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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."

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


Middle East friendship chart


Corporations enriching shareholders


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%.  





  • 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...   


If you want to e-mail me "comments" use my Yahoo back up e-mail address























































RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ


  • He lost by 2.9 million votes...

  • He's a con artist...

  • He's a pathological liar... 

  • He's a failed business man...

  • He's a fascist... 


Trump & The Mob


Trump's role models are Vladmir Putin and Benito Mussolini.  He has contempt for our checks and balances system.  He wants to "rule" not govern like a strong man, a despot.  He will shredd the Constitution anytime he feels the urge to do so and like all despots he only listens to his inner circle.  And he is paranoid and narcissistic. 


Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax


Half of the US Is Broke


The myth of the Christian country


Housing Needs in Oregon 




"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, 1940

  • "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  

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... 



"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 

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



Squareapace has closed the "comments" section on my blog as a way around this contact me via my Yahoo e-mail address posted on the left sidebar...   


















































Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power by Stephen Greenblatt review – sinister and enthralling

A scholarly study revealing the seeds of Trumpism in Shakespeare’s villains is highly entertaining

Richard III (played here by Laurence Olivier)

 Richard III (played here by Laurence Olivier) is one of Shakespeare’s ‘notable monsters’ who bears comparison to Trump. Photograph: ITV/Rex

In a twist that Shakespeare himself might have relished, he is as much America’s national poet as Britain’s. Here, he is an icon; there, in a crisis, his poetry and plays can become a touchstone. Indeed, in the “general woe” (Shakespeare’s words) that attended the 2016 US election, it was to Shakespeare that many Americans turned in their distress. When, in the midst of the most vicious presidential campaign in memory, Professor Stephen Greenblatt, bestselling author of Will in the World, published an op-ed piece in the New York Times headlined “Shakespeare Explains the 2016 Election”, it went viral.

Greenblatt was at once topical, impassioned and provocative. “In the early 1590s,” he began, “Shakespeare sat down to write a play that addressed a problem: How could a great society wind up being governed by a sociopath?” After a pointed analysis of Richard III, he closed with this appeal: “Shakespeare’s words have an uncanny ability to reach out beyond their original time and place and to speak directly to us. We have long looked to him, in times of perplexity and risk, for the most fundamental human truths. So it is now. Do not think it cannot happen, and do not stay silent or waste your vote.”

Overnight, Greenblatt’s article becameshared more than 500,000 times. As the US election spiralled beyond expectation, “Shakespearean” became a consoling shorthand for bewildered American democrats. It was a buzzword that soon acquired the status of a minor linguistic meme, rooted in an old tradition of New World veneration for Shakespeare’s life and work.

Having sounded the alarm, and after two long years of disruption and dismay, which reached a grim nadir with the forced separation of immigrant families, Greenblatt now addresses the overwhelming question with which we are still grappling: how is it possible for a whole country to fall into the hands of a truly disastrous leader, a sociopath and a demagogue?

Tyrant is Greenblatt’s answer, a highly entertaining rhetorical exercise tinged with sinister intimations of dread. A lifelong Shakespeare scholar, he has turned to the collected works to construct a grammar of tyranny based on Shakespeare’s plays, and some of their most notable monsters, from Richard III to Macbeth, by way of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and King Lear, reflecting on their narcissism, incompetence, cruelty, paranoia, folly and corruption.

In general, Shakespeare’s villains are more sinister than the clownish, lazy and narcissistic Trump, though no less evil

Greenblatt’s method, after Polonius, is sly. He will “by indirections find directions out”, a nod to Shakespeare who perfected a strategic obliquity in his narratives of power. For instance, you will look in vain for an outright indictment of Donald J Trump. Nonetheless, the villainy of the 45th president is implicit in every line of this elegant and measured exploration.

Greenblatt’s anatomy of power moves from the dishonesties of party politics to the cynical exploitations of populism to the mind of the tyrant – a wonderful analysis of Jack Cade’s revolt in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, the play famous for “first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.

In general, Shakespeare’s villains are more sinister than the clownish, lazy and narcissistic Trump, though no less evil. Still, Greenblatt is very perceptive about the “enablers” who sustain a weak and incompetent leader in office.

