Monday, November 9, 2009

The right wing fringe can't handle the truth...

Truth is, corporate control of the US
government cost us our economic,
military, & technological preparedness.

And the corporate operatives who
worked so hard to undermine this
nation during the Cheney/Bush fiasco...
are investing in China and India rather
than supplying American jobs.

If Obama invests in America and ends corporate
adventurism abroad... we have a chance to repair
these damages. If not, our decline will continue,
virtually unabated, for the next half century.

It will take more than a Roosevelt Republican like Obama,
a cowardly congress, or a lackadaisical court to fix this mess.
It will take alert active citizens willing to put it on the line, remove
corporate legislators, vote for reform, and when necessary...
take it to the streets.

We can do it through civic-engagement, education reform,
single-payer healthcare, investment at home, and an end to
corporate neo-colonialism.The cure for fear-mongering and lies...
is a dollop of courage and one big serving of the flat truth.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Racism is Alive and Well in America...

“Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering
than outright rejection.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no
right to assume otherwise. If we do not falter in our duty now,
we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare,
and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.

-- James Baldwin

I swear to the Lord
I still can't see
Why Democracy means
Everybody but me.

~Langston Hughes, The Black Man Speaks


When Congressman Wilson Interrupted
President Barack Obama during his speech
to both houses of congress and called him a liar,
was this about race or racism? 

Travis Larimer  09.16.09
I’m from South Carolina. People from outside the South can’t really begin to understand the nuances of racism in Southern culture. In South Carolina, educated, white conservatives of the upper class, like Joe Wilson, in particular have a unique brand of racism, which is usually characterized by an intentional segregation from black southerners in any capacity that would imply the two groups are socially equal.
Living in the same neighborhoods or eating at the same restaurants is something that just doesn’t happen.

I think it’s important to understand exactly how Rep. Wilson’s outburst was a result of racism. It’s not as simple as, “Rep. Wilson believes the President is lying because he is black,” or “Rep. Wilson told the President he is lying because Rep. Wilson is a racist.” Those are oversimplifications of a complex cultural issue.

Joe Wilson’s outburst, the act itself, rather than the words, results from the shattering of his Southern white perspective of racial superiority and entitlement . Joe Wilson would not have felt justified in yelling at a white President. It’s even unlikely that he would have acted in a similar way toward another white congressman. It is because President Obama is a black man that Rep. Wilson feels that it is fully within the scope of his social standing to shout him down and essentially call him a liar in front of the entire world. For an upper class southerner, having a black man in a position of authority over you is completely inconceivable.

This isn’t the overt, KKK/neo-Nazi racism of 60 minutes and television
documentaries. This is a sense of white supremacy that is so firmly
ingrained in Southern culture that it’s doubtful Mr. Wilson
is even aware of it.

stuff white people do

"The ways of white folks, I mean, some white folks . . ."
                   (Langston Hughes)

A Black Agenda
Radio commentary
by executive editor Glen Ford

White people, in the majority,
don't think they are racist
- but they are.

...White folks think they are superior,
the definition of racism.
They are convinced that race relations have been getting better
over the last ten years, and will improve further
in the next decade. Of course, white people
will not have to give up any power to achieve this goal; it is a gift.
The delusions of white America are amazing, and shape a world
view that threatens human existence. White academics constantly
explore the psyche of Black people, but never their own
- the people in power. The Zogby poll shows that whites harbor
deep problems, that can kill us all, if they are not cured.

Racism Alive and Thriving in America,

There is a deep cultural malady in white America, a kind of delusional
disease that prevents them from seeing reality, as it is. They know that
racism exists, but deny any role in it. They recognize that systemic
prejudice has societal effects, but claim they play no part in the process.
They realize that the Republican Party is the party of racism, but vote for
it, anyway. White folks have an unexamined problem. Theyt ought to
stop looking at us Black folks, as if we are the flawed specimens,
and take care of their own contradictions.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.

Click here to comment Here to blog Or here to discuss

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die,
life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.

—Langston Hughes

More on Joe Wilson's
Interruption of President Obama

Nana Olson, SC
As working adults, my husband and I raised our three children
and lived in Virginia for nearly 30 years. We witnessed racism
but never defined as we see it living in SC these past 6 years.

I do believe it is good to feel passionate about our birthplace and its lore,
customs, and history. However, in reading about Joe Wilson, and his love
for all that is the South, I find him romanticizing what he refers to as being
a “patriot” and being “proud” of his heritage. From what I read, I believe
Joe Wlson is incredibly lacking in understanding or recognition of the human
tragedy caused by slavery and racism and the continued loss we
witness here in SC from persistent discrimination at the state level.

Joe Wilson’s tactics in Jim Clyburn’s congressional area, appear to me to
be purposeful and downright nasty. Our President needs to deny racism is
the basis for much of the unreasonable and angry protest against him and
what he is trying to do. I believe that
we at the grassroots level can, and should, call it as we see it.
Thank you President Carter, it is blatant racism.

Joe Wilson needs to be held responsible for his actions. It is up to us to
commit to bring real change to SC. Have faith, the truth is a great witness.
Let’s get it out!

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity
toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,
that he’s African American,” Carter told NBC yesterday.

