* The state of Washington has its own Eastern Bloc…
A Washington state lawmaker says it’s time for eastern Washington to break away and become a 51st state called Liberty in order to protect gun rights and avoid the “socialist values of downtown Seattle.”
In a fiery speech Friday, Republican Matt Shea of Spokane Valley promoted his “state of Liberty” proposal at a sparsely attended 51st state rally in the Capitol rotunda.
“I’m not going to sit in a state that is going to try to take away our firearms,” Shea told the crowd, some of whom were openly carrying firearms. “So if they try to do that, then the only solution left is a 51st state.”
As Shea spoke, an unidentified bodyguard watched his back and two men held a 51st state flag that featured an osprey and the words “Liberty, Founded in Truth.” Shea said splitting Washington into two states would protect people in eastern Washington from what he described as Seattle’s experiment with socialism. […]
A six-term member of the Washington House, Shea is a self-described “Constitutional conservative” and “pro-liberty” legislator. He’s also no stranger to controversy. Last August, in a speech at a pro-gun rally, he referred to the media as “dirty, godless, hateful people.” In 2016, Shea participated in what he called a “fact-finding mission” to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge where he and other Northwest lawmakers met with the armed militants who had occupied the facility, as well as local officials and the FBI. In 2014, Shea traveled to Nevada to lend support to rancher Cliven Bundy, whose son led the Malheur occupation, during his fight with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing fees. […]
Shea has been trying to launch Liberty since at least 2015. This year, Shea and fellow Republican Bob McCaslin, also of Spokane Valley, introduced a bill to get Liberty up and running. The lawmakers have also introduced a House Joint Memorial petitioning Congress to create a new state in eastern Washington. So far neither have gotten a public hearing.
Our own Eastern Bloc uses similar rhetoric, but as you’ll see below it has so far been pretty tame by comparison, although ours appears larger.
* Things have clearly gotten out of hand in Washington…
A Washington state Republican politician took part in private discussions with rightwing figures about carrying out surveillance, “psyops” and even violent attacks on perceived political enemies, according to chat records obtained by the Guardian.
State representative Matt Shea, who represents Spokane Valley in the Washington state house, participated in the chats with three other men. All of the men used screen aliases – Shea’s was “Verum Bellator”, Latin for true warrior. The Guardian confirmed the identity of those in the chat by cross-checking phone numbers attached to the Signal accounts. […]
The chats on the messaging app Signal took place in the days leading up to a supposed “Antifa revolt” on 4 November 2017. Throughout late October, far-right media outlets had been stoking fears of political conflict on the basis of planned peaceful protests by a small leftist group.
The men proposed to confront leftists – whom they repeatedly refer to as “communists” and “Antifa” – with a suite of tactics, including violence.
* Wilhour Endorses County Board Votes on State Separation, FOID Card Registration: “They continue to burden our industries with impossible regulations that have crippled our private sector and limited our ability to create high wage jobs. They have no respect for the traditional values that have made our area great, and they are constantly working to erode our Constitutional rights. This is a position that I have long resisted, but so long as Chicago continues to marginalize our rights, our values and our pathway to prosperity; I contend that we are in fact better off without them.”
* Sen. Brian Stewart: Do we have challenges? Absolutely we do! We’ve had challenges since our state became a state. We’ll have more. I don’t think our challenges are because downstate Illinois is a tugboat riding the global tsunami of “powerful economic forces.” And I don’t think decline is inevitable. We’re different. We have always been different. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what folks like Krugman and Matthews are missing. They don’t get what makes us different. Maybe our differences mean we have a different economy that requires different solutions than big cities do. Maybe that’s the reason “one size fits all” doesn’t work for us, whether it’s a mandate or an economic development incentive. There’s a lot we can do. We can follow Professor James Ziliak’s advice, in his chapter for the Aspen Institute titled “Restoring Economic Opportunity for ‘The People Left Behind’: Employment Strategies for Rural America,” and invest in “rural broadband infrastructure; an ongoing program of expanded access to financial capital for entrepreneurs and other small-business development initiatives in rural areas; and … to rejuvenate rural infrastructure.”We can pass the common sense solutions I filed this session, like SB1925 and SB1926 that seek to expand tax credits to downstate cities and towns, while removing dangerously restrictive language for businesses applying for the economic development incentives under the Growing Economy Tax Credit Act. We can look to the Illinois Farm Bureau’s recommendations that include regulatory reform; a reasonable tax policy especially when it comes to capital gains taxes and “lower effective tax rates for small and family-owned farms and ranches”; and infrastructure investment, that I personally think also has to end the practice of taking tax dollars from downstate Illinois and spending it in Chicago.