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"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


Middle East friendship chart


Corporations enriching shareholders


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%.  





  • 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...   


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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... 


Trump & The Mob


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. 


Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax


Half of the US Is Broke


The myth of the Christian country


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, 1940

  • "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  

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... 



"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 

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



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Editor's Note:  Communicating via tweets is problematic, especially for a newly minted Congresswoman.  But were Omar's comments "anti-Semetic?"  I don't think so...  If critizing Israel or acknowledging the existence of the Jewish lobby in the USA is anti-Semitic then the term has lost its meaning.  But governing via tropes is problematic as the Congresswoman has discovered.  One would have thought watching Trump do this was enough to take her fingers off the keypad.  

But for the record here's what she tweeted...    

proponent of the BDS — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions — movement aimed at putting economic and political pressure on Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, Omar first tweeted Sunday night that money was driving U.S. politicians to defend Israel.

She then tweeted that AIPAC — the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee — was paying politicians to support Israel.

Aipac doesn't fund congressional campaigns but its members and friends do...  and it lobbyies Congress on a pro-Israel platform.    

Now to Friedman's analysis:   

While I didn't grow up in Minneapolis or St. Louis Park I spent 5 years in grad school at the U of M in the Twin Cities and had many a good meal at one of the great delis in St. Louis Park. I share much but not all of Thomas Friedman's views below.

Clearly Representative Iihan Omar should take a more nuanced view of our Israel/Pelestinian problem.

But unlike Friedman, I think Israel, under its current leadership, is a sponsor of state terrorism in the way it treats the Palestinian people and also one of the top merchants of death as an arms trader. Like Iran Israel gives people like Omar reason to vent though it is viwed as being politically incorrect and within the Democratic party divisive.  

I hope she learns to modulate her views but not necessarily change them.

Isreal's friends on the Left in the USA such as Tikkum share her concerns powerfully articulated recently by columnist Michelle Alexander -  

I think the claims of assumed "dual" loyalties is a disengenous game to play by all sides.  As a nation of immigrants it's not uncommon for immigrants to come here with a hope of returning to their homeland and/or helping their families left behind. But this doesn't make them less "American" - it simply means they navigate a political terrain that is more complicated than Trump's "America First" rhetoric. As generations of immigrants remain here the loyalties of successive generations is unquestionnable and deeper as Americans.    

As a life long Democrat and member of an extended family which includes Japanese-Americans, I find it ironic and tragic that a Democratic Preisdent, FDR, signed EX 9066 which resulted in the internment of over 120,000 of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast without a shread of evidence of disloyalty to the USA. But if one reads the order it also included references to Italian and German Americans as well but they were not rounded up although German Americans were systematically marginalized in WW I.   

As a Somali American Representative Omar was elected by a community in the 5th Congressional District which has an illustrioua history of supporting progressive values. 

Let's hope the good representative has learned her lesson - which was the point of the House Majority's resolution condeming bigotry in whatever form. On the eve of the 2020 election Democrats don't need to divide up into their ethnic silos and give Trump breathing space.  

But let's not forget that Isreali's occupation of the West Bank and continiuing to build setttlements on the West Bank is like poking at an open wound.  We need a more balanced position via a vis Israel and Palestine.  If Omar's rhetoric reminds us of that open wound then her not carefully chosen words can be a source of long term healing.   

Ilhan Omar, Aipac and Me

The congresswoman and I have a lot in common — but not her stance on Israel. 

Thomas L. Friedman

By Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist

  • March 6, 2019
Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, on Capitol Hill in January.CreditCreditJim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I’ve been watching with more than a little interest the controversial statements about Israel and the Israel lobby by Ilhan Omar, a freshman Democratic congresswoman from the Fifth District of Minnesota, because it turns out that we have a lot in common — up to a point.

The first thing we have in common is that I was raised in the Fifth District of Minnesota, specifically the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. I lived there until I was 20. It was a freaky place — a crazy mix of Minnesota Jews (we called ourselves “the Frozen Chosen’’) and Scandinavians that produced a uniquely tolerant civic culture and an interesting group of neighbors: Al Franken, the Coen brothers, Peggy Orenstein, Norm Ornstein, Michael Sandel, Sharon Isbin, Marc Trestman and lots of others you can find on the St. Louis Park Wikipedia page. Our little town was immortalized in the Coen brothers’ 2009 movie “A Serious Man.’’

I still feel very close to the community there and go home often. St. Louis Park welcomed Jews who wanted to get out of the inner city of Minneapolis back in the 1950s — when other suburbs still had restrictions on selling homes to “Hebrews.’’ So I was proud to see St. Louis Park also welcome Muslim Somali refugees like Omar a half-century later, and then elect her to Congress.