“I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way and I’ve seen
the rest of the country that shared the South’s attitude toward minority groups
at that time … and I think it’s bubbled up to the surface,” Carter said, “because
of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country,
that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.”


Our friend Yael Abouhalkah, meanwhile, over at the Kansas City Star sounds a bit like
Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men” telling those who dispute Carter’s claim that
they can’t handle the truth:

He’s just stating the facts, whether Americans want to hear them or not. Carter’s
complaints aren’t aimed at all Americans, just at those who don’t think a black
person deserves to be president. And there are millions in this country. So as the
conservative base and others get whipped into a frenzy over Carter’s remarks,
they need to cool down.

Verne Stolte  09.16.09

I’m as sick of the race card as anyone. In most cases it’s overplayed but in this case,
President Carter is right and it fits.  Joe Wilson would never have shown such disrespect
for the office of the president at a joint session of congress, unless he had no respect for
the person who happens to be president and also black.

Wilson has shown his true colors - the bars and stripes

Jim 09.16.09

President Carter is correct. Racism is the main factor behind all of the anger against
President Obama. Look at all the silly charges thrown at Obama like Obama is not a
US citizen, therefore not a legitimate President, and he is turning the country into a
Socialist country. Look at bigots showing up with guns outside Obama events.
Look at protesters demanding “I want my country back.”
Did anyone see this reaction against Reagan, Bush, Clinton?

Joe Wilson is clown and a bigot. He was one of the few South Carolina legislators
voting in favor of the confederate flag in defence of his heritage.

sharon 09.16.09

I think President Carter has said aloud what we all know to be the truth. These angry
crowds at town hall meetings carrying guns, Obama/Hilter posters and crying
”I want my Country back,” are exactly the Americans President Carter is calling out.
They stand up so proudly interrupting real debate with their ignorance while smiling
proudly for FOX NEWS.

Timus, Powder Springs, GA 09.16.09

The unprecedented disrespect is what is racist!
He would have NEVER done that to a white male!!

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless
midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood
can never become a reality.... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love
will have the final word.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

November 16, 2009 is Tolerance Day

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tinfoil hats, torture, fear-mongering, and lies...

I have noticed over the years that
tinfoil hat, right wing ideagogues.
The apologists for neo-fascisim.
The con-men.

Those willing to embrace wiretapping,
torture, murder, rape, or any other manner
of atrocity which might advance their
ideological agenda... have standard
tactics they use when avoiding issues,
discussions, or constructive arguments
based in fact.

Rather than addresssing real
situations, specific issues, or
practical matters... they
prefer hypotheical cases.

Instead of facing the fact that Iran is a
nation full of people who have been victimized
by their leaders, they propose that we consider
nonexistant neighbors in pretend back yards who
they imagine may be building flame throwers or
ticking bombs. They find paranoid fantasies more
compelling than facing the truth or real issues.

But for anyone who really
wants to talk about Iran,
we have a large Persian
community right here
in Portland, Oregon.
Many of these good people
are my friends. They can
provide the information

necessary to prevent fanatics, syncophants, and the
misguided... from lobbying for the murder of their
families and destruction of their nation.

Hateful and fear-mongering, based on
partisan claptrap, disinformation, distortion,
logical fallacies, and flat lies are no way to
run a nation, a neighborhood, or your life.
We can educate the clueless. Yes we can.

in peace and with best regards,


Monday, September 14, 2009

We can get along…

Fear is no basis for running a nation.
We get it.

We have been provided with ample example
of what
"wonders" endless corporate wars
produce: Death, destruction, dishonor,
disgrace, and decline.

When we take care of business, reassemble a
trategic diplomatic corps, rebuild our infrastructure,
and stop overextending and abusing our military with
irresponsible corporate adventures abroad...

courage and prudence will allow
the Iranian people find freedom
while the the American people
secure peace
with honor.

The time for hysterics and
hystrionics is over. Buck up.

With courage and wisdom we can
conquer fear
and studious ignorance.
And soar like an eagle...

Bet on it.


Preemptive Terrorism...

One cannot bomb a nation and a people
because we disagree with their leaders.

In 2001 the USA was bombed because some
Saudi Arabians felt we had inferior leaders.
Sick theories about the efficacy of preemptive
aggression violate every American tradition.

Preemptive war only legitimzes attacks on this
nation. Soverign nations must not be attacked,
invaded, or occupied unless they have attacked,
invaded, or occupied another soverign state.
Our nation was founded up0n, guided by, and
kept safe according to these principles until the
"Bush doctrine" was embraced. We have seen
the folly of that doctrine. We got hit on their watch.

Those who advocate bombing Iran because we do not like
their leader are insane. Reckless aggressors who subscribe to such
theories are why we were attacked on 9/11. We cannot defeat our
enemies by surrendering to tactics of terror and methods of fascism.
Such illogical and perverse "theories" are nonsense. Amoral
preemptive aggression is terrorism, pure and simple.

Bad tactics, bad ideas, and bad news. Those who claim ethics are
"situational," are sociopaths and criminals without scruples or
integrity. We need not surrender our principles to secure our liberty.
best regards, Tim

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama embraces Bush Cheney Doctrine

The most frightening aspect of the
illegal, immoral, and insane

Bush/Cheney Doctrine...

is that Obama embraces

and endorses it

Barack also clings to
the suspension of habeaus corpus,
and the right to "render" American citizens
for torture, rape, and or murder...

