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On the lighter side of life... 

#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace

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Trump & The Mob

http-//www.politico.com#13C5A6C

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ

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  • 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... 


Every Fascist Needs an Enabler. Donald Trump Will Have Mike Pence.


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. 

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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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"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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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   


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 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Tuesday
Mar292005

RAD COMMENTARY #4: THE WEEK IN REVIEW

SALEM / I was in Salem Wednesday and had the chance to sit in on a hearing on SB 618 which requires businesses to make accommodations for women who are breast feeding or pumping. I ran into the women who were behind the legislation in the Senate office building while they were distributing fresh home made pies to members of the Senate. I told them I’d never seen such a lobbying tactic in my 31 years of being a legislator watcher. They were so impressed that they gave me a pie, too! As a gesture of good will to the Governor I gave the pie to his staff – the least I could do given Ted’s kind words at the RAD party February 16th. The hearing was a classic example of what is right about our legislative process and what is wrong with it. The hearing room was packed with Mom’s and their kids. They received a courteous and supportive hearing from the committee. However, the upper middle class nature of the audience was obvious. There were no women of color in the audience. I wondered about the rights of migrant farm worker women or working class women – neither of whose working conditions lend themselves easily to such accommodations. The bias of who is heard and who is not heard in the corridors of power in Salem was underscored.

PORTLAND / The flap over Portland Mayor Tom Potter's refusal to give the Joint Terrorism Task Force a free hand is a blast from the past. Where's the clear and present danger here? The terrorists who've been caught were under wraps well before the JTTF was in place. I guess Orwellian logic (doublespeak) is in place: no problems surfacing means the JTTF system is working. Doesn't anyone recall that in the '60s when the FBI, CIA et al spied on Americans (civil rights and anti-war activists, members of congress, journalists, scholars) - the only persons 'out of the loop' were US citizens, not the bad guys? Hurray for Mayor Potter and Commission Leonard demanding local accountability.

FLORIDA / The latest 'celeb' to join the Terri Schiavo controvery is Jesse Jackson, that paragon of truth, justice and The American Way. Jackson met with Ms. Schiavo's parents yesterday and declared she was being mistreated by being denied water and food. Jesse lobbyied the Florida Senate to intervene in the Schaivo case, again! Pandering to the 'pro-life' crowd, calling this case a great civil rights 'crisis' is now a bi-partisan art form in contemporary US politics. Is that what Howard Dean meant by going after the 'pro-life voters'? Was Jesse acting as a 'pol' or a man of the cloth? Shame, Shame, Shame. But the drumb beat continues even after Terry's death. The 'pols' can't let it go.

BAGDAD / It's now two months since the elections in Iraq. Show me the 'democracy'! What we have is good old gridlock in the Green Zone, not governance. No president, no interim government, no constitution. Russia @ 1917 facing economic catastrophy, the demise of its army and the fall of the Czar - found the Mensheviks in the Duma and the Bolsheviks in the streets. Guess who won? The end result a bloody civil war and the establishment of Soviet totalitarianism. Let's hope Iraq will not be an echo from this past with an Islamic fundamentalist twist!

Monday
Mar072005

RAD COMMENTARY #3: SPRING BREAK IN THE 'GROVE'

ST.LOUIS: March Madness is almost over... one more week of the annual NCAA Men's BB tournament. My original
pick to go all the way is still in the mix - Illinois. However, having watched Louisville demolish my Washington Huskies in the Sweet 16, I think the 'Birds' will beat Illinois and win it all against North Carolina. So,there you are my 'Final Four' picks. Sadly, the rains have returned to Oregon - so our early golfing season has ended, 3 inches of rain over the weekend. Thank goodness for March Madness and what goes for the PGA tour. Will the Player's Championship ever end? But then again, Florida has proven beyond a doubt to attract the odd and looney.

