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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 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Wednesday
Jan162008

BUSH HEALTH CARE LEGACY

Jim Hightower, Commentary, January 16, 2008
    George W, a devout worshipper at the alter of corporate ideology, believes it is sinful for modest-income families to get health coverage through the government.
    Thus, he is now telling state officials in Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and elsewhere that they cannot expand their Medicaid programs to reach millions of uninsured folks. Technically, these families are not poor, yet their limited paychecks are eaten up by the basics of rent, utilities, food, clothing, and gasoline – so they don't have private insurance.
    Tough luck, George declares, piously insisting that any expansion of Medicaid to meet the needs of these people would "crowd out" private insurance corporations, and we can't have that. In his mind, market ideology trumps human need.

    Astonishingly, the Bushites insist that this ban on state action "demonstrates the president's compassion." Say what? Well, declares a White House PR flack, Bush "wants to direct scarce tax dollars to those with the greatest needs."
    How touching. However, there are several flaws in the president's ideological stand.
    First, helping the near-poor would not take any dollars from the poor – it's an expansion of the program.
    Second, how ironic that the Bushites would mention "scarce" tax dollars, since they're the ones who've made them scarce with their misbegotten Iraq occupation and their tax giveaways to the super-rich.
    Third, leaving people without health coverage is a proven tax drain, since they must resort to expensive emergency rooms when their families fall ill.
    Besides, Bush's ideological purity is nothing but bovine excrement. Notice that while he is denying government-financed health care to hard-hit working families, he finds no sin in using scarce tax dollars to provide-platinum level health care for his own family, even though he's a multi-millionaire with no need for government support.
    "Curtailing Bids to Expand Medicaid Rolls," New York Times, January 4, 2008.
    PS.  Bush push on this issue shows his inconsistency as a so-called conservative.  I thought the GOP crowd believed in states taking the lead rather than the big bad feds.  This illustrates that Bush is really a "corporate" big government conservative masquerading as a "compassionate" conservative.   