As a Harvard professor and a prominent member of America’s liberal elite, Greenblatt is probably too appalled by Trump’s insurrection to see the funny side, as depicted, for example, in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. He does concede “a touch of comedy in the tyrant’s rise to power”, but doesn’t develop this promising line of thought.

He closes, wearily, with the admission that, since he first protested in the New York Times, “it feels like a century has passed”. With so many American democrats, all he can do is wait for the wheel of history to bring some respite, as it must. Until this nightmare ends, we should be grateful for the reminder that one consoling antidote to Trumpism might be regular visits to Shakespeare plays, which teach, as Edgar puts it in King Lear, that: “The worst is not, so long as we can say, ‘This is the worst.’”

 Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power by Stephen Greenblatt is published by Bodley Head (£16.99). To order a copy for £14.44 go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99




What is Trump ‘smocking’? 

WASHINGTON — President Trump was up early Monday morning, tweeting falsely that investigators have found “No Smocking Gun” that proves he did anything wrong. He meant “smoking,” ofcourse. His vision must be clouded by the haze.

In a sentencing memorandum for the president’s onetime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, federal prosecutors in Manhattan wrote Friday that Cohen violated campaign finance laws “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump. In layman’s terms, Trump’s own Justice Department has accused him of instructing his attorney to commit two felonies.

These crimes, which Cohen confesses, involve six-figure payments of hush money to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels — women whose silence about alleged sexual encounters with Trump was expensively purchased in the weeks before the 2016 election.

On Twitter, the president called all of this “a simple private transaction.” I’m tempted to ask what he’s been “smocking.”

According to Cohen — and common sense — the purpose of paying $150,000 to McDougal (via American Media Inc. chairman David Pecker) and $130,000 to Daniels was to keep their accounts of their alleged relationships with Trump from being made public before the election. That means the payments have to be considered illegal, unreported campaign contributions.

Trump suggests these were mere technical violations of the kind that every campaign inadvertently commits and is fined for. That is a lie. Permit me to quote the prosecutors’ memo at length on this point: “Cohen’s commission of two campaign finance crimes on the eve of the 2016 election for president of the United States struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency. While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with (Trump). In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election. It is this type of harm that Congress sought to prevent when it imposed limits on individual contributions to candidates.”

And Cohen committed these crimes, prosecutors say, on Trump’s orders. Trump has not credibly denied the allegation — and, indeed, Cohen made a recording of at least one conversation in which he discussed the payments with Trump.

“NO COLLUSION,” Trump claimed once again in his Monday tweets. He has spent months trying to convince the nation of two false premises: that special counsel Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt” has found no evidence of a conspiracy between his campaign and the Russian government to tilt the 2016 election in his favor; and that any other alleged crimes that investigators might come across are somehow irrelevant.

Wrong on both counts.

There was, of course, the infamous Trump Tower meeting arranged so that Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign chairman could receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton from an emissary of the Kremlin. But investigators have also learned of more than a dozen additional contacts between the campaign and well-connected Russians.

A memo filed Friday by Mueller reveals a previously unknown approach by “a Russian national who claimed to be a ‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation” and who offered the campaign “synergy on a government level.” The filing also states that Cohen helpfully provided “useful information regarding certain discrete Russia-related matters” that was obtained through “regular contact” with Trump Organization executives.

None of this is normal. I know people who have run both Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns, and not one reports ever experiencing or even hearing of such dealings with a foreign government, much less an adversarial power such as Russia. When Trump says this sort of thing is common practice, he is lying.

No, Mueller has not tipped his hand to reveal all the evidence he might have of a full-fledged plot between his campaign and Vladimir Putin’s government. But given how tightlipped the Mueller team has been, it is ridiculous for anyone to assert with confidence that no such evidence exists.

We know that Mueller is looking into the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Russians who have close links to the Kremlin. We know he is looking into potential obstruction of justice by the president.

