Would #NeverTrump Stalwarts Now Support Sweet Cakes?

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Liberals like those who condemned the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa are now giving a shrug to NeverTrumpers who are discriminating against Trump supporters by refusing to associate with them or patronize their businesses.

The liberals’ unlikely hero in all this today is Phoebe Pearl, a member of the famous dance troupe the Rockettes.

“Finding out that it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration makes me feel embarrassed and disappointed,” Pearl said in an Instagram post today. “…please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts #notmypresident”.

Online comment sections lit up with endorsements of Pearl’s post.

“Proud that you stand up for your views/ beliefs especially to all those trumpies who are always on attack mode ready to become the vicious evil fake definitely not Christians judgmental psychos,” was posted by truthisabitch.

 Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby praised the Rockettes in an article titled, Freedom of Association Isn’t Just for the Rockettes.

“The right to discriminate — to choose with whom we will and won’t associate — is vital to human liberty,” he wrote today. “No one should be forced to play a role in a celebration they want nothing to do with, or to hire themselves out to clients they would prefer not to serve. A liberal baker who declines to create a lavish cake decorated with the words “Congratulations, President Trump” is entitled to as much deference as a black baker who declines to decorate a cake with the Confederate flag…”

Pearl’s post follows actions by other NeverTrumpers asserting their intentions to discriminate against Trump supporters.

HeatStreet, a conservative leaning news website, reported in early December that some Wash., DC homeowners were removing their Airbnb listings so they wouldn’t be put in the position of renting to “…the residents of flyover country.”

“I have a visceral reaction to the thought of having a Trump supporter in my house,” said one Airbnb host. “No amount of money could make me change my mind. It’s about moral principles.”

Television chef Anthony Bourdain said he wouldn’t patronize a restaurant at the newly opened Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. “I will never eat in his restaurant,” Bourdain said. “I have utter contempt for him, utter and complete contempt”.

Designer Sophie Theallet gained some notoriety when she flamboyantly announced on Twitter that she would not dress or associate with Donald Trump’s wife Melania when she becomes first lady. She also called on other designers to follow her lead, saying “Integrity is our only true currency.”

Is all this a liberal double standard?

In 2013, Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes bakery in Gresham, OR refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding of a lesbian couple because of the Klein’s Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage.

In early 2015, then State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian made a preliminary finding that the Kleins discriminated against the lesbian couple on the basis of their sexual orientation.

In July 2015, Avakian ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 in damages to the couple for emotional and mental suffering they experienced because the Kleins had refused to sell them a wedding cake.

Liberals enthusiastically endorsed Avakian’s decision.

“The Kleins are religious zealots, and not very bright,” wrote one supporter of the decision. “They should stick to baking cakes, and leaving their religion in the back room and/or at home and at church. When one opens their doors to a commercial enterprise, they don’t get to tell people to —- off based on purposeful discrimination.”

“A sign saying “no lesbians are allowed to purchase wedding cakes in my store,” is every bit as discriminatory as a person verbally saying “no lesbians are allowed to purchase wedding cakes in my store” and the business in question should be held accountable,” Mat dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, wrote in an opinion column in The Oregonian.

The federal government, while asserting that you can’t discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, doesn’t prohibit discrimination based on a person’s political bent. So the NeverTrumpers aren’t breaking the law when they support the ability of businesses to ban politically offensive customers, but how is that position morally different from the position the Kleins took?

Do the liberal NeverTrumpers denying services to Trump supporters now want to reverse Avakian’s decision or should they be held to the same standards as the Kleins?

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Union Members Can Stop Subsidizing Liberal Candidates and Causes

 

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A question to conservative Oregon union members (I know you’re out there): Why are you contributing to union political funds when most of the money ends up supporting liberal Democratic candidates?

About 18% of the electorate across the country was from union households in the Nov. 8, 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump captured 43% of those union-household voters.

In Oregon, 14.8 percent of the wage and salary workforce belonged to a union in 2015. It’s not clear how they voted, but it’s likely, based upon national patterns, that a decent share voted Republican.

Still, Oregon’s unions overwhelming endorsed Democrats. For example, all but two of the AFL-CIO’s 2016 Legislative endorsements in Oregon were for Democrats (one was an independent, one a Republican), as were all the statewide candidate endorsements.

