Wednesday, February 01, 2017

A quick reminder: our state supreme court has approved of lying in politics.

One of the many issues I have with government and many politicians is that they lie.

When the biggest liar in politics locally, Senator Ann "Gas Tax" Rivers, betrayed her district and this county on the gas tax and tab fee increases, I became an avowed political enemy after an 11 year relationship where she was considered a part of our family... because in all that time... she had never once lied.

Not to me.

Not to her constituents.

But now?

The same can be said about other local politicians: Scott Weber, allegedly GOP county clerk who pathologically lied to get that position by running on a platform that included his efforts to eliminate the position as elective if he were to win.

By all means, credit Lew Waters
Greg Kimsey, CRC supporter and no longer even close to GOP county auditor who lied repeatedly about the impacts and mechanisms of the charter scam, including his lie that when we finally get sick enough of that train wreck, we could repeal it if we were of a mind to do so... which we cannot.

Marc Boldt, Julie Olson, John Blom, Jeanne Stewart... the list is growing...

And that, in large part, is why those in government and those running for office and those attempting to ram their taxes and projects down our throats through initiative or referendum... when they bother to allow us to vote (Right, Ann?) is why they lie.

Because they know they can.

They know it's legal to lie.  They know that if they're in the right party, the fact that they lied will be meaningless: Rivers showed that beyond any doubt; even after hanging a $700 million bill around the necks of each us who live in Clark County she was reelected by a district who would elect a brick if it had an "R" after its name.

She anticipated that because she knew that those trying to get the word out had no way to compete with Lefty Lou's earned media support (If Hair-Color Lou likes you, he likes you!) or her hundreds of thousands of dollars scammed from donors looking for a return on their investment.

And she was right.

I will be reminding people of Rivers' betrayal along with the lies of the rest because, well, no one else will.

Even though others in a position to benefit from Rivers' betrayal came after me, trying to tell me that, well, that's just how business is done.  Those included RINO-in-Chief and Rivers lackey Brent Boger (Judge wannabe) and the current mayor of Battle Ground.

582 million in new revenue
The lie concerning pot revenue used by the
I-502 campaign and bought by the democratian, 
Pot legalization was the biggest scam ever pulled in this state, with complete and utter lies from those shilling the initiative concerning the amount of revenue passage would generate.  The number hasn't come close and the legislature has done absolutely nothing to hold those liars accountable... no doubt because of the substantial campaign donations the pot head companies have made. (Right, Ann?)

You see, for them, lying is just a tool of the trade.  For me, lying is part and parcel of how this country got so badly screwed up.  But everyone has become so comfortable with being lied to that they no longer care.

We were lied to about the CRC for a decade... lied to about party loyalty... lied to about a variety of things by media... lied to about commitments made by those we trusted.

And here's why they do it:
Justices say law regulating speech unconstitutional
Published 10:00 pm, Thursday, October 4, 2007
OLMPIA -- You just can't keep a politician from lying.
In a 5-4 ruling Thursday, the state Supreme Court struck down a 1999 law that banned political candidates from intentionally lying about their opponents. The high court majority said the law was an affront to free speech.

"The notion that the government, rather than the people, may be the final arbiter of truth in political debate is fundamentally at odds with the First Amendment," Justice Jim Johnson wrote in the majority opinion.

The dissent called the decision "an invitation to lie with impunity."

That temptation was already in place, said Travis Ridout, a political science professor at Washington State University. Candidates have long felt free to say their opponent had voted to raise taxes 50 times the previous year, hated children or was soft on crime -- regardless of the facts.

"The lies about your opponent's record, we've almost come to expect them from politicians, so voters don't spend much time trying to arbitrate," Ridout said. "We are quite cynical about the motives of politicians."

The legal sanctions that had been levied against dishonest candidates had seldom been used -- since 2000, the Public Disclosure Commission had levied sanctions against two candidates who were proven to have lied in their campaigns.

The American Civil Liberties Union hailed the ruling as an important victory for free speech.

"In our democracy, candidates are free to make very strong statements criticizing their opponents or the government. The court recognized that government itself should not be in the business of vetting the truth and falsity of their political speech," said Kathleen Taylor, executive director of the ACLU of Washington.

State Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, who invoked the law in 2002, was disappointed by the decision and said it would open the door to "all kinds of negative campaigning."

"There's no downside to lying," he said. "The voters are going to be even more turned off by politics."
The ACLU represented Green Party candidate Marilou Rickert in her challenge of a fine imposed after her 2002 campaign for the state Senate. Rickert had issued a flier comparing her voting record and positions with those of the incumbent, Sheldon.

Sheldon easily won re-election. After the election, Sheldon filed a formal complaint with the PDC claiming that Rickert lied about him in the flier, saying Sheldon had voted to shut down a state institution in his district. In fact, he voted against a budget that included closure of the Mission Creek youth camp, although critics said he didn't do enough to support the facility.

The commission fined Rickert $1,000, saying she had violated the state's law regulating political advertising.

The high court found that the law was too broad.

Unlike a defamation action -- where harm must be proved -- the overturned law allowed the government to pursue a claim against a candidate even when no harm had been shown.

The court was also troubled by the fact that political appointees rather than a jury determined liability for speech.

"The best remedy for false or unpleasant speech is more speech, not less speech," Johnson wrote. "The importance of this constitutional principle is illustrated by the very real threats to liberty posed by allowing an un-elected government censor like the PDC to act as an arbiter of truth."

Justices Richard Sanders, Charles Johnson and Susan Owens joined Johnson's majority opinion.

Chief Justice Gerry Alexander joined the majority as well, but in a separate concurrence. He wrote that "the majority goes too far in concluding that any government censorship of political speech would run afoul of the United States and Washington constitutions," but he agreed that the law was unconstitutional because it was overbroad.

But Justice Barbara Madsen, writing in dissent, said, "The majority opinion advances the efforts of those who would turn political campaigns into contests of the best stratagems of lies and deceit, to the end that honest discourse and honest candidates are lost in the maelstrom." She was joined by Justices Tom Chambers, Mary Fairhurst and Bobbe Bridge.

The justices disagreed over the interpretation of the landmark 1964 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, in which the court found that a public official claiming libel must prove that the libel was published with "actual malice."

The majority said that under that ruling, only defamatory statements are not constitutionally protected speech, and that the new law did not require proof of the defamatory nature of the prohibited statements. Thus, the current law "extends to protected political speech and strict scrutiny must apply."

The majority opinion noted that another U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Time Inc. v. Hill, indicated that false statements about private individuals made with actual malice, but which are not defamatory, may not be protected speech.

"However, the court has not held that false statements about public figures made with actual malice, but which are not defamatory, are devoid of all constitutional protection," the opinion said.

PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson said the commission next meets Oct. 25, and members will discuss options, including whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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