Tuesday, November 28, 2017

State has no money to sink into OSU-Cascades

The Residential District is housing for faculty
More than a year after it opened with three buildings on a 10-acre campus, OSU-Cascades finally released a master plan this month.

Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Or in this case, the dam before the beaver.

It's no wonder the state legislature rejected the OSU leadership's request for $69 million earlier this year. Instead it offered $9 million in bonds for the branch campus on Bend's westside. At this rate of funding, it will be decades before it is even partially built out.

Now, the OSU brain trust wants just $38 million to partially fill a pumice pit and turn a demolition dump into a full-fledged university.

The state doesn't have the money OSU-Cascades wants.

Like other states, Oregon is getting out of the business of funding higher education. It's been a long-time goal of conservatives to de-fund higher education because they few most schools as swamps of liberalism. 

Oregon, though, does offer free tuition to some community college students.

But, the state's flagship universities, Oregon and OSU, who already have their own boards of trustees, will likely become completely privately funded by 2025, if not sooner.

The University of Oregon and OSU are planning on becoming private institutions by seeking multi-billion dollar endowments. Of course, they're also raising tuition and accepting more out-of-state students who pay significantly more than in-state students.

Meanwhile, high rollers in Central Oregon have raised $10 million for OSU-Cascades. While impressive, that sum won't buy many buildings, let alone much-needed parking spaces.

As enumerated before, OSU-Cascades allowed no public vote on the location of the campus. It chose the most-congested and most expensive area of town in which to build the school. Students can't afford to live anywhere near the campus. In fact, the new master plan shows housing for faculty.

If professors can't afford to live near the school, how can students?

As we embrace the era of privatization, fewer in-state students will be able to attend in-state "public" colleges or universities.

In the 1980s, the state contributed more than 70 percent toward the cost of running the state's colleges and universities. Today, it is less than 7 percent, thanks in large part to tax-cutting measures voted by Oregonians.

That's the spirit of our times: Cut taxes and expect money to still flow to public institutions. Having your cake and eating it, too.

It's like saying, "Okay, let's all take a pay cut and we'll all have more money at the end of the month!"

Isn't that insane?

Kansans destroyed their state with tax cuts and now Republicans are hell-bent on destroying the country with their current tax proposal.

Once it passes, and corporations get their big fat tax cuts, maybe they'll turn around and fund higher education. Uh, not really.

And yet, it won't be long before UO is re-named Nike University.

Maybe OSU in Corvallis can be called Reser Salsa University.

OSU-Cascades needs a local sugar daddy like Les Schwab Tires or Brooks Resources.

If it's Les Schwab, we can call OSU-Cascades, LSU.

The school's slogan could be: We Tread on You.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Trump won't be impeached

Trump greeted in Hawaii on his way to the Far East
Of course, I will always hope that Donald Trump is removed from office in total disgrace.

But, it's not likely to happen.

The Republican-dominated Congress will never impeach Trump no matter what he has done, may have done or will do that breaks any and all laws.

As Trump said during the presidential campaign last year, he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and his poll numbers would go up.

In other words, no matter the outrage that Trump provokes, it simply does not matter.

Trump demonstrated during the campaign and continues to demonstrate in his Russian-tainted presidency that he is racist, immoral and the epitome of sleaze.

Oh, and Trump is a "fucking moron," according to his own secretary of state.

We're living in an upside-down world where there are alternative facts, constant lies and no leadership.

Reality, with its well-known liberal bias, is getting harder to grasp.

Yet, Trump's poll numbers continue to drop to unprecedented levels.

The infamous Steele dossier, with it's pee-pee tape revelations, has largely been corroborated.

Trump's cabinet is woefully inept. His political appointees are not interested in the departments they oversee.

At least nine of his associates have ties to Russia that they failed to disclose.

There are two indictments, one guilty plea and rumbles of more to come.

But, it will all be for naught.

Even if special counsel Robert Mueller proves that Trump himself colluded with the Russians to win the election, the GOP Congress will gnash its collective teeth and move on to raiding government coffers, destroying the environment and denying health care to millions.

Will it cause a constitutional crisis? Maybe, but Republicans do not care about the Constitution.

There is nothing anyone can do about it until the next presidential election. Next year's midterm elections aren't likely to give Democrats a working majority in Congress.

Unfortunately, even if Trump's approval rating is below 20 percent he could still win re-election, thanks to the Electoral College, the legacy from our slavery era.

Let's say the stock market crashes, the economy tanks and another major terrorist attack whacks the U.S.

Trump will just blame Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and Trump's "deplorables" will nod in agreement like bobble-head dolls. Check out this story from Politico. The ending says it all.

In fact, Trump only caters to the "deplorables" in a rhetorical sense while shafting them through executive orders.

Trump is our "reality TV" president for a nation of streaming couch potatoes and video gamers.

Our only solace is that Trump will quit.

Hopefully sooner, rather than later.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Price We Pay

If ...