THE GROVE: Well, it's spring time in Oregon and unlike past such vacation times - Ann and I are not in some exotic place such as Paris, Brussels, Vancouver BC, Maui, San Francisco or Washington D.C. But the inside the DC beltway types have a chance at a RAD sighting in mid-April. The AAC&U - American Association of College & Universities is having a convention in Bethesda April 13-16 so Ann and I will be headed 'east' as they say. Of course, it won't be all work and no play. I'm hoping to get a chance to play golf at Congressional...after all it's 'the' place to golf in Washington DC. We'll also have a chance to see east coast friends - Marc V in Carlisle, hopefully the Jewetts in Harrisburg and the Songers Mechanicsburg - all PA residents. I might also check into the model train shops in Maryland while were there too. In the meantime, I'm home grading papers, playing model trainman and hoping the rain stops enough so I can get in a round before the break ends. Of course, like all God fearing Americans - I'm caught up in 'March Madness'. My Huskies lost last night to evil Louisville - with a lot of help from the refs in the first half. But the 'birds' are good, so I think they will make the Final 4 - along with Illinois, Duke and North Carolina. Go Illinois!

FLORIDA: In the meantime, politics never takes a holiday does it? Florida continues to prove life is more bizzare than fiction. The battle over the life of a young woman in a coma has got pols and judges up and down the east coast riveted. The GOP's use of their version of pro-life politics demonstrates that the party of Lincoln has NO shame. Having gone through the gut wrenching experience of seeing a father and a mother-in-law face their final days just makes me angry to see such a private family issue made into a political circus. One wonders is the GOP gameplan to affirm life or to pander to their so-called fundamentalist base? My bet is on the latter scenario. Is that all there is to the GOP today - litmus test politics? One would think they might have learned from the Demo's mistakes of the past. But then again, where are the voices of the other party - absolutely silent... When you leave the playing field to only one party - we all lose. There is more than one voice on the complex issues being talked about - although one wouldn't know it if one only watched, read, or heard the mainstream press 'scream'. Thank goodness for NPR who brings voices of reason to the table on this and other issues.

SALEM: Oregon's legislature seems headed to a long session. The and Dems are so far apart on where and how they want to spend the projected 12.3 billion over the next two years that it will take a miracle for them to reach any common ground.  And the sad story of the Les AuCoin nomination for the Board of Forestry shows that the Senate Dems and the Governor have no clue how to run a successful confirmation process. A good friend and great congressman who served this state and the nation well was poorly treated in an 'amateur hour'hearing. Les had a right to be ticked off - not merely at the timber interests, but sadly at his own party's leadership in the Senate and the Governor's ineptitude in vetting his candidacy. If you want to read more about it - check out the excellent articles by Jeff Mapes several weeks ago in The Oregonion [go to the archives via OregonLive.com].

Wednesday
Mar022005

RAD COMMENTARY #2 - 30 SECOND SOUND BITES

PORTLAND / Portland school district superintendent Vicki Phillips' top down management style clearly does not fit the political culture of Portland which emphasizes collaboration between students, parents, teachers and principals. For example, her intention to merge elementary schools into Jefferson is contradictory for several reasons. First, creating a 7-12 mix goes against current educational research, which indicates that smaller is better. Second, Jefferson has a long track record of low performance. Aside from the 'bean counting' mentality behind mergers, what educational values support this decision? Such decisions should be based on best research and best practices. I find it especially ironic that the success of Vernon and Beaver Acres elementary schools based on lots of one on one attention to students seems counter to the superintendent's 'accountant-like’ mentality. So far I see no profiles of courage from the board.

On the other hand, State Superintendent Susan Castillo's citing these schools as exemplars of Oregon's Educational Act of the 21st Century should be credited instead to hard working teachers, good principals and supportive parents not the state's or NCLB's testing regime. The lesson here is that parental support is key to a student's success, not the design of bureaucratic boxes by school administrators or a testing regime. Hiring dedicated teachers and supporting them is the key. It's too bad Oregon voters, our legislative leaders and our governor don't get it. Quality education cannot be founded on a 'less than' or 'just' a current level services budget. If we really believe that children are the future, then it's about time Oregonians 'walk the talk'. We've been disinvesting in K-12 since the passage of Measure #5. The lesson here is that "less is not more" - it's that "less is less". Whatever success stories we find - thank the kids, their teachers, and their parents - not the 'pointy heads' in DC, Salem or Portland.

SALEM / We've now seen the first meltdown of the political season in our state capital. The Senate D's with the new revenue forecast of $200-300 million extra dollars feel there is more money in the pot and they want to boost k-12 funding among other things. The House R's feel that despite the rosy revenue picture the budget should be based on prioritizing not expanding spending. The good news is that the risk of gridlock is early in the session before the real heavy lifting begins after the May forecast. So it's good news that the posturing is now and that within the last 24 hours the threat of a boycott by R's of the Ways & Means committee may be over sooner than later. Let's hope all turns out to be sweetness and light. If not, this could be a long, long session. I'm guessing no sooner than a late July ending, but it could be August again.

