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Top 5 causes of homelessness

- Lack of affordable housing

- Lack of a livable wage

- Medical issues/lack of accessible health care

- Domestic violence

- Mental illness


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 & health care disparities 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. 

Heath Care Disparities: 

•    Adults in Oregon without insurance represent 22.3% of the state’s population compared to 19.7% of the nation.  In Washington County approximately 

A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  


"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison


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

- Karl Marx



































RAD Lines


Jeb Bush wants to get rid of Medicare. Seriously

The kinder and gentler side of the GOP?  Bring in the clowns!


Putting corporate Oregon ahead of our people


#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








































     Don't believe the official picture for the US OPEN at Chambers Bay this week.  The grass is brown and the course looks like a moonscape.  But it's a big deal for the Pacific Norhwest especially for Tacoma which has played second fiddle to Seattle for ever!

     Now if only the dudes on the Golf Channel could get it in their geographic challenged 'eastern' heads' that Chambers Bay is in Tacome not Seattle!  Geez....  

     The scenery beyond the course is stunning - the Sound, the Olympics, the nearby islands and the BNSF tracks which separate the course from the water.  Errant balls will be blasted with a train engine horn.  

     I pitty the fans who will have to endure the traffic jams.  I'll stay home and watch it on TV and play on the course they should have chosen - Pumpkin Ridge!  David Fay, the head of the USGA when Chambers Bay was selected said that given the wet weather in the Pacific Northwest, Chambers was the best choice! 

     This shows you how ignorant these dudes are!  Pumpkin Ridge has hosted several Women's US Opens in addition to Tiger's famous 3rd US Amateur Championship which launched his PGA career.  And being south of Seattle, the Portland area weather is usually warmer and less rainy this time of year than Seattle's. 

     Given the lousy weather on the east coast or midwest in the spring or summer where golf tournaments are sandwiched between thunderstorms or tornados Fay's comments are especially insulting.  But hey, Fay et al made their choice but it's the players who have to deal with the bad greens, the ugly waste areas and the longish walks.    

A player's view - whoever wins will have earned it the hard way!

    The visuals of Chambers Bay are so ugly it will cause viewers not familiar with the Pacific Northwest to think we live in desert country.  Welcome to the Kabul Open...  



Rules of the road in OUR OREGON!  

- Politics in the Puzzle Palace not morality but getting to 31, 16 and 1… - from a state legislator   

- My job is to represent my clients not the public interest – from a Puzzle Palace lobbyist 

- It's easier to kill a bill than to pass one - conventional wisdom

The Saga of HB 2077

     The death of a transparency bill (HB 2077) this week was a bitter pill to swallow.  My disappointment wasn’t just because those of us in the TRIA (Taxpayer Return on Investment Act) coalition worked so hard but because to get traction in the Puzzle Palace we had to dumb down our original conception - HB 2077 was a pale shadow of our original idea.

     Here's a lightly edited description of HB 2077 based on a post by a fellow TRIA member in his blog  Oregon Outpost. 

     "Our premise was that if any business applies for and accepts tax credits, special tax reductions, government grants, or subsidized loans, it would be deemed an “investment” by the taxpayers. They would have to promise that the taxpayer provided incentives would pay for themselves through job creation and more taxes collected from increased economic activity.

     Again, that’s the rationale for most business tax breaks. The Secretary of State office would audit the results and if the business didn’t substantially meet its goals, the business would have to refund (clawbacks) the grants or incentives or they could lose their special tax exemptions.

    But the key was transparency. All of the information on the deals, taxes forgone, credits, SIP and enterprise zone benefits, jobs promised, audits, from any government agency, whether a Port District the State, or a County, would all be on the State of Oregon government transparency website. So citizens could access the information.

     If someone wanted to know how many tax dollars ABC Inc. received over the past three years from all sources, they could do a search and bingo, it would be on a common accessible website. Or if someone wanted to know how many tax dollars the Hillsboro Enterprise zone cost the State, they could find this out." 

