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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

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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


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Sunday
Jan142007

MLK, Jr. - BREAKING THE SILENCE

    EDITOR'S NOTE: On April 4, 1967 Martin Lurther King, Jr. delivered the following speech, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City.  On the eve of our nation's day of remembrance of MLK,Jr. it's important to recall he was a peace advocate, not just a civil rights leader.
    Clergy & Laity Concerned was a major ecumenical force that legitimzed the opposition to the war in Vietnam at a time when the "peace movement" was isolated, fragmented and not as yet a mainstream political movement. That was certainly my experience as an peace activist and grad student at the University of Minnesota.
    It was King along with Gene McCarthy then Bobby Kennedy who helped build the social movement that became the anti-war movement of the late '60s early '70s.  That movement forced LBJ to not run for re-election in '68, forced Nixon to end the draft and de-Americanize the war in Vietnam and led to calls by Senators Mark Hatfield and George McGovern to defund the war machine. 
    Riverside Church in New York is a United Church of Christ (Congregational Church). It is the most pretigious mainline Protestant Church in the USA. William Sloane Coffin, himself a veteran of the anti-war movment, served as the head minister at this church in the mid '80s.  Coffin then went on to be the national director of SANE-FREEZE an anti-nuke organization. 
    Any coincidence between the Vietnam War era and the US invasion/occupation of Iraq and/or Afghanistan are in the eyes of the beholder. But while you read King's speech - ask yourself - what would Martin say today about this generation's war?
    PS: I've taken the liberty to break up rather long paragraphs for a blog without changing the text. Speech website: http://www.ssc.msu.edu/~sw/mlk/brkslnc.htm
images.jpg    The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. -
    I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam.
    The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.
    The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war.
    Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.
    Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.
    And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history.
    Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.
    Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path.
    At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask?
    And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
    In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church -- the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate -- leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.
    I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.
    Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem.
    While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.
    Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.
The Importance of Vietnam
    Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision.
    There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program.
    There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube.
    So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
    Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population.
    We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools.
    So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.
    My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems.
    I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted.
    Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government.
    For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
    For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America."
    We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

    Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over.
    So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.
    As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man."
    This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war.
    Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them?
    What then can I say to the "Vietcong" or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?
    Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God.
    Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.
    This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.
Strange Liberators
    And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.
    They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.
    Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not "ready" for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists.
    For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives. For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.
    Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.
    After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators -- our chosen man, Premier Diem.
    The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused.
    When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change -- especially in terms of their need for land and peace.
    The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy -- and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us -- not their fellow Vietnamese -- the real enemy.
    They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go -- primarily women and children and the aged.
    They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one "Vietcong"-inflicted injury.
    So far we may have killed a million of them -- mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.
    What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?
    Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?
    We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force -- the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?
    Now there is little left to build on -- save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.
    Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front -- that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south?
    What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the north" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land?
    Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.
    How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part?
    They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them -- the only party in real touch with the peasants.
    They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?
    Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
    So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now.
    In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies.
    It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.
    When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.
    Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north.
    He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.
    At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy.
    We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.
This Madness Must Cease
    Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted.
    I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.
    This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:
    "Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."
    If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations.
    If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.
    The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.
    In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:
    End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
    Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
    Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
    Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
    Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.
    Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front.
    Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary.
Protesting The War
    Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.
    As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one.
    Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
    There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing.
    The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa.
    We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.
    In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala.
    It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
    Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.
    I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
    A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway.
    True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.
    With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just."
    It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just."
    This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love.
    A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
    America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.
    This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations.
    These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice.
    We must with positive action seek to remove thosse conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.
The People Are Important
    These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light."
    We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries.
    This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated.
    Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every moutain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain."
    A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
    This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man.
    When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:
    Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
    Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.
    As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."
    We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs.
    We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.
    We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
    Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard?
    Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
    As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.

    RAD:  Amen Martin - it's tragic another generation has to learn the lesson the hard way!   

Friday
Jan122007

THE BANANA REPUBLIC OF THE USA

    When 70% of the American people oppose the Bush 'surge' policy in Iraq, it's time for leading GOP senators to visit the White House, like their counterparts in the Nixon era did, to inform Bush that the gig is up.  If the GOP rolls over, then the blood of 21,000 US soldiers and countless others will be on their hands.  When will the Bush/Cheney "national nightmare" be over?  When will the presidential junta that the Supreme Court put into power end?  When will democratic government return to the land of the free and the home of the brave?  If something like this does not happen then impeachment is the only alternative, unless you happen to be a cynical wannabe Democratic candidate for President in '08 who believes that the worse it gets the better for you.  Here's the question for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Chris Dodd et al - how many of your sons and daughters will be sacrificed on the alter of the 'surge'? 