Tuesday
Jan152008

PUTTING OREGON IN PLAY

    Robert M. Eisinger, "Is this the year Oregon matters?", Monday, January 14, 2008, Oregonian
    The political process we have now seen in Iowa and New Hampshire is significant to Oregonians precisely because the retail politicking and personalized appeals we've witnessed in those states are completely foreign to the Pacific Northwest, especially since the advent of vote-by-mail elections.
    Iowa's messy caucus process is not exactly the democracy that the founding fathers had in mind. But then again, neither is the notion of a two-party system (noticeably absent from the Constitution) or, for that matter, the concept of ballots, referenda and voting via the postal system.
    And yet the citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire take their politics seriously. Why? Because their votes ostensibly count more than ours. Their caucus and primary dates are earlier than Oregon's -- now set for May 20 -- but more importantly, the small size and rural nature of these early states allow presidential candidates to navigate them with relative ease.
    With amazing consistency, pre-election polls in New Hampshire showed Sen. Barack Obama defeating Sen. Hillary Clinton. The polls, of course, were wrong, as were the pundits who interpreted, extrapolated and opined in a 24/7 news cycle that has become part of the political junkie's diet.
    Six months ago, many of those same pundits declared Sen. John McCain's candidacy moribund. His campaign had overspent on consultants, and the candidate himself sounded adrift and indifferent. But now, after his New Hampshire victory, McCain's journey to the White House appears to be more viable than ever.
    So how do the results from Iowa and New Hampshire affect Oregonians and the other late players in the electoral process? For political junkies and the disinterested alike, it's now more likely than ever that the Oregon primary may become significant in determining both the Democratic and Republican nominee.
    Why? Simple arithmetic.
    None of the top-finishing candidates so far -- Sens. Clinton, Obama and McCain and former Govs. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney -- has yet to receive a majority of the votes cast.
    Among the Democrats, former Sen. John Edwards continues to receive a sizable plurality of votes. If Edwards continues to do so, his votes, and by default his delegates, will be critically important when the Democrats gather in Denver this summer at their quadrennial convention .
    Among the Republicans, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, once the leader in national polls, has engaged in a peculiar strategy of ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire. Time will tell if that proves to be a fatally flawed plan or prescient beyond the pundits' imagination. Simply put, if he fails to win in Florida, his campaign is almost surely over. If he succeeds there, then he, like Edwards, will be pulling votes -- and delegates -- away from any clear GOP front-runner.
    Imagine the following (plausible) scenario:
    On the Republican side, Huckabee and Romney each procure about 15 percent to 30 percent of the vote in the next few primaries, with McCain winning slightly more, say between 34 percent and 42 percent. Suppose also that Giuliani remains a wild card -- he's either an ace in the hole or nothing more than the three of hearts.
    The thought of a brokered convention is often mentioned by the same pundits who erroneously foresaw Romney and Obama victories, but unless one candidate runs the table of primaries (a seemingly unlikely prospect) or a major one drops out (Huckabee?) and endorses another (McCain?), the GOP is in for a long, arduous ride.
    There's an even more plausible scenario on the Democratic side. Suppose that Edwards continues to garner somewhere between 15 percent and 25 percent of the primary electorate.
    The horse race between Obama and Clinton would then likely endure, with each candidate likely delivering ever more meaty policy addresses, scripted and polished by the likes of political heavyweights such as former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart and Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The campaign spin-meisters analyze the speeches as the public tunes in and out, trying to discern which candidate can defeat the most viable Republican.
    Both Obama and Clinton would gain and lose momentum with each close victory or defeat. On Super Tuesday, say Clinton wins New York, New Jersey and California, while Obama wins Illinois, Massachusetts and Tennessee. The delegate count would favor Clinton, but not by that much.
    As the horse race enters the back stretch, each candidate might announce endorsements from union officials and prominent public officials. Imagine the Obama movement growing, along with a groundswell of support for Clinton.
    Then, all of a sudden, Oregon's late May primary is around the corner. Iowa and New Hampshire's early, retail, intimate voting process is far removed from Oregon's sterile, anonymous vote-by-mail system.
    But unless one of the front-runners distances himself or herself in the next three or four weeks, we Oregonians may hear and see -- up close and personal -- a few political characters who currently remain only television personalities.
    If so, we latecomers may just decide who will become the next president of the United States.
    Robert M. Eisinger is an associate professor of political science at Lewis & Clark College. 
    RAD:  Oregon used to play a key role in decades past when our primary was a week ahead of the California primary.  In 1964 Nelson Rockefeller beat Barry Goldwater halting the momentum of the eventual GOP nominee.  In 1968 Gene McCarthy beat Robert F. Kennedy.  In 1976 Jimmy Carter's charge was slowed by Mo Udall, Frank Church and Jerry Brown who ended in a 4 way tie!  In 1988 Mike Dukakis won Oregon but Jesse Jackson made his best showing earning 35% of the vote.  Go figure!  Who knows, it may happen again.  With Romney's win in Michigan tonight the GOP race is a total scramble.  And if Nevada ends in a 3 way tie on Saturday - the race for the gold will move on to South Carolina which sets up well for Obama. 

 

Monday
Jan142008

DR. STRANGELOVE, AGAIN?

    Jim Hightower, "The Permanent War,"  January 14, 2008
    Want the U.S. out of Iraq before year's end? Or maybe next year? Or even four years from now?  If George W and his backers have their way, you can forget about any timetables for withdrawal.
    During the holiday hiatus at the end of last year, Bush quietly noted that he and the current leaders of the Iraqi government had agreed to what he called an “enduring” relationship that would keep American troops and our money in that country for a long, long time.