     Our working assumption was if Oregon taxpayers are going to give millions of dollars to business, as “investors” we have the right to know what our money is doing just like private equity partners or shareholders do now. And with such transparency legislators would be empowered to hold government agencies and business accountable. 

     But we found out early in the session that our bill HB 2087 was so mangled by a Legislative Council staffer that we had to scramble to find similar bills that would do the job.  Ultimately that search came down to HB 2077 which focused on  transparency limited to the top 100 Oregon firms minus clawbacks. 

     OK, politics is the art of the possible and if we got a transparency bill through a business friendly legislature, next session (2016 or 2017) we’d come back with the clawback part.  After all politics is a marathon race not a sprint.  I forgot you first have to qualify for the race. 

     This last point turned out to be the key.  While we worked hard for 2 years to advance our idea, in reality we were never in the race.  You can talk with legislators, you can rally support in and outside the Capitol and you can testify in hearings but when push comes to shove it’s the leadership that rules. 

     We were victims to our belief in the myth that Oregon legislators honor principles of open government and engaged citizens.  But when it came to crunch time our little band of TRIA warriors were left out in the cold even by legislators who believed in the idea of transparency. 

     So much for a Democrat super majority the House and Senate, plus a Democrat Governor! 

     Why could one be so misguided?  It begins with the accessibility of the legislature.  Anyone can sign up for a committee hearing, anyone!  But that doesn’t mean all who engage are equal - that is clearly not the case.  In the Puzzle Palace “some are more equal than others.”  

     Industry lobbyists from Oregon’s traded sector and other major corporations while they didn’t testify against HB 2077 clearly had a decisive role behind the scenes.  That’s why access is critical.  But access is greased by campaign contributions and the pro-business “mobilization of bias” in Oregon. 

     On the positive side, we came within one vote of getting HB 2077 passed in the House Revenue Committee but one pro-business Democratic legislator wouldn’t budge in his opposition to our bill because he felt it would discourage business from coming to Oregon. 

     OK, but those objections were never put on the record in the public hearings nor in the work sessions.  So we didn’t have a chance to confront our opposition in the light of day.  This was all done behind closed doors.  If Speaker Kotek had wanted this bill she had the power to make it happen. 

     What the leadership wants it gets - wisdom from my '91 lobby mentors! 

How the system fails us

     Despite Oregon having the image of progressive politics, the reality something else.  Back in the 1950s Oregon politics was dominated by resource economics – the timber and agricultural industries.  Now they’ve been replaced by the trade-sector – Intel, Nike et al.  But then as now “the business of Oregon is business.” 

     The other rule that subverts progressive change is the incremental nature of democratic politics here in Oregon or in DC.  And when power tips to the well healed those for whom the system is “rigged” as US Senator Elizabeth Warren has noted and written about - bucking the “establishment” is zero to none. 

     The other unstated rule in Oregon and DC is that while change is possible, especially in dealing with symbolic social issues like women’s rights, gay rights or children rights, the road to fundamental economic change is blocked by the politics of gridlock, voter polarization (Red v Blue) and the power of money. 

     The old aphorism is that “the Golden Rule rules and those who have the gold rule.”  When one sits in a hearing this “rule” is obvious with all the “suits” in the room taking notes, texting their clients and sometimes testifying.  Of the 400 registered lobbyists who are members of the Capitol Club, most represent business, the power elite is clear. 

     A review of other bills in play this session and you get a clear picture of who rules even when the “good guys” win one! 

  •      A clean energy bill passed minus ending dirty diesel. Given DEQ’s failure to be proactive on Intel’s emissions don’t expect much! 

  •      A family leave bill looks like it has a chance but will the bureaucracy enforce it?  You can pass bills but if they aren’t implemented – it doesn’t make any difference in the long run. 

  •      An inclusionary housing bill (now stalled in the Rules committee) excludes renters thanks to the power of John Chandler, the Oregon Home Builders’ lobbyist. 