And now we know, for the first time, that prosecutors have directly implicated Trump in a federal crime. It may be a bit premature to start chanting, “Lock him up!” But stay tuned. © 2018, Washington Post Writers Group



Editor's Note:  The article below analyzes the emergence of the mega corporation which has been allowed by the failure of our courts (which will get worse under Trump), the Congress and the regulatory bodies of the federal government to do what Teddy Roosevelt did in the pre-1920s "to bust the trusts."  Now that capital is global the erosion of democracy is more at risk.  It makes Karl Marx's analysis more on target - that the capitalist seeks to re-create the world in his own image.  As Teddy showed - it doesn't take a Marxist to dissect the problem but it proves that Marx was correct in his analysis of the fault lines, the contradictions, capitalism. But it then took FDR to save capitalism from its own worse demons by erecting the New Deal to save capitalism from itself.  Who will be this generation's Teddy R and/or FDR?   
Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid.

In the 1930s it contributed to the rise of fascism. Alarmingly, we are experimenting again with a monopolized economy.

Tim Wu

By Tim Wu, New York Times...    A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 10, 2018, on Page SR7 of the New York edition with the headline: Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid

CreditFelix Decombat

In the aftermath of the Second World War, an urgent question presented itself: How can we prevent the rise of fascism from happening again? If over the years that question became one of mostly historical interest, it has again become pressing, with the growing success of populist, nationalist and even neofascist movements all around the world.

Common answers to the question stress the importance of a free press, the rule of law, stable government, robust civic institutions and common decency. But as undoubtedly important as these factors are, we too often overlook something else: the threat to democracy posed by monopoly and excessive corporate concentration — what the Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis called the “curse of bigness.” We must not forget the economic origins of fascism, lest we risk repeating the most calamitous error of the 20th century.

Postwar observers like Senator Harley M. Kilgore of West Virginia argued that the German economic structure, which was dominated by monopolies and cartels, was essential to Hitler’s consolidation of power. Germany at the time, Mr. Kilgore explained, “built up a great series of industrial monopolies in steel, rubber, coal and other materials. The monopolies soon got control of Germany, brought Hitler to power and forced virtually the whole world into war.”

To suggest that any one cause accounted for the rise of fascism goes too far, for the Great Depression, anti-Semitism, the fear of communism and weak political institutions were also to blame. But as writers like Diarmuid Jeffreys and Daniel Crane have detailed, extreme economic concentration does create conditions ripe for dictatorship.


Editor's side note:  We have just exited the Great Recession, seeing rise of super nationalism, the rise of anti-Semitism/racism, the rise of Mother Russia under Putin and suffer from weak political parties which cater to the lobbyisng class not the public they claim to represent.  


It is a story that should sound uncomfortably familiar: An economic crisis yields widespread economic suffering, feeding an appetite for a nationalistic and extremist leader. The leader rides to power promising a return to national greatness, deliverance from economic suffering and the defeat of enemies foreign and domestic (including big business). Yet in reality, the leader seeks alliances with large enterprises and the great monopolies, so long as they obey him, for each has something the other wants: He gets their loyalty, and they avoid democratic accountability.

There are many differences between the situation in 1930s and our predicament today. But given what we know, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that we are conducting a dangerous economic and political experiment: We have chosen to weaken the laws — the antitrust laws — that are meant to resist the concentration of economic power in the United States and around the world.

From a political perspective, we have recklessly chosen to tolerate global monopolies and oligopolies in finance, media, airlines, telecommunications and elsewhere, to say nothing of the growing size and power of the major technology platforms. In doing so, we have cast aside the safeguards that were supposed to protect democracy against a dangerous marriage of private and public power.

Unfortunately, there are abundant signs that we are suffering the consequences, both in the United States and elsewhere. There is a reason that extremist, populist leaders like Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Xi Jinping of China and Viktor Orban of Hungary have taken center stage, all following some version of the same script. And here in the United States, we have witnessed the anger borne of ordinary citizens who have lost almost any influence over economic policy — and by extension, their lives. The middle class has no political influence over their stagnant wages, tax policy, the price of essential goods or health care. This powerlessness is brewing a powerful feeling of outrage.

After the fall of the Third Reich, the Allies broke up the major Nazi monopolies specifically so that they could not be “used by Germany as instruments of political or economic aggression,” in the words of the law used to do so. The United States took its medicine, too: In 1950, Congress passed the Anti-Merger Act of 1950 to curb politically and economically dangerous concentrations. It empowered the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to block or undo mergers when the effect was “substantially to lessen competition or to tend to create a monopoly.”

