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Top 5 causes of homelessness

- Lack of affordable housing

- Lack of a livable wage

- Medical issues/lack of accessible health care

- Domestic violence

- Mental illness

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Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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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

Video: 

Jeb Bush wants to get rid of Medicare. Seriously

The kinder and gentler side of the GOP?  Bring in the clowns!

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Putting corporate Oregon ahead of our people

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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


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Tuesday
Mar062007

LIBBY "GUILTY", PROSECUTOR "BLINKS," MEDIA GET A "BLACK EYE"

PH2005102800673.jpg    Surprise, surprise - I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was found guilty of lying about his role in the leak of a CIA officer's identity. The VEEP's former chief of staff was found guilty of two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice, while acquitting him of single count of lying to the FBI. The verdict ended a seven-week trial of the highest-ranking White House official to be indicted on criminal charges since Watergate days. 
    "...Libby was the only person charged in a three-year federal investigation that reached the highest echelons of the Bush White House. The central question in the probe was whether anyone in the administration illegally disclosed classified information during the late spring and early summer of 2003, when they told several journalists that an early critic of the Iraq war was married to undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame..."  Washington Post Online. 
    WP:  "...No one was ever charged with the leak, but the results of the investigation, led by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, ultimately tarnished both the administration and the Washington press corps..."  The Libby case no matter how one dissects it stands as a chilling indictment of the way Washington works these days, especially the secretive White House under the influence of the KGB-like Vice President Dick Cheney. 
    The main question is why were the Vice President and/or Karl Rove not charged with outing Valierie Plame, a CIA operative doing work on WMDs and wife to former ambassador Joe Wilson, who critiqued the administration's claim that Iraq was seeking nuclear materials from the African nation of Niger.  Also, why weren't Cheney and Rove charged as co-conspirators in obstructing justice in a federal investigation?
    As the a Post analysis says:  "But Fitzgerald's decision to [go after Libby] may have stemmed from his pique at his inability to get to the truth about Cheney, who appeared in testimony and in White House documents disclosed to the jury as the man behind the screen, pulling the switches and levers in what one of Fitzgerald's aides described as an orchestrated "political public relations" campaign to undermine Wilson."  So why not go after the "prime suspect" NOW?  The least it could do is to bottle up Cheney for the next two years. 
    The narrow focus on Libby amounts to a de facto legalistic cover-up by the special prosecutor who is a Republican from Chicago.  Fitzgerald went after a minnow on typical D.C. grounds, it's not the act, it's the lie which trips 'em up.  Well, outing a CIA operative is a serious matter.  And even though it's a harder charge to prove, now that Libby has been signed, sealed and delivered what's the excuse for closing down the investigation of Cheney and Rove? 
    As the Washington Post Online said  "...The central question in the probe was whether anyone in the administration illegally disclosed classified information during the late spring and early summer of 2003, when they told several journalists that an early critic of the Iraq war was married to undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame... No one was ever charged with the leak..."  The question begging to be asked is WHY?
    Fitzgerald doesn't evidence the courage his predecessors had in the Watergate and the Iran/Contra scandals.  Even the jury felt Libby was a "fall guy."  However, Fitzgerald has taken on the Richard J. Daley, Jr. administration, Chicago's Democratic incumbent mayor  just re-elected to a sixth term.  So why did he blink on Cheney and Rove?  By comparison Ken Starr kept his investigation of Slick Willie going for over 4 years on far less important issues than "Cheneygate". 
    In Watergate the big fish went down - Attonrey General John Mitchel, Vice President Spiro Agnew & President Richard Nixon et al.  In Iran/Contra Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger, Assistant Secretary of State Eliot Abrams, NSA John Poindexter and White House aide Ollie North bit the dust. Casey died before he could be indicted.  Weinberger and Abrams (who serves in the Bush team now) were pardoned.   
    And why weren't celebrity journalists not brought to more account who seemed to go along with the "outing of Plame" and/or in effect participated in the "cover-up" of the administration's role in this seedy attempt to punish a critics of the administration and in the process to obstruct justice?  Celebrity journalists Bob Novak, Judith Miller, Matthew Cooper, Tim Russert and Bob Woodward all played a role in this sordid DC saga.  While they didn't come under indictment, their reputations have certainly been sullied.  
    The Libby case represents another case study of what the Post terms "...the uneasy symbiosis between an elite tier of Washington journalists and their confidential sources inside the government..."   When does an elite journalist's use of confidential high level sources for a story cross the line of good journalism into pimping for the powerful?  DC is awash with cozy personal relationships between journalists and pols.  How can the public trust elite journalists under these circumstances?
    RAD is NOT talking about the average beat reporter here, but those elite journalists who cover the White House, Congress, who write analysis, op ed pieces or syndicated columns.  The public does not feel very keen about the mainstream media these days - the Libby story will increase the level of public distrust.  And the public isn't going to be nuanced in its suspicions about the lapdog media.  Another nail has been driven into the coffin of the public trust in the media.
    According to the Post:  "...Testimony and evidence revealed that the vice president dictated precise talking points he wanted Libby and other aides to use to rebut Wilson's accusations against the White House, helped select which journalists would be contacted and worked with Bush to declassify secret intelligence reports on Iraqi weapons that he believed would contradict Wilson's claims..."  The special prosecutor claims "There is a cloud over what the vice president did,"  If so, why didn't he indict the Veep too?
    What the Libby story reminds us all is that Washington D.C. is a very incestuous small "town" where political and media power brokers interact daily, on and off the job.  Perhaps this is where some reforms need to be started.  It's time the big newspapers and TV networks need to inoculate their reporters and columnists by establishing new rules of engagement with DC insiders. If some reforms don't happen then "insider" journalism comes down to "Gossip 101" or the political version of Wallstreet's insider trading. 

