Monday, October 16, 2017

HOW TO EXPLAIN REALITY IN A WORLD OF "ALTERNATIVE FACTS"

By this stage of the surreal reign of the troubled and dangerous man residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I've grown weary of being forced to debate reality with apologists for this sociopath. 

With the union of white nationalists and religious zealots which has been thrust upon us, I still cannot understand why these two concepts are so hard for them to accept. 

1- People should be able to do what they want as long as they're not hurting anybody 
2- People have a responsibility to take care of others.

If one accepts these two common sense premises, argument ceases when considering these seven issues...



1- Same-Sex Marriage
Y'all lost. The SCOTUS ruled. Besides, it truly has nothing to do with your life. Surely you can certainly try to find a community that maintains the same bigoted heteronormative prejudices you carry. If other people do what they want — it's really none of our business. 

2- Transgender People And Bathrooms
Imagine living a life so boring that you really care about who can use what bathrooms. Remember those "whites only" bathrooms and drinking fountains? It was wrong then and it's still wrong.

3- Gender Wage Gap
Remember back to childhood? Chances are the mothers in the neighborhood were the ones who took time off work to go to doctors' appointments and drive carpool. If that doesn't seem like an issue to you, try equal work for equal pay.

4- Black Lives Matter Vs. All Lives Matter
It is a fact that if "all lives matter" that "black lives matter" too. 

5- Leaving the Paris Accords
The United States could end the addiction to fossil fuels, invest in renewable energy, and probably end up far better off economically. Corporate interests in "big oil" and "big coal" that are enabling the Dotard do not care the damage they cause. The research of scientists have nothing to do with their being "liberal snowflakes," they're trying to protect the Earth.

6- Gun Control
Why should the inmates in an asylum to have access to guns!??? Or folks that cannot board an airplane? After Las Vegas, why are we waiting to ban bump stocks and assault weapons. When is that "appropriate time" to discuss any form of licensing the NRA keeps talking about? 

7- Universal Healthcare
If you believe everyone deserves the same chances in life, that starts with healthcare. Maintaining physical health is one of the few things that everyone has in common, so why not make the solution equally accessible to all?

Conclusion

If humanity survives the Trumpster, my bet is that the need to debate common sense will lessen with time. In the meantime, I question why we bother explaining reality to the magical thinking and closed minded? If one believes in karma it is almost certain the actions of the President and his Party in Congress will have the MOST impact on their "Base".

I predict that every Alt-Reich voter has their health insurance premiums skyrocket. That their pre-existing conditions disqualify them from coverage. That the upcoming "tax reform" hits them hard in their already reduced purchasing power. That their assault on the EPA poisons their air and water. That their summer vacation to America's National Parks takes place in the shadow of a drilling platform.

Hopefully neither they nor one of their loved ones will die in a senseless NRA enabled mass shooting. Perhaps when a natural disaster occurs they luckily will escape the compassionate response seen in Puerto Rico. 

Perhaps it will take a mushroom cloud to get them to reassess their support for the Rethuglican Party, or believe the Secretary of State who when he says the POTUS is - a  "f...ing moron." Or the highly respected Senator who calls the Trump White House, "an adult daycare?" 

On the bright side, whatever tragedy occurs, they can blame it all on Barack Obama.

MANY BLESSINGS- NOEL


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

I just finished reading the recent Time cover story about the perilous state of the Democratic party.  

If anyone needs a metaphor for why the Democratic Party is in worse shape now than any time since Calvin Coolidge the picture attached below says it all. I do not want to get into last year’s primary campaign or revisit the election.  One point does bear noting, a primary process that only featured two viable candidates last year, said something about the vigor of our party. 

The fact remains we are a minority party and nearly a non-factor in states not touching an ocean. If Democrats were owners in the NFL, it would be an outright bloodbath in the front office, where a teams strategies and personnel are discerned. Sadly the Democratic Party has continued to use once effective strategists who have more losses than wins in this century. In many cases party leaders are in place either by default or because they have succeeded in keeping the doors closed to people with passion and new ideas. Is it accidental that the Los Angeles Rams have drastically improved by hiring a new coach? Not really if one considers the last coach had a handful of winning seasons in the last two decades. 

