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When working in Puzzle Palaces the task is NOT to reinvent the world just make it better one step at a time...   

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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Jeb Bush's damning secret history

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Red states that mooch

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Trust in government is 'dead, Jim'

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“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

FDR, 2nd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1937

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A Just Peace

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SIP contract online

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Oreaviationwatch

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Middle East friendship chart

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry

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Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks

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"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  

 

RAD'S

WEBSITE PICKS: 


 

  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:

Realclearpolitics

  • Jim Hightower:   

Jimhightower.com

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column

Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 


Hard Times in Oregon: 

Hardtimes

The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


  

      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   

 

 

    

    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People

http://www.npr.org


 Homelessness

    Connecting the dots between homelessness, hunger & health care disparities in Oregon and Washington County: 

Homelessness:  

•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.

Hunger:

•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

Heath Care Disparities: 

•    Adults in Oregon without insurance represent 22.3% of the state’s population compared to 19.7% of the nation.  In Washington County approximately 


A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  

 

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison

 

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it. 

- Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

Governors too often put economics ahead of people

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 Explore Intel emissions

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#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace

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"There are men who believe that democracy... is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate [and that] tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future..." 

FDR, 3rd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1941

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Obamacare is working in Oregon!

Oregon's uninsurance rate cut more than half following federal health reforms

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Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel

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Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 

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Sign the petition ►

Walgreens - pay your fair share of taxes!

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha  

Intel failed to report fluoride emissions for almost 30 years   

     Why do Intel employees who are house hunting in Hillsboro, Aloha or Beaverton refer to an area within a 5 mile radius of Intel plants as "the dead zone?"  

      Do they know something we don't?  QuestionIntel.com  We couldn't trust banks "too big to fail," so why should we trust Intel?

Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw

 

BLOGS:

From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now
democracynow.org

The Daily Kos

dailykos.com

Blue Oregon

blueoregon.com

 

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 

 


    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001


    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 

americanobserver

    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   

GarrisonKeillor

 

     Garrison Keillor - "...The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a fount of wisdom... but when you consider...  moon-faced Mitch McConnell, your faith in democracy is challenged severely. Any legislative body in which 41 senators from rural states that together represent 10 percent of the population can filibuster you to death is going to be flat-footed, on the verge of paralysis, no matter what. Any time 10 percent of the people can stop 90 percent, it's like driving a bus with a brake pedal for each passenger. That's why Congress has a public approval rating of [11] percent...." 


"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams

 

"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  

 

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 

 

"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals

 

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  

 

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?'

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" 

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921)

 

"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11


"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”  

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."

- Abraham Lincoln

 

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

 

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..."

- Edmund Burke 

 

“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”

- Jonathan Swift

 

" Every satirist who drew breath has flung pots of ink at this parade of tooting lummoxes and here it is come round again, marching down Main Street, rallying to the cause of William McKinley, hail, hail, the gang’s all here, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay."

- Garrison Keillor


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Wednesday
Mar252015

RED & BLUE STATES - DIFFERENT RHETORIC, SAME RESULTS!  

Amazon Review of “What’s the Matter with Kansas” 

     “The largely blue collar citizens of Kansas can be counted upon to be a "red" state in any election, voting solidly Republican and possessing a deep animosity toward the left. This, according to author Thomas Frank, is a pretty self-defeating phenomenon, given that the policies of the Republican Party benefit the wealthy and powerful at the great expense of the average worker. According to Frank, the conservative establishment has tricked Kansans, playing up the emotional touchstones of conservatism and perpetuating a sense of a vast liberal empire out to crush traditional values while barely ever discussing the Republicans' actual economic policies and what they mean to the working class. Thus the pro-life Kansas factory worker who listens to Rush Limbaugh will repeatedly vote for the party that is less likely to protect his safety, less likely to protect his job, and less likely to benefit him economically.”

From Anonymous:  My new book proposal: “What’s the matter with Oregon?”

      “The largely progressive  citizens of Oregon can be counted upon to be a "Blue" state in any election, voting solidly Democratic and possessing a deep animosity toward the right. This, according to the author is a pretty self-defeating phenomenon, given that the policies of the Democratic Party benefit the wealthy and powerful at the great expense of the average worker.  The business establishment and Democratic financiers tricked Oregonians, playing up the emotional touchstones of progressivism and perpetuating a sense of a vast Tea Party/social conservative empire out to crush progressive values while barely ever discussing the actual Democratic economic policies and what they mean to progressive values. Thus the pro-environmental Oregon activist who reads the Blue Oregon blog will repeatedly vote for the party that is more interested in tax giveaways to coal exporters in exchange for campaign contributions than in protecting the environment.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  The author is a smart fellow, a member of our TRIA working group, a Libertarian and active in the Independent Party of Oregon, now Oregon's third "major" party!   If you think this is a fairy tale - wait till my next post!  

