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Learn from history

The Roman Empire during and after the reign of Augustus was ostensibly based on a balance of power and the fairly orderly resolution of disputes. Diocletian changed that about 300 A.D. with a power grab by one branch of government. He blamed Christians for his results, and was subsequently succeeded by Constantine, who successfully undid much of Diocletian’s autocratic damage.

Similarly, today we are seeing an autocratic power grab attempt by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, et. al., to disenfranchise an existing law passed by Congress, signed into law by the executive branch and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Their tactic, like that of Diocletian, is an autocratic power grab by a collective few, damaging the function of a government and an economy in the process. Diocletian blamed the Christians. Much later, an equally infamous Reichsfuhrer similarly scapegoated the German Communist party in February 1933 to autocratically consolidate power for his own political party.

We do need to be aware of, and learn from, history, something that we frontier-mentality Americans often don’t do well.

Bill Tann



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Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.