Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mike 'Safeco' McGavick

Just what we DON'T need -- our own bought-and-paid-for Senator!!

From WA State Democrats press release:

Safeco Insurance released their annual proxy statement describing in detail the golden parachute for Lobbyist Mike! McGavick's run for political office.

"Mike McGavick continues to be on the insurance industry payroll while he campaigns full time," said Dwight Pelz, Chair of the Washington State Democrats. "He has received millions of dollars in benefits since he announced his candidacy in August, started campaigning and fundraising in September, and then toured the state soliciting votes. Just whose side is he going to be on in the Senate: Washington families or the insurance industry that is paying him to run?"

Among the standouts in McGavick's special deal is over $1.3 million in deferred compensation this year, while he is no longer an employee and while he campaigns for federal office, on top of a $2.3 million bonus awarded just last month.

The report also describes McGavick's special deal worth $3 to 4 million in stock options, which he signed with the insurance company in December after announcing his Senate bid. Moving up the vesting date meant McGavick could rake in additional profits before leaving insurance company payroll.

Lobbyist Mike! McGavick's golden parachute compensation for 2005 and 2006 includes:
· A $2,314,180 bonus awarded on February 15, 2006, months after he had already started campaigning.
· Another $1.1 million bonus in the form of "performance stock rights" awarded on December 31, 2005.
· Stock option changes worth $3.3-4.5 million (depending on the day's stock price). These are the 210,000 stock options, the vesting of which was accelerated to his last day with the company (2/28/06).
· $1.3 million in deferred compensation that McGavick will get as a lump sum payment in 2006.
· Becoming eligible (in late January) just before leaving for a $50,000 a year "cash balance" plan (a form of a pension).

The full report can be viewed at:

Friday, March 24, 2006

Still Trying to Get Co-Sponsors

Sen Cantwell's staff sent me one of her feel-good e-mails so I took the opportunity to again express my wish that she co-sponsor Feingold's censure resolution:

Thanks for the up date on what Senator Cantwell is doing. Senator Cantwell does a fine job supporting our troops and I especially appreciate her leadership on fighting the good fight against drilling in ANWAR-- but we NEED her to show leadership on protecting our Constitution. We know through recent freedom of information requests that this administration has classified Quaker groups,"tea and cookie"-church-basement-type peace groups, and organizations like PAWS as "terrorist". So when President Bush says he's only wiretapping without a warrant "terrorists", I'm worried.

Please tell the Senator that we need her to stand upfor the 4th Amendment. Warrants and oversight are a critical and essential part of what differentiates us and makes us secure and free.


PCO Bigelow 107

I got this response:

I will pass this message on. You are one of hundreds who have contacted our office asking for Senator Cantwell to join Sen. Feingold's censure motion. While she has not made her position public on the issue, she has heard the voices of those who support the measure. I completely agree with you the clear cut nature of the President’s violation of the 4th Amendment, and the need to protect the constitution from this imperial presidency. Feel free to contact me at any time on this issue and others.
Isaac Castellano

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Senator Tom Harkin is a Patriot! Where is Murray & Cantwell?

Senator Tom Harkin:

We have a President who likes to break things. He has broken the federal budget, running up $3 trillion in new debt. He has broken the Geneva Conventions, giving the green light to torture. He has repeatedly broken promises – and broken faith – with the American people. And now, worst of all, he has broken the law.

In brazen violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), he ordered the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless wiretaps of American citizens. And, despite getting caught red-handed, he refuses to stop.

Let's be clear: No American – and that must include the President – is above the law. And if we fail to hold Bush to account, then he will be confirmed in his conviction that he can pick and choose among the laws he wants to obey. This is profoundly dangerous to our democracy.

So it is time for Congress to stand up and say enough! That's why, this week, Senator Russ Feingold proposed a resolution to censure George W. Bush for breaking the FISA law. And that's why I fully support this resolution of censure.

Nothing is more important to me than the security of our country. Of course, we need to be listening to the terrorists' conversations. And sometimes there is not time to get a warrant. That's why the FISA law allows the President, when necessary, to wiretap first, and obtain a warrant afterward. But that's not acceptable to this above-the-law President. He rejects the idea that he should have to obtain a warrant before or after wiretapping.

We have an out-of-control President whose arrogant and, now, illegal behavior is running our country into the ditch. It's time to rein him in. And a fine place to start is by passing this resolution of censure. I hope that Senator Feingold's measure will be brought to the floor. And when it is, I will proudly vote yes.

What's Up with Patty Murray?

Senator Patty Murray is one of the many Dems who have refused to take a stand on Senator Russ Feingold’s resolution censuring Dubya for his illegal wiretaps, was happy to co-sponsor a resolution censuring Bill Clinton in 1999.

The question for her is: why would you censure a president for an office affair but not for illegal wiretaps?

Bush broke the law. We're calling him on it so he'll start following the law. Only then can we even start talking about if there is a need to change a law.

But while Patty Murray can’t seem to agree on an Iraq strategy, Feingold was the first Senator to propose a target date for ground troop withdrawal and redeployment to better fight Al Qaeda, moving the entire debate. And while Murray failed to challenge Bush on the Patriot Act, Feingold risked scorn in consistently criticizing it and helped build grassroots opposition.
In that vein, his censure resolution is clearly in line with his long-standing commitment to civil liberties, trying to do all he can to get our government right with the Constitution. He’s simply practicing his principles.

Where are Senator Murray's principles?

And since she's up for re-election this year, wouldn't this be a good time for Senator Cantwell to grow a backbone and stand up for civil liberties and the rule of law?

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Letter to Senators Murray and Cantwell

Please sign on as a co-sponsor to Senator Russ Feingold's censure resolution ( ).

The President admitted to conducting a domestic spying program outside the scope of FISA, despite knowing that FISA is the exclusive means of such surveillance inside the United States.

President Bush broke the law, and this is the only way this Republican Congess can hold him accountable.

President admitted he did not brief the full intelligence committees. This is against the law.We don't have to wait for an investigation before censure.

President Bush admitted to his crimes publicly. An investigation is needed, but that should not preclude censure at this time.

Andrew Jackson was censured in 1834 for refusing to hand over papers to Congress and assuming power not granted by the Constitution. With his stonewalling of the investigation and by ignoring FISA, this is exactly what President Bush has done, and he should also be censured accordingly.

Please stand up and be counted.