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On the lighter side of life... 

#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace


Trump & The Mob



"Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss'd to me

I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door."


Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax


Half of the US Is Broke


The myth of the Christian country


“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


A Just Peace


SIP contract online


Middle East friendship chart


Corporations enriching shareholders


- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry


Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks



"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%.  





  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:


  • Jim Hightower:

  • 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: 


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


    Connecting the dots between homelessness & hunger in Oregon and Washington County: 


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

     In Washington County, Oregon's "economic engine," the divide between the affluent and the working poor continues.  We have a 19,000 unit gap in affordable low income rental housing.  County political and business leaders are indifferent to this crisis...   

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











































RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ


  • He lost by 2.9 million votes...

  • He's a con artist...

  • He's a pathological liar... 

  • He's a failed business man...

  • He's a fascist... 

Every Fascist Needs an Enabler. Donald Trump Will Have Mike Pence.

Trump's role models are Vladmir Putin and Benito Mussolini.  He has contempt for our checks and balances system.  He wants to "rule" not govern like a strong man, a despot.  He will shredd the Constitution anytime he feels the urge to do so and like all despots he only listens to his inner circle.  And he is paranoid and narcissistic. 


SB 1533 passes!


Housing Needs in Oregon 




"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


Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel


Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 


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   

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



From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now

The Daily Kos

Blue Oregon


"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... 


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



     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 


















































"What’s driving populism? It isn’t the economy, stupid. Countries around the world have been gripped by an incoherent, rage-fuelled nihilism that rejects elites on the left and the right. It's not income inequality, but a fear of immigrants undermining culture and a way of life..."

Read the article below sent to me by my Canadian Connection an ex-Pat American who's glad to have left the USA in '66...

What’s driving populism? It isn’t
the economy, stupid

My own take is that the anti-immigrant prejudice has deep roots in most countries including the USA. The presence of "the Other" always precipitates a political backlash be it here or abroad. Most wars are fought around this issue.

But it would be a mistake to dismiss "class envy" in this analysis. Immigrants have always served as a scapegoat in the socio-economic pecking order for the groups just above them. When the Irish immigrated to New England signs went up "Irish not welcome" and so it goes today.

It's just the groups which are different. One time outsiders are now insiders who resent the threat (however imaginary) from recent arrivals. Clearly the bleeding of refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria into Europe has fueled this paranoia as has the movement to El Norte from S. America into the US.

In the Middle East the added fuel to this anti-immigrant firestorm is the unintended consequences of European colonialism which the US has inherited from the Brits, the French et al. Can Russia be next?

Populism has always embraced legitimate economic grievances with an added element of ill founded ethnic, racial and/or religious xenophobia. It's the way to avoid the real issue - "economic inequality." This keeps the attention away from the real problem - the 1% and Wall Street.

"Divide and rule"...

Keep in mind people emigrate to escape political, ethnic, racial or religious persecution in their native land. They also seek the hope of economic security (jobs) by doing jobs the locals consider beneath their dignity to do. As did the Irish and Chinese in building the transcontinental RR system.

When we travel to Seattle at the hotel we stay at in Renton the women who change the beds are primarily of South Asian descent. They aren't taking jobs away from native born Americans they are doing domestic work which Americans won't do.

On the flip side, there are currently 60 thousand high paying jobs in Oregon which can't be filled by Oregonians - many in the hi-tech sector. When I visited Intel several years ago at the evening shift change the workforce was a blend of local and immigrant workers from all over the world.

Check out who cooks the food in our local restaurants in the Portland area - mostly Hispanic cooks. After Katrina many Latinos came north to rebuild New Orleans. In Texas the Vietnamese population is prominent in the fishing industry. Without such workers our economy would collapse.

To cast out The Dreamers is the essence of economic stupidity and immoral. They did nothing wrong. They are our future. We are betraying the American Dream.  