These remain dangerous times.

"The Pentagon's civilian contractor work force in
Afghanistan outnumbers the deployment of
uniformed U.S. soldiers, with contractors accounting
for 57 percent of Defense Department personnel,
according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service."

"The reliance on a civilian work force rather than American military
personnel represents "the highest recorded percentage of contractors
used by DOD in any conflict in the history of the United States,"
concludes the report, which was obtained by the Federation of
American Scientists."

The report is based on the Pentagon's surveys of contractors in Iraq
and Afghanistan. Overall, as of March 31, 2009, the Defense
Department employed more than 240,000 contractors in the two
war zones, compared with approximately 282,000 uniformed soldiers.

This does not bode well for America, Afghanistan, Iraq,or your wallet.
We still need some accountability.

Theoccupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are expensive, deadly,
and counterproductive. It is time to remove our troops, and replace
them with international peacekeepers. The misuse of our troops in
these nations to enforce illegalcost-plus, no-bid, contracts for a variety
of corporate ambitions and priorities is feckless, irresponsible, inappropriate,
and will continue to cost lives and resources for no good reason.

We must end these occupations and begin rebuilding this nation by
investing in jobs, parks, infrastructure, ports, utilities,research, and
education. Wasting our resources abroad on ill-considered corporate
misadventures prevents us from providing the universal health-care and
education which will be necessaryif this nation ever hopes to endure,
survive, compete, and prevail in today's globally interconnected marketplace.

Endless war, mercantilism, empire-building, and neocolonialism...have
proven unmitigated disasters for this nation, our allies,and for the globe.
It is time we end the occupations, restore the rule of law, demand
constitutional integrity, and build bridges to peace, progress, and prosperity.

This will take courage, commitment, and common sense.
Those who broke the law must be prosecuted and pay for their crimes,
so that the rest of us can get on with our lives, restore our reputation,
salvage some integrity, and begin a rebuilding process of reconciliation
and renewal which may well be redemptive.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


From the announcement of a
Special Prosecutor to the
chilling stories of abuse in the
CIA Inspector General's report,
recent news brought a barrage
of developments on torture.

In short, we've seen small positive steps,
but the bigger picture remains deeply
disturbing: limited investigations,
impunity for those most responsible
for authorizing crimes of torture,
and policies like international rendition
and illegal detention remaining on the books.

» Call on President Obama and Congress to end
and ensure accountability for torture and other
human rights violations.

Here's what's happening and our next steps:
The appointment of a Special Prosecutor is a
positive step toward accountability. We have
long called for specific cases of detainee abuse by
government personnel and private contractors,
once shelved by the Bush Department of Justice,
to be re-opened – but much more must be done.

The scope of the Special Prosecutor's investigation
may be limited to the actions of a few mid-level
personnel, and we all know that evidence puts
responsibility for torture much higher up the
chain of command. We need a full investigation—
an independent commission of inquiry—to get the full truth.

The CIA finally released two classified memos that
Vice President Cheney had previously stated would
justify the use of torture. Amnesty International requested
the release of these memos in a Freedom of Information Act
request submitted jointly with the Center for Constitutional
Rights and New York University Law School. Far from
supporting torture, the memos, in fact, offered little evidence
of how attacks were prevented from obtaining testimony using
such disgraceful methods – another myth debunked.

The CIA Inspector General's report, long kept in secret
and released only due to a lawsuit by the ACLU, revealed
new details about the CIA's use of torture and underscores
the need for full accountability. Shameful stories about mock
executions, death threats to detainee's family members and
even an incident involving a power drill being placed to the head
of one detainee each add to the mountain of evidence weighing
against those at the highest levels who allowed such crimes to
occur under their supervision.

President Obama has approved the creation of special
interrogation unit and it must abide by the Army Field Manual.
The Field Manual is a far better standard than the heinous
Office of Legal Council's interrogation memos, however,
some techniques permitted by the Army Field Manual–
including sleep deprivation, isolation and exploitation of
fears–could still result in torture or other ill-treatment.
To ensure that the U.S. never tortures again, President
Obama and Congress must close all loopholes for torture
and other ill-treatment–as defined under international law.

Reports are also surfacing that the Obama administration
will continue the practice of international rendition–
sending detainees to other countries for interrogation,
outside of judicial review. Officials say that they are taking
steps to ensure that rendered detainees are not tortured.
President George W. Bush made the same promise.

As long as international rendition is on the books,
torture is an option. The ball is rolling. If it wasn't for
your calls, emails, letters and persistent activism
against torture, yesterday's news would have most
likely never have happened. And if you need more
proof that your actions are having an impact, just
look at the case of Mohammed Jawad. He was at
most 17 years old, and perhaps as young as 12,
when he was first detained and sent to Guantánamo
Bay prison. He was beaten, subjected to sleep
deprivation, interrogated and told his family would
be killed if he did not confess. For five years, he was
denied access to a lawyer.Recently, the intense scrutiny
being given to his case helped leverage a U.S. Supreme
Court ruling that allowed Jawad to have his day in court.