Thursday
Jan112007

THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

   I was listening to NPR's Talk of the Nation program.  The moderator Neil Conant interviewed experts to assess the chances of success for the Bush 'surge' strategy.  Other than a brief talk with Senator Dick Durbin (D, Ill), the incoming chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, all of those interviewed have been involved in one form or another with the evolution and implementation of the failed Bush policy.
    If this is NPR's notion of fair and balanced reporting then the neo-cons have achieved a major PR victory by turning NPR into a mouth piece for so-called conventional wisdom which got us into the damn war.
    The central point of the so-called experts, all who acknowledged that the 'surge' strategy is high risk with no guarantee of success, is that the focus is to stabilize the political dynamics within Baghdad and Anwar province, neighborhood by neighborhood with a 24/7, as opposed to drive by, presence of US and Iraqi troops.
    Such a concept was tried and failed in Vietnam - the so-called strategic hamlet experiment.  So now we have a strategic neighborhood policy it seems. But the political dynamics which energize the insurgency and civil war in Iraq cannot be changed by such a policy.
    Embedding US troops with their Iraqi counterparts in 'at risk' neighborhoods simply gives the oppositional forces be it jihadits, sectarian militias, ethnic warlords or gangsters more visible targets.  It does nothing to move opposition forces in Iraq from using violence to achieve political goals as opposed to seeing "politics" an the antithesis to the power that comes from the barrel of a gun or the blast of a bomb.
    At the end of the day, all the various insurgents/terrorists have to do is wait us out whether the time table is 12, 18 or 24 months.
    If the government in the Green Zone was legitimate and an honest broker of the diverse elements which make up Iraq such a strategy might have made sense 3 years ago!  But not now.  This is mind bogglingly stupid.  But it's an illustration of how the "best and brightest" among us can be seduced into continuing a failed policy because they are committed to "realism" -  the refuge of covering their collective backsides, intellectually speaking. 
    A mother whose son is serving in Iraq called the program and said it clearly.  This must end, no more American soldiers must be sacrificed on the alter of such stupidity.  The refuge of "realism", even Senator Durbin defaults to it, is that the alternative to continuing the American occupation is the devolution of Iraq into a failed state.
    Well, I'm sorry our invading and occupying Iraq turned an authoritarian state into a failed state and a haven for terrorists.  As long as we are there it will continue its downward spiral and US soldiers will die. 
    The realistic and moral thing to do is to be honest that this war was wrong from the beginning and that there is no fix to this mess.  Thankfully for our soldiers, once they have been demobilized from Iraq, they will be safe.  Sadly, that will not be the case for the citizens of Iraq, that is those unlucky ones who can't get out.
    In the meantime, it would be nice for NPR to interview people like Christian Parenti, Robert Scheer or Nick Kristof who are not complicit in this failed policy. 

