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On the lighter side of life... 

#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace


Trump & The Mob



"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."


Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax


Half of the US Is Broke


The myth of the Christian country


“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


A Just Peace


SIP contract online


Middle East friendship chart


Corporations enriching shareholders


- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry


Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks



"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%.  





  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:


  • Jim Hightower:

  • 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: 


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


    Connecting the dots between homelessness & hunger in Oregon and Washington County: 


•    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 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

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ



SB 1533 passes!


Housing Needs in Oregon 




#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace


"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


Obamacare is working in Oregon!

Oregon's uninsurance rate cut more than half following federal health reforms


Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel


Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 


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?  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



From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now

The Daily Kos

Blue Oregon


"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... 


    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   



     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 

















































    Editor's Note:  One of the hallmarks of Oregon's "good" and "open" government tradition has been the integrity and transparency of state agencies, from state employees to their elected CEOs. 
    However, the Department of Education (DOE) under State Superintendent Susan Castillo seems to be steering in very troubled waters when it comes to getting test results required under NCLB correctly scored. 
    Upon review DOE has had to adjust assessment scores for 2006-07 and earlier in the year reported a system failure with the computer based testing system which forced schools to move to paper-and-pencil tests. 
    A year or so ago there was also a story of the failure of the DOE to monitor a local school district's spending of state funds which occurred over several years at the cost of millions of dollars to Oregon taxpayers. 
    RAD has opined many times in this blog that "high stakes testing" is not good education and often leads to cheating by students, teachers and schools.  Now we find DOE may be part of the problem too. 
    RAD thinks it's time for Secretary of State Bill Bradbury to do an audit of DOE to examine these two incidents and to see if other management issues exist there.  As they say, where there is smoke, there is fire!  
    On September 24, 2007 the Oregon Department of Education sent out the following news release:
    SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced mixed results today for Oregon students performance on the 2006-07 assessment tests in reading, writing and math. Reading test scores showed modest improvement in every grade level, with 6th and 7th grades showing the most improvement. Math scores went down for 3rd, 4th and 5th grades and showed modest improvement or stayed the same in 6th through 10th grade. Writing scores were up slightly for 4th and 7th grades and stayed the same for 10th grade.
    This was the first year that assessments were administered under the new achievement standards (cut scores) for math and reading adopted by the State Board of Education earlier this year. For purposes of comparison, the 2005-06 data was recalculated using the new standards. The combination of raising the achievement standards in the same year we experienced the unanticipated switch to a paper-and-pencil assessment makes it difficult to identify what caused the elementary decline.
    “This is a significant year for our students and schools,” said Castillo. “The benchmark for achievement has been set. I have the utmost confidence that our students, educators and parents will rise to meet these expectations. We know that as schools fine tune their focus on reading and math as part of their work on implementing the new high school diploma requirements, students will make sustained improvements in these areas. I am committed to working with schools as we move forward to implement the new diploma requirements.”
    “We can be confident that the scores provide schools with a reliable tool as they continue to take strides in providing a rigorous and relevant education for each and every student,” said Castillo. “Our schools faced considerable hardship this year due to the last minute switch to paper-and-pencil. I am very proud of the hard work done everyday in our classrooms across the state. Oregon’s teachers have incredible commitment to their students and can take pride in the impact they have on student achievement.”
    Oregon tests students at grades 3-8 and tests high school students at grade 10 for math and reading. This year, students were not required to test in science due to the switch to the shortened paper-and-pencil test.
    Then on October 2, 2007 the Department sent out this press release:
    Oregon Department of Education to Revise School Report Card Formula to Ensure Fairness, Consistency
    SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced today that the Oregon Department of Education will adjust the report card formula by 2 points [lower] in the performance index scale and by 1 point [lower] in the improvement index scale to account for the impact of the use of a shorter test with fewer test items administered to students only one time. With many students having fewer opportunities to test last year and the state using a shorter test that measured very high and very low performing students less precisely, the Department chose to make a one-time adjustment to ensure that the report card ratings are fair and consistent.
    There were many changes in the assessment system during the 2006-07 school year, including a change in the achievement standards (cut scores), implementation of a new extended assessment, changes in the participation rules and a temporary switch to a short paper-and-pencil assessment. In spring 2007, the Oregon Department of Education notified school districts that it would consider a revision to the Report Card formula if a review of the data revealed a systematic issue [i.e. reporting errors]. Three circumstances are significantly different in this test administration from prior administrations:
    * Some students took a pencil and paper test for the first time.
    * Many students had only one opportunity to take the test.
    * The test provided 30 items (short version) to allow administration during one test period.
    This number of items is statistically sufficient to yield an overall valid score but does not allow the same number of test items at the high and low ends of the performance scale.
    RAD:  What these press releases obfuscated is that not only was there a counting error, attributed to a computer coding error, but that state wide results were neither "reliable" despite Castillo's assurance above nor accurate or as high as initially reported.  Why is RAD not surprised? 
    Oregonian reporter Betsy Hammond's article "Oregon get downgraded for scoring tests wrong" in the October 3rd Metro section reported that "The Oregon Department of Education flunked its own accuracy test last week."  Hammond's article notes that the "...biggest error came in third-grade reading..." which saw scores dip by 2 points.
    But the reporting error turns out to be more serious because  "...nearly 100 elementary and middle schools, passing rates on state reading tests were actually 5 or even 10 percentage points lower than the state reported.  Sixty schools scored at least 5 percentage points worse than first reported in math or writing or both..."  
    While the pointy heads in DOE have taken responsibly for the error, what if this is just the tip of the iceberg?  In computer lingo what if this is another case of "garbage in, garbage out" - bad data leading to false analysis?  Yes, it's time for Secretary of State Bill Bradbury to see who's minding the store in Oregon's DOE! 