At the end of the day, anti-immigrant animus is about "the economy stupid" - the unreasoning fear that "they" will take our jobs, our neighborhoods...    This has always been the fear of "the other". 

I vividly recall going to the local Moose Lodge with a high school best friend's father.  He was a talented photographer and a part-time mill worker.  I was stunned when he said "the Blacks are coming" to take our jobs.  This is Roseburg, Oregon @ 1961 - where the closest African-Americans were in Portland's Albina neighborhood 170 miles away - not an easy commutte to Roseburg lumber mills! 

When we returned to his home that evening he took out his favorite record by Nat King Cole - saying "I love that man."  I was stunned again.  The combo of unreasoning fear and prejudice can lead to such moments of cognitive dissonance.  This man was not evil but in an unguarded moment let his guard down to show me his fears born of economic insecurity and paranoia.    

So it is the economy stupid - the one people think isn't working for them!  That's the fear Trump stoked and rode into the Oval Office - not unlike others before him Huey Long, George Wallace et al.  





The latest school massacre?

The Florida shooter went through a background check but Florida has no waiting period unlike Oregon. One wonders about the robustness of the Sunshine State's (ironic - eh?) background check regime given the mental health history the fellow had and that he had been in therapy. A case of one hand not knowing what the other is up to?

But there is a more fundamental problem: the sheer number of guns in the USA is 'the' problem. And given our frontier mentality and the power of the gun lobby - aka gun manufacturers and the NRA banning assault weapons won't be easy - even though a majority of Americans have consistently favored such a ban.

What can/must be done:

Personally I'd like to confiscate every damn assault weapon (rifle or hand gun) owned by civilians in the USA @ 40 million of them out of 270 million guns owned by Americans.  But recognizing that will never happen - here are some practical ideas about getting a grip on a major public health crisis in the USA:

1) Make personal ownership and use of assault weapons illegal;
2) Create gun buyback programs at the local, state and/or federal level;
3) Expand background checks and wait times for purchase of guns;
4) End the privacy rules governing patient rights if and when they may pose a public health risk;
5) Close the gaps in our mental health system that allow people to slip between the cracks;
6) Don't turn schools into prisons but make them safer by reasonable security measures like we have in our airports;
7) But realize even if we make school buildings safer (inside) - as in Las Vegas - this won't stop a killer from shooting at people in public venues;
8) Impose a code of conduct on film makers and social media producers which requires them to stop glorifying violence which has no socially redeeming value;
9) Last but not least make gun manufacturers and sellers liable for civil suits when their products are used in the commission of such heinous mass shootings;

Will any of this happen - probably not - Why?

Because "electeds" are in the hip pocket of big money aka the gun lobby that finances their campaigns. Don't expect profiles in courage from that quarter - so be prepared for more Valentine's Day massacres down the road. It's the price of living in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" a nation where 30% of the people who own guns control the outcome!

Then again, we are a nation ruled by a minority who put the 'illegitimate' one in the Oval Office.


The answer to this rhetorical question hinges on what part of the economy you belong to...   For more go to my FB page 2nd from the top article @





     PBS aired a documentary film earlier this week - "I'm not your Negro" produced by Haitian born Raoul Peck which showcases James Baldwin's compelling reflections on Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers.  Baldwin concludes the film with this searing comment: 

     “What white people have to do is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I'm not a nigger,” he said. “I'm a man, but if you think I'm a nigger, it means you need it… If I'm not a nigger and you invented him -- you, the white people, invented him -- then you've got to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that, whether or not it's able to ask that question.”

     In a time in American history when the Trump administration and his minions seem intent on erasing any vestige of Martin Luther King's vision of America as a land of promise and diversity free of racial rancor, Baldwin's words seem very contemporary and chilling.  

     It caused me to reflect on this subject...  

     The first "niggers" in America were Native Americans. Then came indentured servants from Europe to be followed by a lucrative Triangular Traffic in Black slavery, the most enduring stain in American history.