Thursday
Jan112007

DISINFORMATION

By Russell Sadler
    I spoke recently with a Republican legislator who was planning to vote for Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s increase in funding for public schools. She was having second thoughts because she was told that the additional money would do nothing to reduce class size because the teachers’ union would see it was all spent on teachers’ health benefits.
    This is not a reason to avoid appropriating more money to public education. It is an argument for the urgency of health care reform because this problem is not limited to education or public employees. The increasing cost of health benefits is a problem for the public and private sector alike.
    With the Democrats returned to power at both the state and federal levels, there is encouraging evidence that the urgent issue of health care reform and insurance coverage will  be taken seriously again. Even pragmatic Republicans like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger realize this issue cannot be ignored any longer. The Republican legislator I spoke with -- she is a relative newcomer -- was the victim of deliberate disinformation. The information she was given is a half-truth. I suspect it is part of a deliberate disinformation campaign to derail Kulongoski’s request for an increased appropriation for public education.
    There is no way of knowing now whether increased appropriations will be consumed by teachers’ health benefits. Teachers’ contracts are negotiated in each Oregon school district. Despite recent consolidations there are still around 300 school districts and that means there are 300 different ways of divvying up the pie.
    While the Oregon Education Association’s staff has some ideas about what priorities ought to be in each school district the actual negotiations more often than not reflect the wishes of the teachers and school board in each individual school district.
    If teachers feel co-payments and deductibles mean a substantial loss of real income because those costs must come then come from their take-home pay, then they might trade larger class sizes for health benefits. But of teachers in a particular school district feel classes are so large they cannot teach effectively, then they might trade changes in health benefits for more money for new hires to reduce class size. As things work now, those decisions are made school district by school district and those negotiations will come after the Legislature makes a decision to appropriate additional money to public schools.
    And that is really what galls many Republican legislators. They cannot understand why public school teachers cannot be told they will simply have to accept reduced health benefits, and the very real wage cuts they represent, just like private sector employees. Many Republicans resent the fact that public school teachers get to sit down and discuss these tradeoffs with the school board because teachers have a union to do it for them.
    For the last 16 years, Oregon Republicans really believed that if the legislature simply refused to give education more money, the teachers would eventually accept what private sector employees have come to accept. The Republicans lived in Fanstasyland.
    That is not going to happen without the repeal of Oregon’s Public Employee Collective Bargaining law, and Gov. Kulongoksi or any Democratic governor would veto any such attempt.
    There is a little history here that newcomers to Oregon need to know. Oregon’s public employees were very late in coming to the post-World War II prosperity party. While unionized private employees won large wage and benefit increases after World War II as the economy recovered from the Great Depression and the wage and price controls of the war, Oregon’s public employees were not even permitted to join unions and collectively bargain for wages, benefits and working conditions until 1973.
    Oregon still has employees -- including teachers -- who remember wages so low that they they qualified for food stamps and the arbitrary hiring and firing whims of school boards, principals and superintendents. Only one generation of Oregon public employees has retired on PERS and they all know older fellow employees who spent their retirement in penury.
    This is the reason that Oregon public employees cling to union models that “sophisticates” regard as relics of the Industrial Age. It also explains why Republican candidate Ron Saxton, who suggested firing all public employees and hiring them back at lower wages, lost in usually conservative counties like Marion -- which also has the largest concentration of public employees in the state.
    Oregon Republicans are going to have to relearn how to walk in the other guys’ shoes if they want to become a majority party again soon.
    Editor's Note:  Growing up in Roseburg in the '50s I remember the days when teachers pay was low and when they had no collective bargaining rights.  These were not good times for them, nor for schools.  Budgets were held hostage as well as salaries by a very parsimonious electorate and school boards. 
    But today is a different time and place.  While I have no brief for the GOP disinformation campaign RS refers to above, I also have no patience with teachers who have been empowered by collective bargaining who don't see the PR problems they run into when they insist on a benefits package that is better than private sector employees while still complaining about large class sizes.
    As a teacher, who suffered with low annual salaries in the higher ed private sector for most of my career compared to my public higher ed friends, I always knew there was a trade off in my quality of life as a professor in terms of on the job conditions. I had small class sizes and with my colleagues we managed the college including its budget.
    The trouble is that the industrial model of collective bargaining applied to steel mills, lumber mills and that genre of the economy does not fit well into education.  Teachers should be concerned about BOTH salaries and benefits BUT also about their working conditions - such as class sizes.  It shouldn't be a zero sum game.
    Now of course, school boards are complicit in this shell game too.  So yes, let's pay teacher well and they have a right - as all Americans - to good health care.  But let's not sacrifice the kids on the alter of collective bargaining agreements either. 

Wednesday
Jan102007

TO SURGE OR NOT TO SURGE?

    EDITOR'S NOTE:  I just suffered through listening to President Bush's speech on NPR.  It ruined a good nap!  So much for the Iraq Study Group, so much for the diplomatic offensive, so much for ending this nightmare by de-Americanizing the war/occupation.  Instead Bush insists on repeating, again and again the same failed strategy.  His speech requires no long winded exegesis.
    Allow me to offer insights into the mindset of our Prince of Darkness quoting excepts by Robert Scheer from his article for The Nation courtesy of the RAD Researcher.   Scheer's points are the bulleted sentences.  
    Bush's Theater of the Absurd, by Robert Scheer

  •     To surge or not to surge, that is the question. As our prince proposes, once again, to take arms against a sea of troubles, he responds not to the disaster that he has visited upon Iraq, but rather embraces a desperate strategy for salvaging what remains of his reign.
    RAD:  What remains of the Bush Presidency is the hollowness of his rhetoric and the poverty of this thinking!     
  •     To win, perchance to dream. Few Americans, a mere 17 percent, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC poll, think that sacrificing more Americans in patrols on the streets of Baghdad will reverse the slings and arrows of our outrageous Iraqi fortune, but giving a speech about it might provide our hapless Hamlet with some temporary political cover...

    RAD:  Such political cover is the refuge of a failed president who is willing to sacrifice more American soldiers on the alter of his presidential ego. 

