November 24, 2019

This Thanksgiving’s dinner discourse will be about our nation at a crossroads –
Will adherence to the Constitution survive, or are we on the precipice of Autocracy?

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Trump’s attacks of career civil servants disgraceful
Credit: Phil Hands/Wisconsin State Journal

Dear readers;

“Solon’s Republic” was name given to the concepts of the Athenian statesman Solon (born c. 630 bce—died c. 560 bce) that the voices, ideas, and participation of all in the Republic were important, not just the Aristocracy. He knew that the Republic could only survive and thrive if the public distress caused by debt was relieved. His primary concerns were for freedom, justice and humanity, and many of his political reforms have become part of the fabric of governments to this day. Yet these principles that form the core fabric of America seem to be under assault from the President and his Party’s elected officials.

Since 1972 when the American voting age was lowered to age 18, I was a Young Republican in a party where all these things all formerly mattered, plus states rights, less federal government, and fiscal responsibility. Yet the concepts of the “Republic” as the foundation for the Republicans has become nothing more than a pipe-dream left in the rubbish heap of their past. Now, the “Party” is the primary objective, the federal government is massive, debt is exponentially increasing, and fiscal responsibility is nowhere to be found. That change started to occur after President Reagan left office, so I said good-bye to the Republican Party 25+ years ago. Democrat or Republican are nothing more than abused terms of people that have become enslaved to those parties aspirations du jour. Their platforms are a bunch of hollow words. If you must put a label on me, I am a Constitutionalist, for this was one of the greatest documents ever written about human rights.

In the last 2 weeks, the one message that has been clear from fact witnesses – The President of the United States violated his oath to the Constitution of the United States and in a manner that was unethical, immoral and illegal:

  • Trump’s abuse of power by leveraging US foreign policy for personal gain,
  • Soliciting a foreign country for election assistance by using bribery with taxpayer dollars & official acts, plus asking a foreign government to investigate an American citizen,
  • Obstructing justice [and Congress] by blocking testimony & documents [an Article of Impeachment against Richard Nixon]. Read more

 
Coming up in 2020, this nation will have to decide if the Constitution of the United States is nothing more than words written on parchment in the National Archive. While every elected official swore an oath to defend, protect and preserve the Constitution, we are at a crossroads where that oath MUST be first and foremost, or will his Republican Party’s congressional electeds protect the President at all costs and the Constitution be damned. Soon I envision Trump being the 3rd President ever to be impeached by the House, though I do not see him being removed from office by the Senate. In that case, we will have a true Autocratic, Authoritarian Ruler-King (nee Dictator), who will lay waste on Twitter and FOX TV to anyone critical of him, exponentially advance his torching of truth and continue with lies upon lies, name-calling, and being unkind. Trump will consider the failure of the Senate to remove him from office to be “exoneration,” as in The Mueller Report, which will embolden him to thumb his nose at the Constitution and potentially make 2020 the most contentious and worst year for American government since the Civil War. He will continue to divide the nation as the ruler/representative of only his base and not the American people. His rallies will be even more oppressive and filled with offensive propaganda.

The one shining light that brings Americans together in union is in helping each other with the ever burdening climate emergencies, destined to proliferate even more in 2020, as well. While this country is split apart by the folly of political hysteria, Trump continues to dismantle environmental regulations as a climate denier as Mother Nature attempts to heal herself from the disregard of humanity, which will disrupt the lives of millions. America’s lending a helping hand in camaraderie is what we have to acknowledge this Thanksgiving holiday! This is what we have to be thankful for as this decade comes to a close in a little over a month.

Steve Klein, Yelm Community Blog Host.

__________________________________________________________________

“U.S. intelligence officials briefed senators, aides on Russian attempt to frame Ukraine”

“U.S. Intelligence officials briefed senators and aides about Russian effort to frame Ukraine for 2016 election interference, but Pres. Trump and his allies continue to say otherwise,” by Meet the Press Daily, MSNBC. Read more

“Trump ‘violates all recognized democratic norms,’ federal judge says in biting speech on judicial independence”

By Katie Shepherd, Washington Post. Read more

“Why Trump Is Bad for Business”

“America’s first billionaire President promised to bring a C-suite sensibility to the Oval Office. It started well—but now bad policy choices have pushed CEO confidence to the lowest level in a decade,” by Geoff Colvin, Fortune Magazine. Read more

“House investigating whether Trump lied to Robert Mueller”

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN. Read more

“Bill Barr’s fascist manifesto: Is this man the real threat to American democracy?”