    How long? Bush’s general, David Petraeus, who was sent to Iraq last year with a surge of more troops to produce quick results, has now said that a 50-year U.S. presence there would be a “realistic assessment.” And, indeed, well before the surge, the Pentagon was building a dozen permanent American bases in Iraq.  
    Then comes Sen. John McCain, a big backer of Bush’s surge, declaring that he supports an ongoing occupation and permanent military bases there. He even has a fantasy that you and I would be happy with that, declaring:
    “I don’t think Americans are concerned if we’re there for 100 years or 1,000 years or 10,000 years,” as long as we don’t have too many troop deaths.
    Aside from Bush, Buckshot Cheney, and Halliburton executives, what “Americans” is McCain talking about?
    Even with deaths in Iraq down in the past few weeks, polls consistently show that the public overwhelmingly thinks this occupation is a horrible mistake, that Bush is doing a poor job, and that we need a short timetable for withdrawal.         Also, does McCain really think Americans want endless trillions of our tax dollars thrown down the bottomless hole of that divided country? There are a few more important needs to spend money on in our country.
    We the People must demand not only the quick withdrawal of all of our troops from the deadly sectarian violence of this civil war, but also the defunding of permanent American bases in Iraq.
    “McCain’s Imperial Plan,” www.americanprogressaction.org , January 7, 2008
    PS:  John McCain is not the only presidential candidate who has talked about a permanent US presence in Iraq.                                         Hillary Clinton on  Sept. 23, 2005, after meeting with anti-war Mom Cindy Sheehan said - "I happen to think that fighting for freedom is a noble cause. There are lots of things wrong with how Bush did it. I believe we should have gone through with the inspection process and acted through the U.N. But I believe that standing up against someone as dangerous as Saddam was a good goal.”
    RAD:  When Slick Willie was president the Bush/Powell No Fly Zone regime was in place.  One assumes given Hillary's role as the "co-president" that she concurred in restraint then.  Why did she change her mind in 2002?  Answer, the politics of 9/11 - she is the Senator from NY after all.  Duh. 
    Hillary also rebuffed Sheehan's demand that she lead the charge to get the U.S. out of Iraq ASAP.  "I think it is a much more complicated situation," Clinton explained. "I don’t think it’s the right time to withdraw."
    RAD:  If Iraq was "more complicated" in 2005 what has made it less so in 2008? 
    Hillary has triangulated her way around the war in Iraq since her ill fated vote in favor of the war in 2002.  Her late term conversion since the New Hampshire primary calling for an immediate withdrawal appears to be another triangulation.
    If elected president what would she really do if faced with generals who say the surge has worked?  We know how Bill gave in to Colin Powell on gays in the military in 1993 - "don't ask, don't tell." 
    What will Hillary do on her watch when the issue is not PC, but when the military industrial complex comes calling?  Will she triangulate and do a "Condi Rice?"   

Sunday
Jan132008

WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?

THE GENDER CARD
    The contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is getting rough and tumble.  If the battle in the Democratic Party comes down to gender and racial politics - nobody in the Democratic Party wins.  
    As syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman noted, "Clinton said she found her voice in New Hampshire.  But she also found that very narrow line that women still have to walk.  Hillary got her groove back."  
    But playing the gender card is risky business, just as is the race card.  While Hillary Clinton may have reversed the 'mo' in New Hampshire from to Iowa - she may risk the bigger prize down the road if she becomes the Democratic nominee.  
    We all know that Hillary has very high negatives.  Those outside the "cloistered halls" of feminist precincts have very mixed to very negative feelings toward Hillary.  She is the one candidate out there who would galvanize the GOP base regardless who the GOP nominates.    
    Barack Obama is broadening the base by bringing in young voters, independents and even some Republicans. As the son of a white mother and Kenyan father and raised by his white grandparents in Kansas, Barack has transcended the race issue so far. 
    One cannot say the same for Hillary Clinton who is playing an edgy political game using gender to morph a daughter and spouse of privilege into heroic victim.  No spouse in US history has had the presidential coattails of a former president spouse, let alone the co-president title! 
    It would be tragic for the Democrats if either gender or race became the dividing line as the campaign moves toward Superduper Tuesday on February 5th and beyond.  But the stakes are rising and along with it the risks of overplaying one's hand. 
    The contest between Hillary and Barack should not descend to the level of symbolic politics - a contest over the first women or first Black presidential nominee.  
    That kind of reductionism obscures the real issues - the war in Iraq, an economy sliding into recession, the loss of the American Dream highlighted by the sub prime housing scandal and the politics of corruption over the last 7 plus years.  
    Yes, the question is which candidate can be an effective agent of change. But to be such the next president will have to do what Bush said he would do but didn't - be a unifier not a divider.    
    Thus far Barack has appealed to our better angels while Hillary has staked her claim on the West Wing citing her "experience" with a hint that her quest for "the gold" is really an entitlement more than an earned reward.  
    As Professor Kingsfield in the movie Paper Chase might say - "you have to earn it, the old fashioned way."  Time will tell who has earned the gold. 