When one looks at the most successful teams in baseball, experts can predict easily the teams that will win in future years. The problem the Democrats have is that we have neglected the farm system of state and local offices. To those who wonder why the party lost the Senate in 2016, ask this question. Rather than offering new faces with innovative policies, the Democratic Party opted to run figures from the past like Strickland, Feingold, and Bayh. 

One must ask if the Democratic strategies and messaging are up to the task of competing with a Republican Party populated by those who work 24/7 to win? The GOP  has been out of new ideas for eons, except for the lunatic fringes who oppose everything. What do Democrats really stand for? The other team can always unite around those populating “the left.” Outside of opposing figures like Issa and Trump, one can honestly ask what does our party stand for? 

Democrats have spent my entire adult lifetime allowing ourselves to be defined by the right. The things that resonated with voters the most still boiled down to the populist message. Simply put, "the people versus the powerful. " A huge reason the election was lost in places like Michigan was that the Trump campaign hijacked that historic message. 

I do not have all the answers. None of us do. But rather than having the Republicans dictating how we think and what we do, we need to start dictating the flow and tempo of the game. I’m sick of being told we have to “be kind” when faced with a knife fight in an alley. Like any good team, we have to get our pride and our swagger back again. That begins by being proud of our party and it’s history of economic justice.  






COLD DEAD HANDS


As of this writing, at least 59 people are dead and over 500 people are wounded in the worst sole gunman mass shooting in modern American History. The previous record of 49 dead was the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last year. The record before Pulse was held by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 with 33 killed. Then there was Newtown. 28 were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 20 were children aged 6 and 7.  

The video linked above is the PBS Frontline documentary on the aftermath of Newtown. It details how Wayne LaPierre and the NRA turned this tragedy into a legislative victory. It details how gun manufacturers made money on increased firearm sales.  La Pierre famously stated, the answer is easy enough. Buy more guns. Buy Bigger guns. Buy Bigger guns that can be converted into automatic weapons. And make sure to legalize silencers too. For as Wayne states,  "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away … or a minute away?”. 

So here we are again. I've been watching the tragic aftermaths of gun violence since 1963.  The only thing that has changed since those "Four Dark Days" after Dallas, is how we have ceased to be truly shocked. Our collective reaction in 2017 seems more and more a confirmation of what Stalin said, "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic."  Certainly, there is no real metric for the proper levels of grief individually or collectively after Las Vegas or any other tragedy of our time.  But given the endless lunatic newsreel of our times,  we are certainly not shocked. 


We pray for the victims and their survivors. We never ever satisfactorily explain why a human being would do something like this to other human beings. We can be listening to music at a concert, attending a movie, or simply attending first grade. There once was a time where no one could expect that something hideous might happen, but with increasing frequency it does. 

THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN

Though there have been horrible incidents scattered throughout our history, it was not until 1966 that these types of murders entered our consciousness. Charles "Texas Tower" Whitman boarded an elevator in the University of Texas Tower with a cache of weapons, intent on deadly mayhem. From more than 300 feet above: Whitman shot victims on campus and nearby, a pregnant woman, shot in the belly; her boyfriend, shot in the neck; a teenager, shot in the face. Seventeen people died that day, and more than 30 were wounded. Like the hundreds of victims of Stephen Paddock, Whitman’s victim's were confused, defenseless sitting ducks.  Police scrambled to find where the shots were coming from. 

Can anybody imagine how much more difficult a time law enforcement would have had if the Republican leadership had actually passed a silencer bill? Like Whitman, Paddock carried his 17 weapons to a high perch, positioning them to achieve maximum carnage.  He shot into a crowd of 22,000 people. And as a result of his evil, we again have orphans and widows, and parents without children.  


In the aftermath of Las Vegas, the Washington Post reported a stunning statistic.  Over the 50 years prior to Charles Whitman’s rampage, "there were 25 mass public shootings, defined as the killing of four or more people in a public place without a connection to drug deals, gang disputes or other underlying criminal motives." We are now at more than 150. And Counting. Echoing an earlier point, the reporters covering Charles Whitman in 1966 were horrified. Today the coverage bears the unmistakable tone that we have all been here before. 