     But this is not the end of the story. When the Irish fled the Potato Famine they were treated like "niggers" in places like Boston. When the Italians came to New York they were called "dagos", "wops" and treated like "niggers" in the North. Jews and Poles were to follow in this echo chamber of prejudice. Then the Chinese came to the gold fields of California and they were treated like "niggers" - even killed in Eastern Oregon while their labor built the western link of the transcontinental railroad - Irish labor built the eastern link.

     In the '20s the Alien and Sedition Act was used to crush organized labor split along racial lines. This would be followed in WW II by Japanese-Americans living in the West Coast being relocated to internment camps. In the '50s McCarthyism saw a "commie" under every bed (an ironic metaphor). When Gunner Joe turned his rhetoric on his fellow senators, enough was enough even for IKE. Now Muslims, Latinos, Haitians and Puerto Ricans are the new "niggers" in the Trump era.

     Let's also keep in mind women in the "good old days" were chattel of their husbands and/or fathers. Given the "Me too" movement we have a echo out of what we thought was the past.So much for women's lib? 

     It would be disingenuous to ignore that sexism in the workplace inhabited by highly educated women isn't the same for working class minority women who are often undocumented workers employed our corporate towers at night.  Frontline did a good job of documenting this on Tuesday night's edition. 

     Toward the end of their lives both Malcolm X and Martin were converging - Malcolm having returned from Mecca and seeing our "race" problem in a more nuanced view and Martin having seen White racism in the North, especially in Chicago - they both realized while skin color was the most distinguishable line in America aka the "color" line beneath that line was also "class".

     An aside:  Truth be told there is even a "color" line in the Black community dividing those with lighter skin from those with darker complexions. How many African-American actors almost seem "white" or only marginally Black on our TV and movie screens? 

      In the Post WWII era the great American middle class was born. But with the hollowing out of America's industrial heart land in a global economy - many working class Americans are now on the edge "nigger" status and they resent it - often misplacing the blame for their plight on immigrants and racial minorities in the US. But then again - there has always been the so-called "white trash," "Red necks" - for whom the enduring face of "nigger" is in fact an African-American.

     And any African-American knows that however well educated or hard working the color of their skin becomes a "scarlet letter" as Black Lives Matter reminds us. In America we are all equal but some are more equal than others and it helps those just above the bottom to have a group one can hate or fear. And Trump legitimizes such hate and fear almost daily.

    Whites can blend in regardless of their ethnic heritage - they can't be easily profiled by cops, landlords or developers.  Such is not the case if one is non-White and especially if one is Black.  Being "watched" comes with the territory in a nation which has a very peculiar historic fixation on "race." 

     Baldwin raises "the" enduring question why do people need their "nigger"?

     Could it be that the American Dream of upward economic mobility is a fraud? That capitalism screws everyone but a few lucky ones? Could it be that at the heart of racism, sexism and xenophobia is income inequality?

      But as long as the media has us fixated on "color" - we never get to the real heart of darkness, the intersection of race, gender and class. And this is where the deaths of Malcolm and Martin were so tragic - they both had turned the corner and were converging on the real problem in America - socio-economic inequality aka "class" the unmentionable word in American politics.

      That's why Martin was in Memphis helping garbage workers get a better wage and why his next idea was a Poor Peoples March on DC. Tragically he was taken from us by an assassin's bullet before that March took place in a nation then convulsed by the long hot summers of '67 and '68 and the Vietnam War.

     But looking at the picture above - of an increasingly racially diverse society the absurdity of racial profiling and our fixation with race becomes obvious. Admittedly as one who crossed the color line in 1966 to marry my Japanese-American wife born in America - we were unique at the time - though illegal given the laws against inter-racial marriage in the South.  But that day has long passed.

     As some have said Trump is the "first White president."  But he heads a nation that is a quilt of diversity, a blend of pluralism and of diverse peoples from all over the globe.  Can he erase that?  Not really no matter how many people he deports or tries to keep from coming to America. The American Dream is more powerful than Trump.  