  •      A 100 million dollar housing bonding bill, now in the Ways & Means committee, sounds great but the 4000 units to be built starting in 2017 do not include rental units and don't come close to the 130,000 needed!  So much for the homeless and working poor!  Again symbolism over substance. 

     Other bills:  upping the minimum wage (in play); stopping pesticide spraying by the timber industry (dead); stopping LNG terminals in Coos Bay and Astoria (?); dealing with oil trains (good luck); protecting urban/rural reserves (?).

     K-12 - all the buzz over the Common Core and the parental opt out misses the point. 

     Education reform since 1990 in Oregon has been a total failure and as NPR noted this week while the national graduation rate is pegged at 81% (Oregon’s is 65%) – the gaming of the system makes these figures dubious at best. 

     But more importantly the funding gap of K-12 and higher ed makes the achievement gap pale by comparison.  According to the state’s quality education model we need an additional 2 billion for K-12 and more for higher ed. 

     Finally this gets us to the question why does Oregon have a funding gap for education and human services?    

     It’s easy – the voters passed Measure 5 in ‘90 which has stalled our capacity to fund programs across the board for 25 years. Add to this the Personal Kicker, kicking the can on tax reform and a looming PERS fiscal disaster, you get the picture.  Nobody in the Puzzle Palace will touch these issues. 

     You expect big business to pay its fair share of taxes.  Not in a NY minute! 

    The politics of incrementalism, a pro-business mobilization of bias and the best legislature money can buy makes changing the narrative a steep climb.  Add to this the urban/rural divide and the GOP being dominated by a “no tax” ideology and you get a scenario which makes systemic change problematic. 

    Our TRIA group faced the odds of an “impossible dream.”  Welcome to the Puzzle Palace.   

      Is there any hope? 

      Yes, "if" all progressive groups in Oregon - organized labor, environmental and social justice advocates get out of their policy silos to speak truth to power.  It would require grassroots organizing not just working the Puzzle Palace. 

     The best issue to organize around is getting an initiative on the 2016 ballot to move the minimum wage to $15/hour NOW not 4 years from now!  That would change the narrative!  Speaker Kotek endorsed a $13/hour minimum wage yesterday... 

     From today's unOregonian - "Democrats have enough votes to pass minimum wage increases without Republican support. But many have been reluctant, worried that passing too many workplace-related bills at once could alienate business leaders."  

     Too many Ds are worried more about how to fund their next campaign than doing the public good!  

     Keep Hope Alive!




"Bodies upon the gears" speech - Mario Savio

External video
Bodies Upon The Gears Speech on YouTube

Speaking on the steps of Sproul Hall, on December 2, 1964:

     "There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part!"

     I'm there! 

     "And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

    Next up - a march on the Puzzle Palace?  

     There's a phrase which was very popular in the '60s...   "F...  The System."  Oops...  



     There's an old aphorism that in war the first casualty is truth.  In the world of cyberspace the first casualty is transparency and accountability as we enter the world of the black box...  Brother and Sister beware!   If the "system" doesn't work, it's time to change the system!    


News Flash: 

     HB 2077 died in committee missing one Democratic vote - Tobias Read.  So two years of work down the tubes where everything was by the book - drafted a bill, met with legislators early and often from 2014 and with other people in the Puzzle Palace.  "The leadership gets what it wants."  I guess they didn't want to tick off Intel, Nike et al.  This was done behind the scenes - the old politics! 

     In post-McCall Oregon the politics of symbolism not substance rules.  If the leaders of Oregon's environmental and economic justice groups broke out of their silos and collaborated to demand real not cosmetic change good things could happen.  But nobody who plays the Puzzle Palace game wants to tick off the power brokers upon whom they depend for their peanuts or go toe to toe with corporate Oregon. 