“Trump’s AG gives a speech accusing left of ‘shredding’ norms and embracing ‘coercive state power.’ Project much?” by Heather Digby Parton, Salon Magazine. Read more

“Pompeo announces reversal of longstanding US policy on Israeli settlements”

“The announcement, which breaks with international law and consensus, is the latest in a string of hardline, pro-Israeli moves that are likely to inflame tensions between the Trump administration and Palestinians and widen the divide between the Trump administration and traditional US allies in Europe,” by Jennifer Hansler, Nicole Gaouette and Jeremy Diamond, CNN. Read more

“Mike Pompeo reportedly plans to quit, run for Senate before Ukraine drags him down”

“Secretary of state reportedly wants to bail, launch Senate bid before impeachment maelstrom sucks him to his doom,” by Igor Derysh, Salon Magazine. Read more

“Tell Congress to stand up for the rule of law.”

“The country needs your voice. Click below to contact your legislators and let them know: We must speak out against Trump’s abuse of power,” by Republicans for the Rule of Law. Click here

“Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano just called for articles of impeachment against Trump.”

By Brian Tyler Cohen. Click here

“Trump recasts way U.S. deals with the world. And this is a big deal.”

“The impeachment process means countries around the world are having to re-think how they deal with the U.S.,” by Patrick Smith, NBC News, London. Read more

“Giuliani-Pompeo contacts before Yovanovitch ouster are seen in newly released State Dept. documents”

By Danielle Wallace, FOX News. Read more

“Giuliani associate willing to testify Rep. Nunes met with ex-Ukrainian official, attorney says”

“Nunes has been one of the president’s most ardent supporters as he faces impeachment proceedings,” by Kristen Welker, NBC News. Read more

“A Former Fox News Executive Divides Americans Using Russian Tactics”

“An investigation found that several sites owned by Ken LaCorte push inflammatory items — stories, petitions and the occasional conspiracy theory — to the public,” by Nicole Perlroth, The New York Times. Read more

“Nearly 300 US Cities Will Mobilize to Demand Impeachment on Eve of House Vote”

By Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Truthout. Read more

“Prosecutors Investigating the Trump Organization Zero In on Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg”

“Weisselberg is one of the Trump Organization’s longest tenured employees and is now co-running the business. He escaped federal prosecution for the Stormy Daniels payments but is now a focus of an investigation by Manhattan’s district attorney,” by Peter Elkind, ProPublica. Read more

“I was a juror in Roger Stone’s trial. I am proud of how we came to our decision.”

“Our unanimous conclusion was this: The truth matters. Telling the truth under oath matters. At a time when so much of our public discourse is based on deception or just lies, it is more important than ever that we still have places where the truth can be presented, examined and discerned. Congress is one of those places. That’s what the case was about,” by Seth Cousins, juror Number 3 in the Roger Stone trial. Read more



November 23, 2019

“More Than 11,000 Scientists Declare Climate Emergency”

“World Scientists Call for Global System Change to Address Climate Emergency”

“Moved by a moral obligation to “tell it like it is,” more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries have released a statement warning humanity of the “catastrophic threat” we face as the climate emergency continues apace. Without transformative changes to save the biosphere, they warn, there will be “untold suffering due to the climate crisis.” Since the statement was published on November 5, thousands more scientists have signed on to it.

“The statement in the online journal BioScience pointed out that, despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, the world has “generally conducted business as usual and largely failed to address this predicament,” with only minor exceptions,” by Curtis Johnson, Truthout. Read more

“‘Horrifying’ New Research Shows Rising Sea Levels Could Wipe Out Major Cities, Displace 150 Million People by 2050”

“Climate change is shrinking the planet, in the scariest possible way,” by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams. Read more

“More Than 11,000 Scientists Declare Climate Emergency”

  • A broad coalition of scientists has signed the dire warning on climate change.
  • “The fate of humanity” is threatened, the statement says.
  • The paper lays out several “vital changes” to track climate change and areas to target for improvement.
  • By Jan Wesner Childs, The Weather Channel. Read more

“Trade wars, climate change plunge the family farm into crisis. Is it an endangered American institution?”

