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On the lighter side of life... 

#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace

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Trump & The Mob

http-//www.politico.com#13C5A6C

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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."

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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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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 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. 

     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

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  • 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. 

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SB 1533 passes!  

http://oregon.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=10863

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Housing Needs in Oregon 

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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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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   


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 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Thursday
Nov222007

BITS & PIECES

    And they are running:  State Senator Rick Metstger (D, Welches) has joined the growing ranks of state senators running for Oregon's Secretary of State office to be vacated by Bill Bradbury who is term limited.  The list includes three other state senators - Kate Brown (D, Portland) and former majority leader, Vicki Walker (D. Eugene) and Brad Avakian (D. Beaverton).  The GOP has no dog in this race so far perhaps given the inability of the GOP to win state wide in recent years. 
    The good news is that only Brown is giving up her Senate seat to make the run.  As the most visible candidate with a war chest if she wins the primary, the others will return to the Senate.  Why are so many running?  Being Secretary of State is a launching pad to running for Governor in 2010.  It's amazing to RAD that when they look in a mirror so many state legislators see themselves as a future Governor of Oregon.
    While each of them have been effective legislators - none of the field come at all close to being a Tom McCall, a Mark Hatfield, a Bob Straub or a Vic Atiyeh.  Besides, their legislative skills and institutional memory are much needed in the legislature if health care reform is to be realized and if tax reform is going to have any legs.   One would hope that something more than blind ambition was behind these candidates!
    Another state senator is running for Treasurer, Ben Westlund (D, Bend).  The iconoclastic Westlund who was a Republican, then an Independent who flirted with the idea of running for governor in '06, has the field to himself.  Ben may be waiting in the weeds to replace Gov. Ted.  A match-up of Brown v. Westlund would be a classic.  Westlund is an energizer rabbit who is very McCallesque.  Politics is never what it seems to be!   
    Who's the adult here?  Ken Goe, a sports writer for the Oregonian joined RAD is wondering out loud why Mike Bellotti allowed Dennis Dixon to play against Arizona last week.  He poses the "what if" question in his article's headline  - "What if Willingham, not Bellotti, had been coaching Dixon?"  But Goe's conclusion says it all - "But the risk was too great [in playing Dixon].  Somebody should have taken the long view, checked the youthful temptation to gamble with long odds, and said:  No.  At Washington, Willingham saw that as his responsibility.  At Oregon, Bellotti ducked."  A'men!
    The story which never goes away:  The Oregonian columnist Steve Duin is like a bull dog when it comes to holding politicos and CEOs to account.  Governor Ted Kulongoski is in his line of sight these days.  The Guv steadfastly maintains that he knew nothing about the infamous now well known predatory behavior of his longtime friend Neil Goldschmit.  But the Governor's own personal notes to a one time speech writer and friend suggest otherwise.
    So the Governor is faced with the classic question "what did Ted know and when did he know it?"  More importantly why did he nominate Goldschmidt to be the chair of the higher education board when the story about Neil had been outed years ago among those in the "know" in Portland?  In that regard the conspiracy of silence goes way beyond Ted...  So who else knew and did nothing?  It all has the smell of a Peyton Place cover-up.
