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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
Jul152007

PLAYING THE MEDIA

    EDITOR'S NOTE:  Our home town weekly newspaper, the Forest Grove News-Times, did an interview of an ex-pat 'Grover' who has gone far up the chain of command within the US military.  But RAD feels an excellent journalist has been 'played' or spun by an expert using all of the familiar euphemisms to hide what Gitmo is all about.  This pattern of going to local regional outlets to spin a story is a shop worn tactic going back at least to Vietnam.
    Here are key excerpts from the article by Nancy Townsley, for the FG News-Times, July 11, 2007 based on an interview of Army Brigadier General Cameron Crawford, the commander of Gitmo at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "General says ‘Gitmo’ little understood
gitmo.jpg      NT:  [Crawford] never imagined [his West Point training and National Guard experience] would mold him into a top commander at one of the world’s largest and most controversial military detainment camps.  Yet that’s where Crawford, 50, finds himself at this juncture in his life — in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, overseeing daily operations at Camp Delta.
    There, he ensures that the 375 current foreign detainees — about 775 are reported to have passed through the gates of “Gitmo” since 2001 — receive “safe and humane care and custody” until they are ultimately transferred, released or charged with a crime.
    The fates of the men, plucked from battlefields in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen, will ultimately be determined by tribunal or trial. To date, only four detainees have been formally charged with crimes.
    RAD:  Since only four of 775 detainees have been formally charged with crimes to call Gitmo a "detainee camp" is an Orwellian euphemism to disguise the fact that it's a prison camp.  We are familiar with similar euphemisms - concentration camps or internment camps.  A prison is a prison.  The word "detainee" implies a temporary stay before the alleged criminal is sent elsewhere in the criminal or military justice system to be tried and then to be found innocent or guilty.  Such doesn't happen at Gitmo.  Four charged, no trial! 
    According to Amnesty International -
    "Almost five years later, there have been no prosecutions…."
    And the safe and humane treatment accorded to inmates seems far less benign than Crawford implies:
     "At a Senate hearing in July 2006, six military lawyers all agreed that some of the interrogation techniques authorized in the "war on terror" had breached common Article 3. Indeed, in 2004 a military investigation confirmed that at least from 2002, US interrogators in Afghanistan were stripping detainees, isolating them for long periods, using stress positions, exploiting fear of dogs and using sleep and light deprivation. Such techniques have been used in Guantánamo."

    NT:  Crawford commands 2,000 troops from all branches of the U.S. military, including the Coast Guard. It’s his job to protect his soldiers as they tend to the everyday needs of the detainees — he won’t call them prisoners — people he describes as “very dangerous men.”
    Most are suspected of being al-Qaeda or Taliban operatives and have been held at Guantanamo for five years or more. The lack of legal rights afforded those held at the Cuban compound has drawn international criticism. But Crawford said it’s all part of the fight against terrorism.
    “It’s the right of any nation at war to detain enemy combatants for the duration of the conflict,” Crawford insisted.
    RAD:  Detaining the enemy is one thing - subjecting them to inhumane treatment, i.e. torture is another thing.   We detained German and Italian troops in the southern USA in WW II - we did not torture them, in fact they were treated better in the South than African-Americans at the time!  
    Here's Amnesty International says about Gitmo:
    "Many of those held at Guantánamo have been ill-treated, whether in Afghanistan or elsewhere prior to their transfer to Guantánamo, or during their transfer, or as part of the interrogation process at the base, or as a result of the isolating, indefinite and punitive nature of detention in Guantánamo.  By association, their families too have suffered the cruelty of this virtually incommunicado island incarceration.

