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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

 

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it. 

- Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

Case-for-Trump-over-Clinton-is-a-loser

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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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#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
Jul012007

IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST

images%2011-07-30.jpgExcerpts from article by Bruce Fein, Impeach Cheney, from Slate.com, June 27, 2007                                                             "...The vice president has run utterly amok and must be stopped. Under Dick Cheney, the office of the vice president has been transformed from a tiny acorn into an unprecedented giant oak. In grasping and exercising presidential powers, Cheney has dulled political accountability and concocted theories for evading the law and Constitution that would have embarrassed King George III.

    The most recent invention we know of is the vice president's insistence that an executive order governing the handling of classified information in the executive branch does not reach his office because he also serves as president of the Senate. In other words, the vice president is a unique legislative-executive creature standing above and beyond the Constitution.
    The House judiciary committee should commence an impeachment inquiry. As Alexander Hamilton advised in the Federalist Papers, an impeachable offense is a political crime against the nation. Cheney's multiple crimes against the Constitution clearly qualify. Impeach Cheney. The vice president has run utterly amok and must be stopped..."
    Editor's Note:  While Fein does an excellent job of offering the particulars about how the VP has run roughshod over The Constitution and thus deserves the fate of being impeached, the argument that Dubya is the unwitting tool of the VP, or Rummy and/or Condi et al is too simplistic.
    Critics of Ronald Reagan also fell into the same trap, assuming The Great Communicator was often asleep at the switch to be blamed of things like Iran/Contra.  And sure enough, lower figures in that administration took the 'hits' for Iran/Contra - Ollie North, John Poindexter et al.
    The question is not what did the President know and when did he know it - but why did he cede such power to the VP?  But ultimately, as Harry Truman said "the buck stops here" - in the Oval office.  Delegating decision-making details to the VP does not mean Dubya did so without his knowledge but precisely the opposite.
    The President has a management style (learned God forbid at Yale) of delegating to others.  But before anything is done in the West Wing - the "Decider" sign off - just like Nixon did with Ehrlichman and Haldeman.  His public statements clearly shows he embraces the decisions made by underlinings in his names.
    While the "devil is in the details" Presidential culpability goes all the way up the chain of command to "The Decider-in-Chief" - so Dubya cannot claim the Reagan doctrine of plausible deniablity.  So, yes - impeach Cheney first, then go after the "Decider."
 