... using an assault rifle to kill 58 and wound 500 concertgoers in Las Vegas, or using an assault rifle to kill 49 and injure 58 in a nightclub in Orlando, or using an assault rifle to murder 20 first graders and 6 educators in Newtown, or using any type of gun to kill a family in a domestic violence case is the price we pay for the right bear arms ...

Then ...

... isn't a football player kneeling for the national anthem, in a peaceful protest against police brutality, the price we pay for the right of free speech?

Which is worse?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What we learned from the Vietnam War

Apocalypse then ...

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history."

-- George Bernard Shaw

That's not entirely true about the Vietnam War.

After our defeat, the military developed the ability to fight at night through night-vision goggles and infrared optics. 

The military also dramatically improved the accuracy of its bombs through satellite-guided missiles that turn unguided bombs
 ... Apocalypse now
into "smart" bombs.

We now have drones flying into battle.

In other words, we learned to kill much more efficiently and effectively.

Also, the advances in battlefield medical care during the Vietnam conflict substantially improved the rate of survival in subsequent conflicts. Granted, many of those lives are seriously compromised today.

After watching much of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick 10-day, 18-hour documentary, "The Vietnam War," it's clear that we learned little else from Vietnam.

In fact, we duplicated the fraudulent start of the Vietnam War in the Iraq War.

The Tonkin Gulf "attacks" gave President Johnson the pretext to dramatically escalate our involvement in Vietnam even though he and his advisers knew there were slim chances of ever winning the war. Our bombing in neighboring Cambodia helped destabilize the region and led to the murderous Khmer Rouge.

Likewise, George W. Bush used the mythical "weapons of mass destruction" to invade Iraq that ushered in unending war and destabilized the region further than it has been since World War II.

More importantly, we didn't care about the Vietnamese people then and we don't care about foreigners today.

Also, this country is as divided today as it was during the Vietnam War.

And, the Sixties were a tumultuous decade.

Predictably, the documentary has its detractors on the left and the right, from Americans and South Vietnamese.

This is what happens when you lose a war, particularly one where you won all the major battles.

The Vietnam War, though, was the culmination of our terribly misguided reaction to communism.

In the 1940s and '50s, Americans turned on each other over communism. We had so little faith in our own institutions that we jailed or ostracized people for having different points of view.

Now, communism needs no defense. It has failed as often as any corrupt, oppressive form of government.

The Korean War, the first test of the "domino theory," never truly ended and we're living with the consequences today. We had a chance to liberate the north, but we went too far and antagonized the Chinese who joined the conflict and pushed the UN forces back to the 38th parallel.

When Cuba, 90 miles from the USA, went communist, Americans started freaking out. Communism was going to take over the world!

Communism would take over in places that had no viable alternative.

North Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh embraced communism because the U.S. didn't side with them in their war of independence from the French.

We picked the wrong side. We backed a corrupt regime in South Vietnam that did not have the full support of its people.

Vietnam War apologists claim that the military could have won if the politicians had let them.

Not exactly. Even the U.S. military has concluded that the defeat in Vietnam was substantially due to our military's mistakes. Add in the atrocities committed by American forces in My Lai and elsewhere, and you have the recipe for disaster.

The American military record speaks for itself. Since World War II, the U.S. military, in spite of the trillions spent and thousands of lives lost, has not had a clear-cut victory in any major conflict.

Some still maintain that the Vietnam War was a worthy cause.

No, it wasn't.

Vietnam, like Korea, was a proxy war that pitted the U.S. against the Soviets at first.

We fought in these far-flung places so that we, rather than the Soviets, could exploit these countries.

At the same time we were fighting totalitarian communism in Asia, we were supporting totalitarian dictatorships throughout the world.

The hypocrisy did not go unnoticed by many in this country or others abroad.

In the end, the dreaded communists won.

Did they treat the South Vietnamese people well? No, they didn't.

But, when two million people died in Cambodia under Pol Pot, it wasn't the Americans who came to their rescue, but the communist Vietnamese army that saved the day.

And, how do we treat Vietnam today? We get a lot of our clothes and shoes from there that are produced by their exploited workforce.

After the USSR imploded in 1989, China became the last major communist country. Naturally, we get most of our goods from China that are manufactured by ridiculously cheap labor.

If we truly detested communists, why do we import so much from them, which ends up supporting  their regimes?

Since at least the 1940s, the GOP has been the most strident anti-communist political party.

Ironically, due to the interference of the Russians and their despotic leader, Vladimir Putin,
we have the former KGB operative's hand-picked president, a Republican, in the White House today.

Rank-and-file Republicans do not care that former Soviets rigged our election. In fact, they are grateful to Putin that Hillary Clinton lost.

That's how far we have fallen from the days of the Vietnam War.

Monday, October 2, 2017

When will we ever learn

Sadly, we won't.

In took a little over a year for a new mass shooting to be crowned the worst ever in American history.

As always, the only voice that made any sense of the massacre in Las Vegas was The Onion, a satirical news website.

They trotted out their well-worn headline: 'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

If fact, it occurs so frequently that it is astonishing that it attracts so much media coverage.

Guess it's a slow Monday.