    Barack being tough:  Syndicated columnist Paul Krugman accuses Barack Obama of buying the big lie about Social Security being in the dumper in order to boost Obama's tough guy image and to distance himself from Hillary.  Krugman argues that "...Social Security isn't a big problem that demands a solution; it's a small problem, way down the list of major issues facing America, that has nonetheless become an obsession of Beltway insiders..."   Health care costs not Social Security is the elephant in the living room.  With the onset of the baby boomer - how are we going to pay for Medicare?  Answer - raising taxes which start with stopping the Bushites tax give aways to the rich.
    A time for giving:  The headline in the Monday Oregonian says it all - "Oregon charities hope big kicker means big giving."  But as the downturn in the economy sinks in with the aftermath of the sub-prime loan scandal Oregonians may not be in a giving frame of mind.  Besides charities have always said they can supplement, not replace, government programs designed to help the needy among us.
    At a time of the year when our friends in the media focus on local soup kitchens and food banks, it's well to remember that food insecurity, homelessness and health care gaps exist because leaders in Salem and DC are not stepping up to repair the torn fabric of our social compact.  But then again the voters in Oregon only need to look at Measure 50's 60-40 defeat to know that the dumbos in DC and Salem are not the only Scrooges out there!
    So enjoy your turkey and pie today.  Now how about kicking the kicker?
    The Iran option:  Joseph L. Galloway | McClatchy Newspapers wonders why there is all the buzz out there about military action against Iran.  As he says:  "There is no crisis here, and no earthly reason to manufacture one on short notice, except for the fact that in under 15 months the Bush administration will pass ignominiously into history. Then a new chief executive can begin dealing with two ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a national debt nearing $10 trillion, a terrorist threat to America only made stronger by eight years of Bush and Cheney, and a national economy trembling on the brink of recession."
    RAD:  Well maybe Galloway answered his own question!  What better way to weigh down a likely Democratic administration and congressional majority with all of these problems PLUS Iran?   LBJ passed the torch of the Vietnam War to Nixon.  Now it's pay back time for Bush to do the same to Hillary!  In the '60s some on the left waxed rhetorically about bringing on "fascism" as a way to bring on the "revolution."  In some contorted neo-con way maybe the neo-cons have adopted a similar tragic logic.
    When Waterboarding was Illegal:  From Salon.com - Here's the testimony of Air Force Lt. Chase J. Nielsen, who was captured by the Japanese in 1942: "I was given several types of torture ... I was given what they call the water cure." Asked how it felt, Nielsen replied, "Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning, just gasping between life and death." Several Japanese torturers were convicted in the trials, and "the principal proof upon which their torture convictions were based was conduct that we would now call waterboarding," Wallach says. More recently, he notes, in Texas in 1983 a sheriff and his deputies were convicted of violating prisoners' civil rights by using a form of waterboarding to force confessions. Wallach's piece also includes this useful observation: "The media usually characterize [waterboarding] as 'simulated drowning.' That's incorrect. To be effective, waterboarding is usually real drowning that simulates death."
    Deja vu all over again:  From the Washington Post.com - CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq -- Senior military commanders here now portray the intransigence of Iraq's Shiite-dominated government as the key threat facing the U.S. effort in Iraq, rather than al-Qaeda terrorists, Sunni insurgents or Iranian-backed militias...
    U.S. military officials expressed growing concern over the Iraqi government's failure to capitalize on sharp declines in attacks against U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians. A window of opportunity has opened for the government to reach out to its former foes, said Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the commander of day-to-day U.S. military operations in Iraq, but "it's unclear how long that window is going to be open."
    The lack of political progress calls into question the core rationale behind the troop buildup President Bush announced in January, which was premised on the notion that improved security would create space for Iraqis to arrive at new power-sharing arrangements. And what if there is no such breakthrough by next summer? "If that doesn't happen," Odierno said, "we're going to have to review our strategy."