“Farm bankruptcies in September surged 24% amid a perfect storm created by President Donald Trump’s trade war with China and Europe, slumping commodity prices, and a year of unfavorable weather. This August, the USDA reported that more than 19.4 million acres of farmland nationwide weren’t planted due to record spring rains and historic, catastrophic flooding.”

“‘Data from the U.S. Courts reveals that for the 12-month period ending September 2019, Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies totaled 580 filings, up 24% from the prior year and the highest level since 676 filings in 2011,’ it said,” quoting CNBC. Read more

  • UPDATE: November 26, 2019:

“‘Existential Threat to Civilization’: Planetary Tipping Points Make Climate Bets Too Dangerous, Scientists Warn”

“‘I don’t think people realize how little time we have left,’ said one co-author of a new paper warning that the systems of the natural world could cascade out of control sooner than was previously thought,” by Jon Queally, Common Dreams. Read more


November 23, 2019

Public opinion and political landscape manipulated by Google

“Why the World Needs a Google Detox”

Story at-a-glance from Dr. Mercola:

  • Google whistleblower Zach Vorhies has released 950 pages of Google documents that paint a comprehensive picture of how Google is manipulating public opinion and the political landscape
  • Changes at Google first became noticeable in 2016, after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Vorhies later discovered evidence suggesting Google was playing a role in the effort to remove President Trump from office
  • Machine Learning Fairness is a Google project that replaces “unfair” search results — even when the “unfairness” is accurately reflecting worldly reality — with more “fair and balanced” search results, thereby artificially altering what people perceive as “reality”
  • Google tools such as autofill search recommendations can be used to sway public opinion on political (and other topics), which can have significant political consequences
  • Research shows biased search rankings can shift voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more, and that people will be completely unaware of having been manipulated

Read more from Dr. Mercola’s report.

“ADL International Leadership Award Presented to Sacha Baron Cohen at Never Is Now 2019”

“Sacha Baron Cohen is the well-deserved recipient of ADL’s International Leadership Award, which goes to exceptional individuals who combine professional success with a profound personal commitment to community involvement and to crossing borders and barriers with a message of diversity and equal opportunity. Over 100 years ago Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote: “Sunlight is said to be the best disinfectant.” Through his alter egos, many of whom represent anti-Semites, racists and neo-Nazis, Baron Cohen shines a piercing light on people’s ignorance and biases.” on YouTube.com.


November 22, 2019

Mayor Foster again signed a contract without proper council approval –
Yelm’s city council MUST hold this mayor accountable!

Yelm In Beginning Stages to Develop SPSCC Satellite Branch and Business Incubator | News ...
Credit: yelmonline.com

Interim Public Works Director’s contract not properly approved by council, not in Yelm Protocol Manual compliance

  • Story highlights:
  • An Interim Public Works Director contract was signed by the mayor on October 14, 2019 without council’s knowledge,
  • The contract is with a talent recruitment firm with the city paying that company $91 an hour plus taxes for a temporary employee,
  • The mayor has the authority to appoint Department Heads, yet not approving his own Interim Public Works Director labor contract,
  • Simply, if the council had not seen the contract before the Nov. 12, 2019 council session, then they did not approve the October 14, 2019 signed labor contract in the city’s budget, which is their explicit area of oversight,
  • Mr. Foster unilaterally issued, approved, and signed a labor contract against city policy.
  • The time has come to hold Mayor Foster accountable for continuing to not follow city policy.

At the November 12th Yelm city council session, Councilor Joe DePinto asked Mayor Foster if there was a contract with the new Interim Public Works Director and if the council has to approve that document. Mayor Foster said there was a contract and the council did not have to approve such. Mayor Foster ensured he would send the contract to the councilors, indicating they had not previously seen the document. Click here, start at 1:05:25. Yet that response was in error!

The Yelm Municipal Code states the mayor has the authority to appoint Department Heads, of which an Interim Public Works Director is not. While the mayor is responsible to fill the full-time Public Works Director position with a full-time employee, Foster does not have the authority to solicit, negotiate, approve, and sign labor contracts by himself and without consulting the council. The mayor’s contract with a talent recruitment firm for an Interim Public Works Director violated the Yelm Protocol Manual.