Saturday
Jun302007

LIES, DAMN LIES AND DUBYA

   EDITOR'S NOTE:  Hearing President Bush drone on about the successes of the "surge" is not only unbelievable, it's the commission of an obscene lie which assaults our common sense and our troops.  My suggestion when the "Decider" appears on your local radio or TV station - hit the "OFF" button.  If it talks like a lame duck, walks like a lame duck, and looks like a lame duck - ah ha - it must be THE LAME DUCK...  
    By Juan Cole, Surging toward disaster in Iraq from Salon.com - thanks to my Canadian Connection (WM): 
    June 28, 2007 | Earlier this week Sen. Richard Lugar, the senior Republican from Indiana, dismissed the U.S. "surge" in Iraq as unlikely to succeed. He condemned any illusions about staying the course. "We have overestimated what the military can achieve, we have set goals that are unrealistic, and we have inadequately factored in the broader regional consequences of our actions," Lugar said from the Senate floor.
    His alarm has been illustrated by the difficulties the U.S. and Iraqi militaries faced in the recent offensive operation dubbed "Operation Arrowhead Ripper," aimed at subduing Baquba (pop. 300,000), the restive capital of Diyala province, located 31 miles northeast of Baghdad.
    American generals admitted that 80 percent of the guerrilla leadership there had slipped away, and that the Iraqi army lacked the equipment and training to hold areas taken in difficult hand-to-hand fighting. The U.S. military compounded its public-relations problem by implausibly branding virtually everyone it fought or killed in the Sunni-majority city as "al-Qaida."
    The failure of the offensive casts doubt not only on its purpose of securing swaths of territory, but also on the way the strategy has been sold to the American public. The Baquba push involves some 6,000 U.S. troops and 4,000 Iraqi ones. Despite the "white hats vs. black hats" imagery deployed by U.S. spokespersons, and the castigation of the enemy under the "al-Qaida" rubric, the operation clearly committed the United States to one side in a civil war.
    The Iraqi 5th Army, which is largely Shiite, was supported by special police commandos from the Ministry of the Interior, a Shiite force mostly drawn from the Badr Corps paramilitary of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council -- which was trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. In practical terms, the U.S. military was helping a Shiite government and a Shiite security force impose itself on a majority Sunni population.
    Ironically, the opposition now labeled "al-Qaida" is in reality a mix of enraged local Sunni tribes and Baathist "dead-enders," of which the Bush administration once spoke as being the predominant threat in Iraq. These Sunni Arabs had for the most part belonged to the Baath Party, and many had served in the Iraqi army, which fought the Iranians from 1980 to 1988. More recently, some have turned to Sunni fundamentalism.
    It is a bitter pill for them to swallow that they are now ruled by Shiites, who are a minority in Diyala province. The only time provincial elections have been held in Iraq, in January 2005, the Sunni Arabs boycotted them, allowing Shiite religious parties to take over the provincial and most municipal administrations. The police in Baquba have therefore been disproportionately Shiite, and Shiite militias such as the Badr Corps and the Mahdi Army have a strong presence.
    In mid-May, the Iraqi government relieved the 5th Army commander in Baquba, Brig. Gen. Shakir Hulail Hussein al-Kaabi, of his command. The U.S. military suspected him of seeking Shiite dominance in the mixed Diyala province, and of lending surreptitious support to Shiite militias and death squads while conducting punitive campaigns of his own against Sunni Arabs. After months of pressure from U.S. generals, the Shiite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki finally relented.
    The self-styled "Islamic State in Iraq," a fundamentalist Sunni group that hived off from the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and is often referred to in Iraq as "al-Qaida," allegedly controlled some Diyala cities and some neighborhoods of Baquba. There is reason to question the group's identification with al-Qaida, since its members are unlikely to have received instructions from the reclusive Osama bin Laden, nor is there good evidence they have pledged fealty to him.
    "Al-Qaida" here is shorthand for adherents of the Salafi Jihadi strain of Sunni radicalism. The Islamic State in Iraq issued a statement on the Internet on Monday, which was translated by the Open Source Center of the U.S. government. It boasted, "This is the fifth day that the Crusaders are suffering significantly in human and material losses. Soldiers of the Islamic State, may God protect them and their men, are spread out and stationed everywhere, at all entrances and exits of the areas leading to Al-Katun, Al-Mu'alimin, Al-Mafriq, and other areas and regions in Diyala Province."