    The euphemistically termed "stress and duress" techniques that emerged in the USA’s "war on terror", including in Guantánamo, included forced standing and crouching, sleep deprivation, subjection to noise, prolonged isolation, and hooding. Some techniques, such as the use of dogs, forced nudity, forcible shaving, sexual humiliation by female interrogators, and removal of religious items, have had discriminatory undertones."  Does this sound familiar?  It should - it's what happened at Abu Garib!
    NT:  As deputy commander, his mission is to give “safe and humane care and custody” to the detainees and to “glean a significant amount of intelligence” from them, reporting such conversations to his only superior, Navy Rear Admiral Mark Buzby.
    He believes fervently in the administration’s mission to root out terrorists across the globe and bring them to justice. At Gitmo, he’s certain the troops are doing their job — and doing it well.
    He conceded that it isn’t easy for the women and men at Camp Delta to deal with people they suspect are out to hurt the U.S. — bringing them meals, releasing them to the exercise area, tending to their medical needs.
    “I’m not quite sure how they do it,” said Crawford. “They are assaulted daily with bodily fluids, threats against their person and threats against their families.
    “They are the finest of soldiers, and I’m extremely proud of them.”
    RAD:  Again, Amnesty International offers a starkly different view of the "safe and humane care and custody" of the prisoners of war at Gitmo.  
    "In January 2002, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush that a benefit of not applying the Geneva Conventions to detainees picked up in the Afghanistan conflict would be that prosecutions of US personnel under the US War Crimes Act would be more difficult. Two weeks later, on 7 February 2002, the President signed a memorandum confirming that NO [my emphasis]Taliban or al-Qa’ida detainees would qualify as prisoners of war, and that Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions would not apply to them either.
    Common Article 3 guarantees minimum standards of fair trial. It also prohibits torture, cruel treatment and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment". At the time, the War Crimes Act criminalized breaches of common Article 3 as war crimes that could be prosecuted in the USA."
    We all familiar with the dubious record of Alberto Gonzalez, now our Attorney General.  RAD is almost wistful for the Nixon era and Attorney General John Mitchell! 

    NT:  Crawford downplays media portrayals of Guantanamo Bay as U.S.-run Abu Ghraib, the prison in Baghdad, Iraq, widely known for incidents of abuse and torture.
    “There’s a significant distinction between the two,” Crawford said. A number of investigations into conditions at Gitmo have uncovered “no substantial evidence” of inhumane treatment of detainees, he added.
    In fact, the biggest surprise of his tour in Cuba has been the reality of daily life at Gitmo and what he read beforehand in the media.
    “There’s a huge difference between what I thought I might see and experience here and what actually goes on,” Crawford said.
    His days are filled with meetings, security updates and frequent interactions with the “soldiers and sailors” who guard Camp Delta.
    Crawford said he can’t worry about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to consider whether those in custody at Guantanamo can use the federal court system to challenge their detention.
    For the remaining seven months of his mission, he’s focused on the task he’s been given.
    RAD:  No evidence of abuse or torture?  How would he know?  Crawford's comments regarding his days being "filled with meetings et al" is a form of plausible deniability.  If he's not in daily contact with prison inmates and guards - how does he really know what's going on under his nose at Gitmo?  The American commanders at Abu Gharib were similarly clueless or so they said!
    But again - here's what AI says about conditions at Gitmo:  

    "We made this camp for people who would be here forever. You should never think about going home. You’ll be here all your life… Don’t worry. We’ll keep you alive so you can suffer more." Alleged statement of a US interrogator to Mohamed al-Gharani, a Chadian national held in Camp V
    In May 2006, the UN Committee against Torture told the USA that indefinite detention without charge constitutes per se a violation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This expert body urged the USA to close the Guantánamo detention camp.

    NT:  “I intend to be a resource and a source of encouragement to the troops who work their tails off every day at Guantanamo,” Crawford said.
    He hopes that when history tells the tale, Guantanamo Bay will be regarded as a kind of necessary evil in the midst of the complexities of modern warfare.
    “Our allies have benefited from the intelligence we have obtained from these detainees and shared with them,” Crawford said in an e-mail exchange preceding a phone interview. “It has saved the lives of innocent civilians and protected coalition forces.
    RAD:  Many have disputed that any valuable intelligence has come from Gitmo or the practice of rendition - where alleged combatants have been spirited out of Gitmo or other detainment centers to prisons in Egypt, Rumania et al where the harsh treatment is well known.  
    And now that our own government has reported that al-Qaeda is more robust than ever before - one wonders how whatever "intelligence" has been gleaned from such inhumane practices has been used.  It certainly hasn't resulted in the bringing of Osama bin Laden to justice and the Taliban are surging along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.  So where's the success here?  
    By having a prison like Gitmo the USA has become in the eyes of much of the world the greatest purveyor of torture and disrespect for human rights in the world.  Even our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan complain about our abuse of their citizens.  Under the Bush-Gonzales policy the USA has become the most feared and hated government in the world.  
    With success stories like this - we have morphed into an Orwellian world where hate is love; war is peace; and torture is humane treatment! 