Saturday
Mar032007

GOP HIT SQUAD

    A day after the Democratcs and Republicans put a deal together to solve the "kicker" issue and get Oregon a rainy day fund GOP radio ads and flyers are hitting Democrats on the House side who supported the compromise because these Ds represent districts which might turn GOP next time.  The '08 campaign has begun.
    The groups at the center of the storm are the House GOP Caucus and FreedomWorks.  FreedomWorks is a Washington D.C. PAC headed by ex-congressman Dick Armey, a top GOP confident of Tom Delay when they were in the Congress.  The organization has close ties to anti-tax guru Grover Norquist who has bankrolled Bill Sizemore initiatives.
    Is there no shame in the GOP? 
    PS:  David Reinhard and House GOP Minority Leader Wayne Scott are crowing that the GOP won in the "kicker" battle because the Ds had to come to the GOP for a compromise.  Well, the art of politics is compromise, a skill the House GOP caucus under Karen Minnis never evidenced.
    So good for the Democratic leadership's ability to smell the roses.  But given the GOP hit squad's work under Scott to attack first term Rep David Edwards (D, Hillsboro) et al the "smiling" by R and S might be premature.  After all, the votes have yet to be counted.  At minimum, the GOP attack was poorly timed and at worst in bad taste.
    If the Ds are smart they will adopt Robert Kennedy's motto - "don't get mad, get even."  And there's plenty of time in the session to make the GOP pay.  But in the long run, good governance is good politics, another lesson the GOP seems blind to in Oregon and DC. 
 