ON AND ON AND ON

Bobby Kennedy knew what was heading down the tracks for him when he said this in 1968. "The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on." 

Perhaps we as a nation have given up and resigned ourselves to this. I caught myself saying that hours ago.  Perhaps it was the McDonald's tragedy in 1984 that made us cynical. Perhaps it was the Luby's in Kileen in 1991. Perhaps it was the other assassinations and assassination attempts we have witnessed, and the smaller slaughters we read of every day. Suicides, Domestic Homicides, gang bangers in our cities, makes us numb and callous, after which  our collective fatigue kicks in. 

It's been 49 years since RFK said these words...."Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire weapons and ammunition they desire." 

One quote makes one wonder if Robert Kennedy somehow predicted the age of Trump. "Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them. ....Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear; violence breeds violence...." 



CONCLUSION

One of the most frightening things I've experienced was the reaction of my neighbors in Arizona after the Gabby Giffords shooting. Few cared about the families who had to live with the aftermath of the senseless violence of some nutjob forever. The main concern was that they have the right to buy any firearm for any reason. I'm still waiting for Obama to lead a squad of ATF agents to clean out individual gun lockers in Northern Arizona demonstrating "the tyranny of government", as they warned. But yet another individual held 22,000 in the throes of his brand of tyranny because he procured a stockpile of high-powered rifles and used them to shoot people. Somehow that is OK in the most armed region of America.  I admit to being profoundly scared of the messages I received the last time I tentatively tried to speak up. I never imagined simply supporting the renewal of a twenty-year-old assault weapons ban would be equated to trying to take away everybody's guns. The threat of being subject to a "Second Amendment Solution", certainly limits our exercise of other portions of our Bill of Rights. 

When someone foreign attacks us, we take steps to assure it doesn’t happen again. But when an average looking white American male slaughters other Americans, we are told there’s nothing we can do except buy an M-16 or consult Jesus Christ. In Tucson and Orlando, Aurora and San Bernardino, the murderers used automatic or semiautomatic rifles. These are not weapons for self-defense or sport. They are weapons designed to create a large body count in a limited period of time. Why is that remotely OK? 

In June of last year, the NRA fought to make sure people on the no-fly list could own a   dangerous weapon.  Only politicians who vote with the NRA,  think it is common sense that "just a guy"  should be able to buy 17 AK-47's.  A number of the NRA's acolytes,  from the unfortunate White House Press Secretary to the equally unfortunate Republican leaders of the Congress,  assert  it's too soon to discuss gun legislation.  For these leaders, there will never be a good time. 

Despite the propaganda promulgated by the gun lobby, there is not much disagreement about the steps we could take to address gun crime. The vast majority of Americans do not oppose universal background checks, permitting requirements for ownership and bans on profoundly dangerous kinds of weapons and ammunition. The gun lobby and the loud vocal minority it has created make the issue seem like more of a hot button than it is. 

President Trump spoke of offering prayers for the Las Vegas victims.  Though I appreciate his pro forma words in support of law enforcement officers  if he really cared he would take steps to help officers stay alive and do their jobs.  After all, in February, he signed a bill that made it easier for the severely mentally ill to buy guns.  Mike Pence,  Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and the other NRA supporters on the Hill have sent their thoughts and their prayers. So have Wayne La Pierre and the staff of the NRA.  God knows they are lying through their teeth. Not a single one of them cares if you or your spouse or your parents or your kids get offed by some crazy guy with a gun tomorrow. They don't. They simply don't. 

Back in the days when the NRA used the star power of a failing and declining Charlton Heston to advance their cause, he used to mutter,  as senility crept in, the famous phrase:. "From my cold dead hands."  Was he really referring to his "cold, dead, hands "?  Or ours? 





MANY BLESSINGS


NOEL


Sunday, October 1, 2017

I LIKE IKE

Seventy Three years ago, Dwight Eisenhower was probably the most popular person in the world. As the generation that fought the Great War passes into the past, it becomes increasingly harder to remind those who survive these giants how perilous of a time this was. 
In our time we are led by bombastic words and divisive actions by a narcissistic and fascistic man. Compare the current state of Presidential rhetoric with the obvious humility of this conquering hero. And remember that WWII was fought against a brand of racism, that used the same symbols that were employed in Charlottesville.  
Eisenhower was a much better public speaker than people remember. Left unsaid is what he would think of what our nation is going through today. 