    RAD is very thankful for National Public Radio.  If one relies on local commercial radio for news and analysis you are besieged by local and national voices of Right Wing talk show wackos screaming their paranoid invectives at that "vast left wing" conspiracy called the Democratic Party.
    Aside from one radio station in the Portland AM media market which host's Air America (which RAD can't stand either) you are hostage to a virtual monopoly of right wing propaganda on your local radio dial.  Whatever happened to the FCC's fairness doctrine?
    What happened to the responsibility to provide fair and balanced coverage?  Increasingly ownership of media outlets are absentee corporate moguls.  But in Portland the two dominant talk show stations are owned by "locals" - so what's their excuse?  In the People's Republic of Portland it can't be audience share. 
    So aside from listening to Bob Miller, Clark Howard, the Music of Your Time, the M's or Husky games and/or local drive time weather/news on commercial AM radio, RAD just sets his dial to his favorite NPR station.  The marketplace is a wonderful thing - as long as we have non-commercial options on the air waves!
    If one travels outside any metro area, you have even less choice in parts of the country where cows or trees outnumber the humans.  Is a steady diet of right wing wacko talk show fodder in the "country" why the divide between rural and urban America is so huge?  If you hear the BIG LIE enough you begin to believe it.
    Being in the pre-I Pod generation when on a road trip RAD sticks it in the neo-con's "snood" by creating a "no right wing wacko radio free zone" by playing Garrison Keillor tapes and jazz CDs - until he can find NPR again!  The power of the turn off, seek or scan button is awesome! 




    By Jim Hightower, Wednesday, September 12, 2007
    Boom times! crowed George W as he hailed the latest economic report from the Census Bureau. “More of our citizens are doing better in this economy, with continued rising incomes," he exulted.