The other thing that Omar and I have in common, as others have noted, is that we both don’t like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) — the organization at the center of the Israel lobby — and have spoken in very blunt language about its strong-arm political tactics. 

RAD:  Aipac has become a tool of the current Isrealis regime. They should be registerred as a foreign agent with the State Department.

But that is also where our differences begin.

I don’t like Aipac because I strongly believe in the right of the Jewish people to build a nation-state in their ancient homeland — a nation-state envisaged by its founders to reflect the best of Jewish and democratic values. And I believe Aipac for many years has not only become a rubber stamp on the right-wing policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which has resulted in tens of thousands of Israeli settlers now ensconced in the heart of the West Bank, imperiling Israel as a democracy. Aipac has also been responsible for making support for Israel a Republican cause, not a bipartisan issue, which poses a real danger to Israel’s support in America in the long run, and particularly on college campuses.

RAD:  What college campuses?  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the 2018 Aipac Policy Conference.CreditJose Luis Magana/Associated Press

I dislike Aipac because I am devoted to Israel as a Jewish democracy and because I believe that only a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians can ensure that. Given how Aipac has let itself become the slavish, unthinking tool of Netanyahu, who opposes a two-state solution, I believe Aipac works against Israel’s long-term interests.

Aipac is a self-appointed lobby that does not represent my feelings as an American Jew. But neither does Representative Omar.

Everything I have heard from her leads me to conclude that she dislikes Aipac because she dislikes Israel, because she does not really believe the Jewish people have a right to an independent state in their ancestral homeland. She seems to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, known as B.D.S.

RAD:  I support the boycott... just as I oppose Apartheid in South Africa - why does that mean one doesn't support Israel's right to exist?  Friedman's logic here escapes me.   

When Omar was asked at an August primary debate held in a St. Louis Park synagogue about her stance on B.D.S., she said that the movement was “not helpful in getting that two-state solution,” Haaretz reported on Nov. 14.

But after she was elected, reported that on Nov. 11, her campaign told a reporter for the website that “Ilhan believes in and supports the B.D.S. movement and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized. She does, however, have reservations on the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.”

According to Haaretz, her campaign confirmed that she had voted against an anti-B.D.S. bill while she was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, explaining that she was inspired by how B.D.S. had worked to undermine apartheid in South Africa. “I don’t want to be part of a vote that limits the ability of people to fight towards that justice and peace,” she had said.

I am not a B.D.S. supporter. The movement’s main website says that it “does not advocate for a particular solution to the conflict and does not call for either a ‘one state solution’ or a ‘two state solution.’” Rather, it calls for ending the Israeli “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall, recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality” and “respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

RAD:  Sounds fair to me!  

By being specific about the rights of Palestinians to return to their home and not unequivocally committing to a two-state solution, the movement leaves me and many others to believe that B.D.S. is just code for getting rid of the state of Israel. I do not believe in passing laws against B.D.S. — people can boycott whomever they want — but I do believe it is not a helpful movement at all. And I believe Omar’s waffling on the issue, depending on her audience, is equally unhelpful and troubling.

RAD:  When the current Israelis regime gets serious about a two state solution - we can talk. For now pressure needs to be put on "Natty" et al...  Boycotts have a long history in the USA...  

[Hours after this column was published, Omar’s spokesman Jeremy Slevin called me and shared this statement: “As she has said before, Representative Omar supports a two-state solution, which allows for both Israelis and Palestinians to have their own sanctuaries and self-determination.”]

If she thinks the only reason that Americans support Israel is because of Aipac and campaign contributions, she is dead wrong. Americans’ affinity with Israel is rooted in a respect for Israel’s ability to maintain a democracy, albeit with flaws, in a sea of autocratic regimes; it is rooted in a Judeo-Christian religious affinity; and it is rooted in respect for Israel’s contributions to technology, medicine and science. Aipac is the beneficiary of that support, not the cause of it.

RAD:  Come on Tom - as it exists today Israel is only in a pro forma way a "democracy."  Our affinity to Israel is complicted and deeply rooted in our own nation's guilt over home grown anti-Semitism and memories of WW II whan we didn't allow Jews to immigrate to the US and were holocaust deniers even late in the war. We use Israel, as the Brits did in WW I, as a geo-political foil in the Middle East not because she is a democracy.   

But Aipac has abused that privilege. And it is utterly fooling itself if doesn’t understand that there are more than a few Americans, especially on college campuses but not only there, who are enjoying watching Omar give it a punch right in the face. She is saying something others want to say but are afraid to do so — including some members of Congress, I am sure.