The high sense of distinction I feel in receiving this great honor from the city of London is inescapably mingled with feelings of profound sadness. All of us must always regret that your country and mine were ever faced with the tragic situation that compelled the appointment of an Allied Commander-in-Chief, the capacity in which I have just been so extravagantly commended.

Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends. Conceivably a commander may have been professionally superior. He may have given everything of his heart and mind to meet the spiritual and physical needs of his comrades. He may have written a chapter that will glow forever in the pages of military history. Still, even such a man, if he existed, would sadly face the fact that his honors cannot hide in his memories the crosses marking the resting places of the dead. They cannot soothe the anguish of the widow or the orphan whose husband or whose father will not return.

The only attitude in which a commander may with satisfaction receive the tributes of his friends is a humble acknowledgement that, no matter how unworthy he may be, his position is a symbol of great human forces that have labored arduously and successfully for a righteous cause. Unless he feels this symbolism and this rightness in what he has tried to do, then he is disregardful of the courage, the fortitude and the devotion of the vast multitudes he has been honored to command. If all the allied men and women that have served with me in this war can only know that it is they this august body is really honoring today, then, indeed, will I be content.

This feeling of humility cannot erase, of course, my great pride in being tendered the freedom of London. I am not a native of this land. I come from the very heart of America. In the superficial aspects by which we ordinarily recognize family relationships the town where I was born and the one where I was reared are far separated from this great city. Abilene, Kansas, and Denison, Texas, would together add in size to possibly one five-hundredth part of greater London. By your standards those towns are young, without your aged traditions that carry the roots of London back into the uncertainties of unrecorded history. To those people I am proud to belong, but I find myself today five thousand miles from that countryside, the honored guest of a city whose name stands for grandeur and size throughout the world. Hardly would it seem possible for the city of London to have gone farther afield to find a man to honor with its priceless gift of token citizenship.

Yet kinship among nations is not determined in such measurements as proximity, size and age. Rather we should turn to those inner things, call them what you will – I mean those intangibles that are the real treasures free men possess. To preserve his freedom of worship, his equality before the law, his liberty to speak and act as he sees fit, subject only to the provision that we trespass not upon similar rights of others – the Londoner will fight! So will the citizen of Abilene! When we consider these things then the valley of the Thames draws closer to the farms of Kansas and the plains of Texas. To my mind it is clear that when two peoples will face the tragedies of war to defend the same spiritual values, the same treasured rights, then, in deepest sense those two are truly related. So, even as I proclaim my undying Americanism, I am bold enough and exceedingly proud to claim basic kinship to you of London.

And what man who has followed the history of this war could fail to experience inspiration from the example of this city? When the British Empire stood – alone but unconquered, almost naked but unafraid – to defy the Hitler hordes, it was on this devoted city that the first terroristic blows were launched. Five years and eight months of war, much of it on the actual battle line! Blitzes big and little, fly-bombs, V-Bombs; all of them you took in stride. You worked – from your needed efforts you would not be deterred. You carried on, and from your midst arose no cry for mercy, no wail of defeat. The battle of Britain will take its place as another of your deathless traditions. And your faith and endurance have finally been rewarded.

You had more than two years in war when Americans, in numbers, began swarming into your country. Most were mentally unprepared for the realities of war especially as waged by the Nazis. Others believed that tales of British sacrifice had been exaggerated. Still others failed to recognize the difficulties of the task ahead.

All such doubts, questions and complacencies could not endure a single casual tour through your scarred streets and avenues. With awe our men gazed upon empty spaces where once had stood buildings erected by the toil and sweat of peaceful folk. Our eyes rounded as we saw your women serving quietly and efficiently in almost every kind of war effort, even flak batteries. We became accustomed to the warning sirens, which seemed to compel, from the native Londoner, not a single hurried step. Gradually we grew closer together until we became true partners in the war.

