this arrangement.

Sent in hopes that with the dawn sobriety and a cold drink of water will find you abjuring the Gilded Age fantasies of SEN Ryan and a return to the bedrock principles of liberalism that have served our country so well since the days of FDR.

Yours concernedly,

John L. Lawes

Update 12/16: (Basilbeast has corrected my error: the GOP fathead-in-question is a Congressman, so I was incorrect in not identifying him as "REP" Ryan. I leave the original missive as I sent it, however, and can only suspect that the amount of drink I had taken upon reading of my Senator's betrayal affected my own judgment.)

Update 12/17: Krugman, predictably, says the same thing only better.


Anonymous said...

psst, it's "Representative Ryan".


Wyden's not even associating with his own kind, on 2 counts.

But it's more than I can do. All I got is "Common Sense for the Wealthy" Moran and "Water Carrier" Roberts.


FDChief said...


Perhaps I, too, had too much of the drink taken.

Anonymous said...

We are ruled by emotionally fragile high school cliques.

That is, if this bit is correct

I have heard that Wyden hates Obama because he didn't stand up for his White Whale, the Free Choice Act. And so, like a typically brilliant liberal strategist, his response is to give cover to a very dangerous conservative leader, help him restore his reputation and win a tough reelection he was in danger of losing. And we will have moved the goalposts even farther to the right! I'm sure everyone in the party will learn the appropriate lesson from all that.


FDChief said...

Yeah, I read that, too. IF so I'm even more furious at li'l Ron. To fuck your constituents over because of some sort of high principle is one thing - irking but defensible in a way. To fuck your constituents over because you're piqued at your party leaders?


Pluto said...

Chief, I know that you wrote your open letter in a fit of anger and irritation but I do have to ask; do you feel that continuing to live in Oregon is your best choice?

What little I know about the place (mostly from your posts) suggests that it is a nice place with some major issues that are getting worse fairly quickly.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're still around, Pluto, so you can explain the real story of the Minnesota Plato's Retreat, er I mean, State Senate SideShow.


One interesting, and darkly ironic, thing here: Even as she’s had the Scarlet Letter publicly stapled to her chest by her fellow Republicans, her male partner in naughtiness — the Reverend Dimmesdale to her Hester Prynne — has so far not only gone unpunished, he’s gone unnamed. In other words, as is all too typical with these sorts of events, she gets the public shaming and disgrace, whereas he suffers only whatever his conscience might choose to mete out to him — and being that he is a staffer in the the Republican Senate Caucus of the Minnesota State Legislature, I think we can safely assume that his conscience isn’t likely to give him anything near what the silver-tongued great communicator Dimmesdale’s conscience gave him.

The persons running the Republican Party of Minnesota wanted to show they really weren’t a bunch of sexist slobs by having The First Female Senate Majority Leader, yet when she and a male staffer were found to be doing the horizontal bop, she and only she is the one who loses her job — just as typically happens when a male boss in private industry is caught in an affair with a female subordinate. (I have witnessed this twice myself, at two different workplaces: Both times, it was the woman whose career suffered the most by far.)

The Universe, I find, is harsh and pitiless.

Compared to the vastness of its body, we're hardly bigger than a baby pimple on the ass of a virus infecting it.

My point being, it's likely you'll get screwed over in one place as in another.

Where's Jesse when you need him? :D


Pluto said...

bb - Your comments are interesting.

First, the staffer may or may not be smoked out, but that isn't the key issue at this time.

Amy Koch intentionally betrayed the trust of the person she should be caring the most about, her husband. This isn't about man or woman, I hold both sexes equally accountable.

She did this during a critical legislative season with round-the-clock highly intense negotiations where she should have been paying FULL attention to the politics.

It is highly disturbing that she found time for a dalliance in this environment and you have to wonder what other things she compromised/ sacrificed in order to have time for it. Again, this isn't a man/woman thing as I would hold a man equally accountable.

The Republicans found out about this and discussed it with her privately, which was entirely appropriate. She announced her resignation the next day, falling on her sword like a good Republican should, again, regardless of gender.

What I don't accept is that some of the Republicans felt the need to kick the woman to the curb by announcing that they had a hand in this. But these ARE politicians and they smelled blood in the water.

Here's a more fact-oriented briefing on the matter:

As for Jesse, he's in Mexico (evidently he couldn't take our cold weather) writing and selling books that say outrageous things (so he still hasn't changed that much).

Three of the last four governors have been very good. Arne Carlson was awesome. Jesse was the absolute best choice available and Mark Dayton has been a very good choice. If he can get his act together a bit better for the next legislative season I would gladly promote him to "awesome" as well.

As for Tim Pawlenty, the less said the better. The Democrats put up two straw men and he slashed them to pieces which gave him even more grandiose ambitions. I need to thank the good citizens of Iowa for cutting him down to size.

FDChief said...

Pluto: Like much of the rest of the country we are riddled with venal plutocrats at the top; even out here we aren't free of the plague of the 1%.

And the other reality of Oregon (Washington shares something of the same demographic) is that there really is two "Oregons" rather than one.

I live in "blue Oregon"; Portland and its environs. We tend to be wealthier, better educated, more lucratively employed (more employed, period), unchurched, duskier (at least as dusky as Oregon gets) and lefty. There's about 1.5-2 million of us.