    For more info on Gitmo go to the Amnesty International website on Gitmo:   http://web.amnesty.org/pages/guantanamobay-index-eng

Saturday
Jul142007

AN OFFER WE CAN'T REFUSE!

Excerpts from Iraq PM: Country can manage without U.S. (AP story via Yahoo News): 
    AP:  BAGHDAD - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave "any time they want," though he acknowledged the forces need further weapons and training.
    RAD:  Despite the fact that al-Maliki is a blowhard and incompetent, we should take him at his word.  A deal to exit Iraq while leaving them weapons and some US advisors sounds good to me.  But we know what will happen.  The weapons will be stolen by the various ethnic, jihadist and war lord factions in the militia and police.  So be it. 
    AP:  But one of [al-Maliki's] top aides, Hassan al-Suneid, rankled at the assessment, saying the U.S. was treating Iraq like "an experiment in an American laboratory." He sharply criticised the U.S. military, saying it was committing human rights violations, embarrassing the Iraqi government with its tactics and cooperating with "gangs of killers" in its campaign against al-Qaida in Iraq.
    RAD:  With friends like this - who needs enemies?  Cut the cord - liberate Iraq to suffer whatever fate Allah has in store for them!  It's grow up time!  Besides all the fighters on each side know there is a special place for them in Paradise!  Too bad the civilians who can't get out of Iraq will be more collateral damage.  But they are NOW via US hands. 
    AP:  Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari warned earlier this week of civil war and the government's collapse if the Americans leave. But al-Maliki told reporters Saturday, "We say in full confidence that we are able, God willing, to take the responsibility completely in running the security file if the international forces withdraw at any time they want."  But he added that Iraqi forces are "still in need of more weapons and rehabilitation" to be ready in the case of a withdrawal.
    RAD:  Our Iraqi puppets speak with "forked tongues."  They can't even get on the same spin cycle!  Hasn't military and political "rehabilitation" been going on since 2002?  What's up here Doc?  We lived through a Civil War - so it's Iraq's turn to face the music on their own dime and with their own blood! 
    AP:  On Friday, the Pentagon conceded that the Iraqi army has become more reliant on the U.S. military. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, said the number of Iraqi battalions able to operate on their own without U.S. support has dropped in recent months from 10 to six, though he said the fall was in part due to attrition from stepped-up offensives.
    RAD:  Note the word "attrition" - does this mean desertions?  Yep, the Iraq forces are battle ready!  Question, who is their enemy - the US and/or fellow Iraqis?  Sounds familiar to Vietnam and the infamous US supported ARVN forces of the Republic of South Vietnam. 
    AP:  But the benchmarks have been blocked by divisions among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders. In August, the parliament is taking a one month vacation — a shorter break than the usual two months, but still enough to anger some in Congress who say lawmakers should push through the measures.
    RAD:  During the American Revolution when did the Continental Congress take a vacation?  These elitist clowns should be cut loose from their US handlers.  It's also grow up time for the guys and gals in the Green Zone! 
    AP:  Al-Suneid, a Shiite lawmaker close to al-Maliki, bristled at the pressure. He called Thursday's report "objective," but added, "this bothers us a lot that the situation looks as if it is an experiment in an American laboratory (judging) whether we succeed or fail."
    RAD:  Al-Suneid has it right - Iraq is a NEO-CON "laboratory experiment" gone horribly wrong!  It's time to let the rats out of their cages.  But never fear brother Allah will save you!  Question - which faction in Iraq does Allah favor?  One is reminded of the line by song writer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim - "Send in the clowns"...