Keep in mind, that even with a projection of somewhere between 12.3 - 12.5 billion over the next biennium, 2005-07 – Oregon will only have enough money to keep a current services level budget based on what was projected for 2003-05 before all the cuts were made in the last session and the dust settled after the voters defeated Measures 28 and 30. So, unless someone in Salem finds new revenue sources above and beyond what's currently projected - we're still going to see major cuts in k-12, higher ed, human resources - the big-ticket items of the general fund. Hey, the good news is that Oregon is not California where Governor Arnold and the Democratic legislature is headed for a train wreck and the voters in the 'southland' will get to decide the issue in November... Maybe!

WASHINGTON D.C. / President Bush and the GOP are out 'on message’ talking about their forecast of a social security meltdown and their private account fix. The problem is that the polls show only a third of the voters is buying the GOP line. What's happened to that 'mandate' W was claiming? All that political capital seems to be disappearing through the fog of point/counterpoint over social security. The news on the foreign front appears much better for the fans of W and Condi: successful elections in Iraq and in the Palestine Territories and Lebanon's Syrian backed government has fallen. However, let's keep in mind that Lebanon, once the economic and political jewel of the Middle East - was convulsed into civil war - caught between the conflict between Israel and Syria and by internal conflicts between Christian and Muslim citizens. The entrance of Syrian troops had once been a stabilizing force. Clearly that day is over. But democracy is not made in a day. Look at Russia. Once the hope of the free world after the collapse of The Wall - now Russia is headed back into authoritarianism, its people are poorer than they were under Communism and the genie of nationalism and separatism are out of the bottle. So, while the signs of a democratic sunrise in the Middle East look promising in the West Wing - "be careful what you wish for, you might get it"

CAMPAIGN '08 / The Dean Machine is in full gear. The new chair of the DNC brought his campaign to BLUE Oregon. He's now visited RED Kansas, Mississippi, now on to Tennessee. I wonder if Karl Rove is watching? Politics is a 'marathon. The GOP learned this in '64 after the Goldwater 'debacle'. But with Nixon, Reagan and Bush I and II – they regrouped and now rule the White House and both the House and Senate. Nobody paid attention to Newt as a 'back bencher' then '94 happened and the Ds have been in the wilderness ever since. The same conventional wisdom probably counts Chairman Dean out too. But politics is always stranger than fiction. Only time will tell - but clearly the race for the White House is on. Howard Dean is not the likely choice in '08 - but we know one important fact - there will be no incumbent in the WH to run against. Senators Clinton and Frist certainly know that... I'd watch their speaking schedules from now on... We know when they look in a mirror they see a future el presidente... Which of them has the largest Latino base?

Friday
Feb252005

RAD COMMENTARY #1 - 2005 McCall Forum

Pacific University’s 23rd Annual 2005 Tom McCall Forum February 17, 2005

Howard Dean v. Richard Perle:

‘American Foreign Policy Post 9/11’

Portland, Oregon

Who won, who lost?

     As the founder and faculty coordinator of this event, I’ve often been asked whom did I think won the great debate. However, I’m so busy during the event that I can’t focus as much as I’d like on the comments of our speakers. So, I have to wait to view the debate on videotape a day or so later in the quiet of our living at home in the Grove.

     Now that Dietrich von Behren has so kindly set up the RussDondero.com blog – I can share my assessment with anyone who has access to the World Wide Web. As you will see these are rather extended comments – more in the style of an essay in The New Yorker. As you all know – brevity is not my strong suit… So make a hard copy, get yourself a cup of java, find your favorite chair and enjoy a RAD rant, as one of my GOP ‘political’ offspring is want to say.

     First let me highlight the essence of both Perle and Dean arguments, picking the ‘high hanging fruit’ of their comments.