This will be hot news for a few days and then it will die down as it always does, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

The White House says this is no time to talk about gun control in America. Obviously, to Republicans and the firearm-fetish crowd, there is no time to talk about gun control.

Not that it matters.

No laws on guns will pass unless it is to expand the use of firearms so that everyone has a gun at all times to thwart any other mass shooting. It wouldn't be surprising to see a motor-shooter law passed where, in order to get a driver's license, the applicant must show proof of gun ownership.

Evidently, more than 300 million guns in the hands of Americans are not enough.

The shooter in his Las Vegas hotel room "had at least 20 rifles, two on tripods at the windows, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition," an official told the New York Times.

Leave it to The Onion, again, to put this in perspective:

"NRA Says Mass Shootings Just The Unfortunate Price Of Protecting People's Freedom To Commit Mass Shootings"

In fact, the Supreme Court made such a ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller. Of course, it wasn't worded that way but the end result is the same. The right to kill with guns supersedes the right to not be killed by guns.

For now, as they say, all we can do is pray for the victims.

And, count the days until the next mass shooting becomes the worst in American history.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Trump salutes Russian flag

Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Nobody was fired. 
Okay, that headline is a bit of a stretch, but Donald Trump's foul words and disregard for the Constitution on display this past weekend mirrored a Russian tyrant rather than an American president.

Take a knee, Donald, you're obviously not in shape.

You were beaten badly over the weekend by NFL players, coaches, owners and fans.

Instead of one player kneeling during the National Anthem, hundreds did.

And, no player was fired.

You lost, bigly, Trump.

I haven't paid attention to the NFL for decades because I find the pro game boring, compared to college, and the games seem "fixed" much of the time because of all the gambling that goes on.

But, I tuned in Sunday to see what the response would be to Trump's trash-talking of NFL players and the NBA's Steph Curry.

Yes, there were some boos for players who knelt during the playing of the National Anthem, but overall, the fans showed up, cheered and the games went on as usual.

It was great, though, to see that Trump, the Great Divider, could actually unite black and white players along with the owners, who are mostly Republicans, against his tyrannical leadership.

Trump claims that race has nothing to do with it. Of course, like everything he says, that's a lie.

He's not just a white supremacist, as an ESPN personality said last week, he is a racist.

He's an equal opportunity offender, however, because he's also a sexist slob and goes out of his way to antagonize most Americans and people around the world.

Yes, Trump was playing to his dwindling base of mostly white supporters, many of whom are racist.

But, please media, this isn't populism, it's fascism. Call it what it is.

Some have suggested Trump was just trying to distract the press and public away from damaging disclosures from the Russia investigation.

I don't think he's that smart. He just likes to be the center of attention, no matter what is going on.

Puerto Rico is devastated by hurricane Maria. Trump says, what about me?

North Korea continues to threaten the world. Trump tweets insults that get headlines.

It's all about the Donald and no one else.

His so-called defense of the flag and National Anthem is as shallow as he is.

He doesn't give a damn about this country. That's why his campaign colluded with Russia. He's a traitor.

Sadly, many Americans don't care that he is.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fear Ailes Trump

Trump and Ailes, a pair of sexual predators
It's mid-May and Donald Trump is still president in spite of his "bigly" efforts to get himself ousted.

If a Democrat acted as crazily as Trump has, he or she would have been jailed by now or dragged off to the funny farm in a strait-jacket.

Yet, thanks to Roger Ailes, the former Fox News fascist who croaked Thursday, Trump is still president.

Ailes' legacy is that Trump and other Republicans will always have staunch defenders at Fox News.

Ailes started Fox News in the mid-1990s for those intolerant, aging, white Americans who could no longer face the reality that the country was changing to something less white and more tolerant.

Fox News was created as the official channel of the Republican Party that felt all other media were biased against them.

Nevermind that most of this other media are owned by conservative corporations whose only goal is to make money. Many of the CEOs of these entities are Republicans themselves.

Fox News pitched their dubious narrative to older, white Americans that minorities, feminists, gays, Hollywood elites, non-Christians (who are all Democrats, by the way) were destroying their view of America.

Fox News peddles this political pornography and they have an audience addicted to it.

Trump tapped into that addiction to claim the electoral college victory in November.

Trump and Ailes had another thing in common: sexual predators. Ailes lost his job because of it, while Trump was elected in spite of it.

Ailes did such a masterful job in dividing this country that Trump supporters are completely blind to his outrageous behavior and actions of the past few weeks.

While listening to NPR shows that have Americans call in their opinions, it is absolutely astounding that so many of these people still defend Trump.

As Trump said during the presidential campaign, he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and he wouldn't lose any voters.

Fox News made it easy for many Americans to not believe the mainstream media. Yet, it's called mainstream because it represents a consensus of reality. But, as Stephen Colbert once noted, "reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Fox News and Trump supporters don't buy the reality of his chaotic presidency because they consider it pushed by liberals.

Trump has lowered the bar of competency and decency so low that his supporters are willing to accept any behavior from him.

Well, that's not going to end well.

Ailes pathetic life ended in disgrace.

Trump faces the same fate.