AGENTS OF CHANGE:  
    Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are involved in a political food fight a week before Martin Luther King day, January 21, 2008. 
    According to the NYTimes online Senator Clinton made the following comment which apparently has been taken by some as an insensitive comment about the revered leader's role in US history.   
    “I would point to the fact that that Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do…" she said.
    “That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became real in people’s lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it and actually got it accomplished.”
    Team Clinton has accused Team Obama of using Clinton's comments to play the race card.  Obama denies doing anything of the sort and terms Clinton's comments as "unfortunate."  
    This leaves it up to we the people to decide if there is anything to this issue or is the news media just adding fuel to the fire of an already heated political season.  
    LBJ has earned credit for getting the historical Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 passed. But LBJ was able to get the two civil rights acts passed because the Democrats won a landslide victory over Barry Goldwater and the GOP in 1964. 
    LBJ had the largest governing coalition in power that we had seen since the Great Depression.  Ironically, that is one of the difference between Hillary Clinton, a polarizing agent of change in the US and Barack Obama, who thus far seems to be reaching across all demographic lines in his quest for the presidency.  
    In that sense, Barack more than Hillary has the potential to bring the Democrats back to power like they were in 1964 when the Great Society programs were enacted.
    However, had it not been for Martin Luther King's leadership of the civil right's movement using non-violent resistance the dream of equal justice would have been derailed again.  It wasn't all about LBJ.  Both LBJ and JFK called for patience while Martin was caught up in the "the fierce urgency of now." 
    All social change in the USA whether it was - the abolition of slavery, the right of women to vote, the right of unions to organize, the abolishment of child labor, the creation of the minimum wage, the right of 18 year olds to vote - has been preceded by protest movements which pushed a reluctant establishment to do the right thing.  
    The civil rights revolution was no different.  It's history was born out of the slave revolts of colonial America, the taking of arms in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War by free Blacks, the Abolitionist Movement, the debate between B.T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, the work of the NACCP's Legal Defense Fund in the 1940s to Brown vs. Board in 1954 and finally the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the 1960s.  
    As a person who wrote her undergraduate theses at Wellesley College about the father of community organizers Saul Alinsky, the author of Rules for Radicals, Hillary knows that presidents don't operate in a vacuum.  They depend on others to shake up the status quo outside the corridors of power.
    During an interview by NBC's Tim Russet today Hillary Clinton praised King as one of the people she "admired most in the world," and suggested his record of activism stood in stark contrast to Obama's.
    Hillary's dig at Barack is outrageous!  If Hillary truly admired MLK, Jr. then she would applaud Barack Obama for becoming a community organizer after graduating from Yale Law School rather than becoming another legal shill for corporate USA.  
    Barack went into the mean streets of Chicago after leaving law school doing what Saul Alinsky did, Hillary by contrast headed to DC and has been "experienced" in the shadows of power all of her life.  
    Hillary went on to say - "Dr. King didn't just give speeches. He marched, he organized, he protested, he was gassed, he was beaten, he was jailed," she said, noting King had campaigned for Johnson because he recognized the need to elect a president who could enact civil rights into law.
    The comment he "didn't just give speeches" is a calculated disingenuous slam.  Barack was born August 4, 1961.  He wasn't alive when MLK, Jr. began his work in the mid-50s.  At the height of the Civil Rights movement, Barack was 3 years old!  It seems the not so "soft" side of Hillary is showing!  Maybe a bit of the "Goldwater Girl" still exists?  