Tuesday
Mar242015

OLCV LOBBY DAY - 'WHERE'S WALDO?"  

 
 
 
 
The Clean Green Lobby Machine takes the Capitol!
 
We had a fantastic Lobby Day in Salem, where folks from all over Oregon gathered to show our legislators that environmental values are Oregon values. Close to 200 supporters of the Oregon Conservation Network marched to the Capitol to rally for action on climate change.
I was amazed to see how passionate our community was today.
Thanks for helping us show how strong the environmental community is in Oregon.
 
Derek Richardson
Membership Coordinator, OLCV
 
 
 
Monday
Mar232015

OUR DESCENT INTO A "NEW" POLITICS

     EDITOR'S NOTE:  Got this missive from my CC up north.  Given my experiences over the last two years in Washington County battling the TROIKA, Intel and corporate Dems in the Puzzle Palace, the implosion of democracy in the USA is not just a federal or global issue - it reaches down to state and local government. 

     I believe the source of our problem began in the Reagan years and followed in the Clinton administration when Slick Willie embraced what he termed the New Democratic Center - a pro-business ideology which assumes if one grew the economy from the top down all boats would be lifted, a liberal "trickle down theory."  So while liberals kept faith with their social agenda focused on litmust test PC poliitcs of gender and gay rights they gave up on old fashioned progressive economic ideals.  Well the "fix"hasn't worked to well has it?      

Is a New Political System Emerging in This Country?
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog//175970/

Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do [something...]  

Friday
Mar202015

OREGON'S LEGISLATURE - DECONSTRUCTING THE PUZZLE PALACE

    OREGON FOR SALE TO HI-TECH?  

     The dance of legislation - a long twising road

     I keep coming back to the question why are Oregon legislators. county commissioners and business elites fixated on the idea that to attract business or to keep business here the taxpayer has to offer big box corporations like Nike, Intel, Apple, Google, Comcast et al property tax abatements, "no new tax" deals and/or subsidies through Business Oregon and/or Connect Oregon via SIPS or enterprise zone designations?    

     I'm not alone in asking  this question.  In the current legislature there are several bills that want to "study" or put some "side-bars" on such goodies which have cost the Oregon taxpayer millions of dollars while draining money away from education and human services.  The implied question being asked by both Republican and Democratic legislators is "are taxpayers getting a bang for their bucks?"  That's the good news.  The bad news is that the focus is on transparency not questioning these giveaways. 

     But "transparency" at its best is a way to get the camel's nose under the tent which so far has privileged corporate Oregon to the tune of millions of dollars without any unbiased, independent review of such corporate welfare.  In an era when policy makers want programs to be "data driven" and outcomes based - why aren't such measures required of Business Oregon and Connect Oregon programs?  All we have so far is PR spin which focuses on job created, investments made and taxes collected with no context provided.  

Playing the game

     Let me use big dog in this game, Intel as my example.  Intel has a huge footprint in Oregon as our largest employer of 17,500 employees.  They have received since 1999 more SIP money than any other corporation in Oregon.  As a result they have gotten huge property tax abatements and pay no more than the state minimum income tax, $150 per year for a Fortune 500 company which has annual earnings of over $56 billion, yes billion!  

     When a corporation has that kind of footprint in a single county they and their employees will increase demand for local services - schools, highways, home building, land use and the environment.  Intel admitted to not reporting fluoride emissions since 2004 from its fab plants in Hillsboro and Aloha.  They are now engaged in a Good Neighbor Agreement trying to resolve what a the least is a big PR problem and/or possibly a public health hazard of unknown proportions.   

     Some cynics would say "pollution" is the price of progress!  My question who pays for it now and over the long term in health care costs...?  Remember LOVE CANAL? 

     Who pays for these "indirect" costs?  Answer the taxpayer of Washington County does thanks to the "corporate friendly" politics of the county board of commissioners who just negotiated - aka flipped for Intel - a 30 year SIP deal.  Right now, the county faces a lumming transportation crisis in the wake of the defeat of its May highway levy.  Hillsboro is now backtracking on servicing the South Hillsboro housing development area where many Intel employees may reside.  

     Clearly none of these issues were factored into the most recent SIP agreement between the county and Hillsboro.  Why not?  If you bring in more people who need services, demand for public services will increase!  But who pays the piper here?  Answer, those who were not at the bargaining table with Commissioner Roy Rogers, Hillsboro officials and Intel.  In the "fast tracking" of the latest SIP for Intel who was held harmless and whose ox was gored?  

     There was no transparency in this process!  It was a deal consummated behind closed doors from January to March.  The public was given 1 week's notice to comment.  Nobody in Salem would operate this way - they wouldn't dare.  But in Washington County the TROIKA of Chair Duyck, Roy Rogers and Bob Terry rule with an iron fist with the other two commissioners left to walk off a political cliff or to comply with the "majority."  Given Intel's footprint - it's not easy to say NO to them!  