    The statement attacked Iraqi allies of the U.S. military, including the Shiite Mahdi Army of the young cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Badr Brigades (which it stigmatized as the "Safavid Brigades," a way of smearing Badr as a mere cat's paw of Iran), declaring them defeated.
    It also targeted Sunni tribal militias loyal to Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, an indication of how sectarian fault lines in Iraq have been blurred. The group declared in its statement, "The strongest kinds of explosives are awaiting them on the streets and in the allies. Snipers of the Islamic State of Iraq are going ahead hunting down dozens of soldiers. They are in control of the high-rise buildings, and ambushes and traps are awaiting them everywhere."
    Other Sunni fundamentalist groups alleged to be fighting U.S. and the Iraqi army forces in Diyala province allegedly include the Ansar al-Sunnah Group, the Al-Mujahidin Army (Al-Jihad and Reformation Front) and the Monotheists' Army. Lumping all of these groups together with the "Islamic State of Iraq" as "al-Qaida" obviously does not reflect the complexity of the situation. It should also be noted that Baathist cells are also active in this area, but prefer not to advertise themselves on the Internet in the way that the fundamentalists do.
    Nevertheless, U.S. military spokesmen and journalists have tended to brand all the fighters as "al-Qaida," when in reality most of them are neighborhood Sunni young men with guns. There are dissenters from the hardliners, as well as some rival fundamentalist groups, such as the 1920 Revolution Brigades, and there has been Sunni-on-Sunni violence.
    American errors have given the Islamic State in Iraq propaganda victories. On the first day of the operation, the BBC reported that the United States had killed 12 civilians, including three women. Late last week, a U.S. air strike targeting a guerrilla safe house went awry when instead a residence was bombed, wounding 11 innocent civilians.
    Given that the leadership of the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement in Baquba and other nearby cities has eluded capture, and given that Sunni neighborhoods there will continue to chafe under Shiite rule, Operation Arrowhead Ripper is unlikely to achieve its goals of securing territory. According to recent reports, fleeing guerrillas were burying their munitions in expectation of returning to retrieve them in a few months, after American forces will have left.
    This Sunni-Shiite faction fighting is among the intractable problems that impelled Lugar to speak out this week. The senator has, throughout a long and distinguished career, looked history in the eye and coolly decided what the United States could reasonably hope to accomplish. He convinced President Ronald Reagan that supporting Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the face of Corazon Aquino's "people power" movement in the 1980s would be a fruitless and dangerous strategy for Washington.
    Now, he says with regard to Iraq, "I see no convincing evidence that Iraqis will make the compromises necessary to solidify a functioning government and society, even if we reduce violence to a point that allows for some political and economic normalcy." Certainly, peaceful coexistence across sectarian lines in the Diyala province seems a goal unlikely to be achieved in the near or medium term.
    Lugar also worries that the long and repeated deployments to Iraq are damaging U.S. military preparedness, and that the 2008 elections make it unlikely that the troop levels used for the surge can be maintained. Clearly he fears that Bush will push his military operations in Iraq as a panacea for the rest of his term in office -- and that Bush's successor will be pressured into a hasty and poorly thought-out withdrawal from Iraq. Lugar reasons that the United States is so dependent on Middle Eastern petroleum that such a scramble to exit may well imperil its energy security.
    Only by adopting a more realistic policy in Iraq immediately, Lugar argues, can the Bush administration potentially avoid an American rout two years down the road. Games of Whack-a-Mole like those being played in Diyala province at present are highly unlikely to deliver a decisive victory to the U.S. military or to its Iraqi allies. Bush may see himself as making a noble last stand, but Lugar looks at the president and sees Custer at Little Bighorn. And the senior senator's defection from the White House camp over the war signals a turning point in Republican support for the beleaguered president.
    RAD:  The only "realistic" policy for the US is to leave Iraq so the Iraqi people can sort out their own demons, we've done enough damage to them and to ourselves.  Enough is enough!  No more blood for oil or neo-con delusions.      