It would be understandable if you assumed that the Anti-Merger Act of 1950 had been repealed. But in fact it remains on the books. It has merely been evaded, eroded and enfeebled by the corroding effect of decades of industry pressure and ideological drift, yielding hesitant enforcers and a hostile judiciary. Consequently, over the last two decades we have allowed successive waves of mergers that make a mockery of the 1950 law, and have concentrated economic power in ways that are dangerous to the polity.

In recent years, we have allowed unhealthy consolidations of hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry; accepted an extraordinarily concentrated banking industry, despite its repeated misfeasance; failed to prevent firms like Facebook from buying up their most effective competitors; allowed AT&T to reconsolidate after a well-deserved breakup in the 1980s; and the list goes on. Over the last two decades, more than 75 percent of United States industries have experienced an increase in concentration, while United States public markets have lost almost 50 percent of their publicly traded firms.

There is a direct link between concentration and the distortion of democratic process. As any undergraduate political science major could tell you, the more concentrated an industry — the fewer members it has — the easier it is to cooperate to achieve its political goals. A group like the middle class is hopelessly disorganized and has limited influence in Congress.

But concentrated industries, like the pharmaceutical industry, find it easy to organize to take from the public for their own benefit. Consider the law preventing Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices: That particular lobbying project cost the industry more than $100 million — but it returns some $15 billion a year in higher payments for its products.

We need to figure out how the classic antidote to bigness — the antitrust and other antimonopoly laws — might be recovered and updated to address the specific challenges of our time. For a start, Congress should pass a new Anti-Merger Act reasserting that it meant what it said in 1950, and create new levels of scrutiny for mega-mergers like the proposed union of T-Mobile and Sprint.

But we also need judges who better understand the political as well as economic goals of antitrust. We need prosecutors willing to bring big cases with the courage of trustbusters like Theodore Roosevelt, who brought to heel the empires of J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, and with the economic sophistication of the men and women who challenged AT&T and Microsoft in the 1980s and 1990s. Europe needs to do its part as well, blocking more mergers, especially those like Bayer’s recent acquisition of Monsanto that threaten to put entire global industries in just a few hands.

The United States seems to constantly forget its own traditions, to forget what this country at its best stands for. We forget that America pioneered a kind of law — antitrust — that in the words of Roosevelt would “teach the masters of the biggest corporations in the land that they were not, and would not be permitted to regard themselves as, above the law.” We have forgotten that antitrust law had more than an economic goal, that it was meant fundamentally as a kind of constitutional safeguard, a check against the political dangers of unaccountable private power.

As the lawyer and consumer advocate Robert Pitofsky warned in 1979, we must not forget the economic origins of totalitarianism, that “massively concentrated economic power, or state intervention induced by that level of concentration, is incompatible with liberal, constitutional democracy.”


Tim Wu (@superwuster) is a law professor at Columbia, a contributing opinion writer and the author of the forthcoming book “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age,” from which this essay is adapted.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on FacebookTwitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.

A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 10, 2018, on Page SR7 of the New York edition with the headline: Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid.Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe


EDITOR'S NOTE:  As is normal a week after an election the results are clearer.   There was a Blue Wave mostly in House contests where the D's will win 35-40 seats more than they did in the Watergate class and similar to the Gingrich revolt in '94.

Update, Nov. 24 - now the House D's have won 40 seats and more still being counted.  There was a Big Blue Wave after all...

And before the ballots are re-counted in Arizona and Georgia the GOP lead in the Seante will be marginal. And even if the GOP wins in Florida and/or Arizona the margin will be so small that the D's can claim a "moral" victory given the turnout among young and Black voters - a good sign for 2020,    

So what to do....???  

What House Democrats need to do

Ej. Dionne

WASHINGTON -- Expanding health coverage, reforming our democracy, restoring upward mobility with well-paying jobs, curbing gun violence, and moving to repair our immigration system.

Oh, yes, and protecting our constitutional republic from President Trump while rooting out corruption.

This should be the agenda of Democrats in the House of Representatives. Already, some pundits are warning that the new majority will "overreach." But overreach is not the problem for a party that controls only one chamber of Congress.