“Perles” of Wisdom:

     As one of the current administration’s intellectual architects of pre-emptive war one could sum up Richard Perle’s take on the topic for the night as “have gun will travel”. Perle, an Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan years, argued that US timidity in responding to previous terrorist attacks caused our adversaries “to believe we were weak”. After 9/1l “President Bush shifted American foreign policy in a radical way” by declaring that the US would no longer distinguish between terrorist organizations and countries which harbored them.

     Perle defended the doctrine of pre-emption arguing, “Acting before it is too late is prudent, it’s common sense, and it’s entirely consistent with international law”. The principle of self-defense justified our actions. Perle argued that the war was justified based on the intelligence we had at the time. Even minus WMDs - to argue we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq is akin to arguing that a person who buys house insurance is not making a wise decision simply because his house does not catch on fire.

     He argued, as President Bush has, that creating a stable democracy in Iraq in the long run will be far more important than the argument over WMDs. The evil that 9/11 represented was not caused by poverty but by political oppression. Fostering democracy is the best long-term strategy for defeating terrorism. But Perle acknowledged, “Sometimes the things we have to do are objectionable to others.”

RADspeak:

     As was asked by the panel of Mr. Perle – what, if any, are the limits of the doctrine of pre-emption? President Bush has recently put Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and even Russia on our ‘watch list’ along with Iran and North Korea. Will the pre-emptive shoe be dropped on one of these nations next? Or is this mere swagger? Also, is this administration’s willingness to go it alone over? Did we confer with allies regarding the additions to the ‘watch list’? When President Bush looks into ‘Putin’s eyes’ – does he still see a kindred spirit?

     The great empires of the past from Persian to the British Empire all collapsed because they became geographically overextended and became internally corrupt under the pressure of their imperium. What’s to say our hegemony will not suffer the same fate? Regarding the causes of terrorism – it’s a complex phenomenon. But oppression often has three faces – political, economic and social repression. The military option might address the political dimension in a narrow sense, but only ‘soft’ power can confront the other two dimensions of securing liberty and freedom.

The Dean ‘Scream’:

     Unlike Mr. Perle, Governor Howard Dean’s comments, as the newly elected chair of the DNC, are not easily put in the form of a bumper sticker – violating Mary Matalin’s rule for political communication she introduced to the Forum audience in the 2000. This may be the essential difference between Mr. Perle and Chairman Dean – and also the difference between the GOP and the Democrats.

     Dean argued that while he and other Democrats supported earlier conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia and even the first campaign against Iraq in 1991 – the current war “was not justified by the information we had at the time”. He accused the administration of failing to develop a long-term strategy to defend our vital security and global interests. He argued focus on Iraq ignored more dangerous threats to US security. “We picked the low hanging fruit in Iraq” while ignoring the nuclear proliferation threat in Iran and North Korea.

     Dean argued that our national security is not strengthened by running up “trillions of dollars in deficits and have the paper held by the Saudis and Chinese”. Cutting “veterans health care benefits” is also not a strong position. By invading Iraq unilaterally and without a clear post-war strategy “we have lost the moral high ground we’ve had since the end of World War I”.

     “Defense is a lot broader than swaggering around saying you’re going to kick Saddam’s butt.” We need a ‘big picture’ view of American foreign policy. We should embrace freedom and opportunity, at home and abroad. But that depends on more than the use of military might. A strong defense policy requires trade agreements, which create an integrated world economy good for multi-national corporations but which also creates good jobs for workers and renewable energy. He argued we all should hope democracy succeeds in Iraq. But a political struggle in Iraq between moderates and fundamentalists may end up with a Shiite leadership favorable to Iran.

RADspeak:

     If the Democrat’s foreign policy position is primarily a critique of the current Iraq war and occupation, then what happens if the emergence of democracy in Iraq is realized? Mr. Dean said that Democrats should hope such turns out to be the case, even though he argued that we shouldn’t make book on it. As Dean said, Iraq could just as easily splinter into a 3-way civil war between – Sunni, Shiite and Kurds. Look at the partition of Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947.

     Perhaps like our experiment with democracy in Afghanistan – the evidence of success is merely skin deep. The warlords are back, President Karzi cannot travel in Kabul let alone outside without an American military escort and Afghanistan’s traditional cash crop, the opium poppy is back. On North Korea our refusal to enter bi-lateral talks is akin to a youngster holding his breath until Mom or Dad give in. We should never fear to negotiate. On nuclear proliferation, what about the old Soviet stockpiles? Thankfully, Bush and Putin are talking about them now. But as Nixon once said – “don’t watch what we say, watch what we do.” The devil is in the details.