    RAD:  In the Vietnam War General William Westmoreland and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara promised that an American victory was just around the corner - "the light is at the end of the tunnel" was the line.  This promise was based on faulty data from the front which as it went up the chain of command was cooked to make victory seem inevitable.  Why shouldn't we think the same thing is happening in Iraq?  Many reports from the front, not from Generals sitting in the Green Zone or the Pentagon tell a different story that things are not going well even if the violence is down.
    Success breeds failure?  According to the BostonGlobe.com - Enrollment in the [Massachusetts] new subsidized health plan is growing so quickly that the state could face a funding gap as large as $147 million by the end of the fiscal year, according to a state projection.
    An aggressive outreach campaign by the state, hospitals, community groups, and advocates, including an extensive push in the last few weeks, has put enrollment on a path that could reach nearly 180,000 by June 30.
    Even if signups slow, the program will probably still be over budget - a victim of its own success - because the state has already enrolled nearly as many people as expected for the fiscal year.
    RAD:  When the Oregon Health Plan came online in the 1990s the same thing happened.  The result of underestimating the demand forced the state to reduce the number of procedures allowed under the plan and then to play triage with the eligibility list.  Ultimately with the onset of the recession of 2001 the OHP was terminated and Medicaid became the default plan in Oregon.  If Mitt Romney wants to build his presidential campaign on the Massachusetts Miracle, he's sitting on quicksand.
    Compassionate Conservatism:  from Jim Hightowner:  "Sadly, appallingly… [the Bush] administration has actively pushed policies to limit the number of vets eligible for [VA] coverage. In 2002, even as he was revving up the war machine to send our troops into Iraq, Bush administrators at the VA quietly stopped marketing health coverage to veterans, citing the need to constrain spending. A year later, they went further, actually cutting off access to future vets who earn more than about $30,000 a year. The result is that most of today’s uninsured veterans are lower-middle income workers who are too poor to afford private policies, but not poor enough to qualify for free health care.  This is beyond shameful. No Bushite should be allowed ever again to mouth the words: support our troops.
    Immigration hypocrisy:  Governor Ted has intervened in a child custody case to create a "win/win" solution for an Oregon foster family, their Hispanic son and his Mexican grandmother south of the border.  At the same time, the Tanasborne DMV office aided in the arrest of a Latino PCC student who used a falsified SS card in her driver license renewal application.  So our state officials are trying to avoid the deportation of a young child, while greasing the skids to separate a young woman from her family which lives in Oregon.
    Immigration policy in the USA is a joke.  And the feeble attempts by President Bush and the Congress to reform it are full of contradictions.  The debate on the campaign trail for the presidential nomination is no less muddy except for those clairvoyant moments when "pols" on both sides play the "immigration" card pandering to the worst nativist instincts of the American voter.  To think we can force 12 million "illegals" out of the USA is ludicrous.  We should do what Lincoln did after the Civil War - declare an absolute and unconditional amnesty and get over it.
    Any other solution is the ethical equivalent of the Supreme Court's infamous Dred Scott decision in 1856 which sent a fugitive slave back to his master. 
    PS:  Now that I've caught up with two weeks of blog materials from local news and from my Canadian Connection RAD is going to take a break from blogging until next week to enjoy the holiday break - eating more turkey, watching TV and playing with the model trains...
    My Canadian Connection reminds me that Thanksgiving fell on 44th anniversary of JFK's assasination, November 22, 1963  I've seen no media coverage of this important date.  As those of us who were around then we all remember vividly to the moment where we were!   
    Sadly this day of infamy was to be followed by similar tragic events - the assasinations of MLK,Jr., RFK, the long hot summers of '67 and '68, the Vietnam War, Watergate, attempted assasinations of George Wallace, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, Iran/Contra and now Iraq! 