Friday
Jul132007

THAT GREAT SUCKING SOUND

    H. Ross Perot in his ill fated presidential campaigns in '92 and '96 frequently referred in his famous "infomercials" to "that great sucking sound coming out of Washington, D.C."  He was referring to waste in government - under Bush I.  Well a headline in Tuesday's Oregonian (A 5) tells us all we need to know about why the quagmire in Iraq AND Afghanistan MUST END - "Iraq, Afghanistan cost $12 billion monthly."  Bush II has trumped the old man big time and makes Ronald Reagan look like Scrooge!  
    But the moral issue of the war is not merely the "fiasco" of US foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond, or the way Dubya et all have mutilated the Constitution to create the worst foreign policy disaster in American history, it's the erosion on the home front of our ability to keep the "social compact" between the citizenry and their government or as Abraham Lincoln said:  "The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to
have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves—in their separate, and individual capacities."
    But if you don't believe we are paying a price - then check out this story on homelessness in Oregon, Oh, Give Me a Home, published by PSU's School of Urban Studies & Planning (Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies) in Metroscape, Summer 2007.  As a citizen lobbyist who labored long and hard in Salem from January to June it pains me greatly that we were not able to pass HB 3551 - the centerpiece law to jump start Oregon's Housing Trust Fund, which was created in the '91 session.
    This article simply reinforces the fact that homelessness and housing insecurity are a serious problem all over Oregon, not just in Portland along Burnside Street, in Pioneer Square or Old Town.  Look at the map - homelessness is ubiquitous in Oregon - urban Oregon, suburban Oregon and rural Oregon.  As the authors conclude - "...The fact that more than one-third of Oregon's homeless population consists of children calls for a re-examination of stereotypes of the homeless..."  
    This is why RAD will be back in Salem during the February session urging our legislators and governor to "do the right thing" for the children of Oregon!   Imagine the good things $12 billion dollars a month could do here on the home front?  Get out your calculator and figure out the likely "peace dividend" for Oregon yourself.  Then envision two futures - option I) continue pouring money down the 'sink hole' in the Middle East or 2) creating a future here at home for the most vulnerable among us!
    As former Speaker of the US House (1977-87), Tip O'Neill (D, Mass) said - "all politics is local."  That's what elections are all about - to remind those we elect of this wisdom!  It's about time members of Congress answered a rhetorical political question - "Who's your Momma?" - some dude in the Middle East throwing bombs at American troops or the folks who you represent them back home not some puppeteer in the Green Zone.  Yes act locally and think globally but not stupidly!  Spending $12 billion per month to prop up puppet regimes is both stupid foreign policy and bad domestic policy. 

For a copy of the article go to

http://www.pdx.edu/ims/mscape07sum.html

Thursday
Jul122007

IT'S JUST TOO MUCH!

    RAD may have to eat his words that the Ds should just posture about impeaching the Decider.  After today's press conference it's just too obvious that President George W. Bush is 1) in such deep denial about how bad things are in Iraq and 2) is too intellectually and morally bankrupt to do the right thing and bring our troops home.  For those of us who lived through the Vietnam debacle, the stench of death and dying caused by US geopolitical hubris in this war is too much.  
    It's time for notables such as the Iraq Study Group along with leaders of Congress (Rs and Ds) to assert themselves and present the Decider with an ultimatum - either he commits our government and the puppet regime of Iraq to a phased pullout of American troops within the next 12-18 months OR articles of impeachment will be presented to the House this fall and debated as the '08 campaign heats up!
    If such would happen - the impeachment process should be for 'real' not purely symbolic.  Damn the presidential jousting, the stakes are simply too high to allow us to drift along with this cesspool of incompetence and venality packaged as patriotism.  In Vietnam, JFK, LBJ and Nixon all were equally resolved in supporting a puppet government too.  And over a decade later - where did it get us?  Nowhere.  It's deja vu again in Iraq.
    But that's not all -

