Articles written by Frank Watson


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  • Quilts of Valor

    Frank Watson, Contributor|Updated Aug 18, 2022

    The local news coverage of the celebration for units returning from Iraq and Afghanistan left me with mixed emotions. I was delighted that our fighting men and women were being embraced by our community. At the same time, however, I couldn’t help feeling an emptiness as I recalled the lack of welcome for those of us who returned from Viet Nam. We came home to an ungrateful, and sometimes hostile, nation. In some extreme cases, we were spit on as we got off the plane. Some of us had relatives who were part of the protest m...

  • Having and displaying patriotism really is a good thing

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Mar 5, 2020

    During a recent Democratic Party debate, candidate Pete Buttigieg made a comment that just about floored me. He said, “The American Dream is alive and well – In Denmark!” Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobachar both nodded in agreement before Bernie Sanders picked up the torch. He touted the advantages of Democratic Socialism claiming life in Denmark to be far superior to here in the good old USA. Joe Biden stood there wondering what was going on, and Mike Bloomberg began bragging about the economic and environmental virtu...

  • Messing with nature has consequences

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Feb 6, 2020

    The state Legislature has directed the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to remove the catch limits on bass, walleye and channel catfish in all waters of the state where they coexist with salmon. It seems that someone in the Legislature realized the existence of a connection between bass and whales. It is about time. Everything in nature is connected to everything else. In this case, our politicians are concerned about the declining numbers of the resident Puget Sound orca pod. Orcas and bass both eat salmon,...

  • It's the elected elite who reign in Olympia

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Jan 30, 2020

    Oligarchy. I like the sound of the word. It kind of rolls off the tongue, but I don’t like it as a form of government. Winning an election does not grant the victor wisdom beyond those of us who have never run for office. Those whom we have selected to represent us in Olympia seem to believe it does. Rather than be accountable to the electorate, our elected officials consider themselves a cut above the general public. It would seem private citizens, both individually and collectively, are viewed as a source of revenue, of n...

  • Has politics become a rich man's club?

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Dec 28, 2019

    After the 2016 election, I wondered if only the filthy rich would be able to run for president. Hillary Clinton, with a net worth of around $35 million, was the Democratic favorite, and her only challenger was Bernie Sanders. Not being independently wealthy, Bernie had no choice but to fund his campaign with contributions. Hillary expected the contest to be a grand coronation, and was surprised Bernie put up as much resistance as he did. On the Republican side, Trump with probably a little less than the $12 billion he...

  • Income disparity makes capitalism work for all

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Dec 12, 2019

    I read an essay not too long ago that claimed income disparity as the biggest danger to our democracy. The author could just have easily said that the gap between the very rich and very poor is a near and present danger. I thought about that for a few weeks and decided that the author was misguided. The difference between the wealthy and the not so wealthy is not a bad thing. It is a normal, healthy part of a society based on capitalism. I had a discussion with a very smart young teenager the other day. I usually find it...

  • It's time women's equality didn't need to be pointed out

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Nov 21, 2019

    The all-female space-walk was front page news for several days until it was replaced by a story about a female squadron commander at Fairchild Air Force Base. The reality of capable women shouldn’t be a news splash. The attributes for becoming an astronaut or a military commander have nothing to do with gender. I look forward to the day when everyone realizes that. Our country seems to be lagging behind the rest of the world in accepting women in the role of national leaders. Maybe we just need the right individual to b...

  • Legislature should listen to the voice of the people

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Nov 14, 2019

    The House has decided to make the closed door inquiry an official impeachment process. The headlines indicated that they had enough votes to unveil their activities. I heard rumors that some Democrats were going to vote against it, but CNN didn’t mention any. The radical left and CNN present a unanimous front. I have never witnessed such hatred. The radical Democrats with the support of a liberal national media have been trying to overthrow the 2016 election from day one. It began with the “Not My President” demonstrations be...

  • Who is governing the country these days?