Wednesday
Nov212007

A WINNING HAND

    Divisions of Red & Blue:  Tonight's NewsHour on PBS included a segment focusing on political polarization in the USA.  There's nothing new here except that the four authors have published new books on the subject.  The USA has seen evidence of polarization dating back to the early '60s founded on the legacy of racism in the USA which was misdiagnosed as a uniquely southern problem, when in fact Swedish sociologist Gunner Myrdal correctly identified it with the title of his book "The American Dilemma."
    LBJ was prophetic when upon signing the Civil Rights Bills of '64 and '65 he told his longtime political ally Sam Rayburn, the Speaker of the House, also from Texas, that he was signing the death knell of the old Democratic Party! From the '30s though the late '50s the party was built on a coalition of white Southern pro-segregation and conservative voters and northern liberals heavily influenced by organized labor and civil rights groups like the NAACP and the ACLU.  A major realignment has taken place since that time.
   As the Republican party especially under Ronald Reagan successfully attracted the southern white voter and increasingly the lunch bucket old union workers the GOP expanded its base regionally but at the price of becoming the "conservative" party of the USA much more so than when the GOP was dominated by a northeastern NAM wing and a midwestern farm belt voter.  Since that time the GOP has increasingly become conservatively "ideological."
   But a similar trend line has also happened within the Democratic Party as it has become the party of the coastal beltways in the northeast and the so-called "left" coast.  The Democratic Party has been captured by its own activist wings committed to minority group civil rights, gay-lesbian rights, environmentalism and feminism.   Like the GOP it has increasingly become a party which looks at candidates through an ideological litmus test lens.
   But what the authors in tonight's discussion missed is that while the rank and file party loyalists are more solidly conservative or liberal - they mirror similar divisions within the voting public.  While the base for each party has narrowed, leaving independents out of the picture, each party's base has been played to by its candidates and PAC supporters.  So the incentive to move to the middle has increasingly been marginalized.
    The not so hidden secret is that until the independent voters start asserting themselves as an organized voice in US politics (an unlikely prospect) or until candidates see some virtue in reaching out to such voters (again not likely until the precondition of the center's mobilization becomes actionable) - we will continue along this polarized pathway with it's negative results - gridlock. 
    But let's be clear, while the Democratic activists can share the blame with the GOP activists (and data for that true believer separation goes back 40 years via the University of Michigan survey research data) - the more recent harvest of the politics of polarization has become an art form sketched by Karl Rove in the Bush White House, the ideologically tempered metaphorical political offspring of Lee Atwater, Roger Ailes, Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist. 
   By contrast Bill Clinton invented the Democratic Leadership Group (DLC) to move the Democratic Party to a centrist posture.  His nomination and election proved that a "centrist" strategy was a winning hand with help from H. Ross Perot.  Remember the issue in '92 was "the economy stupid" not affirmative action, gay rights or global warming.  But the Clinton presidency was savaged even before the inauguration by the anvil chorus of the right shouting the Bill was the apostle of the "left." 
   The irony is that Hillary, the ideologue in the family, more than Bill (aka Slick Willie) distorted the Clinton presidency with Whitewatergate and then Gay's in the Military with a big nudge by Colin Powell, then the Chairman of the JCS.  Between Whitewatergate and the Lewinski affair, Bill Clinton rode his DLC agenda to America's longest and deepest economic boom, success in US/Russian relations, tax cuts, streamlining government (a Gore chore), welfare reform and NAFTA - each requiring a little help from the Uncle Newt's GOP.
   So can the center rule again in the USA?  Yes it can - but NOT WITH A GOP PRESIDENT - unless that is Rudy Giuliany.  But if one is a betting person, put your dollars on Queen Hillary.  While her aura is that of a feminist lefty, she will govern like Attila the Hun giving the "left" the back of her hand just like Bill often did - with all the while feeling their pain.  But if you want really new blood - no pun intended, let's hope voters in Iowa and New Hampshire vote for Barack Obama.
    PS:  Now that the deck chair of the caucus/primary Titanic is set with the Iowa Caucus on January 3, the New Hampshire Primary on January 8 and the Michigan Caucus set for January 11 we will have a very early test of how the voters are feeling.  RAD's bet is that voters in these early states don't like to be told by the Inside the Beltway Boys & Girls that the race is over - it's going to be Hillary vs. Rudy.
    The polls are tightening and who knows who will win and get early "MO".
    But once you look beyond the early states to Super Tuesday February 5 - the chances of Hillary losing seem unlikely, while the GOP field is as clear as mud!  But look at the football rankings this season - how many teams have fallen from ranks of the top 5?  The game is settled on the field of dreams (play) not in the board rooms of NBC, CNN or Fox News.  Thank God!
   In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving... 
 

Saturday
Nov172007

THE BREAKS OF THE GAME?