RAD analysis:

The Election Myth:

     Having watched and listened carefully to President Bush’s inaugural speech and his State of the Union address (it’s tough duty, but somebody has turn on the remote) – I’m taken aback by his idea that ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ are action verbs not nouns. He and Karl Rove seem to feel that the mere act of having an election makes these principles actionable. Well, let’s wait a minute here. Back in the dark days of the Vietnam War – I remember elections. Our guys won much like Mayor Daley (the father) used to win elections in Chicago. But on the way to victory Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City a few short years later. We’ve had elections in Haiti and their shelf life was short too.

     The rather mechanistic belief that elections are an example of democracy having taken root is problematic at best, illusionary at worst. Our own nation had 200 years under British colonial administration to develop the social, economic and institutional conditions of a modern democracy – and yet events from 1776 to 2000 prove that we are still a work in progress. After all, election 2000 was settled by a judicial coup. The only question was which court would decide, the Supreme Court of Florida or Renquist’s Supremes. Fortunately, 2004 brought us back to settling affairs in the old fashioned way.

     The elections in Iraq were a curious affair, not unlike elections in Chicago under the guiding hand of ‘His Honor’ Mayor Richard J. Daly circa 1960 – the other time in American history when a political party ‘stole’ an election for their presidential candidate!

     As Yale’s Robert Dahl in Preface to Democracy points out credible elections 1) should be transparent; 2) should involve choices; 3) should be regular and 4) the results should be accepted by all. Clearly the 58% of Iraqi’s who voted were heroic. And the turnout was impressive even by US standards. However, there was no real campaign under the conditions of occupation, voters didn’t really know who or what they were voting for on the various slates. And the election was boycotted by the Sunni community out of fear of reprisal and/our loyalty to the insurgents.

     Are elections per se a short cut to democracy? The road to democracy is paved with many potholes – look at France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany through much of the 20th century. The road to democracy was painful and costly, to partisans within their borders as well as allied citizen soldiers. The most recent convert, Russia is sliding into traditional Russian autocracy under Putin. President Bush in Brussels noted such this week. And that public square to be named after President Bush predicted by Perle will have to wait. The intellectual hubris of assuming the words liberty and freedom are actionable would best be tempered by a reading of Arendt, Crick, Lipset and Verba.

     The chance for Afghanistan and Iraq making this leap into modernity is even more problematic. The history of independence movements in the 3rd world doesn’t evidence a straight-line movement from colonialism to democracy, from civil war to stability. Look at China, Central Africa, Indonesia, and Pakistan. And even where success has been achieved such as in South Africa – while procedural democracy has taken root – social and economic justice has not. Look at our own geographic back yard. Brazil, a democracy by most standards, is allowing the Amazon to be deforested along with the removal of indigenous peoples. The road to democracy is a slippery slope to say the least – Cuba, Columbia, Peru?

     If the public square in downtown Baghdad to be named after George Bush is to be more than PR window dressing then Iraqis must do the serious heavy lifting of building civil institutions before our brothers and sisters in Iraq sing “God Bless America”. Before that – the bricks and mortar of a civic infrastructure must be in place – such as electrical power, water systems, safe roads, schools. As Chairman Dean said it would be spiteful to not wish them success. After all the American taxpayers are footing the bill or more correctly – their children and grandchildren are. God speed.

Rhetoric vs. Reality:

     Republicans are willing to put their ideas out in black and white rhetoric – such as axis of evil. The Democrats chastened by their own debates over the Vietnam War are less easily stereotyped as witnessed by John Kerry’s inability to explain why he voted for the war in Iraq (during the authorization process), and then voted against it (in the appropriations process). One suspects Senator Kerry was in a delicate balancing act - trying to be a viable contender against a war president (being virile is a must) while seeing Howard Dean becoming the front-runner based upon his criticism of the war and occupation of Iraq. The Democrats, like Kerry often seem to be caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

     In the Forum, Mr. Perle had the easier task – to defend the current administration’s aggressive military posture in Afghanistan and Iraq in light of 9/11. From the very first, the Bush team seemed intent of smiting the evil ones, not playing “let’s make a deal” to avoid another Middle East war and what’s now become a very costly occupation. Remember the restraint George H. Bush showed in the Persian Gulf War of ’91? We didn’t go all the way to Baghdad for precisely the reasons that have become very clear – it’s a huge throw of the dice – in American and Iraqi casualties and lives and in cost to civil liberties and economic dislocation on the home front.