Similarly, in the 2016 election, political contributions from Oregon’s unions went overwhelmingly to Democrats. For example, SEIU’s PAC, Citizen Action for Political Education (CAPE), spent $2,001,758.89 on the 2016 election. Of that, $706,750.00 went to Defend Oregon (the group pushing Measure 97), $205,000 to the Committee to Elect Brad Avakian, $180,000 to the Kate Brown Committee, and $37,380 to The Real Mike Nearman Committee (created to defeat Republican Mike Nearman).

So why don’t more union members who disagree with their union’s political stances decline to contribute to their union’s PAC and opt out of supporting the union’s political activities. It’s not that hard to do. All a union member has to do is become an “agency fee payer”, sometimes also called a “Fair Share Payer” or “Non-member.”

Oregon allows public employees who are part of a collective bargaining unit to refuse membership in the union that represents that unit. But because the union still has to negotiate on their behalf, these nonmembers must contribute to cover costs which cover collective bargaining, contract administration and grievance adjustment, but not costs associated with political activities.

This worker right was established in 2012 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that while employees can be required to pay dues for the direct benefits they get from the union, they can’t be forced to give money to unions for political activities.

According to Steve Buckstein,  Founder and Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, even before the 2012 Court decision, a telephone company employee named Harry Beck spent over two decades fighting for the right to opt out of paying the political portion of his union dues to the Communications Workers of America. In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor in Beck v. CWA and created what are now known as Beck rights. Harry is now retired and lives in Oregon. You can watch him tell his story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a29L3ouJ6tw.

Political spending by unions can be substantial…and influential.

In a Sept. 2015 report to individuals who pay Fair Share fees, the liberal-leaning Oregon Education Association (OEA) said 22.9 percent of its total expenses were nonchargeable for Fair Share fee payers and the liberal-leaning National Education Association (NEA) said a whopping 62.71 percent of its total expenses were nonchargeable for Fair Share fee payers.

This means that if annual OEA dues were $600, they could have been reduced to $462.60 and if annual NEA dues were $185, they could have been reduced to $68.99.

Think of it. Workers, rather than union bosses, deciding for themselves how, or whether, they want to spend their money on political causes.

 

Brad Avakian and his party are worried

With polls showing Republican Dennis Richardson leading Democrat Brad Avakian in the Oregon Secretary of State race, it looks like Avakian’s supporters are worried.

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Why isn’t this man smiling?

Just in the first three days of this month they pumped $398,915 into his campaign, according to state filings.

Although union members account for just 14.8 percent of wage and salary workers in Oregon, they play a big role in Avakian’s campaign. Union donations in the first three days of November included:

  • The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education – $50,000
  • AFSCME – $30,000
  • Local 48 Electricians PAC (4572) – $15,000
  • American Federation of Teachers-Oregon Candidate PAC (113) – $10,000
  • Ironworkers Political Action League Muti Candidate Committee – $5,000
  • Our Oregon – $5,000
  • Oregon AFSCME Council 75 – $4,000

Some donors to other Democratic candidates may be surprised to learn that another significant source of recent donations to Avakian is the campaign committees of fellow Democratic candidates. In a move that should be prohibited, those committees simply took contributions to them and, in effect, passed them on to Avakian.

These donors include:

  • Friends of Tobias Read – $5,000
  • Sara Gelser for State Senate (4680) – $1,000
  • Blumenauer for Congress – $2,000
  • Friends of Mark Hass (11487) – $1,000
  • Rosenbaum for Senate (Diane) (1430) – $1,000
  • Friends of Lee Beyer (14049) – $5,000
  • Friends of Tina Kotek (4792) – $5,000
  • Reardon for Oregon (15621) – $3,000
  • Kurt Schrader for Congress – $5,000
  • Elect Ellen Rosenblum for Attorney General (15406) – $5,000
  • Friends of Jeff Barker (4270) – $2,000
  • Friends of Jennifer Williamson (15145) – $2,500

Other large contributors to Avakian’s campaign in early November included the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians ($10,000) , the Oregon Health Care Association PAC (275), $5,000) , Cain Petroleum ($5,000) and James D. Fuiten, President of Metro West Ambulance ($5,000).