Friday
Jun292007

A SALEM POST-MORTEM

    According to the folks at CFM the Oregon legislature's "...adjournment will be followed by rival, conflicting accounts of how successful the 2007 session was. Democrats will tout achievements in expanding the Bottle Bill, establishing legal protections for domestic partnerships and encouraging increased reliance on renewable energy. Republicans will point to Democratic attempts to raise taxes, and their role in blocking most of them..."
    RAD's assessment is that despite HB 3551 going down, this was a good session.  The legislature created a rainy day fund, funded more state police, extended the smoking ban, increased funding for K-12 and higher ed along with sending a better tuned version of Measure 37 to the voters along with a Kid's Health Care referral.   But the GOP left partisan tread marks by playing its "no new taxes" game which will force the voters to do their work for them.
    However, compliments to the Democratic leadership of both Houses must be tempered by the reality that some important issues have been pushed off for another day - universal health care access, tax reform, updating Oregon's land use system and managing the Bottle Bill, each pushed off to task forces that won't make recommendations until the 2009 regular legislative session. 
    In the meantime, here's a summary of what the voters will face in the next two years according to CFM.  The next two years will be banner years for pollsters and consulting firms who make the big bucks in running ballot measure campaigns.  But it underscores how dysfunctional the legislature has become due to the role of partisanship and the 3/5s rule - the latter thanks to Gordan Smith!     
    November 6, 2007
    Measure 37 Modification - A yes vote would modify Measure 37, passed by voters in 2004 by:
    - Providing landowners with Measure 37 claims the right to build homes as compensation for land use restrictions imposed after they acquired their properties. Claimants are permitted to build up to three homes if previously allowed when they acquired their properties, four to 10 homes if they can document reductions in property values that justify additional homes, but may not build more than three homes on high-value farmlands, forest lands and groundwater-restricted lands;
    - Allowing claimants to transfer homebuilding rights upon sale or transfer of properties;
    - Extending rights to surviving spouses;
    - Authorizing future claims based on regulations that restrict residential uses of property or farm, forest practices; and
    - Disallowing claims for strip malls, mines and/or other commercial, industrial uses.
    Healthy Kids Plan - A yes vote would increase tobacco taxes to fund health care for Oregon children by:
    - Increasing Oregon's tobacco tax and dedicating the new revenue to providing health care for children, low-income adults and other medically underserved Oregonians, and to fund tobacco prevention and education programs;
    - Increasing the tax on cigarettes by 84.5 cents per pack, and increasing the tax on other tobacco products;
    - Funding the Healthy Kids Program created by the 2007 legislature to provide affordable health care for uninsured children; and
    - Funding tobacco prevention programs, safety net clinics, rural health care and health care for Oregon's low-income families and individuals through the Oregon Health Plan.
    School Elections - A yes vote would remedy provisions inserted by voters in the Oregon Constitution that violate the U.S. Constitution by deleting unenforceable provisions relating to voter eligibility including:
    - Requiring citizens to be 21 years of age to vote in school board elections;
    - Living in the school district for six months; and
    - Passing a literacy test to vote.
    May 6, 2008
    Civil Forfeitures - A yes vote would remove the Constitutional prohibition on civil forfeitures for property outside the scope of the fruits of the crime and allow:
    - Civil forfeiture of property for crimes that are substantially similar to crime of conviction; and
    - Allow the proceeds the proceeds from the civil forfeiture to be used for law enforcement purposes.
    Crime Victims - There are two constitutional referral measures related to crime victims that amend the crime victim's "Bill of Rights" in the Oregon Constitution.   A yes vote would provide crime victims:
    - A yes vote on the first would allow crime victims access to courts to enforce existing constitutional rights regarding participation, restitution in criminal prosecutions/juvenile delinquency proceedings; authorizes implementing legislation.
    - A yes vote on the second would allow crime victims access to courts to enforce constitutional rights protecting victims from offenders throughout criminal prosecutions or juvenile delinquency proceedings.
    November 6, 2008
    Double Majority - A yes vote would:
    - Remove the current legal requirement that 50 percent of voters participate in an election (except general elections in even-numbered years) in order to pass local property tax measures to raise money for schools, police, libraries, parks or other local government services; and instead
    - Require a simply majority for approval with no voter turnout requirement.
    Redistricting - A yes vote would change the redistricting process in Oregon whereby House and Senate district lines are amended based on census data every 10 years by:
    - Delaying the implementation of the redistricting changes to allow Representatives and Senators to continue serving districts through the end of their term, when new district lines place them outside their elected district.
    RAD:  But the fun and games will continue after the special session in February 2008.  As noted above the Westlund/Bates "conceptual" universal health care bill which passed with large majorities will be fleshed out over the next year and then be taken to the '09 legislature for approval.
    Unless the Ds get a working majority of 3/5s in both Houses and elect another Democrat as governor in '08 - the politics of gridlock or partisanship very well could raise its ugly face again especially given the retirement of so many incumbents over the next year. 
    We've been down this rickety political road before with the Katz Plan - The Educational Act for the 21st Century.  What ever happened to the CIM and CAM?  One hopes health care reform won't meet a similar fate but with a new team in town in '09 and many new faces - who knows what will happen, "only the shadow knows" and he's not talking! 
    PS:  Keep in mind these legislative referrals will be augmented by initiatives put on the ballot by the likes of Bill Sizemore et al fronted by out of state money.  Politics never takes a holiday in Oregon just because the legislature is adjourned!   

Thursday
Jun282007

POTPOURI

    Rip City:  Blazer fans are agog about the selection of #1 pick Greg Oden from Ohio State.  Fans should remember that the glory days of the Walton era ended in '78 when Bill was injured.  In the post-Walton era, the early '90s, the Blazers lost to Detroit and Chicago.  Since that time it's been slim pickings.  Remember the Sam Bowie era ended with a similar injury. The game is played on the court not in the media spin machine.  But hope is on the horizon. 
    The West Wing:  "...Bush may see himself as making a noble last stand, but [Senator Richard] Lugar [R, Indiana and Chair of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee] looks at the president and sees Custer at Little Bighorn. And the senior senator's defection from the White House camp over the war signals a turning point in Republican support for the beleaguered president..."  from - Surging toward disaster in Iraq, by Juan Cole on Salon.com
    The Senate:  The defeat of the immigration bill today is a huge defeat for President Bush, but it is also an implicit admission by the Congress that there is no will to deal with this issue aside from a de facto policy of "don't ask, don't tell."  By endorsing the status quo the Congress is acknowledging the dirty little secret  that immigrant workers, legal and illegal, are the necessary lumpen proletariat of American capitalism - much as immigrant workers from Europe and Asia in 19th century industrial capitalism were the cheap labor of that era. 
    The Supremes:  By its 5 to 4 vote on school segregation in Seattle et al, the Roberts court has given us notice that it intends to turn the constitutional clock back to the 19th century.  By prohibiting racial balancing as a mode of achieving desegregation in public schools, the court is eroding the precedent of Brown vs. Board and turning the clock back to the concept of separate but equal under Plessy vs. Ferguson.  By this act of conservative judicial activism the court has sent a clear message that should cause us all to shudder. 