RAD:  But"talking the talk" is to risk being called an anti-Semite...   

Why? Maybe it’s because they watched how President Barack Obama put together a $40 billion, 10-year military aid package for Israel — a high-tech powerhouse that is not poor — and rather than receiving effusive thanks from Netanyahu, Obama was criticized by Bibi and his cat’s paw, the Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, as “not generous enough,’’ because it required that aid to be spent purchasing American arms, benefiting our workers, not on Israeli-made arms. Aipac went along with Netanyahu’s ungratefulness. 

As Haaretz reported on July 28, 2016, “Last week, Graham visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The prime minister said he was unhappy with both the level of aid the Obama administration was offering in the new deal and the conditions the administration was attaching to it.’’ 

With Aipac’s support, Netanyahu also got the Republican House to invite him to give one of America’s highest honors — a speech to a joint meeting of Congress — over the objections of President Obama. Netanyahu used the opportunity to castigate the White House at the height of both the Iran negotiations and Netanyahu’s own re-election campaign. That really made me mad as an American. Netanyahu used our Congress to attack our president and further his re-election campaign. No other foreign leader would have dared to do that.

RAD:  Aipac and the GOP acted like foreign agents on Bibi's behalf.  Bibi is throughly disgusting and maybe a crook. Shameful.   

Around 60 Democrats boycotted the speech, saying it was an overreach by Speaker John Boehner, Netanyahu and Aipac — one also designed to make it look as if Republicans were more pro-Israel than Democrats.

According to Talking Points Memo, the Israelis and Republicans worked out the details of Bibi’s congressional speech “without notifying the White House,” so that, Boehner said, “there was no interference” from the administration. Not only did that violate diplomatic protocol — an opposition party working directly with a foreign government — but of political protocol as well, with congressional Republicans developing their own foreign policy independent of, and at odds with, the White House.

RAD:  "working directly with a foreign governmnt..."  Sounds familiar?  

Plenty of Americans resent that kind of overreach. And it was enabled by Aipac. On Feb. 28, 2015, The Washington Post reported: “Worried that lawmakers might boycott the speech altogether, a board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee prodded local AIPAC activists to apply pressure on Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) to attend.’’

But I come back to Omar. She is a brand-new member of Congress. She is free to raise any issues she wants. And one issue she seems to have seized on is the alleged dual loyalty of Jews to America and Israel...

Minneapolis residents at a November campaign event that included Ms. Omar.CreditCraig Lassig/EPA, via Shutterstock

When I see that dual-loyalty charge coming from a congresswoman who first signaled opposition to B.D.S. and then support for it, when I see it coming from a congresswoman who has never been to Israel, when I see it coming from a congresswoman who, to my knowledge, has never criticized the Palestinian leadership for its corruption and failure — time and again — to seize on peace overtures from Israeli leaders who, unlike Netanyahu, actually wanted to forge a two-state solution, when I see it coming from a congresswoman who seems to be obsessed with Israel’s misdeeds as the biggest problem in the Middle East — not Iran’s effective occupation of four Arab capitals, its support for ethnic cleansing and the use of poison gas in Syria and its crushing of Lebanese democracy — it makes me suspicious of her motives.

RAD:  Give her time Tom, she's only been in DC for 3 months!  

So let me end where I started. Ilhan Omar represents, among other neighborhoods, a significant and liberal Jewish community — my hometownI can tell you that a vast majority of Jews there would be proud if their congresswoman used her links to American Jews and Muslims to be a bridge builder for peace in the Middle East and America, not just another Aipac/Israel basher. She is young and very new to the national spotlight. Friends of mine back home tell me her humanistic instincts are impressive and authentic. I don’t know if it’s her or her advisers, but she’s gotten herself into a bad place — a huge missed leadership opportunity.

RAD:  Yes... Let's hope she learns...  

Which only reinforces a fundamental rule I have: I love the Israelis and the Palestinians, but God save me from their American friends. When they recreate and fuel their conflict here in America, and on college campuses, they only sow more division, distrust and make things worse. And that’s the last thing the good people in Israel and Palestine need.

RAD:  Yes, the Israel/Palestinian issue is very divisive.  But also keep in mind Omas is not only a Muslims, in American society she is Black too and tensions between Jewish and Black Amercans are there as is a history of collaboration.  Let's hope she learns how to walk and talk at the same time...   She is a freshman after all.  

Bottomline, Democrats can't afford a food fight over Israel...  Omar is tone deaf to that problem. We will need every Jewish and Muslim vote plus more we can get in 2020. But I won't condemn her for speaking out...    

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