He was ordered released. The government dropped all

charges and this week he arrived home.This is how justice
works. We know there's a better standard for interrogation
methods and ensuring national security. This week's news

is only the beginning. Now we've got to do all we can to
ensure that yesterday's news isn't overlooked when crafting
tomorrow's policies.

Sincerely,Njambi Good
Campaign Director
Counter Terror With Justice
Amnesty International USA

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Michael Barone says Obama governs Chicago Style

Not Chicago Style, Obama Style
Posted by Writingresource on
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 5:06:56 PM

Mr. Barone is wrong on all counts..

.President Barack Obama likes to execute
long-range strategies and his most exciting skill
has been his facility for accomadating new facts
and using them to refine his long and shortterm strategies.

As Barack Obama deals with difficult problems ranging
from health care legislation to upheaval in Iran, we
have seen that his skills and approaches provide more
effective leadership than we have seen in years.

His 2008 campaign was a largely flawless execution
of a smart strategy and he won, regardless of how many
sour grapes the entertainers and pundits want to harvest.

On domestic policy, he has been executing his long-range
strategy of investing in the American people and providing
resources to sustain them as they suffer the consequences
of eight years of irresponsible Republican spending and an
ill-advised corporate war.

His long-range strategy of talking to America's enemies
has already been a success. North Korea's missile launches
are par for the course. The demonstrations in Iran against
the mullah regime's apparent election fraud is proof that
Barack has given hope both at home and abroad.

Obama never assumed anything. This is why his strategy
works. Now that he is seen as a reasonable man, rather
than someone hell-bent on war and destruction, it is much
more difficult for totalitarian regimes to cast us as the enemy.
It is about time we drew a line in the sand.

He not only expressed deep concern about the election,
he said in no uncertain terms that the Iranian regime's abuse
of their people would not stand. He is the first president since
Clinton who does care about the details of policy. His hands on
approach is refreshing.

Once he purges his administration of Robert Gates and
other deadbeats and hangers on... things will proceed
even more expeditiously.

For the first time in nine years we have coherent public policy:
He has moved to provide better access to healthcare,
invest in America, restore civil rights, and give the middle
class and the poor an even break. His efforts to responsibly
provide for the least powerful among us while relieving
business of the burden of providing health care is a win-win situation.

Obama quickly announced the closing of the prison at
Guantanamo Bay and is engaged in that process.
And it is about time.

His insistance that Israel not expand illegal settlements
is prudent and long overdue. A brilliant beginning.

The government takeover of General Motors and
Chrysler to bail out irresponsible corporate executives
was prudent.We could not afford to put millions of
Americans out of work and a reform of the industry
was long overdue.

His plan for instituting universal pre-kindergarten
is supported by scientific evidence and is critical to our
national security. It is about time we began fixing
our failing schools.

He has done nothing to keep the Republicans out
of serious policy negotiations and has allowed various
congressional operators to do what they do. He will
then sign or veto their work. While promising a politics
of mutual respect, he is intelligent enough to point out the
criminal violations of his predecessor which got us into so
much trouble. To ignore those mistakes would be folly.

The corporate press generally loves Obama because
he has done little to challenge the corporate
hegemony which continues to waste our resources
at home and abroad. And writers, editors, and
the general public have problems with him
for the same reason.

Obama entered the presidency with supreme
self-confidence. He was and remains one of the best
and brightest of his generation. His confidence has
already worked in our favor.

A temporary transfer of large segments of the
American economy from the private to the
public sector, during this time of economic
uncertainty, has historical precedents.
And the moves by the previous administration
to privatize our homeland securty, military
defense, and regulatory agencies has been a

It is about time we reversed that dangerous trend.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is irrelevant. And Kim Jong Il
is predictable. With Obama in the seat of power, we are
in much better shape than before. He is smarter than both
of them. Bush and Ahmadinejad had some things in common,
but intelligence and judgement were not among them.

It's generally good for American presidents to have
long-term strategies. And in setting public policy
it is essential to get the details right. And in guiding
the nation in a dangerous world itremains vital to
adjust to face hard realities and unexpected events.

This is what Obama does best. His intelligence,
vision, and integrity are good for America.

best regards, Tim Flanagan

Box 22, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034editor, teacher, writer...

Tags: leadership accountability competence

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iranian Election Results

This was an important election.
Ahmadinejad learned well.

Iran's most recent "election"
was simliar to the American
elections of 2000 and 2004.

As yet, the administration
in Iran has been relatively
benign. They have not
pursued policies nearly
as damaging as
the corporate
machinations of Dick Cheney

and his band of thugs...

but this newest power-grab
might make Ahmadinejad
as feckless as George and
Dick in his
thirst for power.

The actual seat of power in Iran has shifted,
and while this shift might be inevitable, the
infighting and posturings it may inspire could
prove lethal.

There are at least three choices:
Ahmadinejad's tenuous house of cards,
Mir Hossein Mousavi's grassroots movement,
and the reality of Ayatollah Jannati and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,

the actual power in The Guardian Council.

Ahmadinejad's aspirations are untenable and his days
are numbered. And The Guardian Council is no longer
perceived to be an unwavering seat of power. They blinked.