    Husky fans can celebrate, the once feared Monsters of Mountlake won at home today 37-23 over Cal after 5 losses in a row to the Golden Bears who at one point this season were the #2 ranked team in the nation.  More importantly is that the Huskies' head coach Tyrone Willingham did the right thing by benching #1 quarterback Jake Locker by playing back up senior Carl Bonnell.  Locker is recovering from an injury to his neck from last week's OSU game. Jake wanted to play but coach Willingham said "NO" to his star looking to the future of Husky football not the present. 
    In contrast Oregon Duck fans now know that their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Dennis Dixon and head coach Mike Bellotti kept an ACL injury secret for 12 days since the ASU game when Dixon was injured.  Yes, Dixon knew, his family knew,  Bellotti knew, team doctors knew and if you read John Canzano's column in today's Oregonian the team knew too.  So the question is why did Bellotti et al roll the dice?   The answer is obvious.  This was Oregon's only chance to be #1 and to end up in the BCS national championship game.
    One can understand why a young man like Dennis Dixon might take this risk out of loyalty to the team.  The young always think they are invincible, any parent knows that.  That's where being the adult in this tragedy comes in.  Bellotti's decision to play Dixon fails "the adult test" which head coaches at USC, CAL, UCLA and the UW faced and passed this season.  Bellotti's Faustian choice to risk Dixon's future in the NFL or MLB seems to this blogger to be unethical. What gives a coach, a mentor or a teacher such a right? 
    If U of O President Dave Frohnmayer had any guts he'd fire Bellotti.  But at PhilKnight University one doesn't expect such courage!  Hopefully the PAC-10 or NCAA will launch an investigation into "who knew what and when" but more importantly "why" this decision was made.  So Duck fans how do you feel NOW?  You can't blame the hated Dawgs or Beavs for this fiasco in the Duck Pond.  Is winning really that important?  If it is Quack Attack fanatics have deeper problems than merely salvaging the rest of this season!
    We have instant replay rules in college football.  How about a similar review system for coaches? 
 

Saturday
Nov172007

THE McCALL FORUM: POST MORTEM

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    Field Report:  Bolton & Me:   A Campus Progress cartoonist can’t resist John Bolton.
    By Matt Bors, November 14, 2007
    Political cartoonists are in the strange position of benefiting when the country suffers. The more absurd the world becomes, the easier it is to draw comics. Over the past seven years, the Bush administration has presented my fellow cartoonists and me with an unforgettable cast of characters: the brooding madman Dick Cheney, the crazed evangelical John Ashcroft, and the sweating and stammering Scott McClellan. But there was a time when one Bush administration character shined brightly above the rest. That was U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
    With his red-faced anger and chalk-white mustache, Bolton presented a position to the United Nations that can only be described as right-of-hawkish. He physically and ideologically resembled Yosemite Sam—a walking, talking (or rootin’, tootin’) caricature sent to make cartoonists’ lives a little easier. So it was a bittersweet moment when Bolton resigned in December 2006. The world was better off, but cartoonists certainly were not.
    So imagine my excitement earlier this month when I heard that Bolton would be appearing in Portland, at Pacific University’s 25th annual Tom McCall Forum, to debate “U.S. Foreign Policy Post ’08.” Foreign policy minutiae usually isn’t my idea of fun. I’d rather be hunched over a drawing table, listening to Michael Savage bloviate and spilling ink over the latest scandal involving hookers and/or an anti-gay gay conservative. But Bolton overrides my rational decision-making center—I simply must draw him whenever I can. So I grabbed a pen and notebook and anxiously hopped a bus downtown to catch the festivities. Bolton was set to face off against former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN), who also served on the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group.
    The Tom McCall forum is named after the well-respected former governor of Oregon who is said to have loved thoughtful discussion. Which, of course, begs the question: Why was Bolton invited? He is the kind of diplomat who says, “We should not let diplomacy become the objective” as an opener, and goes on to trash any notion that America can accomplish its goals through the United Nations.
    A group of panelists culled from local academia asked the duo questions for most of the night. Bolton, whose trademark bluster was on display, sometimes turned to panelists to inform them that “the premise of your question is fundamentally wrong.” After an innocent query about the degenerating state of affairs in the Middle East, he snapped, “If you think it was caused by the Bush Administration, you need to think again!”
    Ron Tammen, the director of Portland State’s Hatfield School of Government,* offered the best question of the night: “Do you believe it would be legal or illegal under international law for a foreign government to kidnap U.S. soldiers, diplomats, or U.S. citizens, and to subject them to waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and temperature, light and noise abuse designed for the purpose of eliciting information that would, in their opinion, serve the national security interests of their country?”
    Bolton responded flatly, “No. I do not think it would be illegal.” As he walked back to his seat a chorus of boos filled the theater. Others, too shocked to boo, looked around and asked the person next to them if Bolton just said what they thought he said. Bolton then rushed back to the podium to clarify: “It would be imprudent, but it would not be illegal.”
    While Bolton takes a “safe, legal, and often” approach to torture, he showed even less concern over the controversy surrounding private mercenaries such as Blackwater operating in Iraq. “Our forefathers knew what privatization was about long before we did,” Bolton said. I, at least, was startled by this answer. Had Bolton uncovered secret correspondence between Washington and Jefferson praising international mercenaries? Maybe Washington had seen something he liked in the Hessians. Bolton did acknowledge there should be “some” rules governing how they operate, but then added that the whole issue was “politicized and overblown.”
    I left confident that no matter what happens in 2008, my profession will be safe for at least four more years. The era of Bolton and Bush may be coming to an end, but, no matter who wins next November, new characters will emerge from the Beltway swamp.
    As I walked away, one of Hamilton’s closing lines kept ringing in my head. “We will not savage those who do not agree with us.” Sorry, Lee. That’s just not how we cartoonists roll.
    Matt Bors is a nationally syndicated cartoonist with United Feature Syndicate. He has contributed to Campus Progress  since its launch.  You can find his work at either his website http://www.mattbors.com/ or at  Campusprogress.org