The Yelm Protocol Manual states in section 2.02 Section 6,page 9 about “Personnel Matters” that the role of the council is to “Establish bargaining parameters and approve final labor contracts.”

Section 2.03 of the Yelm Protocol Manual states, “The Mayor shall appoint and remove all appointive officers of the city, which shall include: a city attorney, a chief of police, a city clerk/treasurer, a public works director and a community development director.” However, signing a contract with an employee talent agency for an Interim Public Works Director is NOT the same as appointing a Public Works Director. This is a contract with no finite end in paying this contract employee $91 an hour plus taxes. If the council had not seen the contract, then they did not approve the October 14, 2019 signed contract in the city’s budget, which is under their oversight. That Mr. Foster unilaterally signed this contract is against city policy. Even if given the opportunity, would the council have approved an effective $94 an hour contract with a talent recruitment agency for an undefined period of time? 

As reported here previously, Mr. Foster signed a Contract for a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure on 640 acres in late 2017 also without informing council and not obtaining their approval. That was a very serious breech of protocol.

Click here for the City of Yelm Protocol Manual.

Click here for the contact Mr. Foster signed October 14, 2019 with the Prothman talent recruitment firm for an Interim Public Works Director.


November 22, 2019

City of Yelm touts organizations who give-back at Thanksgiving

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2Fthumb%2Fe%2Fed%2FCity_Hall_in_Yelm%252C_Washington.jpg%2F220px-City_Hall_in_Yelm%252C_Washington.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
Credit: City of Yelm

“List of Local Orgs Who Give Back During the Holidays”

  • From the City of Yelm public statement:

“In the spirit of giving, here is a list of organizations helping to provide Thanksgiving meals for local families:

Nisqually Party For a Purpose, the parent charity for the Yelm Pub Crawl already donated 40 turkey dinners to families this year for the McKenna Elementary Turkey Bingo to support McKenna Elementary families. Great work, Scotty Brown – Windermere Real Estate – Yelm!

Bounty For Families Gift of Gobble: For ten consecutive years, the Gift of Gobble has annually fed 25 families from Joint Base Lewis–McChord, 27 families from nine local churches, six families from community schools and dozens of individual families nominated by friends and colleagues. A donation of $60 will feed a holiday meal to a local family of six. If you would like to donate, stop by the 507 Taproom and Filling Station. who will be donating $1 for every pint to support the program between 5-9 p.m. this evening or visit bountyforfamilies.org.

Lackamas PTO is accepting donations for their Giving Tree! Donations are collected during pickup and drop off through tomorrow and donations can also be sent to the school with your child marked for PTO Giving Tree or dropped off in our box in the form of cash or check made payable to Lackamas PTO.

VFW Post 5580 is donating meals to the school district for families in need. They have 120 meals planned right now. More information can be found here Www.vfw5580.org

Perfect Potluck is collecting items for hygiene kits for Yelm High School students who are classified as homeless. More information can be found here https://www.perfectpotluck.com/RHFJ9241

“It’s inspiring to see the amount of effort is put in by our community members to give back! If you know of a charity or a way to give, please email andrewk@yelmwa.gov

Read more

Blogger Klein has contributed to Bounty For Families Gift of Gobble every year since inception.


November 22, 2019

Chamber’s Critchfield heralded in their sponsored story

https://www.thurstontalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Line-Critchfield-Uptown-Lounge-Trivia-Night-169x300.jpg
Chamber Director Line Critchfield also hosts weekly themed trivia nights at the Uptown Lounge and Yelm Cinemas. Photo courtesy: Line Critchfield

“Yelm Chamber Executive Director Line Critchfield is a Force for Community Unity”

“Had she stuck to her original plan, Line Critchfield would have become a home economics teacher. That would have been the Yelm community’s loss – Critchfield is the Executive Director of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce and in the relatively short time she’s been in charge, community involvement has surged as events like the recent inaugural Yelm Pub Crawl and Nisqually Valley Barbecue Rally have taken shape.

“‘Line has pushed the Chamber into the 21st century,’ says Amber Young, Community Engagement Specialist at America’s Credit Union and a fellow chamber board member who serves on the activities committee with Critchfield. ‘She’s brought on processes to streamline everything and created a new level of organization. Many businesses that we may not have reached before are benefitting (sic) from being Chamber members,'” by Heidi Smith, in Thurston Talk.