Saturday
Mar032007

MARGINALIZING CONDI

    Editor's Note: One of my golfing partners has traveled to the Middle East as Malone Fellow. Here's an article he received which counters conventional wisdom on the Middle East. The author, Patrick Seale, a Malone Fellow, has been one of the most astute and original thinkers and analysts on the geopolitics of the Middle East.
    By Patrick Seale, The Tragedy of Condi Rice, February 24, 2007, Saudi Gazette
    PS: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appears to be an intelligent,well-intentioned woman who, like a number of her predecessors, would genuinely like to make a personal contribution to the cause of Arab-Israeli peace. But after no fewer than eight visits of the region, she has failed to advance the peace process by the tiniest of tiny steps. Why?
    The reasons are many and complex, of which the most glaringly obvious is that she has been knifed in the back by the hawkish pro-Israeli, Elliott Abrams, the White House's main adviser on Middle East affairs, but also that President George W. Bush himself has failed, at a critical moment, to support her.
    RAD: It's ironic and shameful that Abrams is at the center of decision-making in the West Wing since he was one of the main actors during the Reagan administration in the ill-fated Iran/Contra scandal. One guesses that one bad turn deserves another - this time at the high cost of 3000 plus US lives in Iraq and the continuing tragedies on the West Bank and in Lebanon.
    PS: Rice headed last weekend for Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman declaring that she wished to discuss the contours of a future Palestinian state and provide the Palestinians with a "political horizon." This was widely read to mean that the United States had taken note of the Makkah agreement, concluded between Fatah and Hamas under Saudi auspices earlier in February, and was prepared to give the proposed new Palestinian national unity government a chance.
    At Makkah, the Islamic movement Hamas had pledged to "respect" past agreements between the PLO and Israel, an implicit recognition of the Jewish state and therefore a big stride towards meeting the terms imposed by the Quartet (US, Russia, EU and UN) for resumed cooperation and funding of the Palestinian government.
    It seemed that Saudi Arabia's mediation had managed not only to avert a full-blown Palestinian civil war but also to allow the lifting of the crippling international boycott of the Hamas government, which has reduced the Palestinians to abject penury over the past year.
    RAD: The Saudi's mediation in the Israel/Palestinian conflict is a prelude to a role they can play in the Iraq quagmire. But if we undercut them in the Makkah agreement that has reverberations to what might happen in the coming Bagdadh summit. Saving face is very important, if we walk away from our ally once, what's to guarantee it won't happen again?  
    PS: The hope was that the much heralded summit on February 19 between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which Rice was to chair, would jump-start talks on substantive issues such as borders, refugees and Jerusalem.
    In the event, of course, nothing of the sort happened. The meeting turned into an acrimonious shouting match. Olmert accused Abbas of "betraying" him by doing a deal with Hamas, a movement Israel wants to destroy not co-opt. Abbas retorted angrily that he had given Olmert no such promise and that his priority was to stop an intra-Palestinian war.
    The outcome had in fact been decided before Rice even touched down in Israel. Olmert had phoned George Bush on February 16 and had secured a private assurance from him that the Makkah agreement changed nothing and that the US would join Israel in continuing to shun Hamas.
    RAD: Hamas, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, is a legitimate political force sanctioned by free and open elections as well as on the ground through their military presence and community building efforts. Neither Israel nor the US can deligitimize such groups - that can only happen among the local populations and that clearly is not the fact on the ground.
    PS: In the Israeli view, the Makkah accord had actually set back the cause of peace by legitimizing Hamas! Olmert was able to crow that the US and Israeli positions were identical. His spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, ruled out any talks on a final peace deal with Abbas, if he went ahead with plans to form a new cabinet that included Hamas. "We're not talking about negotiations on final-status issues," Eisin said.
    Poor Condoleezza Rice! She evidently lacks all authority in dealing with the Middle East. She should not waste her time, and arouse false hopes, by going there, since her boss has embraced the Israeli view that the democratically elected Hamas government is a "terrorist" organization in league with Iran and Syria and that it must be eliminated from the scene before any progress can be made. The Israeli tail continues to wag the American dog.
    RAD: Rice seems to be having the same fate as her predecessor Colin Powell who found himself regularly undercut by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Not even Condi's personal closeness to Bush seems to preclude her being marginalized as an honest broker.
    PS: Although attempts are being made in Europe and elsewhere to relaunch the peace process, Israel has no intention whatsoever of concluding a peace with the Palestinians which would involve withdrawing to anywhere near the 1967 borders. It will stop at nothing to prevent serious negotiations taking place.
    As Geoffrey Aronson, of the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, writes in his latest report on Israeli settlement in the Occupied Territories, "Like Ben Gurion, Olmert excels in creating facts on the ground… under his watch, the settler population in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) increased by nearly 6 percent on 2006." At the end of the year, there were 268,379 Israelis living in the West Bank, while not a single illegal outpost was removed.