    Editor's Note:  While Mr. Bors' comic strip and commentary are a bit iconoclastic, he captured the key moment of this year's McCall Forum where John Bolton showed his true colors as a rabid neo-con exponent of US imperialism.  For most of the day from the Campus Q&A to the debate at the Schnitzer, Bolton was the essence of the diplomat, gracious but clear about his view of our role in a very dangerous world.  But Ron Tammen's question brought out the go for the jugular spirit we've associated with Bolton.  That was reason enough to invite Bolton.  As I've said before, if I invited my own ideological favorites it would be a very short list and neither Bolton nor Hamilton would make the cut.  But that would be a love fest, not a debate.  As my last Forum, as founder/faculty coordinator, it was one of the best in substance.  It's been a great 25 years!  Thanks for the memories...  I look forward to returning as a "guest" in the future. 
    For a more conventional report on the Forum I've attached the Forest Grove News-Times summary of the high points or our guests take on the topic:  US Foreign Policy Post '08.
   
   
From Forest Grove News-Times,  "America’s role in the world," November 14, 2007
    Last week’s McCall Forum showcased a philosophical split that will confront the next president. 
    As Lee Hamilton sees it, the United States’ bungled military efforts in Iraq have jeopardized its status as the leader of the free world and puts the nation at risk.
    Not so, says John Bolton, who defends the Bush administration’s war on terrorism and notes that the rest of the world has always resented America’s dominant role in world affairs.
    That basic split defined much of last Wednesday’s Portland debate between two of the nation’s pre-eminent foreign policy experts, who othewise found plenty of common ground.
    Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana who headed the federal 9/11 Commission, traded ideological jabs with Bolton, President Bush’s former U.N. Ambassador, during a visit to Oregon last week as guests of Pacific University.
    On Wednesday, the two men met with students at the Forest Grove campus in a warm-up for the evening’s big event: the 25th annual Tom McCall Forum.
    The annual political debate, hosted by Pacific University, highlighted the division that is seen in much of America.
    While Hamilton was the clear crowd favorite in (heavily Democratic) Portland, both men kept the audience alert with their verbal sparring.
    Here’s a sample of the two men’s comments.

    JOHN BOLTON
    On waterboarding:  It might be imprudent, but no, I don’t think it would be illegal.  On Hamilton’s exception:  Either it’s legal or illegal. It can’t be illegal only when it isn’t.
    On Blackwater: Obviously, they ought to be held to appropriate standards. I think those standards exist. This whole controversy is politicized and overblown.
    On the Iraq war: The objective in overthrowing Saddam Hussein was accomplished at the outset. With the benefit of hindsight I would have turned much more quickly to the process of turning authority over to the Iraqi people.
    On Congressional power: Congress’ role is to declare war or not declare war. That’s a very limited power, as it should be.  
    On North Korea and Iran: These are rogue regimes that will not be talked out of their trump card. No coalition is going to stop these rogue states. The responsibility rests with the United States and the United States alone.
    On Pakistan:  The threat of a radical Islamist regime in Pakistan is high. So the risks are high and the stakes are even higher. [President Gen. Pervez Musharraf] has not performed as well as we’d like, but the history of civilian rule in Pakistan is very sad. I think we should support him.
    On the U.S. image abroad:  If you think this is because of the Bush administration, you need to think again. Public opinion polls in France during the height of the Marshall Plan showed a profoundly anti-American sentiment. As unhappy as it is for us, it is a fact of life.