    Hillary Clinton unlike Barack Obama benefitted from being a child of privilege attending prestitious Wellesley College and then Yale Law School  Her Republican family heritage and early convictions changed in college.
    There is nothing in her biography which suggests her embracing the protest politics of MLK, Jr. but instead she engaged in what has become her life long passion working on behalf of children within the inner sanctum of the academy or the law not on the streets or in tenement houses.
    There is no record of her being a protester, being gassed, beaten, or jailed unlike many of her generation!  Her rise to power has been via the conventional route one associates with the legal profession and well connected mentors at prestigious universities. 
    While Clinton praised Obama's eloquence and ability to deliver a soaring speech, she also stepped up her contention that his record did not match his rhetoric.
    She noted that while he had spoken out eloquently against the war in 2002 before coming to the Senate, he voted repeatedly to fund the war once in office.
    It is a sad reality of American politics that heroic leaders - like Wayne Morse (D, Oregon) and Ernest Gruening (D, Alaska) who voted against the war in Vietnam; and Mark Hatfield (R, Oregon) and George McGovern (D, S. Dakota) who voted against funding the war in VN - are the exception not the rule.  
    To remain politically "viable" both Barack and Hillary felt compelled to vote for funding of this war because a "no" vote is seen as a vote against the troops.  Lately, House Dems have cast brave votes to defund or set a timetable for the war in Iraq only to be foiled by Bush vetoes or Senate leadership.  
    Clinton went on to say - "If you are part of American political history, you know that speeches are essential to frame an issue, to inspire, and lift up," Clinton said. "But when the cameras are gone and when the lights are out, what happens next?"
    Great line, Hillary!  Where's the beef? 
    Clinton, who voted in favor of a 2002 Senate resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq, tangled with moderator Tim Russert over why she voted as she did.  She reiterated her contention that she had not voted for "pre-emptive war," even though the resolution clearly gave President Bush that authority.
    When asked whether she or Obama had exercised better judgment about the outcome of such an invasion, Clinton bristled.  "Judgment is not a single snapshot. Judgment is what you do across the course of your life," she said.
    We've become familiar with this line of defense.  However, she supported the war then and continues to do so.  Only when she "got her voice" in New Hampshire did she say she would bring the troops home now!  That contrasts to earlier statements supporting a permanent US position in Iraq. 
    So the question becomes - "who is the "real" Hillary?  The pro-war Hillary or the bring them home now Hillary?  The "soft" Hillary or the "hard edged" Hillary?  
    Clinton also said she would oppose any effort to maintain a heightened troop presence in Iraq, saying any improvements to the security situation there came because the Iraqi government is anticipating a change in administration.
    Good point.  But you didn't break the ice on this issue - a protesting Mother of a vet did - Cindy Sheehan.  Protest politics proceeded inside the beltway politics.  Hillary you came very late to the ball.  We know who the Cinderella is in this story.  You don't get the glass slipper here, Cindy does!
    Clinton claimed that "Part of the reason that the Iraqis are doing anything is because they see this election happening and they know that they don't have much time," she said. "They know the blank check George Bush gave them is about to be torn up."
    If elected president, she said would call on her military advisers to draw up plans to begin removing U.S. troops from Iraq within 60 days of taking office.
    Calling upon military advisers to "draw up plans to begin removing U.S. troops from Iraq within 60 days of taking office" is not the same thing as ending US occupation as of inaugural day January 20, 2009.  
    Hillary words are cleverly put "drawing", "begin", "within 60 days," - it reminds me of Bill's words - "It all depends on what the word "is" is."  
    If Hillary Clinton continues to play the gender card or use disingenuous arguments to achieve her goal - she risks becoming the Lady MacBeth of US politics.  That would be a disservice to her own life long work and those who admire her.
    In the meantime be careful of politicians who reinvent history - their own and ours! 