    RAD: Israel's occupation by annexation is at the heart of the Israel/Palestinian problem. It's an old colonialist policy which the French used in Algeria but which ultimately failed. Why should it succeed in this case?
    PS: It would take extraordinary courage and personal commitment for a US President to halt Israel's creeping annexation of Palestinian land – because of the overwhelming support for Israel in the Congress, in the American media and in Washington's many right-wing think-tanks; because of major funding by American Jews of both Democratic and Republican election campaigns; and because of the powerful influence of pro-Israeli officials embedded inside the US administration.
    RAD: In a Hillary Clinton administration one could not anticipate any change in US foreign policy toward Israel. Her support "for" the war in Iraq was a reflective response since she represents the state which was at ground zero in the 9/11 attack, a vote to pander to the Jewish vote which is key to any NY Democratic candidate and a vote to appear 'tough' to avoid the charge that she's soft on terrorism.
    PS: Bush, meanwhile, is wholly absorbed by the calamitous war in Iraq, by the Taleban resurgence in Afghanistan and by his dangerous game of chicken with Iran. This is where the legacy of his presidency will be decided, as well as the future of America's hegemony over the vital oil-rich Gulf.
    As his record of neglect of the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past six years has shown, he sees no strategic threat to American interests if it remains unresolved. In his view, Israel can be left to settle the conflict in its own time and on its own terms.
    RAD: The announcement that the US will attend a conference in Baghdad hosted by Iraq which includes Syria and Iran raises hope that the administration has finally acquiesced to the Iraq Study Group's analysis. However, with Cheney and Abrams being at the center of power in the West Wing one wonders if this is purely a PR gesture designed by Karl Rove.
    PS: What of the Europeans? Is there any hope that the European Union might step in to fill the vacuum created by Israeli obduracy and American indifference? Norway is the only European country to say that the Makkah agreement satisfies the three conditions posed by the Quartet for lifting the boycott of a national unity Palestinian government – namely recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and acceptance of past treaties between the PLO and Israel.
    Several other European countries share this view privately but are too timid to say so publicly. Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair has remained silent, although he earlier trumpeted his determination to devote his last months in office to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    RAD: Until a new Labor PM comes to the helm or an election brings a Conservative PM to power the British government is in a hopelessly compromised position. But with the announced withdrawal of British troops the USA will be even more isolated.
    PS: Financed by the Norwegian government, a delegation including representatives of leading NGOs, such as the International Crisis Group and Search for Common Ground, as well as individual peace activists, is planning to tour the Middle East from March 8 to 12. But, without strong EU backing and without concerted Arab pressure on the United States, such well-meaning efforts will not sway Israel's hard-liners.
    The EU has, in fact, failed as spectacularly as Condoleezza Rice. It made the grave mistake of following the Israeli-US lead in isolating the Hamas government and withdrawing budget support. But, anxious to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, the EU set up a so-called "Temporary International Mechanism" to channel funds to Palestinian hospitals and clinics, to secure energy supplies and access to water and to provide social services to the poorest Palestinians.
    Far from promoting peace among Palestinians – let alone Israeli-Palestinian negotiations – these EU policies encouraged Fatah to seek to regain power from Hamas by force and have, as a result, driven Hamas into the arms of Iran and Syria.
    RAD: American voters ought to carefully watch the wannabe presidential candidates lining up for the '08 contest to assess which, if any of them, offer any hope for a more balanced US foreign policy in the Middle East. One should pay special attention to the frontrunners at this point in time, Clinton, Obama & Edwards on the D side; and Giuliani, McCain and Romney on the R side.
    PS: The EU should follow Norway's example in accepting the Makkah agreement as satisfying the Quartet's three conditions and put its full weight into dragging Israel to the negotiating table. According to a report this month from the US Institute of Peace, most Israelis are prepared to accept a withdrawal from most of the West Bank that will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state. But Olmert and his right-wing supporters will not budge unless real international
pressure is brought to bear on them.
    Israel likes to refer to potential Palestinian militants as "ticking bombs" and does not hesitate to murder them. In fact, the assassination of terrorist suspects is Israel's official policy. Israelis should perhaps reflect that the greatest "ticking bomb" of all, which must one day blow up in their faces, is Arab and Muslim outrage at their callous treatment of the Palestinian population under occupation.
    RAD: The humanitarian crisis on the West Bank is creating the same dynamic that our misguided occupation of Iraq created. With little or no hope for economic revitalization of the Palestinian Territory the cycle of violence will only intensify just as it has in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel's imperialism toward her neighbors will bring the same sad harvest that American imperialism has brought to the region.
    Israel and the US have embraced each other in a death watch which could for Israel turn into a death wish. .