"According to the information received from
provinces and from Tehran, Mousavi has got
65 percent of the votes cast." (Liberal cleric

and former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi
came second in the election with a total of 13.3
million votes, while president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came
third with only 5.49 million votes.)"
Leaked Iran Presidential Election Results : Mir-Hossein Mousavi Won

False choices will not determine the fate of
the Iranian nation. And if leaders in America

and elsewhere can find the necessary courage,
Mousavi's victory and the will of the Iranian
people will neither be ignored nor denied.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Ugly Truth about Torture

The Bush administration tortured people.The talk about a "few bad apples" was a lie.
A spineless congress allowed these crimes
to happen. The saddest part of this tragedy
is that too many Americans are not aware of
the extent and depravity of these crimes.

And a vocal minority of Americans see nothing
wrong with engaging in illegal acts of torture,
even when these involve rapes of children and
outright murder. At some point voices of reason,
temperance, and sanity... must rise together and speak.

Torture is immoral, illegal, and ineffective.
It is time to restore the rule of law and sanction, fine,
punish, or imprison those who broke the law. Proactive
moral compunction inspired by courage and fueled by
integrity, will triumph over a surrender to fear and the
embrace of "situational ethics." We must reject cowardice,
surrender, and ignorance... in favor of courage,
faith, and intelligence. Ethics reflect our values. Either we
have values... or not. We must demand accountability from
our leaders or replace them. Bush lied and Obama parses
and parcels out half-truths.

It is time to take a stand and do the right thing. tmf

General Taguba’s report revealed that the overwhelming majority of detainees at Abu Ghraib had no connection to terrorism. Suspected terrorists were being funneled to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan or Guantanamo.

“These were people who weretaken off the streets and put in jail — teen-agers and old men and women,” he
told the New Yorker shortly after retiring in 2007. “I kept on asking these questions of the officers I interviewed: ‘You knew what was going on. Why didn’t you do something to stop it?’”The answer to that question was that the low-ranking soldiers were taking orders from Washington to engage in torture.

“These M.P. troops were not that creative,” Taguba said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation intohigher authority. I was limited to a box.” Taguba
says that the U.S. Commander in Iraq General “Sanchez knew exactly what was going on,” but because Taguba was limited to investigating enlisted men and junior officers, he wasn’t allowed to conduct a thorough investigation.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has a different explanation for what happened at Abu Ghraib: all the blame should be left at the feet of American soldiers. In essence, the vice president who hadtaken
five deferments to the draft during Vietnam in order to avoid military service wants to blame the troops: “At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency,” Cheney told the American Enterprise Institute last month. “For the harm they did, to Iraqi prisoners and to America's cause, they deserved and received Army justice. And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.”

Americans have a choice of believing either a two-star general and the soldiers in the field who say they were directed to torture by higher ups, or Dick Cheney and the politicians in Washington. Of the politicians in Washington, Taguba
says they were well-informed of the torture taking place at Abu Ghraib:

 “[Former Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There’s no way he’s suffering from C.R.S. — Can’t Remember S***. He’s trying to acquit himself, and a lot of people are lying to protect themselves.” Ditto for Cheney, apparently.
We can escape from this swamp of lies. tmfCOUNTER TERROR WITH JUSTICE

In the name of the "war on terror," the U.S. government
has subjected people who have not been charged with or
convicted of any crime to:

Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment
or punishment

• Abductions (known as
extraordinary rendition),
disappearances," and secret detention

• Illegal, indefinite detention in
Guantanamo, Bagram,
U.S. facilities, & secret CIA sites  

• Denial of legal rights, including
fair trials and habeas corpus--
the right to challenge the legality of one's detentionAdditionally,
the U.S. government has employed
companies that have been implicated in cases of killings, torture, and rape, and has failed
to adequately
investigate and prosecute abuses.

These practices are wrong.
They are
illegal under U.S. and international law.
They violate American principles of justice.
Military and intelligence experts have said these practices are
The United States government must end these human rights violations immediately
hold accountable all those who authorized and implemented them. Detainees must
be charged and given fair trials, or be released to countries where they will not be at risk
of human rights abuse. The U.S. government must respect and protect human rights,
and counter terror with justice.

It’s up to people like us—people around the world who
want justice, security, and human rights—to make sure it happens.

Join Amnesty International USA’s
Counter Terror With Justice Campaign Team
More about torture:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Corporate Welfare, Oregon Style...

Oregon's $10 minimum tax
has been in place since 1931
and is one of the nation's lowest.

Two-thirds of Oregon corporations
-- pay the minimum. Corporate taxes
make up about 5 percent of the state's
general fund compared with 82 percent
from personal income taxes.

Oregon Corporate Taxes The "tax burden"
for companies in Oregon and Washington,
each of which has a piece of greater Portland,
is lower than in most other states, according
to the
Tax Foundation.

Ranking states for "best business tax climate,"
the Foundation places Oregon 9th and Washington 12th.
Similarly, accounting experts at
Ernst & Young, who
calculate "total effective tax rate" by taking into account
property, receipt and sales and income taxes, cite
Oregon's as second-lowest in the U.S., at 3.8%;
Washington's is 5.8%. Delaware's total effective tax rate
is the nation's lowest, at 3.5%, and Alaska's the highest,
at 11.6%.Greater Portland companies have another tax
advantage on either side of the Columbia. Oregon has
no sales tax, which can be a boon for companies making
big equipment purchases. And Washington has no state
income tax, a selling point for prospective employees.