Wednesday
Jun272007

THERE IS NO "SINE DIE" FOR THE HOMELESS

    RAD's sources on the affordable housing front in Salem have notified me of the bad news.  House Bill 3551 is officially dead. Representative Wayne Scott (R-Canby), the House Minority Leader, met with Speaker Jeff Merkley (D-Portland), the House Majority Leader and promised that Republicans would continue to lock up against the document recording fee. In a deal to collectively work towards sine die, House Democrats agreed to not force another vote on House Bill 3551.
cameron.jpg     So the big ticket item for housing advocates which would have added @ $70 million dollars in 2007-09 to the Housing Trust Fund, currently at $25 million, is now officially dead.
    However, some good things came out of the session for affordable housing thanks to a good economy, Guv Ted and a tough vote on mobile home tenant protection: 
    SB 5517:  The Housing and Community Services budget passed. This budget contains $16 million in new revenue to build housing plus services for people coming out of homelessness and represents a huge win for very low income populations. It also includes $8 million in new funds to support the preservation of affordable housing.
    HB 3201:  The "omnibus tax credit bill" passed and increases the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit cap or limit to $13 million and allows the credit to be used to support preservation of affordable housing and purchase of manufactured home parks in addition to its current use to support the development of new rental housing.
    HB 3186:  This expands protections to tenants in properties converting to condominium. Along these same lines HB 2735 offers help to mobile home tenants by offering up to $9000 from their landlord when a park is redeveloped - converted to new uses. 
    But make no mistake about it - the Republican leadership in the House has stifled, for now, the biggest chance we've had since 1991 to do something truly historic to address the affordable housing crisis in Oregon. Ironically, most of these House Rs represent rural Oregon which would disproportionately have benefited from HB 3551.
    Communities in the "other" Oregon have fewer local resources than those of us in the metro area.  So by choosing to vote along partisan lines, all but two House Rs knuckled under to their leadership rather than represent the long term interests of their constituents. 
    The Democratic leadership is interested in pursuing a solution to the affordable housing crisis in the one month session coming up February 2008.  But they will still have to deal with a bunkered in GOP legislators whose leaders prefer sound bite politics over doing the right thing.  So time will tell.  
    It's hard to judge what might happen in the February special session since this is an experimental annual session.  One possibility is to submit HB 3551 as a constitutional amendment referral which requires only a majority vote in both houses.  This would then be up for a vote in November of '08 - a high turnout presidential election year. 
    But the math of this defeat makes it very clear - until the Democrats have solid control of the House - 3/5s, not just a majority - the GOP will be able to frustrate progressive legislation across the board - on health care, housing and many other human resources issue.  So the battle call for '08 is clear for progressives -  send the Rs home!
    In the meantime, the homeless and the most vulnerable must wait again for conscience to trump politics.  There is no sine die to poverty.  And as Governor Barbara Roberts said in '91 after the passage of Measure 5 - "people will die" because of its passage. 
    Well - people will end on the streets and some will die in the coming winter in Oregon while the legislature meets - largely due to the GOP's "no new taxes" pledge.  Remember that when you vote from now on!   On the national scene the GOP has given us a never ending war; on the home front - the back of their collective hands to the poor among us.
    That tells you all you need to know about the family values of so-called "compassionate conservatives" in DC or Salem!  But while RAD is heart sick over this, my motto for '08 and beyond - is RFK's motto - "don't get mad, get even."  In the meantime, remember homelessness and poverty, like death, never take a holiday.