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Saturday, March 27, 2004
My darlin' young one (Part I)

A long time ago, I heard a Bob Dylan song that kind of struck a chord in me. The line ran like this: "Where have you been, my blue-eyed son?" And then, later, it said this: "I'll know my song well before I start singing."

Well, I've been around, and I've watched the laws and rules in our American society, and, a little bit, in French Canadian, Mexican and Canadian society. The approaches are all a little different, but, finally, laws are a lot like traffic laws used to be.

Traffic law is really a paradigm for how law ought to work. You have to use common sense, because everything CAN'T be spelled out, but a lot of it is. We all agree to drive one one side of the road, on the right side in the USA, on the left in other countries. We all agree to stop at stop signs, and red means stop, green means go, and yellow means drive like hell it's going to turn red. That's the way it's practiced, at least, from Boston to Portland, from Tijuana to Vermont.

But in 1973, an interesting thing happened. President Nixon decreed that Americans must "conserve" gasoline, so we set the speed limits at 55, and for 31 years now, no one has obeyed the speed limit on the highways. I know from personal experience that it's true from Texas to Minnesota, from Oregon to Massachusetts.

So what happened? How did this simple little traffic law, meant to save gasoline, turn into a generation and a half's worth of cops & robbers? How did we get from a speed limit of 70 (75 on the Kansas Turnpike) to having to make radar detectors illegal, because the "crooks" were getting the upper hand in the stealth battle with police radar.

Doesn't there seem something a little ... NUTS about that to you?

Now, do you actually believe that a single one of our Lane County Representatives and/or Senators pays any attention to the posted speed limit when they zip up to Salem on I-5?

Of course not. We all know it.* And yet, they have the power to actually set the speed limit at the speed that everyone seems to have, by consensus, set.

(* Indeed, those "in the know" have reported to me that many State Reps flout the law BECAUSE they are legislators, and drive like bats out of hell, WAAAAY over the speed limit. One of the 'perks' of office, I suppose. I am not familiar with the legalities. Still, I wonder if one is excused from the laws of physics, as well, since those laws are the basis of all speed limit laws. Well, them and Nixon.)

This IS supposed to be a consensual society, right? ("Willing consent of the governed.")

So what is the reason that everybody speeds over the speed limit, and yet we devoutly maintain the fiction that somehow in our consensual society we have reached consensus that all interstate drivers are lawbreakers? Scofflaws? Speeders?

The fundamental link between law and society, between the citizens and their own institution is broken. Something is wrong, and it is more than just another radical new law guaranteed to bring peace and justice to all in our time.

Look at what a bust term limits turned out to be. We lost all of our institutional memory and ended up, not with Oregonians in the legislature, but with bitter partisan Republicans and Democrats.

The "speed limit" of democracy is that we agree to live together, and find common ground and common solutions, EVEN IF WE CAN'T STAND ONE ANOTHER. That's important, because any idiot can get along with his friends. Any buffoon can get along with people who think the way the buffoon does. It is much more difficult to get along with people who disagree with you on just about everything under the sun.

But that's what we agreed to do, rather than have a king do it for us, and that speed limit is broken with the same impunity that our posted interstate speed limits are.

... .

(end of part one -- more to come)
Friday, March 26, 2004
Wow. This came out in the EUGENE WEEKLY TODAY (thursday):

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2004/03/25/letters.html -- go to the last letter.

FALSE ASSUMPTION

As a candidate for the District 8 House seat, I had intended to resign as Democratic vice chair of HD8, to avoid any appearance of "insider trading."

In fact, the whole reason that I am in this race is to publicize the "insider trading" that has tainted the selection of the last two lower House members representing Lane County during the last two Democratic PCP nominating conventions.

I had told several persons that I would do so at the March 18 Central Committee Meeting, so I was very surprised to learn that, at the March 11 Executive Committee meeting I had not attended but had asked to be excused from, I had tendered my resignation as vice chair. Had I known that I was going to resign, I should have made a point of being there. However, the DPLC Chair, who, not coincidentally was deeply involved in both disputed nominating conventions, has assured me that I resigned, even though no letter of resignation was ever delivered from myself to the chair.

So it seems that the Executive Committee is in unanimous agreement that I have resigned, even though I don't recall resigning — mostly because I learned that it was traditional to take a leave of absence. Still, the psychologists and telepaths of the DPLC Executive Committee have absolute conviction that I meant to resign.

Still, although their opinions are influential, I must insist that I did not resign. But it is their word against mine and I am only one.

Hart Williams, HD8 Candidate

Of course, they forgot to add the info on how to get to this blog. Que sera sera. Still, that's two letters in two weeks, which is, I think, unprecedented!
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Slog Slog Slog

Blog.

Taxes.

Exhausted.

Blog.

Button blanks came today. Made buttons.

Blog.

More Taxes Tonight.

Blog. (Now I know why it's called that ....)


P.S =====> (or, in Bloggese, wouldn't that be ".S.P" since everything here runs backwards?)

Put together a page for posting my archive of REGISTER-GUARD LETTERS. Since most of you know me mainly through those letters, I thought you might like to see them together in one place. Six up so far. More to come. WEEKLY Letters as well. Say what you will, at LEAST it's moderately pretty. :o)

http://www.hartwilliams.com/hd8/rgletters.htm

Thx,

Blog
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Shifting Paradigms

This is a critical phase in the campaign, a transition. Most of the administrative functions have been fulfilled. Initial orders of materials, filings of various papers. Filling out candidate surveys, roughing out commercials and radio spots, Designing basic forms, and, of course, setting up this blog.