What Foreign Policy?

     Of course showing a reluctance to pull the trigger post 9/11 would presume that the Bush team had in fact a coherent foreign policy at the time of the attack. Such would presume a willingness to use the full range of diplomacy – political and economic power – the so-called ‘soft power’ - which Mr. Perle dismissed. The evidence of a well thought out strategy in the months prior to 9/11 is scant. As the testimony of Richard Clark and the investigation of the events leading up to 9/11 indicate – our government was caught flat-footed having ignored many clues, which might have uncovered or at least blunted the plot to attack America.

     The President being primarily focused on a domestic agenda of tax cuts, NCLB and faith based social programs did not have foreign policy in his range finder. So, the turnaround of the administration seems more reactive than well thought out. A point made again and again in the debate by Chairman Dean.

     Of course with the considerable foreign policy expertise to draw upon within the administration as well as from outside such as Mr. Perle – the administration was able to get it’s footing quickly. But the inner circle of the GOP returned to familiar ground worked out in the Reagan years – focus on a very visible enemy and move from there. Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were ideal personifications of the ‘evil doers’.

     Secretary of State Colin Powell’s duplicitous speech before the UN provided cover for taking out Saddam Hussein by military means and silenced the loyal opposition because of Powell’s credibility. If he said there were WMDs in Iraq – then there must be! And as Perle said, one need not confer with Democratic leadership, because Colin Powell was there and had access to the West Wing. Of course we all now know – it was window dressing at best.

     Such a truncated vetting process is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind as advice and consent on matters of national security. I guess being ‘soft’ in any sense is not a manly thing in this administration. One hears echoes of the old “Cold War” while listening to Mr. Perle. The enemy is now the Islamic fundamentalism not godless communism. But the rhetorical hyperbole sounds much like the ‘old’ clichés of the Cold War.

A Democratic Foreign Policy Vision?

     However, this is not to suggest that the Democrats have articulated a clear foreign policy. Again, the evidence of campaign 2004 is that they haven’t. John Kerry had a credible critique of the war and occupation of Iraq – but he didn’t have a clear roadmap out of Iraq – but then again neither does the Bush team. Where’s evidence of the n-game, which the GOP constantly beat up Clinton about during the lead up to Bosnia? But worse to me is that John Kerry often tried to out Bush Bush on the campaign trail – using his Vietnam Vet status appearing ready to go into mortal combat one on one with the terrorists a la The Terminator!

     Let me raise an obviously controversial question - why must Democrats endorse as Dean did - Gulf War I and the War in Afghanistan?

     As a student asked in the Campus Q&A – did the sacrifice of American blood and treasure help Kuwait become a democracy – a ‘shining city on a hill’? The best Mr. Perle could come up with is that Kuwait is a work in progress. Really – how long must we wait to see our investment pay off, Mr. Perle? I vividly remember seeing young male Kuwaiti nationals in bars in Cairo on American TV celebrating the American liberation of their countrymen. Sunshine patriotism, Kuwaiti style?

     Was the ‘allied’ game plan in Desert Storm proportionate to the task of containing Saddam? US planes bombed Iraqi and others leaving Kuwait City on a highway which became a killing field of burned out tanks, trucks and cars. Was the slaughter necessary? But at least that war was based on a multi-lateral coalition of economic and military burden sharing. In fact, the great debate in the US Senate over that war ironically gave the Bush I team time to orchestrate a very successful coalition unlike the motley crew in the current war.

     And the diplomatic settlement of that war created a buffer zone, which allowed the Kurds to create their own independent self-governing state under the protection of the allies no fly zone. It also created what turned out to be a very successful clampdown and albeit often opaque monitoring regime on WMDs in Iraq!

     In Afghanistan a week before we went to war, the Taliban government, admittedly a vicious regime which gave safe haven to Osama Bin Laden and his minions, was hemming and hawing about whether it would release him to American custody. Who knows what might have been? But why not play the string out? Why the rush to war? Also, why demand Bin Laden be given to US officials as opposed to a multi-lateral entity to be tried by the World Court as is the butcher of Bosnia, Milosovitch?