These recent contributions brought Avakian’s campaign committee total to $2,216,482.79 as of Nov. 3, 2016, substantially more than the $1,490,837.52 raised by Richardson, as of Nov. 4.

We’ll see whether all this loot can pull Avakian ahead.

 

Is Brad Avakian running for Secretary of State or Director or Public Health?

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One of Brad Avakian’s more ubiquitous TV ads emphasizes how he will “ensure a woman can make personal medical decisions about her pregnancy.”

And Planned Parenthood says reproductive health care in Oregon depends on voting for Brad Avakian. “Your reproductive health care is on the Oregon ballot,” says an article by Mary Nolan, executive director for Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon, on Blue Oregon, a progressive online news and commentary site. Nolan quotes Avakian saying, “As a civil rights attorney, legislator and now Labor Commissioner, I know access to safe and affordable abortion service is a fundamental civil right.”

Planned Parenthood PAC has also made a $7500 contribution to Avakian’s campaign. If I were a contributor to Planned Parenthood, I’d ask for my money back.

 After all, where is protecting reproductive health care listed among the duties of Oregon’s Secretary of State?

Numerous studies have shown that large numbers of voters don’t know which officials are responsible for which issues, a circumstance that makes it hard to hold them accountable for their performance.

All that cluelessness could work to Avakian’s advantage.  In a classic example of misdirection, instead of emphasizing his fit for the Secretary of State job, he’s running as a champion of liberal causes.

Don’t fall for it.

Why Brad Avakian could win (sadly)

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“Got ya fooled, don’t I?”

A local pollster told me awhile ago that about 50 percent of eligible voters in Oregon don’t know that the state has two U.S. senators (maybe because there’s only one senate race at a time).

KGW-TV reporter Pat Dooris recently held up two signs, one with the name Brad Avakian and the other with the name Dennis Richardson, and asked passersby in downtown Portland if they knew who the people were. All the answers? Nope. Nope. Nope.

I mention these situations because they demonstrate that a lot of voters are, in fact, a basket of deplorables in terms of political knowledge.

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Political knowledge levels have been poor for decades, despite increased education and the availability of information on the Internet.

A recent Fairleigh Dickinson University survey studied the “clueless factor” among voters. The survey found that only 34% of Americans can name the three branches of government, and 30% can’t even name one.

Other studies routinely find that large numbers of voters don’t know which officials are responsible for which issues, a circumstance that makes it hard to hold them accountable for their performance.

All that cluelessness bodes well for Brad Avakian.

Avakian is running for Oregon Secretary of State, but you’d never know it from his campaign. In a classic example of misdirection, instead of emphasizing his fit for the Secretary of State job, he’s running as a champion of liberal causes.

Look at one of his ubiquitous TV ads.

The ad notes that Avakian is endorsed by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the NARAL Pro Choice Oregon PAC, Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon, Sierra Club Oregon Chapter, Oregon Education Association, and the Working Families Party.

Meanwhile, speakers in the ad emphasize how Avakian will protect the environment, break down the walls of discrimination, ensure a woman can make personal medical decisions about her pregnancy, and fight for regular people and not corporate special interests.

These topics have little to do with the job of the Oregon Secretary of State, but they do tug at the heartstrings of liberal voters. And that may well be what attracts enough voters to Avakian to make him the winner (and us the losers).

Who owns Brad Avakian? Unions.

 

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I’m tired of all these wealthy donors thinking that because I’ve been bought and paid for, they own me.                                                                                                                      (With thanks to the New Yorker) 

Brad Avakian, a Democrat running for Oregon’s Secretary of State, insists that one of his highest priorities is campaign finance reform.

“Everyone’s voice should be heard in our democracy – but that’s not happening right now,” Avakian says. “The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was a terrible mistake. It’s allowing big corporate donors to drown out the voice of everyday voters…But what can we do about it? Here’s what: Oregon can lead the way. As Secretary of State, I’ll fight to reform Oregon’s campaign finance system.”

Really?

Mr. Avakian conveniently leaves out that the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen United Ruling not only removed virtually any restriction on corporate money in politics. It also removed virtually any restriction on union money.