Well, not entirely. I called KVAL today to get their rate card for commercial rates. They kicked me out of the regular business stuff to the person who's "doing our political." Not ads, not even a noun. Just "our political," like "it's a good read": "handling our political."

The Handler of Things Political informed me that I must fill out various forms in order to receive the ultra-confidential, and, evidently shielded by state and federal law, commercial rates! Er, POLITICAL commercial rates. She cheerily informed me that I HAD to fill out said forms, or she could not send me the rate card sheet. They faxed them to my fax.

Aaaargh. You wanna do a little budgeting, right? Just get the bloody PRICES? Naw. Rules and regs and forms and you name it.

I think this is what is meant by "participatory" democracy. Still, I believe that I'm participating entirely too much in proportion to the democracy I'm getting. Funny thing was that KMTR -- a CLEAR CHANNEL station -- asked for my fax number and faxed the rates right over. (Or so I'm told. If I'm wrong, I'll make a correction.)

Thank god this isn't Denmark, else I'd think that something smelled rotten.

This crucial work all has to be done, of course.

But it is all very solitary.

Now comes the public phase of the campaign: being paraded around like a prize pig at a county fair. Or meeting the public, or campaigning proper. Time to find groups to appear before and questions to answer. Time to figure out the FAQ, because there are certain questions that you will be asked over and over and over again.

Time to dig out the silk neckties. Time to get the lawn signs up. Time to hand out the buttons. Time to spruce up the website, to fill in the blanks, and put up the gee-gaws.

Worked hard all night. Must get some more sleep. Will see if there are any more forms or questionnaires to fill out and then sleep. Found out last night that I don't have to fill out the AFL-CIO questionnaire, since they already endorsed back in January.

Gee. As a Union Member, I REALLY appreciate it. Amazing. Since 1996, I have been stabbed in the back or excluded at -- literally -- every opportunity by the AFL-CIO, beginning with the 1996 State Democratic Convention, where one Bob Williams was passing around a list of "Union" candidates. My name was missing, even though I was a union member. This same Bob Williams suddenly changed his name on the speakers' list to "Robert" so that he would go from speaking just BEFORE me to just AFTER me. In 2000, having made it to Los Angeles as a delegate anyway, I was not invited to a SINGLE union event the entire time, even though every other union delegate managed to be at soiree after soiree.

Sometimes I have to ask myself: "Are there TWO unions?" One for the working stiff who pays his/her dues and one for the union "management" types, who somehow always have access to perks, to special privileges and insider stuff that the rest of us never get?

Now, I've been a member of the Lane County Labor Council, and I even used to go hang out at the sports bar after Council meetings, where the REAL Union Business was done. So I'm not actually asking an honest question. I'm asking a rhetorical question. And I'm sick and tired of covering up union skullduggery and Democratic party skullduggery because we "don't want to give ammunition to the Republicans."

Well, YOU guys don't give ammunition to the Republicans. I didn't check my ethics at the door, and it's starting to smell a little rank around here. (Next week: The Union Connection. A peek into some of the ugly little secrets of the Lane County Labor Council.)

I believe in the union movement, but let me tell you, the way its practiced around here is not exactly conducive to a healthy appetite, if you know what I mean.

More taxes tonight.
Monday, March 22, 2004
NO TAXATION WITHOUT REJUVENATION

OK. I'm a Licensed Tax Preparer. I do this because I love my wife, and she needed another LTP, so I took the course, passed the 6-hour test and work for her from January through April 15 as she needs me. I work nights, so that the office can be used 24/7 -- there's really no space for me during the days, since we've got one of the largest staffs of any tax office in Oregon that isn't a factory like an H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt.

Sunday was a killer. I spent nearly every waking hour working on returns. It looks like more of the same, tonight too. They really did us in this year. Because of the February vote on Measure whatever it was (they all tend to bleed together) we lost the entire month of January, since no Oregon returns could be filed until after the Feb. 2 election. In a three and a half month season, losing a month is REALLY tough. A few years ago, Congress retroactively changed the tax laws, and we had to go back and redo every tax return we'd already done.

Fun.

I know how taxes affect the lives of real people. And real people are mad. You know that box on the 1040 where you can give $3 to the Presidential Election Fund, and it will not affect your taxes? This year, more than any other, virtually NOBODY is checking that box. There is such a rage as I've never seen before. This is their way of giving the finger to the Federal Government, and it's astonishing how many people are doing it.

So, no big deal today. I filled out my OREGONIAN form and got it to them by the deadline today, and I go back to work almost immediately. Sigh.

Everybody is talking about taxes in this primary, but last year, Jayne and I PASSED a tax reform bill without being in the legislature. In fact, except for Jayne's going up to testify, we never even went to Salem. Phil Barnhart, who introduced the bill as a courtesy, introduced two himself and passed none. We are, by contrast, one for one. It's tough to put a perfect legislative record on the line, but I'm willing to do it if you are. ;-)

It's one thing to talk the talk. It's another thing to walk the walk. But for me, I first have to sleep the sleep, then I will go back to returning the return: preparing 1040s and OR40s all night long.

Sweet dreams.

Sunday, March 21, 2004
A Little Face Lift

Well, as I get a little more proficient with the machine language, I thought I'd give the blog a new look for Spring. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
hart williams
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