In London, my associates and I planned two great expeditions, that to invade the Mediterranean and later that to cross the channel. London’s hospitality to Americans, her good humored acceptance of the added inconveniences we brought. Her example of fortitude and quiet confidence in the final outcome – all these helped to make the supreme headquarters of two allied expeditions the smooth-working organizations they became! They were composed of chosen representatives of two proud and independent peoples. Each noted for its initiative and for its satisfaction with its own customs, manners and methods. Many feared that those representatives could never combine together in efficient fashion to solve the complex problems presented by modern war. I hope you believe we proved the doubters wrong! Moreover, I hold that we proved this point not only for war, we proved that it can always be done by our two peoples, provided only both show the same good will, the same forebearance, the same objective attitude that British and Americans so amply demonstrated in nearly three years of bitter campaigning.

No one could, alone, have brought about this result. Had I possessed the military skill of a Marlborough, the wisdom of Solomon, the understanding of Lincoln, I still would have been helpless without the loyalty, the vision, the generosity of thousands upon thousands of British and Americans. Some of them were my companions in the high command, many were enlisted men and junior officers carrying the fierce brunt of the battle, and many others were back in the U.S. and here in Great Britain, in London. Moreover, back of us were always our great national war leaders and their civil and military staffs that supported and encouraged us through every trial, every test. The whole was one great team. I know that on this special occasion, the three million American men and women serving in the allied expeditionary force would want me to pay the tribute of admiration, respect and affection to their British comrades of this war.

My most cherished hope is that, after Japan joins the Nazi in utter defeat, neither my country nor yours need ever again summon its sons and daughters from their peaceful pursuits to face the tragedies of battle. But – a fact important for both of us to remember – neither London nor Abilene, sisters under the skin, will sell her birthright for physical safety, her liberty for mere existence.

No petty differences in the world of trade, traditions or national pride should ever blind us to identities in priceless values. If we keep our eyes on this guide post then no difficulties along our path of mutual cooperation can ever be insurmountable. Moreover, when this truth has permeated to the remotest hamlet and heart of all peoples, then indeed may we beat our swords into plowshares and all nations can enjoy the fruitfulness of the earth.
My Lord Mayor, I thank you once again for an honor to me and to the American forces that will remain one of the proudest in my memories.


Friday, September 29, 2017

THE TRAGEDY OF ELIZABETH DUNHAM

He is man of integrity and has done many, many good things. I don't see what is served by publishing….I think of statesmen who really served their states and then were disgraced in their old age, and I think to what end? To what end”  - Pamela Dunham

Back in the 1970’s Portland, Oregon, mayor Neil Goldschmidt started sleeping with the daughter of one of his staffers. Elizabeth Dunham was 13, maybe 14 when it all began.  It was a statutory rape not conducted in the shadows. Incredibly it was an open secret. Goldschmidt even took her to parties as his date. With all the “people that mattered” in the loop. Not a single one of those people did anything. But Goldschmidt did. He became Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of Transportation and in 1986, Governor of Oregon  

Pamela Dunham, the mother of a raped child, took a paid position with Goldschmidt's gubernatorial campaign. She had worked in Portland’s City Hall before Neil Goldschmidt began raping Elizabeth in the basement.  Elizabeth’s mother said that at some point she learned what had been happening. A charitable explanation would put that revelation after that campaign. Evidence to the contrary abounds that she knew during the '86 campaign that she was helping to elect a man who abused her daughter over  several years. This passage from the groundbreaking work of Nigel Jaquiss and Willamette Weekly says it all.

“Whether the Dunhams ignored or overlooked the evidence that Goldschmidt's mentoring of their daughter went much further, only they know.

Barbara Bingham, Pamela Dunham's niece, says that based on conversations she had with Elizabeth and Elizabeth's late maternal grandmother, and Bingham's own observations, she believes Pamela Dunham knew Goldschmidt was having sex with her daughter by the time Elizabeth was 16.

Bingham is less certain about Arlyss Dunham, Elizabeth's father, who Bingham says was only sporadically present during her teenage years.

Bingham says she once witnessed Elizabeth sitting on Goldschmidt's lap and making out with him in the Dunhams' basement when Elizabeth was 15 or 16.