More tax facts:
Oregon's corporate income tax rate of 6.6% is 16th-lowest
in the nation. California's rate of 8.8% ranks it seventh-highest.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rationalizing Torture...

By definition, those who
torture, murder, and rape
are criminals.

This separates humanity
from dumb animals.
Some people stupidly
attempt to rationalize
torture, rape, and murder.
Their criminal behavior
or "situational ethics" leaves
in jail, in trouble, or dead.

Moral compunction is another option. Most of us
develop integrity, find courage, and have values.
These are choices we make as adults. Yet some
people refuse to grow. They reject the moral authority
of parents, church, community, or ancestors. They hold
themselves above the law, unaccountable... and feel
entitled to live without scruples, standards, or honor.

Fortunately we outnumber these clueless sociopaths.
The poster boys for prolonged adolesence, George
and Dick, have been thrown out of the White House
they hijacked. We are returning to our roots as a
nation of law. Courage and integrity have trumped
fear and amorality.

Those who insist on abnormal and antisocial behavior
will have to get used to obeying the law. They can
mend their ways or pay the piper.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Torture is immoral, illegal, and it does not work..

Quote of the Day – The healthy man does not torture others …

The issue is torture. Torture is a crime under US law.

The federal anti-torture statute
is formally known as
Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C
of the U.S. Code.
The law consists of three
sections (2340, 2340A,
and 2340B), which define
the crime of torture and
prescribe harsh punishments
for anyone—an American
citizen or otherwise—
who commits an act
of torture outside of
the United States.
(Domestic incidents
of torture are covered
by state criminal

A person found guilty
of committing
torture faces up
to 20 years in
prison or
even execution,
if the torture in question resulted in a victim's death.

Those who ordered torture, committed it, condoned it,
and/or tried to cover it up are criminals. They should
be prosecuted. Torture is illegal, immoral, and it does
not work. The law is quite clear and must be enforced.

Another section of the U.S. Code (Title 28, Part IV, Chapter 85,
Section 1350) also deals with the issue of torture. The so-called
Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 allows victims of torture,
or the families of those who were killed through extra-
judicial means, to sue their tormentors in U.S. courts, regardless
of their citizenship or where the crime occurred.

Torture is also immoral. The position of all three branches
of Abrahamic tradition agree. And the experts at the
Pentagon and intelligence experts worldwide agree that
resorting to torture produces flawed intelligence and
"torture and abuse cost American lives."

"We need to return to an ethic of responsibility and
accountability that is critical if citizens are to have
faith in their government andthe world is to respect
this nation. This is not just a matter of therule of law.
It is a matter of national security."

These are the simple facts.

Tax equity

Tax Equity
Anyone who thinks our most critical problems in America
have anything to do with the amount of taxes there are on
boats, yachts, and small airplanes... is seriously confused.
Our problems are the redistribution of income from working
Americans to the richest of the rich. Fortunately, most
Americans, ( the ones whose paychecks just got larger...)
understand that this new administration wants to rebuild
and invest in America. The last administration was
interested in graft, corruption, exporting jobs, wiretapping,
environmental destruction, studious ignorance, petty
larceny, endless war, profiteering, corporate welfare, and

A goodly number of those criminals were real concerned
about taxes on yachts...Their party is over. As the profiteers
go bankrupt, their yachts are up for sale, their planes are
seized by shareholders, and they beg for handouts while
working Americans and their advocates are taking back
this nation.We will rebuild, restore, and protect this nation
from criminals in our midst.And if congress finds the courage,
profiteers will pay reparations or do time.

Peace, Freedom, and Justice.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is Terroism the Enemy We Face?

(9/11 Terror)

Our enemies are
not terrorism,
tanks, or bombs.

These are tactics.
And this has
nothing to do
with semantics. (Terror in Iraq)

Our enemies are people who commit
acts of agression which include murder,
rape, residential bombings, homicide
attacks, home destruction, crop
destruction, and invasions of soverign

When leaders of other
nations commit these (Gaza Terror)
crimes or finance those
who commit these crimes....
or when our own leaders
commit these crimes in
our names, this surrender
to fear and the tactics
of terror makes them,
and us, criminals.

In a nation ruled by law,
murder is wrong and
peace is preferable.
When we have strong,
credible, leaders we can
secure lasting peace,
repair infrastructure,
achieve reconciliation,
reform alliances, and
rebuild what irresponsible
felons have destroyed.

And we must end the occupations.
We can begin by telling the truth.

best regards, Tim

Thursday, April 23, 2009


A celebration of workers' rights.
We have economic issues on the table,
and this is a critical forum.

Things to bring:
Yourself, your friends and family,
your organization or union, posters,
puppets, music, banners, information,
and inspiration.

If anyone wants to speak to those who attend:
or call 503-236-5573.
Organizing meetings are Tuesdays,
6:30pm at Voz, 1131 SE Oak
(in the St. Francis office)

best regards,


Mayday! PDX May Day: May 1st 2009
May Day 2009
Friday, May 1st
,South Park Blocks,downtown Portland!
1:00 PM - Posters and Party!
4:00 PM - Rally (speakers and entertainment)!
5:00 PM - MARCH!