Big Brother at work: 

     As my previous post titled Google-ized illustrates, one never knows when the geek infused culture of our social network based society is going to bite you.  Losing my e-mail for 24 hours was nerve wracking because no matter where I turned I got no help and no explanations of what was going on, at least not until I started callling people on Easystreet.

     Easystreet has promised a written explanation which will take a week to 10 days.  In this social network world which operates in nanno seconds that time-line seems bizarre.  But at least I got a call back promising a full explanation, a plan to not have this happen again and a real person to call to answer any questions.  I'm waiting on a return call on that front...     

     But Google NEVER responded to my inquiries.  It made me go through an online a process defying comprehension.  And then when I figured out by trial and error a means of sending Google a message, no phone #s were ever found, they essentially blamed the snafu on Easystreet telling me and 900 other Easystreet customers to beat up on Easystreet!  How's that for being responsible! 

     But the madness doesn't stop there.  We've lost our unOregonian online paper connection.  And when I called the Oregonian office early this morning they first said go online.  I told them I'd already done that twice with NO results.  So at that point the "customer service" (?) person said she would forward my questions to their online service folks and then admitted they were getting a lot of calls from Easystreet customers!  Duh!

     Again, my experience is that when dealing with net based communications (an oxymoron) entities they only allow one to go online, the online process is akin going through a maize and it's virtually impossible to talk with a "real" person.  But if you stick with it to the "pissed off stage" - find a real person and/or post it on your blog - voila you get their attention!  Gee this is just like the world of the Puzzle Palace!  

The Puzzle Palace: 

     As the Oregon legislature lurches to its end @ July 4th - it seems any chance of getting a transparency bill through this session is zero to none!  See this post for the latest explanation -

Ironic: Transparency bill killed by closed door lobbying

June 8, 2015 By in Category:Featured

     But unlike the corporate world which the political system is modeling itself after, God forbid, transparency is a major implicit principle of democratic governance - you know that system based on the "consent" of the governed.  Unless the citizenry is informed how can they assess how their government is doing?  But in the Puzzle Palace this principle seems to have been replaced by the rush to be "business friendly."  

     I've mined this issue over the last weeks in this blog.  What distresses me is that I thought Oregon was different because we have an open meetings law which requires public and media access to decision-makers as they make their decisions in committee or in open session from city hall, school boards, county commissions to the Puzzle Palace.  But this tradition is now more violated than respected these days.  

     In the Puzzle Palace the real decisions are made behind closed doors in party caucus meetings or by legislators behind the scenes especially as the session grinds down toward the its final days.  Bills like the transparency bill I've been following HB 2077 literally have fallen out of sight - multiple work sessions are cancelled and one can't get answers from staffers or legislators - "what's going on."  It's a black hole. 

     One very savy public interest lobbyist told me "I can't even get a meeting with a legislator." 

     I realize that as a "citizen activist" I'm a minnow in a swarm of sharks - full-time paid lobbyists.  OK, I get that part.  I can't pay for "access" via an election time PAC or long term personal relationships built over years of "smoozing" even though I've played in the Puzzle Palace sand box for over 24 years.  I still feel like a second class citizen.  Imagine how a "newbie" feels.  How can I honestly tell students at Pacific to be involved! 

     The only reason I will stay engaged is based on sheer stubbornness.  But it's been 3 weeks since I was last in Salem.  And the weather is great for golf and being a grandpa.  For now, to hell with the Puzzle Palace and corporate America.  But when and if Bernie Sanders comes to Oregon, I will be there with my metaphorical pitchfork to stick it into the eye of "the establishment." 

     I'm getting that '60s feeling again!   Yippie...  





     I HAVE A PACIFIC E-MAIL ADDRESS WHICH YOU CAN REACH ME AT - but for now just use the "Comments" section.  


     Back up and running.  Easystreet after a 48 hour delay called me back 3 times.  Finally talked to a real person!  Still waiting for an apology from Google! 

     Lesson - always have a back up e-mail...   Done!  

EasyStreet email back online, company says, after two-day outage

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