 

Saturday
Jan122008

THE HICK FACTOR

    By Floyd McKay/Commentary - "Not all men from Hope are ready to be president" 
    Two Men from Hope in a decade?  Don't start selling water from that little Arkansas town just yet; there are differences in its favorite sons.
    Mike Huckabee's life story — like Bill Clinton's — is inspiring, yet in many ways, Huckabee reflects the very qualities that have proved so troubling in George W. Bush. A total reliance on faith, even when faced with inconvenient facts, is unsettling.
    The different paths taken from Hope as young men are illustrative of important differences between former President Clinton and Huckabee.
    For Clinton it was Georgetown, a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, marriage to his brightest classmate at Yale Law, a return to Arkansas to take the political road.
    Huckabee never left Arkansas. He graduated from a small Baptist college 40 miles from Hope, married his high-school sweetheart, attended a Southern Baptist seminary and became a preacher. Ouachita (wash-i-taw) Baptist College is a respected small liberal-arts college, but Huckabee majored in Christian studies, linked to the conservative Southern Baptist creed.
    Both men became Arkansas governor and progressives in one of the nation's poorest states. Both became leaders among governors of their party. Both have a remarkable ability to relate to ordinary folk, to sell their message to the masses. Musicians both, they entertain as they preach.
    But the White House is a larger stage, and preparations to lead become more complex than the ability to preach.
It is risky to put too much emphasis on the education of a political leader — Harry S. Truman never attended college; George W. Bush was Yale and Harvard [grad]. 
    Bill Clinton's presidency was informed to a large degree by his grooming at Oxford and Yale. He was an international person, comfortable in cosmopolitan settings at home and abroad. He learned to challenge his advisers, to dig into briefing papers, and he brought to the task a fine liberal-arts background.
    As Clinton was broadened by his education, Huckabee was limited. He defends teaching creationism in the public schools. His religious studies at Ouchita and at seminary served to deepen his faith and expand his ability as a public speaker and promoter.
    While this is admirable in a minister, it should raise concern in a president who must deal with sophisticated leaders of the world as well as the United States. Even Jimmy Carter, whose education included the U.S. Naval Academy, was sometimes seen through the lens of his Southern Baptist upbringing rather than his broader outlook on the world. That may be unfair, but it is the real world.
    Perhaps it is a matter of class, as Timothy Egan suggests in a New York Times blog: Huckabee is a hick when viewed from Madison Avenue or Wall Street. Having exploited the "Wal-Mart Republicans" for eight years, big-bucks Republicans are forced to face one of "those people" knocking at the door.
    We know little about how Huckabee would approach complex matters, other than comments by Arkansas observers that he did not always seek opposing views. Certainly, his reliance on prisoners' self-proclaimed religious conversions led to some nasty results.
    America has paid a price for Bush's lack of intellectual curiosity, his passivity in engaging difficult issues, his reliance on faith and gut instincts. Bush's paucity of international travel experience and knowledge of the world put him at a disadvantage in dealing with world leaders, and frequently made him an object of scorn by internationalists. He wasted an expensive education; diplomas but no insights.
    The faith-driven decency and compassion of Mike Huckabee recommends him to public service, but the stakes in 2008 are huge, the size of the mess that needs cleaning is enormous, and somehow this man from Hope seems too narrow to make the grade.
    I'd like to think that voters will ultimately reject Huckabee for the reasons stated, but I fear his downfall will be for other reasons, having to do with the nature of the Republican Party coalition crafted by Bush and Karl Rove.
    There are, as many have observed, three Republican parties: traditional low-tax, small-government conservatives; the military-national security establishment; and the Christian conservatives. Huckabee comforts only the latter. Wall Street and global traders squirm in his presence; the militarists and neocons see no natural alliance.
    Republican money and media naturally flow to the traditional conservatives and the military-security cabal, and in the big primaries Huckabee will have trouble financing his message. I like the Huckabee who sticks his thumb in the eye of the Republican establishment, but I suspect it will have the last word.
    Floyd J. McKay, a journalism professor emeritus at Western Washington University, is a regular contributor to Seattle Times editorial pages.

    RAD:  Timothy Egan's suggestion that Wall Street looks at Huckabee as a  "hick" is precisely what Mike's supporters will feed off on the campaign trail.  That sentiment may very well earn the GOP power brokers the old Spiro Agnew line directed at the media in 1972, crafted by Bill Safire - "nattering nabobs of negativism."  
    I concur with Floyd's critique of Huckabee, but along with the prejudice directed at Romney because of his Mormon faith such non sequitors have no place in the debate over who the next president will be - anymore than the misogynist scream to Hillary Clinton - "iron my shirts."
    I suspect this type of chauvinism had a bit to do with mobilizing women to vote for Hillary this week.  And the "hick" slur may have the same effect in South Carolina and Michigan. Yes, I refer to Hillary as the "Queen Bee" as a metaphor for her being "controlling." 
    But perhaps we all should back off a bit on the metaphors and one-liners and leave them to Jay Leno, David Letterman et al.  They only debase political discourse in what is shaping up as the most important election since 1928 and sadly 2008 is beginning to look more and more like 1928...