Saturday
Mar032007

LINE OF THE DAY

Can't write anything.    On today's PBS radio talk program "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me", Tony Snow, the White House Press Secretary, was asked to tell something about the personal side of President Bush.  After a pause Snow said that the President is very "aerobic" referring to Shrub's riding around his ranch at Crawford, Texas on a road bike.  Well we knew Dubya was not a "brainiac." 
Friday
Mar022007

WESTERN STATES SHOW THE WAY

By Russell Sadler
    Oregon joined the states of Washington, California, Arizona and New Mexico in a compact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This ambitious, historic agreement is being ridiculed by some conservatives who argue, ironically, that states just can’t do this job. It should be done by -- wait for it -- the federal government!
    The compact "sends a message to Congress and the White House that if they fail to enact policies at the national level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do our nation's part to combat global warming, that states will do it on their own," Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said.
    Let’s hope the federal government continues dragging its feet on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions until the West Coast effort is well underway. Although greenhouse gas emissions are a worldwide problem, some solutions  may be  regional.
    The effort by these five Western States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is likely to be successful because of two important ways we are connected.
    The first connection is an interesting demographic fact -- about 75 percent of Americans who live west of Denver, live in a relatively narrow strip about 100 miles wide on either side of Interstate 5. That concentrates the problem wonderfully.
    The second connection is the region’s electrical distribution system. The Bonneville Power Administration's North-South Intertie connects the hydroelectric power of Northwest dams and wind farms with the fossil-fuel powerplant complexes in Arizona and New Mexico.
    This arrangement allows the seasonal export of Northwest hydropower south in the spring and summer to cool the Southwest and the flow of otherwise idle fossil-fuel generated power north to heat the Northwest in winter. Operating regionally, utilities built fewer fossil-fuel fired generating plants than would be needed if the utilities were operating independently. That is one of the reasons why West Coast carbon emissions have remained nearly flat the last 20 years despite soaring population growth.
    Coupled with an aggressive commitment to conservation -- tougher building codes, more energy efficient appliances and industrial processes to stretch existing electricity supplies -- and you have the raw material for a plan that will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions from future electric powerplants.
    The five states in the new compact extended an invitation to British Columbia. Wyoming and Montana are considering joining the emission control effort. B.C. Hydro has an enormous hydroelectric generating capacity and sells to the American market. Wyoming and Montana have large mine-mouth fossil-fuel powerplants that sell electricity to the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest. This is attractive arrangement for the cap-and-trade emission control envisioned for the region.
    Vehicle exhaust is also one of the largest generators of greenhouse gases in the region. West Coast cities -- San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. and smaller points in between where most of the region’s population lives -- are all prone to thermal inversions that create smog.
    The situation in California is so acute and affects so many people that the world’s auto manufacturers all have “California models” to meet that state’s more rigorous emissions standards. As other western states adopt tougher emission standards it will only increase the market for low emission vehicles.
    No, this five state compact will not solve the worldwide problem of climate change. But it is a good start in our part of the world. Nine states in the Northeast are already a couple of years ahead of the West Coast in dealing with their fossil fuel-fired powerplants.
    These regional compacts are taking potentially effective action now, without waiting for the oil-patch partisans who control the White House or the Southerners in Congress who still really don’t believe there is a problem.
    With the federal government’s present leadership, any federal effort to deal with greenhouse gas emissions is likely to morph into an effort by carbon-emitting industries to water down potentially effective regional initiatives by preempting state laws with weaker federal legislation.
    After watching the federal government's response to Iraq, nuclear proliferation, natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina at home and the Bush administration's penchant for reckless deregulation (from banking and airlines to utilities and communications),it is clear that Washington, D.C. has forfeited any claim to be more competent than the states in dealing with greenhouse gas reduction.
    What we see emerging is a series of regional experiments in dealing with a very serious problem that will teach us valuable lessons as some things succeed and some fail. After all, diversity is a good thing.
    Editor's Note:  As the enviros of the '70s used to say "think globally, act locally."  Such a regional approach, if successful, might show us the way in breaking the gridlock on a host of other public policy problems from health care to sustainable growth. In Canada the provinces were the original testing grounds for what eventually became a national health insurance system.  Could we learn from that lesson in the USA?
    If as some policy wonks argue that the USA is really made up of nine different sub-national regions which share common historical roots, political cultures, demographic characteristics and economic profiles, regionalism might well be the wave of the future.  As they say necessity is the mother of invention.  As long as federal policy is in the control of the neo-cons there really isn't any choice and time is running out.