     Would one more week have made a difference to call the Taliban’s bluff? Or were the dogs of war in the West Wing so thirsty for revenge or as a cover for incompetence in the lead up to 9/11 that we no longer cared for even the semblance of negotiations with a vile regime – even if it meant getting custody of Osama? We’ll never know – but we do know despite the spending of American and Afghan lives, he’s still at large and we are not safe.

     Even Howard Dean, as Chair of the DNC has to be retrospectively virile, manly – not to be accused of being soft on terrorism? As in the 1950s, Democrats swallowed the bi-partisan party line during the Cold War as the price for being considered patriotic – i.e. anti-communist?

     Where did this bi-partisanship get us – JFK’s aborted effort with the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, the near nuclear meltdown over the Missiles of October, again Cuba, the dismembering of sub-Saharan Africa from the Congo to Angola. And then step by step it led us into the Vietnam quagmire – with Truman helping France save face by keeping her Asian colonies; the Ike/Dulles refusal to sign the 1954 Geneva Accords (sound familiar – Kyoto, World Court, North Korea?); followed by JFK/LBJ and Nixon expansion of the war in Indo-China. Check out classics such as David Halberstam’s The Best & The Brightest or Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s The Imperial Presidency.

The Price of War:

     How many American soldiers must die to hide a strategic mistake or groupthink? Even in the case of my own choice of a ‘just’ war – Bosnia - we used air power instead of boots on the ground which caused large-scale collateral damage. Granted our European allies were remiss in waiting too long to stop ethnic cleansing but they eventually put troops on the ground. We didn’t until our air campaign was over and the former Yugoslavia was turned into rubble from American air and missile power. .

     Let’s also remember that those who are making the ultimate sacrifice for us and for what may be a long shot – democracy in Iraq – are there because our President sent them in our name whether we support the war or not. While the death rate in this war is proportionately lower than in Vietnam – the casualty rates are significantly higher largely due to our advanced medical assistance in the field of battle. As a result many vets are going to come home with major psychological and physical traumas unlike any previous war. We owe them our gratitude for their service and taxpayer support to help them put their lives, that of their families and their communities back together on their return.

Living in a Dangerous World: :

     What the world needs is not American unilateralism and pre-emptive war, but an international and multi-national diplomatic, economic and military strategy to blunt, stop, or respond to regional and sub-regional conflicts. Richard Falk at Princeton has spent a lifetime detailing such an option. Some of your older alums may have heard him speak when I brought him to Pacific. That’s what was in place in Iraq with the No Fly Zone, as imperfect as it was.

     If we need troops in the air or on the ground, then why not an international peace keeping force to enter the world’s hot spots – such as Rwanda, Liberia, Sudan, and Sri Lanka before the genocide takes its toll. That would shield us from the economic and diplomatic burden of being the world’s policeman and from becoming the poster child (The Great Satan) of worldwide terrorism’s propaganda machine.

     With all due respect to Mr. Perle and many others - the fact it took place on our territory, the attack on 9/11 was not merely an attack on Americans, but an attack on modernity or the emergent global village as we know it. That’s why the world rallied to our side. People from Ireland to Kenya, from Lebanon to Japan, from Columbia to Italy have been victims to this scourge, which has its origins in the French Revolution (read Edmund Burke’s brilliant and chilling Reflections on the Revolution in France).

     As with Korea and Vietnam, 9/11 caused a new generation of Americans to lose their veil of innocence, a reality we haven’t fully absorbed. We live in a very dangerous world and the unthinkable can happen, anytime, any place. There is no quick fix to and no guaranteed safe haven against such unspeakable acts. To understand the dynamics of this process today read Jihad vs. McWorld by Benjamin Barber. To meet the challenge of this new world order as Chairman Dean suggested we need a long-term view and plan. We need to be proactive not merely reactive.

     Where did this new ‘Cold War’ begin? For Americans it began on 9/11 at the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. But how did this happen? Who trained and armed our enemy in the ‘70s and ‘80s? Who continues to bankroll them now? What events give oxygen to the fire of modern terrorism? And where is Osama today? Why Iraq and Afghanistan? What nation has 10% of the world’s untapped oil reserves? What two nations are in the geographic epicenter of the Middle East, Russia, China and South Asia?