    LEE HAMILTON
    On America’s power to shape the world:  America’s ability to accomplish things abroad has never – in my recollection – been so limited.The heart of the matter is that we are not the omnipotent power that we thought we were in 2003 nor are we the impotent power that we sometimes think we are now.
    On waterboarding as an interrogation technique:  If I was writing the law, I would make it illegal. [Hamilton then added that he’d allow one exception: If someone was known to hold information about a pending attack on civilians].
    On the limits of the military:  We have not been the principal power because of the strength of our arms or the value of our banks alone, but because we have been a beacon of hope.
    On the political process  More and more I am aware of the conscious gap between those who decide foreign policy and the desires of the American people.  We need to adhere to the Biblical admonition, “put not your faith in princes.”  In 2004, what did John Kerry and George Bush argue about?  They argued about how they performed 30 years ago in Vietnam.
    On Blackwater:  I have been appalled by the lack of a legal framework in regards to the contractors. They seem to be in a no-man’s-land.
    On presidential powers:  I don’t favor a weak president, I favor a strong president. But I also favor a strong congress.
    On the U.S. role in Islamic nations:  The real war on terror is going to be won or lost in how you deal with the 1.3 billion Muslims. We need to tell them we’re on their side.
    On the threat of nuclear terrorism:  It’s almost to be expected, my friends, that somewhere, someday, a bad actor is going to get a hold of that bomb. We need to start dealing with that threat.
    On Pakistan:  Above all, we must not let Al Qaeda have a safe sanctuary in Pakistan. Musharraf has not let us go after those people. If he won’t do it, we should.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

Friday
Nov162007

THE THEATER OF THE ABSURD

    The flap in Portland over the naming of a street for Cesar Chavez is much ado about nothing.  Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks did not live their exemplary lives to have a street named in their honor.  They each lived their lives so that a person would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
    The debate over this issue trivializes the life of a great leader.  And it diminishes the attention that needs to be paid to larger issues of social and economic justice in Portland, the state of Oregon and the nation.  Frankly, it's time to get over it and deal with the substantive not merely symbolic issues. 
    Do the handpicked or self-appointed "leaders" of the Latino community up in arms about his issue represent the interests of those who are cooks or servers in area restaurants, those who work as domestic workers in local hotels or colleges, those who harvest the products on the farms near us or those who work in the construction industry?
   There is a national debate over whether resident aliens, legal or illegal, should have a driver's license.  When Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner in the Democratic party race for the presidential nomination, can simply say "NO" to the answer of whether aliens should have access to a driver's license aren't we letting her off the hook?
    Our own Governor has made the case for some type of "special" or "provisional" license for part-time residents.  That makes a lot of sense.  After all, do we really want people driving around in Portland or the metro suburbs without a driver's licence?  How are they going to get to work? 
    RAD lives in Washington County the home of thousands of Latinos, native born Oregonians and resident aliens, both legal and illegal.  I want to know there is some assurance that the person driving a car, truck or tractor on highway 47 or 26 has some concept of how to drive safely and what the rules of the road are.
    Given the hysteria over the immigration issue it's easy to demagogue the issue by just saying "NO".  But unless Hillary Clinton and her Republican opponents join Barack Obama in a reality check - just saying "NO" is really a code word for racism not unlike Richard Nixon's use of the phrase "law and order" in the 1968 presidential campaign.  
    So if the city council of Portland and Latino leaders want to step up - pick a truly important issue.  In the meantime, how about re-naming Portland's Park Blocks as Cesar Chavez Park Blocks?   No addresses need to be changed, no street signs need to be changed.
    It's time the adults ended this food fight!