One you go south of Salem (other than Eugene and Ashland), east of Cascade Locks, or west of Forest Grove you're in "red Oregon" - whiter, poorer, less schooled, conservative and religious.

The worst of our problems have occurred when the "reds" throw sucker bait that the "blues" swallow. Fifteen years ago they managed to get something called "Measure Five" passed which capped property taxes at a ridiculously low level. Saved Joe and Molly a couple of hundred or a grand or two a year - saved Flav-r-pac and King Ranch and PGE millions.

And it's been like that ever since. We've got the usual pantsload of freeloading Teabaggers who would happily let the state crater into Appalachian poverty rather than pay a nickelsworth in taxes.

That said, we tend to be better off than states to our south and east. The strain of antiauthoritarian contrariness runs pretty deep here. My letter to Wyden was a good example; like I said, we in blue Oregon have come to typically expect him to represent our liberal values. The surprise was to see him linked to that SOB Ryan, and it WAS a surprise, which is why I'm not in a hurry to move anywhere yet.

Because in the other places I've lived it's been the other way around...

Lisa said...

Wow -- if more constituents wrote their reps at anywhere near this level of discourse and passion, we might have something approximating a democracy.

Well-done, and as you probably know, every one letter rec'd is presumed to speak for many 1,000's who didn't write in.

Anonymous said...

pluto, I'd bet some of your fine Minnesota females would give up a different judgement on this story from the one you gave.

Maybe get a little "Roshomon" going on.

I followed enough news to know you suffered through a government shutdown over raising taxes, so I am aware of the pressures on your state reps.

Still, if Ms. Koch was not up to the pressure of State Senate Leadership, why was she put there in the first place?

I read through the MPR article. So 4 white male reps confronted Koch and presumably advized her to step down for the good of the party. Which, from that article, it seems, the MN GOP needs a lot of.

But, there wasn't at least one female GOP rep among the 4 confronters. All I see in it are male actors.

One might wonder why.

Not that I'm all that interested in bettering the fortunes of any State GOP reps, you do understand?


Pluto said...

BB - Yeah, four white male state reps were stupid enough to step forward and tell everybody that they'd done the deed. I'm not sure it went down that way.

Fact is that nobody knows besides the participants and Amy Koch who was in the room when the discussion occurred, and it looks like it is going to stay that way. I'm happy enough to leave it there. Those politicians aren't going to get many votes for taking credit for that action. Amy Koch was popular with a lot of the rank and file and had a bright future ahead of her if she hadn't gone and done what she did.

Yeah, we had a state government shutdown. We had one under Jesse and at least one under Pawlenty. Like the rest of the country we're grappling with the question of the proper role (and cost) of government and we've been having a feisty discussion on it for the last 20+ years (except during the Pawlenty years).

But this last legislative session we made good progress in the discussion for the first time since Pawlenty was sworn in. Both sides have a much better understanding of what can and cannot be accomplished and have been forced to change their positions multiple times. This next election is going to be critical in finishing the discussion and the State GOP has shattered themselves at the wrong moment.

There's no reason for the Democrats to do the victory lap yet but the GOP has recently shown very poor judgement on both family values and fiscal responsibility and made the Dem's life a lot easier.

The best part is that the Dem's, for the first time in nearly 20 years actually HAVE a reasonable idea of what needs to be done. I love it when a plan comes together...

FDChief said...

Lisa: Interestingly, my bride read it and her comment was "Too snarky. What were you trying to do?"

"Get it through his fat head that he'd fucked up." I replied

"Well, that comes through," she said, "but what else did you hope to get out of it?"

"Nothing." I sighed. "He's not going to change his mind or his position. It's not like a capuchin monkey couldn't see what Ryan was all about before this. My understanding is that Wyden's base motivation was his hate on Obama for some Obama nut-cutting him back during the ACA negotiations. This is supposed to be pure payback, so I'm not expecting him to either respond nor care, just letting him know that there's at least one constituent who will work to send someone leftier than he is to D.C. the next time he come up for re-election."

The bride is unconvinced. But I think it points up how utter fucked our Congress is - I have no, zero, none, nada, zip, squat, dick chance to actually get Wyden's attention. I might as well be living in Zimbabwe.

Lisa said...

I might as well be living in Zimbabwe ...

From we who do live in greater Zimbabwe, we hope you who live in the more enlightened corridors have a greater change of having your voice heard and your concerns addressed than those of us living where little has changed since Reconstruction.

I salute you for contacting your reps. It is one of the few ways to effect change. All pols want to be reelected, and in that way, your voice matters.

If your local Den. party has any teeth, you might c.c. to them. Then they will want you to run ...

Lisa said...

oops ...

"greater chance"

FDChief said...

The thing that kinda chaps me, Lisa, is that Wyden didn't have to do this.

As a Democrat, he could have instead come forward with a plan that, say, eliminates the "capital gains" category within the tax code and lumps all income as...well...income.

And taxes it at the marginal rate.

What would that bring in...billions? Trillions?

WAY more than enough to fund Medicare through Sol going nova.

But instead he has to go and do this. This is somewhere between insane and just REALLY fucking annoying. But either way he needs to be pimpslapped.

Lisa said...

Yes, one wonders "why" when politicos operate against their constituents better interests or desires.

Who are they serving?

Lisa said...