She says she asked Pamela Dunham's mother, who lived in the house, whether Pamela knew about Elizabeth and Goldschmidt spending so much time alone.

"She [the grandmother] said, 'I've told Pam, and nothing happens,' Bingham recalls”

Goldschmidt knew Elizabeth’s mother was on his payroll.  Eventually in a way, so was Elizabeth. As the eighties began, her life declined into a spiral of PTSD and substance abuse . The word spread around Portland that Goldschmidt's victim was spilling her guts in varied bars. So Neal and his “fixer” quietly arranged a job in Seattle where iElizabeth was brutally abducted and raped at knife point.

Years later in 2011, after Elizabeth died, Neil Goldschmidt issued this in a prepared statement,  

"I subsequently learned she was just brutally assaulted, and bad things happened up there for which she's probably blameless, in the sense that she didn't invite it -- I mean literally ask for it. But she was always putting herself in circumstances like that."

It's hard to improve upon the comments made by an Oregonian columnist in response: "Evil has a face. Evil has a voice."

Neil originally had sex with Elizabeth in her family’s basement when she was 13. While her mother’s birthday party was going on upstairs, Goldschmidt asked her to play ping-pong with him. Then he wanted "a hug". That hug turned into oral sex.  As time went on the mayor of Portland would hook up with her  after school. He knew Pamela Dunham wasn't going to walk in on him and her eighth grade daughter. For she was at work, as a trusted aide in his office. As the mayor travelled home in the afternoon, his official car would often pick up a passenger. He had a Portland policeman as his driver.  "He'd pick me up by the fountain, in the black car. He always had a driver," Elizabeth would later recall.
When Elizabeth was fifteen she dropped out of school. She was said to be brilliant. Pictures attest she was beautiful. She was said to be larger than life. The sex with Neil Goldschmidt continued into his years as a cabinet secretary and as Governor of Oregon. And all the “people who mattered” knew.
In 1990 Neil Goldschmidt shocked Oregon by announcing he was not running for re-election. At the same time his cover up was again beginning to unravel. While being questioned in the aftermath of her brutal Seattle assault , Elizabeth mentioned her sexual abuse by a “trusted family friend”, thus committing the matter to a public record. Months later Neil made a $350,000 out of court settlement with Elizabeth that had two major points. First she would have to have to clam up in return for her $1500 per month settlement check. Secondly, Neil could not run for office ever again. So he cashed in, becoming the state’s lobbyist, sitting on the boards of friendly companies like Nike, and most lucratively, consulting on how folks could make money navigating the varied regulations he instituted as a Governor and Mayor. And of course all the “people who mattered” continued to pay homage to the Golden Boy who put Portland on the map.
It was not until May 2004, that the secret finally came out. It was not exposed by the local daily, who apparently knew of it for years. It was an alternative weekly. For their work and their  courage the lead reporter and the publication received a Pulitzer Prize. Though obviously embarrassing enough for Neil to retreat to a villa in France, the statute of limitations protected him from prosecution. As unjust as that outcome is, there was a cascade of sympathy towards Neil from all those “people that mattered”, all those people that knew.

"Look at all the good he did for Oregon" they said. "He brought us a light rail and a Nordstrom’s , after all." Those who spoke in public denied knowing about any of those sordid things., at least not for attribution. Always the victim was blamed. After all , those thirteen year old girls dress in a way that “asks for it” , they would say. (One look in the fashions of 1975 would blow that one out of the water.) And (of course) she was simply a younger version of Monica Lewinsky, who was ten years older and a consenting adult.
When put on the spot, they again listed a litany of the great man’s achievements. What a great leader Goldschmidt was. He killed the Mount Hood Expressway, don’t you know?  And let’s not forget the Pioneer Courthouse Square and the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
There are some who see subtle gradations of morality . If a searcher scours the public record of quotes from Portland's elite, finding one that condemned Goldschmidt’s crimes is difficult. One former mayor of Portland predicted Neil “will be back.” Neil’s ex-wife Margie came to his defense, though Neil promised Elizabeth he was going to dump her and marry his victim. If one was looking for a formula to mess with a girl’s mind, how about this concept? You are the mayor’s mistress. At thirteen.
It was not just the political elite and the “people who matter” who turned the other way. There was the County DA telling the Oregonian, “Outrage over the affair will fade with time. I think he still has something to offer.” And then of course there was Multnomah County Sheriff , Bernie Giusto , who just happened to be involved with Margie Goldschmidt. The loyal ex-wife whose "contentious" divorce from Neil was the stated reason for his not running for re-election in 1990. And there were the other governors in the loop, names like Kitzhaber and Roberts and Kulongoski, the latter of whom not only served as Oregon’s Attorney General, but appointed Neil to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education.  One sycophant named Alan Webber was haunted by this comment when he ran for Governor of New Mexico, ““no one usually gets killed in a sex scandal….although there is real damage to be sure.”