  • The Decider caught in a web of deceit over the firing of federal district attorneys thumbs his nose at Congress by citing "executive privilege" and has the effrontery to tell his former counsel Harriet Meiers to risk contempt of Congress.  If the Congress fails to indict her for "contempt of Congress" - shame, shame, shame!  
  • The outgoing surgeon general and his predecessors, including the distinguished C. Evert Koop, cite example after example of the current administration and it's GOP predecessors forcing science to kow-tow to ideology.  We've seen the same big lie used in the debate over CAFE standards and global warming where ideology trumps science as well;
  • The Faustian like scheming whether it's the VP's back door meetings with big oil in the West Wing or the GOP controlled House under Tom Delay allowing the K Street crowd to mark up legislation show that the checks and balances system has been shredded by the electoral putsch which brought these clowns to power in '00.
  • The excesses of this administration to the current time and its GOP allies in Congress prior to '06 are nauseously clear - from the use and defense of spying on US citizens; torture, rendition or denial of habeas corpus to alleged jihadists; or the embrace of a culture of corruption epitomized by Delay et al.  To quote Shakespeare:  "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." (Hamlet. ACT I Scene 4).

    Despite billions of dollars spent in a mismanaged and unnecessary occupation and war Al-Qaeda is now more robust that at any time since 9/11.  Our erstwhile ally Pakistan is completely unable and/or unwilling to stop the Taliban's resurgence along it border with Afghanistan.  And the government in the green zone back in Baghdad is totally incapable of meeting any of the benchmarks laid out to it by the Decider et al.   
    The time has come for Americans to disenthrall themselves from the Decide-in-Chief and send a loud clear message through their elected representatives - the Decider and the Veep must present the Congress with a coherent exit strategy or the Founder's vision of "high crimes and misdemeanors" will be invoked.  It's no longer just Iraq or the battle against terrorism that is at hand - it's the very fabric of democratic government in the USA.
    Either change course - NOW or Bush/Cheney MUST GO - sooner than later.  My only suggestion for Cindy Sheehan is to focus on the Decider-in-Chief not Speaker Pelosi.  After all, if Bush/Cheney are impeached guess who becomes President?  Then Cindy would have clear sailing to a congressional seat in '08...  If Patty Murray can morph from "soccer Mom" to US Senator, then why not Cindy Sheehan from "protestor Mom" to a Member of the House?
    As the Bard might say of Dubya:  "False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand."   

 

Thursday
Jul122007

THE BEST COURT MONEY CAN BUY

    Editor's Note:  My English major Canadian Connection friend sitting up in Saskatchewan has nothing better to do than to keep me posted on the latest news.  I'm hoping the weather turns good up there so he can get out on the golf course and give me a chance to catch up with my own reading!  But this missive is too good to not share.  One wonders if a new Democratic president will be emboldened to "pack the court" as FDR tried in order to get the Neo-Cons on the Supremes - Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito with their "enabler" Kennedy to back off a bit.  With life tenure - they are going to be around a long time to make legal mischief under the guise of the rule of law. 
    By Jim Hightower, BLACK-ROBED CORPORATISTS, July 11, 2007
    Do you feel as sorry for corporate executives as I do?
    These poor babies feel put upon by their own shareholders, customers, and workers who have sued them to stop their fraud, monopoly pricing, discrimination, and other illegal acts. The corporate royalty is mightily offended that such commoners have been allowed to interfere in its brutish pursuit of riches, and the royalists have been crying louder than Paris Hilton about the unfairness of having to answer to the law.
    Luckily for them, they have friends in high places who feel their pain and can dry their tears with government actions to stop dastardly citizens from bothering them with lawsuits. The corporate wrongdoers have long had the Bushites on their side, and many congress critters of both parties have also been there for them, offering comforting legislative hugs. Now, however, the best friend of the corporate elite is in the third branch of government: The Supreme Court.
    With Chief Justice John Roberts at the helm, the nation's highest court is stacked with judges whose legal careers have been dedicated to corporate service, and this bias has turned the court into a safe play zone for corporate ruffians. This year, the Supremes have revealed their corporate coziness by taking a greater number of business cases and stretching the law, precedent, common sense, and their own credibility to enhance corporate power.
    In 13 business rulings this year, the corporate majority has favored tobacco companies, automakers, insurance giants, and others over the people harmed. Even more important than each individual case, the court's decisions are making it much harder for those who are injured or defrauded to go to court. in effect, the are building new legal walls for corporate wrongdoers to hide behind, shutting out ordinary people who try to get justice from the system.
    These black-robed corporatists are out of control. The court should be working for justice, not for corporations.