Read more


November 21, 2019

Santa photos in Yelm begin next week at Abe Clary Creative Portraits

https://www.thurstontalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Photos-with-Santa-Olympia-Abe-Clary-Portraits-Yelm-200x300.jpg
Abe Clary Creative Portraits has a very Old World Santa for timeless photos.
Photo courtesy: Abe Clary Portraits

“Thrifty Thurston Takes Photos with Santa”

“One of the best holiday traditions may be taking the time to get a photo of your growing family, altogether, in festive attire. For many of us, it might be the only time of the year we still send out physical cards to loved ones. Which also means we need to start getting those mailing lists in order and thinking about where to get our photo taken, so we can get those cards in the mail! There is nothing cuter than a holiday photo with Santa, no matter your age. If you are looking for places to get the deed done, you are in luck: there are plenty of places to take photos with Santa in Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey and throughout Thurston County.”

Abe Clary Creative Portraits

November 23, 25,27, 28, 30, December 1
10640 Mill Road SE, Yelm

“For those in Yelm, you don’t have to go far to get a gorgeous professional photo of your whole family with Santa. Just head to Abe Clary Creative Portraits. Santa will be there dressed in his finest red suit. Hours vary depending on the day, so contact Abe Cleary Creative Portraits at 360-458-2443 or visit the Abe Clary Creative Portraits website for more information,” by Kristina Lotz in Thurston Talk. Read more


November 20, 2019

With all ballots counted, James Blair will be Yelm’s new councilor for Pos. 1

https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/yelmonline.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/73/073ce860-0280-11ea-85b4-af2924706f77/5dc5fb0cd57dc.image.jpg?resize=750%2C514
Council candidate James Blair, Incumbent EJ Curry
Credit: James Blair for Council,
EJ Curry, City of Yelm Councilor

Yelm will now have a new Position 1 council member!

Editor’s note: The Yelm City Council will undergo fundamental change with Blair’s platform of fiscal integrity!

With all ballots now counted, James Blair is now ahead of EJ Curry by a comfortable 31 votes with 693 (50.92%) compared to Curry’s 662 (48.64%), according to the 4:25pm results posted this evening by the Thurston County Auditor. Click here for the results.

Incumbent Councilors Carmody and DePinto are substantially ahead of their challengers (72% vs. 27% for Carmody, 64% vs. 35% for DePinto) and will be re-elected when the results are made official on November 26th.




November 20, 2019

The Triad Theater says good-bye to the historic Wolfe Bldg.
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Party set for Nov. 22, 7pm

Credit: The Triad Theater

“The Triad Theater’s “Good-Bye For Now” Party – Friday, Nov 22nd starting at 7pm.”

  • From The Triad Theater:
    Please come join in the Celebration as we say Good-Bye to The Wolfe Building. After EIGHT Wonderful years providing The Arts there, we’ve decided not to renew the lease and take a Well Deserved (and much needed!) Break before re-opening in a new, yet to be announced location. This celebration is open to the public. No Entry Fee. Beer and Wine available for purchase. Bring your Stories and Memories!Read more

November 20, 2019

Excellent winter tips to be prepared in an emergency –
By Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Rachel Wood

https://www.theolympian.com/living/health-fitness/p0v1gm/picture225458280/alternates/FREE_768/drrachelwood
Dr. Rachel Wood, Thurston County Health Officer

“Are you ready for Northwest storm season? Check out these tips”

  • From Dr. Rachel Wood, Thurston County Health Officer:

“Winter is right around the corner, and local history tells us that bad weather – heavy rain, high winds, or even heavy snowfall — can bring consequences that impact our daily lives.

“As the days get shorter and colder, people start to look forward to hunkering down by the fire with hot chocolate and a favorite movie. To stay safe this winter, however, we need to look forward in more ways than one. It’s important to prepare for local emergencies or power outages.”

“Regardless of your health needs, this is a great time to make sure you’re ready for another Northwest storm season. More information is available at www.ready.gov, where you can learn how to make a plan, and what resources you need to be safe in an emergency.”

Read more about Dr. Woods tips.


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