  •     As for the speech's content, it is by necessity an exercise in the absurd, as the President previewed in his soliloquy for doubting Republican senators his conviction that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has had a profound change of heart. This radical Shiite leader, who only days ago turned over Saddam Hussein to the tender mercies of a mob chanting its allegiance to the even more fanatical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, now is expected to lead US troops in battle against his chief political ally and sponsor of much of Iraq's most deadly sectarian fighting.
  •     Even Bush must know by now that those fellows with whom he is in bed over there bear us nothing but hate. Speak not of the pangs of despised love.

    RAD:  The enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend.  Nouri al-Maliki is simply part of the problem along with Muqtada al-Sadr et al.  Unfortunately, Bush insists that this is our battle (and problem) - it's not, it's an Iraqi problem which only becomes a US problem because of our occupation

  •     That must give pause to the president's top advisers, but nonetheless they fail to confront the insolence of office that so fully characterizes this man. "Iraqis will take on this plan and lead it. We will be there to support them and be there to help them hold it," said one senior US official, who briefed the media offstage.

    RAD:  Yes, al-Maliki will take charge, just like he's done before.  He will sit behind the American protected Green Zone and give public pro-US pronouncements while making closed door concessions to his Shiite comrades. 

  •     But some in attendance did claim afterward to have demurred. "I expressed reservations," said Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican. "I said, 'Why should we expect any different result than previously,' that I didn't believe the Maliki government had demonstrated the political will or capacity or resoluteness for reconciliation, that the reason Americans are not supporting the war is because they see Iraqis fighting among themselves rather than for themselves, and I didn't see the surge addressing the root causes of the violence."

    RAD:  The only thing notable about Sen. Olympia Snowe is that her frustration masks her cowardice.  At the end of the day, she proves that being a women US Senator is trumped by being a Republican loyalist.  Any feminist out there who feels women in power can make a difference mistake such women with Cindy Sheehan.  Women in power are like men in power - they all suffer with feet of clay! 

  •     "He [Bush] seemed very confident," said Sen. Thad Cochran, a Republican from Mississippi. "I'm convinced he has come up with a proposal that he thinks will work." But Cochran confessed to feeling lonely in his faith: "I think I was the only senator who acted like he would be supportive. I was surprised that no one said it but me."

    RAD:  But at the end of the day, after a collective ringing of their hands will our legislative leaders do anything but wash their blood soaked hands by allowing the commander-in-chief to get away with such calumny?   

  •     No matter such temporal considerations, for Bush's preoccupation is the dread of something after the death of his presidency, when history will judge the calamity of his long political life and such judgment would likely bear the whips and scorns of time.

    RAD:  Scheer gives President Bush too much credit.  Bush does not have the intellectual capacity to think beyond the moment.  Unlike his predecessors, LBJ & Nixon, who knew their policies in Vietnam were failing but were unable to step away from the abyss, Bush is the most unreflective president in US history.   

  •     "I don't understand what he thinks is going on in Iraq, but whatever it is, he doesn't care about politics, or the Congress or his successor, when it comes to Iraq," offered Richard C. Holbrooke, a veteran of foreign debacles authored by a rival clan. "He wants to either win the war or, since that is an impossibility, pass it on to his successor."

    RAD:  Holbrooke has got it. This "Hail Mary Pass" is simply to delay the inevitable so that it becomes not merely a Bush failure but his successor's albatross.  As they say, misery loves company. 

  •     Will the Congress deny him? That is the question posed by Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, who only weeks before had withdrawn support for his leader's war: "What this sets up is a classic war powers confrontation between the White House and the Congress. Clearly he has the power to commit troops; the question is whether the Congress has the convictions to deny funding."

    RAD:  One hopes that the Congress will step up and be counted.  But RAD does not believe in miracles.  Inside the DC beltway reacting not being proactive is the way the game is played.  Let Bush stumble, then play the blame game during the '08 presidential campaign.   

  •     [Senator Smith] admitted to having no such convictions: "It would be a dishonorable thing to budget away the bullets." Better to spend them killing more of theirs and yours in an unworthy cause, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come, and, as the bard foretold, "Thus conscience does make cowards of us all." Ay, there's the rub.
    RAD:  So much for Senator Smith's conversion to being a peacenik!  I guess he'd rather budget away more soldier's lives under the pretext of voting for their bullets.  Shame, shame.  Senate Smith I've met Senator Hatfield and you clearly are NO Senator Hatfield - sadly Floyd McKay was right!