    But Bush – never an in-depth kind of guy – apparently didn’t probe beneath the happy-face surface numbers of the Census report. Those show that the median household income rose 0.7 percent last year.
    Before you order a new Maserati, however, you might want to peek at some sober realities beneath Bush’s boom-time fantasies.
    First, a 0.7 percent income rise for mid-level American families means they’re barely one step ahead of hard-charging inflation.
    Second, “median income” means that half of Americans are doing worse than that.
    Third, while Bush pats himself on the back, note that last year’s median household income still was $1,000 less than the year before George took office. Not progress.
    Fourth, the modest rise in household incomes was not because of people getting bigger paychecks, but because more of the family members had to get jobs to help make ends meet.
    The median incomes of working-age households (those younger than 65) were two percent lower last year than when the Bushites took power.
    Here’s the statistics that Bush & Company really don’t want you to see: the only households whose incomes have actually increased while Bush has been in office are those in the wealthiest five percent of families – and especially those fortunate few in the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent.
    Meanwhile, the numbers of people without health-care coverage rose by more than two million last year. Now, 47 million Americans are without coverage, including nearly 9 million children. Yet, Bush is opposing an expansion of health coverage for children.
    Rather than hailing the new data, an honest president would hang his head in shame.
    Editor's Note:  Dubya's veto of the SCHIPs bill which would expand health insurance to include middle income kids who don't have coverage shows how "uncompassionate" a conservative Bush really is.  But then again it's a classic guns and butter trade!  And we all know where "the decider" stands on that continuum! 



    By Floyd J. McKay / Guest columnist, "Canada, U.S. should break the ice on Northwest Passage standoff," for Seattle Times, October 3, 2007
A Canadian flag flies from a snowmobile as military personnel gather during a sovereignty patrol on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. Photo by Jeff McIntosh/AP
Those nice, polite Canadians
    Why, back in 1969, when the United States wanted to make a big point of sending a ship through the Northwest Passage in the far, frozen Arctic, those Canadians insisted that they were happy to grant permission; they even sent an icebreaker to assist!
    The Americans were up to no good, from a Canadian viewpoint, they were attempting to assert the right to travel the legendary Passage in an ice-strengthened oil tanker. And the Canadians were using their politeness to insist they have the right to control passage in the Passage.
    That standoff is important nearly 40 years later, as the inexorable melting of the polar ice cap due to global warming opens up the Passage for a brief summer window, with the prospect of more in coming years.
    Our Canadian neighbors are beginning to worry about control of that frozen wasteland, a polar archipelago made up of 19,000 islands stretching from the Canadian mainland to the North Pole. It's a big story in Canadian newspapers.
    The Northwest Passage figures in all histories of North America. Early explorers searched for a northern sea route linking Europe to Asia's rich trading potential. The thick, unyielding ice turned them back.
    Arctic sea ice has lost 25 percent of its area in the past three decades, and the ice sheet has thinned by 32 to 40 percent, scientists report. The U.S. Navy predicts that the Passage will soon be open at least one month each summer to non-ice-strengthened vessels, which could cut 40 percent off a trip through the Panama Canal.
    Global warming will open opportunities and challenges for both Canada and Russia; there is a Northern Passage around the northern tip of Russia that has similar benefits to the Northwest Passage.
    There is also oil beneath them thar frozen seas — probably a lot of it, although it will be expensive to develop. Oil, whether drilling or shipping, raises issues well beyond economic benefits. They include environmental threats in a fragile area, expansion of the northern fishery, impact on native culture, and threats to national security.
    Since we can hardly count on easy negotiations — let alone concessions — from Russia, the U.S. will look to Canada for an agreement on use of the Northwest Passage.
    The two nations, among the world's closest allies, do not agree on sovereignty of the Passage, and some sticky diplomacy lies ahead. It is vital that the Senate ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, sidelined 25 years ago by the Reagan administration but recently endorsed by President Bush.
    The land on either side of the water is clearly Canadian. But control of the waterway is disputed. The U.S. always protective of open shipping lanes, believes the Passage is an international strait connecting two expanses of high seas and used for international navigation.
    Canada has asserted a claim to everything between the 60th and 141st meridians of longitude, all the way to the North Pole, but this "sector" theory is not widely accepted. Canada may be on thicker ice with a 1970 law extending its territorial sea to 12 nautical miles, which covers the Passage.
    International law expert Michael Byers of the University of British Columbia earlier this year warned that "any further usage for international navigation might contribute to the Northwest Passage becoming an international strait, (making it) critically important that no further non-consensual transits occur." Canada, Byers adds, is poorly equipped to prevent such transits.
    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government will build six to eight new armed Arctic patrol vessels, but they will operate only from June to October; Canada remains short of heavy-ice vessels. Harper also plans a deepwater port in an oil-rich area of the Arctic.
    It turns out that the U.S. is not well prepared, either, to exploit the new route or to protect against its possible use for military or illegal activities. One analyst notes that the Navy has cut its Arctic research funds and allowed its icebreakers to fall into disrepair.
    The last time there was a showdown in the Passage came during that 1969 trial run of the U.S. tanker. As the tanker crawled through the icy strait near Resolute Bay, two Inuit hunters drove their dogsleds into its path. The tanker ground to a halt until the hunters — having made their point — moved aside. Byers feels that the incident may be the best Canadian legal defense of its sovereignty.
    Predictably, both Canada and the U.S. worry about national security. But it is hard to imagine al-Qaida invading via the Passage and those tough Inuit hunters!
    Floyd J. McKay, a journalism professor emeritus at Western Washington University, is a regular contributor to Times editorial pages.