     And can we deal with the root causes of Islamic fundamentalism until the Palestinian question is settled by the creation of a Palestinian ‘state’ on the West Bank, in Gaza and with a shared capitol in Jerusalem – the home of three great religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity? Too bad this question never came up in the Forum last week. An opportunity missed.

     Thomas Friedman, a very informed journalist on the Middle East is more optimistic than I about the chances for positives to come out of this region. Clearly, we are at a critical moment – in Iraq, in Palestine, in Lebanon. He hopes for a Baghdad Spring:

     “…But we have to be sober about what is ahead. There will be no velvet revolutions in this part of the world. The walls of autocracy will not collapse with just one good push. As the head-chopping insurgents in Iraq, the suicide bombers in Saudi Arabia and the murderers of Hariri [Lebanon] have all signaled: The old order in this part of the world will not go quietly into the night. You put a flower in the barrel of their gun and they’ll blow your head off…” Winning the war for the Arab Street, The Oregonian, Tuesday, February 22, 2005, p. B 7.

A Choice not an Echo – A Prelude to 2008?

     The GOP suffers from a major brain or memory cramp now that the shoe is on their feet. What’s the Bush exit strategy? Are we crippling terrorism in Iraq or giving it more oxygen? But don’t bother with such questions. The ‘man’ in the White House has will, determination, resolve. That was enough for the American voters this time around. Americans wanted, at least by a narrow margin, the comfort of President Bush’s black and white certitudes not the slippery nuances of a John Kerry.

     Memories are short in the USA. As Bill Clinton knew “it’s all about tomorrow.” Or as Reagan commercials designed by Mike Deaver used to say “it’s morning in America”. As Chair Dean said it’s time for the Democrats to frame the debate.

     Chairman Dean in the debate offered important outlines of a Democratic foreign policy. Hopefully his Democratic friends were paying attention. Rather than muzzle Dean as DNC chair by having him focus only on fund raising, candidate recruitment and base mobilization - hopefully congressional leadership will join him in building the edifice of an alternative foreign policy vision to that of the GOP. As the party out of power that’s the moral and political responsibility of the loyal opposition. Starting last Thursday at the 23rd annual Tom McCall Forum Chairman Dean began developing the outlines of “that vision thing”. 

     Gentlepersons “start your engines” - 2008 is just around the corner!

Score: Perle/Dean deuce.

Who won – Pacific University of course!

Arlene Schnitzer Performing Arts Center

Thursday
Feb172005

The Professor Hangs Up His Hat (But Keeps The Gloves On)

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2005 shall be recognized as a historic day in Oregon, marking the retirement of a great man and friend to many, our beloved professor of political science, Russell A. Dondero.

In tribute to Dondero, a festive gathering of students (current and former), university colleagues, and state politicos was organized by Dan James ('87).  Drawing together a lively audience, the "R.A.D. Roast" took place at the Arlington Club in downtown Portland, and included such notables as Gerry Frank and Elizabeth Furse. Acting as the event's emcee, Pacific Trustee and RAD advisee, Paul Phillips ('78), read aloud a gracious letter from Governor Kulongoski, acknowledging Professor Dondero for his significant accomplishments and contributions to academia and local government. The Governor writes:

"Based on your instruction, many of your former students have reached our Capitol's steps, inspired in the pursuit of politics and leadership. You have enriched Oregon's political debate and discussion with the creation and annual success of the Tom McCall Forum. This is a tradition that both Pacific University and the State of Oregon is proud of."Indeed.  Praise that is well-deserved.  Unfortunately, these words still cannot sum up all the positive impact you've had on the many lives you've touched throughout your career.  For that, your legacy will live on.

But as I indicated in my remarks on Wednesday, instinct tells me it's not over for il professore.  No sir, not this old boy. I expect you'll continue your passion for politics, online as well as off.  In fact, we're all counting on it.

Therefore,  as my gift to you, I present the official RussDondero.com blog. 

Consider it an outlet for continued expression, on matters great and small. Right or left, you'll always have admirers from the bleachers.  The game might just get rowdier.

So post prosperously, and may we look forward to your future rants from the free world called retirement.

With love from Baghdad by the Bay,

Your Republican Son
DvB ('93)