The bigger threat is underachievement. Democrats will squander their victory -- likely their largest gain in House seats since 1974 -- if they fail to use their power to show what the alternative to Trumpism looks like.

Yes, many of their ideas will die in the Senate. But Republicans in that increasingly unrepresentative body should be made to pay a high price for thwarting progress. If the cost proves high enough, some good things might happen before 2020.

This is not about Democrats going "hard left," a phrase we'll hear a lot on Fox News. What unites the staunch progressives and their less-overtly ideological brethren who won many of last week's contests is a desire to demonstrate that government, used intelligently, can make life better for the vast majority.

Finding common ground across the center-left, one of the political imperatives of the new majority, does not mean least-common-denominator politics. It means agreeing on steps in the right direction: more people with health care, higher wages and family leave; more with an unimpeded right to vote; more feeling safer from violence; more with confidence that our system is not a cesspool.

Democrats are also being counseled against becoming the all-investigations-all-the-time party. But these admonitions assume that the party's leaders are, well, idiots. It won't be difficult to use the normal course of House business to hold hearings that expose both the policy failures of the Trump presidency and the corruption he has fostered. Committee chairs should carefully time the inquiries so that scandals don't push each other aside and thereby fail to penetrate the public consciousness.

There should be a heavy emphasis on how Trump has betrayed his core promises -- to stand up for forgotten Americans to whom he has delivered nothing but hateful demagoguery, most recently his evanescent interest in "caravans"; and to drain a swamp he is in fact polluting even more.

All this would be easier if the rule of law did not face such a dire threat from Trump himself. His almost

It is dangerously false to argue that Democrats must choose between legislating and holding Trump accountable. History gives them no choice but to do all they can to stop Trump from wrecking special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry, destroying evidence and politicizing law enforcement. If the president says the price of a decent infrastructure bill is Democratic acquiescence to law breaking, let Trump pay the cost of breaking one of his signature pledges. It's in his interest to build those roads and bridges.

Remembering what you campaigned on is always a good idea. Democrats have pledged quick action on protecting the insurance of Americans with pre-existing health conditions and enacting a comprehensive democracy reform package with strong provisions on voting rights, campaign-finance reform, gerrymandering and ending the various forms of Trump-era corruption.

The next step would be expansions of health coverage through a public option or a Medicare buy-in consistent with the views of new members across the spectrum.

Also a priority: strong measures against gun violence. The mass killings continue unabated. Inaction would be immoral. It would also break the commitments so many of the newly elected made.

For the longer term, Democrats need to listen to former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and writers Alec MacGillis and Michael Tomasky on the imperative of forging a new agenda for rural, small-town and small-city America. Confining opportunity to the large metropolitan areas will deepen national divisions and, by the way, foster long-term Republican control of the Senate.

Over the last century, Democrats held the House without controlling the Senate for only six years, between 1981 and 1987. The novelty of their situation underscores the need for both realism and vision. Combining them isn't easy. But it's their only path to seizing the opportunity they've been granted.


E.J. Dionne's email address is Twitter: @EJDionne. 

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group



This haunting picture is very disturbing for obvious reasons. It reminds me of pictures from the Holocaust and other famines in the world in this era. We simply seem to never learn! But a single picture puts a human face on what is considered by national security gurus as so-called "collateral damage."

Let's not normalize this tragedy by that term. This little girl is a victim of geo-politics which includes the US support of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen.

The picture reminds me of a similar picture of the young naked Vietnamese girl fleeing while being burned by napalm caused by an American bomb drop on her rural village. It mobilized the US anti-war movement at the time and helped turn popular opinion against the Vietnam War.

Now what can you and I do about this evil, genocidal war?

The same thing Americans did when confronted with the atrocity of Apartheid in South Africa. Demand that our government quit arming Saudi Arabia, demand the Saudi leaders be tried for war crimes, especially the Crown Prince, the architect of this vile war along with the killing of an American journalist in the Saudi embassy in Turkey and let's end economic aid to Saudi Arabia.

We have levers of power with them and a moral responsibility to do the right thing. No more business as usual!

This little girl died last week from malnutrtion.