    Editor's Note:  If we remember our American history, we know that one of the major reasons for exploring the New World was to find that illusive Northwest Passage to the riches of the exotic East in India and China.
    Well it appears that history and mother nature pulled a trick on Columbus, Lewis & Clark et al.  They turned too far south.  But now with the help of global warming we've discovered the "mother load" west by northwest.
    Ward - it's now your serve! 




    Thanks to my Canadian Connection RAD has previewed the October 8, 2007 New Yorker article by Seymour M. Hersh entitled Shifting Targets:  The Administration's plan for Iran.  If the article is correct, President Bush is seriously thinking about a strategic bombing campaign against Iran to send that regime the message that while we are bogged down in Iraq with conventional forces, the US still has the military capacity and will to strike at Iran via an air war. 

    If Hersh's sources are correct - the possibility that the administration might do this provides the most convincing reason why both the President and the Vice President must be impeached.  My Canadian friend rhetorically argues that there is not enough time to do this.  But that's the beauty of the impreachment process, to stop the administration in its track, like the GOP did to Slick Willie, the circle of impeachment and then a trial need not be closed merely begun!    

    What would be political cowardly is for the Democrats in the House and Senate to not seize the moment here to make the case for impeachment NOW - based on a laundry list of "high crimes and misdemeanors by this administration including the following high points:  

  • Cooking intelligence about WMDs as the lead in to the Iraq invasion and occupation;

  • Redeploying US troops again and again risking the readiness of the military;  

  • Using rendition and torture in violation of international law and US law;

  • Refusing to cooperate with congressional committees in exercising oversight over administration policy;

  • Using the doctrine of the unitary presidency to make the executive branch immune to checks and balances;   

    If the Democrats make the political decision, as they did with Reagan in '86, to leave the lameduck alone to twist on his rope they are underestimating the damage that the Bush/Cheney team has already done to our democracy and the greater damage they will do to our nation and people of the Middle East.  RAD has NO sympathy for the leaders of the region but burning the village to save the people makes no moral nor geo-political sense! 

    One should not allow the pursuit of the perfect to become an obstacle for doing the good - in this case challenging an administration which has clearly become the most dangerous one in American history!  If you thought Nixon and Watergate was awful or Reagan and Iran Contra were a stain on our history, they are nothing compared to the damage that has been done to this nation under the Bush imperial presidency. 