Help us get the word out!!!
Color Flyer1 -
download, print out,and hit the streets
and your favorite cafes!
ColorFlyer2, Colorflyer3 !
- leaflet those movie lines, grocery stores and the roller derby!
More information at
To download a handbill click here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Who Obama is and where we go from here.

Barack Obama
was the lesser of evils.
A Rockefeller Republican
at best and an unapologetic
corporatist at heart.

He did not fool progressives.
We knew who he was and
heard what he said.

On the plus side:
He will strenghten unions and
help to rebuild the middle class.
He may accomplish incremental improvements in
health-care access and redirect education funding.
His efforts towards rebuilding infrastructure,
and resuming productive research and development
are useful reforms will do much to repair the
economic meltdown orchestrated by the
Republican right wing. His eloquence
and intelligence will improve our
relations with both
allies and enemies.

On the downside:
He will expand the war, allow corporate transnationals to
define and set costs for our healthcare, and ignore
constitutional transgressions of the Bush administration
and their sponsors. The precedents he will allow to go
unchallenged do not bode well for our nation.

If we are lucky, we may persuade him to reconsider some
of his more egregious decisions, but out of concern for
self-preservation,(not wanting to get shot) he may not
deliver the change hoped for. But he beats the heck
out of the McLain-Palin disaster.

In 2012 we can rid the party of those who supported Bush.
And perhaps in 2016 we can elect a progressive reformer
willing, in the liberal American tradition, to challenge
the status quo. Someone who can stand up for working people,
jobs with justice, and universal health-care and education.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Should We Start Another Korean War?

The suggestions that we start
a new Korean war are ludicrous.
A profoundly idiotic idea.
Regardless of how many
times North Korea tests
its missiles,this testing
does not constitute an
existential threat to the
United States or our allies.

Mutually assured destruction is not a
reasonable option or a sane alternative.
The greatest problem is simply the
asymmetry of America and Korea:
for fifty years the United States has
meant everything to Korea, but Korea
still means little to the United States.
In fact, some of the suggestions for a
response to the missile tests that have
significantly increased international
tensions are more dangerous than
the specter of a North Korean
missile capability itself.

Launching pre-emptive airstrikes or
even imposing economic sanctions
would be far more provocative and
dangerous than relying on deterrence
and engaging Pyongyang in strategic
diplomatic encounters. We need cool
heads to prevail in Washington and
the various East Asian capitals. North
Korea is an annoying problem, but it
is not an overwhelming threat.

This is no time for childish notions,
Hollywood hooliganism, or for
neonatal neanderthals to allow petulant
schoolyard cowboy machismo to
overrule objectivity, rationality,
and common sense. The Bush doctrine
of preemptive aggression contradicts
our most basic beliefs and values.
Beyond this, such sociopathological
behavior flies in the face of the
recommendations of our intelligence
community and the Pentagon.
The state department should butt out.
Those who are better trained
and more adequately briefed must
deal with this situation.

We have seeen the results of politicizing
our military perogatives. We do not need
unending wars and unbridled corporate
aggression. The misuse of our military
forces as enforcement for cost-plus,
no-bid contracts for corporate transnationals
has proven unproductive, unsafe, and a threat
to our economnic and military security interests.
We cannot afford to gamble our future on the
posturings of entertainers or the pretensions
of partisan pundits. Never again.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

The so-called "Socialist Threat"

Socialism, capitalism, communism,
liberalism, conservatism, or other Isms...
cannot "hurt" this country.

Any who think socialism can hurt America,
grossly underestimate everyday people.

Neither socialism nor other isms can touch us.
Faith, hope, and courage will conquer fear.

Cheap talk about socialism, terrorism,
Islamic fascism, weapons of destruction,
and the efficacy of torture... represent
a surrender to fear.

We must find courage,
and refuse to surrender to fear
or compromise our values.

After 14 years of nonsense,
(the Bush/Obama agenda)...

"Tension, apprehension,and dissention have begun,
   and "a change is gonna come."


(with apologies to Alfred Bester and Sam Cooke)

The United States and Our United Nations

The Limbaughs and Hannitys of the world would
have us believe that honoring our treaties and
living up to our commitments makes us subservient
to allies who trust us. Nothing could be further
from the truth. We are one of many nations and
peoples who band together to coordinate efforts
around the world. We explore outer space, sustain
the environment, nurture better schools, deliver
health-care, alleviate poverty, reduce homelessness,
fight injustice, secure peace, enhance freedom, and
protect personal liberty in all nations.

The right-wing, mean-extremes of selfishness and narcissism
are not viable platforms. These are symptoms of a lack of
actualization. When people mature, they are capable of reaching
beyond themselves to become part of their communities.

Civic-engagement is not something to be mocked, except by
deviants, juvenile delinquents, criminals, sociopaths, and
other sorts of antisocial types. (Or perhaps entertainers
appealing to the lowest common denominators: greed,
selfishness, agression, and immaturity.)