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Nov 8, 2019

    The House has decided to make the closed door inquiry an official impeachment process. The headlines indicated that they had enough votes to unveil their activities. I heard rumors that some Democrats were going to vote against it, but CNN didn’t mention any. The radical left and CNN present a unanimous front. I have never witnessed such hatred. The radical Democrats with the support of a liberal national media have been trying to overthrow the 2016 election from day one. It began with the “Not My President” demonstrations be...

  • The Generation Gap - or how technology has improved our lives and we didn't even know it

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Oct 31, 2019

    My kids caught me reading a book. An actual book, printed with ink on real paper. I was lectured about my abuse of the planet and was told how many trees went into making paper. Paper that would likely line the bottom of our birdcage and eventually be discarded. I argued that I own books I have treasured for many years. They ignored my nostalgic argument and went on to demonstrate how easy it is to dial up an electronic copy of whatever I wanted to read. Instead of a traditional newspaper, my kids get an abbreviated version...

  • Departments making own rules are not responsible to public

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Oct 24, 2019

    There is a branch of our government that is independent of the three branches we study in school. This branch usually operates in the shadows overlooked by both the people and the Legislature. It makes its own rules with the same force as law. It has the power to levy fines and seize property. No one in this branch is elected and, therefore, is generally unresponsive to public opinion. It is virtually independent to do whatever it pleases, and I have never known it to admit a mistake. This shadow government is made up of the...

  • Once useful to workers, unions have run their course

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Oct 17, 2019

    The United Auto Workers Union strike against General Motors has entered its second month with no end in sight. They are using tactics developed years ago when the big three automakers ruled the industry. Rather than strike across the board, the union would target only one of the three. That way they could keep two-thirds of their members employed while they brought one to heel. Then they would use the results to bargain with the other two. I’m not sure those tactics would work today. Times have changed. Big corporations a...

  • When all else fails, it's time to impeach the president

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Oct 10, 2019

    News flash – Nancy Pelosi learned President Trump is using his office for political gain so the House has begun impeachment hearings. I thought using the power of office was pretty normal in American politics. Members of Congress begin to campaign for the next election before the votes are counted for the last one. It is hard to unseat an incumbent. They have free news exposure, free mailings to constituents, free transportation for photo ops that make them look good, etc. They also have the opportunity to transfer pork b...

  • There's a learning curve to function in the modern world

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Oct 3, 2019

    I bought my first electronic calculator several years ago when I was in grad school. It was made by Texas Instruments and was a little bigger than a deck of cards. It could add, subtract, multiply, and divide much faster and more accurately than I could with my old slide rule. I paid $100 for it. After a couple weeks, I put my slide rule away and never used it again. Today you can find smaller calculators with more power at the Dollar Store. As manufacturers skill increased, the price went down. The fancy economic term for...

  • It's money that drives the economy, balanced trade needed

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Sep 19, 2019

    I heard a news report last week proudly announce, “The economy improved last week fueled by consumer spending.” Consumer spending, or lack thereof may be an indicator of economic strength, but it doesn’t drive. It doesn’t fuel the economy. Military bases weren’t always welcome in some communities. When signs begin to appear saying, “Dogs and soldiers keep off the grass” the Army would frequently pay their troops in $2 bills. This flood of $2 currency was supposed to demonstrate how vital the base was to the local economy...

  • The myth of safety and security in these United States

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Sep 12, 2019

    I had a wonderful opportunity in 2000. I was selected as part of Spokane’s sister city educational exchange, and taught English in the Japanese public school system. One of my students was considering applying to be an exchange student in America. She asked me several questions including how safe my country was. I assured her that the reports of violence were overblown by our free and open media. Although we were not as safe as Japan, we felt secure anywhere in our country. I couldn’t make that statement today. School sho...

  • Unelected judges replacing our government of we the people

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Sep 5, 2019

    I thought the court decisions against the makers of Roundup were over the top, but I was absolutely astounded at the recent ruling against Johnson & Johnson. These judgments are not only out of line, but tend to spawn even more outrageous claims in the hope that money will rain down on litigants and their lawyers. World health agencies have repeatedly stated Roundup is not a threat, with one lone exception that said the active ingredient in Roundup (glyphosate) might contribute to cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection...