    When Congressman Earl Blumenaer and Senator Ron Wyden were taken to the woodshed in their town hall meetings in the August recess for not pushing impeachment, their constituents moral outrage was warranted.  If you read just this abbreviated version of Sy Hersh's artilce, you will know why impeachment, not the election of '08, is the only realistic option to take at this time.  We are simply running out of time to hold the administration accountable. 

   Of course the chaos created by thinking and then doing the unthinkable will make the current war in Iraq seem like a picnic by comparison. Richard Nixon's "incursion" into Cambodia in the spring of '75 to get at the NLF sanctuaries along the Ho Chi Minh trail did not bring peace, but enlarged the Vietnam War and eventual led to the rise of the Pol Pot regime and its killing fields which wiped out 2,000,000 people.  So do your homework, please!   Read the article online:


    SH (first page only) :  In a series of public statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and Iran. “Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people,” Bush told the national convention of the American Legion in August.

    “The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased. . . . The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And, until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops.” He then concluded, to applause, “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

    The President’s position, and its corollary—that, if many of America’s problems in Iraq are the responsibility of Tehran, then the solution to them is to confront the Iranians—have taken firm hold in the Administration. This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants.
    The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.
    The shift in targeting reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign.         The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq.
    During a secure videoconference that took place early this summer, the President told Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, that he was thinking of hitting Iranian targets across the border and that the British “were on board.” At that point, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice interjected that there was a need to proceed carefully, because of the ongoing diplomatic track. Bush ended by instructing Crocker to tell Iran to stop interfering in Iraq or it would face American retribution.
    At a White House meeting with Cheney this summer, according to a former senior intelligence official, it was agreed that, if limited strikes on Iran were carried out, the Administration could fend off criticism by arguing that they were a defensive action to save soldiers in Iraq. If Democrats objected, the Administration could say, “Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives.”
    The former intelligence official added, “There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, ‘You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.’ But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.”
    Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said, “The President has made it clear that the United States government remains committed to a diplomatic solution with respect to Iran. The State Department is working diligently along with the international community to address our broad range of concerns.” (The White House declined to comment.)
    I was repeatedly cautioned, in interviews, that the President has yet to issue the “execute order” that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued. But there has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. In mid-August, senior officials told reporters that the Administration intended to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.
    And two former senior officials of the C.I.A. told me that, by late summer, the agency had increased the size and the authority of the Iranian Operations Group. (A spokesman for the agency said, “The C.I.A. does not, as a rule, publicly discuss the relative size of its operational components.”)
    “They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk,” one recently retired C.I.A. official said. “They’re dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It’s just like the fall of 2002”—the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency. He added, “The guys now running the Iranian program have limited direct experience with Iran. In the event of an attack, how will the Iranians react? They will react, and the Administration has not thought it all the way through.”
    That theme was echoed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national-security adviser, who said that he had heard discussions of the White House’s more limited bombing plans for Iran. Brzezinski said that Iran would likely react to an American attack “by intensifying the conflict in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, their neighbors, and that could draw in Pakistan. We will be stuck in a regional war for twenty years.”
    RAD:   If Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and/or John Edwards inherit this mess - they will discover what the saying means "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."   JFK inherited Harry Truman's Vietnam policy (which IKE smartly avoided) then JFK upped the ante.  LBJ then took over for a fallen president and didn't want to be the first president to lose a war!  Richard Nixon had a "secret peace plan" for Vietnam!
    What is the statute of limitations on the gullibility of the American voter?  And why does anyone think that a "limited" strike on Iran will remain such?  WW I began with an assassin's bullet killing an obscure Archduke Ferdinand.  We had plenty of surgical strikes and smart bombs dropped on Vietnam, more than in all of WW II...  And we still lost the war and along with it 50,000 American soldiers died.  Don't allow the administration to create another geo-political wasteland.
    Impeach Bush/Cheny now!