     Now back to the Puzzle Palace...  

     I'm all for transparency and have been working for over 18 months on a transparency and accountability bill as a memeber of the Taxpayer Return on Investment coalition, a spin off group from Tax Fairness Oregon.  Unfortunately our bill HB 2087 has been put on the siding in deference to other bills in the hopper and because Legislative Council staff did a poor job of drafting our bill without notifying us so we could have gotten a "clean bill" out. 

     Fortunately, there are three other bills in the hopper that if combined accomplish what HB 2087 would do on the transparency side.  Those bills are HB 2077,  HB 2630 and HB 2940 However, so far only 2630 is up for a hearing next Wednesday at 3 p.m. before the House Transportation & Economic Development committee.  Members of our TRIA coalition will be testifying "for" HB 2630 with some amendments to make it a more robust law. 

     The tortured path of our bill reinforces my sense that while the legislature views itself as being "citizen friendly" it really isn't - the process is clearly an insiders game.  That game favors those entrenched interests which pay for full-time lobbyists to be in the Puzzle Palace 24/7 but also through their PACs can develop "relationships" with legislators that gives them "access" aka ears and eyes on the inside while leaving the rest of us on the outside looking in.  

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    As example of how "rigged" this system is the Oregon House vote on Friday which passed SB 611 while scaling back tax breaks for Comcast (wink, wink, nod, nod) kept them for communications giants like Google, Apple and Amazon.  It now goes back to the Senate for a revote and then Governor Kate Brown -

     This bill lowers the tax burden on "communications" comparies which want to build "data centers" in Central Oregon rationalized by the Orwellian logic of Senator Mark Hass (D, Beaverton) that for tax purposes a "communications" firm is not one! 

     Go to the link above to check out the staff "summary" and Hass' testimony. 

     Who will pay for the projected lost revenue to impacted local governments and schools of $7.8 million in 2015-17, $16 million in 2017-19 & $16.6 million in 2019-21? 

     The beat goes on - Senator Hass to the rescue...  

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     It's an aphorism in American politics that the system is biased ("rigged") against change.  It's much easier to stop bills than to pass them.  Been there, done that!  As a result the mobilization of bias favors the status quo - in this case the likes of Intel and Business Oregon who bias is to "service" its corporate clients not the public interest.  But our group will keep the faith and drive to the Puzzle Palace to try to make change happen despite the odds.  

 After all like March Madness - it's the only game in town!

TRIA Agenda: 

     The current transparency websites administered by DAS - Department of Administrative Services and by Business Oregon are not especially user friendly not unlike the clunky website of the UnOregonian! 

     We will continue to drive home our "talking points" which takes the "foxes" out of the hen house and opens up the process to the public, to legislators and the media to make sure Oregonians are getting the "biggest bang for their bucks" - 

  • Provide that data and summarized reports required are collected into a single unified, sortable and downloadable database subject to disclosure to the general public on the DAS transparency website;

  • Requires recipient employers to submit annual reports to granting bodies;

  • Requires granting bodies to publish reports on granting bodies’ websites annually and that directs granting body or the Department of Revenue to reduce or recapture subsidy for noncompliance;  

  • Requires property-taxing entities to report annually to Department of Revenue regarding property tax abatements, exemptions and credits 

  • Directs Secretary of State to conduct audits of recipient employers every three years;

  • Provides that an administration fee of [4%?] of the value of each economic development subsidy be paid by the recipient employer for the implementation, administration, audits, oversight and evaluation of records required by this process.        

Wednesday
Mar182015

HOMELESSNESS IN THE 'GROVE

 Homelessness:  It's not just a Portland problem

     Disheveled and desperate, Isabel showed up at the Hillsboro Family Shelter pleading for help. 

     There is no permanent family shelter in the Grove except on cold winter nights when the local UCC church opens its doors in the evening as part of the faith community's county severe weather shelter system.  

     Isabel, her husband and their two children were living in an area buried in the woods on the edge of Forest Grove, so far unseen and undisturbed, she said.  There are several such sites on the edge of town. Somehow she got her children off to school most days, but times were hard for the whole family.

     The plight of Isabel’s family reminds us that there’s still a lot to be done to address homelessness in Washington County. 

     One would think the local power brokers and captains of Oregon's hi-tech industry, the economic engine of Oregon, could do better for our poor, huddled homeless neigbhors needing a "home of their own."  The former are too ignorant to recognize the depths of the problem, the latter blinded by the lust for profits and wallowing in taxpayer goodies - SIPS, enterprise zones etc.  How ironic! 

     You don’t believe me, check out the articles below to see how Hillsboro has been "gerrymandered" for the hi-tech industry and how legislators "pander" to big box industry on the pretext of job creation while they evoke mock skepticism.  


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