     As my own family illustrates - we're already here!  One daughter-in-law is from India, the other from Vietnam, the former a resident alien, the other an American citizen.  My two sons of a mixed racial heritage are native sons.  My grand daughter who has South Asian, Japenses, Italian, German and a tiny bit of English blood in her DNA is a native born Oregonian. 

   So put that in your racist pipe Donald and choke on it.  




New guidelines will allow states to impose a work requirement on recipients of Medicaid.

     Imposing a work requirement on Medicaid recipients is a solution in search of a problem!  Reagan invented the "welfare queen" now the GOP is spinning about the undeserving poor? 

     Trump proposes to add a work requirement to Medicaid via administrative rule in those states that want such a waiver - Red states like Kentucky and Indiana controlled by GOP legislatures. The reality is that most people who get Medicaid already work - but most often at low paying jobs which don't offer health insurance. 

     This is a classic example of what Frances Fox Piven termed "blaming the poor" or what Henry Giroux refers to as the American "culture of cruelty."

See the "comment" section in my FB post for more about the "culture of cruelty."    



     In a humane society health care should be a 'right' not contingent on having a job. The US under FDR/Truman made a terrible moral but pragmatic decision tying health care to work. After WW II when jobs were plentiful the job/health care connection seemed logical and also dogged the issue of "socialized" medicine unlike other modern democracies. 


     Western Europe, the UK, Canada, Japan, even Singapore have some type of universal health care for all of its citizens.  Only in the USA do we make healthcare an obstacle course.  Now that my wife and I are on Medicare - everything must be vetted through our primary care doctor.  We have a good relationship with him - going over 20 years.  But even he expresses frustration about the bureaucracy of our health care system, including the clinic he works for having given up his single practice several years ago.

     An example of the absurdity of our health care system - it has taken my wife over two months to get a sleep apnea device and we're not through the drill since we changed our Medicare Advantage plan as of December 31.  So we have to go through an endless string of physician approval processes, one each per specialist.  When one hits 65 your life is spent navigating the obstacle course of phone calls to one's providers via one's insurance plan.  It's maddening.  As my wife's sister who lives in Dubai - while visiting us for the holidays noted - during a call to get the sleep device approved - she said very firmly as only a lawyer can do - "my sister may die before she gets the device!" 

     That did it - in less than 24 hours we were getting her fitted for the machine BUT since the provider was out of network we ended up paying for the machine - and everything that went with it - amounting to a $700 out of pocket bill.

     Now that the new year is here - we will have to go through the same process once again with our new Medicare Advantage provider.  So don't tell me about wait lines in Canada or Europe.  At least folks in such systems only have to deal with a single system - not multiple doctors, health care bureaucracies etc.  Having been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes I need to see another specialist - it's only a 6 - 8 week wait.  It makes we want to tear what little hair I have on my balding head out... 

     And now Trump and the GOP want to put the screws to Medicaid recipients with a work requirement.  This is not simply the culture of cruelty or blaming the poor in action - it's a mendacious approach to health care designed to impose barriers for the most needy of Americans by a political class that has Cadillac health care at the expense of the US taxpayer - not just while they "serve" (?) but for life!  It makes one wonder if the hidden agenda is to get the needy to move from Red to Blue states? 

     The working poor have enough trouble making ends meet and avoiding homelessness.  Now they will no doubt be required to get a work ID card to prove they are working in order to access what minimal health care is available if they live in a state with a waiver - lucky them!  Thank god Oregon will not punish its working poor in this manner.  But we have our own challenges - on January 23 if we vote YES on Ballot Measure 101 - our Medicaid plan will remain in tact - if not 400,000 Oregonians will be up the creek thanks to a woman GOP legislator who got the measure referred to a vote.   

     Welcome to the "screw you" society of the Grand Old Party!