We have signed treaties with our allies. We are obligated to honor
those agreements because we operate according to the rule of law
guided by moral principles and intelligence. These are the lines
in the sand which define civilization. Those who reject such
cooperation and community development court disaster. We just
threw a couple of them out of the White House.
Now more mature and informed voices can be heard.

It is well worth listening to this redemptive symphony of hope.
Those who promote hopelessness are out of step with America.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

State Bill Would Help Undocumented Immigrant Students

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
State Bill Would Help Undocumented Immigrant Students

A bill that will expand the eligibility for state need grants to undocumented students will be discussed in a public hearing before the House Committee on Higher Education today. Introduced in January, HB 1706 would expand the definition of students who are residents thereby expanding the state need grant program to help additional college students.

Last Friday, over 700 Latinos from around Washington State converged on the Capitol in Olympia to call for financial aid for undocumented students. One of the organizers of the capitol event, Ricardo Sanchez of Latino/a Education Achievement Project (LEAP), said in an interview with the Bellingham Herald:

“Most of the kids who are headed to college, they came here with their families when they were 2 or 3 years of age. Their parents came here to work. They’ve grown up in our system,” he said. “Now that they’ve proven themselves academically, what sense does it make to waste all of that?”
According to the AP, one of the bill’s cosponsors, State Representative Dave Quall echoed concerns saying that because many of these students are brought to the United States by their parents at a young age and are raised in the American education system, it wouldn't be right to deny aid to them.

The public hearing before the House Committee on Higher Education will take place 1:30 PM. The State Senate had a first reading yesterday on the their companion bill SB 5959.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Barack Obama

FDR's leadership helped save American Families from their suffering which was a direct
result of the devastating depression caused by Hoover's pandering to speculators...

There are some who pontificate about the "salvation of capitalism...." but this phrase has
much in common with "the war on terror..."

Capitalism is a label which poorly characterizes the socioeconomic system in America, now or then. And it has relatively little in common with the specific programs instituted under FDR
Terrorism is a tactic, and does not describe why we enforce the corporate occupation of Iraq,
nor does it provide any rational basis for our invasion of a non-agressive soverign nation.

I hope that Obama can relieve the suffering of American workers.I certainly do not expect him fundamentally address the forces which allow injustice and inequity to endure and survive. But if his incremental steps are as useful as FDR's fortunate stumblings, I'ill consider this a blessing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eric Holder... some questions remain

I am not necessarily enthralled with Mr. Holder. He is an improvement over Gonzalesl.
Mr. Holder says that the detainees are not entitled to Geneva convention protections.
(*This is wrong) He has other rather wishy-washy views when it comes to constitutional
issues and the rule of law. If he is to succeed as the next attorney general, he will need
to provide better answers to what are critical and foundational questions.

*"In 2006, the position espoused by Holder, Rumsfeld and the Bush administration
was rejected by the Supreme Court in Hamdan, when it ruled that even Al Qaeda
detainees are entitled to the minimum protections afforded to all detainees by
Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention."

Further, as has been noted, Mr. Holder, shortly after the USA Patriot Act was signed into law
and at a point when the Bush administration was proposing to further erode barriers to governmental abuses, argued that dissenters should not be tolerated. He also called for
the firing of any "petty bureaucrat" who might suggest that proper procedures be followed
and that the separation of powers be respected.

While I am concerned with Holder for legitimate constitutional reasons, it unfair to play the race card... Those on the right who want to stall his confirmation may be wrong about his peripheral involvement with the Rich pardon or the efficacy of representing a variety of clients, but there are some serious concerns about his loyalty. The job requires that he be loyal to the constitution first and the president second. He does not seem to firmly grasp this concept. Although, as yet, nobody has recently asked him these essential questions. I hope they do.

Here is an interesting piece from The Nation, which puts these counterpoints in focus...

"Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘War on Terror' have diminished our standing in the world community and made us less, rather than more, safe," Holder said, correctly. "For the sake of our safety and security, and because it is the right thing to do, the next president must move immediately to reclaim America's standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights."

That's a good message, to be sure.

But it must be juxtaposed against past statements made by Holder, such as this one: "The Attorney General is the one Cabinet member who's different from all the rest. The Attorney General serves first the people, but also serves the president. There has to be a closeness at the same time there needs to be distance."

What we need to know is this: How close will Holder, as attorney general, get to obeying his oath to defend the Constitution?

The place for that to happen is in a very serious, very aggressive confirmation process that should not simply presume that Holder will "get it" when questions about the Constitution arise.

I agree with this position. Given that Ashcroft and Gonzales both helped to subvert our constitutional protections... we must make certain that Holder will not follow in their footsteps.
The concerns that I have, are not with the vapid, shallow, and relatively meaningless rhetorical posturings of the right... but with the efficacy of confirming another Attorney General who seems
to feel that the Constitution may not quite be the supreme law of the land.

My position may be a bit conservative in this regard, but I feel no need to apologize for conserving constitutional integrity. This is the very crux of the issue. Either we restore the rule of law... or not.

So... let the questioning begin... and if Mr. Holder can sort out his apparent confusion and provide appropriate answers, I hope that he has the Integrity and finds the courage and political will to defend and enforce constitutional law in America. And after the past eight years, we have a right and a duty to demand as much.