  • Agitators are generally involved only for themselves

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Aug 29, 2019

    To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question. I have found over my considerable years that when you have nothing to add, you should keep your mouth shut. Our President seems to have missed that lesson. When congresswomen Tlaib and Omar were planning their trip to Israel, he had nothing to add, but he did anyway. He tweeted something silly about allowing the two congresswomen to visit Israel would be a sign of weakness. A sign of weakness for whom? The liberal press immediately condemned the President for picking on two “wom...

  • There's no doubt about it now, Donald Trump must go

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Aug 22, 2019

    I’m still looking for an alternative for Donald Trump in 2020. I agree with almost everything negative that has been said of him. He is obnoxious, he makes unnecessary enemies, he is undiplomatic, he does not command loyalty, he generates hate, etc., etc., etc.… BUT, and it is a big but, many of his initiatives are spot on. We have allowed our friends to take advantage of us. China doesn’t play fair. Border security is both a matter of law and a matter of national interest. We must do what is best for America. We don’t...

  • It's time to have a real discussion about guns in American society

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Aug 15, 2019

    I realize every writer with a second-hand computer will sit down at their keyboard this week and write about the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. I hope you read them all. Some will be emphatic that the only way to stop the shootings is to eliminate all guns in America. The other extreme will be just as emphatic, “Arm everyone so the people can protect themselves.” Others will be somewhat less fanatical, but you will find a near vacuum in the middle. Both sides are ready to fight for what they believe is right for Ame...

  • Socialism is a one-way trip to disaster

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Aug 1, 2019

    A few years ago, I had occasion to examine potential threats to our democracy. The national debt, exportation of wealth and our economic dependence on foreign countries headed my list of concerns. My list was unchanged until recently. I believe our national march toward socialism is now more of a threat to our future than the debt. I cannot believe than anyone who has taken even a cursory look at world history would suggest we embrace socialistic ideals. At no time in the life of the known universe has it been successful....

  • Taking it easy is not the answer to a healthy society

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Jul 18, 2019

    I spent the Fourth of July sitting on the porch of our cabin on the river thanking God we had a cabin on the river. I tried to ignore the roaring jet skis and speedboats pulling kids on inner tubes. I groaned inwardly as they churned the water of my favorite fishing hole into a white froth. One interesting boat towed an inflated contraption that looked like a large living room couch. It carried three or four riders in a sitting position, no training or effort required. You could even include the family dog if you wanted. I...

  • Too often we find ways to abuse good intentions

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Jul 11, 2019

    My television viewing is normally limited to the news, Mariner’s baseball and Gonzaga basketball. Shut in by bad weather a few weeks ago, I found myself temporarily out of library books, so I was daydreaming while a drama series played on my TV. I’m not really sure what series it was, but an embedded story caught my attention. It seems that one of the characters rescued a dog and had no place to keep it. Her landlord did not allow pets and she couldn’t take it to work. A co-worker came to her rescue with a vest procl...

  • Monuments not necessarily for those who served

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Jul 3, 2019

    Deployments to Vietnam from Fairchild normally included an overnight stop in Pearl Harbor. Some of our crew had been there before and suggested we go out to the USS Arizona. We went to the pier and rode to the site in a small open boat operated by two U.S. Navy sailors. There was nothing to see except the tops of the gun turrets, but it was our chance as American fighting men to pay homage to those who had gone before us. I made the pilgrimage each time I deployed to or from Southeast Asia. The now familiar iconic monument...

  • This is the tale of the squirrel and Mary Franks' walnuts

    FRANK WATSON, Contributor|Updated Jun 27, 2019

    I am a gardener. It is the only way I’ve found to be partners with God. Women and God partner up to produce additional human beings. After a brief DNA donation, men only get involved when the offspring wants to know how to throw a curve ball or borrow the keys to the car. So I garden. God does the heavy lifting by producing sun and rain. I get to plant the seeds and keep out pests. Weeds are endemic. I get my daily exercise hoeing and pulling the leafy intruders that hide in my rows of beans and lettuce. Animal pests are a g...

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