So how does Mr. Avakian feel about jumbo contributions to candidates from unions? He seems to be OK with those, based on the union contributions he’s received to date, including:

Oregon Education Association –People for Improvement of Education (142)                                         $95,000

Oregon School Employees Association –Voice of Involved Classified Employees (2307)                                    $65,000

Citizen Action for Political Education (33)                                     $60,000

United Food & Commercial Workers                                                $50,000

Oregon AFSCME Council 75                                                                 $30,000

Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters, SSF                           $30,000

Laborers’ Political League                                                                     $25,000

Oregon, South Idaho District Council of Laborers                         $15,000

Local 48 Electricians PAC (4572)                                                          $11,000

Oregon AFL-CIO                                                                                        $10,364

Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 598                                        $10,000

DRIVE Committee (Teamsters’ political action committee)      $10,000

American Federation of Teachers-OR Candidate PAC (113)        $  7,500

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees PAC         $  6,000

Working America (Political organizing arm of the AFL-CIO)      $  6,668

Portland Association of Teachers PAC                                                 $  5,000

IUPAT Political Action Together Political Committee                     $  5,000

 

Talk is cheap Brad.

What’s particularly striking is that union members accounted for just 14.8 percent of wage and salary workers in Oregon in 2015, but union contributions represent almost 40 percent of the total Avakian has raised in 2016.

So who do you think Avakian is going to represent if he’s elected?

 

Why is Val Hoyle smiling?

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Like Hillary Clinton, Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, who’s running for Secretary of State,  wants to get the obscene amounts of money out of politics…..later.

 

That way, she can rake in bundles of money now while running for Oregon Secretary of State as a champion of fundraising reform.

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Val Hoyle (D-Eugene)

In the past, Hoyle has said she supports enacting a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions, so long as the limits aren’t “unreasonably low”.

She has also blamed Democratic losses outside Oregon on “fear and cynicism” among voters fostered by large political contributions “from a small handful of special interests”.

So much for worrying about special interests.

According to state records, Hoyle has raised $587,000 to date, putting her at the top of the fundraising pile among the Secretary of State candidates.

Val Hoyle (D)……………………..$592,728

Brad Avakian (D)…………………$387,482

Dennis Richardson (R)………….$297,413

Richard Devlin (D)……………. ..$172,315

Sid Leiken (R)……………………..$ 45,104

Hoyle’s biggest contributor is Michael Bloomberg, a New York businessman who supports aggressive gun control measures. On April 29, he gave Hoyle $250,000 in appreciation for her support of legislation that passed in the last session expanding background checks to almost all private firearm transfers.

“Mike is supporting Val Hoyle because her leadership in passing Oregon’s background check bill is truly notable,” Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Bloomberg, told Willamette Week in an email. “No one in the country has worked harder —or more successfully—to take on the NRA than she has.”

Hoyle has also received $105,000 in contributions from Emily’s List, a Washington, D.C.-based political action committee that supports female candidates.

Without those two large contributions, both from out-of-state, Hoyle would have raised just $237,728, which would have put her behind both Brad Avakian and Dennis Richardson in fundraising totals.

 

P.S.: The other candidates aren’t exactly pure in their fundraising either, although they’re collecting nothing comparable to Hoyle from individual donors.

Brad Avakian’s larger contributions

  • $40,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555
  • $30,000 from Oregon School Employees Association – Voice of Involved Classified Employees (2307)
  • $10,000 from Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters, SSF
  • $10,000 from Oregon League of Conservation Voters PAC (2352)
  • $7,500 from Peter Goldman, a Seattle attorney
  • $6,000 from Naral Pro-Choice Oregon PAC (172)
  • $2,500 from Mt. & M Gaming, operator of The Last Frontier Casino in La Center, WA

 

Dennis Richardson’s larger contributions 

  • $25,000 from Sherman and Wanda Olsrud of Medford, OR
  • $15,000 from Larry Keith of Salem, OR
  • $15,000 from James Young of Lebanon, OR
  • $15,000 from Freres Timber, Inc. of Lyons, OR
  • $10,000 from Stephen M Greenleaf of Medford, OR
  • $10,000 from Richard E Uihlein of Lake Forest, IL
  • $10,000 from Murphy Co. of Eugene, OR
  • $5,000 from Zidelle Collin s of Shady Grove, OR
  • $5,000 from David A deVilleneuve of Central Point, OR