Though there existed a mutual non defamation clause in her settlement , eventually Elizabeth began to raise her voice in the shadows. Neil and his circle had continually defamed her in the media and online. She had done a five month stint in the Federal Prison in Dublin for a cocaine rap. She had tried college and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She was involved with Neil when he was Governor. He would send his State police escort to get her. She was used to that VIP treatment, for after all Neil was taking her to events when she was in the eighth grade. With all the people that mattered there in the flesh.

Over the years there were job offers. Jobs far away.  After the scandal broke, the private investigator Neil appointed as Elizabeth’s handler weighed in “This is not a story about an adult man having sex with a young girl,”  Bob Burtchaell wrote in the Oregonian,  “It’s really about a man redeeming himself.” Mr. Burtchaell just received an award from the Diocese of Portland. And he knows about sex scandals and “redemption.” His brother Father James Burtchaell, a well-known Roman Catholic theologian and spokesman for the anti-abortion movement, resigned from teaching at the University of Notre Dame amid sexual involvement with male students he was counseling. Neil’s Rabbi Emanuel Rose, also wrote in Neil’s defense, “It is hard for anyone to imagine the depth of public humiliation to which he has been subjected resulting from the situation in which he placed himself. “ The Rabbi's wife is Neil’s realtor. Conservative estimates of her commissions total $120,000.

The decades long saga of Neil Goldschmidt’s statutory rape and cover up would not be complete without mentioning the tacit complicity of The Oregonian. Not only had Oregon’s major news source known about Elizabeth’s abuse decades before the Williamette Weekly broke the story in 2004, The Oregonian’s Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist had known about Goldschmidt and Dunham in 1986. That was the year Goldschmidt was running for governor


The Oregonian most certainly knew about the abuse in December 2003, when a former Goldschmidt speech writer, provided the paper with Elizabeth’s name and the names of other sources who could confirm the story.  They sat on it.

In early 2011, Elizabeth Dunham died at age 49 in a Portland hospice. After her decade long marriage to a cab driver ended in divorce , she moved back to Portland. She survived the best she could on the $1500 hush money check from Neil, and a $400 monthly disability check. She lived her last days in fear of Neil.

Goldschmidt’s final speech as Governor is on You Tube. It was delivered in the same hotel in which he took Elizabeth. In which he started on the road that ultimately took her life.  It’s linked below.



Looking at it now, over a quarter century later, one wonders how many of these people cheering actually knew? How many of those present had known for years what he had done to Elizabeth?  I’ll leave it to one of the few who cared to have the last word.

“For the privilege of being in on “The Deal;” for the money made from corporate takeovers, condo developments and light rail extensions; for the cushy executive position with all the perks; for the high political office; for the entry to the Arlington Club; for the skids greased and the backs scratched; for nothing more than an occasional pat on the head from the Great Man himself; for a young girl’s life — the best and the brightest looked the other way.

There was no conspiracy of silence. People talked. People knew. Instead, there was a conspiracy of indifference — which is far worse.

They still attend parties in his honor. To this day, they are lost without him telling them what to do. “People like Neil don’t come along very often,” former Gov. Ted Kulongoski reminds us.

In the end she was the only one who stood up to him: The confidentiality agreement she and Neil signed in 1994 stipulated that he would never again run for public office. It was her gift to Oregon.

She told me in 2007, 'My life was taken away from me'

And now her life is over at age 49.”




MANY BLESSINGS- NOEL